One of my favorite lines in the musical TheBook of Mormon is from the song “You and Me (But Mostly Me).” The main characters, Elder Cunningham and Elder Price, talk about their upcoming mission. Elder Price sings, “Something I’ve foreseen, Now that I’m 19, I’ll do something incredible, That blows God’s freaking mind!”
I crack up every time I hear it, its full intended effect sending me into a fit of giggles. For me, it’s funny in a self-deprecating way, because I was Elder Price at 19.
“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.
On my way home from the grocery story last night, I listened to a woman reading her poetry. (Yes, it was public radio.) The poetry was lovely, but I could only listen for a little bit because the woman was reading in Poetry Voice.
Mary Miller’s The Last Days of California exactly captures an important aspect of the sort of rapture-ready Christianity I was raised and educated in: the unwillingness to face mortality that’s probably at the root of many people’s eager embrace of an imminent apocalyptic eschatology.
About six months ago I started a new call as the senior pastor of a church in New Hampshire. I truly loved the congregation I previously served, but with a wife who had just graduated from seminary herself, and a feeling that God was nudging me to something new, I began the long discernment that comes with a pastoral search process.
Unlike my first search process, where I sent my profile (the UCC version of a pastor’s resume) to just about every church that was searching, I was more selective.
Specific targets are important in anti-poverty work, and this is an ambitious one (though less ambitious than the report’s title, Ending Child Poverty Now). CDF’s policy proposals include a larger Earned Income Tax Credit and (not or) a higher minimum wage, along with expanded housing subsidies, child care subsidies, and food stamps. Add some more generous rules for tax credit refunds and child support recipients’ federal benefits—along with a new subsidized jobs program—and the whole thing starts to sound pretty expensive.