Church vs. “spiritual-but-not-religous”

Jeff Hual brings back from a few years ago a piece by Lillian Daniel, in which she expresses her utter boredom with people who claim to be “spiritual but not religious.”  She begins by recalling conversations with people on an airplane who go on and on about finding God on the beach and in sunsets rather than in church. . . . [Read more...]

Lyle Lovett’s favorite place

The Texas Monthly ran a feature entitled “13 Famous Texans’ Favorite Places.”  When it was Lyle Lovett’s turn, he said that his favorite place was St. Paul Lutheran Church in Serbin, Texas. [Read more...]

Robin Williams’ suicide

Robin Williams was beloved, wealthy, and acclaimed, always laughing and making others laugh.  And yet he took his own life.   I don’t mean to moralize or philosophize over such a sad ending with reflections about what we think to be important might not be important at all, but suicides raise the big questions about life.  The figure in art and literature of the crying clown is especially poignant. [Read more...]

Sinead O’Connor’s “Take Me to Church”

Sinead O’Connor is a singer perhaps best known for ripping up the pope’s picture on Saturday Night Live, but her latest song shows a realization of what church is for.  It’s called “Take Me to Church.”  Here is the refrain:

Oh, take me to church
I’ve done so many bad things it hurts
Yeah, take me to church
But not the ones that hurt
‘Cause that ain’t the truth
And that’s not what it’s for
Yeah, take me to church
Oh, take me to church
I’ve done so many bad things it hurts
Yeah, get me to church
But not the ones that hurt
‘Cause that ain’t the truth
And that’s not what it’s for

Hear the song–which is quite good–and see the video after the jump.

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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...]

Hillary Clinton breaks with Obama

Hillary Clinton played the role of a loyal soldier when she was Secretary of State, but now that she is not working for the administration and now that she is gearing up for a presidential run, she is harshly criticizing President Obama’s foreign policy, promising to be more forceful, proactive, and hawkish.  I wonder how the left wing of the Democratic party will take this. [Read more...]


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