Monthly Archives: October 2021


      Comments Off on Zombies

We live in the era of the Zombie Renaissance. Zombies are everywhere, slouching or scrambling their way through feature films, TV series, Halloween bashes, and even a tongue-in-cheek CDC safety guide on how to survive a zombie apocalypse.  The classic zombie myth has Haitian roots.  But the fear of being taken over by some kind of power or organism that… Read more »

The M&M Factor

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Touring rock stars can make some unusual demands. When Eminem is overseas, he asks that his hosts provide Taco Bell menu items imported from the United States.  Kanye West demands a slushy machine in his dressing room – one that generates an ice-cold mashup of Coke, lemonade, Grey Goose, and Hennessy. Jack White requests fresh guacamole whipped up according to… Read more »

Close Calls

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Life is full of close calls. I’m reminded of that when my family wades into one of those “Remember when…?” conversations that inevitably dredges up childhood near-misses. There was the day, for example, when I got too close to the neighbor’s burning brush pile while wearing my Davey Crockett-era frontier suit.  Unbeknownst to me, the fringes caught on fire.  An… Read more »


      Comments Off on Miracles

In 1963, as a young, newly minted sociologist, Rodney Stark was given the chance of a lifetime.  On behalf of the Survey Research Center of the University of California-Berkeley, he was granted the privilege of designing the first-ever major survey of religion in America. Stark intended to ask randomly selected church members, among other things, if they had ever had… Read more »

We’ll Get Together Then

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“Frankly, this song scares me to death.” That’s what the late folk rocker Harry Chapin said about Cat’s in the Cradle (1974), his only song that ever went to No. 1 on the charts. The song tells a multi-generational story of a father who is too busy to spend time with his son, only to discover later in life that… Read more »

Conspiracy Theories

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The truth is out there. That was the mantra of The X-Files, the wildly popular 1990s TV series in which a pair of FBI investigators – skeptical Dana Sculley and true believer Fox Mulder – explored a vast array of paranormal phenomena, ranging from werewolves to mermaids to ghosts.  Along the way they uncovered a conspiracy to hide what our… Read more »

The Path You Would Never Have Taken

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“You’re fired.” Those are two of the hardest words one can ever hear. There’s a former reality show star who happened to be elected to high public office who seems to speak them with unusual enthusiasm.  But if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of that sharp-edged message, you probably didn’t feel entertained.  Linda Kaplan Thaler acknowledges that while… Read more »


      Comments Off on Servanthood

It’s possible that Rehoboam, the fourth king of ancient Israel, never saw it coming.  Who knew that the outcome of his entire reign would come down to one defining moment? Rehoboam came to the throne upon the death of his father Solomon.  As told in I Kings 12, the people of Israel approach him with a demand: “Your father put… Read more »

Where the Light Fell

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Philip Yancey’s bestselling books almost always gravitate toward two subjects:  suffering and grace. His new memoir, Where the Light Fell – a harrowing account of his upbringing in the fundamentalist subculture of the American South – reveals why those two themes came to dominate his life.  Until he reached his 20s, Yancey had experienced a great deal of suffering and… Read more »


      Comments Off on Nevermore

Edgar Allan Poe didn’t invent scary stories and melancholy poems. But his brooding works have made him, with the possible exception of Mark Twain, the most widely recognized literary figure in American history.  Everything he wrote was influenced by the tragedy of his personal life.  He deeply loved four women:  his mother, the mother of a close friend, his stepmother,… Read more »