Happy Valley: The Delusion of Penn State's Paradise, Lost

I grew up—and still live—in Penn State country just outside of State College. Nearly everyone knows the area by a different name: Happy Valley. Reasons abound as to why one would be happy living in the heart of Pennsylvania, but the main reason for the colloquialism is that Penn State has been a nationally esteemed place to raise a family. We have been dubbed the "least stressful," ranked 19th among the "50 smartest places to live," and counted the number one "safest small city in America." The i … [Read more...]

Elsewhere: Scandals, Acting, Politics, and Infographics

Jason Is the ability to “hate well” necessary to be a good judge of style and aesthetics?Albert Mohler describes how the Penn State scandal and Joe Paterno’s firing “must shake the entire nation into a new moral awareness.”Mexico’s infamous drug cartels have killed yet another person for criticizing them in social media.Here’s a list of the world’s eight worst fonts (and no, Comic Sans isn’t among them).Google+ is doomed, doomed I tell you.Brad Here’s a good breakdown of Five Things we … [Read more...]

Sacred Space: Ministry as Vocation

Every Friday in Sacred Space, Brad Williams explores the place of popular culture in the local church.Pastors are a gift from God to the church. So are plumbers and mechanics and medical doctors. I hate to say it, but there is nothing mystical about any of those vocations. There are prerequisites for each vocation, and each should be thought about wisely before one embarks upon those vocational paths—but do not look for signs and wonders or self-worth in any of those jobs.Becoming a Ch … [Read more...]

What Memes Mean: Nickelback and the Psychology of Punching Bags

Each Wednesday in What Memes Mean, Kirk Bozeman questions the significance, humor, and subtexts of viral videos, memes, and other Internet fads.Nickelback has become one of the most vilified rock acts in recent history. To many serious music listeners, they exemplify the remnants of the corporate rock machine (at least in presentation, I’m not sure where they actually stand corporation-wise). Their music is considered obvious and "radio-friendly," and their continued existence seems ironic in … [Read more...]

Podcast #104: MacArthur's "Encouragement" for the Young, Restless, and Reformed

Podcast #104: MacArthur's "Encouragement"John MacArthur has recently been giving advice to the "Young, Restless, and Reformed" (YRR) a growing group of Calvinistic young people who currently make up a large percentage of America's evangelicals. Contributor Brad Williams and editor Drew Dixon take a closer look at a recent video in which MacArthur attempts to list "three clear concerns" about the YRR movement. Brad and Drew try to get to the bottom of who this group actually is and discuss M … [Read more...]

Elsewhere: Walking Dead Theology, Anonymous vs Los Zetas, and Bieber Baby

Drew John MacArthur is “encouraging” the Young Restless and Reformed again.Matthew Lee Anderson has written a helpful summary of the Mohler/Wallis debateon social justice and the mission of the church.Our very own Rich Clark wrote a fascinating review of Battlefield 3 that has me rethinking some of my frustrations with war games.Gus Mastrapa shares a list of things that he ate in Skyrim--the fact that I found this article compelling is either due to Mastrapa being a compelling writer or a si … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: The American Heritage Dictionary Says Words Still Matter

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.It’s been said that actions speak louder than words. Our words fall flat when our actions aren’t aligned with the tongue. But that doesn’t mean words have no value. Our deeds fall just as flat when our words do not support and define the work of the hands.A new campaign for the launch of the fifth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary (AHD) stresses the power of words to defi … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: The Power of Selective Storytelling

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.Crafting a marketing message is all about crafting a story—preferably for consumers this story will be true and told in a captivating way.The difficult thing about story development for a marketing platform is that time and space are limited. Writers need to determine which elements and facts make for the most compelling piece. Some facts are highlighted while others are dow … [Read more...]

Reading Through “Half the Church,” Part 4: A Blessed Alliance

Carolyn Custis James looks at the brokenness and suffering in this world and sees a solution: The Body of Christ. She calls every one of God’s image bearers to become active in taking God’s love to a world in need. In particular, she speaks to women in her book Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women, encouraging them to gain a global perspective for how their gifts can be the means through which God delivers help, healing, and hope.I’ve already written about three themes of … [Read more...]

Citizenship Confusion: Sometimes "Political Correctness" Is Just Common Decency

Every Monday in Citizenship Confusion, Alan Noble discusses how we confuse our heavenly citizenship with citizenship to the state, culture, and the world.In my last two columns I have written about the importance of charity and humility in all our proclamations and conversations. This last week, the College Republicans at Messiah College enacted that charity when they cancelled a talk they were going to host because they realized that the speaker was politically "polarizing."The previous … [Read more...]