Gender
Glimmers of Civilization (and Grace) in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Glimmers of Civilization (and Grace) in The Grand Budapest Hotel

I was bonding with a friend in New York last week over our mutual affection for the new Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. After swapping a few favorite lines, he asked, with a twinkle in his eye, “So how’re you going to shoe-horn this one into your theological framework?” Quick wit that I am, I responded, “A story about adoption and inheritance that ends with an act of radical self-sacrifice – probably won’t need my shoehorn for this one”. Badabing! Obnoxious, I know. What’s even more obnoxious is that I’d been thinking for days about Grand Budapest and…

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On Blessed Messes and the New Law of Mothering Ineptitude

On Blessed Messes and the New Law of Mothering Ineptitude

Over the past few years I’ve noticed a trend in popular women’s theology (ie “mom blogs” and playground conversations) that goes something like this: My life is such a mess. Isn’t it great that I own that?

The trend isn’t just out there. I was taken aback recently when I found myself chastising a lawyer friend of mine for posting photos of the homemade valentines she crafted for her 4 year old son’s class. I wrote something along the lines of, “Can’t you keep the standards low for working mothers? Come on!” I can be easily overwhelmed by the charge of being…

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Another Week Ends: Negatively Positive Thinking, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Love and Friendship, Fun Families, Facebook Sociology and Vonnegut’s Shapes of Stories

Another Week Ends: Negatively Positive Thinking, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Love and Friendship, Fun Families, Facebook Sociology and Vonnegut’s Shapes of Stories

1. Think positive! The New Yorker this week pushes back against the “think I can” trend, famously espoused by Thomas the Train – and even in adult media, too. While it’s certain that confidence often sometimes helps (Seahawks defensiveback Richard Sherman self-imputed the title “best cornerback in the league” and subsequently grew into it), it tends to break down in the long run, ht TB:

According to a great deal of research, positive fantasies may lessen your chances of succeeding. In one experiment, the social psychologists Gabriele Oettingen and Doris Mayer asked eighty-three German students to rate the extent to which they “experienced positive thoughts, images,…

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Thirteen Ways of Looking at an Equal Marriage

Thirteen Ways of Looking at an Equal Marriage

On Sunday, The New York Times Magazine published an article by Lori Gottleib about marriage equality. No, not that kind. This article had the search-engine-optimized headline: “Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex?” Like many New York Times trend pieces, the article combines social science data with anecdotes from anonymous friend-sources to provoke its navel-gazing core demographic of 18- to 46-year-olds.

Well, consider me provoked.

The core premise of the article is this: In marriages where household duties are equally and gender-neutrally divided between the spouses, the spouses are less likely to have sex. That premise is drawn from a study…

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Another Week Ends: Ordinary Fear, Twitter Mobs, Christian Balloons, People-Pleasing, 30 Year-Old Advice and the (Space) Ghost of Pavement

Another Week Ends: Ordinary Fear, Twitter Mobs, Christian Balloons, People-Pleasing, 30 Year-Old Advice and the (Space) Ghost of Pavement

1. Apologies in advance for the rather bleak (midwinter) weekender! Hopefully the hymn is still ringing in your ears. First off, Joshua Graves had the opportunity to ask Experimental Theology’s Richard Beck–an emerging favorite, for his Calvin and Hobbes series if nothing else–what he would like people to know about death and the Christian faith. Beck’s response was beautiful, doubling as an ideal, accidental intro to our 2014 NYC Conference theme, ht WB:

I’d start with Henri Nouwen’s question: “Who am I when nobody pays attention, says thanks, or recognizes my work?” The answer most of us would give, shaped as…

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On TV: Has The Bachelor Lost Us? Introducing the Juan Pablo Problem

On TV: Has The Bachelor Lost Us? Introducing the Juan Pablo Problem

Maybe you don’t watch The Bachelor, sure. And maybe I don’t search for a Dolby receiver on Craigslist from time to time when my boss isn’t looking. You watch The Bachelor, you know you do. And if the first two episodes of this season are any indication, things have gone awry somewhere. If you need to see how, all you have to do is tune in for the January 26th Sunday night special, to watch last year’s bachelor-turned-groom, Sean, marry his Seattle sweetheart, Catherine—there you will get a picture of what the Bachelor was, the light casting shadows on what…

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Underachieving Boys and the Masks Men Wear

Underachieving Boys and the Masks Men Wear

I was bowled over a few years ago at the graduation of a family member from a high-profile college. Before the seniors walked up to receive their diplomas, a number of awards were announced. Academic awards and service awards and all-around achievement awards, about ten in all. As is normally the case at such functions, I was only half tuned-in, dreaming about some rare Beach Boys records I was thinking about ordering or something. So I didn’t notice what was happening until about six proud winners had shuffled up to the stage. All of them were young women. In fact,…

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Flavours of Failure in the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy

Flavours of Failure in the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy

“For those with ears to hear”, I suspect we have something of an opus from Mockingbird pop-culture expert Wenatchee the Hatchet. While we’ve tended to divvy up his material in the past, the three Cornetto Flavours films – Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End (recently newly-released in a box set!) just have too much perfection to separate. Bring the noise!

