Are you a None? NPR on Losing our Religion

This past week NPR ran a five-day series on the “Nones,” the increasing number of religiously unaffiliated Americans.  The title comes from a Pew study released last fall noting an uptick in those who described their religious affiliation as “none.”  About a fifth of American adults, and a third of Americans under 30, classify themselves [Read More...]

Ready for Christmas?

Santa Claus

As this posting falls on December 24 it seems virtually impossible to make it a workaday one rather than a seasonal theme.  The relationship between work days and Christmas was handled memorably in the early years of colonial America by the governor of Plymouth, William Bradford.  His band of Pilgrims being low church and high [Read More...]

Beechers in the Backyard

We are still in the thick of Civil War commemorations— perhaps Americans never are far from  them–and entering a fresh phase with the release of Lincoln on the big screen.  For Georgetown, Massachusetts, where my family lives, Civil War memory has two primary foci: the Massachusetts 50th Volunteer regiment, Company K, a fellowship of town [Read More...]

ALL HALLOWED AND HAUNTED

How should we interpret Hurricane Sandy, blowing near Salem, Massachusetts, in the days before Halloween? Might it be read providentially, as it could have been read by the colonists who made the place famous by their treatment of witches? Or is it really an enhancement of Halloween, tempestuous winds to make the party spookier and [Read More...]

Poverty, Chastity, and Delivery

A mother expecting her twenty-fifth baby is just one of the shocks that greet young midwife Jenny, main character of the new PBS series Call The Midwife.  Imported from the BBC, the show is adapted from a book of the same title by Jennifer Worth, midwife, nurse, and musician, who died in 2011. This is [Read More...]

Where Was California at the First Thanksgiving?

This summer our family traveled to southern California, a first trip to San Diego.  Our children clambered through tide pools on Point Loma peninsula at the Cabrillo monument.  This National Park honors Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first European to alight in 1542 on the west coast of what is now the United States of America. [Read More...]


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