Category: Social Trends

Beer, bread, chocolate - and Jesus?

I apologize in advance to those of you who don't live within driving distance of Chicago, because I'm about to literally whet your appetite for something you won't be able to attend. On Tuesday, April 7, I'll be sitting down with TC contributor John J. Thompson to discuss his new book, Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate; Crafting a Hand-Made Faith in a Mass Market World. The best part? We'll be doing it…  [more]

Raising narcissists: what over-approving parents can learn from Philippians 2

A study released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found a strong correlation between parental patterns and the development of narcissism in early adolescents. The study found that childhood narcissism “is cultivated by parental overvaluation: parents believing their child to be more special and more entitled than others.” This is set in contrast to what the researchers…  [more]

The difference between outrage and accountability

I was recently reading the newspaper when I came across a story that pushed my outrage button hard: a public figure, one whose position depends utterly on public trust, was exposed as a hypocrite, an egomaniac and a liar. I composed a snarky tweet in my head, pulled out my iPhone and began to type. But somewhere between the 140th character and “send,” I paused. A humiliating hashtag was already trending.…  [more]

Rob Bell and Oprah aside, marriage wasn’t designed to solve loneliness

In a recent appearance on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday to promote his latest book, The Zimzum of Love,  Rob Bell made remarks on marriage that are causing consternation among some and receiving applause from others. In the interview, the Pastor Emeritus of Mars Hill Bible Church expressed his sentiments that the church is “moments away” from affirming same-sex marriage, following the broader…  [more]

“Missed connections” and a love worth pursuing

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we find ourselves in a season of American life with competing paradigms of romantic love. From films, music and even the card aisle of your local pharmacy, February is always a month dedicated to the exploration of one of our most mysterious of virtues. In the spirit of exploration, I want to present two tales, which represent two vastly different views of love in the modern…  [more]

Turning pistols into plowshares

Present-day Christians wrestle with the issue of violence just like our forefathers in faith did. We disagree on whether violence is permissible in instances of self-defense and whether Christians should support acts of war on a national scale - even if conducted in the name of justice, democracy or some greater good. A new study out of Yale University, summarized in The Atlantic, suggests a way forward which…  [more]

The ascetic appeal of tiny living

We Americans love our stuff. No doubt about it. Consumerism is as American as supersize fries. Any excess naturally brings counter movements toward the opposite extreme. One recent response to wanton consumerism is “tiny living,” a philosophy that emphasizes environmental awareness, adventurousness, self-sufficiency, simplicity, fiscal soundness and - its most visible outward sign of the lifestyle - tiny…  [more]

Three things each of us can do to resist racism – right now

In the weeks since two separate grand juries decided not to indict white police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo in the homicides of two black men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, race has been at the forefront of many conversations. It’s a discussion fraught with tension, at once recalling America’s terrible past of African enslavement and bringing forth the reality of present-day disparity and…  [more]

Egg freezing and the facts of life

Apple and Facebook recently made headlines with their decision to cover the medical costs for female employees who want to freeze their eggs. Many fertility clinics now advertise this as a procedure one might choose in order to “pursue educational, career or other personal goals.” These headlines were a fresh reminder that Protestant Christians often ignore the ethical implications of reproductive…  [more]

Samaritans Radar, suicide prevention and the limits of social networking

When the suicide-prevention organization Samaritans launched a Twitter app Oct. 29, they called it “an online safety net.” The Samaritans Radar app scans tweets from accounts a user is following, looking for phrases that may indicate a person is at risk for suicide. Once the risk is identified, the app alerts the subscriber via email, sharing the cause for concern and suggestions for reaching out and…  [more]

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