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A Peculiar People

I recently returned to Canada for a two-week sojourn to teach at the University of Toronto. This was a homecoming of sorts—to my "home and native land," to the familiar environs of the U of T, and to the vicinity of the Institute for Christian Studies where I did my master's degree. But as I was strolling around Queen's Park one evening, contemplating the iconic statues of various political saints that surround the Ontario Parliament, a disconcerting realization settled upon…
November 1, 2011

Writing (and) Theology

There's no dearth of publishing in Christian theology. To the contrary, an expanding universe of theological publishers seems to churn out more and more books, now supplemented by the ofthailed (and over-hailed, I'd say) blogosphere. So at this moment there are countless theologians writing--sketching outlines and plans, whiling away at manuscripts, passionate about their ideas, all with the aim of reaching an audience via the still-exhilirating technology bequeathed to us by Gutenberg. But for all that publishing, there surely is…
May 1, 2011

The Last Prophet of Leviathan

James K.A. Smith It would be unfortunate if Lilla's The Stillborn God got lost in the shuffle of the burgeoning industryof Theocracy A larmists, Inc. (fronted by the likes of Chris Hedges and Kevin Phillips)--or even worse, lumped in with the screeds of secular fundamentalists like Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. Unlike these other hapdash offerings to fawning secularist audiences, Lilla's book is winsome, erudite, and engaging. Even critics will have to recognize that this is a stunning book. It…
April 16, 2008

Nothing Outside the Text? Taking Derrida to Church

MARCH 2006: ESSAY Nothing Outside the Text? Taking Derrida to Church by James K. A. Smith Raising the Curtain: Memento Lenny has a problem.1 Well, he has lots of problems--believe me!--but one stands out: he can't remember what he did five minutes ago. Since a tragic incident involving the death of his wife, Lenny has not been able to make new memories. He can remember ever ything from before the accident and thus can remember where he's from and how…
March 16, 2006

Are Men Really Wild at Heart?

Have rifle sales started to soar at the local Wal-Mart? Are friends discussing white water rafting and rock climbing for the first time? Are church council disagreements now settled with fisticuffs instead of votes? If you answered yes to one or more of the previous questions, chances are that the men in your community have just finished reading John Eldredge's Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul (Thomas Nelson, 2001). And your community is not alone: the…
October 16, 2004