The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood

In Lost in Transition (Oxford 2011), sociologist Christian Smith and his team offer a picture about the dark side of emerging adulthood based on the most accurate nationally-representative data, very strong research methodology, and good cross-sectional data of 18-23 year olds. On six macrosocial changes behind emerging adulthood: To get started, we need to understand what "emerging …

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

In Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (Oxford 2005), sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton analyze the results from the most ambitious national study ever conducted among American teenagers about their religious and spiritual lives. They ventured a general thesis about "the de facto dominant religion among contemporary U.S. teenagers," which they call …

Charles Mathewes on Christian sexual ethics

I am going to quote some content from the sixth chapter in Charles Mathewes' book, Understanding Religious Ethics (Wiley-Blackwell 2010), on sexuality because I appreciate the clarity of exposition and the provocation of thought. Mathewes is a professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia. On sex in general: Traditionally, the normative picture of the sexual act was defined …

Farewell Roger

Tonight I bid farewell to 41-year old Roger Federer, my favorite tennis player, in the last tennis match of his storied career at the 2022 Laver Cup in London. He is the most natural tennis player who has ever picked up a racket—elegant, formidable, graceful, transcendent. I am not sad that his career is over so …

Major blocks today within our spiritual lives

In today's sermon, our priest quoted this passage from Catholic priest Ronald Rolheiser's book, The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality: Among the many things that work against interiority today, three can be singled out as particularly cankerous: narcissism, pragmatism, and unbridled restlessness.  Defined simply, narcissism means excessive self-preoccupation; pragmatism means excessive focus on work, achievement, and …

The affinity between a philosopher and a poet

Yes, I am one of those geeky readers who actually consults the notes in a book, as if they contained the hidden treasures of an attic. Tonight, while reading Malcolm Heath's fine introduction to Aristotle's Poetics (Penguin Classics), which is notably longer than the primary source itself, I came across an endnote that clarifies the affinity between …

Liturgical rhetoric

In March 2006, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams delivered a sermon at St. Mary the Virgin Church in Oxford, England to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer, his Tudor predecessor and architect of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. Williams defended Cranmer's liturgical rhetoric against those who decry it as "overblown and …