1. From an article Why Church Kids Must Go Bad that talks about contemporary youth ministry through the lens of this book. Not sure if the book is any good, but the article, though definitely a little churchy, is pretty great. ht EC:

“Have we communicated that Christianity is ultimately about goodness, about positivity, and has little to do with the reality of the human condition—little to do with suffering, brokenness, and yearning? These good kids have become the role models for others; we have labeled them the good and positive leaders, while the doubting, the yearning, those up against all sorts of impossibility are told (again, maybe more implicitly) to get positive, to get good, to avoid the bad and the heavy if they want to be Christian. Kids that have tasted the shadow side, that have felt its cold darkness touch their broken souls, see little need for youth ministry…”

“Then [true] youth ministry is not about keeping kids good, but accompanying them in facing darkness, in facing what is broken inside them and in the world. Youth ministry doesn’t seek to keep kids from going bad, but asks them to dwell in what is impossible, what is broken, what is hurting in them and in the world and seek God in its rawness. Then in a real way, youth ministry is not about concerning ourselves with kids going bad, but asserting that church kids must go bad. They must face what is bad, what is broken, what is raw in them; they must seek a God who is found in the death on the cross, splitting it through with life. It is only here that the very content of the Christian message (the desire to know only Christ and him crucified, as Paul says) matters to young people, for it is no longer a message that helps them be benignly good and positive, but rather it ushers them into a new way of seeing, acting, and being in the world.”

2. In our ongoing archaeology of all things David Foster Wallace-related, we stumbled upon an interview from 1996, given to Details magazine. Which contains some very interesting clues about his religious history. Ht JD:

Brought up an atheist, [Foster Wallace] has twice failed to pass through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, the first step toward becoming a Catholic. The last time, he made the mistake of referring to “the cult of personality surrounding Jesus.” That didn’t go over big with the priest, who correctly suspected Wallace might have a bit too much skepticism to make a fully obedient Catholic. “I’m a typical American,” says Wallace. “Half of me is dying to give myself away, and the other half is continually rebelling.” 

Recently he found a Mennonite house of worship, which he finds sympathetic even if the hymns are impossible to sing. “The more I believe in something, and the more I take something other than me seriously, the less bored I am, the less self-hating. I get less scared. When I was going through that hard time a few years ago, I was scared all the time.” It’s not a trip he ever plans to take again.

3. Lloyd Fonvielle talkin’ Dylan over at mardecortesbaja in his new post “Tell Tale Signs,” referring to the recent and unbelievably great collection of latter-day Dylan rarities. He uses the songs “Red River Shore” and “Nettie Moore” as a jumping-off point for some touching and very personal reflections on aging, memory and love.

4. Movie news: Brad Bird has officially signed up for Mission Impossible 4! The world definitely needs more Brad Bird. Then, in front of Iron Man 2 the first “real” trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Inception and the first teaser JJ Abrams/Spielberg Super 8 are being aired! Along with Tron: Legacy and MicMacs, these are the films I’m currently living for… especially Inception.

5. Finally, in a stroke of what almost feels like orchestrated genius, The Onion reports, “Priest Religious, But Not Really Spiritual”:

BOSTON—Father Clancy Donahue of St. Michael Catholic Church told reporters Wednesday that while he believed in blindly adhering to the dogma and ceremonies of his faith, he tried not to get too bogged down by actual spirituality. “I’m not so much into having a relationship with God as I am into mechanically conducting various rituals,” Donahue said. “To me, it just feels empty to contemplate a higher power without blindly obeying canon law and protecting the church as an institution.” Donahue emphasized that although he did not personally agree with those who pondered the eternal, he had nothing against them.