By In Politics

Doctor’s Orders

This is an excerpt from an article published by Biblical Medical Ethics, Inc

Defining the Christian Doctor


“What does it mean to be a Christian doctor? It means first to be a Christian, striving to please God in every area of life. It means to exercise that in our calling, our vocation. We must serve God in serving our fellowman. We must serve our fellowman by listening to his complaints and ailments. We must serve by comforting him, teaching him about his illness, diagnosis and prognosis, and treatments; but most importantly, we serve by reminding him that there is no comfort outside of Christ. We advise, and counsel, and rebuke on occasion. We sometimes use drugs or other remedies, if they may benefit; but we use nothing without thankfulness to God, asking for his blessing in its use. We seek daily to see God’s hand in his world. We recognize that to ignore God’s hand is to deny him. We treat the patient as fallen, a sinner in need of redemption far more than he needs our medicine. We remember that the patient has responsibility for himself before God, that we cannot force others to pay for his care, nor can he. We remember that resources are limited, and that medicine is not the highest priority.” ~ Robert Maddox, MD a b

For more from Doctor Maddox on the topic of medical ethics, refer to his three-part lecture series from the 2012 AAPC Pastors’ Conference: American Idols, available from Auburn Avenue Media


Dr. Rob with Peru Mission in 2012

<>online mobiпоисковая оптимизация верстки

  1. Dr. Rob Maddox is a Ruling Elder in the CREC and a member of Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church of Monroe, LA  (back)
  2. HT: to my friend Deacon Ed Lang, headmaster of Geneva Academy of Monroe, for pointing me to this excellent resource  (back)

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By In Politics

The Anvil Stone: a Review of Gravity

A movie review from Remy Wilkins first posted on the Whole Garden Will Bow

[[Editor’s note: Gravity is being released on Blu-Ray this month. I do not mention the DVD version on purpose, ’cause Blu-Ray. Watch the movie, on Blu-Ray, as many times as it takes for you to get your critical self out of the way (it takes me three times). And then read on]]

For more movie reviews, see FilmFisher a

In a world where simple stories are needlessly bejazzled and crampacked with gibber, it is refreshing to watch a movie that exults in its simplicity. Here is a movie titled Gravity about an astronaut in space named Stone. The narrative is as easy as falling down.


There have been numerous digs at some of the infelicitous dialogue and the scientific inaccuracies (all granted and most excused by all but the most severe pedants), but there is one questionable element that I believe hasn’t been given the notice it deserves. Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson took issue with Stone, a bio-medical engineer, servicing the Hubble, but this is not an inert detail. She is there to equip the Hubble to search for a habitable planet. The movie begins with her suspended between worlds, for as we were told at the beginning: “Life in space is impossible”. She is searching out new life as the old world holds nothing for her.

The reason why life is no longer possible for her on earth is given when she tells Kowalski that she lost her daughter to a fall. Something “as stupid as that” she says. Far from being a throwaway detail, or a maudlin grab for sympathy, her daughter’s death is mentioned to show that there is nothing on earth for her. Since that time she has been on the move, driving, just driving; between destinations.

A line is drawn between Kowalski and Stone when he mentions that he had a wife, who was lost to him while he was on a mission. Through death and adultery they have been rendered alone yet their perspective of earth (pardon the expression) is different.

In the beginning of the film, having fled earth, she still roils (a detail established in the fifteen minute virtuosic opening shot); green not just to inexperience but also motionsick. Her world spins. This is true well before the shrapnel sends her spinning into the black. For well over half the film she is tugged, pushed, thrown, spun and threatened with motion without rest.



Ryan Stone (played by a pitch-perfect Sandra Bullock):

  • Ryan = “Little King”
  • Also Ryan Stone is a pun on rhinestone, a stone that is not what it appears to be, an imitation.

Matthew Kowalski (played by the jocose George Clooney):

  • Matthew (“Gift of God”, ala Theo from Alfonso Cuarón’s masterpiece Children of Men).
  • Kowalski = of the Blacksmith

The name on the Russian suit that Stone dons (see above) is Demidov (it bears the number 42, the answer to life: a hat tip to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). This surname comes from a prominent family of blacksmiths (Demid Antufiev, was a free blacksmith from Tula). Demidov means “of Demid”; Demid  means “cunning as Zeus” and is derived from Diomedes = “Godlike”.

