The Late and The Greatest: Muhammad Ali, and What Gets Remembered

I know nothing about boxing.  Except that it's a dang sight more artful and athletic than that UFC business that is all the rage these days.Still, I feel a certain kinship with Muhammad Ali. He was a Kentuckian. Furthermore, he was a Kentuckian who wound up living in Phoenix. Not for nothing, but Kentuckians living in Arizona is a pretty small club. And since I feel profoundly connected to both of those little points on the map, I kind of feel like I can claim his story-- at least in some sm … [Read more...]

How Jesus Saves the World (From Us): A Review

Some political consultants on NPR this morning--one Democrat, one Republican--were talking about the current election cycle. Given that it was NPR, it was not the level of anxiety and venom that we usually hear in political discourse these days. I've long suspected that NPR's real listener loyalty comes, not from the quality of news and programming, but from that soothing, monotonous drone of their commentary. If you're in heavy traffic, having a crazy day, or just tired of clicking through … [Read more...]

This is Me, Not Writing About Beyoncé

It's here. The Queen dropped a super secret new album on Saturday night on HBO. It is poetic and raw. It is gorgeous and a little ugly. It is a mind-melting paradox of empowered vulnerability... Or vulnerable empowerment? It is brand new, with razor-sharp edge...and yet, there is something ancient about it. It is art and story and song.And it isn't for me. Like the halftime show that she totally crashed (stole) from that one guy (what's his name?) with the "Formation" bad-assery, the n … [Read more...]

Conservatives Worried About Trump…For All the Wrong Reasons

Here's the good news. And the bad news. Conservative evangelicals are getting nervous about Donald Trump.It's good news because they SHOULD be nervous. This whole thing is bananas. Frighteningly absurd, brown and mushy bananas.The bad news: the only reason they're worried is they think he might be a closet liberal. I just...I don't... I can't even... WHAT?? Do they know what liberal MEANS? Have they met us? What brand of progress are they mistaking for Trump's mind-melting … [Read more...]

Trump and the Christian Persecution Complex

I found myself beginning morning prayer today with a sincere "Dear God... please do not let Donald Trump be president." Even though I know prayer does not especially work like a Sear's catalogue, nor do I think God exactly controls the outcome of such things... I reckon I was just flinging a desperate hope to the universe and awaiting some return signal that these are not, in fact, the end times. Because that Jerry Falwell, Jr. business last week? Where Rev. Falwell compared Trump to Jesus, and M … [Read more...]

Still, Always: What Alan Rickman Really Gave Us

Many of the miracle stories in the gospels have a common denominator: the hush factor. After performing a sign or a wonder, Jesus would often tell onlookers, or the recently healed leper/lame/blind man, that they were to "Say nothing to anyone."Biblical scholars have argued for millennia as to why that might be. Unable to fully explain it, they did what biblical scholars do and they came up with a big fancy name for this phenomenon so that people would stop asking them hard questions. They ca … [Read more...]

Bumps in the Night: Why We Love to Turn Up the Terror

I think I was about 15 the first time I read Pet Sematary. I was terrified. I was grossed out.I was totally hooked.I remember holing up in the basement to watch the movie with some friends. It was ok. But nothing like the delicious thrill of the words on the page, and the invitation those pages offered into the macabre layers of my own imagination. Something about King’s brand of terror has never translated well to the screen… His art is language, and trying to force real, physical ima … [Read more...]

EXPECTO PATRONUM! And Other Spells That Don’t Ensure Your Internet Safety

Listen. Most any 'change in privacy' notice you see on Facebook is a scam. Social media sites would completely implode on themselves if they started charging, and they know it. Or if everything suddenly became "public," in the most basic understanding of the word. Furthermore, anything that says "if you copy and paste this into your status, then _____ thing will or won't happen" is definitely a scam. Your status box has no magic power to create a force field around you and the rest of the … [Read more...]

Get it Together, America–We’ve Got Company

Maybe this week in U.S. news is no more embarrassing than any other. But I tell you what, I am feeling especially appalled by our collective bad behavior. Maybe it’s because the behavior has been especially…well, appalling. Or maybe it’s because the POPE IS IN TOWN, and, I don’t know, it seems like we should clean up the place a little. Use a napkin, at the very least, and not put our *^@%#^ feet on the table.It’s hard to know where to begin, with such ignorant, arrogant and buffoonish ac … [Read more...]