1. Over at The Pacific Standard, Kathryn Joyce provides a remarkably thorough look at “The Rise of Biblical Counseling”. It’s a crash course in both the history of conflicted Christian attitudes toward psychotherapy, and, unintentionally perhaps, how those attitudes are perceived by secular elites (i.e. with disdain and/or condescension). She surveys a field which runs the gamut from hardliners who would chalk nearly all mental illness up to sinful behavior (and do untold damage in the process) and more moderate, medication-endorsing voices who have the gall to insist that there may be a spiritual and–gasp!–moral component to certain afflictions, or at least, that we ignore such…
Another Week Ends: Biblical Counseling, Jennifer Lawrence, God Help the Girl, Volunteer Pallbearers, Sly Stone and The Nobodies
LOUISVILLE, KY—According to reports, local woman Janelle Tompkins’ arrival to work an hour late and severely hungover Tuesday morning was precisely the 30th wake-up call she needed to turn her life around. “Wow, my habit of staying out and drinking all night has clearly gotten out of control. I’ve got to make some major changes ASAP,” said Tompkins, using the exact phrasing she uttered during her five previous wake-up calls this year, which have included two shattered relationships and blacking out at a friend’s bridal shower. “I suppose something had to give eventually, and now I’ve gotten the message: It’s time to make a fresh start and think about my future for once.” At press time, Tompkins had invited several close friends to celebrate her new lease on life by meeting at their local bar’s Oktoberfest celebration.
1) It is “Play Week” at NPR, so let’s have some fun! Among the legions of playground research data, lab rat tickle tests (not joking), and zany stories about parents at “amusement parks”, play is becoming the boon of brain science, the absence of which we feel a threat to the very health of a nation. Erik Erikson, Brigid Schulte, eat your heart out! Tag this with busyness, successaholism, moms “having it all,” you name it, play is really just the current word for freedom—from demand, from time, from broccoli. It is the inspired no-where of imagination, inquiry, and social…
Watch out, this one’s a little deeper than they normally go, ht CS.
MINNEAPOLIS—Fully aware of his numerous flaws and unappealing personal characteristics, local 33-year-old Phillip Morgan confided to reporters Wednesday that he found it a bit unsettling to imagine that the perfect woman for him is out there somewhere.
Morgan, a sales manager with little upward mobility in his job who has lived in the same sparsely furnished apartment for six years, said it troubled him to contemplate the theoretical existence of a woman so well-suited to him she would actually appreciate him the way he is, and ultimately want to…
America’s Finest News Source reports:
PHOENIX—Unwilling to cede decades of hard-won advances, local man Roger Cannon’s persistent anxiety vowed Monday that it would not let clinical depression muscle in on any of its turf. “Look, I’ve had a vise-grip on this guy for 30 years, so I’m not about to roll over now and let some despondent feelings and an overriding aversion to activity waltz in and take over his emotional state,” said the mental disorder… “Roger’s mental condition is my domain. And if all-encompassing thoughts of hopelessness and inadequacy think they can parade around like they own the place, trust me, they’ve got another thing coming.” The neurosis then promised that it wouldn’t make the same mistake it did in 2011, when it briefly let its guard down and disastrously allowed happiness to take hold.
Another Week Ends: Blinded with Science, Stumped by Meaning After God, Paralyzed by the Law of Ice and Fire, Outmaneuvered by a Cheeseburger and Oversimplified by Gallup
1. Aquinas followed Aristotle in claiming the end (telos, purpose) of biology is medicine. Science has long been a technical discipline designed primarily to promote human flourishing / well-being. Of course, it was always contemplative to a degree, satisfying curiosity or even, as Aquinas also notes, teaching us about God. The study of creation reflects upon the Creator. One wonders what the role of science is today, what a panel of researchers would say if asked. My best guess would be something along the lines of increasing knowledge for knowledge’s sake; if pressed further, one might say that pure knowledge works to bolster happiness and/or…
Another Week Ends: Silent Treatment, 1st-World Problems, Rectify & Rev, Robinson’s Lila, Phillips’ Freud, Heresy Help, Tragic Soccer, and Soviet Propaganda
1. Under the auspices of “How and Why to Ban the Silent Treatment from Your Relationship”, The Wall Street Journal issued a perceptive and even quite touching treatise on how the dynamic of demand and withdrawal comes to poison so many loving relationships. The article starts out with the same old line about judgment and expectation snuffing out affection (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), and ‘law’ making bad things worse, with some token men-are-from-Mars-women-are-from-Venus thrown in–but it doesn’t end there. That is, while some of the diagnosis (and rather patronizing advice) falls under the heading of the perilously…
SPOKANE, WA—Ten months after altering her interests, appearance, behavior, and opinions to please her boyfriend, Michael Gartner, local woman Gabrielle McMullen is now enjoying a happy, lasting relationship with her long-term partner, the cheerful 27-year-old told reporters Friday. “When I first started dating Michael, things were a little tense and uncomfortable because there were aspects of my personality that didn’t appeal to him, but once I suppressed my thoughts and feelings and completely changed who I am, everything got better,” McMullen said of her formerly flagging romance… “Michael was clearly unhappy because he wanted me to be a different person from who I am, so all I had to do was take note of what he did and didn’t like about me and mold myself into a person who satisfied all his requirements. That really helped resolve a lot of our issues, which is why almost a year later our relationship is better than ever.”
