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Spring 2012 | Volume 30, Issue 1

Legacies

Our culture does not know how to deal with legacies. We either treat the dead with some combination of awe and fear, or we think of our forebears as unworthy of remembrance, to be cast behind our own pursuits and discoveries.

In this issue of Comment, we reject both our tendencies to ignore and to idolize the past. Instead, we seek to draw the good out of legacies, as we acknowledge that all legacies east of Eden will always be, at best, mixed.

20 Articles In this Issue
01
Poem: Planting a Sequoia by Dana Gioia

02
Editorial: Mixed Reviews by Brian Dijkema, Alissa Wilkinson

Looking graciously back on the giants before us.

06
Footprints in the Snow by Calvin Seerveld

"Men and women resist believing that they follow beaten paths. But they really become insufferably proud when they look around and think they leave no tracks."

14
Switchfoot and St. Augustine by David K. Naugle

"There's got to be something more than what I'm living for."

24
Jonathan Edwards and Life's Adverbial Questions by Ray Pennings

God himself is the "what." Edwards spent his life studying the "where," "when," "why," and "how."

33
Marilynne Robinson and Hymns to the Miracle of Existence by Kristen Scharold

Her fiction occupies an odd space, resuscitating the nerve-endings of our souls.

38
Skepticism and Witching Worries: Twin Legacies of the Fifteenth Century by Richard Oosterhoff

Millennia of tension in Christian materiality can be instructive as we move past modernist narratives of science at war with religion.

44
Michael Polanyi: Unknown and Untapped by Esther Meek

His legacy holds hope for returning the Western tradition to wonder, to adventure, to anticipation.

50
To Play Well With Others: A Letter of Gratitude to Jim Henson by Jeffrey Overstreet

"Who knows? You could make millions of people happy."

57
Jacques Ellul and Technology's Trade-off by David W. Gill

When did "hard-working, successful, creative" become our virtues of choice?

63
Suburban Origins, Suburban Legacies by Philip Bess

We cannot afford the infrastructure and living arrangements we have built to centre our lives around the automobile.

69
For a Great Door is Opened by Deani Van Pelt

The legacy of Charlotte Mason, prolific educational pioneer.

75
The Liberty She Won for Others by Karen Swallow Prior

Hannah More used her pen to effect great reform.

81
Something Beautiful for God: The Gift of Jean Vanier by Craig Bartholomew

Vanier and the L'Arche communities exemplify the "journey inward" funding the "journey outward."

86
Erasmus is an Eel: Renaissance Humanist Hero by Gregory Wolfe

His passion and networking skills could make him the patron saint of the twenty-first century.

91
Loving Liz: Andy Warhol's Sacramental Vision by James Romaine

"When I look at Warhol, what I feel is maximum redemption of lost material. He puts meaning back where there was deadness." —Wayne Koestenbaum

98
The Political Legacy of Superheroes by Adam Barkman

The world, including the political world, will always need saints to imitate.

106
The Dignity and Priority of Labour by Micah Lott

Studying John Paul II's Laborem Exercens as not the "last word," but the "first word" on economics, human rights, and justice.

111
What's Under the Apple? by Walter C. Wright Jr.

Products become obsolete; people grow. Which legacy of leadership is likely to stand the test of time?

121
The Art of Passing on Wonts by Gideon Strauss

The true measure of our legacy is the depth of our gratitude, not the shimmer of our moral and technical excellence.



Contributors to this Issue