December 5, 2018

The mythology of Santa Claus is a mess and we need to sort some of that out. … The many canonical parts of this story can’t be made to fit together. Read more

December 4, 2018

Larry Nassar and Jerry Sandusky will spend the rest of their lives in prison. Jeffrey Epstein committed similar crimes, but he received extraordinary leniency instead of a life sentence. We need to know why. Read more

December 4, 2018

The main reason we say “Happy Holidays,” of course, is because it’s plural. The end of the year brings a steady stream of holidays — Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s at a minimum. “Happy Holidays” covers all of them. Read more

December 3, 2018

When I was a teenager, the most piously zealous young white evangelicals wanted to go into “full-time Christian service,” becoming missionaries or youth ministers. Today, the most piously zealous young white evangelicals want to become right-wing Republican legislators. Read more

December 3, 2018

We’ve had 120 years of Santa Claus in the movies. Here’s a chance to see the very first one. (He’s silent and too skinny, but still appropriately magical.) Read more

December 2, 2018

The only Advent hymn that most people remember or like dates back centuries. You’d think we might have expanded the list of beloved Advent songs since then … but no. Read more

December 2, 2018

“I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise.” Read more

December 1, 2018

The liturgical season doesn’t officially begin until tomorrow, but now the calendar’s just one page and it’s time to start our annual splurge o’ Christmas-y stuff. Read more

November 30, 2018

This brings us again to the difficulty of choosing precise and apt details for this particular story. The story is so implausible that plausible details seem impossible. What could such a congregation in such a setting possibly find to sing? Read more

November 30, 2018

Today is the birthday of Mark Twain, a day to be celebrated with jokes, stories and hallowed irreverence. Around here we like to mark the occasion by revisiting the greatest religious conversion narrative in American literature, a scene from Huckleberry Finn. Read more

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