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Week In Review

Another Week Ends: Grindelwald and Kierkegaard, Homer and the Other, Faith and Fear, Athletica and Aging

Another Week Ends: Grindelwald and Kierkegaard, Homer and the Other, Faith and Fear, Athletica and Aging

1. The National Review published a take on the Roy Moore scandal that focuses less on the man’s misdeeds and more on the guiding theology that Moore’s Christianity espouses. David French’s article suggests there are two competing temptations within the Church today, one of which is total cultural assimilation (“the Church becomes the world, and the logic for its distinct existence disappears”) and the other being its opposite: the sectoring off of Christendom into a virtue haven for the righteous. This, French argues, is the Christianity of Roy Moore, “a form of hyper-legalism as a firewall to protect your family…

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Another Week Ends: A Heaven-Sent Car Crash, the Anti-Aging Taboo, Fearful but Trendy Parents, the Legacy of Flannery O'Connor, and Sending Books to Kids in Houston

Another Week Ends: A Heaven-Sent Car Crash, the Anti-Aging Taboo, Fearful but Trendy Parents, the Legacy of Flannery O’Connor, and Sending Books to Kids in Houston

1. An amazing story of reconciliation in the latest episode of Jonathan Goldstein’s Heavyweight, the podcast DZ recommended in last week’s AWE. Every episode turns back the clock, diving into the past of a different person with unique resentments or grievances to air out.

The most recent episode is the story of Jesse, a man who at age twenty-one was t-boned by a car going 45mph. For a time he was legally dead, and seventeen days after the accident, he awoke from a coma half-paralyzed, expecting never again to walk, never again to drive. The life he once lived, his dreams, his…

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Another Week Ends: Happy Misconceptions, Pietist Flavors, MLK's Debts, WeWork Cults, Pixel Artists, Misery Filters and Dylan's Gospel Years

Another Week Ends: Happy Misconceptions, Pietist Flavors, MLK’s Debts, WeWork Cults, Pixel Artists, Misery Filters and Dylan’s Gospel Years

Before I dive in, I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who made the DC event last weekend such a smash, especially the wonderful people at All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase and the super talented Meaghan Ritchey. It was everything we could have hoped for! The audio files should be up in the next few days. They’ll drop first on the Mockingcast feed, so be sure you’re subscribed (speaking of which, the program itself is coming back! More soon).

Okay, a ton of strong material this week. At the top of the pile…

1. “Happiness is Other People”…

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Another (Conference) Week Ends: Paranormativity, Dream Deprivation, Millennial Morticians, Martin Luther, Christian Book Titles for the Age of the 'Net, and More Russell Brand

Another (Conference) Week Ends: Paranormativity, Dream Deprivation, Millennial Morticians, Martin Luther, Christian Book Titles for the Age of the ‘Net, and More Russell Brand

1. I think it was PZ who said that belief in the paranormal is almost a precondition of Christianity. It’s easy to think that science – which is properly concerned with empirically testing and proving/disproving those things which are subject to empirical testing – has vanquished the paranormal. Back in the old days, supernatural forces pressed on human existence from all sides. Beyond the village perimeter, the brooding night contained many things, and they were all threatening. Across Europe, peasants reported sightings of the Wild Hunt, a ghostly cavalcade of riders spreading terror and heralding catastrophe. In a world where…

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Another Week Ends: Anger at God, Tyrannical Histories, Pitmaster Preachers, Rom-Com Females, Money Metrics, and Here I Still Stand

Another Week Ends: Anger at God, Tyrannical Histories, Pitmaster Preachers, Rom-Com Females, Money Metrics, and Here I Still Stand

Bonnie Poon Zahl has an amazing interview in the Salvation Army magazine about the psychology of religion and anger at God. Bonnie, who wrote an amazing essay in our Mental Health Issue on attachment theory, here discusses the link between religious life and the life of the mind. Incredibly wise, she notes the fear Christians have of expressing their negative feelings and uncertainties towards God, very often because they have learned that such emotions mean a lack of faith. To the contrary, she says, such invitations to honesty comes directly from God:

God gave us emotions as important cues. We need…

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Another Week Ends: Bootleg Bob Dylan, Converted Morticians, Your True Self, Anxious Teens, and Earning Points in The Good Place

Another Week Ends: Bootleg Bob Dylan, Converted Morticians, Your True Self, Anxious Teens, and Earning Points in The Good Place

1. This week brought some fantastic revelations, not the least of which was Bob Dylan’s bootleg (gospel-infused) song, “Making A Liar Out of Me”:

Needless to say, we’re eagerly awaiting this collection’s release. From Andy Greene at Rolling Stone:

Bob Dylan began writing gospel songs at such a furious rate in late 1978 that there was no way his record company could put them all out, even if they let him release two albums of Christian music just 10 months apart. Many of the songs that never made it on record were played live on the gospel tours of 1979 to 1981 and…

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Another Week Ends: Vegas Silence, Branded Recovery, Facebook Likes, Robinson's Calvin, Authentic Pressures and Tom Petty

Another Week Ends: Vegas Silence, Branded Recovery, Facebook Likes, Robinson’s Calvin, Authentic Pressures and Tom Petty

1. First up, it’s not every day you come across the theology of the cross in The Washington Post, so you’ve got to hand it to Michael Gerson for taking the risk in his brief rumination on How We Should Pray After Las Vegas earlier this week. He writes:

The Christian faith involves a whisper from beyond time that death, while horrible, is not final — that the affirmations of the creeds and the inscriptions on tombstones are not lies. And for many, this hope is a barrier against despair.

