Pope’s earthly mark: the call for solidarity

April 14, 2005
As the old Pope died, people’s memories of him began to flood the world’s public square. What struck me most about those memories was a word he used over and over: solidarity. “Basic human solidarity” was one of his favorite phrases, invoked in every form of his public utterances. That word comes in part from »

Songs for God, sung only for ourselves?

March 30, 2005
Last Tuesday, Jars of Clay released a studio LP called “Redemption Songs.” It’s a minor landmark: The brightest star of the ’90s mainstreaming of Christian rock has recorded a worship album. It’s innovative by that genre’s standards, using the texts of old hymns to add an emotional and theological depth sometimes missing from contemporary white »

Better to be Dennis than the royal bully

March 2, 2005
The scene: Dennis the anarcho-syndicalist peasant sits wallowing in the mud. When King Arthur rides up, Dennis mocks and denies his legitimacy and all its symbols. Arthur yells at him to shut up and grabs him by the collar. Dennis is triumphant: “Now we see the violence inherent in the system!” This being Monty Python, »

On faith and fastballs, a slew of mixed signals

February 16, 2005
The first thing I knew about Hillary Clinton, back in the innocent early ’90s, was that she was a huge Cubs fan. She’d grown up in Park Ridge, about half an hour from my own northern Chicago suburb, suffering through the decades with the finest sports fans on earth. One of the first things she »

When a sponge cartoon meets a spiritual crusade

February 2, 2005
Every couple of years, something else that evangelical Christians and the LGBT community have in common shows up on the national radar. It’s already a formidable list: a sense of persecution, a fondness for gospel divas (gay men and black evangelicals) and earnest acoustic rock (lesbians and white evangelicals), an over-representation in Republican policy circles. »

Learning to stop worrying (and love GESO)

January 19, 2005
When you grow up as a professor’s kid, you learn a thing or two about the dark underbelly of the American university before you ever become a part of it yourself. One of the first things I figured out as I listened to my dad talk about his bosses was that university administrations are fundamentally »

In Holland, holy war from the secular side

December 2, 2004
Theo Van Gogh, dubbed “the Dutch Michael Moore” for his provocative films and gleefully offensive newspaper columns, was riding his bicycle down a busy Amsterdam street during rush hour. As he did, a man rode up next to him and shot him four times in front of a crowd of witnesses. Van Gogh staggered to »

American idolatry: the worship of a president

November 10, 2004
Why, exactly, do we care so much who’s our president? Yes, the president has a lot of power for good or ill. When someone told me shortly after the election that life would go on with Bush in the White House, I responded that for some people without health care, or in Iraq, it won’t. »

For too many, staying at Yale is a full-time job

October 20, 2004
Financial aid changed my family’s life completely. When my grandfather came back from the war, the GI Bill let him go to college. His father was a proud, hardworking but very poor tobacco farmer in the hills of eastern Kentucky. Before Roosevelt, he never could have dreamed of sending his daughter or sons to college. »

Both sides in abortion debate miss issue

September 24, 2004
What’s really at issue with abortion is neither choice nor life. Everyone decent approves of both shibboleths in principle. The real question is, when would a mother’s choices affect, not only her body, but also her baby? But nobody wants to ask that question. The Supreme Court, which defines the legislative ground rules, punted on »

‘Awesome God’ leads to linguistic bedfellows

September 9, 2004
If you were listening closely at this year’s Freshman Assembly, you may have heard three different people speaking at once during University Chaplain Jerry Streets’s opening prayer. Obviously, there was Streets himself, who began with the words “Awesome God” instead of his customary “Holy God”. But behind that choice was Illinois U.S. Senate candidate Barack »

CA’s can teach technology empowerment

April 6, 2004
When I tell fellow geeks that I work in tech support, they tend to groan in ritual sympathy. Most of them have never actually done such work themselves, but they still know that’s the correct response. No, I tell them: working as a Yale student computing assistant is the best job I’ve ever had. They »