Peter Lawler’s Stuck with Virtue—and Technology

Michael Shafer, PhD

I was sad to hear of the recent passing of a well-respected political philosopher, Peter Augustine Lawler. I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Lawler several years ago at a meeting for the President’s Council on Bioethics in Chicago. I had just finished reading his book Stuck with Virtue, so during one of the breaks I approached him and struck up a conversation. I do not recall the exact questions I asked, but what impressed me most was that while standing in a room with some of the brightest ethical minds in America (he was not at a loss for great conversations) he was still incredibly gracious and attentive to a young doctoral student asking lots of questions.

Now, roughly a decade later, I serve as a pastor to a local church outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Lawler’s book may not be topping any charts among pastors, but I advise my fellow pastors and ministry leaders to engage with his ideas. Those who venture in will find lucid insights about our technology-addicted culture as Lawler reveals a critical flaw in our contemporary pursuit of happiness.

Dying Well—Jonathan Edwards

Bryan A. Just, MA
Douglas A. Sweeney, PhD

As soon as Jonathan Edwards’ colleagues had discerned that he should become the third president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), “he girded up his loins,” as Hopkins stated, “and set off,”[1] leaving in early January of 1758. He left his wife and children behind, intending to move them in the spring after the weather had improved.

After settling into his house, Edwards met his students and tutors, preached to them on several Sundays in the Princeton College chapel, wrote some questions in theology for Princeton’s senior class, and was installed “in the president’s chair” by the Princeton Corporation on the 16th of February, 1758.[2] Things seemed to be going smoothly.

No sooner had he settled into a regular routine, however, than Edwards chose to set a good example for the locals and receive an inoculation.

When Christians Face Infertility

Janie Valentine, MA

In June, Will Honeycutt encouraged churches to be sensitive to congregants struggling with infertility and suggested several practical steps church leaders can take to display empathy and support for infertile couples. Honeycutt’s piece concludes, “We must...defeat the notion that the inability to procreate makes life meaningless or robs men and women of their identity. Our identity is not wrapped up in our ability to procreate but our ability to be obedient disciples of Jesus.”[1] Honeycutt’s piece describes how a church can respond to the presence of infertility, especially on a day when the blessing of children takes center-stage, such as Mother’s Day. However, churches also have a responsibility to proactively guide Christians to face infertility in a godly way long before the fertility specialist delivers an unfortunate diagnosis.

Praying through Chronic Illness

Bryan A. Just, MA

In a previous Intersections piece, Dr. Kelly Kapic discussed our responsibility to those who are suffering and addressed some problems of becoming overly focused on the bodily healing of the one who is hurting. His conclusion is that we do not need to try to heal these people or give them advice—we need to pray for them and love them. Failure to pray is certainly a failure to love. But, this brings us back to our original problem: how should we pray for those who are suffering when our requests for healing seem to go unnoticed by the Great Physician?