Another Week Ends: Reboot Treaties, Father’s Day, Tolkien’s Sorrowful Joy, 5 Minutes in a Mom’s Head, and Analyzing Analysts
1. We open this week with a less-than-implausible doomsday scenario envisioned by The Onion, a world in which reboot films will come to wreak havoc on civilization. Fortunately, the newssite reported this week that “Universal Studios, Warner Bros. Enter Talks To Reduce Stockpiles Of Unproduced Reboots”. More below:
Conceding the time has come to limit the proliferation of new movies that simply rehash old ones, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. have entered bilateral talks to reduce their considerable stockpiles of unproduced reboots, sources confirmed Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters after the first day of tense negotiations, members of both sides said that while building up…
Another Week Ends: Cultural Literati Pretenders, Fake Empathy, The Search for Cool (Moms), Kurt Vonnegut, Calvary, and the Gospel Dustups
1) The Atlantic attempted a definition of “cool” this week, and it runs in tow with Shane Snow’s definition of humor in the New Yorker. Whereas humor can be defined as “benign violation,” cool is defined by Derek Thompson as “a measured violation of malign expectations.” Sounds good to me! Within this definition, cool is bound on both ends by law: cool is a response to some form of constraint or expectation, but it also must operate within an expected set of parameters in order for it to be seen as cool. If it operates beyond the parameters of its…
The well of inspiration over there just never seems to run dry! Breathtaking, ht JD:
RALEIGH, NC—Marvelling at how often he finds himself consumed by doubt and anxiety throughout the course of his day, local 32-year-old Ross Erickson told reporters Tuesday that his array of personal insecurities was versatile enough to be projected onto any type of situation. “Sure, my fears that I’m a fraud who won’t amount to anything and that I’m inherently unlikeable crop up in the usual places—like in my relationship or when I’m dealing with my parents—but what’s really remarkable is that they’re also adaptable enough to find their way into the most everyday situations, like interacting with strangers or even just thinking of speaking up in a work meeting,” said Erickson, noting that his exceptionally flexible worries could assume control and cause him to completely freeze up in scenarios as diverse as attending a friend’s barbecue, sharing an elevator with a coworker, or simply being in the presence of an attractive woman… “There’s really no limit as to when or where [my personal fears] can make me feel self-conscious and force me to analyze and obsess over every little detail involved.” At press time, Erickson was mentally berating himself, convinced he had given a terrible, embarrassing interview to reporters.
With deadlines for issue two of The Mockingbird hitting at the moment (subscribe now!), our normal Another Week Ends column takes a break today. But we won’t leave you hanging entirely. The humor links we would’ve included are as follows:
1. These Christian Tingle videos from Tripp and Tyler are things of beauty:
2. If you missed Louis C.K’s riff on ‘God as Mom’ on SNL last month, it’s definitely worth watching as we gear up for Mother’s Day. The whole thing is funny, but the more relevant stuff starts around the 4 minute mark:
3. Real Clear Religion posted a feature on…
Another Week Ends: Evil Without, Fitness Within, Gilbert and Sullivan, Jesus and “My Wife”, Relentless Popes, Concessive Friends, Bad TV Fans and Worse Tinder Dates
1. Sarah Palin this week let loose another of the brand of comments she’s known for – offensive or courageous or whatever, depending on your politics. The exact line was something along the lines of, “If I were in charge they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.” It would be a mistake to blame Palin too much; it’s hard to win primaries as a moderate these days, right or left. The more sobering news comes from the world of Stats: reporting on Palin’s comments, The Dish noted the following:
[The best recent research] reveals that vast swathes of American Christianity are…