Tragedy of Sin


What is tragedy? Some might think that it’s an easy question to answer. Crack open the nearest copy of Aristotle’s Poetics, and there you have it. It’s not so easy. What Chaucer meant by tragedy is not what Aristotle met, and in the modern age Hegel proposed a different theory of tragedy with predictably Gnostic overtones. To make things complicated, A.C. Bradley’s classic study of Shakespearean tragedy reads Shakespeare Hegelianly.

Shakespeare the Christian?


A window into his soul
William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564. Baptized, but was he a Christian?

The answer partly depends on what we think happens when someone is baptized. Many Christians believe that baptism marks the beginning of life as a Christian. I am one of those Christians. My short answer is, Will Shakespeare was a Christian because he was christened.

Some will think that an evasion. When people ask, Was Shakespeare a Christian, they usually have something more specific in mind. In the anachronistic jargon of modern evangelicalism, they want to know if he had a personal relationship with Jesus. Was he a true disciple? Did he actually believe? Did his faith, whatever it was, come out in his poetry?

The Christian and Holistic Health


Yoga, or not?
In the fitness world today, yoga is big business. Classes are popping up all over, and some are even marketed as “Christian yoga.” But at the same time, there has been opposition to the way yoga is being sold.

Some Hindus argue that yoga is intrinsically religious and that it is cheapening both yoga and Hinduism to treat it as simply a form of exercise. Some Christian writers agree and argue that yoga is spiritually dangerous. Others insist that yoga can be separated from its Hindu roots, and that it is no more than a form of stretching, while others say that it can be spiritually beneficial to Christians because you can pray while doing it rather than indulging in Hindu meditative practices.

Brilliant, Tough, but Necessary Viewing: 12 Years a Slave


Best film on slavery
12 Years a Slave won the Academy Awards in February for best picture, and deservedly. Almost universally praised by film critics, the movie was also supported by Oscar winning performances by actress Lupita Nyong’o and screenwriter John Ridley. Oscar nominations went to Chiwetel Ejiofor who played the lead role of Solomon Northrup, Michael Fassbender as one of his slave owners, and director Steve McQueen, who would have been the first black director to win an Oscar in its long history.

Put simply, 12 Years a Slave is most probably the best film ever made about American slavery. It is, therefore, also hard to watch – harder even than Schindler’s List or Amistad, two other historically-based, award-winning movies that helped past viewers come to terms with societal evil and prejudice. But however difficult to experience, the story seems to us to be almost “must” viewing for older teenagers and adults, for it makes present to viewers the inexcusable inhumanity to fellow humans which is America’s legacy, as well as a similar inhumanity that continues around the world for over twenty million today. In the words of Richard Corliss, the film reviewer for Time magazine, 12 Years a Slave is “a document that is raw, eloquent, horrifying, and essential.”

Arthur Guinness (1724 or 1725-1803)

Guinness-LabelChristians who Changed their World

People today tend to have a negative view of big business. Corporations are seen as only being concerned with maximizing profits, generally at the expense of workers. The idea that a company could benefit not just itself but its workers and even the society as a whole (aside from the benefit that comes from its products) is foreign to our thinking.

And for many, the idea that a brewing company could be a major force for good in the world is even more unthinkable.

That is only because we do not know the story of the Guinness family.

Ham/Nye Debate on Creation vs. Evolution

Ken-Ham-Bill-NyeA guide for discussion (3)

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

In reacting against the specter of an anti-intellectual “Christian fundamentalism”, many Christians are unthinkingly capitulating to the wisdom of our age. Assuming that young earth creationism is the natural offspring of a narrow-minded anti-scientific fundamentalism (and this is usually how it is portrayed in the media), it is trendy to embrace theistic evolution as a badge of intellectual sophistication.

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