“To Overcome Distrust, Renew Friendship”: Amber and David Lapp

have basically the same conversation I just had with a woman at the pregnancy center: ...While Robert Putnam and others have documented the increasing isolation of all Americans, the alienation and distrust that we witnessed in this working-class town seemed like an advanced form of isolation. Things that we took for granted in relationships with new acquaintances—asking questions and listening to the responses, returning phone calls and text messages, extending invitations to dinner—soon ear … [Read more...]

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“Obama’s College Plan Bows to Elites”: Megan McArdle

I have no actual opinion on the community-college plan but there are some good points here: ...Why aren't we at least asking ourselves if there's something we can do to create more opportunity for people without diplomas, instead of asking how many more years we can keep everyone in school? Why do all of our proposed solutions essentially ratify the structure that excludes so many people, instead of questioning it?I have some ideas about what those policies might look like: broad … [Read more...]

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From Andrew Cherlin, “Labor’s Love Lost: The Rise and Fall of the Working-Class Family in America”

In 1957 a national sample of Americans was asked what they would think of a person if all they knew about him was that he was not married. Several options were presented, and about one-third of the respondents chose "mentally ill." … [Read more...]

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O Wanderer, Come Home: Notes from the Gay Christian Network Conference

Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and [the] last will be first."-Mk 10:29-31 These are very scattered notes but let me s … [Read more...]

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“Marilynne Robinson in Montgomery”

This essay takes a while to get going, but it's a good, steady look at the way aesthetics and theology can lead us to flatten human experience--especially when "us" is white Americans writing about race. As somebody with a very "suffering and humiliation keep you close to Christ, you should consider them sometime" spiritual style myself, it was good to get a reminder of the way that kind of spirituality can cut against a communal pursuit of justice. As somebody who loves Robinson's books, it was … [Read more...]

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“The Season’s Upon Us”: Holiday Cheer from the Dropkick Murphys

Surprisingly heartwarming! … [Read more...]

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Links from a Prison Nation

A round-up of stuff I've been reading."The Protester": Raven Rakia writes a powerful piece which I think probably functions as a Rorschach test. Do you focus on the rules this guy breaks, or the colossal overreaction he faces when he breaks them?When Frankie was 13, school authorities at his middle school called the police in to deal with him for disrupting class. Two police officers ended up physically restraining him: They hogtied his legs and tied his hands behind his back, duct-taped … [Read more...]

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