Popular Presbyterians

Last week I happened upon a chart showing how common certain words related to mainline Protestantism appeared in the New York Times.   I was immediately intrigued to see that Presbyterians have received better coverage than others since 1860 and that the use of the term peaked in 1937, appearing that year in 2,149 articles. After determining how to create my own charts, I made one reflecting the names of the four traditions with which I have had formal affiliation:  Christian Church Read More …

Poverty: Appropriately Covered?

A few days ago Margaret Sullivan, public editor at the New York Times, wrote an intriguing post about how well the Times and other newspapers cover poverty in the United States.  Her questions include: But is it enough? Is it the right kind of coverage? Where are the gaps, and what is the big picture?" Sullivan provides a troubling statistic about the state of poverty coverage (at least on the front-pages of newspapers): The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism Read More …

An Easter Correction

On Easter Sunday I expect a great deal of news focused on the Pope.  Given the way Pope Francis has sought to be a different kind of Pope than any in my lifetime, I wanted to learn what he had to say on Easter.  In addition to satisfying that quest for knowledge, I also learned of an incredible error in Elisabetta Povoledo's New York Times article: "Pope Francis Calls for 'Peace in All the World' in Easter Message."  A correction to the article's final paragraph was posted the day after the Read More …

Review of Bad Religion

Meet the Author Ross Douthat is an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, and the film critic for the National Review.  Previously, he was a senior editor at the Atlantic.  He is the author of Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class (Hyperion, 2005) and Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (2012), and the co-author (with Reihan Salam) of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream (2008). Book Basics Douthat Read More …

Wisdom from the Class of ’42

David Brooks begins his recent New York Times article, "The Life Report," by asking readers over the age of 70 to consider sharing a reflection about their life so far.  He then shares wisdom from the Yale class of 1942.  On the occasion of their 50th reunion members of the class wrote short autobiographical reflections.  Brooks summarizes: The most common lament in this collection is from people who worked at the same company all their lives and now realize how boring they must seem. These Read More …

Not Welcome Here: Schools Deny Churches Rental Opportunities

A significant part of the life of a church is gathering together for worship.  While many congregations do so in buildings they own, an increasing number do so in rented space.  Renting is an attractive option for new congregations, for those in areas with expensive real estate, for those with limited needs for space during the week, for those in the midst of rapid growth, and for those who simply prefer to be without the burdens of property ownership.  In many communities, including my own, Read More …

Classroom Conversations Go the Way of Social Media

Trip Gabriel's recent New York Times article, "Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media," explores the uses of backchannels (real-time online dialogue about a speaker or topic) in the classroom. While backchannels are being utilized at all levels of education - from elementary schools to graduate degree programs - the overall adoption rates are low.  Those who leverage this new interactive supplement to the learning experience employ a variety of means including Twitter, Google Read More …

Will Talking by Phone Disappear?

When I was a child people who wanted to talk to someone else either physically went where that person was or picked up a phone and called that person.  The phone we used to place the call was either a home phone or a pay phone.  In the 1980s it seemed every home had a phone and everywhere that was not a home had a pay phone.  It was only when I was a teen in the early 1990s that I moved into the leading edge world of being able to be contacted without a phone.  A beeper, however, was not a phone Read More …