Extracurricular Activities 5.9.15 — Brooks’s Soul, Pope’s Book Recommendation, & John’s Ending
David Brooks wants you to be in a Bible study. You’ll get more out of it than you would at a dinner party, he says, if you find places where you can talk about pain and suffering. In preparation for his new book, “The Road to Character,” the New York Times columnist read many religious authors, including early Christian theologian Augustine of Hippo. “I now consider Augustine the smartest human being I’ve ever encountered in any form,” he says. Brooks, who is Jewish, has admiration for many Christian authors, but he also explains how he struggles with theological tensions with Christianity. This interview has been edited for length.
A recent journal article offers a new reason for reconsidering…
[Common Places] New Voices for Theology: Stephen T. Pardue’s “The Mind of Christ”
May the mind of Christ my Savior Live in me from day to day, By his love and pow’r controlling All I do and say.
So many of us have sung—but can this be a realistic and appropriate prayer for the Christian “theologian,” broadly defined?
Two potential problems confront us. (1) Is this prayer consistent with the biblical and contemporary emphases upon virtue? Virtues are habitual dispositions expressed in characteristic patterns of godly action: But does the prayer emphasize unilateral divine action so strongly that human virtue is precluded or uninteresting? (2) Does this prayer particularize the Christian intellectual life too exclusively in terms of participation in Jesus Christ? Intellectual virtues treat epistemology in moral terms: But does praying for such virtues—assuming it is appropriate to do so—emphasize spiritual dimensions of Christian intellectual life so strongly that civic and academic…