First there was the U2charist,
in which churches invited young folks into their deepest and most
mysterious ritual by building a service around the music of a
30-year-old band (that’s the band, not the members) that occasionally
writes songs with vaguely spiritual themes.
When faith-based advocacy groups hold a protest, they often dress it up
in prayer. It's not enough to say to the gathered people and (hopefully)
cameras that your faith compels you to speak out against torture or war
or inequality; you have to say it to God (but still in front of the cameras). This always strikes me as odd and mildly offensive.
My wife and I recently moved to a Chicago neighborhood that is farther
from public transit than we're used to. She’s looking into clinical pastoral education
placements, most requiring travel across town at odd hours. My parents
live in a small town 80 miles from us, my aging grandparents in another
town 30 miles farther.
Flipping through the new issue of The American Prospect, I saw a blurb about an article from last month's issue that I missed amid the end-of-year craziness: Ann Friedman's commentary
on the need for different left-leaning political interest groups to
The status quo on federal abortion funding leaves a lot to be desired, and not just for abortion-rights hardliners. Current law offers antiabortion citizens the peace of knowing that while abortion may be legal, at least their taxes aren't paying for it. In exchange for these clean hands, Americans get a system in which women who rely on the federal safety net for their health coverage don't have access to abortion, while women of greater means do. The Stupak Amendment to the House's health-insurance bill would make this inequality worse.
Dave Bazan, Curse Your Branches. Bazan’s confessional songwriting is dark and intense, but his impeccable craft makes it a pleasure. Bazan has put out album after album (many as Pedro the Lion) of precisely described internal turmoil set to spare rock and roll—with delectable pop hooks, here more confident and lilting than ever.
Faith-based editors, like preachers, approach holidays with ambivalence:
there are so many meaningful things to say, yet so few that seem
remotely fresh. One approach is to dramatically vary the tone year to
The Democrats have built their majority by expanding their tent; as a
result there is now a sizable group of antiabortion Democrats in
Congress. The new abortion divide—intra- along with inter-party—has
shaken the Democratic consensus on health insurance reform.
President Obama spoke to students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia today, and his remarks
were simulcast in schools around the country. The president’s message
to American schoolchildren? Show up to school.
"I'm aware that a tree-hugging Brown student isn't supposed to be able
to talk to a Bible-thumping Liberty student," writes Kevin Roose. "But
why not? Aren't we all part of the Millennial generation? Don't we all
carry the same iPhones and suffer from the same entitlement complex?"