Open Letters: Prideful, Presumptuous, and They Need to Stop

Last week saw an upsurge in one of my least favorite types of writing, open letters. The occasion was Miley Cyrus' twerk-fest at MTV's Video Music Awards in which she danced provocatively in a nude-colored bikini, touched herself with a foam finger, and offered herself symbolically to Robin Thicke in a sexual gesture meant to shock. It wasn't a very good performance; the focus was on the spectacle of seeing the girl who used to perform as Hannah Montana shed off any last assemblages of … [Read more...]

If Books and Culture Disappears, We All Lose

[[Note: click here to pledge, or use the link below.]]For years now, I've been an avid consumer of Books & Culture, a Christian periodical edited by John Wilson under the Christianity Today publishing umbrella. My love for B&C was born the day my father received the first issue of his subscription. That was in the mid-2000s, while I was still attending a semi-rural public high school in Ohio. I cherished finding the journal folded in half inside our mailbox, usually enclosing a … [Read more...]

The Paradox of Living in the Face of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is more or less synonymous with awareness, and maybe the movie "Taken." Last year, when I began to seriously pursue a solution to the injustice of 27 million people enslaved, I asked several of my abolitionist friends: “How can I help?”Their first response more or less paraphrased as: “Know what is occurring, and tell your friends.” Within a year, I have watched multiple documentaries, read dozens of articles, researched countless organizations, and conversed a hundred times … [Read more...]

How Theology Could Make Steven Pinker a Better Scientist

Experimental psychologist Steven Pinker ruffled some feathers recently with an essay in New Republic. In it, he defends a view known as scientism—the belief that science is the most legitimate source of knowledge and that it can explain all of human experience. The essay is postured to be a sort of peace treaty (or "plea," as Pinker calls it) to ease the tension between scientists and humanities scholars. Instead, many have complained that the essay comes off as scientifically arrogant and co … [Read more...]

Oddly, Cory Booker’s Good Deeds Incite Hate

When a politician makes the news for good deeds, I take notice. Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, has surprised me—and the rest of the watching world—with behaviors that defy my expectations for politicians. Over the past few years, Booker has:cut his salary twice lived in one of Newark’s worst housing projects lived in one of Newark’s most crime-plagued neighborhoods embarked on a 10-day hunger strike to draw attention to drug dealing accepted a challenge to live on food … [Read more...]

3 Ways Gone Home will Surprise and Challenge Christians

If you haven't played The Fullbright Company's Gone Home yet, you need to do so. Now. Seriously. It's that important. Go buy it on Steam. I'll wait.It's downloading? Good. Now, read this.It really is a good time to be a gamer, especially if you care about good storytelling. The last few years have seen a number of important titles likeThe Binding of Isaac, Dear Esther, and Bioshock: Infinite that have pushed players and developers alike to broaden their understandings of how games tell … [Read more...]

An Invitation to Dig: The Legacy of Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney, probably the most widely read and beloved poet of his time, died early Friday morning at a hospital in Dublin, at the age of 74. He had been going through a period of poor health, his family said. The outpouring of grief and loss at his passing bears witness to a legacy that cannot, as yet, be fully fathomed.Heaney’s poetry was deeply rooted in his Northern Ireland homeland: its farms and towns, its political strife, and its language and culture. He considered his own career as … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Love It or List It

Right now it feels like my husband and I are playing our own version of HGTV’s show Love It or List It. Our house is on the market because we’d like to move closer to the town where we both work—actually, the office where we both work, since we share our space there too. But we’re not sure the cost will be feasible without sacrificing too many of the great things about our current neighborhood. We wonder if some modifications (namely, adding a quiet writing space for both of us) might make all th … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: A Riotously Funny, Sobering Alcoholypse

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.The World's End charts its destination by beginning with Gary King (Simon Pegg) fondly recounting what he thinks are the good old days. Twenty years prior, Gary and four of his high school buddies—Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Andy (Nick Frost)—began The Golden Mile, a notorious pub crawl featuring 12 pubs strewn across their hometown, Newton Haven. Thinking this teenage s … [Read more...]

War in Syria: When There Is No Good Answer, Answer Without Bombs

Breaking News: Politicians are occasionally dishonest and always opportunists.Yes, President Obama made all kinds of speeches, as a Senator and candidate for President, decrying the imperialist cowboy George W. Bush. Some of these old speeches were even pretty inspirational if you heard them before President Obama said so many things you can't unhear. We can't solve global threats alone, the United States must develop relationships if it wants lasting peace—that sort of thing. All quite r … [Read more...]