What is a healthy congregation? For some clergy and laity, health is simply the absence of conflict. But we may be confusing a healthy congregation with a placid one. While conflict is seldom fun, its absence may be less an indication of health than of an insufficient sense of urgency or challenge about being the church.
In a provocative and erudite essay, Merold Westphal argues that postmodern philosophy contributes to a Christian understanding of the implications of finitude and original sin with respect to knowledge (Blind spots: Christianity and postmodern philosophy, June 14).
It’s sunny and 70 at Chapel Hill. I’m speaking to Project Compassion, an advocacy group for end-of-life issues, on an unlikely trinity of oxymorons—the good death, good grief and the good funeral. “What,” most people reasonably ask, “can ever be good about death or grief or funerals?” The 150 people in this room understand.
Speaking to a crowd assembled outside of the Croatian town of Osijek on June 4, Pope John Paul II noted that “the trying times of the war” had left “deep wounds not yet completely healed.” A “commitment to reconciliation is needed.”
I thank Douglas Groothuis for his response, but I cannot agree that the “Enlightenment project” as described by postmodernism is a “caricature” that “may loosely fit Descartes, but few others.” It is essential to the rationalist philosophers Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz; and in his own utterly unique way Hegel also holds that philosophy can be a presuppositionless science, transcending all parti