Aningaaq, the voice on the ham radio, is the name of the moon in Nordic mythology and means “Big Brother of a Girl”. The short film of the same title, directed by Jonás Cuarón (son of Alfonso and co-writer of Gravity), can be found here.

What better name for an astronaut than blacksmith? Matthew is the cool thinking mentor that navigates Stone through the perilous events. To survive she must become like him. His character is centered on earth, constantly falling back on stories of life on earth. His other passion is to beat the record for the longest spacewalk, an ironic phrase considering there is not one single step made in the entire movie.

To survive, Stone must become like him – focused on earth.


Set in the future:

Kessler Syndrome is a potential future event in which the density of objects in low orbit become so great that a cascading series of collisions render space exploration unfeasible for several generations.

Ryan refers to her mission as STS-157 in one of her transmissions. In real life, the 135th and final Space Shuttle mission was STS-135. It launched on 8 July 2011. Taking the average of manned spaceflights from the 60s to today of 28 flights every decade then mission 157 would hit some time after 2021.

The real-life Chinese Space station is named Tiangong (Chinese: 天宫; pinyin: Tiāngōng; literally “Heavenly Palace”) and currently consists of only one small inhabitable module. The goal of the Tiangong program is the construction of a space station much like the one in the film by the year 2022.

In Cuarón’s 2006 film The Children of Men (based on the novel of the same name by P.D. James), earth in the year 2027 has been struck by infertility for two decades. Society is beginning to collapse.


A story: According to the legendary account of his life, Christopher was a Canaanite 7.5 feet tall. While serving the king of Canaan, he took it into his head to go and serve “the greatest king there was”. He went to the king who was reputed to be the greatest, but one day he saw the king cross himself at the mention of the devil. On thus learning that the king feared the devil, he departed to look for the devil. He came across a band of marauders, one of whom declared himself to be the devil, so Christopher decided to serve him. But when he saw his new master avoid a wayside cross and found out that the devil feared Christ, he left him and inquired from people where to find Christ. He met a hermit who instructed him in the Christian faith. Christopher asked him how he could serve Christ. When the hermit suggested fasting and prayer, Christopher replied that he was unable to perform that service. The hermit then suggested that because of his size and strength Christopher could serve Christ by assisting people to cross a dangerous river, where they were perishing in the attempt. The hermit promised that this service would be pleasing to Christ.

After Christopher had performed this service for some time, a little child asked him to take him across the river. During the crossing, the river became swollen and the child seemed as heavy as lead, so much that Christopher could scarcely carry him and found himself in great difficulty. When he finally reached the other side, he said to the child: “You have put me in the greatest danger. I do not think the whole world could have been as heavy on my shoulders as you were.” The child replied: “You had on your shoulders not only the whole world but Him who made it. I am Christ your king, whom you are serving by this work.” The child then vanished.

The icon of St. Christopher is on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.


When Ryan Stone turns back to earth she is embracing life in a place that, for her, has no life. She is therefore embracing the hope for new life. The world is dead to her, but hearkening to the voice of the faithful blacksmith she becomes not a fake rhinestone, but a true rock, with faith that she will be fashioned into a jewel. Crawling out of the water she mutters a terse “thank you”. She is reborn, passing through the human stages of conception, through the travail of birth (despite the abortive efforts of space), in order to emerge from the amnion to stand much more than homo erectus, but as homo spes, hopeful man.

<>создание и раскрутка а с нуля

  1. for a less favorable review of this flick, visit our friend Zachary Parker’s film review blog and read his review  (back)

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By In Books, Culture, Family and Children

Swinging at Cheese


Cheese Ball

Folks who knew a younger me
remember that I was a fast runner
but not remarkable on defense
Not enough time spent in practice
No batting cage in my backyard
I could throw a one-hopper
from the centerfield fence to the catcher’s mitt
but had to be told, in vain,
what a cut-off situation was
that strength was not always strategy
that patience at the plate passes on cheese

