So much religious talk is about naming, about describing a general reality in particular terms. This is important. But in our increasingly secular culture, it’s always striking when someone gets at deep religious truth without bothering with religious language.
For instance, Jay Smooth offers a pretty crisp explication here of the nature of sin and virtue.
Another election year, another crop of posts about why people shouldn't vote. Among churchy bloggers, these often take the form of arguments about suspicion toward state power, questions about where our real citizenship lies, etc.
How should we decide who to vote for? Paul Root Wolpe thinks a candidate's personal ethics should be at the top of the list:
When we care about a candidate’s character, we are really asking, Is this person authentic? Are their positions a true reflection of their inner values, or are they politically expedient? Is a change of opinion on an issue a result of the candidate listening to others, learning and making a principled decision, or is it a response to pressure, polls and popularity? . . . . It is in the American character to care about our leader’s values. We should be proud of that.
I don't exactly disagree, but I don't find this all that helpful, either.
Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, by Sherry Turkle (Basic Books, 384 pp., $28.95). Amidst the deluge of propaganda, technophilia and idolatry that masquerades as objective assessment of digital culture, Turkle offers us galoshes and a sump pump.
I lived my childhood
against the stained wallpaper of the Vietnam War. My children have lived theirs
against the gnawing realities of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it's
hard to believe that one of those wars is finally over.