Film Review: Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Wont You Be My Neighbor

Won’t You Be My Neighbor directed by Morgan Neville (Tremolo Productions, PG-13, 94 min) Starring Fred Rodgers. The Virtue of Childhood and the Small Dismissals of Parenthood There is a distance between a child and a parent. Too often, a parent abuses the disproportionate capacity for information, discounting a child’s experience in the process. When a child falls down and begins to cry, shocked that such an event has occurred, too often a parent brushes it off. Refrains of “You’re fine” combat the expressions of fear, doubt, and misunderstanding found in the child’s cries. Or, when a child tells a parent that he or she is afraid of the dark, the parent often says there’s nothing to be afraid of,… Read More →

Book Review: You Are What You Love

You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2016. 224 pp) James K. A. Smith is the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview at Calvin College. With a background in philosophy focused on French thought, Smith engages as a public intellectual and cultural critic. In addition to his published books, Smith has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Slate, Christianity Today, and The Hedgehog Review. A Divided World We live in a divided world. The obvious unpacking of this statement surrounds divisive politics or schisms between worldviews. But, our experiences are divided even at a metaphysical level. In other words,… Read More →

Book Review: Man’s Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, translated by Ilse Lasch (Boston: Beacon Press, 1959, 1962, 1984, 1992, and 2006. 184 pp) Viktor Frankl is an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor. Frankl’s memoir of his time in the Nazi concentration camps became a foundational element of his psychological and existential philosophy. Frankl died in 1997. The Holocaust Museum In high school, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. for a youth leadership conference. The event included high schoolers nominated from their respective schools across the United States. The principal aim of the conference was to educate the future leaders of America on the minutiae of D.C. politics. We created a pseudo-government and tried to lobby for… Read More →

Book Review: The Fabric of this World

The Fabric of this World by Lee Hardy

The Fabric of this World: Inquiries into Calling, Career Choice, and the Design of Human Work by Lee Hardy (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdman’s Publishing, 1990. 214 pp) Lee Hardy is a professor of philosophy at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has written articles in the areas of philosophy and the theology of vocation. Disengaged The latest Gallup poll on employee engagement, now a couple of years old, tells a dark story. 70% of the workforce is disengaged. Even worse, 30% of the workforce actively inhibits the productive means of industry. In other words, we hate work. The majority of people find work barely tolerable at best. But not something upon which you can build purpose and meaning. For some,… Read More →

Television Show Review: Girls: Season 4

Girls Season 4

Girls: Season 4 created by Lena Dunham (Apatow Productions) Starring Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons* Vocation When millennials think about work, the question of pay arises among a crowded group of factors. In many ways, the millennial generation grew up observing its parent’s generation reaping the rewards of capitalism. These baby boomers operated behind the Friedman philosophy of profit maximization. For many of the millennial generation, this philosophy rings hollow. In its place, we see the rise of social enterprise; we encounter philosophies around multiple bottom lines and stakeholder theory. There’s more to business than a dollar; there’s more to work than a paycheck. For most of the Girls storyline during its… Read More →

Book Review: The Fabric of Faithfulness

The Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior by Steven Garber (Downers Grove: IVP Books, 1996. 222 pp) Dr. Steven Garber is the Founder and Principal of the Washington Institute. For many years, he taught on Capitol Hill in the American Studies Program, and then became a Scholar-in-Residence for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He is a board member for the Ransom Fellowship, the Blood:Water Mission, A Rocha, and the Telos Project. He is also a consultant for the Wedgwood Circle, the Murdock Trust, the Demdaco Corporation, and the Mars Corporation. A Purpose-Driven Life We’ve all heard about the mission statement. Every business conjures one to varying degrees of success. But why? Everyone talks about mission but… Read More →

Book Review: Surprised by Hope

Surprised by Hope by N. T. Wright

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N. T. Wright (New York: HarperOne, 2008.  352 pp) N.T. Wright studied at Sedbergh School and Exeter College before being ordained as a Junior Research Fellow at Merton College. Wright taught at Cambridge, McGill, and Oxford University before becoming the Bishop of Durham. Recently, he took a position as a Chair in New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews. Heaven, Are You Really Waiting Outside the Door? When I was young, heaven scared me silly. If pressed, I’d certainly contend that I wanted to be there instead of the standard Christian alternatives. To put it bluntly, the thought of spending eternity in… Read More →

Book Review: Every Good Endeavor

Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller

Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Timothy Keller and Katherine Leary Alsdorf (New York: Dutton, 2012. 288 pp) Timothy Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. In 1989, he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Katherine Leary Alsdorf worked twenty-five years in the high-tech industry as an economic analyst and in various executive leadership positions. After her CEO roles at One Touch Systems and Pensare, Redeemer Presbyterian Church recruited her to lead the church’s efforts in marketplace ministry, now called the Center for Faith & Work. Defining Point The year between my undergraduate and… Read More →

Book Review: Varamo

Varamo by César Aira; translated by Chris Andrews (New York: New Directions, 2012; originally published in 2002. 144 pp) Born in 1949 in Coronel Pringles, a town on the southern edge of the Argentine Pampas, César Aira is a novelist, essayist, and short story writer. He settled in Buenos Aires in 1967 and has earned a living through teaching and translating from French and English. He has published more than eighty novels. Chris Andrews has won the TLS Valle Inclán Prize and the PEN Translation Prize for his New Directions translations of Roberto Bolaño. A poet who lives and teaches in Australia, he has translated eight Bolaño books and three novels by César Aira for New Directions. One Day A… Read More →