Welcome to Sword and Ploughshare 2.0!

Well, here at last is the new and improved Sword and Ploughshare that I’ve been muttering about for the past couple weeks.  I hope you weren’t expecting too much, as, whatever talents I may have in the word-writing department, they are not matched by similar talents in either creativity and aesthetics, or web technology.  Quite the contrary.  Accordingly, there is much work yet to be done in terms of cleaning up the design, and no doubt I shall discover over the coming days several significant technical glitches.   However, this new platform does provide a great deal more flexibility and ease of use, so hopefully the growing pains will be worth it.

But, before saying more about what may yet be improved, I’ll say a few words about what *has* been improved.  

  • You’ll notice that the separate “About Me” and “What is the S&P?” pages have been combined—after all, who really needed to read whole separate explanations of both?  
  • The Writings page has been considerably overhauled, and although copies of old papers are no longer downloadable, I’m afraid, feel free to email me if you’d like to look at something.  
  • “Projects” has been replaced with a page specifically devoted to my main project, my Ph.D thesis work, since most all of the work I’m doing now ties in with that in some degree.  As that nears its end, and I branch out again, I may see about re-revamping that page.  
  • The Blogroll has been moved from a sidebar to a separate page of its own, has had its membership considerably modified, and now is annotated—that is, I try to give you some idea of why each of the links I’ve put there is there.
  • The Old Blog, I’m sorry to say, is gone.  As it contains material that’s up to 5 1/2 years old, much of which I would now want to say rather differently (or in a few cases, not at all), it seemed a bit needless to continue appending it.  For those really interested in digging up old dirt, you can still access it here.
  • The sidebars, as a whole, have been trimmed down considerably.  There was simply too much before.  In particular, the tag cloud is gone.  Tags still exist, and you can access them by clicking at the bottom of posts, or by using the search, but there were getting to be way too many of them for a sidebar.  I may still be adding a “Recent Posts” widget back into the sidebar, if I can figure out how, which I haven’t been able to yet.  
  • An exception to the general sidebar-trimming is the addition of my Twitter feed, since I have just joined Twitter this week.  We’ll see how that goes.  (Goodreads is gone, as i’ve been inactive there for six months, alas.  Hopefully not forever)
  • The categories have been rationalized somewhat.  Excess categories have been merged, and some have been renamed.  

Things that need work

  • The banner.  Yes, I know it’s big, and that depending on what size your browser window is, a lot of the image doesn’t show up.  I’ll be working on that, and maybe replacing it altogether.
  • The categories.  I’ve rationalized them, as I said, but there’s a good deal of work to be done in going back through old posts and reclassifying.  Once that’s done (a week or two), the Categories listing should at last be a genuinely useful tool for browsing this blog.
  • The subscribe button.  There’s no button to subscribe to the Comments feed at the moment; I shall try to rectify that.  I’m crossing my fingers that all those who subscribed at the old platform shall have their subscriptions carry over here without difficulty.  If not . . . well, that could be a problem.
  • Yes the books are too big on the Writings page.  That’s not because I’m super-vain, or trying to yell in your face to buy my books.  It’s just cuz I’m not tech-savvy.  I’ll be working on it.
  • Let me know if you’re running into other problems, as you try to use the site.  I’m sure there will be some.  Just comment on this post, or, if commenting is one of the things giving you trouble (it was glitchy at the old platform), then use the Contact Me form.

Thanks for following me. I hope you enjoy the new layout, and enjoy the exciting (read: controversial) upcoming posts I’ve had waiting on the back burner, which I can now bring to a boil

Links and a Hiatus

I’m afraid it’s no coincidence that the last post I put up was the day before the Olympics started, and as I’ll be traveling for the next week in addition, expect a bit of a posting hiatus.  However, you can find, over on the Political Theology blog, a very abridged version of my political reflections on Batman, as well as, by the end of this week, the final installments of my Pretenses of Loyalty review.  

For now, au revoir, S&P; bonjour, Paris!

Updates, Interlocutions, and a Hiatus

As of today, I will be taking off for a couple weeks for some long-awaited time with friends and family in London, Wales, Yorkshire, and sundry places, and blogging should be quite limited during this period—though I do hope to finally put up a review of John Perry’s excellent book Pretenses of Loyalty (thanks to Davey Henreckson at Reforming Virtue for putting me onto it).

