July 22, 2016

I woke up this morning to find armies of people decrying the apocalypse which he-whose-name-will-not-be-spoken set alight last night.  Normally, I would be content to let others more versed in the art undertake the rhetorical war against political wrongheadedness, rather than add redundancy to the obvious. But we are past the point of political wrongheadedness.  We have passed the point at which good people—people of integrity, honesty, love, and probity—must recognize the moral obligation to oppose this fascist bigot.* The… Read more

July 13, 2016

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Faith and Reason. Read other perspectives here. The problem with making religion a rational phenomenon is that we then presume that religion means knowing stuff. Put your daggers down, a sec’, and hear me out.  I am not at all suggesting that religion depends on our ignorance.  A neo-orthodox element of my own religious tradition would have us accept that having stuff in our heads is an impediment… Read more

June 26, 2016

A medieval reading of Mark 8 justified self-inflicted suffering. Conventional readings of the chapter these days conclude that Jesus advocated unselfish-ness, as especially evident in unrequited acts of service. I don’t have anything against service. I think Jesus did like it. But I don’t see why we shouldn’t consider an additional layer of meaning in Mark 8 and its synoptic counterparts that currency of thought, these days, makes unavoidable, anyway. Whosoever will save his life shall lose it, says Jesus,… Read more

June 6, 2016

Amurrica is the land of opportunity, we say.  And we measure the realization of that opportunity in cash.  We have developed a prosperity-gospel patriotism that sanctifies wealth, amassed by whatever means, and that impels the accusation that if you have not succeeded in Amurrica, it’s only because you haven’t tried hard enough. Freedom, we insist, axiomatically, means that a person who fails must not have wanted to succeed very much.  Gumption, grit, and olde-fashioned exertion will lead, we believe, inevitably,… Read more

May 20, 2016

If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome—and reading blogposts can give it to you if you don’t—you’re in luck.  The best treatment might be provided in little packets manufactured by C&H. A few years ago, a team of real-life scientists produced an important study that showed that placebos work.  This was not, itself, news.  We came to understand long ago that a sugar pill, when pretending to be medication, can have positive material consequences on individuals’ health. We even understand, now,… Read more

May 9, 2016

Jeffrey Holland is angry, nay, furious, at people who leave the LDS church.**  It’s hard to ignore in the audio how bitter Holland sounds.  It’s also impossible to ignore how deeply pained he is. The anger Holland bellows at the guilty over the course of his impassioned, forty-five-minute sermon to a small crowd in Arizona a couple weeks ago feels rough and crumbling with deep, jagged hurt. Holland howls the howl of the marginalized and displaced, the cry of the person who cannot… Read more

April 25, 2016

I haven’t read the entire text of Jeremy Runnells’ Letter to a CES Director.  I mean, it’s so long.  It’s not that I never read things that are long.  But the CES Letter is so gratuitously longer than necessary that I haven’t read every word, and, unapologetically, I’m sure I never will. Even so, I commend Bro. Runnells for marking out his territory. Last week, after months of fits and starts, Runnells’ LDS stake finally got its isht together enough… Read more

April 15, 2016

The Conference Enigma A Little Play (A dark, silent sitting room. Carpet. Wood shelves. Books. Cozy, but almost entirely in shadow.  Door opens. DALLIN steps in. He is bald, eighty-ish, a bit gnome-like. Wearing a dark suit that’s just a tiny bit too big. He sets a briefcase on the floor, sighs, and snaps on a table lamp. In the new light, DALLIN gasps, and jumps. In a corner, only just illuminated, sits DIETER in an overstuffed chair. He is tall-ish…. Read more

March 23, 2016

Welcome to another episode of “The Most Religious Thing”.  We learned in our last episode that “Popcorn Popping” is the most genuinely religious song in the LDS-Mormon repertoire.  Today, we’ll discover that The Book of Mormon is not only the most genuinely religious Broadway musical ever, but, perhaps, the most correct of any musical on earth. This is old news.  But I saw the show, again, last week. For those not in the know, Trey Parker’s, Matt Stone’s, and Robert… Read more

February 29, 2016

For good or for bad, the term Islamist is now part of the English lexicon, perhaps permanently.  Those with friendly and those with hostile intent employ this term to distinguish between friendly and hostile Muslims.  Friendly Muslims align themselves with Islam.  Hostile Muslims, on the other hand, are Islamists. Thanks to the way in which Western media has employed the term for a decade, the distinct characteristic of the Islamist seems to be that he or she wants Islam (or… Read more

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