At least since Martin Luther nailed his theses to the church door in 1517, Christians have disagreed on what Jesus calls them to do in the name of faith. There are nearly 34,000 Christian denominations worldwide, a number that doesn’t account for American Christians — nearly one in six, according to a Gallup poll last summer — who belong to no denomination at all. (more….)
A few years back, when there were still three teenagers in this house, I got a little wound up at supper one night and kept going on and on about the brilliance of a novel I was reading by an Irish-born writer. “I can’t believe you’ve never been there,” one of my sons said. “As much as you love this stuff, I can’t believe you’ve never been to Ireland or England.” (more….)
Back in July, as I sat before the butterfly enclosure in my family room, waiting to see if maggots would emerge from a twitching monarch caterpillar clinging to the screen at the top of the cage, two thoughts occurred to me: Is the caterpillar suffering? And is this what obsession looks like? (more….)
NASHVILLE — In the world of apostolic betrayals, it’s Judas who gets the headlines, but the everyday believer is more apt to fall in line behind Peter. Coldly handing Jesus over to his death in exchange for 30 pieces of silver was an over-the-top, cartoon-level move, but Peter’s terrified denial of the man he believed to be the savior of the world? That one seems immensely human to me. (more…)
A few years ago an app surfaced on Facebook that could identify how many of your friends were liberal and how many were conservative. One of my real-life friends clicked the button to see how her Facebook list stacked up and was shocked by the result. “I had no idea I liked so many Republicans,” she said. No wonder she was surprised. Facebook is very, very good at tracking our political leanings—and at serving up more of what it has decided we want. (more….)
Un-Resolved: A Resolution to Stop Resolving to Lose WeightBy Margaret Renkl Nashville Scene, 30 December 2015
The American ideal of reinvention, of becoming a new creature simply by deciding to be one, is both a delusion and a kind of seduction. It’s also a delusion I embrace, a deceitful seduction I fall for every time, despite the fact that for me — as for virtually everyone else — making New Year’s resolutions is an exercise in failure. (more…)
The Justice Department rode in on a white charger last week to defend the American consumer from predatory pricing in the e-book market. The hitch? Justice wasn’t aiming for Amazon, the online goliath that’s selling e-books at a loss to drive sales of its Kindle e-reader (and create a de facto monopoly of the e-book market). No, the target is Apple and five U.S. publishers destined for extinction if Amazon realizes what looks like its ultimate goal: to become an entirely self-contained, in-house publishing industry—Amazon the agent, publisher, distributor, and bookstore. It’s hard not to wonder if, deep in the bowels of its corporate megalopolis, Amazon is beta-testing an e-author, too.