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Conversations

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 31

Unbearable Lightness: R. J. Snell on Acedia and Metaphysical Boredom

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In this interview, philosopher R. J. Snell draws from how Hanby uses the verb “noughting” to interpret boredom, and connects it with the capital vice of acedia—or its token symptom, sloth—to help us recognize how this particular vice captures the “mood of our age.” Snell argues that the metaphysical boredom of modernity is sustained by our deeply-held convictions about freedom and contingency, which view the former as necessary and the latter as offensive. Like a sulking child, the slothful prefer to choose nothing rather than accept the neediness and dependency implied by our finite existence. When this slothful posture expands to the metaphysical plane, boredom becomes the very denial of being itself or, in other words, the “noughting” of the world.

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 30

Rebecca DeYoung on Vainglory, the Forgotten Vice

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In this conversation, philosopher Rebecca DeYoung explains how the language of vices speaks to patterns or narratives in our lives in a way that is distinct from “original sin” and from “sin as moments or acts of rule-breaking.” Drawing from the wisdom of the Desert Fathers, DeYoung describes vainglory and the other “deadly sins” as capital vices from which more vices may materialize.

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 29

Brand Luther: Andrew Pettegree on Martin Luther, Printing, and the Making of the Reformation

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It is often noted that Martin Luther’s Reformation could never have advanced the way it did without the technology of the printing industry. While the coincidence of Luther and the printing press undoubtedly contributed to the Reformation’s rapid spread, the printing world at the time of Luther was largely under the patronage of the Catholic church, and it was not inevitable, according to Andrew Pettegree, that “print would become an agent of insurrection.” In his book, Brand Luther, historian Andrew Pettegree shows how Luther’s facility for writing in German and his intuitive business sense not only spread ideas and incited controversy, but completely transformed the distribution model of the printing industry.

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversations

The MARS HILL AUDIO Conversations are extended dialogues with one or two guests.  With a typical duration of an hour, Conversations allow a greater depth of analysis and a more extensive exchange of ideas than do our Journal interviews.

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 28

The Practice of Christian Pedagogy

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In recent years, Christian educators have rediscovered ancient ideas about how the head and heart interact. There is a relationship between the cultivation of affections, dispositions, and virtues, and the acquisition of knowledge. What we believe is inextricably linked to what we love and what we worship. What we love, in turn, is encouraged by practices: by the ways our bodies and imaginations engage the world of the senses. Christian educators are coming to question the idea that teaching is merely the transmission of ideas and are giving more attention to the formative power of classroom practices and the culture of schools. 56 minutes.

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 27

Deadly Legacy: Alan Jacobs on Original Sin

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Literary critic and C. S. Lewis biographer Alan Jacobs has enriched our understanding of Christian faith and its consequences with his thoughtful book Original Sin: A Cultural History (2008). The book looks at beliefs about human waywardness and its sources through much of Western history, and how those beliefs have affected literature, politics, music, education, and other spheres of human culture. In this Conversation, Jacobs explains how belief in original sin (in its Augustinian form) offers resources for comfort and community. 60 minutes.

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 26

Dancing Lessons: Eugene Peterson on Theology and the Rhythms of Life

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In his 2005 book, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, pastor-theologian Eugene Peterson argued that believers should attend to the way God works in creation, history, and community. Such attention prevents theology from being mere abstraction and spirituality from becoming vague and gnostic. In this Conversation, Peterson discusses the necessity of taking time in worship; the benefits and liabilities of small groups; the delightful gifts of language; and the centrality of "fear of the Lord" in describing our response to God's initiative in salvation. 73 minutes.

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 25

The Heav'ns and All the Powers Therein: The Medieval Cosmos and the World of Narnia

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For decades, readers and scholars have wondered whether there was a Master Plan for the structure of the seven books in C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. In his book Planet Narnia, Michael Ward makes a compelling case that the qualities attributed to the seven planets in the cosmology of antiquity and the Middle Ages are embodied in the seven books about Narnia. In this Conversation, Ward explains why Lewis thought the pre-Copernican view of the cosmos can still be of spiritual benefit, that although it may not be true in a factual sense, its beauty nonetheless reveals deeper truths. 67 minutes.

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 24

Alan Jacobs on The Narnian

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In this Conversation with Ken Myers, Alan Jacobs, author of The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis, discusses a number of Lewis's writings, including The Great Divorce, The Abolition of Man, The Magician's Nephew, That Hideous Strength, and The Pilgrim's Regress. The theme that dominates the discussion is Lewis's view of the imagination, and his deep conviction that the shaping of the conscience requires the training of the imagination. 53 minutes.

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 23

Church, State, and Society in Catholic Social Teaching

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The development in 19th-century Catholic social thought of the idea of society as a spiritual and cultural reality is one of the themes in this Conversation with Dr. Russell Hittinger. In addition to the contribution of Pope Leo XIII and the revival of Thomistic thought to Catholic social thinking, Hittinger discusses the significance of marital notions to society, the limits of the idea of social contract, the effect of an increasing proportion of Muslims on European social thought, and how modern democracies have abandoned the project of understanding public life in moral terms. 60 minutes.

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