Food porn

Pornography involves watching somebody else have sex.  In South Korea, there is a new fad of watching somebody else eat.  It’s being called “gastronomical voyeurism.”

The news story, excerpted after the jump, speculates on some reasons:  More and more Koreans are living by themselves and miss the social interaction of eating with someone.  Many Koreans are on diets, restricting what they eat to the point of being able to take vicarious pleasure in watching someone eat sumptuous food for hours.  But I wonder if it is something even more primal. [Read more…]

Pulling the plug on a brain-dead woman and her living fetus

A Texas court ordered that life-support be removed from a woman who was considered brain-dead, in accord with her husband’s wishes.  The hospital, though, had been keeping her body going because she was pregnant. So now both the mother and her child are dead.

The developing child was 23-weeks old.  Why couldn’t they have waited even a week and delivered the child?  Consider this Wikipedia piece on fetal viability:

According to studies between 2003 and 2005, 20 to 35 percent of babies born at 23 weeks of gestation survive, while 50 to 70 percent of babies born at 24 to 25 weeks, and more than 90 percent born at 26 to 27 weeks, survive. . . .A baby’s chances for survival increases 3-4% per day between 23 and 24 weeks of gestation and about 2-3% per day between 24 and 26 weeks of gestation. After 26 weeks the rate of survival increases at a much slower rate because survival is high already.

[Read more…]

Live blogging the State of the Union

Tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET will be the President’s State of the Union Address.  I invite you to live blog it here via the comments.  (What you do is have your computer ready as you watch and listen to the speech.  Make comments as the speech unfolds.  Remember to refresh your screen so that everyone else’s comments will also appear.)

Lutherans, Catholics, & Orthodox

We may have solved, with the help of James R. Rogers, our perennial question of why evangelicals tend to be more likely to embrace Calvinism than Lutheranism.  But our other perennial question is why evangelicals, when they want something different–particularly, sacraments and liturgy–go the way of Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy, rushing right past Lutheranism.  But, applying Prof. Rogers’ approach, I think I am starting to understand.

Again, to follow Prof. Rogers, one could cite external reasons–the difficulty of “finding” Lutheranism, the innate attractiveness of joining the biggest church that extends all over the world, the beauty of Orthodox liturgy, etc.–but, on a deeper level, there is much in Catholicism and Orthodoxy that already resonates with the mindset of many evangelicals. [Read more…]

Jesse James meets the Second Amendment

If there should ever be a monument to the Second Amendment, it should be erected in Northfield, Minnesota. In this little college town in 1876, Jesse James and Cole Younger, with six other members of their gang, tried to rob the First National Bank, only to get shot up by an aroused citizenry.  I just finished reading a new book on the subject, Mark Lee Gardner’s Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape.

I knew about the Northfield raid and when I spoke at St. Olaf College a few years ago, my hosts took me to see the bank and the marks of the bullets that still adorn the downtown buildings.  But I did not know the details, nor did I know about the equally thrilling aftermath.  Gardner’s book, while being sober history, reads like an action thriller, but what I most took away from the book was a glimpse of something we don’t see all that much anymore; namely, a genuine community, whose members look out for each other, protect each other, and pull together for the common good. [Read more…]

More on Lutherans, Calvinists, & Evangelicals

James R. Rogers (a Lutheran) advances our perennial topic of why evangelicals tend to prefer Calvinism to Lutheranism in a post for First Things.  He begins with some practical issues–the difficulty of “finding” Lutheranism, the relative inaccessibility of Lutheran confessional documents (the Augsburg Confession being too difficult; the Small Catechism being too simple) as compared with the Calvinist equivalents.

But then he plunges into the deeper issues–evangelicals see salvation as coming from within, whereas Lutherans see salvation as coming from without–including an illuminating discussion of faith and baptism.  And the Lutheran emphasis will seem utterly alien to an evangelical sensibility, whereas Calvinism will fit it well. [Read more…]