About S. L. Whitesell

Lee studies law at the University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife Joanna live in Philadelphia.

Why You Should Believe in Santa Claus (Even If He Doesn’t Exist)

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We have evaluated the evidence and heard testimony from leading experts. Satellite imagery reveals no evidence of a toy-making operation in the Arctic North. Surveillance equipment in homes throughout the Western hemisphere captured no evidence of generous bearded trespassers. Forensic analysis of Christmas tree sites has found DNA and fingerprints corresponding only to people who live there. A few rogue Santaologists insist he is among us, but all reported sightings have been explained as … [Read more...]

Celebrating C. S. Lewis: ‘Surprised by Joy’

Surprised

Editor’s Note: November 22, 2013, will mark the fiftieth anniversary of C. S. Lewis’s death. On that day, he will be given a place in Westminster Abbey’s renowned Poet’s Corner. In commemoration of this event, all this week Christ and Pop Culture contributors will be writing about the works by C. S. Lewis that have been most personally significant to them.Are you ever surprised by Joy? It is quite likely that you are, if you ever experience it at all. Like its source, Joy isn't the sort of th … [Read more...]

Celebrating C. S. Lewis: ‘That Hideous Strength’

That Hideous Strength

Editor’s Note: November 22, 2013, will mark the fiftieth anniversary of C. S. Lewis’s death. On that day, he will be given a place in Westminster Abbey’s renowned Poet’s Corner. In commemoration of this event, all this week Christ and Pop Culture contributors will be writing about the works by C. S. Lewis that have been most personally significant to them.I stumbled on C. S. Lewis’s “space trilogy” quite by accident. I was, in fact, convinced that his only fiction was set in Narnia. A booksto … [Read more...]

This Halloween, Read a Scary Story and Embrace Inscrutability

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In the Peanuts universe, Linus waits every year for The Great Pumpkin to appear on Halloween. When the avatar of Hallow's Eve fails to materialize, Linus cheerily embarks on another year of expectant waiting. The other characters think he is fanciful at best and a lunatic at worst. Perhaps only those of us who still have our blankies can understand Linus's peculiar faith, but is it possible that he is privy to some knowledge that every other Peanuts character lacks? Even if there is, … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Should We Abandon the Culture Wars?

Is the Fallwell era of Christian political engagement over? Russell Moore, in the Wall Street Journal is the latest (and probably most prominent) in a movement of theologically conservative Christian thinkers who argue that the alliance was always uneasy. He says that Christians should not be "mascots" for political factions; we should instead remember that one day there will be a last Congress of the United States and shift our focus away from politics. This is not an argument for accommodation … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Ross Douthat on Pope Francis and the Disappearing Middle

Ross Douthat, complementing recents posts from us and Russell Moore, provides a broader sociological perspective regarding the pope's alleged moderating tendencies. In Western religions, liberal elements have withered while conservative congregations have continued to grow. The confessional middle, as we might call it, simply doesn't hold. In an increasingly secular world, accommodative theologies are just pointless. Might as well join UNICEF or the United Way or the ACLU if your church is ac … [Read more...]

What the D.C. Chase Has to Do With How We Act in Church Tomorrow

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Thursday, 34-year-old Miriam Carey drove her car into the White House fence. She then tried to ram into other structures and failed. When she tried to make a u-turn to continue her driving bonanza, police opened fire on her car. Initial reports of gunshots fired, Congress on lockdown, and injured Secret Service agents led us to believe that she was also shooting. This obscured an uncomfortable fact: she was unarmed.With a fuller picture of the story, there is no indication of failure of … [Read more...]

Pope Francis: From “Yay!” to “Uh..” in Record Time

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Russell Moore writes, "It's another week and thus another interview with Pope Francis." Indeed, we are unaccustomed to hearing so very much from the Bishop of Rome, least of all from media sources. Normally we hear lots of words in Italian or Latin uttered from Vatican balconies, homilies and declarations of a head of state and supreme pontiff, and we move on to something else. Not so with Francis. From the moment the white smoke plumed from the sacred chimney, he's been cutting a different … [Read more...]

The Sources of Our Discontent: Why Our Generation Is Still Unhappy

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You might have seen this cute and insightful post at Wait But Why a few weeks ago. It puts "generation y yuppies" in historical context in order to explain why they are so unhappy.It begins with generations before, with the one that survived the Depression and defeated the Nazis. These gritty Americans saw their hard work come to fruition just as the United States became history's richest economic power. They watched their children climb the class ladder. Dad built the Hoover Dam, junior was … [Read more...]

Should Churches Be Taxed?

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Every election cycle, we hear stories of evangelical pastors admonishing certain unnamed abortion supporters or some other liberal evil du jour. And this past year, during her husband's reelection campaign, Michelle Obama implored African-American churchgoers in Nashville to be politically engaged. She was careful to avoid saying things like "vote" and "Democrats."Both cases, like many others, were met with calls for removing the offending church's tax exemption. Sometimes this argument is … [Read more...]


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