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Week In Review

Another Week Ends: Contra-Coddling, Dumb Phones, Harambe, Optional Church, TV God, and the Millennial Whoop

Another Week Ends: Contra-Coddling, Dumb Phones, Harambe, Optional Church, TV God, and the Millennial Whoop

Kudos to the trend buckers out there, the first of whom being the University of Chicago, who sent this letter to their class of 2020 before their arrival on campus. In opposition to the kind of coddling we’ve seen surface over the past couple years in academia, Chicago promises their students that there will be no such thing as trigger warnings in their classrooms. Diversity, if it means anything at all, will be as offensive as it is accepting. Part of the job of the university, they argue, is to level the playing field of discourse—something that a culture of offense prohibits…

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Another Week Ends: Mandating Happiness, Facetuning Your Face, The Never-Ever Golden Age, and The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere

Another Week Ends: Mandating Happiness, Facetuning Your Face, The Never-Ever Golden Age, and The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with psychologist and ‘experimental theologian’ Richard Beck, author of Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenchanted.

1. The New Yorker asked last week whether or not you can mandate happiness? Looking specifically at workplaces—workplaces that are basing their strategy from positive psychology and “science of happiness” studies—the article describes that happiness (believe it or not, people!) triggers better personal relationships in the workplace, and thus higher productivity. What the studies do not show, though, is that that happiness cannot be…

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Another Week Ends: All-American Phelps, Puritan Play, Forgiving Mel, Cargo Shorts & #FirstSevenJobs

Another Week Ends: All-American Phelps, Puritan Play, Forgiving Mel, Cargo Shorts & #FirstSevenJobs

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, in which Scott interviews Krista Tippett, host of NPR’s On Being. Seriously!

1. Even if you’re not as absorbed in the Olympics as yours truly, you can’t have spent much time on the interwebs this week without hearing something about what’s happening in the pool down in Rio. The US is dominating to an almost embarrassing extent, and you-know-who just keeps on winning gold medals. Since we didn’t highlight it back in June, do read Karen Crouse’s “Seeking Answers, Michael Phelps Finds Himself” if you haven’t had a chance, as…

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Another Week Ends: Cool Moms, Daddy Issues, the Selfishness of Others, the Grieving Process, the Philosophy of Feelings, and the Leisure of the Soul

Another Week Ends: Cool Moms, Daddy Issues, the Selfishness of Others, the Grieving Process, the Philosophy of Feelings, and the Leisure of the Soul

1. First up, from The New York Times, Jennifer Schuessler wrote a fantastic book review on The Selfishness of Others by Kristin Dombek (which is being released next week!). Dombek’s book observes how modern society has come to speak casually about narcissism, which was once a term reserved to describe a pathological illness, when referencing anyone but ourselves.

Dombek’s upcoming book, however, explores the way that the pathology of ‘narcissism’ has ballooned in modern parlance; the term has begun to define the entire culture and everyone it in. Dombek believes that using the term to describe “run-of-the-mill ‘bad boyfriends’ and young people in general…blinds us to how our own craving for…

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Another Week Ends: Script-Flipping Danish Cops, Gracious Nominees, Minimal Anxiety, Metal Words and Bowie’s Faves

Another Week Ends: Script-Flipping Danish Cops, Gracious Nominees, Minimal Anxiety, Metal Words and Bowie’s Faves

1. It’s getting to the point where NPR’s Invisibilia should just give up the ghost and rebrand themselves as Grace in Practice: The Podcast. Every time I think this second season couldn’t get any more relevant, they come out with an episode like “Flip the Script”, essentially an hour-length exploration of the psychology of imputation.

They open with a jaw-dropping story of a backyard BBQ in DC being interrupted by a stranger wielding a gun, threatening harm unless he’s given money, pronto. The couples in attendance don’t have any cash on them, and before they panic, one of the ladies offers…

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Another Week Ends: A Statue of Barney Fife, the Eradication of the First Person Perspective, the Story of Taylor Swift, the Deep Magic of David Brooks, and the Resurrection of Ricardo Lockette

Another Week Ends: A Statue of Barney Fife, the Eradication of the First Person Perspective, the Story of Taylor Swift, the Deep Magic of David Brooks, and the Resurrection of Ricardo Lockette

Check out this week’s edition of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with writer/theologian Peter Leithart!

1. To start, let’s go back to Mayberry… 

Don Knotts, who played Barney Fife in “The Andy Griffith Show,” is being honored in his hometown with a statue of himself in front of the local theater. This story from The Clarion-Ledger discusses Knotts’s life and history, and delves into his childhood–it reminded me of when one of my most cheerful friends told me the truth about his own ‘inner demons’. I’d known him for years and, from the outside, he’d always seemed to be a beacon of endless joy….

