Thursday, October 24, 2002
Joel Garver at Sacra Doctrina has a useful summary and review of an essay by Lutheran theologian Robert Jenson in the volume The Strange New Word of the Gospel: Re-Evangelizing in the Postmodern World. Jenson is one of our more acute theological observers of the modern (or post-modern, if you will) circus. His essay in First Things, "How the World Lost Its Story" published back in 1993, has become a minor classic among orthodox (both small and large "o") Christians interested in the forging a response to the post-Christian environment in which we now live. Jenson has a long list of publications, including a two volume systematic theology. His work can be difficult at times, but it is always fruitful. He is one of those thinkers that, even when wrong, is instructive. Read the two essays linked above or go here for his essay "What If It Were True?" a fine short introduction to Jenson's "method" and some of his favorite themes.
Poet and critic Dana Gioia will be the nominee for next head of the National Endowment for the Arts. Gioia created a tempest in the literary teapot back in 1991 with his essay in the Atlantic Monthly, "Can Poetry Matter?" arguing that poets need to break out of the increasingly inbred and sterile subculture of writing programs, grants and little magazines. A larger sampling of his criticism and his own work as a poet can be found here. I have to agree with the author of the Wall Street Journal piece linked at the top, that this is a felicitous choice.