1. Speaking of love and marriage (see below), The Washington Post ran a very interesting article earlier this week entitled “Love Conquers All. Except Religion” charting the rise and tragically frequent fall of interfaith marriages. Apparently Jewish-Christian marriages are most precarious, with Catholic-Evangelical not too far behind. Surprisingly, there’s only a passing mention of Atheist/Agnostic-Christian unions (ht BM):
It is an open secret among academics that tsk-tsking grandmothers may be right. According to calculations based on the American Religious Identification Survey of 2001, people who had been in mixed-religion marriages were three times more likely to be divorced or separated than those who were in same-religion marriages.
Remember the famous counsel, the family that prays together, stays together? It’s not just a come-on from preachers looking to fill pews. There is sociological research to back it up. Modern couples seem blind to this, however, especially because they are getting married later in life. And the period between when children leave their parents’ home and when they start a family is a religious downtime.
2. As a follow-up to last week’s bit on religious scientists, an article at The Nation about in’s and out’s of The Templeton Foundation. “The science of Godly love” would be a great name for an album… (ht JDK).
3. I was delighted to hear that Jeff Tweedy just finished producing the new record by legendary gospel singer Mavis Staples. Jeff has always had a fascination with religious music, but as far as I know, this marks his first full-length foray. Among the songs that Jeff wrote for the record are “You Are Not Alone” and “Only The Lord Knows.” About the latter, Mavis had the following to say: “I’m still telling the world that in Christ there is no black or white, you know, only the Lord knows and he ain’t you!” The album is titled You Are Not Alone and arrives on Sept 14th.
3a. Along similar lines, the tracklisting for former Verve singer Richard Ashcroft’s new album was announced this week, and I’m picking up on a theme. Alongside the brilliant eschatalogical anthem “Are You Ready?” will be “Born Again,” “Beatitudes,” “Glory,” and “Let My Soul Rest.”
4. Low-hanging fruit over at Slate’s Dear Prudence column this week: “I Wish I’d Never Read My Dead Mother’s Confessions” and “Temptation and Cleavage at a Small-Group Bible Study.” Prudence handles the second one particularly deftly, even quoting scripture (ht JD)!
5. Let’s throw some Mocking-weight behind the new PopEater campaign to get Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen) an Emmy nomination for his work on Friday Night Lights. The A/V Club called his work in last week’s episode “The Son” one of those “transcendent acting moments that make us remember how powerful the medium can be.”
6. Also in TV, though a little too vulgar/irreverent to be posted here (fair warning), the recent God Smacked installment on The Daily Show is pretty darn funny. We’ve talked before about the recent fad of mixed martial arts evangelism, but the breaking of inanimate objects is definitely a new, um, break-through. Points for creativity!