New Here?
     
Week In Review

Another Week Ends: More Thoughts on Charleston, Papal Sustainability, NPR Snobbery, Holy Metal, and Delinquent Ethicists

Another Week Ends: More Thoughts on Charleston, Papal Sustainability, NPR Snobbery, Holy Metal, and Delinquent Ethicists

1. As a follow-up to the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last week, the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan points out the extraordinary character of the community’s response:

[In the courtroom, victims’ family members] spoke of mercy. They offered forgiveness. They invited the suspect, who was linked in by video from jail, to please look for God.

There was no rage, no accusation—just broken hearts undefended and presented for the world to see. They sobbed as they spoke.

“I just wanted everybody to know, to you, I forgive you,” said the daughter of Ethel Lance, killed in the shooting. “You took something very precious…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Jung’s God, Smart Drummers, Game of Peanuts, Justified Magic, Disappointed Youth, and Inside Out

Another Week Ends: Jung’s God, Smart Drummers, Game of Peanuts, Justified Magic, Disappointed Youth, and Inside Out

A mercifully truncated weekend column today, as we finish prepping for our week at Kanuga. (Probably goes without saying but next week will be light on content). Happy Father’s Day!

1. First off, an incredibly moving picture of collective grief in Charleston, via John Zahl, who was present at a citywide prayer service at Morris Brown AME Church. Our hope is truly built on nothing less:

2. The new issue of The Mockingbird is here! And copies shipped to subscribers yesterday afternoon. Order your copy, or subscription, here. By way of reminder, anyone who signs up for monthly support of Mbird not…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Aspirational Fallout, Political Hating, Lonely Calvin, Dissertation Tweets, Yuccies and Christopher Lee

Another Week Ends: Aspirational Fallout, Political Hating, Lonely Calvin, Dissertation Tweets, Yuccies and Christopher Lee

1. A fierce editorial by George Monbiot appeared in The Guardian this past week about the fallout of Aspirational Parenting in the UK, “aspirational” being a loose euphemism for what we call “performancism”. The tagline makes no bones: “Surrender your freedom, avoid daylight, live to work, and you too could join a toxic, paranoid elite”. The statistics about mental health he cites are as alarming as they’re intended to be, though I dare say that most could be transposed to a yank context. (I’m familiar with “nursery consultants”, but this is the first I’m hearing of $450/hr playdate coaches). Monbiot’s…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Victim Purity, Atheologies, CCM, HuffPost, Clutter Craze, and Brad Bird

Another Week Ends: Victim Purity, Atheologies, CCM, HuffPost, Clutter Craze, and Brad Bird

1) One of the books on the Mockingbird bookshelf right now is Violence Unveiled, by Gil Bailie, which looks into the philosophy of René Girard. A prime focus of the book stems from Girard’s “Violence and the Sacred,” where Girard looks at the cross of Christ as the origin of human concern for ‘the victim.’ This cruciform concern, since then, has headlined much of history. Bailie writes:

“However savagely we behave, and however wickedly and selectively we wield this moral gavel, protecting or rescuing innocent victims has become the cultural imperative everywhere the biblical influence has been felt. Both our Mother…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: More Underachieving Males, Baffling Temptations, Upper East Side Claustrophobia, John Gray, Star Wars, and Vocation

Another Week Ends: More Underachieving Males, Baffling Temptations, Upper East Side Claustrophobia, John Gray, Star Wars, and Vocation

1. After Dave’s post on male problems this week, The Economist published a long-form essay about the plight of blue-collar men in the West. The pay for men with only a high-school diploma fell by 21% (real terms) between 1979 and 2013, as one of the clear male advantages is brawn, which is less relevant than ever when it comes to earnings. Moreover, these men may not have studied feminism in college, but they’ve found themselves in a world increasingly affected by it:

Their ideas of the world and their place in it are shaped by old assumptions about the special role and status due…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: New Notes from Luther, Coach Chandler, Mr. Wind, and Dad Bod.

Another Week Ends: New Notes from Luther, Coach Chandler, Mr. Wind, and Dad Bod.

1. Stop the presses! Sit down if you’re standing! Pull over if you’re driving!  The BBC is reporting that a first edition of Martin Luther’s seminal essay On the Freedom of a Christian has been discovered in a library in France, with margin notes from the author himself on changes he intended to make for the second edition. Wild! What I wouldn’t give for access to that manuscript (and the requisite knowledge of late-medieval German)! Not only is this new potential insight into Martin Luther’s early Reformation mind, but the essay in question is one of Luther’s classics that drew many of…

Read More > > >

Ten Notes on Religious Decline (plus A.W.E.)

Ten Notes on Religious Decline (plus A.W.E.)

