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Nancy Pearcey on Love Thy Body & Lee Edwards on Russell Kirk — 2 D.C. Talks — Live Streamed
Monday, March 12, 2018, 11:48 AM

1. Nancy Pearcey, author of Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality, will speak on her book’s topic, Tuesday March 13, at NOON at

The Heritage Foundation • Lehrman Auditorium • 214 Massachusetts Ave NE• Washington, DC 20002

Register here. It will be LIVE STREAMED as well.


2. Lee Ewards will speak on March 14, at NOON on

Our Cultural Crisis: A Kirkian Response: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Russell Kirk

The Heritage Foundation • Lehrman Auditorium • 214 Massachusetts Ave NE• Washington, DC 20002

Register here. It will be LIVE STREAMED as well.

Let No Wickedness Have Dominion
Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 9:32 AM

In the prayer for the First Hour (ca. 8 AM in my life), we pray, “Order my steps in Thy Word, and shall no wickedness have dominion over me.” This petition addresses a fundamental condition of fallen man: the capacity we have to become enslaved, that is lose our God-given freedom, and subject to the passions that will degrade and kill us. Anyone who has become addicted to porn has allowed wickedness to have dominion over him. Anyone addicted to constantly judging others and comparing himself to them has allowed sin to have its way in this regard.

I say this possibility of slavery to sin is fundamental; it is spoken of early in Genesis, before the first recorded murder, when the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? … sin is couching at the door, and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (4:7) The path away from slavery to mastery is traveled by grace and by faith, but this does not mean that it is a matter of being a more “spiritual” person, whatever that means in today’s vague religious jargon that allows anyone to justify himself and excuse his personal lifestyle choices. No, the path lies along the line of obedience to the Lord’s commandments. The First Hour prayer, having acknowledged “Thy Word,” continues, “Deliver me from the wrongful dealings of men, and so shall I keep They commandments. Show the light of Thy countenance upon Thy servant and teach me your statutes.” And later, “O Christ, the true Light…. guide our footsteps aright in keeping Thy commandments.”

In a culture in which “no one call tell me what to do” is the touchstone, the Lordship of Jesus is often boiled down to a cheap sentiment easily acknowledged and paid off with a few minutes of praise singing every week. But His Lordship is that which rises from His being granted “all authority in heaven and on earth,” from which authority he charges those who wish to say they belong to Him that they make disciples, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The commandments include the Sermon on the Mount.

The only way Christians can possibly live in faith and obedience to such a high calling is to acknowledge and know in their hearts and feel in their bones that the Lord “hast no delight in sacrifice” (which could be my songs or regular prayers) but that “the sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken and contrite heart.” (Psalm 51:16-17) Surely, this contrition should be a daily assessment, at least for me, for a day does not go by in which I do not think a bad thought of someone else or fail to live selflessly, thinking better of others than of myself, and not thanking God always in all things, or loving with patience, kindness, and humility. I pray the regular prayers not to earn the Lord’s favor but as reminders of my state before him and my need for grace. The touchstones of fidelity are the Lord’s commandments and the example of his saints in their faith, hope and love. In this service lies perfect freedom and the chains of slavery are removed far from us.

It’s the Wreckers’ Economy, Stupid!
Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 3:08 PM

Seriously, societies change very slowly when people’s livelihoods may be affected. The silversmiths in ancient Ephesus whipped up a mob protesting Paul’s evangelical threat to the popularity of their goddess Diana since the smiths made a killing selling silver images of the little darling.

What’s worse is reluctance to allow solutions to social ills to languish, blocked by those who profit directly or indirectly from the negative outcomes. They care more about their livelihoods or simply the status quo than the good of the neighbor or of “humanity” in general.

It would be like the American Body Shop Association opposing traffic lights at dangerous intersections.

Screen Shot 2017 12 12 at 3.08.59 PM 300x204 Its the Wreckers Economy, Stupid!But our wrecker economy is not as direct as the one I wrote about in this Salvo column, the wreckers of 19th-century England who opposed lighthouses because they thrived on salvaging goods from shipwrecks. Our wreckers’ economy is so large it’s hard to see it. We just take it for granted. There are undoubtedly people who are doing a service while benefitting from the general wreck of society. The latter might be like a young sympathetic English entrepreneur raised by wreckers who decides to produce and sell life-jackets and life-boats and warm blankets to aid sailors fleeing wrecks, all the while the wreckers continue to oppose building lighthouses that would stop the wreckage in the first place.

Our chief Wreck of the Century (20th, that is) is the family, sunk by the submerged rocks of the sexual revolution. No doubt employment opportunities among certain professions have risen dramatically since sex was turned on its head, transformed from a protected congress of the sexes within a licit marital union to something, anything, “sexual” you can do (or get away with doing) short of coercing someone else to do it with you.

The list of rising employment opportunities during the Sexual Boom and the trailing Family Breakdown is impressive:

Pornographers. Abortionists. STD researchers. Sex Education teachers and curriculum publishers. Lobbyists for sexual offenses legal reform. Sexual dysfunction products and counselors and treatment centers. No fault divorce lawyers. Child custody lawyers. Child advocates. Post-abortion counselors. Sexual harassment policy writers and counselors. Police, criminal lawyers, prison guards and architects (yes, most men in prison were not raised in intact families). Child pornography.

True, among the above are some services that must be offered in compassion once the damage has been done, so I do not fault those who wish to serve hurting people. They are needed. But what about stopping the sources of hurt farther upstream? Are there credible efforts to suppress the rate of divorce? Shore up marital commitment? Suppress teen promiscuity, sexual trafficking, hooking up?

