Articles by Pierce T. Hibbs

Beauty Embodied

Article by   February 2016
A striking literary maxim can confound us because it is both horribly wrong and wonderfully right. "Beauty will save the world." Oh yes (sarcasm), Renoir's Girl with a Watering Can will stay the machete of a thick-bearded Muslim extremist, and Brahms' Requiem will blunt the needles of heroin addicts: horribly wrong. But salvific beauty does not have to stay machetes. It can be subtle, cracking the shell of the commonplace that surrounds the human soul and flooding it with light. And if Renoir and Brahms can do that much, if Rilke's rhymes can make a hairline fracture and Rodin's Eve a pinhole, perhaps that is all we need: so, wonderfully right. And in tracing the theological roots of Dostoyevsky's maxim, I came to find just how profound it is. continue

Poor Prose Is Poor Theology

Article by   October 2015
As a writing instructor, I do my best to resist the urge to gripe about poor prose, but I'm especially irked by turbid theology in print--and even more so when a top publishing company has seen fit to endorse it. I bring it up because it underscores a very important theological truth that can go unnoticed. Theology, more than any other profession, simply demands good writing--not because the content is the most important (which it is), but because theologians should be fully conscious that they are stewards of a medium rooted in the very Trinitarian God whom they seek to proclaim. In light of this, hazy and disheveled prose is not simply poor prose; it's poor theology. Allow me to explain. continue

Finding Gratitude in Unlikely Places: A Thanksgiving Reflection

Article by   November 2014
Within Christian circles, it seems verboten to mention death and thanks in the same sentence, which is a shame, really. Death, no doubt, is an evil intrusion on God's good order, and, as Dylan Thomas wrote, we have every reason to rage against the dying of the light. But death also has a purifying quality--it burns away the dross of thanklessness. It makes the simple seem sacred, and the prosaic extraordinary. At least, it can do so if we develop the habit of looking at life through death. continue

Stolen Capital: The Weight of Words in Hozier's "Take Me to Church"

Article by   September 2014
I'm not a musicologist or a respected lyrical critic. In fact, I don't know much at all about music. I'm a novice theologian who can't help but be pricked when he hears what is played on the radio during his morning commute. This week, it happened to be the song, "Take Me to Church," by Hozier. The opening melody, which is truly haunting, is what kept me from turning the radio dial. Then came what someone described as "the deep, soulful voice" of Andrew Hozier Byrne, the Irish singer-songwriter. After a few seconds, I was hooked and decided to listen to the writer's story--whatever it might be. continue
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