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Week In Review


Another Week Ends: Bland Land, Digital Burnout, Pale Beyond, Dominion of Jack, Guilt Lit, Depression Meals, and Electric Jesus

1. Hum, Quip, Goby, Burst, Boka, Brüush, Gleem, Shyn — these are just a few of the brands, or “blands,” seeking to disrupt the toothbrush industry right now. If you’ve scrolled through Instagram recently, no doubt you’ve seen others trying to do the same in other industries. Caspar, Harry’s, Oscar, Burrow, Keeps, Roman, Rumpl, the […]

Another Week Ends: Justin Bieber, the Tyranny of Meritocracy, Accidentally Going Viral, Pandemic Show Tunes, and More Strange Rites

1. Leading off this week, the philosopher Michael Sandel has some hefty critiques of the idea of meritocracy, specifically its disastrous effects on social and individual wellbeing in a global capitalist economy. Within a meritocracy, success becomes the law to live by that ruthlessly judges personal failure, dividing the self-righteous deserving from the unrighteous lazy. […]

Another Week Ends: WEIRDos in the West, Feigning Wack-Jobs, the Twittering Machine, Enduring Work, and Lana Del Rey Talks to Jesus

1. A happy ending for a recovering alcoholic who was rescued from drowning by Paulist priests sailing by on a tiki bar pontoon. Not everything about 2020 is awful, folks! 2. In the first of two book reviews for your consideration this week, Judith Shulevitz reviews The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West […]

Another Week Ends: Operation Ceasefire, Idiot Prayer, Racism and Sin, Troublesome Empathy, Martin Luther, and Immortality

1. A pretty obvious place to look for the dynamics of law and grace is, well, the law. In a recent story from Mother Jones, Samantha Michaels describes a program designed to curb gun violence in cities with high murder rates. Operation Ceasefire identifies people who are at risk of shooting someone or being shot; rather […]

Another Week Ends: Toxic Positivity, Justin Townes Earle, Boredom, College Reopening Disasters, and Unsolicited Advice

1. Kicking off this week’s review is a fantastic reflection in the Wall Street Journal by Mike Kerrigan: “A Late Bloomer Learns to Forgive.” A lawyer by occupation, Kerrigan speaks of his long-standing, uncomfortable relationship with forgiveness: In his autobiographical “Confessions,” St. Augustine of Hippo, whose Feast Day is celebrated Friday, admits praying as a […]

Another Week Ends: Strange Rites, QAnon, Gracious Gardens, Accelerated Alienation, Imputed Memes, Masterclasses and The Killers

1. First up, I had the privilege of penning the lead review in the latest issue of Christianity Today on Tara Isabella Burton’s phenomenal new book Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World. While the title might suggest significant overlap with #seculosity, Strange Rites is very much its own thing, both in terms of […]

Another Week Ends: No Good Choices, Fitness Prohibition, The Weight of Gold, Acceptable Prayers, Failing at Hygge, and How Not to Incentive Your Spouse

1. On The Mockingcast this week, our intrepid trio open the show by swapping their school plans for their kiddos. Sarah Condon shared that, even with a whole history of pot-stirring social media posts, she’s extremely hesitant to post her kids’ back-to-school photos. Claire Cain McMiller in the New York Times says Sarah is right […]

Another Week Ends: Canceling Hamilton, the Political Necessity of Forgiveness, the Worst Novel Ever, St. Augustine and Talking Heads, Tobe Nwigwe, and the Burdens of iOS Updates

1. For years I counted myself “above it all.” Never listened to the soundtrack. Never really wanted to. But when it became available on Disney+, at last I tuned in, albeit suspiciously. Reader, Hamilton is good. How good, the playwrights can debate. But there’s no question of the talent, creativity, and ultimate message of redemption […]

Another Week Ends: Success-o-holics, The Office, Bob Ross, Singing Science, Antibody Blues, Sinful Goats, and Jarvis Cocker Gets Churched

1. Let me ask you this: which religions-that-aren’t-called-religions do you think are the most popular, and which do you predict will become even more popular? Those are two questions I got in nearly every interview for Seculosity, so for the paperback–out Aug 25th!–I took the opportunity to put a few thoughts down on paper. Needless to […]

Another Week Ends: Tom Holland, White Fragility, Religious Fandom, J.I. Packer, and Cancel-Culture Fear

1. High Profiles this week featured a fascinating in-depth interview with history writer Tom Holland about his intellectual journey, personal beliefs, Islam, secular liberalism, contemporary news, and Christianity more broadly. I think I am naturally conservative. I think I’m more moved by things that have been than things that might be. I feel the power of what’s […]

Another Week Ends: Cognitive Dissonance, Habit Formation, Transparent Influencers, Aging Album Covers, and a Love That Casts Out All Fear

1a. It’s been a big week for the social scientists among us. Two of our favorites, Elliot Aronson and Carol Tavris, had a hit article over at the Atlantic this week. We’ve been following the duo since 2011, when they published Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me). The authors are experts in describing how […]

Another Week Ends: UK Football, Mental Health, Passionate Rituals, Fundamentalist Politics, the Pure History Myth, and Jesus Working from Home

1. This week’s first link comes from the Athletic. As a young player, UK footballer Michael Johnson was a natural talent who appeared to be “in supreme control of his destiny.” He played professionally for only a few years before announcing his retirement in January 2013, when he was just 24, saying “he wished to […]