Author: Nathan Bierma, Minds co-editor
The problem with turning 500 is that you start to sound old. John Calvin, who was born 500 years ago today, will be remembered by many today as a dour old codger who loved to talk about sin and depravity, someone who was always in a bad mood. It’s true that Calvin had his grumpy moments—although I probably would too if I suffered from constant intestinal disorders and a battery of other chronic ailments, as Calvin did. And it’s true that Calvin spared few words when talking about the severity of our condition as a result of sin—though I don’t think Paul or Augustine were much less blunt about our depravity. (The less said about the nasty names Calvin called the Pope, meanwhile, the better.)
I’ve been learning lately that Calvin actually lived, thought, and wrote with a palpable pastoral heart and a vivid vision of God’s goodness and grace—and that without this part of the picture of who Calvin was, all you get is a caricature.
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Posted in: History
: Religion & Philosophy
on Jul 10, 2009
In Glittering Vices, Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung carefully parses the meanings and attractions of the seven deadly sins. Historically and biblically informed, her explorations lead readers to meditate on personal participation in these sins. She doesn’t forget to provide a way out of these meditations. If the first part of each chapter describing one of the sins—envy, vainglory, sloth, avarice, anger, gluttony and lust—is a mirror, then the end of each chapter is a window on the other side of which is Christ, armed with the power to transform even the deadliest of vices into virtues.
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Jane Zwart, professor of English at Calvin College, reviews Toni Morrison’s new novel, A Mercy, for Books and Culture magazine. "Indeed, A Mercy is a novel, to borrow from one its characters, about 'piecing together scraps' as 'a way to be in the world,' she writes. The review is part of Books and Culture's celebration of Black History Month.
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