The friendliest and unfriendliest cities

Conde Nast Traveler has conducted a survey to find the friendliest and the unfriendliest cities in the world and in the United States.  See the lists after the jump.  Sound about right?  What does this tell us about the various cultures represented? [Read more...]

The island that time forgot

Back when I was in graduate school, I took a course on American English.  We studied the history and characteristics of the various American dialects, including that of Tangier Island.  This little island in the middle of Chesapeake Bay was settled by English folks from the Cornwall district back in the 1600s.  They and their descendants were so isolated–today it’s an hour-and-a-half boat ride from the mainland–that their language and culture have hardly changed over the centuries.

As a 17th century scholar, I have always wanted to visit Tangier Island.  So we did. [Read more...]

The post-Protestants

We have the post-moderns and the post-Christians; now we have the post-Protestants.  Referring mainly to post-mainline Protestants, these are the children of those liberal denominations who have preserved their parents’ self-righteousness, individualism, millennialism, and sense of being chosen–except without Jesus and any kind of Biblical faith.

Catholic author Joseph Bottum explores this new WASP establishment in a new book, An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America.  After the jump, a link and an excerpt to a review of the book by Matt McCollough. [Read more...]

Lutherans in exile

Carl Trueman argues that Christianity is going into a kind of cultural exile, and he tries to make the case that the church tradition best equipped to endure what awaits us is Reformed theology.  Rod Dreher counters by making the case for why his own Eastern Orthodoxy is best equipped to carry Christianity through the exile.  Roman Catholics are arguing that Roman Catholicism is.

But Mr. Dreher also called for people of other persuasions to make the case for their theological tradition.  So, naturally, we Lutherans need to step up.

What about Lutheranism makes it best equipped to preserve historic Christianity through a time of cultural exile?  After the jump, Mr. Dreher’s rules for the conversation, and my first stab at it. [Read more...]

Cat places vs. dog places

Some people, it is said, are cat people and others are dog people.  The same can be said of states and countries.  Some have more cats and some have more dogs.  After the jump, a discussion of the phenomenon and a link to some maps that show the cat places and the dog places.  What does this preference in pets tell us about these different cultures and subcultures? [Read more...]

Where’s the opposition to legalized marijuana?

Our nation’s capital is gearing up to join Colorado and Washington state in legalizing marijuana.  Already about half of the states have legalized the drug for medicinal use.   Journalist Richard Leiby has noticed what would seem to be an odd fact:  Despite our supposed political polarization and our alleged culture wars, pro-marijuana initiatives are attracting virtually no organized opposition!

Why not?  Well, conservatives these days tend to lean libertarian.  Aging Baby Boomers of all persuasions, being Sixties veterans, don’t consider marijuana all that big a deal (though today’s genetically-engineered strains are far more potent than what they grew under ultra-violet lights in their basements).  Churches today don’t seem to care that much about minor personal vices since there are so many major ones.  Can you think of any other reasons?  What does this tell us about our culture today, and is it good or bad?  Read Mr. Leiby’s article, linked and excerpted after the jump. [Read more...]


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