Culture

Commentary on news and society.

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The Problem with Christmas CardsI love those happy faces. But I love the Christmas story even more.
The Problem with Christmas Cards
Jeff Weese/flickr

Last spring, after months of looking at the smiling faces of dozens of family members and friends who lined the doorposts of our dining room, I insisted they had to go. My husband and son conspired and relocated the strands of Christmas cards stapled to long pieces of ribbon to the windows in the ...

The Myth of the Exceptional WomanThe false premise that divides women who lead from women who might.
The Myth of the Exceptional Woman
bbaltimore/flickr

I had been at Azusa Pacific University for less than a semester when I found myself riding along with my mentor, Sarah Sumner, to a speaking engagement in downtown L.A. Once we arrived, I was floored by the depth of her knowledge and by her captivating teaching style. She taught for five hours with ...

Dear White Brothers and Sisters: Why #BlackLivesMatter Matters to YouEric Garner and Tamir Rice did not deserve to die. A guest post by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson.
Dear White Brothers and Sisters: Why #BlackLivesMatter Matters to You
velocity/flickr

In light of the ongoing civil unrest following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the recent grand jury decision on Eric Garner's death at the hands of police in Staten Island, New York, I asked the various writers who contributed to an August blog series on race and racial reconciliation ...

A White Cop and a Black LadyTalking After Ferguson, Hands Down, a guest post by Patricia Raybon
A White Cop and a Black Lady
The All-Nite Images/Flickr

First I noticed his kilt. A man in a skirt.

Then I learned he was a police officer. A California motorcycle cop. So this white man stood out for certain at a platform-building conference we both were attending in mid-November in Colorado Springs.

Then Jason Hoschouer, the man in the skirt, spoke ...

Grateful for GraveyardsWhy we took our children to a funeral.
Grateful for Graveyards
smila4/flickr

I receive an email from my mother in the evening. Nana is having trouble breathing. The Hospice nurse says she will die soon.

I have been expecting this news for weeks. My grandmother, Nana, just celebrated her 93rd birthday. In recent years, she has lost thirty pounds, and although her face lights ...

This Odd American HolidayWhat the strange beauty of Thanksgiving has taught us about dependence
This Odd American Holiday
JD Hancock

It strikes me as both odd and beautiful that America—this nation of fiercely independent citizens—slows down to give corporate thanks each year. Our other national holidays either come laden with controversy (consider the secular/sacred divide of Christmas and Easter, or the liberal/conservative ...

Surprised by Religion at the National Book Awards Why literary culture in America should cause hope and concern
Surprised by Religion at the National Book Awards
Florin Gorgan/flickr

It felt kind of like the Oscars, well, like the Oscars for book nerds. An evening with awards in different categories, a host who made witty remarks, and palpable excitement in the air. Two nights ago, I sat in an auditorium at the New School in Manhattan, for the privilege of listening as the twenty ...

Three Months After Michael Brown's Death in Ferguson, MissouriAn interview with local pastor and professor Michael Higgins
Three Months After Michael Brown's Death in Ferguson, Missouri
peoples world/flickr

Back in August, I hosted a series of guest posts about racial reconciliation within the church. As it happened, in the initial week of that series, Michael Brown—an unarmed African-American teenager—was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. In the weeks and now ...

Why We Still Go To ChurchIt's inconvenient and inefficient and sometimes doesn't even feel spiritual. But I'm glad we keep showing up.
Why We Still Go To Church
pdbreen

According to a 2010 Gallup poll in 2010, 32 percent of people in the state of Connecticut attend church weekly or nearly every week. The numbers look similar for the rest of New England. In our small Connecticut town, about 60 people show up to church on a typical Sunday, representing close to 2 ...

Identical Twin Sisters Growing Up Thousands of Miles ApartA new PBS film premieres tonight and raises questions about family, fate, and culture.
Identical Twin Sisters Growing Up Thousands of Miles Apart

Twin Sisters, a short documentary film about twin sisters raised on different sides of the globe, premiers tonight on PBS at 10:00pm EST. (Click here for a preview.) This film tells a simple story of twin girls abandoned in China and adopted by two very different families—one from Sacramento, ...

