The Word Gap Needs More Than Individual Effort

(mob mob / Flickr)

I'm posting at Fare Forward today, talking about the word gap, and why solutions should include structural reform of work schedules, wages, and zoning -- not just increased effort from individual parents: Poorer children start falling behind the richer children in their age cohort long before they toddle off to their first day of school or sit down for their first standardized test. Before formal instruction begins, children learn from their parents. Poorer children fall into a “word gap”—they h … [Read more...]

Effective Altruism and Caritas [Radio Readings]


You can listen to “Fights in Good Faith,” my weekly radio program, streaming today at 5pm ET and tomorrow (Sun) at 1pm.  The audio is now available to stream and download. This week’s program is about the Effective Altruism movement ways to resolve tensions between its recommendations and the Christian aim of charity.  I gave a talk on this topic earlier this week as a guest of the Yale Effective Altruists.Every week, I put up a “Radio Readings” post, so you can track down the books, article … [Read more...]

Offering hospitality to introverts, athletes, and other strange-to-me types

walk and talk

In the last week, I've run into two great pieces on how to offer hospitality, both by creating and supporting "third places" (a third place, apart from the home or the office for fellowship) or in one-to-one encounters.  Both these pieces don't just make actionable, concrete suggestions, they fill in lacuna in my own way of thinking about hospitality, blind spots created both by the way I prefer to socialize and my socioeconomic status.First up, Richard Beck of Expermental Theology points … [Read more...]

When it’s illegal to live with your friends…

doubled beds

There are two reasons why I recommended that friends who want to cultivate deeper relationships with each other move into apartment buildings yesterday.  The first reason is simply that they're convenient.  When a building is large enough, it's relatively easy to find an open unit in your friend's building to move into (especially if you live in a high turnover town, like I do).  Plus, apartment buildings let you be neighbors (in terms of a 5 minute door-to-door distance) without actually having … [Read more...]

Love and Real Estate, All About Location, Location Location

(cc Wikimedia Commons)

The best living experience I've had was definitely in college.   The density of people meant that third places were everywhere -- dining halls, courtyards, and coffee shops that I could sit in and be stumbled across by friends, and settle in for conversation and companionship.  It's hard to replicate as an adult, because, even though I'm fortunate to have a lot of the people I care about all live in one city, we live up to an hour from each other, so all meetings tend to be scheduled.  There's no … [Read more...]

Settling Into Our Sociable Third Places

(cc Nick Allen)

I've been reading (and loving!) sociologist's Ray Oldenburg's The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community, and, today, I'm over at Ethika Politika talking about how to rebuild some of the "Third Places" that Oldenburg praises--places outside of work or home where we come to share our lives with others.Here's an excerpt from my piece, "Learning to Linger in Leisure Spaces" We seem to need excuses to inhabit communal … [Read more...]

“Safety” is a Piss-Poor Pitch for Chastity


A recent First Things post aimed to arm its readers with a positive case for chastity, one that could appeal to non-Christian friends.  But I struggled to find anything positive or invigorating in the sample arguments presented.  For example: A case at University of Houston may serve. According to a legal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, the facts aren’t unusual. One evening, after attending a UH event, a male student went to a nearby bar and met a female student for the first time. They … [Read more...]