Meanwhile, though, there are a number of exciting things to which I can direct your attention.  First (and perhaps not quite so exciting), I have made long-overdue updates to the other pages here at the S&P—About Me, What is the S&P?, Projects, and Writings.  The most significant changes: I have tried to bring the “What is the S&P?” description more into line with what I actually write about here these days, and I have mercilessly purged excess projects from the Projects page, reflecting my real-life purge as I try to focus more of my attentions and energies on my thesis and related work.

Second, and rather more exciting, the Two Kingdoms debates go on.  Oh yes—and on, and on, and on, no doubt.  Matt Tuininga, not content with one rebuttal to my original post, posted five (here, here, here, here, and here), with which I interacted in a few comments, though whether any clarification was thereby achieved, I leave it to you to judge.  This impending trip has not left me leisure for a full-blown response, chock full of big bloc quotes and footnotes, but fortunately, Peter and Steven at The Calvinist International have happily stepped in to provide such a response, which will be forthcoming any day now—I recommend you check in on TCI every ten minutes or so this weekend. 😉

As if Tuininga’s responses were not enough, Darryl Hart has now kindly jumped into the fray with a post at Old Life, “Speaking of Ecclesiastical Authority.”  Although Hart displays again his odd obsession with trying to somehow link everything he disagrees with to Moscow, ID, I am grateful to him for highlighting in his post what I think is the key issue in this whole two-kingdoms debate—namely, the Protestant doctrine of Christian liberty and its occlusion by ecclesiastical legalism.  Hart insists that the modern R2K view is “an effort to recover Christian liberty from the pious intentions and historical circumstances of some in the Reformed world eager to assert the Lordship of Christ without sufficient qualification.”  The problem, of course, from my perspective, is that the modern R2K view achieves this liberty in its civil kingdom at the cost of banishing it from the Church, ruled as it is with a strictly enforced biblical absolutism.  Hart asks, “how the church as a temporal authority, ruled by an earthly monarch, is going to be any less tyrannical, even if its reach only goes to externals,” which is, one might say, just the question my thesis aims to address.  I hope, therefore, to have the opportunity for a full engagement with this line of challenge after my traveling hiatus is finished; we shall see.

Updates, Kindling, and Creation

Just a few notes for regular readers:

First, for the first time in six months, I have updated the Projects page of this blog, rectifying a number of frightful anachronisms.  Most of the changes are fairly minor updates, but one long-dormant project has been swept off the stage to make room for an exciting newly-hatched one.  Let me emphasize again that if you have interests in any of the areas described in these projects, I would love to hear from you and profit from your input.  The second project, the Mercersburg Theology Study Series, is at last nearing a significant milestone, as the first volume nears completion and we prepare to launch a website–a one-stop shop for all things Mercersburg.  Stay tuned for that.  In the meantime —

— Second, my book, The Mercersburg Theology and the Quest for Reformed Catholicity, is now available on Kindle!  So if you’re an avid e-reader who’s interested in an idiosyncratic and unstable mix of Reformed theology, Hegelianism, and Anglo-Catholicism, go check it out! 😉

Third, my bandwidth-devouring series on English cathedrals that I visited last month will be drawing to an end with the lovely Wells Cathedral tomorrow, and I’ll at last begin posting the long-promised series from my friend, Brad Belschner, on Creation and Evolution (delayed till now due to the unfortunate theft of his laptop), which will give me the opportunity to focus almost wholly on some writing deadlines–though I’ll probably intersperse some themes of my own on familiar themes while the Creation series is ongoing.

At Last–Series!

I am glad to finally be able to announce a long-intended upgrade–the addition of links to series of posts (for instance, the series on McCormack’s Croall lectures back in January, or the series on coercion back last September), so you can see all the posts in each set in one place.  It’s pretty clumsy right now, since the “series” page is actually simply based on a unique tag, and since the widget is displaying a redundant “Series” heading right now.  But it’s better than nothing.  So just take a gander over at that left-hand sidebar, second section from the top, and you’ll find them all there.