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Freedom From Food

If vegetarianism is the dietary equivalent of pacifism, then Soylent is a form of dietary celibacy. Soylent is a nutritional drink designed by a software engineer for urban professionals too busy to cook and easily tempted by fast food. Not a supplement, it contains everything your body needs in a few daily gulps of doggedly bland sludge. Think of a vanilla milkshake without the taste of vanilla, milk, or ice cream. Theoretically, you can live on this stuff for the rest of your life. Soylent promises freedom from food. Continue Reading »

A Time to Rend

It’s time to make a clear distinction between the government-enforced legal regime of marriage and the biblical covenant of marriage. In the past, the state recognized marriage, giving it legal forms to reinforce its historic norms. Now the courts have redefined rather than recognized marriage, making it an institution entirely under the state’s control. That’s why it’s now time to stop speaking of civil marriage and instead talk about government marriage—calling it what it is. Continue Reading »

Same-Self Marriage

It’s only a trickle, not yet a trend, but it is out there, and it has a name: sologamy. Sologamy is the marriage of someone to one’s own self—the his- or herness of it is not relevant, although it seems to be mostly women who are doing it. Apparently Linda Baker was the first person to marry herself back in December 1993. Others have followed suit, including Sara Sharpe, who wrote about her self-marriage in A Dress, A Ring, Promises to Self. And there’s Nadine Schweigert, a 36-year-old-woman from Fargo, North Dakota, who was interviewed by Anderson Cooper after marrying herself in front of some forty of her closest friends. “I, Nadine,” she said to herself, “promise to enjoy inhabiting my own life and to relish a lifelong love affair with my beautiful self.” Continue Reading »

Thoughts on Men

Last week, at a panel discussion hosted by World Youth Alliance and co-hosted by First Things, entitled Mad Men, Modern Family: Examining the Role of Men in Social Development, the moderator opened with the question: “Is the cultural conversation about men, accessible to men?” “No,” came the first reply, from Dr. Paul Nathanson, author of several books on attitudes towards men, including five co-authored with colleague and fellow panelist, Dr. Katherine Young. Seated in the back, I watched the men in rows ahead of me, their shoulders visibly drop and the muscles in their face relax, affirmed by what they, and I, collectively knew to be true. Continue Reading »

Death With Aesthetics

We don’t speak plainly in public discourse anymore. Rather, we equivocate and deploy euphemisms to sanitize our debates. Take the passing of Brittany Maynard by her own hand, which the media has repeatedly characterized as an act of “dignity.” To be sure, Maynard died with human dignity—but not because she committed suicide. Human dignity is intrinsic. Indeed, to accept the premise of suicide as death with dignity says—or at least strongly implies—that patients who expire naturally die with indignity. Continue Reading »

Trinity As Communio

In the preparatory period before Vatican II, when St. John XXIII asked all the bishops of the world to send in memoranda on the subjects most important for the Council to address, Bishop Karol Wojtyla of Krakow suggested organizing all the materials of the Council around two central topics: person and communio. Behind his logic lay contemplation of the Trinity. Continue Reading »

Conservative Populism and the Cory Gardner Problem

A funny thing happened when Cory Gardner, the senator-elect from Colorado, went on Fox News Sunday: He reminded us of the extent to which he is an establishment Republican. He was hand-picked by establishment Washington Republicans, but that’s easy to forget because of the way that his campaign united Colorado’s right-of-center voters and won over much of the persuadable electorate. Gardner’s success, however, reveals problems in the establishment conservative platform and shows what it would take for a populist conservative with better policy ideas to get elected. Continue Reading »

Ecumenism and Russian State Power

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s department of external relations and a frequent visitor to the West, is a young man of parts: a widely-published author, a composer, a gifted linguist. He can be charming and witty, as I discovered during two hours of conversation at the Library of Congress in 2011; and in the intervening years he’s positioned himself and his Church as defenders of traditional Christian values in a world threatened by Western decadence. Continue Reading »

A Biblical Vision of Marriage

Too often, we Evangelical Protestants have harmed our public witness and failed in fidelity by proclaiming the sanctity and permanence of marriage in one sentence before highlighting the “biblical” justifications for divorce in the next. Our current moment indeed requires us to testify to the male-female nature of marriage, but it also affords an opportunity. As we commend the biblical vision of marriage to our neighbors, we must not shy from aspects of it we have been loath to behold. It’s time we Evangelicals abandon our defense of divorce and embrace a biblical defense of marriage’s permanence. Continue Reading »

The Pornographic Double-Bind

Forty-three percent of American men (and 9 percent of women) now report using pornography within the past week. It’s not an adolescent thing, either, as data from the new Relationships in America survey reveals. For men, porn use peaks in their twenties and thirties before beginning to diminish slowly. Indeed, sixty-year-old men are only slightly less likely to have viewed pornography within the past week than men in their twenties and thirties. Continue Reading »

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