Monday, January 31, 2011

First Things

Five years of a magazine subscription means that it's time to cull through all the back issues, re-read the favorites, toss the unwanteds and pass along the ones worth-reading all in order to create a few inches of shelf space for the new magazine subscriptions.

First Things is the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus's creation that deals with religion in public life. It's difficult to throw the magazine away since every issue is chock full of pithy, cerebral articles by heavy-weight thinkers in theology, economics, literature, Judaic studies, jurisprudence and more. There are articles by Nobel prize winners and judges and of course, there was the entertaining (and easier to read) "The Public Square" by Fr. Neuhaus in the back of every issue. However, the purging must be done, and, it's done with some relief as I confess to a certain impatience with the publication, a certain difficulty with it and even a feeling of opprobrium when each issue shows up in the mailbox. To put it bluntly, the fact is that I can't understand the majority of the articles. I get a good start with something like, "Theology After Isaac Newton", thinking that it should be really engaging, but by the third paragraph, I'm lost. Nonetheless, there are several articles that I did actually read from beginning to end--and understood ---so here's a compendium of First Things Articles To Be Remembered.

China's Catholic Moment 2009

An Apology For Democratic Capitalism 2009

The Sixties, Again and Again 2008

Children's Books, Lost and Found 2008

How Pedophilia Lost Its Cool 2008

The Vindication of Humanae Vitae 2008

What Marriage Is --And What It Isn't

What Really Happened At Vatican II 2008

December 2007 (Review of Marriage and Caste in America by Kay Hymowitz)

October 2007 (Review of The Bottom Billion by Paul Collier)

As I cull through a few more stacks, the compendium may grow.