Why We Have To Stop Telling Jewish Jokes

Sometimes it takes a while for a bad punchline to sink in. To wit, after a handful of comedian (to use the term loosely) Trevor Noah’s cringe-worthy anti-Semitic, misogynist tweets from 2009 surfaced about a week and a half ago. Last night, “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart spoke out in support of Noah, who is slated to replace Stewart on the Comedy Central show later this year. But Noah still faces several comedy critiques. On Wednesday, the American Jewish Congress launched an online campaign … [Read more...]

Selling Vacuums, Giving Away Parting Gifts, and Pantomiming The Gospel

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A book by a Catholic priest who journeyed to Tanzania to bring the gospel to the Masai gave me a new way to think about evangelism that goes beyond the models I've seen in action. These models have borne a passing resemblance to either 1950's door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales, game shows featuring lovely parting gifts, or encoded Christian mime performances.Father Vincent J. Donavan journeyed to Tanzania to during the 1960's and 1970's bring the gospel to the Masai people. Encamped in the … [Read more...]

Writing Is Like Riding A Bike

If I wrote a job description for myself as a writer, it would include the following requirements:Must appreciate wearing pajamas to work. Must relish the battery-acid flavor of twice-reheated room temperature coffee. Room temperature Diet Coke is an acceptable alternative. Must know how to source and study each week’s most popular cat videos as a deadline approaches. Must remember.Many writers affirm some variation of numbers one through three on this list. And number four seems … [Read more...]

Faithful Compassion Over Gut Reaction

In the last few weeks, I’ve read reports of swastikasspray-painted inside the walls of a Jewish frat house at Vanderbilt University and residents of a Madison, Wisconsin neighborhood housing many Jewish residents awakening one Saturday morning to find racist and anti-Semitic graffiti plastered across their properties. Are these reports of hate-speech the acts of alcohol-fueled vandals? Or are they harbingers of something more ominous? In light of a well-documented rising tide of violent anti- … [Read more...]

Christian Seders?

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Should Christians participate in church-run Seders?After all, this command to retell and relive via ritual meal celebrating God's deliverance of his people from slavery in Egypt was given to the Jewish people (click here, here, and here). Yet it has become popular in both liturgical and low-church circles to incorporate a Christian version of the Seder meal into Holy Week observance. Many other congregations will invite ministries involved in doing Jewish outreach to come and do a "seder … [Read more...]

Spiritual Stage Parents

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"I would never behave like those crazed mothers on shows like Toddlers & Tiaras and Dance Moms," we parents tell ourselves. "Spray tans on a four year old? Competition that takes all the joy out of childhood play? I would never live my ambitions through my kid!"Parental ambition come in plenty of shapes and sizes. Most of them aren't featured on basic cable, but are everywhere we turn during our active parenting years:The dad who goes a little ballistic about a bad call during his … [Read more...]

Old Man, I Really, Really Am A Lot Like You

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Last week the Tonight Show was in reruns, and one of the shows they replayed featured Jimmy Fallon and Neil Young singing Young's "Old Man". I saw it the first time it aired, and have watched the clip below probably a couple of dozen times since then. Maybe the shows producers saw the bit as a way to showcase Fallon's eerie imitation of Young's windblown, aching tenor, but it was so much more than that, whether it was intended to be or not.Slate's Forest Wickman thought so, too. He noted, … [Read more...]


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