1. Continuing this past month’s unexpected foray into gender-related topics (i.e. here, here, here and here), Christianity Today published a doozie of an article earlier this week on its Her.meneutics site, “The Gospel of Grace for Women Who Self-Injure”. A couple lines from the conclusion (ht DB):

I’m not surprised that self-punishing behaviors occur among Christians. And this is not to blame the church. For legalism — and I would argue that this is what these behaviors are at their core — comes in guises both religious and secular. The desire to control the destiny of a few moments, if not our lives, is a fact of the human condition. But it is a fact that directly opposes the gospel of grace. 

Also female-related, from Medical News Daily (aka Captain Obvious: The Journal) is “Mean Girls and Queen Bees: Females Under Threat of Social Exclusion Respond by Excluding Others First”.

2. On the male side of things, and following-up the Man-Child post, Time reports on the impact the recession appears to be having on rates of depression among men, challenging the accepted finding that the condition is more prevalent among ladies, ht TB.

3. Speaking of men and depression, it’s been a big week for David Foster Wallace. The New Yorker published an excerpt of his new book The Pale King, “Backbone”. To compare the published version with the version he read publicly a few years prior, go here. I also came across a terrific discussion/defense of his fiction by Rebekah Frumkin on The Common Review, entitled “Our Psychic Living Room”, which includes a variation of one of our favorite quotes from the man himself via a 1996 interview (ht CR):

The sadness that [Infinite Jest] is about, and that I was going through [when I wrote it], was a real American type of sadness. I was white, upper-middle-class, obscenely well-educated, had had way more career success than I could have legitimately hoped for and was sort of adrift. A lot of my friends were the same way. Some of them were deeply into drugs, others were unbelievable workaholics. Some were going to singles bars every night. You could see it played out in 20 different ways, but it’s the same thing. . . . I get the feeling that a lot of us, privileged Americans, as we enter our early 30s, have to find a way to put away childish things and confront stuff about spirituality and values.

4. By way of self-promotion, Modern Reformation just published “Compassion, Creativity and Connecting with a Burned-Over Generation” by yours truly, which outlines some of the thinking behind Mockingbird, in case you were curious. I’m proud to say I was able to sneak Axl Rose, Michael Jackson, Whit Stillman, Oscar Wilde, Stuart Murdoch, and David Foster Wallace into the party. UPDATE: Mod Ref has been kind enough to unlock the article, so it’s now available in its entirety on their site, for free! For more Reformation goodness, be sure to check out their considerably more tricked-out sister site, The White Horse Inn, and then head over to New Reformation Press to hear Rod Rosenbladt’s stunning new must-hear sermon “Christianity in Five Verses.” It’s raining Reformation!

5. Fascinating blurb on Yahoo about Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy, wondering if his intelligence handcuffed him in the NFL draft. Priceless final line, ht BE:

The NFL draft: Where you’ll never be good enough, even if you’re too good.

6. In TV, the NY Times included an overdue write-up of Supernatural in their coverage last weekend. I’ve not seen the show, but as a faithful Whedonite, it’s been in my Netflix queue for ages. I’d love to hear from anyone that’s a fan, particularly in regards to the Times’ claim:

“In the absence of “Battlestar Galactica,” which ended its run two years ago, “Supernatural” is easily the most theistic series on television, its worldview rooted in the idea that a war is raging between heaven and hell… The show’s absurdities ultimately keep it from brandishing the sanctimony that has afflicted shows with religious elements in the past. When you are dealing with hellhounds, yellow-eyed demons and a black market for pieces of Moses’ stolen staff, you are not in the territory of “7th Heaven” and “Touched by an Angel” life lessons. More often that not “Supernatural” seems to be God loving yet utterly without an agenda, its mythology too digressive and ad hoc to feel as if it carried much stealth intention.

7. In music, there’s a worthy write-up of the religious themes in the music of Arcade Fire over at Religion Dispatches, “Arcade Fire and the Suburban Soul” (ht NH).

8. Finally, you may have heard that The Rev. Peter Gomes died this week. He will be missed.