In the World

Church door from inside

Steve Thorngate on public life and culture

So, I write church music. (I've probably mentioned this before.) I've made lead sheets and full-band recordings for just one set of songs, my settings of the three Luke canticles. (One of them—Simeon's—is also on this Cardiphonia compliation.) At this point, mostly what I've done is create home demo recordings, playing and singing all the parts myself, some of them better than others. Here's one I just posted, not a biblical canticle but a song with original lyrics.
April 2, 2014
This weekend, I went and saw The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was good. It also failed the Bechdel test spectacularly: I don’t think two female characters ever spoke to each other at all, much less about something other than a man. Later, I watched the new episode of The Good Wife. Now there’s a show that aces the Bechdel test, week after week.
March 30, 2014
Be sure to read Amelia Thomson-Deveaux's article on the emerging evangelical-Catholic alliance over contraception. I think her historical analogy is entirely fair: evangelicals haven't always been opposed to contraception, but then they weren't always galvanized against abortion, either. And I appreciate that she doesn't simply endorse one of the two standard narratives on how evangelicals came to hate abortion—that either they came around to this opposition organically as they learned about the facts OR they were cynically manipulated by political operatives. There's truth in each of those stories; they aren't mutually exclusive.
March 27, 2014
Well, there you have it: World Vision has reversed its decision to allow Christians in same-sex marriages to work there. For 48 hours, the evangelical organization was poised to join Ken Wilson and others in acknowledging that SSM is a subject Christians disagree about, not a dividing line between who does and doesn't count as a Christian in the first place. But as Katherine Willis Pershey put it yesterday, in trying to stay out of the SSM fray, World Vision ended up right in the thick of it.
March 26, 2014
When you live in the city, you end up having a lot of conversations about crime. People want to know about your neighborhood, and the conversation inevitably dances carefully around people’s beliefs about the relationship between violent crime and race. The ugly assumption no one ever quite comes out and states plainly (because they totally aren’t racist): We know the perpetrators of violent crime will be people of color. The question is, who will the victims be? In reality, interracial violence makes up a small share of violent crime—and when it does happen, perpetrators and victims alike are pretty diverse.
March 21, 2014
I have mixed feelings about this idea of Marshall Poe’s: I think religion should be taught in college. I’m not talking about “religious studies,” that is, the study of the phenomenon of religion. I’m talking about having imams, priests, pastors, rabbis, and other clerics teach the practice of their faiths. In college classrooms. To college students. For credit.
March 19, 2014

Pages

In the magazine

Why and how I bless my children

Death-penalty abolition and life without parole

Review of Steven Brill's Obamacare book

Baptism and place

What I want to get/give for Christmas

Liturgy nerds and their weddings

What's funny on TV

Alternatives to the common lectionary

Should churches alter copyrighted worship texts?

Welcome to the middle class, population everyone.

It's not about the role of government.

Whither the Century's Amazon links?

Church music after the worship wars

A nontraditional church introduces member rolls

Pay your taxes; get a receipt.

The Democrats' proxy debate about abortion

Music reviews