Books

  • One Man’s Reading List

    Calum Anderson offers his “great” alternatives to what he considers the weak fare pushed by too many universities. Do Convivium readers agree? We’d love to see your alternative reading lists. Send them to convivium@cardus.ca.

    When I was in teacher’s college my first English Curriculum class was spent playing “four corners,” a children's game which is often played in elementary schools. (The fact it was played in a second-entry program at a major Canadian university is telling). ...

    Read more...

  • Hitting the (Ouch!) Bumpy (Owww!) Post-Pandemic (Ooof!) Road

    CNN celebrity thinker Fareed Zakaria maps 10 potholes from here to post-pandemia. Reviewer Robert Joustra, as if channeling the Tao of Eeyore, isn’t sure the ride’s worth the ruts.

    “There is no new normal,” “these unprecedented times,” “now we all have to work together” – whatever your favorite pandemic BINGO drinking phrase is, you’ve heard it enough since March that you probably had to either give up the game or check into rehab. ...

    Read more...

  • Debunking the Myth of Meritocracy

    Agree or disagree with Michael Sandel’s new book, reviewer Robert Joustra writes, it makes an eloquent case that Western society is in desperate need for grace.

    Among my faults that my wife has brought to my attention over the years are that I really – really – love it when “people get theirs.” What can I say? I have a passion for justice. But truth be told it is a petty justice. And I am hardly alone. Most of our ...

    Read more...

  • The Timeless Treasure of Little Women

    Dayna Slusar says the latest remake transforms Louisa May Alcott’s 19th century classic into a dazzling mosaic of 21st century sisterhood.

    Leaving the theatre after watching director Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, I was disappointed. The film itself wasn’t a disappointment although, in my frustration, that was my initial conclusion. I realize now, a few days out, that my feelings after ...

    Read more...

  • The Cultural Mousetrap of Cats

    The less-than-purrfect Cats movie presents an underlying problem with the way in which our entertainment industry claws at art and replaces it with something in-fur-ior. 

    Cats the movie is worse than bad. It is offal. 

    Its director, Tom Hooper, utterly guts the gentle soul of T.S. Eliot’s classic Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, from which the film is drawn as if by a child’s hand in green and or...

    Read more...

  • Beyond The Way Things Are

    In Jeremy Courtney's Love Anyway, Alida Thomas finds stories of loving with resilience in the midst of war, disaster and betrayal, as well as important lessons of peace for a polarized world.

    The frontlines of conflict in Iraq, Syria and Iran aren’t the first places many people would go in an effort to create lasting peace. Jeremy & Jessica Courtney aren’t most people. 

    In 2007, the Courtneys moved to Iraq in the middle of the war and...

    Read more...

  • Writing Faith Into The Public Square

    Convivium contributor Karen Stiller finds inspiration in writers who have shown courage writing their faith into the public square, providing opportunities for writing about what is important to the faithful.

    This article is the third part of an ongoing series on faith leaders who have demonstrated courage living faith in the public square. In partnership with the Cardus Religious Freedom Institute...

    Read more...

  • Liturgies of the Moment

    Convivium’s Hannah Marazzi learns from author Douglas McKelvey how we can make every moment holy by seeing even milk, honey and coffee as worthy objects of liturgy.

    Convivium: Every Moment Holy, published in 2017, is a “book of liturgies for the everyday.” When did you first begin to write liturgies for the ordinary, maybe even mundane, bits of life?

    Douglas McKelvey: I...

    Read more...

  • Coffee, Snacks, Literature

    Calgary’s new public library will unveil a vending machine in the new year that delivers locally written stories and poems at the touch of a button, Mario Toneguzzi reports.

    It seems you can get almost anything from a machine these days.

    From your favourite coffee to your favourite soda and snacks, vending machines have become a natural part of our fast-paced lifestyle. There’s even a vending machine that dishes out pizz...

    Read more...

  • Super As We Are

    Josh Nadeau finds virtue in the signals sent by superhero cinema.

    Looking back at some of the highest-grossing films last year, one can certainly see a pattern: Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, Wonder Woman. And it’s no blip – box office returns from the decade so far have all...

    Read more...

  • The Wash Of Silence

    In her continuing series for Convivium seeking to put into daily life the lessons of the Rule of Saint Benedict, writer Breanne Valerie learns from stillness why God is a Person of few words

    I recently attended a workshop where the facilitator began with saying something along the lines of “with words people can open your spirit or close your spirit, and if there is anything I say or do today that closes your spirit in any wa...

    Read more...

  • Every Moment Holy

    Do you have liturgy at the ready for ordinary life? Today, Convivium contributor Anthony Diehl reviews Doug Mckelvey's Every Moment Holy, a liturgical companion that baptizes the everyday in prayer. 

