Where did the word-of-the-moment come from? To the Bat Cave!

This is a word you’re not supposed to say on live TV or in front of the children, but it’s spiking in use these days for the same reason that any word does: because of its precision and necessity. We are seeing something in our politics, exemplified in the juvenile free-for-all of this week’s Republican presidential primary debate, and we need to identify it. This appropriately crude word lets us do that. [Read more…]

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There were voices down the corridor

Ah yes, the “Hotel California” urban legend, widely embraced by white evangelicals eager to believe that the Eagles’ hit song was a detailed allegory about the Church of Satan. This applied the interpretive approach evangelicals had taught themselves for reading Genesis, Revelation, and the Sermon on the Mount — read the metaphors literally and the literal statements as metaphors. Thus a song about selling one’s soul to the music industry turns into a song about musicians actually selling their souls. [Read more…]

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Wheaton College and creationism (ongoing)

Dr. Hawkins’ “worship the same God” comment was in no way a violation of Wheaton’s Statement of Faith — a fact acknowledged behind closed doors even by the provost intent on punishing her for it. Her reference to Sterkfontein, however, may have been. Why, then, did Wheaton’s administrators choose to make her a scapegoat on the baseless pretext of the former rather than going after her on the latter issue where they could credibly claim a more substantive case? [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (1.21)

Ursula K. LeGuin reminds her local paper that public land belongs to the public. Maria Konnikova on why we fall for con games. Woody Guthrie on that racist New York slumlord Old Man Trump. And Carol Howard Merritt on the wage gap in the church. [Read more…]

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More voices on Wheaton’s white gospel

Wil Gafney on Wheaton’s whitening of faith; Wheaton student Ellie Roth and alumnus Tobin Grant discuss the school’s shame; Susan Campbell and Ivy George examine this fear-driven “orthodoxy;” and John Schmalzbauer provides more historical context. [Read more…]

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Tribune report contradicts Wheaton’s sanctimonious official story

This stinks to high heaven. Wheaton loves to think of itself as the “Harvard of evangelicalism.” It’s acting like the Bob Jones of evangelicalism. And Wheaton’s current president, Philip Ryken, seems determined to turn it into the Corinthian College of evangelicalism. [Read more…]

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Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows … and so can you, actually, based on evidence and reason

Lamont Cranston, these pedants insist, was an uncharitable and uncivil fellow. He failed in his moral duty to give everyone the eternal and inexhaustible benefit of the doubt at all times. He failed the test of the presumption of charity, which they say means that everyone, everywhere should always be assumed to be acting and arguing in good faith. These are the Rules of civility and charity, and these Rules must always be followed. [Read more…]

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Why laying off copy editors makes us all dumber and less free

Copy editors help keep readers safe from garbled, meaningless, passive-voice abominations like this form of cop-speak. Such language isn’t written clearly and thus cannot be read clearly. Read too much of it and you’ll cease to be able to think clearly. It’s a way of writing, speaking, and thinking that separates nouns from verbs, and therefore separates causes from effects, and therefore separates power from responsibility. [Read more…]

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