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Another Week Ends: Good Friday, a Grand Miracle, Boomers' Death Boom, <i>Lazarus Is Dead</i>, Meritocracy, Performance, [chill / lofi  / jazzhop], and Oat Milk

Another Week Ends: Good Friday, a Grand Miracle, Boomers' Death Boom, Lazarus Is Dead, Meritocracy, Performance, [chill / lofi / jazzhop], and Oat Milk

1. Today is Good Friday, which means, if ever there were a time to consider the brutal instrument of death at the center of a major world religion, that time may as well be now. Off-putting and oft-baffling, the cross carries a multifaceted meaning that can prove elusive for onlookers and skeptics (and, much of time, believers). In a Times op-ed “What It Means to Worship a Man Crucified as a Criminal,” Peter Wehner beautifully and…

Another Week Ends: Love and a Meritocracy, Superhuman Humans, Twitter Psalms, Better Call Caravaggio, Trendy Mindfulness, and a DFW Movie

Another Week Ends: Love and a Meritocracy, Superhuman Humans, Twitter Psalms, Better Call Caravaggio, Trendy Mindfulness, and a DFW Movie

Well, try and stop David Brooks from being on the site twice in one week is what I say. While we’ve all agreed in the office that the cover of his new book isn’t nearly as cool as the one before, his column today is nothing short of a Mockingbird centerfold. It is called “Love and Merit” (!) and deals with the pitfalls of classic, well-intentioned parenting—you know, that strings-attached, perfomance-based, conditional variety of love we all…

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…

Never-Ending Performance Measurement & The Pitfalls of Taylorism

Never-Ending Performance Measurement & The Pitfalls of Taylorism

This one comes to us from our friend Matthew Wilkins. I first learned about the work of Frederick Taylor in a Public Administration course I took as an undergraduate. His book, The Principles of Scientific Management, first published in 1911, signaled a seismic shift in the way companies and organizations thought about workplace efficiency. I remember being particularly fascinated by Taylor’s project. Think about it: here was a man who took the…

Twenty Years Later, What Does Harry Potter Mean to You?

Twenty Years Later, What Does Harry Potter Mean to You?

Last week marked the twentieth anniversary of the first Harry Potter book, which was released on June 26, 1997. The Internet went ablaze with tributes and toasts to this series which changed the imagination and the vernacular—and, some argue, the entire worldview—of a generation. I like the Harry Potter books as much as the next person, which is to say, a lot. So I need not go into too much detail about the wonderful wizarding world therein….

Another Week Ends: Reciprocal Favors, Atheism's Biggest Challenge, <i>The New Yorker</i> Profiles Francis I, Declining WASPs, Social Media Christmas Cards, Ascendant Meritocracies, and Simon Pegg

Another Week Ends: Reciprocal Favors, Atheism's Biggest Challenge, The New Yorker Profiles Francis I, Declining WASPs, Social Media Christmas Cards, Ascendant Meritocracies, and Simon Pegg

1. New Year’s Resolutions: we’ve said about all we’re going to say concerning a yearly ritual of personal bootstrapping, but some great articles this year from Tullian Tchividjian (on the spiritual side of things), from Woody Guthrie’s Sermon-on-the-Mount-standard life guide (pictured below), and finally, a wonderful Quartz article about how to make resolutions you can keep. After long study, they basically…

Another Week Ends: Self-Defeating Measurements, Neurotic Moralities, Self-Justifying Meritocracies, and Gospel-Centric Snoop Doggs

Another Week Ends: Self-Defeating Measurements, Neurotic Moralities, Self-Justifying Meritocracies, and Gospel-Centric Snoop Doggs

1. Over at the New York Times, Molly Worthen (of Apostles of Reason fame) wrote an interesting piece on the burgeoning learning-assessment industry. For those seeking to hone their “truthseeking” and “analyticity” (!!), teacher assessments aren’t enough; we need big data to tell us what we’re learning. Worthen’s skeptical: Here is the second irony: Learning assessment has not spurred discussion of the…

The Church Built on the Rock of Hypocrisy

The Church Built on the Rock of Hypocrisy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PoIBwAAKpM The New York Times posted a video last month of an interview they conducted with Ray Dalio, the founder of the largest hedge fund in the world (Bridgewater Associates), and the captain of one of the more terrifying work cultures ever. Bridgewater, which manages $150 billion worldwide, preaches a work culture euphemized as “radical transparency,” a culture so monomaniacally focused on…

Another Week Ends: Bad Luck, Egyptian Daggers from Outer Space, Piety Vacuums, The Golden Calf of College, Eulogy-Virtues, Spiritual Shins, and Baptist Justice

Another Week Ends: Bad Luck, Egyptian Daggers from Outer Space, Piety Vacuums, The Golden Calf of College, Eulogy-Virtues, Spiritual Shins, and Baptist Justice

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with author and film critic Alissa Wilkinson. 1. This week New York Magazine covered the fascinating tug-of-war between meritocracy and luck in modern culture. Entitled, “Why Americans Ignore the Role of Luck in Everything,” the article discusses the inflammatory remarks of Robert Frank, an economist at Cornell, who said that luck plays…

Another Week Ends: Fans and Debtors, Reverse Psychology, Brooks on Merit Power, <i>Batman</i> and Walter White, Spousal Surveillance and Christian Technology

Another Week Ends: Fans and Debtors, Reverse Psychology, Brooks on Merit Power, Batman and Walter White, Spousal Surveillance and Christian Technology

1. From The Atlantic comes “Why Being an Obsessed Soccer Fan Can Make You Really, Really Happy,” a look into the camaraderie of fandom–which seems simple enough–but not only does fandom give purpose and an unusual chance to breach the confines of self-interest, it also provokes inclusion by way of exclusivity. People have the opportunity, despite their level of fandom, to be fans, together—to identify with something…

The Least Shall Be the Greatest: Crippling Accomplishments and Restitutive Suffering

The Least Shall Be the Greatest: Crippling Accomplishments and Restitutive Suffering

Earlier, we looked at the narrative of David from 1 Samuel in relation to the theme of God’s preference for the least. In short, it is only by gratuitously choosing a young, poor, largely underqualified king that God reconstituted the people of Israel. This occurred because God’s choice of the least removes any meritocracy from the kingship, allowing the poorest shepherd to participate in God’s gracious choice of king just as much as the…

My Baby Does the Hanky Panky: Sex Is Bigger Than You (and Me and Everyone We Know)

My Baby Does the Hanky Panky: Sex Is Bigger Than You (and Me and Everyone We Know)

Two remarkable articles about sex–you know, coitus–have come across my screen in the past couple weeks, both of them refreshingly offbeat. The first comes from Alain De Botton, he of Religion for Atheists fame and the new How to Think More About Sex. It appeared in The Wall Street Journal under the suitably provocative title, “Why Most Men Aren’t Man Enough to Handle Web Porn”. De Botton is interested in exposing, pun…