“Should I Attend the Wedding of a Gay Friend or Family Member?”: Now open to non-subscribers

at Christianity Today:When I became a Christian, most of my friends and family were baffled and disappointed. They could not understand why I was subjecting myself to a repressive falsehood. Sure, the church’s paintings are nice, but what about the ethics? That’s why it was so moving to me that my best friend came to my baptism. She gamely let the priests shake holy water over her; she kept a wry, silent smile on her face while everybody else renounced Satan. I was under no illusion that she … [Read more...]

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Voices from the Fire: Medieval Jewish Martyr Laments

Part of my Lenten reading was Susan L. Einbinder's Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France. It's a very readable adapted thesis which makes a few arguments--for example, that Jewish martyr laments shifted over time from proclaiming God's covenant with the community, to depicting individual transformation of the martyrs; that the laments shift from emphasizing demographic diversity to exalting scholars as a sort of martyr elite; and that the laments show the degree to … [Read more...]

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“Should I Attend the Wedding of a Gay Friend of Family Member?”: I’m in the current Christianity Today

subscribers-only for now. I'm one of four respondents (the others are Peter Ould, Lisa Severine Nolland, and Sherif Girgis) and the only "yes." It's a more-conciliatory but also more tightly-written version of the answer I give in my book. … [Read more...]

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“Opening the Time Capsule: The Forgotten Era of Black Indie Film”

...forgotten indie films from '68 through '89?! WHERE DO I SEE THESE: Last week, the Film Society of Lincoln Center concluded its beautiful ode to an era, “Tell it like it is: Black Independents in New York, 1968-1986.” The survey of more than a dozen titles produced during the period, some never-before seen, offered a peak into an unheralded, often forgotten moment of visual storytelling which is responsible for some of the most impressive and richly nuanced portraits of black life in fil … [Read more...]

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“Criminal or Prisoner?”: I’m at Aleteia

on the differences between the two roles in Christian life: What do homicide and stealing curled hair have in common?They're both crimes for which you could get transported to Australia for life, during its days as a penal colony. I learned this at Hyde Park Barracks, a museum dedicated to Sydney's penal days. Part of what makes the museum so striking (and so worthwhile if you're ever in Sydney) is its empathy for the convicts: its willingness to view them primarily as prisoners rather than … [Read more...]

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Sister and Stranger: “Ida,” A Jewish Nun in a Haunted Poland

Ida, a contemporary black-and-white movie now playing at the E St Cinema & Bethesda Row Cinema, begins as the title character (Agata Trzebuchowska) is about to meet her only known relative. Ida doesn't want to meet Aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), about whom she knows nothing except that Wanda refused to take her in when she was orphaned, so she was raised in a convent. She's about to take her own vows, though, and so she musters up all her obedience and submits to spending some indefinite time … [Read more...]

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“Five Details They Cut from My Season of ‘The Biggest Loser’”: Cracked

well worth reading even if you have no especial interest in weight loss or shows about ditto: ...Every week on the show, you watched us exercising and working out. That's part of the process, of course -- making people healthier. But they don't show the additional mandatory six hours or so of us furiously flailing the pounds away. They much preferred filming us right at the end of a workout, when we looked like lazy quitters for stopping so early. Even the giant scale they had us all weigh in … [Read more...]

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