Category: Social Trends

Do Christians underestimate fiction?

I’m not one to worry about those aspects of modern life that threaten good old-fashioned reading. After all, even though I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 7 and though I studied English and writing in college and though I’ve spent a career as an editor and a writer, I wasn’t a big reader as a kid. Though I did read and liked it — the click of the syntax, the weaving of sentences,…  [more]

The great American identity crisis

On Sunday, my church transitioned from a church plant to an independently organized congregation. As part of this milestone, we remembered how our church was started and the people and events that shaped its character. We told stories about what brought each of us to the church, we worshipped together with our parent church and their council prayed over our newly commissioned one. This personal experience of communal…  [more]

Is the gender-swapping Twilight the best thing to come out of the franchise?

At first blush, Stephenie Meyer’s gender-swapping, 10th-anniversary edition of Twilight - called Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined - is the dumbest idea of all time. High-school girl Bella is now high-school boy Beau and vampire Edward is now vampiress Edythe. A friend who is reading Life and Death would add that even at second, third and fourth blush, it’s a dumb idea. After all, characters are who…  [more]

The particular place of shame when Christian campuses confront rape

For those with the emotional strength to endure it, Lady Gaga’s newest video, “Til It Happens to You,” is the kind of protest art that can’t be ignored. As graphic portrayals of sexual assaults against college women flash on the screen, Gaga sings, “Til it happens to you, you won't know, it won't be real.” The sad truth remains that far too many women can relate to the…  [more]

Vox’s Victorian couple and living with authenticity

A fun feature of our information age is how easy it is to access documents, ideas and even objects from other times. Even a few years ago someone might have combed antique stores for years to find something that is now available for purchase (or maybe several!) on eBay or Etsy. Researching at a distant archive can be done through an online database. There is something delightful about using cutting-edge technology to…  [more]

Duke students, trigger warnings and cultural engagement

At the start of this new school year, one story making headlines concerns the incoming Duke freshmen who have refused to read the graphic novel Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel, which was on a recommended (though not required) reading list for incoming students. Citing the book’s depiction of sexuality, student Brian Grasso has said that reading it would “compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs.”…  [more]

Eating alone, eating with Jesus

A recent NPR article drew attention to the fact that American adults are increasingly eating alone: 46 percent of our “eating occasions” - meals and snacks - are solitary. There are numerous factors that contribute to this, including our on-the-go lifestyle, the increased habit of replacing meals with snacking and the rise in single-person households. Although technology can sometimes bridge the gaps…  [more]

The (somewhat) sacred outdoors

My family lives surrounded by an embarrassment of scenic riches. In less than six hours, we can drive to no less than five national parks. We don’t even have to leave our own county for a rich experience of nature. We have San Francisco Bay to the east, the Pacific Ocean over a mountain ridge to the west and Redwood groves and open space teeming with deer and mountain lions just miles from my house. We are…  [more]

What’s really been exposed in the Ashley Madison hack

Men and women cheating on their spouses is nothing new. Yet with the hack of affair-matchmaking site Ashley Madison and subsequent release of information identifying its users, adultery is in the public eye in a new way. Those fearful of discovery are seeking to know if their information was part of the leak. Prominent Christians such as Josh Duggar were found among the paid users, as was Sam Rader, a Christian…  [more]

Sharing the good news amidst Tinder’s ‘dating apocalypse’

Love isn’t easy in the digital age and, apparently, neither is responding to criticism. Last week, Vanity Fair ran a piece by Nancy Jo Sales on “Tinder and the Dating Apocalypse,” the contents of which provoked the Tinder Twitter account into an “emotional meltdown” that ranged from accusations of shoddy journalism to invoking North Korean users as legitimation of its services. Although…  [more]

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