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Winter 2018

Issue 15

The annotated table of contents below offers a sneak peek at what's in Issue 15.


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Letter

Letter on Reformation

By

If you happened to log onto Facebook around Thanksgiving, you might have seen these words, blinking in white against an emergency-red background: “URGENT: If you’re not freaking out right now about net neutrality you’re not paying attention.”


 

Essays

American Reams

By

Old Mohawk Paper company lore has it that in 1946, a salesman named George Morrison handed his client in Boston a trial grade of paper so lush and even, so uniform and pure, that the client could only reply, “George, this is one super fine sheet of paper.”


Rhapsody in Blue

By

It couldn’t have happened the way I remember, because pain ought to contradict pleasure.


Close to Nothing

By

Fleur Jaeggy is an insomniac. She nods off at dawn after lying immobile on a bed. She has thought of nothing the night before.


The Master?

By

Directors don’t have a consistently identifiable “prime” in the way that, say, boxers do.


 

Symposium

True Story

By

When I was a little girl, I hid in church.


A Serious House

By

In Philip Larkin’s poem “Church Going,” the narrator peeks into a church, apparently at random, while on a bicycle ride.


Above Morality

By

A church cannot define itself as moral agency because its message is not a primarily moral one and because it offers itself to no one as agency. Morality is a poor basis for missionary work.


Charitable Living

By

When Augustine of Hippo, the venerable philosopher and bishop, first used religio Christiana in his legendary opus The City of God, he was unhappy with the phrase.


Touched by the Sacred

By

1998. A man in black walks along a dark street on the outskirts of a metropolis. The spotlight follows him. He stops and recites a mantra, over a steady house beat.


Can There Be an Atheist Church?

By

Why do people who have this urge for the transcendent also tend to participate in social rituals and practices? Why should this impulse, these attitudes, lead to church?


Three Funerals, No Wedding

By

I’m not much of a Quaker.


Survey: What is church for?

By

We invited priests and pastors from across the country to participate in a short survey about the joys, challenges and day-to-day work of leading a church in contemporary America.


Accounting for Tradition

By

Philip Gorski is a professor of sociology at Yale University, where he is the co-director of the Center for Comparative Research and the Religion and Politics Colloquium at the Yale MacMillan Center.


 

Dialogue

Accounting for Tradition

By

Philip Gorski is a professor of sociology at Yale University, where he is the co-director of the Center for Comparative Research and the Religion and Politics Colloquium at the Yale MacMillan Center.


 

Survey

Survey: What is church for?

By

We invited priests and pastors from across the country to participate in a short survey about the joys, challenges and day-to-day work of leading a church in contemporary America.


 

Reviews

Baidu Baike

By

Living in Shanghai, as I did for several years, often made me exercise muscles of suspicion I’d barely even known I had.


Anselm Kiefer

By

I  was not prepared for the size of the thing—there had been little in the exhibition photographs to indicate its scale. I rounded the corner and there it was, two stories tall.


The Closing of the American Mind

By

Allan Bloom was an elitist. He saw himself as a champion of excellence in an age of vulgarity.