But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Tuesday, 21 March 2017 10:47

Review: “Beauty and the Beast” (2017)

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When the history of Hollywood’s current creative stagnation is written, we very well might regard the new live action version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” as the quintessential movie of the era. It is a remarkably efficient summation both of nostalgia’s...

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Saturday, 18 March 2017 05:23

My Father’s Anger

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Growing up, I did not see my father angry often. But it did happen. If my father was angry with me, it was almost certainly for one of two reasons. Either I had disrespected my mother, or else I had been cruel to my younger sister. On those occasions I did witness and endure my Dad’s anger.

But...

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My issue with pieces like this one comes down to a question of good-faith. In a certain context, given some mutual assumptions and amongst people who share particular convictions, arguing from the New Testament to a certain political program can be persuasive and valuable. The trouble comes when...

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Thursday, 16 March 2017 02:08

Sitting Athwart History

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Today I’m re-upping this post from May 2016. 

Timothy George’s profile of Capitol Hill Baptist Church and its senior pastor, Mark Dever, is a joy to read. It was a joy for me personally because my wife and I are members of a church in Louisville that owes much to Dever and Capitol...

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Tuesday, 14 March 2017 06:57

Against Snark

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Snark, which the American Heritage Dictionary defines as a “snide, sarcastic, or disrespectful attitude,” is the basic currency of online writing. Without mockery, sarcasm, or innuendo, a majority of published internet writing would simply evaporate. That’s unfortunate, because...

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Sunday, 12 March 2017 11:52

The Politics of Distraction

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I think Ross Douthat is exactly right about the need for some kind of positive, strategic response to the smartphone age. “Compulsions are rarely harmless,” he writes, and therein lies the key point: Digital addiction is real, and its long term consequences, though mysterious now, will...

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Friday, 10 March 2017 07:48

Homeschooling and the Benedict Option

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While reading Charlotte Allen’s nice takedown of a fearmongering Washington Post piece about homeschooling, I was reminded again how hard it can be to extinguish certain anxieties. The anti-homeschooling activists profiled by the Post have had difficult life experiences inside...

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Look at this headline from a movie review in The Metro:

The evangelical entertainment ‘The Shack’ is almost a real movie

I’m not entirely sure why, but what struck me most about this headline was not the clever zinger, but the term “evangelical entertainment.” When I...

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Wednesday, 01 March 2017 23:56

New Atheism vs Science

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Thomas Nagel has an erudite and punchy review of a new book by “Four Horseman” Daniel Dennett. Read the whole thing here, but here’s the haymaker:

I am reminded of the Marx Brothers line: “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” Dennett asks us to turn our...

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Tuesday, 28 February 2017 05:53

Policing the Purity Police

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As someone who is generally sympathetic to the ideological quadrant from whence arguments like this one come, I am slow, usually, to critique writers who call for more purity, more clarity, and more protection for men and women in the church. That said, I think telling brothers and sisters in the...

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Monday, 20 February 2017 21:29

The Ignore Button

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So let’s recap:

Milo Yiannopolous’s career thus far consists entirely of a rhetorical con. He insists that he is a champion of free speech and that people only shut him down because they are scared by the correctness of his ideas. Meanwhile, he is silly, flamboyantly offensive,...

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Friday, 17 February 2017 16:51

4 Requests to Young Evangelical Writers

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  1. Please don’t believe, or write as if you believe, that your personal experiences are a fully reliable path to understanding. Everyone who has life has experiences, and those experiences do shape us in meaningful ways. But here’s the problem: Different people have different...

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Friday, 17 February 2017 12:57

Michael Novak Me

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Michael Novak passed away today. I owe this remarkable Catholic intellectual a debt of gratitude, because his lecture “Awakening From Nihilism” was crucially formative for me. At the First Things blog, I’ve written a brief reflection on Novak’s insights and why they are...

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Wednesday, 15 February 2017 11:34

On Moral Equivalency and Xbox

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A friend of mine got a (predictably) hostile reaction on Facebook when he recently posted this status:

If you are a young man wishing he had a young woman with whom to spend Valentine’s Day, the single biggest thing you can do to improve your prospects is to stop playing video games. I am not...

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Sunday, 12 February 2017 13:10

The Coming Polygamy Showdown

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Critics of legalized same-sex marriage have often made the point that many, and perhaps all, of the arguments in favor of what the Supreme Court in Obergefell can also be applied to the legalization of polygamy marriage and plural marriage. Proponents of marriage redefinition have...

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Tuesday, 07 February 2017 18:37

A (Very) Brief Word About the Education Debate

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For the last two weeks my social media feeds have burst with punditry on Betsy DeVos. Probably the majority of my feed think her appointment as Secretary of Education is a mistake. The rest wonder aloud when it was that so many people suddenly became education policy wonks overnight. As the...

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Monday, 06 February 2017 18:24

Why Do Liberals Love Harry Potter?

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My favorite read of the day is this article on understanding why progressives, especially millennials in the Obama to post-Obama era, are so in love with using the Harry Potter stories as metaphors for America’s current cultural moment. The author has an interesting theory, one that I...

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Saturday, 04 February 2017 07:41

4 Reasons to Skip the Super Bowl Half-Time Show

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Unless you’re living under a rock–in which case, well done on getting wi-fi reception–you know the Super Bowl is tomorrow. The odds are good that you are either throwing a Super Bowl party or attending one. For readers in the first group, I’d like you to consider a minor but...

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Thursday, 02 February 2017 19:45

About Those Violent Campus Protests

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I like what National Review’s David French has to say about the recent violent protests at UC Berkeley. Though I would probably be more sympathetic to the difference between protesters and rioters, I think French is exactly right on two important points. First, no rhetoric, no matter how...

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Wednesday, 01 February 2017 07:09

Dreams Can Break Your Heart

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My wife and I saw La La Land last night. I found it dazzlingly entertaining, and even more than a bit moving. Emma Stone fully deserves her Oscar nomination (Ryan Gosling was fine, but his performance has been overrated). I think it’s one of my favorite films from last year.

I was...

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Wednesday, 25 January 2017 09:15

Abortion Over The Atlantic

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The first thing readers should know about Moira Weigel’s essay in The Atlantic is its original title. When the piece went live early Tuesday morning, that title was “How the Ultrasound Pushed the Idea That a Fetus Is a Person.” But by 1PM on the east coast, the article bore a new...

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Saturday, 21 January 2017 10:02

Safe, Legal, and Everywhere

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Photo of the day:

That's some shirt pic.twitter.com/noI75zY9zk

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) January 21, 2017

Here’s what I wrote last year about the slow, underhanded, but very real disappearance of the center in the pro-choice camp.

What’s happening for the abortion lobby is that...

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017 04:56

The Thrill Is Gone

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Some scattered thoughts about that Sherlock finale….[warning: possible spoilers ahead]

  • To me, the whole of season 4 has been a scattered, hokey, delight-scarce mess. “The Final Problem” epitomized that characterization. Yes, it was interesting, in the same way that lots of lousy...

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017 12:04

Who Framed Christopher Hitchens?

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One of my favorite books from 2016 was Larry Taunton’s The Faith of Christopher Hitchens, which I reviewed for Mere-O. I found it to be a gripping spiritual biography of an atheist. No, the words “spiritual biography of an atheist” are not self-contradictory. Atheists have...

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Monday, 09 January 2017 10:41

Flattery Politics

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What’s the value of a populist policy platform if the campaign is obsessed with celebrity glitz and glamour? Why was the Democratic convention a parade of celebrities? Why are you turning over your social media accounts to Lena Dunham, to post things about how white men are finished, when you...

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