I leave today for two weeks, in which time I will have three speaking engagements, attend a conference, and visit relatives in Oklahoma.  I won’t be in the big woods, though, this time, and I do plan to keep my blog up the best I can, this being a hobby I enjoy, rather than work.  I might not be able to put up quite as many posts per day as I usually do.  And there may be days when I… Read more

You have perhaps heard about how the University of Virginia board fired the university president Teresa Sullivan, whereupon a huge uproar ensued, and she was hired back. I’ve heard conservatives lament the re-hiring, saying that the lunatics are in charge of the asylum, that this just re-enforces the corruption in higher education, that this is another example of  academic elites stifling reform, etc., etc. But in this case a conservative philosophy of education was victorious over more progressive attempts to… Read more

We had another great sermon from Pastor Douthwaite on the death of John the Baptist (Mark 6:14-29).  A sampling: John the Baptist never was at home in this world. He was an interloper. A stranger. A misfit. It began with his birth which was not the usual way. He was born miraculously to a couple who could not have children because they were too old and she was barren. He was given the wrong name (in the opinion of all… Read more

Metropolitan Jonah, the evangelical convert who became the head of the Orthodox Church of America (one of several Eastern Orthodox denominations in the U.S.), has been ousted from his office.  The reason, reportedly, is his aggressive public stands against abortion, homosexuality, and other controversial moral issues.  (Metropolitan Jonah was one of the signatories of LCMS president Matt Harrison’s open letter opposing the Obamacare contraceptive/abortifacient mandate.) I realize that Eastern Christianity is more quiescent on cultural issues than that of the… Read more

I really enjoyed yesterday digging up those old songs on YouTube, not just those that shed light on the article we were blogging about but also the ones you suggested in the comments.  I was also trading songs back and forth off line, with my assistant Zach showing me a tune by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and me coming back with Roy Acuff’s “Wreck on the Highway.” Let’s do that for its own sake.  Given that YouTube seems to have… Read more

The Nielson ratings people and Sony surveyed just over 1,000 Americans to determine the top 20 “most universally impactful moments” on television.  Here they are: 1. Sept. 11 tragedy (2001) 2. Hurricane Katrina (2005) 3. O.J. Simpson verdict (1995) 4. Challenger space shuttle disaster (1986) 5. Death of Osama bin Laden (2011) 6. O.J. Simpson white Bronco chase (1994) 7. Earthquake in Japan (2011) 8. Columbine High School shootings (1999) 9. BP oil spill (2010) 10. Princess Diana’s funeral (1997)… Read more

My colleague Marvin Olasky is writing pastors for help with a story.  I thought I’d share it with those of you who are pastors in case you could help him and also for our more general discussion: Dear Pastor, I’d like your help in developing a story for WORLD. The National Association of Evangelicals says 80% of single evangelicals between the ages of 18 and 29 have been sexually active, and 64 percent have had sex during the past year…. Read more

The 1970s was a time of hippies, free love, psychedelic drugs, and cultural revolution.  But it was also a time of major religious revival, with the “Jesus Movement” gaining headway in that very counter-culture.  How could that be?  Baylor professor Philip Jenkins credits the Byrds, who popularized a recovery of American roots music, much of which is explicitly Christian.  He explains: At least part of the explanation lies outside the religious realm, in quite secular musical trends of the late… Read more

My nomination for the Pulitzer Prize for letters to the editor, if there were such a thing, in the aftermath of the great power outage: Monday, July 2, my third morning in the heat without power (and no power at my workplace), imagine my relief when I saw on the middle of the front page of my print version of the paper, topics listed with potentially helpful information about “The commute,” “Government workers,” “Summer school,” “Weather” and, most importantly, “Heat… Read more

A study of religious retention rates–that is, what percentage of people raised in a particular church or religion stay with it when they are grown–is quite interesting.  Lutherans are in second place among Protestants (58%),  just after the Baptists (60%).  The group with the worst performance in transmitting their beliefs to their young people is atheists (30%).   Did you know that Atheists have the lowest retention rate of any “religious” group? Some interesting Data from CARA | Archdiocese of… Read more

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