The Revolting and Honest World of The Great Gatsby

Recently I bought a copy of The Great Gatsby at a thrift store. I found it, with a smeared strip of masking tape marring the front cover, for a mere $3. This fit nicely into the vow of simplicity my family and I recently undertook when we joined a Christian order among the poor. You see, we have been trying hard to untangle ourselves from all that has brought us meaning and distraction before. We are trying to eat more vegetables, take long walks on the cracked sidewalk, write our thoughts into p … [Read more...]

Citizenship Confusion: Why I Support Internet Sales Tax, as a Christian

Every Thursday in Citizenship Confusion, Alan Noble discusses how we confuse our heavenly citizenship with citizenship to the state, culture, and the world.The first thing you need to know about the Marketplace Fairness Act--commonly known as the Internet Sales Tax Act--floating around Congress and provoking much scorn and praise on the Internet is that it is not a new tax. Despite what you've heard this is not an effort by the Federal Government to raise our taxes. It is designed to help … [Read more...]

Play Relaxing Music: A Simple Way to Reduce Bullying

One of the things that make the bullying epidemic different from bullying in previous generations is that bullying is no longer confined to the playground or the walk home from school. The internet (particularly, social media) has extended the reach of bullies into the homes of their victims, so that no longer does a child have a respite from bullying. This can have profound effects on children who are the receivers of this abuse, but there is some hope as a recent study from Israel showed, at … [Read more...]

Denison Witmer: Songs To Grow Up To

I first saw Denison Witmer perform in the spring of 2006 in some horrible east-of-LA venue. It was the kind of dark place you frequent when you’re fifteen, seeing local hardcore bands, and not the kind of place where you hang out in your twenties listening to 70s-inspired singer-songwriter folky pop, as I was doing. When the show ended, I convinced my fiance that we needed to say hi to Denison.  We had decided to play an instrumental version of his song “Are You a Dreamer?” in our wedding, and I … [Read more...]

A New Wave of Complementarianism?

Over at The Atlantic last week, Abigail Rine debated the pros and cons of abandoning the word “feminist” (a term I defended at some length a few months ago). When a label can’t shake its negative connotations, she asks, is it time to give up on the label? Or to fight for it?  Christians wrestling with gender issues are asking the same kinds of questions about the labels we’ve chosen.  Within evangelicalism today, you’ll find two main groups: those who identify as “complementarian” and those who … [Read more...]

Mad Men Recap 6.5 & 6: Hoping for Eucatastrophe, Worrying About the Bomb

Mad Men Recap 6.5: Hoping for EucatastropheMichael Ginsberg's father, Morris, is a holocaust survivor who, in the riotous aftermath of the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination, is most worried about his son's perpetual singleness. His bachelorhood isn't marked by mad philandering, but something more sheepishly innocent. Morris is so concerned that his son find a woman to love that he even sets him up for a blind date without Michael knowing. The date isn't a total disaster, but Morris isn't … [Read more...]

Fighting World Hunger One Food Photo at a Time

It might come at an event when you're in high school, and the speaker drops the "starving kids in Africa" card, and you're convicted then of your teenage over-indulgence and self-centeredness. It may come when you spend spring break in Mexico and see the kids you're ministering to perfectly content with their half-inflated soccer ball and torn sandals, and you return to your house after the trip to give away half of the contents in your closet. Or it may come when you're sitting at a red light … [Read more...]

Following the Boston Bombing, a Puritan Reminds Us Not to Repeat Our Forefather’s Mistakes

Over the past few weeks, people all over America have been swimming through the deluge of articles on the Boston Marathon bombings in hopes of gaining some perspective on the story. As usual, some analyses are more helpful than others. UN Official Richard Falk considers the attack just retribution for America’s relationship with Israel. Vladimir Putin took this opportunity to say, “I told you so,” chastising the U.S. for its willingness to support Chechnya in the past. These evaluations would fal … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Who Cares for the Care Workers?

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.Who cares for the Care Workers? Who looks after the ones who look after everyone else? Sunday night’s episode of Call the Midwife was another intense installment as the Poplar community grappled with a tuberculosis epidemic along with the everyday births, deaths, lives, and loves. In season 2’s episode 6, Sister Bernadette is diagnosed with the disease, and her fel … [Read more...]

Can A Psychopath’s Brain Teach Us Anything About Justice?

Let's say you read about a man who had broken into an apartment and, upon being surprised by a young woman living there, proceeded to rape her and then stab her to death. What should happen to him? I doubt anyone would say that he doesn't deserve the full extent of the law -- if not the death penalty, then at least a life sentence in the harshest, most secure prison available to prevent him from ever hurting another soul.But what if you found out that this same man had grown up in a terrible … [Read more...]