The Kiddy Pool: “To My Favorite 17-Year-Old High School Girl”

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.Last week, Stephen Colbert interviewed U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and emphasized that his is the only show that reads poetry on air. It’s probably unsurprising that as a collegiate English instructor, I am an advocate of poetry for the ways that it re-envisions language. I also love beauty for the sake of beauty, and find the rhythms and structures and pl … [Read more...]

What Christian Celebrities Can Learn from Jonathan Edwards about Handling Controversy

One of our defining ironies as Christians is that we love unity, yet we are often obsessed with disagreeing. Believers play their own version of “Family Feud,” sharply dividing even over what unity means. Much of the noise that passes for Christian dialogue today lacks an element of class. Social media has armed the masses with the ability to add their voices to these conflicts, either to devour the other tribe or to cheer for their team.Internal disputes are ingrained in our history, even si … [Read more...]

Seven Tips for Enjoying Halloween, Even if You Hate it So Much

Because some of my brothers and sisters in Christ get very uptight at Halloween, I thought it would be helpful for us to include a few guidelines on "redeeming" the holiday. These should help even the biggest fundamentalist not to  accidentally worship the devil on Halloween. So here goes:Do not actually become a witch, warlock, or necromancer, no matter how tempted you might be. You will ultimately be disappointed if you do, because witches and warlocks and necromancers do not actually … [Read more...]

The Halloween Trifecta: Kids, Sugar, and Fear

Let me just get it out here at the start: I don’t celebrate Halloween.Now, let me explain. There are lots of things associated with Halloween that I really like. I like costumes. I like kids. I love candy. But there are other things associated with Halloween that I’m not keen on—things like gigantic, gaudy, blow-up lawn ornaments and freaky movie previews that interrupt my otherwise tranquil TV viewing.Even as a kid I wasn't a fan of Halloween—which says a lot because I’m a big fan of fre … [Read more...]

And Now, Some Brief Last-Minute Advice About Dressing Up on Halloween

Maybe your October has been as much of a whirlwind as mine has, and your thoughts about a Halloween costume came to mind a little later than usual. Perhaps you are still wondering how you can pull off a costume for your post-work party tonight or for shuffling the kids to the neighborhood Trunk or Treat. Whatever the case may be, it's Halloween, TOMORROW (or are you reading this on Halloween? In that case TODAY) —and perhaps you still need a costume.Picking the right Halloween costume can be … [Read more...]

“Hole in the World”: A Musical Entry Point into the Gates of Heaven

I don’t quite know how to explain it any other way, but Daniel Amos’ “Hole in the World” feels like a song that I've always known. The first time I heard it via a battered cassette copy of MotorCycle, I was absolutely convinced I’d heard it before, though I couldn't quite put a finger on when and where. As such, the song has always been a haunting listen for me, which strikes me as rather appropriate given its lyrics about the end of the world, the afterlife, and one’s first tentative experiences … [Read more...]

The Washington Redskins and the Potential for a Better Identity

It’s a little hard to believe that, in a culture so obsessed with political correctness and respect for all people, a team name like the Washington Redskins persists and can, in fact, be staunchly defended by large swathes of the populace. This month, amid rumors that a name change could be in the offing, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder wrote an open letter to the team's fans reaffirming his commitment to the name. “When I consider the Washington Redskins name,” he writes, “I think of what i … [Read more...]

Steve McQueen and Discovery of the Self

by Esther O'Reilly One of my favorite passages of prose is the introduction to the British mystery author Agatha Christie's autobiography. As she looks back on her life, she is struck by the significance of memory. Each memory, great or small, is like a snapshot that captures her true self at a single moment in time. Yet while the true self is revealed in these glimpses, we ourselves cannot fully know the whole self. The passage bears quoting in its entirety:What governs one’s choice of m … [Read more...]

Learning to Trust God through a Friend’s Story

My husband and I met and married in our college town of Jackson, Tennessee. We had been there for five years, and that place, along with those people, had become our home. A little over two years ago, we made our way to Louisville, Kentucky, and began to make this city our new home. I'll be honest—it was not easy at first. It was difficult to leave Tennessee, and I struggled to believe that we would find the kind of friendships in Louisville like the ones we had established in Jackson. I didn't k … [Read more...]

The Burden of Saying Goodbye to a Dog

"The last enemy to be destroyed is death." -1 Corinthians 15:26 We first met Lacey in a pet store in Raleigh, North Carolina. My wife and I had been married about eight months and had decided to take the next step in married-adult responsibility: getting a pet. We quarreled over how big our dog should be. I wanted a larger dog, like a Labrador. She wanted a lap dog, like a poodle. Lacey was a Shetland Sheep dog. She was eight weeks old, black and white with tan on her legs, and she was perfect. … [Read more...]