Essay / Culture

In Defense of ‘Ramona’ and Other Children’s Classics

I teach classics for a living. As a result, my kids overhear conversations and snippets of conversations about Homer, Dante, Shakespeare and a host of others. But that’s not all they hear, for as someone devoted to the classics, I share this love with them

Essay / Literature

Wuthering Adoption: Emily Brontë, Christ’s Atonement and Adoption

The families in Wuthering Heights only recover from the adoption of Heathcliff when, like the Israelites after their refusal to enter the Promised Land, everyone of that generation was dead (Num. 14:20-23). But adoption is a beautiful representation of the work of Christ—or even better,

Essay / Culture

Confessing the Generations

(This is in some ways a sequel to my earlier post, “Gospel of Confession”) Perhaps, like me, you have dreaded your turn to tell your conversion story at a church event. I would open my story with an apology: “well, my story really isn’t very

Essay / Culture

Because of Fairies

Recently, I spent twelve hours discussing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with sophomores in the Torrey Honors Institute. (What a job!) I love this play more and more. It’s easy to miss its richness–it’s such a romp! Here’s the thing that struck me in reading

Essay / Literature

Some Books Just Aren’t Long Enough

Some books just aren’t long enough. I wasn’t more than a hundred pages into The Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien when I began to dread the ending—not because it was so far away, but because it was going to come all too soon.

Essay / Literature

When He Became a Child, the Affection Came

Francis Spufford wrote not long ago of “why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense.” The great paradoxes of the faith–incarnation and crucifixion–would seem to resist any attempt to “make sense” of them. But, if one best enters these mysteries bowed low in

Essay / Literature

Beginnings and Creations in the Magician’s Nephew

In October 2014, five of the faculty of the Torrey Honors Institute had a public discussion of C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew as part of Biola’s annual University Day. There was a lovely audience there, but we barely let them get a word in. Did I

Essay / Literature

Hermeneutics with Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson gives some excellent advice in his Preface to Shakespeare (1765) that applies to reading in general, and especially well to Bible reading. Johnson advises readers to plow straight through a Shakespeare play, keeping up a good pace even when passages aren’t clear. To

Essay / Literature

Wordsworth in the West

William Wordsworth perfected a certain type of nature poetry, a particularly spiritual sort of nature lyric. He celebrated the movements of the infinite Spirit making itself known to humanity through the forms of nature as contemplated by poet-prophets who were the universe’s appointed spokesmen. Nature

Essay / Literature

Recommended: Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members

As the academic year rolls back around, I usually end up reading a late-summer silly novel. Nothing eases the pain of being a grown-up with a job quite like a dose of Wodehouse –though Alexander McCall Smith and Jack Handey also work pretty well. I

Essay / Education

The Abundant Style of Erasmus

I had heard that Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536) wrote a book showing hundreds of ways to say “thanks for your letter,” so I went and looked it up, just to see what one of the Renaissance’s prime movers was thinking when he did that. The

Essay / Blog

Remembering Chris Mitchell

On Thursday night, my dear friend Chris died of a heart attack. We in the Torrey Honors Institute were—are—in complete shock. There were no warning signs, nothing indicating that his health was in decline. (An undetected heart disease proved to be the cause.) Chris and