Finding The Words For Faith

Meet America’s Most Important Christian Writer By Matthew Sitman Sept 3, 2014 There is one particular passage from Christian Wiman’s latest volume of poetry, Every Riven Thing, that remains lodged in my consciousness, lines I go back to again and again: “I do not know how to come closer to God / except by standing … Continue reading Finding The Words For Faith

Converts Among The Convicted

Casey Cep reviews Joshua Dubler’s Down in the Chapel, which explores the diverse religious lives of the inmates of Graterford Prison, Pennsylvania’s largest maximum security correctional facility. She comments on Dubler’s characterization of the prison chapel as “a wonder of American religious pluralism”: The prison’s chapel is indeed a testament to the possibilities of pluralism, with … Continue reading Converts Among The Convicted

Book Club: Can Christianity Survive Modernity? Ctd

All of these readers seem to answer “yes” to the above question: I was raised a Christian in a tiny, Midwestern town where everyone went to either the Catholic church or the Protestant church. I was surrounded by unquestioning believers until I left for college. I had lost my faith in my early teens and it stayed lost for … Continue reading Book Club: Can Christianity Survive Modernity? Ctd

The Middle-Brow Devil

Justice Scalia’s recent mention of C.S. Lewis’s satirical novel The Screwtape Letters prompted Casey N. Cep to ponder the book’s lasting popularity: Its appeal, I think, comes from Lewis’s success in writing a theodicy of the everyday. Unlike Dante and Milton, he eschewed a grand theology of the cosmos, focussing instead on quotidian temptations of the … Continue reading The Middle-Brow Devil

“A Mystery To Be Lived”

Barry Lenser praises Rod Dreher’s just-released book about his sister’s struggle with cancer, their complicated relationship, and the small-town her illness and death brought him back to: The Little Way of Ruthie Leming is a book of real pain and real tragedy. Unlike a conventional Hollywood screenplay, the story doesn’t proceed inevitably to a tidy, feel-good … Continue reading “A Mystery To Be Lived”

The Weekly Wrap


Friday on the Dish, Andrew made the moral case for Obama, calling him the "best conservative president since Bill Clinton. He then dismantled Peggy Noonan's Obama takedown and accused her of Romnesia – or lying.

Then as Murray Waas reported on Romney's persecution of gay parents, Nate Cohn analyzed both candidates' paths to victory in Ohio and Brendan Nyhan unpacked media-fueled momentum narratives. Meanwhile, forty percent of the country confused the pro-choice and pro-life parties, John McCrain imagined the consequences of killing the Electoral College, and as Seth Masket noted Obama's field office advantage, Drum suspected Obama's ground game advantage is overstated. 

Earlier in the day, third-quarter GDP came in at 2.0%, Josh Barro said Gary Johnson would be an economic disaster and Charles R. Morris argued that over-developed finance industries harmed manufacturing. Suderman then previewed post-election politics, Kate Dailey provided numbers on early voting and Douglas Labier explored the psychology of political lies. And as John Warner confessed that he's overwhelmed by this election season, Michael Hastings defended Valerie Jarrett and Obama rolled out new Florida-focused ads. Mark Bowden then discussed how the drug war evolved and as Colorado's marijuana legalization looked poised to pass, its police continued to arrest 10,000 pot-smokers a year.

In international commentary, Hussein Agha and Robert Malley surveyed Islamists' transition to power and Tim Padgett likened Mourdock's abortion stance to those in Latin America. 

Alice Dreger then explained the sex lives of Siamese twins, tennis' first professional trans player expressed ambivalence about her legacy and Amanda Hess considered the demand for condom-free porn. Jeff Masters then examined where Sandy will hit, as Bill McKibben saw the hurricane as a preview of future natural disasters. Teju Cole explored Nigeria's "jungle justice," assisted suicide prolonged life and the era of brownstones dimmed. VFYW here, MHB here and a dog dressed as Paw Ryan for Halloween.

The rest of the wrap after the jump:

The Daily Wrap

Today on the Dish, Andrew agreed with Clinton on calling Romney a far-right extremist and a flip-flopper, though he was still given the chills by Romney's shape-shifting. He then hoped for an election outcome that resembled 2004 more than 2000 and weighed in on the Mourdock rape comment, extolling a Christianity that embraces the "mystery of the Hidden … Continue reading The Daily Wrap

The Republicans’ “Rape” Problem, Ctd

A reader writes:

I find Richard Mourdock's views on abortion repugnant, but I find myself in the oddly sympathetic to him as everyone piles on him for his remark on conceptions arising from rape. As far as I can tell, he said that conception was a gift from God, not that rape was. Much of the commentary, including TNC's, conflates the two, seemingly deliberately. To hang the latter around Mourdock's neck seems to me to be blaming him for not having solved the problem of theodicy (reconciling an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God with the existence of evil). I'm all for having high standards for our elected representatives, but to demand that they solve a problem that has flummoxed theologians and philosophers throughout history seems to me excessive.

Another is on the same page: