1. Part and parcel of the juvenilization we touched on earlier this week is the phenomenon UPenn bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel (best name ever?!) describes as “the American immortal”, that not-so-peculiar species that devotes so much of its time/energy to prolonging life that it kills them (often before they die). Surprise surprise–underneath the aversion to growing up may lurk a denial of human limitation which is ultimately a denial of death. In the latest bit of watercooler bait from The Atlantic, “Why I Hope To Die at 75″, Emanuel challenges the notion of “compression of morbidity”, the widespread presumption that the…
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Are you not entertained? All signs point to “No, I’m not entertained”, per David Puddy and the cheesy 8-ball jacket (thank you, Seinfeld fans). Rather, we’re disgusted. I’ve read it in comments here. I’ve seen it on Facebook and Twitter – we’re fed up. I get it, really, I do. It’s an awful thing. However, I have to admit my two (polarized) reactions to all of this.
On one hand, I really don’t want to write about this crap two weeks in a row. This week though, we have four more (count them, four – Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Jonathan Dwyer,…
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I guess it’s impossible to write about God Help the Girl, the new musical film written and directed by Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian, without weighing in on the larger aesthetic it embodies, what some have even called a movement: Twee. But I’m going to try, as we’ve tread that ground a number of times already. Suffice it to say, if ice cream cones (with pirouette cookies), Left Banke singles, and coonskin caps turn your stomach, you probably won’t be able to get beyond the window-dressing on this one. As the opening line of The Vulture review put it,…
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The sage’s brilliantly titled new record, Popular Problems, comes out on Tuesday, but NPR is streaming the whole thing this week. Of particular note, thus far, is the Exodus-leaning “Born in Chains”, to say nothing of lead “single” “Almost Like the Blues”, the words of which were printed in verse form in The New Yorker a few weeks ago. The final verse stopped me in my tracks:
There is no G-d in heaven
And there is no Hell below
So says the great professor
Of all there is to know
But I’ve had the invitation
That a sinner can’t refuse
And it’s almost like salvation
It’s almost like the blues
After Jim McNeely’s brilliant Romance of Grace, I wasn’t surprised to find his latest work, Grace in Community, bristling with insight and comfort. 1 John is a difficult and sometimes-neglected book, but McNeely sifts through it with responsibility, originality, and a down-to-earth approach. Below, he treats the tricky subject of “vertical” and “horizontal” love – love for God and neighbor, with his trademark honesty about the Law’s demands, leading directly to God’s grace:
Notice John unifies “vertical” love and “horizontal” love. He says, “In this is love, not that we love God, but that God loves us.” He is talking about a vertical relationship here, our love for God. Yet he goes on at length talking about horizontal relationships. It is all mixed up. When we have horizontal love, God is in it. The moralist wants to split these up. The moralist wants to take the two laws as separate: love God, love your neighbor. John bridges that gap with the gospel of Christ and Him crucified. God is love, and love operates in community. He is saying, if you separate these two, you cannot succeed at the one and fail at the other. The old commandment to love presses upon us the obligation to love God and neighbor. You cannot claim success if you only do one or the other; you must succeed at both. Jesus loved and forgave His own murderers and obeyed His Father to the death. Either we succeed at both or we fail at both. It is a unity under the old covenant as well as under the new covenant. The old covenant presses upon you the obligation to do both and makes you the source of power for compliance. The new opens the door to the possibility to love, and empowers love through the grace and forgiveness and mercy which come to us through Christ’ʹs blood. In Christ, we do not boast that we know and love God; we boast that we cannot know and love Him, but He knows and loves us. We do not trust in ourselves or our perfection, but in Him and His perfection. His perfection is that though we slay Him, He resurrects to love us still. His love abides, it persists. This is the love that He has for us, and it is the love that is at the heart of the love that we have for each other.
By following the rules of improvisation, one family finds love and humor within the wilderness of dementia.
The episode “Magic Words” aired last month on This American Life and in it you’ll hear “Rainy Days and Mondys,” the story of Karen Stobbe, her husband Mondy, and her mother Virginia, who recently moved into their house because she has dementia.
If you have yet to see it, The Verge has a phenomenal (and gorgeous!) article on virtual reality that is really worth your time. With Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR earlier this year and Sony’s attempt to bring virtual gaming to PlayStation, dubbed “Project Morpheus”, we might begin to see virtual reality making headway into the mainstream—and I have a feeling it might be a bit more sophisticated than the Virtual Boy I had growing up. In any case, Matthew Schnipper has some comments that are on point in the introduction. He writes,
The promise of virtual reality has always been enormous….
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There I was, reclining in the waiting room while my son met with his speech therapist, as I do every week. Computer on my lap—heaven forbid I sit there unoccupied—I was reading A.O. Scott’s new treatise for The Times on “The Death of Adulthood in American Culture.” I like Scott’s writing, so I ignored the instinct to roll my eyes at the prospect of yet another think-piece about stunted millennials; I had time to kill, after all. It opens with some bold claims:
Something profound has been happening in our television over the past decade, some end-stage reckoning. It is the…
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It’s tough to admit this publicly. I’ve kicked the dog a time or two – not recently, but I have struck another living thing out of anger. I think back on that and I cringe, because it feels really dark. It can be terrifying to reflect on a time when I haven’t been able to control my anger. If I were to prioritize the sin tendencies I have in the order of how quickly I want them rooted out of me, vindictive, reactionary anger would be number one. I can’t imagine what it would be like for one of my…
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