–Marvin on the Presbyterian Church’s decision to allow congregations to call non-celibate gay and lesbian pastors.
–Libraries are part of the social safety net.
–”I hated vegans too, but now I am one.”
–On anti-Semites and philo-Semites.
–Mark Bittman asks, “Why bother with meat?”
–Jesus and eco-theology.
–Jeremy discusses Herbert McCabe and Gerhard Forde on the Atonement.
–Your commute is killing you.
–Rowan Williams’ Ascension Day sermon: “The friends of Jesus are called … to offer themselves as signs of God in the world.”
–Grist’s “great places” series continues with two posts on the industrial food system and its alternatives.
–Keith Ward on his recent book More than Matter?
–Russell Arben Fox on the Left in America.
–The Cheers challenge. My wife and I have already been rewatching the entire series. We’re on season 6 now, which replaces Shelley Long’s Diane with Kirstie Alley’s Rebecca. It’s one of my all-time favorite shows, although the earlier seasons are probably the best ones.
–Ozzy’s first two solo albums, which are generally considered classics, have gotten the deluxe reissue treatment. Here’s a review.
–Iowa’s House approved a bill to make it illegal to film the goings on in factory farms; it still has to pass the Senate.
–The great Midwestern backlash.
–What is the difference between liberals and libertarians?
–Rejecting death-centered Christianity.
–The fondness some secular liberals have for fundamentalism.
–More than half of Americans now favor legal gay marriage.
–On Catholic scholar John Meier’s version of the historical Jesus.
–George Scialabba on Adam Smith.
–Fred Clark (a.k.a. the Slacktivist) on John Woolman, 18th-century itinerant Quaker preacher and abolitionist. (I’ve come across references to Woolman in multiple books I’ve read lately.)
–An interview with Tim Minear, who co-created Firefly with Joss Whedon and had a major hand in Angel (the Buffy spin-off and an excellent show in its own right). Plus: Joss Whedon 101: Serenity.
–Jeremy reviews Rob Bell’s controversial book Love Wins (which, by his account, doesn’t sound all that scandalous or unorthodox to me).
–Nine daily rituals to increase mindfulness.
–The theology of “The Adjustment Bureau.”
Sweet mercy, this is atrocious and offensive.
(Via Adam Kotsko, who has an interesting theological analysis.)
–Do extraterrestrials have original sin?
–Brandon on Sam Harris’s argument for a science of morality
–How to build a progressive tea party
–Fox News thinks there’s only one English translation of the Bible
–This critique of Mad Men from the New York Review of Books scores some points
–A video (in two parts) featuring the late philosopher G.A. Cohen making the case against capitalism
–Theo Hobson on the religious crisis of American liberalism
–The case for casting Parks and Recreation’s Rashida Jones as Lois Lane in the upcoming Superman reboot
My friend Chris Hayes guest-hosted Rachel Maddow’s show last night and did a cool segment on things to be thankful for in American public life. You can watch it here.
I’m still not entirely sure what I think about the controversial Lost finale (short version: my heart liked it, but my head is skeptical), but the best, or at least most enthusiastic, apology for it I’ve read has to be this exhaustive re-cap from Jeff “Doc” Jensen at Entertainment Weekly: part 1, part 2.
I like this, from Newsweek:
Lost‘s viewers fall into two categories, those who adhere to reason and those who follow their faith. The Lost literalists believe that the show is infallible, that it’s not only an engrossing, entertaining television show, it’s holy writ–divinely inspired, all-knowingly conceived, and absolutely inerrant. In other words, the show’s many, many loose ends–the smoke monster, the polar bear–have to be resolved. The progressives like the show just fine, but they accept its limitations. They know that television shows adapt, that actors leave or get pregnant, budgets get cut, writers go on strike. More than that, they know that ideas change, that good ideas are orphaned in favor of great ones, that Lost doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be important. In short, Lost has gone beyond being just a show about faith to being a meta-commentary on faith.
Maybe not entirely surprisingly, I’m firmly in the progressive camp. I’ve always found Lost most compelling when seen as a parable of human existence, not a meticulously constructed imagined reality. Obviously, some degree of continuity and–I won’t say plausibility–coherence are necessary for any satisfying storytelling, but I really couldn’t care less about the polar bear, Walt’s super powers, etc.
It’s interesting how many SF fans take a “literalistic” approach to the genre’s products. The “continuity police” types so familiar on message boards (and, in days of yore, in comic book letter columns) seem strangely incongruous with the suspension of disbelief necessary to get fantasy and SF off the ground.
ADDENDUM: Nice pre-S6 write-up from the AV Club’s Noel Murray (whose Lost reviews I read faithfully).
But, otherwise, this is an interesting list of the top 25 “Whedonverse” episodes (i.e., shows from creator Joss Whedon, including, inter alia, Buffy, Angel, and Firefly).
As someone who’s only half-way through the first season of Mad Men on DVD, it’s hard to avoid all those juicy articles on season 3 that are currently everywhere.
This could be incredibly cool, or incredibly lame, but ABC is re-making the 80s science fiction series V, which, if you’re of a certain age, you probably remember as being awesome/terrifying.
As a bonus, it will star Morena Baccarin, who played Inara on Firefly/Serenity and Elizabeth Mitchell (a.k.a. Juliet) from Lost. I’m sure I’ll be tuning in.