My wife and I have been watching Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen for several seasons now. This season has a different feeling. I am almost certain that contestants Raj (who was just eliminated) and Sabrina (wearing glasses that look fake) are plants designed to make the show more humorous, dramatic, etc.
I’m sure it will eventually come out if I’m right.
My editor at Crossway and evangelical super-blogger Justin Taylor has put my lectures on Christianity and secularism for Southern Seminary all together in one easy to access package. Get them here.
Lecturing at Southern Seminary:
I had a great time. There’s one nagging remainder. Students asked me several times what practical course I would recommend. I chastened them for asking an academic for a practical solution! Seriously, though, my topic was an extended critique of secularism. I was arguing for a better armed (rhetorically speaking) Christian contest in public affairs and culture. Jim Parker, who was there, sent me the following quote from J. Gresham Machen which is perfect for the occasion:
False ideas are the greatest obstacles to the reception of the gospel. We may preach with all the fervor of a reformer and yet succeed only in winning a straggler here and there, if we permit the whole collective thought of the nation or of the world to be controlled by ideas which, by the resistless force of logic, prevent Christianity from being regarded as anything more than a harmless delusion. Under such circumstances, what God desires us to do is to destroy the obstacle at its root.
I’ve now had the chance to finish Lott’s book about William F. Buckley. He wrote the book as part of the Christian Encounters series for Thomas Nelson. The book is a quick read and is absolutely packed with interesting information about WFB. I say that as a person who has been reading Buckley and reading about him for many years. Lott’s book (titled William F. Buckley) gets past the half dozen or so anecdotes we’ve all heard and shares lots of great stuff about Buckley as a thinker and controversialist.
A few interesting features:
- Lott compares Buckley’s charges made in God and Man at Yale with the recent experiences of a Yale student (Deepthink!). Perhaps unsurprisingly, but humorously, the recent student utterly vindicates young Buckley’s concerns about his alma mater.
- We get a great moment in which Buckley protested Kruschev’s visit to America by renting a hall and giving a rousing speech. He told the crowd not to despair because of the moral resources Americans had that the Soviets didn’t and added that the Soviet leader, “is not aware that the gates of hell shall not prevail against us . . . In the end we will bury him.”
- We learn that WFB could well have become the senator for New York instead of his brother, Jim, who served one term. After Robert Kennedy was shot, Buckley decided to stand down in favor of Jim. What might that chamber have been like with the most eloquent and cutting Buckley on the floor????
The book is highly satisfying and extremely well done. I am impressed that an evangelical publishing company has offered the best biography since WFB’s death. We would expect it from ISI or Regnery. Of course, we all await the authorized volume someday to come from Sam Tanenhaus who was so successful in his treatment of Whittaker Chambers’ life.
The Thomas Nelson company sent me AmSpec alumnus Jeremy Lott’s William F. Buckley. I will write a full review later, but I have just begun the book and can already tell that Lott is going to bring attention to some underappreciated territory.
His hook is that Bill Buckley was more or less a prophet. His aim is to show how Buckley’s faith influenced his life and his politics.
Only nine pages in I have been treated to the following quote by JFK in response to a Harvard speaker who crowed that the school had never graduated either an Alger Hiss or a McCarthy. JFK roared, “How dare you couple the name of a great American patriot with the name of a traitor!” (Whatever happened to the Kennedy’s?)
Of course, the book is not about JFK, but about WFB, and I am sure from what I have read so far that the effort will be a worthy one.