Preaching Connection: Culture

Home » Culture

Reading for Preaching

October 1964

In the early 60s, Yankee management was fine when their younger pitchers won—but only up to a point.  Fine if they won 19, but 20?  Now they’d want substantially more money at contract negotiating time.  Unbelievably, when a young pitcher approached 20, or, worse, 21 or 22 wins, the manager would try to sabotage their...
Explore

The Four Loves

Lewis speaks of healthy patriotism.  It’s unaggressive.  “It only wants to be left alone. . . . In any mind which has a pennyworth of imagination it produces a good attitude towards foreigners.  How can I love my home without coming to realize that other people, no less rightly, love theirs?  Once you have realized...
Explore

The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Unbelief

It’s hard to imagine now, but at one time American universities were part of the mainline Protestant establishment. They promoted “a religious-cultural vision. . . . In the 1890s, for instance, almost all state universities still held compulsory chapel services and some required Sunday church attendance as well.  State-sponsored chapel services did not become rare...
Explore

The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson

Jury selection for the notorious O. J. Simpson trial was remarkable. Judge Ito had warned prospective jurors that the jury would have to be sequestered and that the trial would likely be a number of months long. This prompted many educated and well-employed prospective jurors to request “hardship” exemptions. Judge Ito granted them left and...
Explore

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

“Television’s way of knowing is uncompromisingly hostile to typography’s way of knowing; television’s conversations promote incoherence and triviality. The phrase ‘serious television’ is a contradiction in terms. Television speaks in only one persistent voice–the voice of entertainment. Beyond that, to enter the great television conversation, one American cultural institution after another is learning to speak...
Explore

And So It Goes: Adventures in Television

Someone at WCBS (NY) decided that the regular anchor, Jim Jensen, ought to have a partner, a co-anchor, a fellow “fresh to the big city, fresh to big-city ways.” Jensen behaved graciously to the new gun in town, whose name was also Jim. But sometimes the new boy slipped or babbled on the air. Nobody...
Explore

Entry on Sugar Ray Leonard

Marty quotes from an article in Sports Illustrated about the Professional boxer. Leonard had addressed an audience at Harvard University, as follows: “’I consider myself blessed. I consider you blessed. We’ve all been blessed with God-given talents. Mine just happens to be beatin’ people up.’”
Explore

Under God: Religion and American Politics

Wills discusses the strange blindness of Michael Dukakis (former governor of Massachusetts and Democratic candidate for President of the U.S. in 1988), his hero Henry Steele Commager (The American Mind) and Arthur Schlesinger (speech at Brown U. printed in New York Times Book Review, July 23, 1989)–a blindness to the importance of religion in American...
Explore

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, rev. ed.

American history textbooks say very little about the division of Americans into distinct social classes, even though—along with race—social class is one of the most significant and powerful variables in American society, affecting people from the time they are in the womb and receivers of the best prenatal care or spotty prenatal care or none....
Explore

The Search for God at Harvard

A New York Times reporter, an orthodox Jew, spends a sabbatical year at Harvard Divinity School as a student, and discovers many strange things there. E.g., the culturally and morally relativist students at Harvard Div would “listen respectfully” to tales of women in Islamic settings enabling men to be the breadwinners by educating the children...
Explore

“Visit to Richmond, VA” May, 2000

Monument Avenue has, every few blocks, a terrific monument that is high and impressive enough to command the center of the boulevard and the whole intersection at the end of it. Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy. So, of course, on Monument Avenue there is a monument to General Robert E. Lee, a devout...
Explore

The Plague

“A pestilence isn’t a thing made to man’s measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogey of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away and the humanists first of all, because...
Explore

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West

Lewis and Clark met with the chiefs of a great many Indian tribes, always including in their presentation to the Indians a plea for peace among the various tribes. Their idea, emanating from President Jefferson, was that the Western territories would be far more appealing to white settlers and travelers if the Indians weren’t warring....
Explore

“Wrong End of the Rainbow”

“Well, we asked for it. Nobody who picks up a biography of Judy Garland in the first place should turn around and complain that it’s unedifying. So you’ve got to cut Gerald Clarke’s Get Happy a little slack. Garland’s mother wanted to abort her and started her on speed before she was 10, her marriages,...
Explore

Native Son

Bigger Thomas is a black man in Chicago in the 1930s. He has killed a white woman. In his flight from authorities, Bigger Thomas encounters a black church where folks are singing “Steal away. Steal away. Steal away to Jesus.” “This was his mother’s world. Deal with the harshness of life by stealing away to...
Explore

“Party Girl”

In this review of Amanda Foreman’s Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire–a late eighteenth century royal whose marital menage a trois, various illegitimate children, gambling, expertise in chemistry, minerology, music, and poetry, guaranteed an active life–O’Connor writes of how much Georgianna enjoyed being a social pace-setter. She “enjoyed poking fun at herself and at the social set...
Explore

“The Gospel of Sanitation”

“A young African businessman doing a two-year stint in the U.S. had dinner one night. ‘Well,’ beamed a matron, ‘I see you are learning to eat with a fork during your stay in America!’ ‘Ah, yes,’ replied the man, ‘I’m learning to eat with a fork.’ Then he deadpanned: ‘Admittedly, if I stop to think...
Explore

The Giant Book of Strange but True Sports Stories

Golf trick-shot specialist Paul Hahn “could hit the ball two-hundred yards with a club head attached to a length of garden hose. Hahn had one trick which caused some trouble. He used a beautiful girl; she lay flat on the ground with a golf ball neatly resting on her lips. Hahn swung and hit the...
Explore

“Birth of a Troubled Conscience”

Tinder was raised according to the standards of Christian Science. It’s nowhere near Christianity, he says. It’s not centered on healing, either, or on the achievement of health. What CS says is that there isn’t any sickness. It’s an illusion. We are all healthy. CS goes on to deny the existence of all evil. And...
Explore

Seabiscuit, An American Legend

Seabiscuit was “fanatically competitive . . . Those unfamiliar with horses might scoff at the notion of equine pride as a silly anthropomorphism, but the behavior is unmistakable. Those who make their lives among horses see it every day. Horses who lose their riders during races almost always try to win anyway, charging to the...
Explore

The American Mind

“For three hundred years, Calvinism had taught the depravity of man without any perceptible effect on the cheerfulness, kindliness, or optimism of Americans.”
Explore