“Not That Brothers K.” Ken Sundet Jones praises David James Duncan’s brilliant novel on the thirtieth anniversary of its publication: “It’s about American angst, familial drama, and Seventh Day Adventist questions of theodicy. Not only that, it’s got baseball and war, along with Irwin, who’s the greatest Christ figure since maybe the Christ figure. Oh, and glorious, clever acrobatics with the English language.” He’s right; it’s an incredible novel.
“The Secret World Beneath our Feet is Mind-blowing—And the Key to our Planet’s Future.” George Monbiot takes readers on a safari through the wild array of life found in soil. Our understanding of soil biology remains very limited, and finding ways to grow food while fostering this thriving ecosystem is vital. (Recommended by Ralph Wood.)
“Traditional Limits.” Samuel Goldman reviews Tim Stanley’s Whatever Happened to Tradition and wrestles with the paradoxes inherent in our inheritances: “Common sense suggests that durable traditions will be immediately rewarding and easy to adapt. Jewish history indicates the opposite: the traditions most likely to stick around are the hard ones.”
“A Better Abortion Debate is Possible. Here’s Where We Can Start.” Leah Libresco Sargeant offers a good reading list and articulates what she’s learned from open and vulnerable conversations about the contentious issue of abortion: “People’s biggest fear is that there is not enough care to go around. Pregnancy makes babies dependent on their mothers and mothers dependent on everyone around them. A culture that takes autonomy as the norm will neglect both mother and child. Thus, it can feel like any care for a child comes at the mother’s expense since we do not trust each other or our policymakers to respond justly to her need.”
“Food and the Life of the Nations.” Michael Wear pens a moving essay about Italian-American identity and the role of food in shaping immigrant culture. He begins by reflecting on the meaning of his Italian identity: “The tighter my grip, the more elusive it all feels. I don’t speak Italian, with the exception of a few dozen phrases and whatever sticks from my intermittent Duolingo sprees. My last name isn’t Italian, which opens me to inquisitive, bemused questions from acquaintances about just how Italian I am. What am I chasing? The traditions of my adopted family, which was fairly Americanized by the time I was born? Some connection to my birth family? The Italian-American life that is portrayed and available to me through commercial presentations and media? Or am I pursuing the Old Country, Italy proper?”
“The Regeneration Podcast.” Mike Sauter and Michael Martin have started a new podcast. Here’s their brief description:
William Blake said ”Everything that Lives is Holy.” Mike Sauter and Michael Martin discuss faith and the world with friends and guests through a sacramental lens. We call this “Sophiology.” Farming, the arts, child-rearing, politics, economy, religion, education and culture. Think “Holy”, but think of all the world outside of church buildings; the divine shining through all of creation. Peace and love Christian Anarchism from the bottom-up.
“Expect the End of the World.” Joy Clarkson interviews Paul Kingsnorth about the Machine, his move to Ireland, and his conversion to Christianity.
“The Sports-Betting Boom Is a Moral Disaster.” Matthew Walter asks a good question: “Who really benefits from the legalization of online gambling?” He is not persuaded that legalizing sports gambling qualifies as harm reduction: “the ostensibly disinterested prophets of harm reduction seem almost painfully naive about the extent to which they are lending approbation to the behaviors they see themselves as regretfully tolerating. Whatever one thinks about marijuana, whose risks can no longer be discussed in fashionable circles, I doubt that most supporters of its legalization imagined that in 2022 every billboard on the stretch of I-94 near my small town would feature lurid advertisements for so-called dispensaries with names like Mint Cannabis and Herbana.”
“In the Ukraine War, the Church Is There.” Susannah Black talks with Ivan Rusyn, the president of the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary who is ministering now in Kyiv: “You think more about the theology of presence when you are in the midst of suffering. I have been asked many times, ‘Why are you here?’”
“The Case for the Christian Liberal Arts in a Polarized, Fractious Age.” Kevin Brown lays out the particular goods that Christian liberal arts education can serve in our fraught era: “This is not a call to ‘Christianize’ all institutions — but it is an argument that Christian colleges and universities have an important role to play in public life. A liberal democracy presupposes disagreement, but it also presupposes persuasion. Underneath persuasion is the implicit assumption that some ideas are superior to others. The pursuit of truth has always been a fundamental property of liberal education—and in our present condition of fractured discourse and motivated narration—Christian schools provide a unique value.”
“Reforming Journalism Project.” This group is offering a free, five-day training session for people who want to report on what’s happening in their local communities: “With newspaper closures and buyouts, news deserts and journalism brain drains, who will tell the local story? Who will report on the news happening down the street, the overlooked stories, the issues that touch our everyday lives?”
“In the Face of Numerous Threats, Bees Are Producing Less Honey.” Lisa Held talks to bee farmers to try to make sense of the manifold stress factors that are afflicting bee health. More hives are dying each year, and the average hive is producing less honey than in previous years. (Recommended by Brian Miller.)
“The Revival of a Forgotten American Fruit.” Jonathan Shipley sings the praises of the pawpaw and reports on their growing popularity. (Recommended by Megan Fowler.)