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Posts tagged "J.R.R. Tolkien"

Another Week Ends: Compassion at School, Kathy Griffin, Dystopian Fiction, the Feeling of "Liget," Transference in Therapy, and a Robot Priest

Another Week Ends: Compassion at School, Kathy Griffin, Dystopian Fiction, the Feeling of “Liget,” Transference in Therapy, and a Robot Priest

1. A segment from NPR this week poignantly illustrated how the law and the gospel play out in real life. The story takes place in New Orleans, where the aftermath of Katrina sent kids’ trauma levels off the charts and schools have begun to pivot away from “no excuses” disciplinary models.

The particular school profiled here, Crocker College Prep, formerly expected students to abide by a rigid set of rules; many of their students, however, had been exposed to horrific events that impacted their ability to behave accordingly. Trauma aside, anyone faced with a particularly unattainable rule will either fight it or run from it; but in “a kid…

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The Gospel According to Gandalf

The Gospel According to Gandalf

It’s no secret that J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is full of Christian imagery, but upon diving into The Fellowship of the Ring, I soon realized that I had vastly underestimated the extent of said imagery. I was so taken aback and borderline giddy by the powerful, convicting metaphors I was reading that I started underlining and writing margin notes, a practice formerly saved exclusively for academic reading but never ever done when reading for pleasure. One passage in particular stuck out to me.

Towards the beginning of Tolkien’s narrative, Gandalf explains the dark history of the Rings to…

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The Eternal Solution of Vampirism or, "If I Were a Vampire"

The Eternal Solution of Vampirism or, “If I Were a Vampire”

Last weekend I made what I should publically refer to as a “shame-purchase.” When nobody was looking, I bought the entire movie collection of The Twilight Saga. Don’t make it a thing, but modern teen vampire stories are my kryptonite, and they almost always follow the same plot structure:

Awkward, fragile human (female) falls in love with strapping, obsessive vampire (male). Love between them is so sexy and intense that only way for the human to survive and thrive — to live — is for her to become vampire. Needs more blood.

This script hits really close to home. Mortality is so…

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Another Week Ends: Trigger Warnings, Performance Bias, More Tinder, More True Detective, Plus Donald Trump, J.R.R. Tolkien, Gandhi and Tolstoy

Another Week Ends: Trigger Warnings, Performance Bias, More Tinder, More True Detective, Plus Donald Trump, J.R.R. Tolkien, Gandhi and Tolstoy

1. The Atlantic’s cover story this month comes from social science favorite Jonathan Haidt. His topic is the apprehension-du-jour, the ever-growing problem of P.C., especially in the realm of college classrooms and student learning. Haidt, a professor himself at NYU, sees the trend of “trigger warnings” and “vindictive protectiveness,” different from the political correctness interest of the 80s and 90s, mainly because this wave stems from emotional reasoning more than it does from objective reasoning. And he sees this as a danger to the learning of students, precisely because it prioritizes evasion of conflict rather than the confrontation of it.

Haidt…

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Another Year Ends: Evangelical Decline, more Les Mis, Tebow Absurdity, Anxious Parents, The Hobbit, Apatow in Crisis, Millenial Affirmations and A Muppet Family Christmas

Another Year Ends: Evangelical Decline, more Les Mis, Tebow Absurdity, Anxious Parents, The Hobbit, Apatow in Crisis, Millenial Affirmations and A Muppet Family Christmas

1. An uncommonly insightful piece by John Dickerson appeared in The NY Times about “The Decline of Evangelical America.” Writing as an evangelical himself, Dickerson recites some jarring statistics before launching into a sympathetic and genuinely hopeful conclusion, ht SZ:

In 2007, the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, in a survey of 1,300 college professors, found that 3 percent held “unfavorable feelings” toward Jews, 22 percent toward Muslims and 53 percent toward evangelical Christians…

The core evangelical belief is that love and forgiveness are freely available to all who trust in Jesus Christ. This is the “good news” from which the…

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Escapism? Life as Real as British Fantasy Television

Escapism? Life as Real as British Fantasy Television

This piece comes from Lynn MacDougall, who reflects on last month’s Fall Mockingbird Conference, the suffering human pull between good-and-evil and, of course, the illustrious genre of fantasy television.

“In each of us, two natures are at war – the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose – what we want most to be we are.” –Robert Louis Stevenson

“I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one. . . . Humans are caught—in their lives,…

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Tis the Season for Highly Anticipated Trailers