“Sorry for (Communist) Partying”: I review “After the Revolution”

at AmCon: The engine which runs “After the Revolution,” a play by Amy Herzog that will show at Theater J (the theater of Washington’s Jewish Community Center) through October 6, is a generations-old betrayal: A fledgling leftist activist from a family of Communist Jews learns that her much-honored grandfather spied for the Soviet Union during World War II and then perjured himself in front of HUAC denying it.The revelation shatters Emma Joseph’s trust in her family and in her own righteo … [Read more...]

What Does Accepting or Valuing Failure Really Look Like?

I didn't find the political stuff here illuminating, but the basic point is sound: In real life, of course, failure is sometimes just that: failure. Truth is, the current catalogue of pro-failure literature does not celebrate failure in all forms. We like failure when, and only when, it ends in victory. “Lots of people never achieve their goals; they do not achieve their dreams, even though they have worked really hard and prepared themselves,” points out Scott Sandage, a historian and the aut … [Read more...]

Christianity in Three Books?

Rod Dreher asks which three books we'd use to introduce Christianity--in at least a few of its many catastrophic forms--to an open-minded reader seeking religious literacy, not conversion. You should check out his post for a better sense of what he's talking about. I pictured the ideal reader as a well-meaning American secular journalist, from a background much like my own only a lot less Jewish, who wants to know how to write fairly about Christians in the news.EDITED: Having read a bit … [Read more...]

Bedrooms and Bootstraps

Last weekend I went to a conference put on by the Archdiocese of Washington, "Speaking of Love: Answering Tough Questions About Human Sexuality." It was geared toward youth ministers, teachers, and other people who work with teens and young adults, so it was a window into what the AD-Dubs thinks young people need to hear about sex, marriage and chastity. I had, I guess, three basic problems with the conference's approach, which I will present in no especial order. (I went to the keynote … [Read more...]

From Jennifer M. Silva, “Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty”

In an era of short-term flexibility, constant flux, and hollow institutions, the transition to adulthood has been inverted; coming of age does not entail entry into social groups and institutions but rather the explicit rejection of them. … [Read more...]

“Short Term 12,” A Long-Term Memory

The new indie drama Short Term 12 looks like one of those well-meaning, poignant, emotionally powerful films I would never, ever want to see. It's about a very young white lady named Grace (Brie Larson) who works with kids and teens in foster care; she begins to heal her own inner wounds because of the unexpected connection she forges with a sullen, angry white girl in her care. Despite several unrealistic elements, the movie creates incredibly compelling characters and beautiful, potentially … [Read more...]

Monday Links: More Atonement! Plus Interrupting Violence, Texification of the Church in America, and More

Hey! Here's what I've been reading:Leah Libresco asks for stories of atonement and tells a Jewish fable (which I've heard attributed to St Philip Neri!--and more on that in a powerful short piece here).The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange on "The Art of Interrupting Deadly Youth Violence": "'One of the biggest challenges is overcoming the years and years and years of confirmation that nothing can change,' Achisimach 'Chis' Yisrael, a former SOS Outreach Worker, said, seated behind … [Read more...]


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