Now that the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg has reached its conclusion in The World’s End, it would be impossible to sum them up without a nod to Simon Pegg’s axiom that…

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Holly Jolly Paper Towels and the Women of Pre-Christmas

Holly Jolly Paper Towels and the Women of Pre-Christmas

With the reason for the season (bourbon and presents, duh) quickly descending upon us, I’d like to take a moment to address the Women of Pre-Christmas. You know those women. You were likely birthed by one and are currently married to another. Maybe, like me, you count yourself among our ranks. We stand as the doers of the holiday season. We make sure our Pintrest boards are updated with all of the rustic, yet festive decor our brains can stand. We judge people who are just now starting to shop for gifts (don’t they have a Zulily account?). The baking…

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Another Week Ends: OWL Pushback, Antihero Armstrong, Pearls for Gleason, New McCartney, Ambitious Slackers, Space Cowboys, Food-Profiling, and Dilbert’s Failure

Another Week Ends: OWL Pushback, Antihero Armstrong, Pearls for Gleason, New McCartney, Ambitious Slackers, Space Cowboys, Food-Profiling, and Dilbert’s Failure

1. Yesterday I mentioned the name-dropping op-ed that appeared on the Washington Post, Tullian Tchividjian’s “The Missing Message in Today’s Churches.” It’s fine little piece, notable as much for where it was published as what it is saying, most of which will be familiar to readers of this site:

“Too many churches perpetuate the impression that Christianity is primarily concerned with morality. As my colleague David Zahl has written, ‘Christianity is not about good people getting better. It is about real people coping with their failure to be good.’ The heart of the Christian faith is Good News not good behavior….

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Mommyjuice and the Burden of Perfection(-ism)

Mommyjuice and the Burden of Perfection(-ism)

For as much as we talk about addiction and alcoholism on this site, you might think we’re teetotalers, or anti-alcohol or something. Anyone who has attended one of our conferences knows that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the old humblebrag about Episcopalians–”where two or three are gathered together, you will always find a fifth”–applies more than we might wish. Life is hard, and who are we to begrudge someone taking the edge off with a cold beer or a “generous pour” of Cabernet at the end of the day? And yet, and yet, as our most widespread…

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Marital Expectations and Baby Bottle Cleanliness

Marital Expectations and Baby Bottle Cleanliness

“I have waited my whole life to be oppressed” admits Lynn Messina in the opening line of her incredible Modern Love column that appeared in the Times this past Sunday. In “Chained to Hearth or Warmed by It?” she comes clean about the ramifications that her yearning for victimhood–or predilection for self-pity (aka justification by suffering)–has had in her relationship with her husband. But it is also a story of grace triumphing over law in a very visceral sense. Some might say the writing is on the wall when Lynn describes her pre-parenthood agreement with her husband, Chris. Because he…

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Holly Golightly and the Knight in Shining Armor Complex

Holly Golightly and the Knight in Shining Armor Complex

A recent Onion headline reads as follows: “College-Aged Female Finds Unlikely Kindred Spirit in Audrey Hepburn.” The article (which is about a girl named Emily and set in Charlottesville…) adds that, “while no one would ever suspect it, [Emily] has a Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster hanging in her dorm room.” While I swear that I am not the basis for the fictional Emily of Charlottesville quoted in this article, at least two different posters of Audrey Hepburn have adorned my walls before, and I have watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s more times than I can count. What is the big deal…

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Start-Up, Stay-at-Home Visionary: Solace for the Perfect Mom

Start-Up, Stay-at-Home Visionary: Solace for the Perfect Mom

The New York Times Magazine’s cover piece for this past week is a rejoinder to one from 2003, about mothers “opting out” of ambitious, lucrative career fields, to become stay-at-home mothers. This time, ten years later, Judith Warner catches up with and spotlights three women in particular who want a way back into their careers, and the picture given is definitely (and mercifully) mixed. Of the three women, one is divorced and living in a condo, one is living her dream as the CEO of her own non-profit, and another just lost her new job, worrying how the kids will…

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That’s What She Said: Women and Campus “Hookup Culture”

That’s What She Said: Women and Campus “Hookup Culture”

It’s hard to figure out exactly what is going on with the college “hookup culture” these days—even for me, and I’m in college. There are so many publications and divergent opinions on the topic that you almost need a degree to keep track of what the problem is and “who is to blame.” For a while, the general consensus seemed to be that young men were the ones promoting the no-strings-attached hookup, turning the dark basements of frat houses into a debauched game of musical chairs—take home whoever you’re dancing with when the dubstep stops—while the girls are forced to…

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