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From The Atlantic: Are McMansions Making People Any Happier?

Apple’s magazine and news service, Apple News+, served me up another parable of the little-L law from The Atlantic last week as I perused my News app. It’s a classic, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses type report about how we Americans are building bigger homes than everand yet our happiness tends to be inversely proportionate to the square footage of our new real estate. As usual, the dynamics of comparison, judgment, and self-salvation (AKA self-justification) are at play. A couple of takeaway quotes (emphasis mine):

To be clear, having more space does generally lead to people saying they’re more pleased with their home. The problem is that the satisfaction often doesn’t last if even bigger homes pop up nearby. “If I bought a house to feel like I’m ‘the king of my neighborhood,’ but a new king arises, it makes me feel very bad about my house,” Bellet wrote to me in an email. […]

Bellet sketches out an unfulfilling cycle of one-upmanship, in which the owners of the biggest homes are most satisfied if their home remains among the biggest, and those who rank right below them grow less satisfied as their dwelling looks ever more measly by comparison.

For the Love of Money: The Metronome to Human Life

For the Love of Money: The Metronome to Human Life

Money money money money, money Money money money money, money Money money money money, money Money money money money, money Money money money money, money Money money money money, money Some people got to have it, yeah, some people really need it Listen to me y’all, do things, do things, do things, bad things with […]

Another Week Ends: Hipster Conformity, Mononucleosis, Greek Basketball Coaching, Curated Imperfection, and The Secular Work Ethic

Another Week Ends: Hipster Conformity, Mononucleosis, Greek Basketball Coaching, Curated Imperfection, and The Secular Work Ethic

1. Tis the season for sickness. B.D. McClay over at The Hedgehog Review got mono, and while the short term result was a bout of feverish nightmares, excruciatingly painful swallowing, thundering headaches, and seemingly unending fatigue, the long term result was this marvelous essay: “The Ills That Flesh Is Heir to.” Her essay is a […]

Moonlighters Anonymous

Moonlighters Anonymous

Moonlighting—also known as working a second job, having a “side hustle”—is a pretty standard theme these days. Thanks to Pinterest and Instagram, everyone’s got a home renovation project, a knack for macramé, and a small business opportunity. But in truth it’s been around forever. Loads of famous people “made it” by moonlighting. The American poet […]

Why You Should Spend Whatever You Like Buying Friends and Loved Ones Gifts They Don’t Expect (and Don’t Deserve)

Why You Should Spend Whatever You Like Buying Friends and Loved Ones Gifts They Don’t Expect (and Don’t Deserve)

This one comes to us from our friend Jason Micheli. I’ve grown wary of the Christmas “tradition” of bemoaning the commercialization of Christmas in our culture.  Too often, we begin Advent not with Isaiah’s laments or John the Baptist’s words of judgment but our own words of lament and judgment, criticizing others for being so […]

Let's Not Talk About Money (With PZ)

Let's Not Talk About Money (With PZ)

I’ve got stories, good ones, I mean, good ones. Working behind the scenes in church ministry for over a decade, even as a layperson, you build up a huge archive of unbelievable things you’ve seen. I’ve often thought they would make for a good book. Here are a few sample chapter titles: I’m 99% sure […]

Holidaze and the Prime Directive

Holidaze and the Prime Directive

‘Tis the season. The crush to sell-sell-sell for Thanksgiving starts the swirl of marketing that’s a buzz kill for many, if not most of us. I look at the Starbucks cup on Nov. 1 and I cringe. The essence of our humanity is distorted when it’s objectified in order to market product. The new Starbucks […]

A Free Lunch: The Spiritual Economics of the Church’s Most Cliché Ministry

A Free Lunch: The Spiritual Economics of the Church’s Most Cliché Ministry

Another taste of our recent issue on Food & Drink! Order your copy here!  The soup kitchen at my church is currently in the midst of a cold war among its volunteers. On one side we have the pro-oil-and-vinegar contingency, armed with organic produce and health concerns; on the other side, the crusaders of ranch dressing […]

Everybody Else's Biggest Problem: American Idol

Everybody Else's Biggest Problem: American Idol

Welcome to the seventh and final installment of act three of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own.  If you missed one or more of the previous installments, the entire series can be found here. Everybody worships … idols. Last time we reached this inevitable and undeniable conclusion, and in it hides the definition of greed. […]

Everybody Else's Biggest Problem: Living in a Material World

Everybody Else's Biggest Problem: Living in a Material World

Welcome to the fifth installment of act three of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, the entire series can be found here. Nearing the end of our year-long quest to define greed, today we’re going to explore materialism, a logical […]

“I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”…and That’s a Good Thing

“I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”…and That’s a Good Thing

This one comes to us from SM White. I can’t get no satisfaction…I try and I try and I try and I try…When I’m watchin’ my TV and a man comes on and tells me how white my shirts can be. But he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as […]

Everybody Else's Biggest Problem: You Just Can't, Okay?

Everybody Else's Biggest Problem: You Just Can't, Okay?

Welcome to the fourth installment of act three of author Ted Scofield’s series on everybody else’s biggest problem but your own. If you missed one or more of the previous installments, the entire series can be found here. In Terminator 2, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s titular cyborg is about to kill two innocent civilians in a dark parking lot, […]