Small Things Recently Finished 12/07/05 – 12/14/05

Forum Letter 34.11: Contains a useful overview of the lawsuit currently being brought against the LC-MS by the LC-MS via a class-action suit (lovely thing, state corporate law). Also some quick coverage of Carl Braaten’s recent open letter to the ELCA‘s presiding cleric. Braaten’s letter, in which he voices opposition to the direction that church body has taken in recent years, is an excellent example of instinct trumping training. A quick read of the letter ought to make that clear; not even someone so bright as Braaten is able to shove his rickety presuppositions out of the way, even the very presuppositions that have led the ELCA to move in the directions with which he disagrees. Go with the gut, man! Go with the gut!

Lutheran Forum 39.3: References to useful catechetical resources are a highlight of this issue. A theological journal that gives over space for pastoral concerns deserves praise. Ronald Marshall’s “Kierkegaard’s Music Box” follows some interesting paths in relation to what it means to proclaim the Gospel; splendid drawings by Christian Rietschel accompany this issue’s articles. Another fine issue.

The Believer 3.9: Yet another fine issue. While the editors ought to have force-fed an article or two before letting them out the door (esp. “The Land of Macho Literature”), most articles, as usual, map out enough of the landscape to be useful while stopping before every rock and blade of grass is catalogued. Includes a well-worth-reading interview with William Gass, and a fun article/picture spread on found bookmarks. The book reviews, however, are somewhat uneven, though this has always been the case. The one-page standard-sized review (give or take a paragraph or two) is either far too much space for some books and far too little for others. Pick it up; read it; get the back-issues if you do not have them already.

First Things No. 158: While my subscription has at least another year to go on it, I am already considering just letting it run out. Every issue has good articles, but not so many as in years past. Far too much space is given over to adulation of the current Pope and his just-passed predecessor; far too many articles flog issues (various pro-life issues, Just War “theory”, the relationship of science and religion, and religion in the public square) that are certainly of importance, and are well worth discussion and coverage — but not in issue after issue, with similar article after similar article parading by every month. Neuhaus continues his name-dropping ways, but that is only to be expected of a New Yorker. If you are familiar with First Things then the book reviews are really the best part of this particular issue; if not, then the articles may very well grab your attention.

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