America’s problems with vacations

Robert J. Samuelson says that Americans have a hard time with the concept of a vacation:

In the global rivalry of economic models and lifestyles, the United States ranks dead last among advanced countries in one category: vacations.

It’s not that millions of Americans don’t annually flock to beaches, climb mountains, invade national parks or just hang around the house. We do. But we seem to have a harder time than other peoples in distancing ourselves from work. The office (also, the store, factory or warehouse) is routinely an uninvited guest on our holidays. [Read more...]

The end of American Protestantism?

Theologian Stanley Hauerwas has written a devastating critique of America and American Protestantism that, agree with it or not, is worth thinking about.  He argues that American Protestantism, which has been so influential in American culture, is fading away because of its cultural conformity.  (He includes a great line from Bonhoeffer, that America has a Protestantism without the Reformation.)  You should read the whole thing, but I’ll post an excerpt that deals with what he says is the American conception of freedom and its connection to divorce and abortion. [Read more...]

Culture & pop culture

“Culture” is one of those lofty words with lots of meanings.  It can refer to a “society” with all of its institutions, values, and customs.  Or it can refer to “the arts,” as in going to the opera to soak up some culture.   Ken Meyers usefully distinguishes between folk culture (the ways and artifcats of a community with a common history), high culture (the contributions of talented individuals that go on to benefit a whole society), and pop culture (the commercialized artifacts designed to be bought and sold).

In this space, take it whichever way you want to.  Raise questions of vast social import (for instance, gay marriage), talk about music (bluegrass groups in the folk culture, or jazz artists in the high culture, or whatever) or books you are enjoying, or talk about issues of summer entertainment (was the Lone Ranger really as bad as the critics are saying?).

The Lutheran Theology of Culture

On the LCMS website, looking for an address, I saw prominently featured an article or an interview or something I didn’t even remember doing in which I very succinctly summarize the Lutheran theology of culture.  It’s rather different from other approaches, but I think it’s broadly applicable and can solve many of the problems Christians have today in figuring out how to relate to their cultures.  This will also shed light on a continual theme of this blog, so I’ll post the thing after the jump. [Read more...]

Women are main breadwinners in 40% of households

A new Pew study has found that women are the main breadwinners in 40% of American households.  Much of this is due to the rise in single-mothers, but an increasing number of wives just earn more than their husbands.  Read the details after the jump and contemplate the cultural implications. [Read more...]

Should you be able to buy a car online?

It’s illegal to buy a car direct from the factory or over the internet.  You have to go through a local dealer.  The electric car company Tesla is trying to change that.  But state and local governments are resisting.  That, arguably, goes against the free market and against the trends of the new technology.  But do we really want online commerce to kill off small businesses that are the backbone of many small town economies? [Read more...]


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