Book Review: Zone One

Zone One: A Novel by Colson Whitehead (New York: Doubleday, 2011. 272 pp) Colson Whitehead was born in 1969 and raised in Manhattan. He attended Harvard College and afterward he began working as a reviewer for The Village Voice. Out of the gate, Whitehead’s fiction gained acclaim when his first novel, The Intuitionist, won the Quality Paperback Book Club’s New Voices Award. His work has earned him the Young Lions Fiction Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the PEN/Oakland Award, and a Whiting Writers Award. Also, Whitehead has received a MacArthur Fellowship and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. Knives and Reason Aristotle, when expanding on his defense of virtue ethics, contends that humans act ethically when… Read More →

Book Review: Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century

Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century: The Classic That Woke Up the Church by Walter Rauschenbusch; edited by Paul Raushenbush (New York: HarperOne, 2008. 400 pp) Walter Rauschenbusch was the leading proponent of the Social Gospel Movement whose mission was to reform society to meet the social needs of the poor through the ministrations of the institutional church. PBS recently called him “one of the most influential American religious leaders of the last 100 years.” Paul Raushenbush, great-grandson of Walter Rauschenbusch, was associate dean or religious life and the chapel at Princeton University and current religion editor at the Huffington Post. He has served as an associate minister at the Riverside Church in New York City and… Read More →

Film Review: The Artist

The Artist directed by Michel Hazanavicius (La Petite Reine, La Classe Américaine, JD Prod, PG-13, 100 minutes) Starring Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, and John Goodman. How Did We Survive Ten Years Ago? Do you ever feel like life is passing you by? Do you remember life before a smart phone? Considering the myriad of people daily glued to their iPhone, a smart-phone-less world seems unfathomable. Likewise, what magic innovation will make us look back on 2012 and chuckle at how primitive we used to live? This sense of change surrounds the Academy-Award-nominated film, The Artist. Set in Hollywood from 1927 to 1932, The Artist portrays the fall of the silent film and the rise of the “talkies”. Using black-and-white techniques… Read More →

Book Review: The Flame Alphabet

The Flame Alphabet: A Novel by Ben Marcus (New York: Knopf, 2012. 304 pp) Ben Marcus is the author of The Age of Wire and String and Notable American Women. His stories have appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Tin House, and Conjunctions. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and awards from the Creative Capital Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in New York, where he is on the faculty at Columbia University. The Curious Case of Parenthood They say life transforms once you become a parent. The transition is instant. One day you care about music and video games; the next, you… Read More →

Book Review: Abraham Kuyper

Abraham Kuyper: A Centennial Reader by Abraham Kuyper; edited by James D. Bratt (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1998. 512 pp) Abraham Kuyper was a Dutch politician, journalist, statesman, and theologian. Kuyper studied at Leiden University and received a doctorate in 1862. He founded the Anti-Revolutionary Party and held the office of Prime Minister from 1901 to 1905. A staunch Calvinist and a proponent of conservatism, Kuyper seceded from the Dutch Reformed Church and founded the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands. He published many books during his lifetime and died in the Netherlands in 1920. James D. Bratt is a professor of history at Calvin College. He earned his B.A. from Calvin and his Ph.D. from Yale University. He is also… Read More →

Film Review: Limitless

Limitless directed by Neil Burger (Relativity Media, Virgin Produced, PG-13, 105 minutes) Starring Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, and Abbie Cornish. Lake Wobegon Have you ever felt like life is giving you lemons? I know, personally, that I sometimes struggle with this notion. My perceived talents do not necessarily translate into productive contributions in the world. Whether valid or not, I believe that I can learn anything. While such a belief more than likely illustrates self-deception, I believe that most people think this way. Truthfully, the “Lake Wobegon effect” is a psychologically proven hypothesis. Neil Burger’s Limitlessdelivers a concentrated injection of this sort of hopeful thinking. A Limitless Drug Centered on protagonist, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), Limitless imagines what would… Read More →

Television Show Review: Dexter: Season 6

Dexter: Season 6 developed by James Manos, Jr. (Showtime Networks, John Goldwyn Productions, The Colleton Company) Starring Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Vélez, David Zayas, James Remar, and C.S. Lee. I Might Be an Anglophile Without intentionally positioning myself as an anglophile, I appreciate the reserve under which English television operates. No matter how massive the hit, English writers and producers understand that quality trumps quantity. As such, these television professionals would rather sacrifice paychecks than integrity. Not so in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Case in point, the best episodes of Showtime’s hit series, Dexter, exist in its rear-view mirror. With Season 6, the viewer continues on a plot development holding pattern. The setting remains the same—a… Read More →

Book Review: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union: A Novel by Michael Chabon (New York: HarperCollins, 2007. 464 pp) One of the most celebrated writers of his generation according to The Virginia Quarterly Review, Michael Chabonwas born in Washington D.C. He earned his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and his M.F.A from the University of California, Irvine. Chabon published his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, from his master’s thesis at the age of 25. His third novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union won Chabon the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award. He is married to poet Lollie Groth. Sitka: In Memoriam A calm morning toward the end of an Alaska cruise,… Read More →

Book Review: Good News to the Poor

Good News to the Poor: John Wesley’s Evangelical Economics by Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1990. 236 pp) The current Professor of Biblical and Constructive Theology at Chicago Theology Seminary, Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. earned his A.B. from Duke University in 1964 and both his B.D. and Ph.D. from Emory University in 1967 and 1971 respectively. Jennings has served as a local pastor and taught for three years at the Methodist Seminary in Mexico City. He has served as a consultant with the United Methodist Church on issues related to commitment to the poor. His research interests include Christian doctrine, biblical theology, gay studies, contemporary late modern philosophy and deconstruction. The Relationship between Wealth and Piety Similar to… Read More →