Or is society satisfied that a eager read of Fifty Shades of Grey is the innocent new normal, while being shocked at all the sexual abuse going on? We’ve approved of lighting the fire of sex outside the safety of the family hearth and are surprised that the countryside is aflame and houses are burning to the ground.

No doubt many people hired some of the above professionals because they did not “want to ruin my life.” And the choices were hard. Nevertheless, the cumulative effect of so many choices is the ruination of a generation and more. When everyone says me first–which can be our fallen inclination when given choices other may have never dreamed of–no one is first, least of all the most vulnerable and needy among us: the children. We should be ashamed, but few seem to even know what the word even means anymore, let alone feel it. It’s time to build lighthouses.

Robert P. George to Speak in Chicago, Oct. 20 on Religious Freedom
Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 8:34 PM

Invitation to hear Dr. Robert George on Religious Freedom

Dr. Robert George is coming to North Park University in Chicago, Illinois to speak on “Religious Freedom in the Culture Wars.” Dr. George from Princeton University is a nationally recognized authority on religious freedom in America. This includes public schools, the health care industry, business, universities, and government places of employment. The respondent is Dr. Edith Humphrey, William F. Orr Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

The audience will have an opportunity to speak with Dr. George, so bring your questions and concerns with you. The event is made possible by the generosity of the John C. Kulis Foundation and is offered free of charge. Please invite school teachers, nurses, business owners, employees, doctors, government workers, and others. The event seeks to strengthen the faith of Christians in the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant communities.

Please reserve Friday, October, 20th, 2017 (7:30pm–9:30pm) for this second annual Engaging Orthodoxy speakers’ series. No charge.

RSVP here to let us know you are coming.

Join Touchstone for “Good Cheer” Conference – Friday Evening is Free
Monday, October 9, 2017, 1:14 PM

Join 10 speakers on the theme: “Be of Good Cheer: In the Company of Christ & the Great Cloud of Witnesses,” this Thursday evening, October 12 through Saturday noon, October 14. Only $40 for general registration (includes 2 meals), $10 (no meals), and Friday Evening’s special presentation on The New Martyrs and Confessor of Russia in the 20th Century is free and open to the public. Please register for all sessions here.

The conference is on the campus of Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois.


“Modern Martyrs” This Saturday at St. Vladimir’s
Thursday, October 5, 2017, 8:39 AM

For those living in the New York City area (or beyond), a special conference on Modern Martyrs is being held this SATURDAY OCTOBER 7 at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. I truly wish I could be there!

I am busy preparing for Touchstone‘s 2018 Annual Conference, “Be of Good Cheer: In the Company of Christ & the Great Cloud of Witnesses,” which begins next Thursday Evening, October 12, and runs through noon Saturday, October 14. Friday evening will be dedicated to the Russian New Martyrs of the Soviet Union, with a presentation from faculty of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University in Moscow. I hope to see you at any one of the sessions! But if you can’t make it, do check out the conference on Modern Martyrs at St. Vladimir’s.

What Mere Protestants Believe: A Reforming Catholic Confession
Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 2:19 PM

To mark the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a wide swath of Protestants have issued

A Reforming Catholic Confession

A “Mere Protestant” Statement of Faith to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation


Among the many points of confession, it includes one on Baptism and the Lord’s Supper:

That these two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which some among us call “sacraments,” are bound to the Word by the Spirit as visible words proclaiming the promise of the gospel, and thus become places where recipients encounter the Word again. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper communicate life in Christ to the faithful, confirming them in their assurance that Christ, the gift of God for the people of God, is indeed “for us and our salvation” and nurturing them in their faith. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are physical focal points for key Reformation insights: the gifts of God (sola gratia) and the faith that grasps their promise (sola fide). They are tangible expressions of the gospel insofar as they vividly depict our dying, rising, and incorporation into Jesus’ body (“one bread … one body” – 1 Cor. 10:16-17), truly presenting Christ and the reconciliation he achieved on the cross. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper strengthen the faithful by visibly recalling, proclaiming, and sealing the gracious promise of forgiveness of sins and communion with God and one another through the peace-making blood of Christ (1 Cor. 11:26; Col. 1:20).

The full document is here, and the website includes additional commentary and explanations. Timothy George is on the Steering Committee, as is (our FSJ board member) David S. Dockery, President of Trinity International University. Signatories include our Russell D. Moore, Peter Leithart and Mark Tooley, and many others, and can be found on the website.

Robert P. George at NYC’s Union League Club, 9-11-17
Thursday, September 7, 2017, 3:51 PM

Johann Christoph Arnold: A Life of Reconciliation and Justice

Union League Club, 38 E. 37th Street ⁄ New York, NY or via live stream

On September 11, join First Things editor R. R. Reno, veteran civil rights activist John M. Perkins, Professor Robert P. George of Princeton University, and others at the Union League Club in New York City to honor the life of Plough author Johann Christoph Arnold, who died earlier this year.

Registration is free here, including live stream.

Arvo Pärt on the Gift of Music
Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 2:29 PM

James Altena tipped me off to this video from 2014 of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s remarks on receiving an honorary doctorate at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (NY). Imagine if church “art” was tied to purity of soul? Beggars the imagination!

Fr. Kurt Spengler, Memory Eternal
Monday, May 8, 2017, 2:39 PM

4217127 150x150 Fr. Kurt Spengler, Memory EternalAfter a long battle with cancer, Fr. Kurt Spengler fell asleep in the Lord on May 5. His obituary does not mention it, but he had been particularly involved with pro-life ministry in the Chicago area, including participating in Speak Out Illinois as a representative of Orthodox Christians for Life. In fact, that is where I believe I first met Fr. Kurt and his lovely wife Roberta. May his memory be eternal!

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