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...]

“The Lost Boys”: I review Jodi Angel’s “You Only Get Letters from Jail”

at the Weekly Standard:The words “have” and “get” pulse insistently through Jodi Angel’s new short story collection. What you have to do, what you get to do, what you get away with; getting in trouble, getting used to it. Sometimes Angel even doubles up on these words: “My stomach clenched a little and I got ready to get in trouble.” That tensed, hurting readiness is one of the collection’s central moods. The other is a post-traumatic numbness which can sometimes become sentimentalized and is … [Read more...]


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