“He Didn’t Cash In”

I was newly married, sitting in our apartment when it happened. It was October 14th, 2003, Game Six of the 2003 World Series. As a lifelong Cubs fan, it was a moment that moved from sheer joy to utter agony. A team that had not won a World Series since 1908 and had not appeared in the World Series since 1945, this was our moment. we were five outs away from the World Series. Then it happened. Marlins 2nd baseman Luis Castillo hit a fly ball to left field. It curled around and headed toward the stands. Outfielder, Moises Alou went up with his glove and, well you know what happened. A Cubs fan, Steve Bartman happened to reach out and try to catch the ball, apparently interfering with Alou. This incident has become one of the most famous moments in Chicago sports history and certainly one of strangest, most compelling incidents...

Continue Reading

Friday Five: Bradley Wright

How often have you heard, in the last year, some alarming statistics that “prove” young kids are sprinting away from the church, that Christianity in the West will die in the next generation, and that the world thinks Christians are idiots? If so, then today’s Friday Five will challenge some of those statistical assumptions.

I’m delighted to interview Bradley R.E. Wright. Brad Wright is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut where he studies American Christianity. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, where he was trained in social psychology and criminology. He has authored twenty scholarly articles and two books: Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites… and Other Lies You’ve Been Told (2010), and Upside: Surprising Good News about the State of Our World (2011). Hypocrites won the Christianity Today Book of the Year Award for Christianity and Culture.

Mini-Reviews #5

Another batch of mini-reviews: Raised Right by Alisa Harris I have mixed feelings about this book. For one, I'm always a bit jaded by memoirs from people who are young. Alisa Harris is 26 years old. On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it puts a personal touch, a face, on a generation of evangelical involvement in politics. Alisa Harris tells how she moved from a doctrinaire right-wing zealot to someone more moderate, even liberal in her politics. She correctly points out hypocrisies in evangelical conservative politics and how the church's mission gets lost when it seeks power. However, there is a tendency for Harris to throw the baby out with the bathwater and reject every conservative plank, something I'm not willing to do. She seems to be a person still in process, searching for the right mix of activism and faith. Still, it's a good, if not sometimes...

Continue Reading

Saying Nice Things about People With Whom You Disagree

Can you say nice things about people with whom you disagree? On the anniversary of 9/11 I posted a nice comment on Facebook about the leadership of President Bush after 9/11. It wasn't a political statement, just a note of admiration. I was surprised at how many people (many Christians) who wrote scathing things about the President. Some were conservatives upset he wasn't conservative enough. Others were liberals who were convinced he was the 2nd coming of Hitler. I think this is a shame. I see this same dynamic when I post nice things about President Obama. Now a few words of explanation. I'm generally a conservative when it comes to politics. I didn't vote for President Obama and I'm likely to vote for a more conservative alternative in November. I'm glad our political system gives us this choice. But that doesn't mean there aren't things about President Obama to admire. So...

Continue Reading