It seems odd in this era of “pervasive cultural irony” (David Foster Wallace) that Americans are so prone to sentimentality. We have been schooled to be cool with the shocking, the disgusting, the daring, the outrageous–to strike postures of ironic detachment and to mask our true feelings by displaying their opposite: indifference, say, for disappointment or amusement for anger. Having recently attended a reading featuring the poetry and fiction of undergraduates, I submit as anecdotal evidence a roomful of students and professors who winced not a whit as bland and clinical reportage about post-adolescent sexual experimentation was lauded as literary art.
The two parties are miles apart on how to cut the deficit and national debt: Republicans want to slash spending even more. Democrats want to raise revenue.
And then there are the other Democrats — the ones who reject the entire premise of the current high-stakes fiscal fight. There’s no short-term deficit problem, they say, and there isn’t even an urgent debt crisis that requires immediate attention.
Jesus’ promise that he and God will come make a home with us sounds like good news to me.
Our so-called secular age purports to have disenchanted us of our pre-modern superstitions. Many of us find God’s stark absence from our daily affairs to be our most prominent experience of the divine.
If you check out Bibles online or in a bookstore, you are likely to run across something called a Life Application Study Bible. As the name suggests, this study Bible is less about traditional Bible study and more about how to apply the Bible's teaching in everyday life. I saw a plug for this Bible that touted it for providing excellent "practical application."
One of my tasks as the Century’s online-editorial intern is to archive past issues on the website. It can be tedious, but it’s also quite fascinating to see various subjects develop in the magazine’s pages over time. At this point I’ve worked back as far as Christmas 1998, meaning the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal is front and center. I was 11 when that happened; I know the present-day Clinton everyone loves much better than the 1998 Clinton no one knew what to do with.
But by far the highlight is reading Martin Marty’s old columns.