1. “The reason I wrote that you’re against national health care is because in 2009 you wrote a column called ‘Why I Oppose National Health Care.’” That’s a hilarious debate moment, but also an interesting sign of how things are changing. Some of the people who, in 2009, thought it was advantageous to rail against health care reform are now, in 2014, insisting that yes-but-of-course, I’ve always supported health care reform. Wind socks are useful because they tell us which way the wind is blowing.
2. James McGrath re-imagines the story of the woman at the well, except instead of meeting Jesus there, she meets Sherlock Holmes. After observing her for a moment, Holmes says, “You have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband.” I kind of want to see this now.
Of course Holmes, like Jesus, is understood to be fully human and not omniscient. You run into problems if you think Jesus was omniscient — as Hemant Mehta points out in “The Jesus Germ Theory,” which reminds me of the sense of overwhelming, inevitable dread I felt as I read A Distant Mirror, Barbara Tuchman’s engrossing history of the “Calamitous 14th Century.” I desperately wanted a time machine so I could go back and warn them — “It’s the rats and the fleas! For God’s sake, get rid of the rats and the fleas!” (Time-travel stories all warn against such meddling with the past, which is part of why time-travel stories are so ethically fascinating and frustrating.)
3. “It continues to be most disconcerting to see intellectual leaders seemingly wholly oblivious to the fact that plenty of Christians have functioned quite well for 2000 years, and continue to function today, without this stressful stranglehold on what these panelists (and the traditions they represent) mean by ‘inerrancy.’”
4. A manicure, chewing tobacco, and six other “Things That Shouldn’t Happen in Old Testament Survey, But Totally Did.”
5. Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog addresses “The overblown notion that evangelicals are obsessed with birth control” with a post lamenting that evangelicals are not sufficiently obsessed with birth control and urging them to become more so. “In the contraceptive debate, the Catholic Church’s stance rings loud and clear, but evangelicals have a far less direct approach.” For now. In 10 or 15 years, when the Catholic position has become the default white evangelical “stance” enforced by the subcultural gatekeepers, let’s at least try to remember that this was a change. Because by then the gatekeepers will be insisting that this is how it has always been — that Protestants have always been anti-birth control.
6. Steven Waldman, “Thank Local News for the Bridgegate Story”
Accountability reporting works not only because of what is printed but by giving public officials the sense that someone out there is watching.
So why did the Bergen Record have a full-time transportation reporter and another investigative reporter they could detail to the story? According to the Washington Post recap it’s because it’s a family owned paper that had managed to avoid massive layoffs: “The newspaper’s staffing has weathered the decade-long industry decline by losing just 10 percent of its newsroom staff from its peak, says Borg, and there are “no future staff reductions planned.” Nationally, newsrooms have lost about one third of their reporters, with many metro dailies seeing even sharper cuts.