About this site

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I call this blog “Crossing the Line” because I write about of a single line that separates things that never should be separated.¬† The lines the same, but we have different labels¬†for the things it divides:

physical and spiritual,

temporal and eternal,

natural and supernatural,

material and spiritual,

nature and grace,

this-worldly and other-worldly,

body and soul,

faith and reason,

state and church,

public and private,

social and personal,

profane and sacred,

science and religion,

scientific and theological,

objective and subjective,

rational and emotional,

modern and medieval,

In our culture, we accept this line unquestioned.

These are false dichotomies.

I want to think about the line between these polarities–blur the boundary where necessary.


  1. Jennifer

    Not being good with computers, I couldn’t find a way to send a reply after reading Your Money or Grace: You Can’t Have Both, a post from 12/22/12. But I did manage to find this reply form in your “About Me” section. I was eager to write you after I read that post, because what you said seemed spot-on.

    A friend just lent me her Flannery O’Connor collection, and because I was trapped in her hospital room while she took a nap, I was forced to read two stories. Finally! I’d been meaning to reread Flannery O’Connor for 21 years, ever since someone gave me A Good Man Is Hard to Find as a wedding present. But the book was shocking and difficult and I put it down. Years later I read a biography of her by a priest who helped me understand some of her themes and motivations, and it made me want to reread her. But the bad feeling left over from my reading of A Good Man kept me from picking her up again.

    This time around, I started with Everything That Rises Must Converge, and then Greenleaf, and it no longer just seemed disturbing. With Greenleaf, for instance, I could see what the author was doing with nature vs. Mrs. May, with her self-righteousness and the real integrity of the Greenleaf family, and with the wild divinity of the bull. I reread the story today and found even more to think about. So I went to the internet and searched for commentary.

    The first 3 articles I read ranged from shallow to stupid, and then I found yours. The picture at the top made me so angry I almost didn’t read your post, but I’m so glad I did.(As it turned out, the picture had made you angry too.) As I read, I was alternately thinking, Thank you! and I love you! Now don’t feel threatened, I’m not really saying I love you. But I did love your commentary. It rang true with my unformed impressions as well as the conclusions I’d already drawn. And it was a lovely bonus that you chose to compare it to one of my favorite political pet peeves: the idea that we comfortable North Americans are responsible for all the blessings we’ve received, and that it would be almost immoral to share with those less virtuous (less fortunate) than ourselves. Thank you!!!!!!! I’ll definitely be following your blog. That is, if I can figure out how to make my computer do that.

    • Trent

      Jennifer, I am glad that I have written something that you have enjoyed and been edified by. Perhaps I will write something about A Good Man Is Hard to Find — it really is a beautiful story about Grace, even though the family is murdered. That’s O’Connor for you. Thank you for persisting and for dropping in on the blog once and a while. It’s nice to know that there are a few people out there having a look. Shalom.

  2. Victor T

    False dichotomies is the phrase I have been looking for, seriously, for a long time.

    To oversimplify, the spin and deception I encounter almost daily often uses a technique whereby they point at something then make the assertion, “That bad, therefore this good” usually to promote some vile and perverse aspect of their ungodly agenda.

    My own more critical, if less than expertly polished, observation is that God has made many good things which sinful man invents seemingly endless ways to pervert.

    A simple example is fire. Fire provides warmth, ability to cook, sterilize, et cerera; many good things.
    However, fire can be used to harm, to destroy, to cause much evil.

    A common error is to point to the destructiveness of fire and then say, “Fire bad, therefore nobody should have fire.”

    I give just a basic example, but the disturbing dynamic just abounds in our present culture.

    Therefore it’s refreshing to encounter some rare clarity of thought and understanding.

    • Trent

      Thanks for the affirmation Victor.

      Yes, Christians in the West have adopted quite a few mental habits from the culture so influenced by the Enlightenment–and we’ve done so uncritically. And it’s gotten worse in recent years. I’m writing some drafts of scripts for future videos on this very subject.

      I don’t know if you have found my YouTube channel yet. I am putting quite a lot of effort into creating content there–and discussions of false dichotomies and other issues fill some of my playlists there–you might like some of the videos on the Worldview playlist. Here’s the link to that playlist, but there may be other material you’d also find interesting: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1gm0llPBjDItDG1FJbWfYIhY6-jZHrZT

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