Yet faith also encompasses something deeper and more difficult — what theologian…

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Another Week Ends: Sincerity, Repentance, Beatitudes, Michelin Stars, Hard Leisure, and Hard-Won Tribalism

Another Week Ends: Sincerity, Repentance, Beatitudes, Michelin Stars, Hard Leisure, and Hard-Won Tribalism

1. Mark Galli is at his best in his article, “Whatever Became of Repentance?” In a time riddled with righteous anger and categorical division on almost every level, it makes sense how the 500-year anniversary could be co-opted as a central reminder of the power of the Reformer and the Protest. Galli points the conversation in another direction entirely, towards a movement within rather than a movement without. Repentance, in fact, was the dawn of the Lutheran Protest. The return to the good news of true Christianity, Luther argued, was paved in the language of repentance. And as Galli notes,…

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Another Week Ends: Stories of Forgiveness, Electric Jesus, Selfish Marriages, Bad Vicars, Exhausted Chefs, and Discount Books

Another Week Ends: Stories of Forgiveness, Electric Jesus, Selfish Marriages, Bad Vicars, Exhausted Chefs, and Discount Books

1. Let’s start this round-up with a beautiful story from an unlikely source. Last week, The Wall Street Journal published an incredible exposition on forgiveness, “The Challenge of Jewish Repentance,” by Jonathan Sacks. Beginning with the Old Testament, with Genesis, Sacks describes how Jewish history has always revolved around the general wheel of transgression and forgiveness, disobedience and mercy.

With Rosh Hashanah having begun Wednesday evening, Sacks explains how, during the Ten Days of Repentance, Jews are put “on trial for [their] lives.” Focused on the confession of sins, it marks a time to marvel at the God “whose property is always…

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Another Week Ends: Apple's Future; the Problem with Present-ism; Rick, Morty, Jim Carrey, and JAZ; Denis Johnson's Darkness; Bergman's Light; and HGTV-Fights

Another Week Ends: Apple’s Future; the Problem with Present-ism; Rick, Morty, Jim Carrey, and JAZ; Denis Johnson’s Darkness; Bergman’s Light; and HGTV-Fights

1. At Apple’s Keynote on Tuesday, Tim Cook – in classic Jobs style – gave a short history of television. The first stage was black and white, and the second was color. A third was HD. Now, he assured his audience, we’re at another “inflection point” in television history: Apple TV 4K.

In hindsight, the original iPhone really did present such an inflection point: it dramatically changed the way we live our lives. People that attended that original keynote were, in a sense, present for the making of history. I’m not sure how well that holds up, actually–if one of my…

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Another Week Ends: Lonely Campuses, Unvisited Tombs, Cajun Navies, Misguided Minds, Big Ideas, and Low High Schools

Another Week Ends: Lonely Campuses, Unvisited Tombs, Cajun Navies, Misguided Minds, Big Ideas, and Low High Schools

1. With Labor Day behind us and Fall semester officially begun, it’s no wonder that higher education is back in the national spotlight. If only the news were a bit lighter… Alas, the atmosphere out there is one of concern bordering on alarm, and while the explanations vary, there seems to be widespread agreement that we’re experiencing something of breakdown in our nation’s universities, not just along ideological lines (predominantly left vs far left) but generational ones as well (students vs faculty, faculty vs administrators).

Writing in The NY Times, however, Frank Bruni claims the “real campus scourge” is not censoriousness…

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Another Week Ends: Houston, Taylor Swift, Smartphones, Broken Window Policing, the Silicon Valley Hustle, and the Shape of Water

Another Week Ends: Houston, Taylor Swift, Smartphones, Broken Window Policing, the Silicon Valley Hustle, and the Shape of Water

1. A gut-punch for all of us smartphone-using Millennials (or parents thereof). The Atlantic’s massive feature piece, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” painstakingly catalogs all the ways that our devices have ruined the mental health outlook for today’s young people, referred to in the essay as “iGen” teenagers. These teenagers, who were born after the birth of the internet, and have had access to iPhones and similar “screen time” since early childhood, have staggering rates of depression and loneliness—moving towards what the author, psychologist Jean Twenge, describes as “the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades.”

Even when a seismic…

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