Are Faith and Science Compatible? Hanging out with Christian scientists taught me even more about the nature of God.
Are Faith and Science Compatible?
c@rljones/flickr

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a conference hosted by The Biologos Foundation. In some ways, I felt like an odd duck. Biologos is an organization dedicated to demonstrating the compatibility of modern science and evangelical faith. I’m all about evangelical faith, but I haven’t ...

How to Talk to Parents of Children With Down SyndromeI am much more inclined to tell the whole truth when you assume she is someone to celebrate.
How to Talk to Parents of Children With Down Syndrome

When people discover that I have a child with Down syndrome, I often receive a murmur and a sympathetic nod of the head. I almost immediately feel something tighten inside my chest, as if I am steeling myself for a fight my opponent doesn’t even know they’ve initiated. Most of the time, ...

Why Men Should Read Sheryl Sandberg's Lean InChange depends upon women and men working together to transform the social structures of work and family life.
Why Men Should Read Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In

When the COO of Facebook writes a book about women and leadership, the world takes notice. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, turned heads when it came out in March of 2013, and it sparked heavy criticism (see, for example, the Washington Post’s Recline, don’t ...

Six Books on How Kids Learn Books to help you stay informed about the national debates surrounding character education, knowledge, and grittiness.
Six Books on How Kids Learn
by www.audio-luci-store.it

My husband is the Head of School at The Gunnery, an independent boarding school in western Connecticut, so he keeps himself current on national debates surrounding education and learning. We also, of course, have kids of our own, and because our oldest daughter Penny has Down syndrome, we are particularly ...

Have Christians Made an Idol of Life?Ezekiel Emanuel says he wants to die at 75. Why we can support his reasoning.
Have Christians Made an Idol of Life?
Moyen Brown/flickr

In some ways, the title of Ezekiel Emanuel’s new essay for The Atlantic says it all: "Why I Hope to Die at 75." But this already over-commented (2,500 comments and counting) and widely read article deserves some attention here because Christians have distinct reasons both to pay attention ...

Why I Don't Like Being Called ReligiousAnd how I'm learning to embrace it anyway.
Why I Don't Like Being Called Religious

We moved to Connecticut two years ago. It took nearly as long for people to start telling me that I am “religious.” It usually comes as an explanation for why I won’t like something or why I wouldn’t know about some local gossip. It almost always seems to mean that I am an ...

How to Steward the Power of MarriageWhat family breakdown and spiritual friendship have taught me about the family of God.
How to Steward the Power of Marriage
Angelrays/Flickr

I am a happily married mother. Most days, I wake up before the sun, and even with all three kids in school I spend the majority of my waking hours on tasks related to their needs. I pack lunches and help with homework and arrange playdates and drive to soccer practice and clip fingernails and toenails ...

Me and Richard Dawkins--Not That Different After All?The temptation of utilitarianism.
Me and Richard Dawkins--Not That Different After All?
Matthias Asgeirsson/Creative Commons

A few weeks back, Richard Dawkins got the Twittersphere up in arms. When a woman asked what she should do with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, Dawkins replied, “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.” He provoked a somewhat ...

God Hasn’t Given Up on ReconciliationSome final thoughts, and a prayer, on how to respond when racial reconciliation seems hopeless.
God Hasn’t Given Up on Reconciliation
Renato Giordanelli/flickr

Earlier this summer, I decided to dedicate some time and space on this blog to the concept of racial reconciliation within the church.

It began as a modest project. I invited a handful of pastors and church leaders from different ethnic backgrounds to reflect upon their experiences within the evangelical ...

Healing Begins HereA summary of my blog series on racial reconciliation and the church.
Healing Begins Here
Defense Images/Flickr

For the past month, this blog has hosted a series of guest posts offering thoughts on race and reconciliation within the church in America. I will offer my own thoughts about this series in a concluding post later this week, but I also wanted to offer an overview and summary of the posts as they appeared ...

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