Friday, September 30, 2016

Brotherly harmony or "Pet Sounds"?

Joe Spagnardi (on rhythm guitar) jams with his brother Billy, the mandolin player. That right there is two fifths of The Gravy Boys, who put on another fine show -- this time for North Carolina's "Wide Open Bluegrass" festival.

Unusually thoughtful analysis

This essay by Julia Shaw on why Joshua Harris was wrong to "kiss dating goodbye" has far more thoughtful rigor in it than its headline might suggest.

I vaguely remember that Mr. Harris was arguing for virtue in relationships a few years back, but other people had taken up the same cause, and so Harris never exercised any particular influence on me. What I don't know about the big names in evangelical Christian publishing circles could fill a book. That said, Julia Shaw's answer to Joshua Harris was and is well worth reading.

Dating leads to broken hearts, Harris contends. In response to that, Shaw notes  -- in effect -- that the problem there lies not with dating per se, but with love itself.

Where Harris still thinks of dating as a sort of sanitized hookup, Shaw reminds him (and her readers) that many advocates of his preferred alternative -- old-fashioned, family-controlled courtship -- make the same wrongheaded assumptions about pleasure being an end in itself as the people immersed in "hookup culture" do. That looks counter-intuitive in the sentence I just used to summarize Shaw's point, but she develops her thesis carefully while defending dating from the libel under which Harris blithely tried to bury it. One significant problem, she argues, is that "Rather than exploring our emotions and thoughts, Harris recommends fleeing them." It's no surprise, then, that Shaw finds Harris guilty of "influence without analysis" that has the unintended consequence of treating God like a "helicopter parent." I'm persuaded that Shaw is right. Three cheers for her, and for editors at The Federalist who recognized the merit of her critique.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Summer music with the Blue Eyed Bettys

Nobody in the trio is actually named Betty, but the Blue Eyed Bettys are worth traveling to see and hear. Ben, Sarah, and Daniel are fun people and talented musicians who harmonize wonderfully with each other. I'm glad I discovered them earlier this month.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Another fine show for Gravy Nation

The Gravy Boys in Durham last night -- they rocked; they jammed; they harmonized. Total pros. And a good time was had by all!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Opposing view from the same camp

Maureen Mullarkey wonders whether Fr. Jacques Hamel was a martyr, but unlike the hapless journalist who thought that calling him one might "rile the opposition" unnecessarily, Mullarkey turns her gimlet eye on criteria we both accept, to suggest that Fr. Hamel's death might have had as much to do with failure to recognize the danger of "politically correct" approaches to jihadism as with anything else.

Mullarkey doesn't blame the victim, but she does write a searing indictment of the culture of which he was part -- and of which we are part.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

No cause for reticence

I argued with the misguided essayist who said in the New York Times that he wants the rest of us to avoid using words like "saint" and "martyr" with reference to the priest who was murdered in France last week.