The latest issue of The City has been posted in full online, and in rather nifty format. For people interested, it features responses to my article on the new evangelical scandal by Francis Beckwith and Dr. John Mark Reynolds. Both essays are worth reading, and left me in the unenviable position of having to respond to essays with which I largely agreed. Simple affirmation does not make for very interesting reading.
But don’t miss out on the other gems as well: Wilfred McClay’s outstanding analysis of urbanism and its relationship to conservatism is an insightful correction to the idea that urbanism must be progressive and so, I think, fits well with the ongoing conversation about young evangelicals, many of whom are urban in their mindset.
Additionally, the prolific Hunter Baker–who happens to write precisely everywhere in the conservative sphere–has an excerpt of his excellent looking, The End of Secularism. Baker takes up an issue closely related to those which we have been discussing lately here at Mere-O: whether, and when, religious reasons should be admissible in the public square.
And not to be missed is Peter Lawler’s sprawling, fascinating dialogue with Solzhenitsyn, during which he weaves together technology, the body, narcissism…and much more. It also includes this mildly amusing, yet pentrating suggestion:
I tell my students I want to enroll them in my two-point program for saving Medicare. First, they need to start smoking and really stick with it. Second, they need to start making babies, and I mean right now, this week. So far I haven’t been persuasive enough to get them with the program. But members of the Greatest Generation, in effect, did. They had lots of kids and gave very little thought to risk factors. They often smoked like chimneys, enjoyed multiple martinis, and only exercised for fun. The excellent TV series Mad Men, featuring advertising executives in 1960, displays the unhealthy habits of highly successful Americans for our horror. Don’t you idiots know you’re killing yourselves! They really did drop dead much earlier and more often, without drawing a dime of Social Security or (after 1962) Medicare, but not before generating several replacements to fund those programs for the future. Our whole medical safety net is premised on demographics that have disappeared and aren’t likely to return, and that’s because, for good and bad, we’re more narcissistic than people used to be.
And, of course, there is blog neighbor Milliner’s review of Gore Walk, in which he muses that yes, the art world has officially reached its nadir, which includes this understated line:
“‘Arts in education stimulate children to engage in really deep conversations about all sorts of things.’ I had little doubt that this was a promise on which P.S.1 could deliver.”
For the context, you’ll just have to read the article.
As such, the issue is enormously entertaining and deeply enlightening, and worthy of its name. It has quickly become a center of intellectual discourse and an important voice in the ongoing conversation about Christianity’s role and future in the public square.