Time to Admit It: I Live in the Suburbs and Love It

have to finally confess to myself: I live in a suburb. It has taken me a while to admit it. Suburban living has never been my ambition but it has become my fate. Even with a Kansas City, Missouri address, where I now live is indisputably a suburb. That’s because we live in Platte County north of the Missouri River above Jackson County. Jackson County is Kansas City; everywhere else is a suburb. Continue Reading »

Will Catholics Comply?

Sometime soon, the Supreme Court will announce its decision in the Hobby Lobby case. Depending on how the justices rule, certain institutions may find themselves exempt from the controversial HHS mandate that requires them to arrange for the provision of contraception, sterilization, and certain abortifacient drugs. Although Hobby Lobby is a private corporation with Protestant owners, the case has implications for many others. Continue Reading »

#BeatAdolf?

The first fifteen minutes of Saving Private Ryan and the jump sequence in the second episode of Band of Brothers are vivid reminders of the extraordinary courage displayed on D-Day, seventy years ago. When I was a boy, Hollywood taught America about June 6, 1944, in The Longest Day: a fine movie, but rather antiseptic in its portrayal of World War II combat. The stark realism of the more recent films brings home, in a gut-wrenching way, the test of moral fiber involved when a man is asked to jump out of a C-47 into a flak-filled night sky, or to run down the ramp of a Higgins boat onto the killing fields of Omaha Beach. Continue Reading »

Hate Religion But Love Buddhism?

Buddhism has been all the rage lately: The Dalai Lama wrapped up his American tour earlier this year, which included a HuffPost Live talk on “mindfulness, spirituality and HuffPost’s Third Metric which seeks to redefine success beyond money and power” (fancy!). TIME magazine featured a blissed-out meditator on a February cover and “mindfulness” conferences are popping up faster than Google employee buses in San Francisco. Continue Reading »

Jesus + Religion

In January of 2012, Jefferson Bethke debuted his YouTube video, “Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus,” a poetry recitation which sought to highlight the difference between the true ministry of Jesus Christ and so-called “false religion.” The video immediately went viral, amassing millions of views in less than a month. Jesus>Religion is the follow-up book, which further elucidates upon this central theme. Continue Reading »

Hand on What You Have Received

taught at the University of Virginia for twenty-five years. Thomas Jefferson, who founded the university, did not call the graduation ceremony “commencement.” He deemed it more fitting to call the occasion the “final exercises,” and it is called that to this day. Continue Reading »

Troubled Waters

The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant denomination in America and has been since around 1960 when it bypassed Methodism in this category. Riding the wave of the post-World War II evangelical boom, Southern Baptists long ago moved beyond their old confines south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Southern Baptist churches are now located in all of the fifty states. Led today by the Reverend Fred Luter, their first African-American president, Southern Baptists have become one of the most ethnically diverse and multilingual denominations in the country. Continue Reading »