Stuff I’m Reading – July 2016

Best Article of the Month.

Trump: Tribune of Poor White People

by Rod Dreher at The American Conservative

“The two political parties have offered essentially nothing to these people for a few decades.  From the Left, they get some smug condescension, an exasperation that the white working class votes against their economic interests because of social issues, a la Thomas Frank (more on that below).  Maybe they get a few handouts, but many don’t want handouts to begin with.”

Here are some other good ones


The Oppressive Gospel of Minimalism

by Kyle Chayka at The New York Times

“There’s an arrogance to today’s minimalism that presumes it provides an answer rather than, as originally intended, a question: What other perspectives are possible when you look at the world in a different way? The fetishized austerity and performative asceticism of minimalism is a kind of ongoing cultural sickness. We misinterpret material renunciation, austere aesthetics and blank, emptied spaces as symbols of capitalist absolution, when these trends really just provide us with further ways to serve our impulse to consume more, not less.”

5 Reasons Christians Neglect Beauty in Theology

by Matt Capps at The Gospel Coalition 

“Such suspicion stems from a fear of idolatry. In other words, beauty and aesthetics have often been avoided because of their alluring power.

But God doesn’t forbid the admiration of beauty or the making of beautiful things; he forbids the worship of them. So idolatry is a problem with the heart, not with beauty. In fact, a God-centered vision of beauty displaces idolatry and positions aesthetics as a signpost for worship. Ultimately, we understand that Jesus is the image of God who perfectly depicts the beauty of the Father (Col. 1:15–20; 2 Cor. 3:12–18; Heb. 1:2–3). “

How’s Amanda?

by Eli Saslow at The Washington Post

“She had been an admitted opiate addict for 11 years, five months and 14 days, and on almost every one of those days she had promised to quit. She had tried therapy and group counseling, inpatient and outpatient. She’d run up thousands of dollars in credit-card debt to pay for a wellness retreat in the woods, and she’d slept on a cot in the hallway of a Medicaid addiction center. She had tried flushing away her supply; and erasing every number in her phone so she couldn’t contact dealers; and waiting again on the long list to get into the city’s free medical detox; and showing up at the hospital psych ward to say that she was suicidal. She’d searched for God at 12-step meetings and instead found new dealers. She’d tried methadone and Suboxone, two synthetic opiates used to treat heroin addiction, but instead wound up abusing those synthetics to get high.”

A Tale of Two Falwell Brothers

by Brandon Ambrosno at Politico

“Donald Trump—proudly materialistic, thrice-married, and bungling his Bible quotes in public—has split Evangelical voters in a way that no Republican candidate has in modern memory. And the two Falwells—one openly political, the other far more hesitant to hitch his faith to a public endorsement—embody how that division is playing out. Not that they represent two extremes; they don’t. Rather, they represent different ways of navigating the often slippery tension between private faith and public policy.”

What Is a Constant Cycle of Violent News Doing to Us?

by Katie Rogers at The New York Times

“It depends on the individual, but living in a digitally linked world where broadcasts of violence are instantaneous and almost commonplace means that many of us are becoming desensitized, Anita Gadhia-Smith, a psychologist in Washington, said Friday.”

Andy Crouch: Stop Engaging ‘The Culture,’ Because It Doesn’t Exist

by Andy Crouch at Christianity Today

” Instead of preoccupying ourselves with thecosmos, we are called to the ethne. Rather than engaging in largely imaginary relationships with the world system (by, say, following celebrities on Twitter—people we will never meet or influence or be able to love), we are called to real people in a real place. With those real people, we reflect on the concrete possibilities and limitations of the time and place we share (including, to be sure, the ways the world system presses in on us). We learn to care for what is lasting and valuable in our particular time and place, and begin to create alternatives to things that are inadequate and broken.”

I tripped and fell at my final Olympics. It was one of the best things to happen to me




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