Another Week Ends: Unfunded Mandates, Orthosomnia, One-Star Yelp Reviews, Lancaster Love, the Creation of Forky, and the Fastest Growing Religion in America

1. Fresh off the press from this morning, The Atlantic gives us new language to describe the law: “The Unfunded Mandate.” When the federal government requires states to abide by certain rules without providing the funding needed to support that rule, it’s called an Unfunded Mandate. Stay tuned, though — in the same way that […]

A Little Ditty ’Bout Jack and the Desert Monks

In the gallows humor of this thing called Life, it’s usually in the afterglow of fulfilling our ultimate dreams that we wake up and ask, “What in the hell was I thinking?” Was it worth delaying marriage, foregoing children, neglecting aging parents and ignoring friendships, to find myself in my late-40s with a career fat […]

All Pride Contains a Hint of Malice

Another heartening excerpt from David Brooks’ new work The Second Mountain. Here the Times columnist turns over the definition of grace with a little help from Martin Luther and Reinhold Niebuhr—but with the heavy-lifting from Anne Snyder, Brooks’ erstwhile research assistant, now wife. I was struggling with the concept of surrender and grace. I didn’t […]

David Brooks Has His Mountaintop Experience

A short passage from the remarkable 21st chapter of the NY Times columnist’s new book, The Second Mountain, in which he recounts, well, you’ll see. I’d reprint the entire chapter if I could. The setting is the summer of 2013, just after the end of his 27 year marriage: That summer, I took my annual […]

Another Week Ends: Good Friday, a Grand Miracle, Boomers’ Death Boom, Lazarus Is Dead, Meritocracy, Performance, [chill / lofi / jazzhop], and Oat Milk

1. Today is Good Friday, which means, if ever there were a time to consider the brutal instrument of death at the center of a major world religion, that time may as well be now. Off-putting and oft-baffling, the cross carries a multifaceted meaning that can prove elusive for onlookers and skeptics (and, much of […]

The Scene-Police Punker in All of Us

Every couple of years I get bitten by the nostalgia bug and revisit musical obsessions from my teens and twenties. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s just what happens to you post-40, right? Maybe it’s just me. Of late, I’ve found myself climbing into endless YouTube wormholes. Before I know it, it’s 11 PM. There are […]

Another Week Ends: Fake Meat, Away Messages, Ambiguous Grief, Dopey, Lebowitz, Gaffigan, and Generous Pot Roast

1. Meghan O’Gieblyn’s been on our radar of late, and not just because she’s featured so prominently in our new Faith & Doubt Issue. Meghan’s book of essays, Interior States, is phenomenal. American religiosity (and #seculosity) is on full display, and the theme continues in this new monthly series she’s doing at The Paris Review, […]

Another Week Ends: Conan Reborn, Call-Out Culture, Rockstar Sobriety, Sick Notes, Bookstores, Bossy Razors, and the Bad Place

1. This week, let’s start with the afterlife of Conan O’Brien. After a 4-month hiatus, Team Coco revives, now completely made over: shorter episodes, a more informal set-up — also more embracing of the life cycle of late-night. With 25+ years under the belt, Conan talks to The New York Times about his inevitably approaching retirement/career-death. He […]

Another Week Ends: Bootleg Bob Dylan, Converted Morticians, Your True Self, Anxious Teens, and Earning Points in The Good Place

1. This week brought some fantastic revelations, not the least of which was Bob Dylan’s bootleg (gospel-infused) song, “Making A Liar Out of Me”: Needless to say, we’re eagerly awaiting this collection’s release. From Andy Greene at Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan began writing gospel songs at such a furious rate in late 1978 that there was […]

Another Week Ends: Stories of Forgiveness, Electric Jesus, Selfish Marriages, Bad Vicars, Exhausted Chefs, and Discount Books

1. Let’s start this round-up with a beautiful story from an unlikely source. Last week, The Wall Street Journal published an incredible exposition on forgiveness, “The Challenge of Jewish Repentance,” by Jonathan Sacks. Beginning with the Old Testament, with Genesis, Sacks describes how Jewish history has always revolved around the general wheel of transgression and forgiveness, […]

Eat Your Fancy Sandwich

It’s obvious that David Brooks really struck a nerve with his most recent op-ed regarding sandwiches. I mean, as a huge fan of sandwiches, I understand. There’s nothing better than a great sandwich—I’m eating a chicken salad sandwich right now. And while I wouldn’t fight for much, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for a nice […]

Jesus and Therapy: A Conference Breakout Preview

The recent New Yorker cartoon (above) says it all. We’re living in an age of “subjective sovereignty,” where life is “all the feels” and emotional offense is king. It is a time less describable by policy discord and differences of opinion, but instead by vindictive joy and holy rage. Arguments are couched in first-person noise—disagreements […]