I try not to get too worked up about the commercialization of church holidays. It seems inevitable in our culture, in which most people are at least nominally Christian yet the real national faith is capitalism. The Christmas shopping season is annoying and the Easter candy aisles are dangerous, but it seems futile to rail against things that are more symptom than illness.
It is pretty perplexing, however, when marketers try to capitalize on Lent.
People assume a lot about what Christians are like. And often, we left-leaners are quick to explain not what we are but what we are not: not fixated on others’ damnation, not beholden to the Republican party, not antigay. It’s an understandable impulse. It also makes it that much easier for others to define us out of the faith altogether: they are the ones who believe or do x, y, and z important things; we are the ones who do not.
I try not to post TOO many "you forgot about us mainline Protestants!" posts. The idea comes up almost daily when I'm going through the news and the blogs, but I know that kind of thing can get old so I try to set the bar pretty high.
If a person wanted to make this the focus of a blog, however, a person could do worse than to keep a close eye on the Barna Group.
It looks like Washington is about to do what recently seemed a far-off dream: actually enact a farm bill. From a farm-reform perspective, the bill that the House passed and the Senate is now debating is uninspiring, but it could be worse. The same goes for nutrition assistance: the bill doesn’t drastically cut SNAP (food stamps) eligibility and benefits as House Republicans sought to do, but it does cut benefits by more than 1 percent over the next decade.
I’ve become a loyal viewer of the ABC drama Nashville. The story sort of comes and goes—here it’s a subtly observed relationship drama, there it’s an off-the-rails primetime soap—but it’s perhaps the first TV musical with consistently great music direction, and some of the performers are pretty good, too. So I wait the silly story lines out and keep watching.
Last week’s episode followed young country star Juliette Barnes through the aftermath of her confrontation with a conservative Christian protester.
Last Thursday's David Brooks column is a classic of the genre: moderate in rhetoric, conventionally conservative in substance, a presenting interest in policy behind which lurks a fixation on politics and the grail of bipartisanship.