Now and then, someone will ask me “what kind of Christian” I am. I never used to know how to respond.
I would ramble on about how I’m sort of a theological moderate, though it’s not that helpful to think of us Christians as existing on a linear continuum, and I’m less focused than some of the Christians I grew up with on individual salvation, not that I think it doesn’t matter, and I’m wary of efforts to convert people of other faiths, which isn’t to say that I don’t value evangelism or the uniqueness of Christ... By this point the person typically lost interest in my endless run-on sentence of negative definition and preemptive defensiveness. I was left wishing I’d just said, “Lutheran.”
Then came the 2008 election and the Matthew 25 Network.
This week I’ve spent some time with my five-month-old daughter in the lounge outside a hospital’s intensive care unit. It looks like the person we’re here to see will make a full recovery. But hanging out here means rubbing shoulders with other people whose loved ones are not so fortunate.
The default position is to respect other people’s privacy, but some people want to talk.
Looks like Jesus the Homeless is coming to Chicago. Erica Demarest reports that the local Catholic Charities office plans to put up one of Timothy Schmalz's sculptures—which depict an unkempt Jesus, with stigmata, sleeping on a park bench—this spring.
Weekend Edition did a segment Sunday on the sculpture at St. Alban's Episcopal in Davidson, North Carolina. Apparently some locals aren't fans.
Looks like Vox is off to a pretty good start. Ezra Klein & Co.'s news & politics vertical is poised to do even more than Klein's past work already has to expand serious discussion of public policy, to take it outside the bubble of people who come to the conversation with specialized knowledge.
Though if Matthew Yglesias's first post is any indication, Vox may make a different time-honored mistake of national political journalism: taking for granted that D.C. is the center of the universe, and that this universe exists entirely along the Eastern Seaboard.
It's often said that in a tolerance-obsessed culture, everything is tolerated—except intolerance. Actually, this gets said a lot more often than perhaps it should, because being intolerant is not the same sort of thing as being black or female or gay or Muslim. Tolerating people is more fundamental than tolerating their ideas.
So, I write church music. (I've probably mentioned this before.) I've made lead sheets and full-band recordings for just one set of songs, my settings of the three Luke canticles. (One of them—Simeon's—is also on this Cardiphonia compliation.) At this point, mostly what I've done is create home demo recordings, playing and singing all the parts myself, some of them better than others.
Here's one I just posted, not a biblical canticle but a song with original lyrics.
This weekend, I went and saw The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was good. It also failed the Bechdel test spectacularly: I don’t think two female characters ever spoke to each other at all, much less about something other than a man.
Later, I watched the new episode of The Good Wife. Now there’s a show that aces the Bechdel test, week after week.
Be sure to read Amelia Thomson-Deveaux's article on the emerging evangelical-Catholic alliance over contraception. I think her historical analogy is entirely fair: evangelicals haven't always been opposed to contraception, but then they weren't always galvanized against abortion, either. And I appreciate that she doesn't simply endorse one of the two standard narratives on how evangelicals came to hate abortion—that either they came around to this opposition organically as they learned about the facts OR they were cynically manipulated by political operatives. There's truth in each of those stories; they aren't mutually exclusive.