The oldest church in the world

Lent is a good time for contemporary Christians to contemplate their solidarity with the Church as the Body of Christ, which extends around the world and back through time. Here are the remains of the oldest church building that has been found.  It’s called the  Dura-Europas, from a town by that name, in Syria.  It has been dated from 235 A.D. It’s a house church,in that it’s an ordinary house to which was attached a separate long hall that was… Read more

Let’s pray the litany for Lent

LCMS president Matthew Harrison challenges everyone to join him in a Lenten project that is not giving something up, that is doing something very positive for others, and that will benefit your spiritual life:  Praying the Litany every day. The Litany is an ancient structure for prayer that builds on Biblical texts and that covers EVERYTHING we are to pray for, in vivid and piercing language.   Yes, Catholics have a version, but it goes back before the rise of… Read more

Facebook and divorce

Back to the bad effects of the internet: Facebook is cited in 1 out of every 5 divorces in the United States, according to the Loyola University Health System. Furthermore, 81 percent of the country’s top divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years, according to a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). Last but not least, Facebook is the unrivaled leader… Read more

New Islamist regimes are OK with Obama

Not “Islamic,” but “Islamist,” meaning radical and jihadist.  Does this approach to foreign policy strike you as feckless and naive?  (And do you know what “feckless” means?) The Obama administration is preparing for the prospect that Islamist governments will take hold in North Africa and the Middle East, acknowledging that the popular revolutions there will bring a more religious cast to the region’s politics. The administration is already taking steps to distinguish between various movements in the region that promote… Read more

Memory as a human superpower

Plato worried that reading would diminish the memory, and he was right.  Now in our information age, our memories have shriveled even more.  A third of British citizens under 30 don’t know their home phone numbers.  Two-thirds of American teenagers don’t know when the Civil War took place.  One-fifth don’t know who we fought against in World War II.  And yet, the normal human mind, when trained right, is capable of great feats of memory. Joshua Foer has written a… Read more

Targeting Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Crisis pregnancy centers do a lot of good, giving women with an unwanted pregnancy an alternative to abortion and giving tangible, material help to women in need.  But now pro-abortion forces are starting to target them.  In apparent retaliation for pro-life efforts to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood and to require abortion centers to follow hospital standards, pro-abortion activists have pushed through a measure in New York City to regulate crisis pregnancy centers and to make them inform their… Read more

Sex survey surprises

A wide-ranging and embarrassingly detailed survey of Americans’ sexual practices turned up some surprises.  Abstinence among young adults is significant and growing.  More than twice as many women than men have homosexual attraction and behavior.  And quite a few people with homosexual attraction have never had a same-sex experience. Among the findings of a sweeping federal government survey of American sexual behavior is one that may surprise those bewailing a permissive and eros-soaked popular culture: More than one-quarter of people… Read more

Veto by lack of quorum

As you know, 15 Democratic state legislators in Wisconsin are hiding out in Illinois–beyond the jurisdiction of Wisconsin state troopers–to prevent a quorum so that Republican lawmakers can’t pass a bill cutting benefits for state workers and restricting their union.  Now Democratic lawmakers in Indiana are doing the same thing, for much the same reason.  Two Maryland legislators were briefly on the lam on the issue of gay marriage.  The tactic has been used before–Abraham Lincoln did it as a… Read more

Good writing

World Magazine is planning to set up regional online bureaus to provide local and regional news coverage.  The first one is for Virginia and is making use of journalism students at the school where I work, Patrick Henry College.  One of my former students, Hannah Mitchell, has written a feature story on a big Picasso exhibit at a Richmond art museum.  It struck me as just a very, very good piece of writing.  See for yourself:  WORLD Magazine | Picasso’s… Read more

American Idol this time around

Yes, I’m following American Idol again, despite the way some of you have been giving me a hard time about this particular guilty pleasure.  Last night the 13 finalists were selected.  I would just like to note that I picked every one of the male performers and voted for four of them.  The one female contestant that I was pulling for, Naima Adedapo from Milwaukee, did not get enough votes from the public, but the judges put her back in… Read more

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