May 1, 2014 / From the Editor, Uncategorized
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from …
May 15, 2015
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from across the web. Here’s what’s catching our eye this week.
Can we learn something about Christianity from Karl Marx?
It occurs to me that this observation contains a timely insight which, properly applied, would allow us to disentangle the web of chaos, hatred, and confusion that surrounds religion in America. In fact, it allows us to take a somewhat novel position: by adopting the insight of Marx, we can make a case against religion in American, while at the same time defending religion in general. The essence of the argument involves making the distinction between diseased and healthy religion, and resembles the surgical necessity of removing diseased flesh so that new, healthy growth can take its place.
Two sisters divided on gay marriage explain their abiding love for one another.
Elizabeth: “Because here’s the crux of the matter: I love my sister not for (or against) her sexuality, but for her total personality, which includes humor, intelligence, beauty, kindness, and generosity. In a word, I love her character.”
Mary: “Ultimately what I care about is not her view on any particular issue—no matter how personal—but the actual content of our relationship. Of course being gay is a huge part of who I am, but it’s definitely not all that I am. Most of all, I care about how Elizabeth and I relate to one another. I care that she respects my feelings and my relationship with my partner, Becky. Really, it comes down to something very simple: I choose at once to love my sister and disagree with her on gay marriage.”
The rising cost of art shines a spotlight on growing global inequality.
Let’s assume, for a minute, that no one would spend more than 1 percent of his total net worth on a single painting. By that reckoning, the buyer of Picasso’s 1955 “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O)” would need to have at least $17.9 billion in total wealth. That would imply, based on the Forbes Billionaires list, that there are exactly 50 plausible buyers of the painting worldwide.
The influence of the Inklings is as complicated as it is far-reaching.
The Inklings’ work, then, taken as a whole, has a significance that far outweighs any measure of popularity, amounting to a revitalization of Christian intellectual and imaginative life. They were 20th-century Romantics who championed imagination as the royal road to insight and the “medieval model” as an answer to modern confusion and anomie; yet they were for the most part Romantics without rebellion, fantasists who prized reason, for whom Faërie was a habitat for the virtues and literature a sanctuary for faith. Even when they were not on speaking terms, they were at work on a shared project, to reclaim for contemporary life what Lewis called the “discarded image” of a universe created, ordered, and shot through with meaning.
Netflix’s newest superhero offering, Daredevil, grapples with the question of evil through a Catholic framework.
The show uses Catholicism to strengthen the picture of Daredevil as an ordinary guy. At one point Father Lantom (Peter McRobbie) asks Daredevil how he’s holding up. “Like a good Catholic boy,” he says. “That bad, eh?” Father cracks. Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), his nurse and collaborator, marvels at the amount of punishment Daredevil can take without complaint. “That’s the Catholicism,” he smirks. Claire’s only memory from Sunday school is that the martyrs, saints, and saviors “all end up bloody and alone.” And there’s running conversation with Father Lantom about the origin and nature of the devil.
Black celebrities, including Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and Raven-Symoné are all calling themselves New Black. What does that mean?
Still, just because celebrities like the ones I’ve mentioned don’t have to worry about a cop shooting them dead and then claiming they did so out of fear shouldn’t mean they can ignore others who do—especially in this heady time of Black Lives Matter protests pushing against a new police murder every week. But that’s what New Black is: using wealth as a protective hedge to say “I’m different, and the worries of middle-class or poor black folks don’t affect me so they must not be real.” I didn’t include Pharrell Williams in this video, but he’s another poster child for this way of thinking, with quotes like this from his Oprah Prime interview in 2014.
“Gone to heaven” travelogues are more popular than ever, but N.T. Wright claims Scripture speaks about heaven very differently.
In this new book, Wright begins with a simple distinction between advice and news. Most churches, he observes, are peddling advice, offering a kind of self-help gospel rather than the gospel itself. Their advice is designed for a cultural understanding of faith as a kind of insurance against hell, an assurance of heaven. The problem, though, is that, while such a faith might feel comfortable culturally, it has little to do with Christian scripture and tradition.
Coffee, long believed to be vaguely unhealthy, may have the scholarly support to prove otherwise.
Of course, everything I’m saying here concerns coffee — black coffee. I am not talking about the mostly milk and sugar coffee-based beverages that lots of people consume. These could include, but aren’t limited to, things like a McDonald’s large mocha (500 calories, 17 grams of fat, 72 grams of carbohydrates), a Starbucks Venti White Chocolate Mocha (580 calories, 22 grams of fat, 79 grams of carbs), and a Large Dunkin’ Donuts frozen caramel coffee Coolatta (670 calories, 8 grams of fat, 144 grams of carbs).
I won’t even mention the Cold Stone Creamery Gotta-Have-It-Sized Lotta Caramel Latte (1,790 calories, 90 grams of fat, 223 grams of carbs).Regular brewed coffee has 5 or fewer calories and no fat or carbohydrates.
How fiction suffuses our lives, whether we like it or not:
We brood over remembered stories; and through the act of remembrance, we modify them by suppressing unnecessary minor details or by picking out the most meaningful moments, exactly as a novelist does. Memory tells us stories, but so does oblivion. And sometimes we go as far as to make up a whole story on the spur of the moment, seeking to hide ourselves behind a shaky lie, or just out of sheer vanity to elicit in our listener a flattering image of ourselves.
Several academic institutions in the US and UK toil to prevent humanity from destroying itself.
Seventy years after the Trinity test, such risk assessments are still being carried out—and as before, we don’t know of it. Based at several academic institutions in the UK and US, the Manhattan Project’s spiritual heirs toil away in relative obscurity. There are not many of them. They are no longer building bombs. They come from all sorts of disciplines—philosophy, now, as well as the worlds of science. Their goal is nothing less than saving the human race from destroying itself.
David A. Garner