“Pot-bellied pigs have been wildly unfashionable since 2005. Owning a pot-bellied pig is frowned upon almost as much as being a Christian.”

1. These are the words of Erlich Bachman in the most recent episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley, perhaps the funniest show on television at the moment (Veep being its main competition). They come after Erlich has heard a pitch from a tech start-up that he’s considering investing in, a Christian dog-sharing company(!). Before launching into the pot-bellied pigs riff, he tells the two would-be entrepreneurs, “Besides, I’m sure you know that Christianity is borderline illegal in Northern California”. It’s…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: The Onion’s Guide to Mothering, The Happiness Industry, Selling Beauty, Cultural Christians, Sad David Brooks, and More Bill Fay

Another Week Ends: The Onion’s Guide to Mothering, The Happiness Industry, Selling Beauty, Cultural Christians, Sad David Brooks, and More Bill Fay

1. First off, The Onion has been doing marvelous things lately. Their insight into the human condition is always surprising, especially their sense for all the pressures of social life, how ridiculous they are, and how strange is our reliance on them for identity. Cue Mothershould, their new web series on how to be a better Mom. Our frequent use of scorekeeping as a description of our obsession with metrics and comparison has found its best video example since King of Kong, below:

http://v.theonion.com/onionstudios/video/2782/640.mp4

2. In the dystopian scare department this week, Vicky Price of The Independent reviews a new book by William Davies called The Happiness Industry. Our unprecedented ability to…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Grace Cubed, Fay’s Tyndale, Not-So-New Atheists, Nihilist Arbys, Catholic Daredevils, and Tomorrowland

Another Week Ends: Grace Cubed, Fay’s Tyndale, Not-So-New Atheists, Nihilist Arbys, Catholic Daredevils, and Tomorrowland

1. It’s always gratifying to see the discussion about grace and law taking place in unexpected venues. For instance, over at The Living Church, a publication geared toward Episcopalians, a couple of articles have gone up recently about the preaching of absolution and the role of ethics/exhortation in the Christian life. Before you glaze over at the insider language, it would appear that Mockingbird–or at least our perspective–served as a reference point. In the initial post, “Grace, growth and God’s dream”, Jordan Hylden was critical of what he perceives to be a biblically reductive and borderline Manichean approach to the pulpit, raising some valuable (if familiar) questions in relation…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Love and a Meritocracy, Superhuman Humans, Twitter Psalms, Better Call Caravaggio, Trendy Mindfulness, and a DFW Movie

Another Week Ends: Love and a Meritocracy, Superhuman Humans, Twitter Psalms, Better Call Caravaggio, Trendy Mindfulness, and a DFW Movie

Well, try and stop David Brooks from being on the site twice in one week is what I say. While we’ve all agreed in the office that the cover of his new book isn’t nearly as cool as the one before, his column today is nothing short of a Mockingbird centerfold. It is called “Love and Merit” (!) and deals with the pitfalls of classic, well-intentioned parenting—you know, that strings-attached, perfomance-based, conditional variety of love we all try so hard to avoid doling out.

Brooks nails it on the head. It’s not that we try to be that kind of parent…

Read More > > >

Another Week Ends: Anselmian Austerity, Finding Your Passions, Gallbladder Cleanses, Descents Into Hell and a Few Conference Updates

Another Week Ends: Anselmian Austerity, Finding Your Passions, Gallbladder Cleanses, Descents Into Hell and a Few Conference Updates

1. Giles Fraser at The Guardian is at it again, making a bit of stretch – though an interesting one – on the role of Anselm’s atonement theory on the Greek debt crisis:

According to Anselm, and the Reformation thinkers that followed him, the story of Easter is basically God’s response to a debt crisis. The argument is this: human beings have sinned against God, thus incurring a debt that has to be paid. (If you think this shift from sin to debt is odd – and it is – remember we still speak of criminals as “paying back” their debt to society.) On…

Read More > > >

Another Holy Week Ends: Tinder Fixes, Going Clear, Oklahoma Grace, Online Shaming, Sufjan, and Preschool for Adults

Another Holy Week Ends: Tinder Fixes, Going Clear, Oklahoma Grace, Online Shaming, Sufjan, and Preschool for Adults

1. Wow. The award for Best Unintentional Good Friday Article goes to novelist Diana Spechler, writing in The Times. It’s her latest entry in a series of short essays documenting the process of tapering off her anti-depressants, “Going Off”. This one has to do with her relationship to the popular dating app Tinder, appropriately titled “Tinder While I Taper”. She not only captures the Romans 7/bondage of the will aspect with harrowing vividness, she does a remarkable job of  exposing the underside of a culture built on bootstrapping and the veneration of self-sufficiency, namely, the shame of self-insufficiency–the taboo of…

Read More > > >