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Week In Review

Another Week Ends: Silent Scorsese, Chinese Credit, Stigma Supremacy, Moralized Rationality, Merciful Madness, and Anderson Xmas

Another Week Ends: Silent Scorsese, Chinese Credit, Stigma Supremacy, Moralized Rationality, Merciful Madness, and Anderson Xmas

1. If there’s a must-read article this week, it’s the profile of director Martin Scorsese that Paul Elie produced for The NY Times Magazine. Elie is always a joy to read and “The Passion of Martin Scorsese” is no exception. Most of it centers around Scorsese’s adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s Silence, a ridiculously Christocentric project that he’s been working on for 27 years. The article is not short, but you’ll kick yourself if you skim over the anecdotes Martin relays from childhood. Basically, he had the polar opposite experience of the Roman Catholic Church than you normally hear about in…

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Another Week Ends: Upended Progress, Attachment Theory, Lulu Listening, Moral Superiority, Post-Truth, and Bingeing More Than Turkey

Another Week Ends: Upended Progress, Attachment Theory, Lulu Listening, Moral Superiority, Post-Truth, and Bingeing More Than Turkey

1) “Maybe it’s time we tell you,” the Atlantic seems to be saying, just more than a week after the world seemed to turn upside-down, “that we humans haven’t always believed in progress. To the contrary, it’s a rather new idea.” In Joel Mokyr’s essay from yesterday, “Progress Isn’t Natural,” our optimism towards human endeavors and scientific discoveries is at odds with what before could be described as “ancestor worship,” a feeling of due respect for tradition and classical texts prior to the Enlightenment:

After 1600, Europeans developed scientific instruments that allowed them to see things the ancient writers could never…

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Another Week Ends: Jailed Dads, Imperfect Moms, Failed Perfectionists, Leonard Cohen, Kenny Lonergan, and Atlanta

Another Week Ends: Jailed Dads, Imperfect Moms, Failed Perfectionists, Leonard Cohen, Kenny Lonergan, and Atlanta

1. There’s been a lot of talk of reconciliation these last few days, and for good reason. It’s a topic that can get dangerously abstract, dangerously quickly. Fortunately, we couldn’t have asked for a more powerful, gut-level picture of what reconciliation looks like than the clip below. Guilt, shame, forgiveness, mercy, second chances, estranged fathers (little-f and capital-F), prayer, gratitude–this one has it all. Just be sure to have some tissues handy. I haven’t cried so hard since my son was born. Praise God (for a Day!), ht GWL:

While we’re on the subject of kids being reunited with parents, if you have…

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Another Week Ends: Go Cubs Go!, Cormac McCarthy, Dead Mothers, Email Tics, Teen Depression, and the Church of McDonalds

Another Week Ends: Go Cubs Go!, Cormac McCarthy, Dead Mothers, Email Tics, Teen Depression, and the Church of McDonalds

1. Lots of Cubs love to be had this week. First, if you didn’t see the incredibly sweet line up of grandma and grandpa reactions on NPR this week, go there first.

And then there’s Bill Murray, at it again, giving a free Game Six ticket to a stranger from Indiana. And it was a ticket to sit right next to him!

And as if we needed any sort of Mockingbird defense of the whole spectacle—or of the whole spectacle of sports fanmanship overall—a great Science of Us bit about the power of sports teams to vicariously represent us. As the article…

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Another Week Ends: More Meritocracy, Hakuna Matata Election, Dating Apocalypse, Loving Psychos, The Ambush of Grief, and Irresponsible Gender Equity

Another Week Ends: More Meritocracy, Hakuna Matata Election, Dating Apocalypse, Loving Psychos, The Ambush of Grief, and Irresponsible Gender Equity

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with Zac Hicks, author of the brand new book The Worship Pastor.

1. In a great piece called “Meritocracy Is Exhausting,” from The Atlantic (ht DT), Victor Tan Chen explains how a society built on reward can be not only tiresome but also inescapable. Chen says that the cogs of America rely increasingly on “performance reviews,” synthesized by “data-gathering technologies.” He cites behavior tracking apps, marketing algorithms, and online review forums as just a few examples. Such technologies, or “models,” have obvious flaws: namely reinforcing a sense of supremacy among certain groups.

Even…

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Another Week Ends: Online Scammers, Difficult Dating, Playborhoods, Art History Riddles, George H.W. Bush, Spirit-Breathed Emails, and More Serious Vacations

Another Week Ends: Online Scammers, Difficult Dating, Playborhoods, Art History Riddles, George H.W. Bush, Spirit-Breathed Emails, and More Serious Vacations

1. Wow, if there was a subcategory for stories like this first one, I’d have to call it, “Weird Stories of Forgiveness.” Weird and weirdly beautiful. It starts with a 62-year-old woman named Maria Grette who, after a nasty divorce and some prodding from her friends, created an online dating profile. She made contact with a romantic 58-year-old Danish man who was in fact a 24-year-old Nigerian “scammer,” who, in time, tricked her into wiring him money. A few thousand Euros later, she realized something was amiss.

