Let me get this out of the way: I am pro-vaccine. I had the full schedule of what was available when I was a child, thanks to my parents, and I’ve had the appropriate boosters as an adult. I’ve followed the recommendations each time I’ve traveled internationally. Even though the shot for yellow fever made me extremely loopy for several hours and the one for typhoid made me think my arm would fall off, it was all worth it.
That said, I’m also sympathetic to the reasons that other people don’t vaccinate or seek a delayed schedule.
2014 has been described as the year that Hollywood found faith. But if the first-ever panel on faith and film at the Sundance Film Festival is any indication, the discovery of theological depth is still quite a ways off.
“Political correctness,” the stifling culture of left-wing taboos around race, gender, and sexuality remembered from campus battles of the 1980s and 90s, “has returned.” So claims New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait in an essay that has sent the small tinderbox of progressive media into skyward sparks. According to Chait, this revival is heralded by hashtag activism, privilege-checking and calling out, strict policing of online and in-class language, “trigger warnings,” and bumptious student responses to commencement speakers. The consequences, he says, are dangerous.
James Wall is listed on the Christian Century masthead as a “contributing editor” along with other former editors and staff members. He has not been involved in editing the magazine since his retirement in 1998.
This summer I am going to be teaching at a Kenyon College writing workshop designed for clergy who want to hone their writing skills for conversations beyond their congregations and denominations. The program, Beyond Walls, is envisioned as an interfaith conversation with writers and clergy from both Jewish and Christian traditions. I will be teaching essay writing along with Rodger Kamenetz, and he and I each have an essay in this month’s Beyond Walls e-mag.
Several of my friends found inspiration in Katherine Willis Pershey’s recent encomium to fidelity in the Century. But I felt a strong aversion to the article, a reaction that’s led me into a period of self-examination. Upon reflection, I have almost no objection to the actual content of the article. It’s what Pershey doesn’t say—stuff she is not obliged to say—that has my attention.
Amid weeks with more than their share of bad news, one story before the new year seemed like a glimmer of light in the darkness. The world grabbed onto it: Pope Francis comforting a boy as he grieved the death of his dog, telling the boy he’ll see his dog in heaven.