Finding Belonging in the City

Chad Bryant. Prague: Belonging in the Modern City. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2021. 352pp, $29.95. Historian Chad Bryant has produced a moving and deeply informative book in Prague: Belonging in the Modern City. The book’s structure, consisting chiefly of five...

/ May 19, 2022

Why Our Churches Should Be Beautiful

In the last few decades, American churches have gotten a new look—but don’t call it a facelift. Instead, think of it more as a toning-down, as church exteriors have ridden themselves of their steeples and other religious symbols, while their...

/ May 18, 2022

On Loving Newcastle

Michael Chaplin. Newcastle United Stole My Heart: Sixty Years in Black and White. London: Hurst and Co, 2021. 280pp, $25.00. The first thing to say is that Michael Chaplin’s Newcastle United Stole My Heart is one of the most delightfully...

/ May 18, 2022

Fear and Deconstruction

In Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inaugural speech, he told the American people that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The country was enduring a major economic crisis and would soon face the threat of fascism encircling the...

/ May 17, 2022

The Third Reformer

Bruce Gordon. Zwingli: God’s Armed Prophet. New Haven: Yale, 2021. xxii + 349 pp, $32.50. The contemporary of Martin Luther and predecessor of Jean Calvin within the Reformed family of churches, Ulrich Zwingli is sometimes described as “the third reformer.”...

/ May 17, 2022

When the Ad Replaced the Icon

Ellen Wayland-Smith. The Angel in the Marketplace. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020. 288pp, $30. Throughout the 2010s the signs of a new holy month became undeniable. Each June seemed to mark an exponential increase in rainbow flags. Early summer...

/ May 16, 2022

Who’s Going to Clean the Toilets in Your Utopia? Anna Neima’s The Utopians

Anna Neima. The Utopians: Six Attempts to Build the Perfect Society. London: Picador, 2021. 320pp, $39.95. “I saw a horse collapse in the street: the driver was knocked aside by the starving people, who rushed to cut chunks from the...

/ May 13, 2022

Who is This New Man?

The rubber band of our American common life is stretched to breaking.[1] Our connections are tenuous, our politics polarizing, and our sense of civic housekeeping — where we provide for others for the common good — seems like a foreign...

/ May 12, 2022

Calvinism and Liberty

If you had to summarize Calvin’s teaching on resisting tyrants it would be: don’t. Even as his Protestant compatriots, the Huguenots, faced persecution and he fled France to Geneva, Calvin was firmly on the side of maintaining political order. He...

/ May 11, 2022

Learning to See with Norman Wirzba

Soon after we moved to Australia, my family hiked in a temperate rainforest in the Yarra Ranges, an hour-and-a-half from our house. Southern Victoria is home to several of these rainforests. They challenge my prior knowledge of rainforests as places...

/ May 11, 2022