Faith, Seriously: The Ethics of Everyday Life, by Michael Banner

Approaching Michael Banner’s new approach to Christian ethics on VL today.

Vulpes Libris

bannerLike much of the really exciting theology I’ve read this year (Rowan Williams’ Meeting God in Mark, or Hugh Gilbert OSB’s The Tale of Quisquis), The Ethics of Everyday Life is not a monograph, but a collection. In 2013, the theologian and ethicist Michael Banner gave the Oxford University Bampton Lectures, in which he argued that, when it comes to the low-key decision-making of day-to-day life, Christian ethics as it stands is simply not fit for purpose. These lectures represent a first attempt by Banner at constructing a new sort of ethics informed by social anthropology and centred on the life of Christ, and they are reproduced here more or less as is, with a neat but unobtrusive critical framework.

Lecture transcripts are often less accessible to the general reader simply because those who turn up to hear them in the first place can reasonably be assumed…

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The Book of the Year and other beasts

My contribution to the Tablet’s annual books-of-the-year roundup, along with a whole host of far more famous people, is free to view here.

On the VL front, I enthuse about Cardinal Newman here; have a bit of a rant about An Infamous Army here; and talk about a fabulous new collection of ghost stories by the Curious Tales collective here.

Project SJ has been rather quiet due to reasons beyond my control, but I am revving up for a fabulous new start in 2015: details here.

And if you’re so minded, you can buy my very silly Ruritanian romantic-comedy-satire-with-horses-in The Last Prince here.

Casting The Last Prince: Part I

In my other, more frivolous writing life, I’m having great fun casting imaginary films.

The Last Prince

As publication day approaches (1st December! good God) I’ve been having great fun thinking about who I’d cast in The Last Prince: The (Hypothetical) Movie. This wasn’t easy, partly because I don’t often write with actors in mind, but mostly because I’m tragically out of touch – or, if you like, I have old-fashioned sensibilities. I had to throw all considerations of time/space/age/death/retirement out of the window. But I finally got there, and so here are a few of my picks.

jennie mctavish

“Absolutely not,” I said, doing my best to channel Dad in my-members-won’t-wear-it mode. “There is no question of my colleague resuming the throne. This is not a palace coup, but a strategic operation aimed at laying open the mechanisms of government, creating a safe space in which a truly democratic alternative might emerge, and restoring a political prisoner to freedom. Sorry, have to blow my nose,” I…

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Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went from Pop to Pulpit, by the Reverend Richard Coles

I try to do even the slightest justice to the Revd Richard Coles’ memoir on Vulpes Libris today.

Vulpes Libris

imageI know a priest who, after he had shut up shop on Christmas Day, would get into his pyjamas and take a bottle of vodka alone to bed, watch The Sound of Music and cry.

That’s the first line of the first chapter of Fathomless Riches, the Reverend Richard Coles’ account of his life from birth to ordination. The story doesn’t start with his birth, however, but with a particular Christmas: one of those comfortable but dismal post-lunch stretches, somewhere “between falling out of pop music and getting ordained myself”. Coles is suffering with a migraine; his father and brothers are sleepy and silent; his mother, bright and supportive. Later, Coles drives out into the cold rural night and picks up a stranger in a layby. The stranger, as a nice festive touch, has festooned his balls with tinsel.

There’s a lot of sex in Fathomless Riches; not…

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Vulpes Random: Project SJ

I’m introducing my brand-new project on VL today!

Vulpes Libris

Are you looking at me? Are you looking at me?

Today is the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. What better day to announce a new project, all about Jesuits?

The heart of Project SJ is a growing collection of interviews with Jesuit priests and brothers about vocation, identity  and the Jesuit ethos: in other words, what they do, why they do it, and how they began. It’s early days—I had the idea in May, voiced it aloud in June, and here we are—but my interviewees already include a world-class planetary scientist, a chaplain at America’s most infamous state prison, an Irish social justice campaigner and a South African parish priest.

If you also wonder who the Jesuits are and how they tick, why not head over and take a look? And if you’d like an insight into the world of the first and greatest Jesuit of all…

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Updates Updates Updates

scars

In reverse order…

My review of SCARS by Paul Murray OP is in this week’s Tablet.

My interview with the fabulous Paul Cornell (author of LONDON FALLING) is here.

Another interview, with the equally fabulous Julie Cohen (author of DEAR THING) is here.

And my tribute to the awful poetry of Matthew Fairchild is here.