I never hit a home run, in my short stint as a Dixie League ballplayer, though I do maintain that I did get an in-the-park homer in T-ball but had to be called back to second base for some reason that is still not clear to me. I do have images in my memory of pretty regularly getting myself caught out by popping up infield fly balls. You see, in my lack of experience, I was often guilty of zealously swinging at cheese. Oh well. I did get to watch Murphy play in the Astrodome. You can’t take that away from me.

cheesewheelsCheese – I like cheese with a fondness that has far outlived any interest that I may have once had in chasing balls. I remember walking down the street with my grandmother and ordering grilled cheese sandwiches at a diner that is no longer there. Cheese toast was her breakfast specialty. Cheese and crackers for an afternoon snack. Meager selections perhaps, but necessities from the days when parents wanted only to get calories into children whom they thought too skinny, who pediatricians thought were too fat. These days, I have the opportunity to sample respectable cheese just often enough that it remains a luxury and maintains it’s place in my heart – and perhaps in my arteries. I digress.

I am trying to instill in my four children an appreciation for a perfectly grilled cheese sandwich. I’ve given up on my wife. She’s still afraid of fat – turns up her nose at store-bought mayonnaise (except when I use it as the heat-conducting lipid on the outside of the bread). In my efforts to mold my children’s habits, I am being reminded just how intimidating something like cheese can be.

“Why is blue cheese blue,” eldest daughter asks.
“Because of mold,” comes mother’s reply.

Penicillium to be exact. A smelly bacteria found, like most wonderful things, by accident in the damp caves where cheese makers stored their cheese. The idea of good mold is a tough sell. Would you try that stuff if someone you trusted wasn’t shoving it under your nose? How hungry would you have to be?

If wine is glorified grape juice, then I offer that cheese is glorified milk. And fit for a kingly meal of bread and wine. The stuff of maturity. Stuff that takes time and know-how. Stuff that you have to develop a taste for.creamery9.jpg / Wensleydale Creamery

 “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese,” wrote G K Chesterton, who was clearly a turophiliaca, around the turn of the 20th century. This may have not been the case even before his time, as has been pointed out in the excellent article Cheese Poet, over at Patheos, which pits Chesterton against 19th century poet James McIntyre.b At any rate, poets have certainly rectified the oversight with more than enough cheesy poetry since Chesterton’s time.

As one might suspect, Robert Farrar Capon had a thing or two to say on the subject of cheese. He saw food as ministry, and ministries aim to increase fellowship and return thanksgiving where it is due. The table provides just such an arena.

“He told his readers to save money by throwing the junk food (such as supermarket cheese with ‘the texture, but nowhere near the flavor, of rubber gloves’) out of their shopping basket. Then they could buy something decent instead—such as the best available butter. ‘The realm of the irreplaceable is no place to count cost,’ he wrote in Supper of the Lamb, a metaphysical treatise on cooking published in 1967 and popular ever since.” c


In her book Eating With Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food, Rachel Marie Stone writes:

“Once, when I still feared pleasure in food as potentially dangerous, I tried to make macaroni and cheese. But instead of good old-fashioned elbow pasta, I used whole wheat noodles. Instead of whole milk, I used soy milk. I did put a bit of real cheese in there but cut the amount by three-quarters and replaced the rest with pureed carrot. It was awful, truly awful, and not the kind of accidental awful that happens to every cook occasionally. It was awful by design, awful because it wasn’t intended to bring enjoyment — it was intended to be *healthy*…Maybe it was, in a limited sense, nourishing — bring necessary vitamins, minerals and every to the body and staving off hunger pangs. Certainly I was grateful to have it. It was a better meal than many people in the world would enjoy that night. But it certainly wasn’t satisfying in itself. If it was satisfying at all, it was only because of an *idea*: ‘I’m doing something that’s good for my body by ingesting this…This kind of cooking — cooking that is motivated by an idea, rather than by the wondrous materials of food — is a kind of asceticism, an exaltation of an idea (in this case, healthfulness) over pleasure, and indeed, over the sensory experience of food and eating. This approach to food is, as Robert Farrar Capon wrote, an ‘intellectual fad, imposing a handful of irrelevant philosophical prejudices on a grandly material business.’…But does the same God who calls us to his kingdom with words like ‘Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food’ (Is 55:2) also call us to dietary asceticism, to perfect adherence to regimens of health?” d