    A good liturgy gives us words to pray together in key formative moments of our discipleship: gathering to worship, confessing our sin, lamenting our suffering, confessing our faith, celebrating the Eucharist, baptism, marriage, and burying the dead. These p...

    Read more...

  • Pluralism In The Mirror

    Former Canadian Ambassador Anne Leahy finds Robert Joustra’s new book a compelling call for greater religious literacy among Canadians, particularly our diplomats. 

    Robert Joustra's short and dense book, The Religious Problem with Religious Freedom: Why Foreign Policy Needs Political Theology, flows from his doctoral dissertation at the University of Bath in 2013. It focuses on a field of application, foreign ...

    Read more...

  • Patti Smith’s Faithful Devotion

    Convivium Publisher Peter Stockland reviews the venerable Patti Smith's new book Devotion, drawing out the profound themes of love, light, and freedom found therein. 

    Like both of her celebrated and startling memoirs, Patti Smith’s new book pursues the meaning of art through death as much as through life. Unlike Just Kids and ...

    Read more...

  • My Beautiful Books

    Convivium’s Hannah Marazzi offers up a hymn to books that refreshes our faith in the life of reading as sustenance of the soul.

    I have always loved books and learned early that a sure way to secure long lasting friendship lies in feeding a lifelong addiction to the written word. It’s why I smiled when I peeked around the corner and saw a small stack of books in tucked on the bottom ...

    Read more...

  • The New Scientism: Still Fighting the Phantom War

    This book is about the war between science and religion: about how science has won this war so thoroughly that it can explain why religion will not go away, why there are people who choose God over science.If this sounds absurd, that's because it is. Really, a "religious" person could make the same case on the same grounds simply by inverting the key terms.

    [This review was originally published in Convivium Magazine and in Books and Culture.] It's a curious irony that the champions of scientism are some of the most vocal advocates of change and progress yet they so rarely change or progres...

    Read more...

  • The Argument for Argument

     

    It’s difficult, these days, to separate anger from disagreement, but William D. Gairdner is convinced that it’s not only possible, but critical. I chatted with him about his newest book at ...

    Read more...

  • Building for the World's Last Night

    It seems these days that we North Americans are obsessed with that question at the back of our imaginations: Just what will the end of things be like? Will the lights go out and we freeze? Will it be fire? A flood? Does the world continue on as one large tangle of untended wilderness? Will we be blindsided by an asteroid or a pandemic? Will we self-destruct through atomic weaponry or by slowly poisoning our food supply? It's morbid, sure, but it's hard not to let your mind wander there occasionally. 

    One reason I love science fiction is because of its ability to ask "what if?" questions and propel us—at rocket speed—into projections of our unknown future. It helps us imagine life at the end of line. We might not always think about it, but the "end" of t...

    Read more...

  • The Art of Faithful Persuasion

    At the Transatlantic Christian Council in Washington, D.C., this month, Ray Pennings asked Os Guinness about this topic. Guinness is the author of nearly two dozen books, most recently The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity and Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times. "I think we should be persuasive—publicly accessible—as St. Paul was," argues Guinness. "So when he's in a synagogue, he preaches from the Torah. When he's on Mars Hill, he quotes Cretan poets and philosophers. We should have that adaptability and flexibility."

    When ought we to share what we believe, and when are we just picking a fight?

    At the Transatlantic Christian Council in Washington, D.C., this month, Ray Pennings asked Os Guinness about this topic. Guinness i...

    Read more...

  • Becoming Like Gods

    Feenan's point was that the rise of these Nietzschean supermen (ubermenschen) are using social media—and, well, guns—to extend their will-to-power. In a way, the superman or, literally translated, "over man" Nietzsche foretold was meant to be a source of optimism for a world where God was dead. Nietzsche's hope, delivered by his prophetic persona, Zarathustra, was that we could become like so many gods. No God was no reason to despair, it was a cause to rejoice, and embrace the this-ness of life in all its fullness. His vision, as Calvin would have noticed (and Dostoevsky did), might not have properly accounted for the heart's affinity for deceit. Could any man or woman really handle the godlike powers Nietzsche wanted them to grab hold of?

    In a recent piece at The American Scene, Matt Feenan was one among many trying to make sense of another senseless shooting that left another community reeling in its wake. Canadians haven't been immune from this either, as the recent tragedy in Moncton so s...

    Read more...

  • Writing Life

    Convivium contributor Milton Friesen reflects on the beauty, gift, and service that writers and their books bring to the world. 

    My children surprised me last week with a ticket for the Miriam Toews luncheon here in Hamilton. Toews was going to be reading from her latest novel, Irma Voth, and taking questions from the aud...

    Read more...