In the World
Steve Thorngate on public life and culture
Wow. Here's a commercial aimed at folks who think a month-long vacation sounds horrible, especially if it means suffering the indignity of driving a Honda or not living in a McMansion. In other words, it's aimed at lots of Americans.
One interesting element in the debate over laws like Arizona's SB 1062 has been a widespread willingness to simply accept the basic framing—LGBT equality/nondiscrimination vs. religious freedom—as the obvious starting point. But just a few years ago, this wouldn't have been obvious at all. Religious freedom may be the rallying cry of much of the right, but only recently. People used to talk about religious freedom less, and when they did they were often liberals. What changed?
Keith Kloor thinks environmental organizations are struggling to stay relevant. Christopher Ingraham says "the green movement has a Millennial problem." The eco-Millennial is "a myth," says Derek Thompson: "Millennials don't give a hoot about the environment." They're all talking about this big Pew study on Millennials that came out last week.
Via CCblogger Scott Gunn, here's a fun new video from Lutheran Satire. I appreciate the main points here: that the faith formation of young people begins in the home (see this Century interview with another Lutheran) and that the main thing that draws anyone to the church is not pop-culture sensibilities but the proclamation of good news (an even Lutheraner notion). But I'm not sure what this has to do with the U2charist and the other single-secular-artist-themed worship services it's spawned.
I try not to get too worked up about the commercialization of church holidays. It seems inevitable in our culture, in which most people are at least nominally Christian yet the real national faith is capitalism. The Christmas shopping season is annoying and the Easter candy aisles are dangerous, but it seems futile to rail against things that are more symptom than illness. It is pretty perplexing, however, when marketers try to capitalize on Lent.
I've been enjoying CCblogger Rachel Hackenberg's Lenten sermon series posts. She offers several, separate ideas: on the question "Who do you say that I am?" (following the Narrative Lectionary's readings from John), on prayer practices, on "Lift High the Cross," on the paintings of Anneke Kaai. But my favorite is Hackenberg's series on the Revised Common Lectionary's Old Testament readings.