Pastor Randy Booth reminds us that the family table is the rehearsal hall of the the Lord’s communion table:

churchfriendly“The Table is the meeting place where we remember who we are and what has been done for us…that we are dependent and that God is our provider…We enter into fellowship with God as He serves us and with one another as we share…Similar things should be taught and received at our daily family tables…The meal is simple, but the lessons are large.” e

Some cheeses coat the palate, yield under the finger. Some have little flavor crystals that burst under tooth. Some challenge the olfaction. They draw the eye and enliven the salivary glands – signaling what is still to come over the remainder of the meal. But be patient. Pace yourself. Man best not try to live by cheese alone. I must say that for some time now, the promise of fried cheese curds is perhaps enough to one day tempt me to travel above the Sweet Tea Line, and visit friends to the bitter north. But perhaps it will take a little more than a fried appetizer. Maybe if it were promised as midpoint in a full course meal – maybe. You see, while some cheeses take time to create and practice to fully appreciate (and are perhaps best left to the experts), I have recently learned how relatively quickly some kinds (such as mozzarella) can be made at home. f. So, maybe later y’all. Till then, increase the feast.


<>vzlomat-parolкак продвигать бухгалтерские услуги

  1. a lover of cheese  (back)
  2.  (back)
  3. read more here  (back)
  4. HT: Pastor John Barach  (back)
  5. pp 53-54, authors Randy Booth & Rich Lusk, edited by Uri Brito  (back)
  6.  (back)

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By In Books, Culture, Politics, Theology, Wisdom

City of God: An August Enterprise

No man can be a good metropolitan if he loves his title but not his task

No man can be a good metropolitan if he loves his title but not his task

First Things contributor Collin Garbarino has started an admirable undertaking for the year ahead, and it’s not too late to join in the fun. Participants will be reading St. Augustine’s City of God over the course of a year. And a Facebook Page has been created for reading schedule updates, supporting commentary & readers’ notes, and group accountability. The group has amassed over 1300 participants to date.


The Reading Schedule

Translations & formats:

Book list from Amazon
(The moderator of the project is using the Penguin Classics translation)

A digital copy of the 1871 Dods Translation is in the public domain

As well as a Librivox audio version, if you’re into that sort of thing

On Augustine the Man:

An introduction

The Great Courses also has a course on Augustine: Philosopher & Saint (that periodically goes on sale)

There are also great lectures available at WordMP3 from Pastor Steve WilkinsChurch Fathers series and a lecture from Pastor Douglas Wilson to the ACCS

As well as Dr. George Grant on Augustine’s Theology of Wonder

Other Resources:

Dr. Peter J Leithart, Senior Fellow at New Saint Andrews College and President of of Trinity House Institute, has many articles about St. Augustine and his writings over at First Things

Mentalfloss will even help you fake your way through a conversation about St. Augustine


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By In Culture, Politics, Scribblings, Wisdom

The Tip That Keeps on Giving

Information does tend to flow in trends through the social media conduits. For sheer lack of time, I find myself being fed ideas on what to think about in a given day, or what book to put on the reading list for the new year. And that’s okay, we tend to see what’s in front of us by design. Such is our need for community.

Of late, a bit of chatter that seemed to be recurrent in my November social feed troughs are several stories about the behavior of members of the body of the Lord Jesus Christ at the table. Not the communion table, mind you, but the local eatery. Said stories regard the practice of tipping of food servers. One article even asked, “what would Jesus tip?”

My wife and I have a long history of a debate that I lovingly refer to as “The Tip”. The Tip Debate began back before our eleven-year marriage. It even threatened said-marriage from ever materializing at one point in time. It caused me to seriously question my life decisions and God’s will in my life (Lord, forgive me but it’s the truth). In an effort to preserve the union, the Tip Debate has caused me to black list certain establishments wherein my wife has formerly been employed due to the unbearable dining experience of trying to enjoy a meal and maintain rare adult conversation while she leaves mid-sentence to go find the maitre d’ in order to report an observed insufficiency in staff performance. Yeah. It was a dark time.

