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Embodying Peace, Transforming Violence: An Interview with Sarah Thompson

In this issue of The Other Journal, we have used the lens of Marxism to illumine the consequences of economic exploitation and the ways we as Christians might work against such exploitation. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is an international nonprofit organization that aims to perform that same work, addressing racism, sexism, heterosexism, nationalism, and economic exploitation in all its forms all around the globe. CPT partners with marginalized communities in situations of... Read More

Reversèd Thunder: The Significance of Prayer for Political Theology

Prayer and theology are not two entirely different things.1 To be sure, one can draw a distinction between them: prayer would involve discourse with God and theology would involve discourse about God. But however clear-cut this distinction may be, it does not actually settle the question of how these two types of conversation are related. Close historical study reveals a wide range of highly complicated combinations of prayer and theology, some of which are more integrated and... Read More

On Graced Learning: Can Schools be Beautiful?

Beauty1 Do Thou, therefore, O Lord our God, give each one of us a joyful heart to serve Thy glory as best he may [. . .] Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory upon their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish Thou the works of our hands upon us (Psalm xc. 16). In Thee, O Lord, have I trusted, let me never be confounded. Amen.2 The discourse is devotional, the sentiments, biblical; the context is educational. The prayer comes... Read More

Earth’s Lament: Suffering, Hope, and Wisdom

“It is astonishing how few traces of human suffering one notices in the history of philosophy.”1 That was Theodor Adorno’s comment in the mid-1960s, around the time that the Institute for Christian Studies (ICS) appointed my predecessor in systematic philosophy, Hendrik Hart, as its first faculty member.2 I should like to reflect on Adorno’s perceptive comment. I want to ask why Western philosophy carries so few traces of human suffering. I also want to consider what... Read More

Atheism, Theism, and Anatheism in Hafiz of Shiraz

“What do sad people have in common? It seems they have all built a shrine to the past and often go there and do a strange wail and worship. What is the beginning of Happiness? It is to stop being so religious like that.” – Hafiz How do we stop being “so religious like that?” Do we stop being religious? Or, can we stop being religious but come back to God? And how would that feel? In his recent essays and forthcoming book, Richard Kearney wagers that contemporary... Read More

The Benefit of (the) Doubt: Revisioning the Role of Doubt for a Genuine Spirituality

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. - Bertrand Russell Nestled in the footnotes of Søren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, the author makes the following remark, “In the old days people said: It is too bad that things do not go in the world as the preacher preaches. Maybe the time will come, especially with the aid of philosophy, when they can say: Fortunately things... Read More

Culture and Psychopathology

Men and women today are haunted by a sense that in the midst of plenty, our lives seem barren. We are hungry for a greater nourishment of the soul. In the England of today, a businessman turned philosopher, Charles Handy, has won a widespread following with his writing. Capitalism, he argues, delivers the means but not the point of life. Now that we are satisfying our outer needs, we must pay more attention to those within—for beauty, spiritual growth, and human connection.... Read More

Passage

The Storyteller sat at the stern, usurped the silent figurehead, addressed expectant oarsmen, spoke words that dropped like cascades through a canyon, like light across a ledge, like the silent sinking of skipping stones; told honest tales of half-deceptions— the easy-forwards, the frictive backstrokes of the drifting way; told of the flowing ebb of changing tides— sometimes we safely stream the needle’s eye sometimes we don’t and don’t know why; told of colorful prophetic... Read More

“So As Not to Be Estranged”: Creation Spirituality and Wendell Berry1

“How must we live and work so as not to be estranged from God’s presence in His work and in all His creatures?”2 This question, posed by Wendell Berry in his recent essay The Burden of the Gospels, provides an appropriate beginning for this brief foray into Berry’s thought. It assumes what I will assume here, that creation is creation (rather than mere ‘nature’ or ‘environment’), that creation is God’s good work in which God remains present, and that creation... Read More

Poetic Language and the Calling of Motherhood: An interview with featured poet Debra Rienstra

TOJ: When did your interest in poetry begin? DR: I was first conscious of the magic of poetry in middle school when a student teacher asked us to read Tennyson’s “The Eagle.”  The sound effects in that little poem blew me away—so much power in so few words.  But I think by that age I had already become attuned to the sounds and beauties of words at church in hymns, sermons, and prayers. TOJ: Who are the poets that have most deeply influenced you, and what is it about... Read More