How can we live well together? What gives life purpose? What about technology, education, faith, capitalism, work, family? Is another life possible? Plough editor Peter Mommsen and senior editor Susannah Black dig deeper into perspectives from a wide variety of writers and thinkers appearing in the pages of Plough.
45: Effective Altruism and a Scholarly Inheritance
Peter Mommsen talks with Phil Christman and Joey Keegin about effective altruism.
Then, Peter and Susannah welcome Dhananjay Jagannathan to discuss his piece “What Is Our Scholarly Inheritance?” Both past and future, Dhananjay argues, make us who we are, and in scholarship as in other human cultural pursuits, we step into a world, receiving an inheritance and becoming responsible for enriching and passing on that inheritance. Though this kind of generational relationship is not biological, it is very deeply human, and the chosen and unchosen aspects of non-biological generational obligations are what make up a civilization.
His uncle Mark’s scholarship was an inspiration to him, and on his uncle’s death, he felt the obligation to take up aspects of his work. The project of humanism is a multigenerational one, and not one that we do alone.
44: Carl Trueman and Alastair Roberts: Freedom, Belonging, and Begetting
Peter and Susannah speak with Carl Trueman about communicating the gospel to the current generation, and the distinct challenges that that can bring.
Then, they talk with theologian Alastair Roberts, Susannah’s husband, about the genealogy in Matthew and the way that looking at its details can call up Old Testament parallels and associations that give us clues about what God is doing in the birth of Christ.
They discuss the way that God works not just with individuals but with whole families through the generations, and talk about how we can be blessings to both our descendants and parents.
They also talk about Alastair’s experience of joining Susannah’s large family through their marriage. There are anecdotes about lobsters.
43: The Work of Generations, and the Wisdom of a German Prince
Why have an issue on “Generations?” Peter and Susannah discuss the genesis of the current issue, and then go into the issues covered in Pete’s lead editorial.
Why do we feel the need for roots? Is this something that should be purely met within the church? How does God renew our natural ties, and our ability to love intergenerationally? What are the promises and perils of the rooted life? And how can the wisdom of Christ help us avoid deracination on one hand and the worship of blood and soil on the other?
Then, they discuss with Prince Michael zu Salm-Salm his piece containing the distilled wisdom of a thousand years of his ancestors living in one spot, working the forests and vineyards of southern Germany. What does that kind of perspective give? They also talk about the Prince’s ecumenical work, in which he aims to mend the rifts of the Wars of Religion, through repentance under the Lordship of Christ. Plus, winemaking!
The PloughRead: Is There a Right to Have Children? by Matthew Lee Anderson
Matthew Lee Anderson writes that the fertility industry pushes childless couples toward IVF as an answer to the pain of childlessness. But at what cost?
The PloughRead: Singing the Law by J. L. Wall
J. L. Wall writes that the ancient skill of chanting the Torah joins past generations to generations yet unborn.
The PloughRead: My Father Left Me Paperclip by Terence Sweeney
Terence Sweeney asks what kind of inheritance an illegitimate son can expect.