An old friend, with what some would refer to as a sense of the humorous, had a propensity for the charming habit of placing a stack of brand new one dollar bills on the table, in plain view of the desperately stressed, over-worked and under-appreciated server. As the attendee would approach the table, my friend’s keen gaze would intensify and his hand would hover over the meager  mound of moolah a. One wrong move, and he would swipe away one of the dollars with a relished drama. No tip for you!

I’m happy to report that today I am in a position to regard myself as somewhat of a good tipper, which is closer to where my wife wants me to be. All was well on that front.

But then these shysters in sheep’s clothing have to come along and stir up the coals of a long quelled discussion on proper tipping etiquette. The first to come to my attention was the story of Christian diners who left a “tip tract”. You’ve heard of these ingenious devices that turn the two-edged sword of the Word into a knife in the ribs? They consist of what appears to be a respectable tip – a tenner, a Jackson, a Benjamin, WHAT?!? – but once removed from the bill holder by the server, it is revealed to be a slight-of-hand Gospel witness all up in what was your momentarily excited face.

Stupid Human Tricks

Stupid Human Tricks


Another such instance of the golden tip was a tale circulating about Christian patrons who left no tip whatsoever. At least, not in monetary form. Rather, an explanatory note was left that read: Sorry, but I can’t tip as I do not agree with your lifestyle, Love you (emoticon winky, bemused, apologetic smileyface, tear). Treasures in heaven, y’all, which you will never enjoy because you won’t ever get there lest ye REPENT!!! And I’ll give you your pen back if you give me an extra mint (they’re wafer thin). Bill Maher couldn’t believe it b

The Internet Justice Brigade (IJB) wasted no time in exposing this story as false and discrediting the former Marine as a troubled soul with an instagram account and a history of conduct issues – reportedly. Wounded warrior indeed. Your chosen means can weaken your cause.

The story was then book-ended by a tale of the most bodacious tip ever left in the name of Christ. Customary gratuity is bush league to @TipsForJesus c. That’s one way to do that, steward. I hope you’re still giving thanks to YahWeh when the APR kicks in on that American Express. May we all aspire to such generosity at sports bars.


You know the kind of tipping story I’d like to read? One that mentions the vocational courses in Europe that can last as long as two years or more before restaurateurs will allow be-gloved servers to hit the floor and represent their brand. And how no one is entitled to an income just for showing up, especially if they cannot fulfill their job role in a satisfactory way that is equal to or greater than their agreed upon compensation. And I say that as a person who has worked in kitchens and on wait staffs, and stunk at it. Your relationship with Jesus may get you a job, but it’s still up to you to see it done.

I personally like the stories of innovators in the food industry who have raised their pay scales, done away with Darwinian tipping system, and won lifelong loyalty in customers (and employees) in doing sod. Showing up again ought to be all the gratitude any of us require. A little extra expression of gratitude –  a manifestation of appreciation in tangible means? Well, that’s straight gravy. Serve your neighbor as you would be served. Judge your neighbors service as your would have your service judged.

A little Capon is appropriate, I believe:

‘O Lord, refresh our sensibilities. Give us this day our daily taste. Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in and sauces which are never the same twice. Raise up among us stews with more gravy than we have bread to blot it with, and casseroles that put starch and substance in our limp modernity. Take away our fear of fat, and make us glad of the oil which ran upon Aaron’s beard. Give us pasta with a hundred fillings, and rice in a thousand variations. Above all, give us grace to live as true folk – to fast till we come to a refreshed sense of what we have and then to dine gratefully on all that comes to hand. Drive far from us, O Most Bountiful, all creatures of air and darkness; cast out the demons that possess us; deliver us from the fear of calories and the bondage of nutrition; and set us free once more in our own land, where we shall serve thee as though hast blessed us – with the dew of heaven, the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine’. – Robert Farrar Capon, 1925-2013 e


<>поддержка а битриксраскрутка магазин поисковое продвижение а

  1. from the Irish moll oir – pile of gold, Daniel Cassidy, How the Irish Invented Slang, 2007  (back)
  2.  (back)
  3.  (back)
  4.  (back)
  5. The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection (Garden City: Doubleday, 1969), 278  (back)

