The War on Abstinence

The Los Angeles Unified School District doesn’t want Karen Kropf talking to its students. District leaders fear that what she says isn’t “balanced” and that she’s not a certified “expert” in the field. Really, though, they just don’t like her message about teenage sexual self-control . . . . Continue Reading »

The Popsicle Index

It’s hot here in Tennessee and I’m thinking about Popsicles. I’ll get back to that.Last weekend, my wife, Janet, and I drove over to Hohenwald, seat of tiny Lewis County, Tennessee (pop. 11,000-plus). Although best known as the place on the Natchez Trace where Meriwether Lewis met his . . . . Continue Reading »

Tim Russert and the Follies of Life

The outpouring of tributes to Tim Russert on his death at age 58 was both surprising and well deserved. There was a palpable sense of guilt in the many descriptions of him by his colleagues in the commentariat. They frequently seemed to be saying that he was such a genuine human being uncompromised . . . . Continue Reading »

The State of Higher Desperation

Is there no hope? The special education section in the May 2008 issue of the New Criterion gave a pretty clear answer. The articles, focusing mostly on the state of higher education, provided something of a (perhaps justified) manifesto for giving up. Sensing this, and having chosen higher education . . . . Continue Reading »

Looking for Mary in Christmas Carols

It’s Christmas, so we’re singing carols. OK, it’s not Christmas, it’s really Advent, and “carol” has a particular set of musicological meanings that don’t have anything to do with Christmas—but we call almost any tune we sing in December a “carol” . . . . Continue Reading »

Scripture as Participation

“Participatory” does a lot of work in Matthew Levering’s latest book, Participatory Biblical Exegesis , a contribution to the burgeoning contemporary interest in theological interpretation of Scripture. It refers, above all, to a conception of history that, Levering argues, should . . . . Continue Reading »