Shadows & Dust, Vol. I, Issue 12

There’s nothing like your favorite college football team losing a historically important game (again) to force you to work through some existential angst. If it’s true, as 12-step groups like to say, that the definition of insanity is embodied by doing the same things over and over again while expecting different results, then I am clearly crazy in my fan-ness. (Is “fan-ness” a word?)

Anyway, here are some highlights of what I’ve been reading and watching lately:


  • Christianity, Truth & Weakening Faith: A Dialogue edited by Pierpaolo Antonello, translated by William McCuaig — Very interesting debate between French anthropologist René Girard and Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo. Vattimo bases much of his progressive optimistic outlook on the work of Girard, who for his own part approaches the world from a more cautious, conservative Catholic perspective. The message of the incarnation and the crucifixion of Christ is crucial for both, especially in the sense that the sacrifice of Christ demystifies “all the violence on which the walls of the citadel of the sacred had been erected. Christianity represents the moment at which it is suggested, or rather, revealed to mankind that it can free itself from the need to resort to scapegoats and their immolation as a system for ending conflicts and crises within communities.”
  • The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World by Ronald J. Sider — This prophetic word from within evangelicalism was published in 2005, and remains relevant today as it revisits both the witness of the early church and the message of the Gospel as the message of the kingdom of God.
  • Man’s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy by Viktor E. Frankl — My spiritual director said I needed to read this book. So I am reading it. I have to say it’s hard to dismiss the story and the wisdom of someone who survived the Holocaust and emerged from its horrors with his humanity and compassion intact.
Movies, TV programs
  • Vikings — So far I’ve watched the first several (bloody) episodes of this series. It traces the beginning of the “Viking” attacks on Western Europe (especially northeast England and the island of Lindisfarne, which I’ve had the privilege of visiting).
  • Zero Dark Thirty — Liked that this movie attempted to impartially tell the story of the killing of Osama bin Laden. It raised a lot of questions for me about the nature of our anti-terrorism efforts, especially as they involve torture and what the government likes to call “collateral damage.” Do the ends justify the means when it comes to national defense?
  • Breaking Bad — Four more episodes to go (before I finish this already completed series)! Finishing the series will be almost as depressing as the moral slide of Walter White.
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