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By In Books, Culture, Politics, Theology

Born Out of Never: Happy Birthday Abe


October 29th marks the birthday of Kuyperian Commentary’s namesake, namely Abraham Kuyper (29 October 1837 – 8 November 1920), – the Dutch politician and party founder, statesman, prime minister, theologian, educator, linguist, pastor, author, founder of the Free University of Amsterdam, founder and editor of De Standaard (the most popular daily newspaper in the Netherlands), as well as the editor of the weekly magazine De Heraut (the Herald). a A veritable polymath of a man. b

Over at CanonWired, Pastors Douglas Wilson & Toby J Sumpter explore the question: “What’s Does It Mean to Be ‘Kuyperian’?”

Birthdays are times of reflection and of giving, and those who know me are aware that I like to share things that peak my curiosity and give me joy. And so, I’ll leave this little birthday note with some quotes by and about Kuyper and some links for further exploration into what it means to be ‘Kuyperian’:

“There is not one part of our world of thought that than can be hermetically separated from other parts, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!'” c

“Christianity goes beyond personal salvation. Christianity encompasses everything.”d

“In the midst of corruptions, your duty as an equipped disciple of Christ is to always seek to uphold that which is honorable, that which is lovely and that which is of good report among mankind.” (ibid)

“A Christian culture is established through the education of a Christian populace.”(ibid)

“If there were no other way open to knowledge than through discursive thought,. . . because of the uncertainty . . . which is the penalty of sin, and [because of] the impossibility [of having therefore an objective method to decide] between truth and falsehood,” skepticism would reign.” (Principles 123) e

“Never forget that all state relief for the poor is a blot on the honor of your savior. The fact that the government needs a safety net to catch those who would slip between the cracks of our economic system is evidence that I have failed to do God’s work. The government cannot take the place of Christian charity. A loving embrace isn’t given with food stamps. The care of a community isn’t provided with government housing. The face of our Creator can’t be seen on a welfare voucher. What the poor need is not another government program; what they need is for Christians like me to honor our savior.”f

“If you see a thing, you are probably called to it.”g

“What is hell other than a realm in which unholiness works without restraint in body and soul?” h

“Kuyper himself had urged that all human thought be gov­erned by a Christian worldview derived from Scripture. To Kuyper, this worldview was antithetical to every secular ideology, whether philosophical, political, economic, aesthetic, or whatever. Kuyper’s disciples sought to bring the Christian worldview to bear on politics, education, and journalism; naturally, some sought to express it in phi­losophy as well.” ~ Dr. John M Frame i

 <>mega-vzlomстоимость рекламы на авто

  1. TheChristianAlmanac  (back)
  2.  (back)
  3.  (back)
  4.  (back)
  5.  (back)
  6. KuyperPoverty  (back)
  7. “When Abraham Kuyper saw a thing, he acted on it.” ~ Dr. George Grant  (back)
  8. KuyperHolySpirit  (back)
  9.  (back)

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By In Politics

The Love that Loves Us │ To the Wonder: A Review

From Special Guest Contributor Remy Wilkins. Originally posted at The Whole Garden Will Bow


It begins at the Wonder, La Merveille, Mont-Saint-Michel in France to be exact, with Neil and Marina at an early edge of love, leap or let go is the question. She cavorts along the coast as the tide swells and he, as implacable as the sea, follows; whether entranced or temporarily entrapped in her orbit we hardly know. They leave the Wonder, and Marina, with her daughter from a former husband, travels to America, to the heartland to see if their love grows.

The culture has failed Terrence Malick. All of his films, but particularly Tree of Life and To the Wonder, are cut from the cloth of Christendom, both its scripture and traditions. There’s a liturgy to his films; cinematography as psalm, narration as prayer, and critics can sense the richness, but rarely can they taste it unless those same rhythms are their own. The trouble is that where Tree of Life strained the secular imagination, To the Wonder tramples and twirls upon its grave.

Apart from the vocabulary and iconography of Christianity, To the Wonder can only be pretentious, vapid and a portentous self-parody. To an outsider the connection between a husband and wife and a priest and his parish might seem tenuous and arbitrary, but to the believer it is Christ and his body, the second Adam and his Eve. (more…)

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