Archives For Dan Bell



Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we have been told by both sides of the partisan fence that we now live in an “age of terrorism.” What is especially novel about our age, so we are told, is not so much that our world is torn apart by violence, but that the “enemy” has no moral compass, no concern for the flourishing of human life. We are told that our extraordinary times may demand that we take extraordinary measures in warfare. In other words, the rules that may have guided warfare in the past may no longer apply. The images of tortured prisoners, maimed Iraqi civilians, and the thousands of flag-wrapped caskets of dead U.S. soldiers remind us of the horrific consequences of the two U.S.-led wars launched against this elusive “terrorist” enemy. Although many Christians opposed the wars from the beginning, others have backed the wars without hesitation, and leaders and spokespersons on both sides of the debate have appealed to just war principles and criteria to support their respective positions. In the midst of polemically charged debates between Internet pundits, political ideologues, and partisan hacks, it has often been difficult to find the space to reflect on, at least with any moral seriousness and clarity, the question of justice with regard to these particular wars. Yet, too much is at stake in warfare—perhaps especially modern warfare—to simply let the pundits control the shape of public discourse, not to mention Christian discourse on war. Indeed, in our time of war and rumors of war, a time when uncritical support of war and nationalist fervor is all too common, not least among American Christians, we are desperately in need of a theologically robust and critical discourse about war.

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Just War as Christian Discipleship:
Recentering the Tradition in the Church rather than the State
Daniel M. Bell, Jr.
Paperback: Brazos Press, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

ORION MAGAZINE Reviews Poet Tony Hoagland’s
New Book Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty

TONY HOAGLAND is not a poet who sees himself as above anything. Rather, he is inside it all: “I too am made of joists and stanchions, / of plasterboard and temperamental steel, / mortgage payments and severed index fingers, / ex-girlfriends and secret Kool-Aid-flavored dawns.” From pop culture to the mundane, from the glittering Britney Spears to the undeniable hulk of a cement truck, Hoagland wades through the noise and confusion of American material culture with a mixture of awe and disgust. His language—personal, inviting, unpretentiously graceful—pulls the trusting reader along behind, unsure at times whether to laugh or cry.

It would be hard not to see Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty as in many ways a critique of contemporary culture. Hoagland wanders through the grocery store and the mega-mall, seeing beneath all the Muzak and bright colors and splashy ads the fraught and complex web that strings across the globalized world.

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Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty: Poems.
Tony Hoagland.
Paperback: Graywolf Press, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]