Empire of Desire

CiceroI have long said that we shouldn’t look for analogies between our cultural problems and the fall of the Roman empire.  We should look for parallels with the fall of the Roman Republic.  Carl Trueman says that while the position of Christianity is changing, secular society itself is changing too.  He sees the rise of what he calls an “empire of desire” (a concept also treated by R. R. Reno, whom he links to).  He calls for new Ciceroes who have the integrity, the wisdom, and the eloquence to defend our Republic and to resist the Imperial temptations.

I would just add that while the rise of globalism and American internationalism have the flavor of Empire, the resurgent nationalist movements (Trump, Brexit, the European nationalist parties) would seem to resist Empire.  Don’t they?  Or does the over all authority of “desire” undermine less centralized republics also? [Read more…]

Simulated relationships 

11103892_f57d05a21e_oWhy do we often take celebrity deaths so hard?  According to Rev. Travis Berg, citing various experts, it’s because we form “simulated relationships.”  Our impulse to form friendships is displaced onto people we don’t really know, except from the characters they play or their personalities projected by the media.

In our high-tech, low-interaction culture, those kinds of “para-social relationships” are all some people have!  In contrast, God wants us to love actual people and to be part of actual communities in the family, church, and society. [Read more…]

In  Sweden, Christmas means Donald Duck 

The_Spirit_of_43-Donald_Duck,_cropped_versionOdd Christmas customs department:  In Sweden, the country virtually shuts down on Christmas Eve at 3:00 p.m. so that everyone can watch a Donald Duck special from 1958.

The show consists of old cartoons from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, featuring Walt Disney’s duck, whom the Swedes call Kalle Anka.

After the jump, an excerpt and link to an account of the role Kalle Anka plays in the Swedish Christmas.

[Read more…]

Top 10 Google searches of 2016

cyborg-438398_640The internet contains unfathomable amounts of information.  Search engines allow us to find anything we want to know, giving us access to knowledge on an unprecedented scale, thus advancing the capabilities of the human mind.

When we can fully connect our minds to the internet, we can attain the next level of human evolution.

So see what the year’s top searches on Google were. [Read more…]

A nation of suburbs

Suburbs,_Virginia_(6045440309)Big cities seem to get most of the attention.  People debate their merits compared with small towns and the rural life.  Suburbs don’t get the same respect.

But according to a report from the Urban Land Institute, 79% of the American population live in suburbs.  That includes 85% of the nation’s children and 75% of Millennials.

Contrary to the stereotypes about “white flight,” suburbs are racially and ethnically diverse, with 76% of the minority population living in suburbs.  And suburbs are where most of the nation’s jobs, businesses, and economic vitality can be found.

After the jump, Richard Mize summarizes the report.

Why do you think so many people live in suburbia?  A lot of people criticize the suburbs.  Can you defend them?

[Read more…]

In trouble for belonging to an “anti-gay” church

Jean-Léon_Gérôme_-_The_Christian_Martyrs'_Last_Prayer_-_Walters_37113Chip and Joanna Gaines are the hosts of “Fixer-Upper,” a popular home remodeling show on HGTV.  They are openly devout Christians. And they are now under fire.  A BuzzFeed article is accusing them of being anti-gay.  This is because they belong to an evangelical congregation that does not conduct gay weddings and that holds to traditional teachings about sexual morality.  That means, according to the Buzzfeed author, that the church is anti-gay.  And because the Gaineses belong to this church, that means they must be anti-gay also.

As far as anyone knows, the Gaineses have never discriminated against a gay person (the charge against some Christian bakers and photographers who have turned down gay customers).  Nor has anyone found them saying anything negative about homosexuality (as in some charges of pastors “preaching hate.”)  No, their transgression is simply belonging to a church with traditional teachings.  For this, their jobs are threatened.

Now comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert is a Catholic.  He appears to hold conventionally liberal ideas and supports LGBT issues. But he belongs to a church that, by these standards, is anti-gay!  There are, in fact, lots of Catholics in the TV and entertainment industries.  Are they all to be disqualified like the Gaineses?  Or, to take another example, does BuzzFeed believe that Muslims, who surely have harsher views about homosexuality than even conservative Christians, should be thrown out of Hollywood?

So here we are.  Simply being a member of a conservative church may be enough to get you into serious trouble.

After the jump, an excellent article by a gay writer castigating his fellow LGBT supporters for their tactic of dealing with their opponents by shaming and silencing them, specifically criticizing how they are treating the Gainses. [Read more…]