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Another Week Ends: The Problem with “Parenting”, Solipsistic Audiophiles, Más Havrilesky, Self-Defeating Happiness, and Dubious Decency

Another Week Ends: The Problem with “Parenting”, Solipsistic Audiophiles, Más Havrilesky, Self-Defeating Happiness, and Dubious Decency

1. Having a dog used to be easy, and were it 1995, I’d get one in a heartbeat. Fill up the gallon pail of food, a couple large buckets of water, and for the next three days the responsibilities were watching it run around (outside), fetch, the usual. Now I might be leaning cat-wards – dogsitters, crate-training, sticking to a strict routine… and the dog-hotel for vacationers business has been booming.

First up, same with kids. A friend from college mentioned how much it annoyed him when, as a kid, his parents would use the phrase “underfoot” to describe him. For the record,…

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Another Week Ends: Alien Jesus, Valuable Addicts, Authentic Politicians, Manipulative Grace, Marriage Vows, and A Jury of Your Peers in the Local Grocery Store

Another Week Ends: Alien Jesus, Valuable Addicts, Authentic Politicians, Manipulative Grace, Marriage Vows, and A Jury of Your Peers in the Local Grocery Store

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with our friend Kimm Crandall, author of new book Beloved Mess.

1. To start, here’s a must-know for anyone planning to see the new Star Trek:

Star Trek: The Motion Picture [1979] will always be divisive among Trekkies…But as nebulous and confounding as some of the movie’s ideas are, apparently series creator Gene Roddenberry had an even more outlandish premise planned for the franchise’s big screen debut…

Years after Paramount shelved the script due to fears over the controversy it would cause, author Michael Jan Friedman was hired…

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Another Week Ends: Working Class Christianity, Farewell Toast, High-Functioning Anxiety, Cheeto Moms, and Evil Thoughts

Another Week Ends: Working Class Christianity, Farewell Toast, High-Functioning Anxiety, Cheeto Moms, and Evil Thoughts

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with theologian Miroslav Volf.

1. J.D. Vance wrote an op-ed in the New York Times entitled The Bad Faith of the White Working Class. In it, Vance describes his own upbringing in not only a working class Southern Ohio town, but also an evangelical household and church community. He defends the hope and support his faith community provided, and he uses a lot of statistics to back up that this is true of a lot of children who grew up in similar circumstances.

Vance also argues…

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Another Week Ends: Smashed Pottery, Broken People, the Laws of Beauty, Celebrity Workaholics, Moral Licensing, and Watermelon Zombies

Another Week Ends: Smashed Pottery, Broken People, the Laws of Beauty, Celebrity Workaholics, Moral Licensing, and Watermelon Zombies

First, if you haven’t seen our latest newsletter, check it out here–some very exciting things in store for the year ahead! And click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast (“The Ecumenical Apocalypse”), featuring an interview with writer/scholar Liel Liebowitz.

1. Let’s start off with this lovely piece from The Wall Street Journal:

There is a Japanese word, kintsukuroi, that means “golden repair.” It is the art of restoring broken pottery with gold so the fractures are literally illuminated—a kind of physical expression of its spirit. As a philosophy, kintsukuroi celebrates imperfection as an integral part of the story, not something…

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Another Week Ends: Poolside ICUs, Distracted Reflections, Simulated Apocalypses, Helicopter Observers, Urban Sombreros & Mrs Christ

Another Week Ends: Poolside ICUs, Distracted Reflections, Simulated Apocalypses, Helicopter Observers, Urban Sombreros & Mrs Christ

Couple of quick announcements before we dive in: This coming Wednesday (6/22) in Stamford, CT, we’re kicking off our summer series of “Religious Hope from the Movies” screenings at the Avon Theater. Very excited about this! The first selection is Whit Stillman’s Barcelona, and my father and I’ll be tag-teaming a short intro before the curtain lifts at 7:30pm. The following day, I’ll be speaking at Christ Church Greenwich (7pm) about Mockingbird and A Mess of Help. Spread the word – would love to see you! Lastly, click here to listen this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an…

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Another Week Ends: Dirty Jobs, 70s Moms, Debt Collectors, Doing What You Love, “Doing Life,” and Yes, Gospel Rappin’

Another Week Ends: Dirty Jobs, 70s Moms, Debt Collectors, Doing What You Love, “Doing Life,” and Yes, Gospel Rappin’

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with friend/broadcaster Erik Guzman, author of The Seed: A True Myth.

1. Okay okay okay. Forget about the nay-sayers for a moment, forget about the fact that the whole game-show giveaway presentation was a bit of a false display. Maybe John Oliver was only saving people from a few nasty calls, a few petty, unusable debts—I don’t care, it was still a cool moment for television. And so much better than Oprah’s big giveaway. Forgiveness of debts long run cold. If you haven’t watched the segment,…

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