Three weeks after her silence, he called her and confessed. He told her that he…

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Another Week Ends: Dylan, Cash and O’Connor, Gospel Guitar, Cathartic Indignation, Black Mirrors, and Impossible Fun Runs

Another Week Ends: Dylan, Cash and O’Connor, Gospel Guitar, Cathartic Indignation, Black Mirrors, and Impossible Fun Runs

1. Awesome, awesome story about a funky gospel music guitarist in the Atlanta area named Don Schanche, who also happens to be white. The Bitter Southerner published Don’s story, which gives a beautiful picture of racial reconciliation happening not on some abstract or systemic level, but interpersonally, on-the-ground, as a fruit of the gospel. The message which reconciled Don to his own faith is the same message of welcome and acceptance that he received from those within these little, nowhere churches where he played.

I learned how to find the key when a singer jumps into a song without warning, how…

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Another Week Ends: Ethical Shoppers, Progressive Oppression, Beautiful Orthodoxy, Evangelical Bears, and the Production of Faith

Another Week Ends: Ethical Shoppers, Progressive Oppression, Beautiful Orthodoxy, Evangelical Bears, and the Production of Faith

1. Let’s start with this article, by Cari Romm, from NY Magazine: “Buying Fair-Trade, All-Organic Everything Can Actually Make You a Meaner Person.” Romm reports that moralistic eating and shopping habits may actually produce bad attitudes due to ‘moral licenscing,’ something we’ve talked about here before. If a person feels that they are doing well in one particular area, they will likely feel entitled to slack off in another:

One 2010 study, for example, found that people who chose environmentally [friendly] products were more inclined to later cheat on a test; another study from 2006 found that people who imagined themselves behaving generously were more…

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Another Week Ends: Amish Forgiveness, Psalm 88, Exhaustion Badges, (A)Political Lewis, Taylor Love, and Suburban Superman

Another Week Ends: Amish Forgiveness, Psalm 88, Exhaustion Badges, (A)Political Lewis, Taylor Love, and Suburban Superman

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with theologian Jeffrey Pugh about his new book, Theology After You’ve Been Left Behind.

1. First of all, this (times a billion trillion):

2. Second, bravo to Charlotte Donlon for her column in The Washington Post this week about what happens when churches ignore mental illness–and not just because it jives so profoundly with the emphasis of the new issue of The Mockingbird. After recounting a painful yet all-too-familiar episode of pastoral ineptness vis-a-vis her own bipolar disorder, she ruminates on the danger of equating sin and…

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Another Week Ends: Leo’s Apartment, The Boss’s Dad Issues, Jung’s Advice, the None’s Affiliation, and the FitBit’s Failure

Another Week Ends: Leo’s Apartment, The Boss’s Dad Issues, Jung’s Advice, the None’s Affiliation, and the FitBit’s Failure

1. I think we have to lead off with this one: Leo DiCaprio’s Malibu beach property is on the market (for a measly $11M), and the folks from LAist decided to have some fun with the realtors over at Redfin, in a nihilistic sort of way. With some help from their friends—Jean-Paul Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche—the journalists ponder whether or not this future home could ever bring meaning to an otherwise meaningless and, well, imponderable existence.

LAist: Hi! Love the house!! Just a few questions. Albert Camus once said “At the heart of all beauty lies something inhuman.” This house is obviously…

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Another Week Ends: Knuckled Mascots, Poetry Haters, Holy Fools, Healthy Teenagers, Q-Tip Effects, and Beloved Waterboys

Another Week Ends: Knuckled Mascots, Poetry Haters, Holy Fools, Healthy Teenagers, Q-Tip Effects, and Beloved Waterboys

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with Kenneth Woodward, the former religion editor at Newsweek and recent author of Getting Religion: Faith, Culture, and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to the Era of Obama.

1. First off, The Huffington Post was kind enough to alert us of our new mascot: Injured Mockingbird Given Pair Of Wee ‘Snowshoes’ To Heal Its Feet. Just wonderful, ht SB.

2. Really interesting article in The Atlantic asking why people hate poetry. The answers they come up with–via Ben Lerner’s new book The Hatred of Poetry–are not…

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Another Week Ends: Irrational Minds, Dangerous Parents, Anthony Weiner, Metallica References, Llama Drama, Post-Olympics Depression, and the Tastiest Fast Foods in America

Another Week Ends: Irrational Minds, Dangerous Parents, Anthony Weiner, Metallica References, Llama Drama, Post-Olympics Depression, and the Tastiest Fast Foods in America

1. This week The New York Times published an op-ed by Robert A. Burton entitled “A Life of Meaning (Reason Not Required)” which argues that most people would agree that (1) our lives ought to have a personal sense of “meaning” or “purpose” and (2) our lives should be “shaped by reason” or “rationality.” As concepts, however, reason and rationality get a little bit fuzzy when we consider the recent barrage of brain research evidencing the less-calculated “unfree” will of man. Burton explains:

“[T]he brain generates action-specific electrical activity nearly half a second before the subject consciously ‘decides’ to initiate action. Though interpretations…

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