Errors and Defects in Authors of Fiction

John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers, discussing “Common Errors” authors make: “Diction problems are usually symptomatic of defects in the character or education of the writer” (101). “Let us now turn to three faults far graver than mere clumsiness–not faults of technique but faults of soul: sentimentality, frigidity, and […]

Is Fiction Christian? The English Language, Too?

John Gardner, The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers: “English, like most languages, is covertly male chauvinist. It is also, as the novelist Harold Brodkey points out, covertly Christian. Nearly all our most resonant words and images carry a trace of Neoplatonic Christianity. Even so innocent a word as ‘friend’ has overtones. […]

John Gardner on The Art of Fiction

At my friend Brian’s recommendation, I read John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers. The book is about writing fiction, but what Gardner says can be applied to the writing of anything from a blog post to a scholarly article to a non-fiction book or even to a sermon. William […]

Book Blurbs You’ll Never See on a Cover

Dan Phillips was musing on the blurbs that might show up on the back cover of his forthcoming book, and he came up with some gems that no author would ever want to see: “Nice try! Really… nice!” (Dr. Heinrich Borfmann, Bogotron Seminary) “Moments of true semi-adequacy!” (Edie Contralto, Cupboard-Keepers Ministries) “We had such hopes […]

The Fearless Student Whose Aim Is Truth

From Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson (10): “The present essay itself is, I suppose, unblushingly ‘classical,’ ‘traditional’ and ‘orthodox’; at least these are the epithets with which those whose sophisms are here subjected to analysis will no doubt attempt to dismiss it. But the student whose aim is to attain as much truth as […]

A New Fragment of Athanasius’s Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter

David Brakke has published a signifcant essay with a fresh translation of Athanasius’s Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter: “A New Fragment of Athanasius’s 39th Festal Letter: Heresy, Apocrypha, and the Canon.”  Harvard Theological Review 103 (2010): 47-66. He points to some of the implications of a “new fragment of the Coptic text” of Athanasius’s Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter: […]

1 Peter 5:1-11, Shepherd, Submit, Stand

It was my privilege to preach at the installation of Ryan Bishop as the Pastor of Graham Bible Church in Graham, TX this past Sunday. The apostle Peter, the rock, follows Christ by humbling himself to serve others, identifying himself as a fellow-elder as he exhorts elders to model Christ-like self-sacrificing shepherding (1 Pet 5:1-4). […]

And If We Refuse We’re Rebels

Erich Auerbach (Mimesis, 14-15) writes that the intent of biblical stories: “is not to bewitch the senses, and if nevertheless they produce lively sensory effects, it is only because the moral, religious, and psychological phenomena which are their sole concern are made concrete in the sensible matter of life. But their religious intent involves an […]