Ravenous Politics of Memory: “Gone with the Wind” is still the most popular book in America, after the Bible. At Salon, Peter Birkenhead wonders why.
Christian Sub-Culture?: Here’s a clip from one of the more bizarre Publisher’s Weekly reviews I’ve seen, of Mark and Grace Driscoll’s new book, Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, & Life Together:
The Driscolls ask early in the book that readers not approach their story with a “voyeuristic” intent, even though the couple pulls back the curtain on their lives, taking readers into arguments, sexual pasts and present life, mistakes, and healing. Partly because of their sexual histories before marriage, Mark thought of sex as “god” and Grace as “gross,” and they show how together they discovered sex as a gift from God.
Mark says that even in the Christian sub-culture people don’t know much about what the Bible says about sex, and many don’t think of swinging or pornography as sexual sins. “We try to give a framework that helps people think about sex biblically, practically, and to talk through it as couples,” he says.
Worth the Wait: It may have taken 1,500 years but the Talmud finally has an index.
Early Adopters: I’ve long said that religion and porn are the two first groups to adopt new technologies. In “Christianity and the Future of the Book” at The New Atlantis Alan Jacobs writes, “Religious communities have been the inventors, the popularizers, or the preservers of technologies.” (Jacobs doesn’t say anything about porn, alas.)
The Vatican has released its annual report on deaths of mission workers around the world. South America and Africa are highest on the list of dangerous continents.
Red Kettle Menace: The Salvation Army does great work but tis the season to hear more about their prayer-for-assistance policies, in this instance, regarding same-sex couples. (TR friend and co-conspirator Diane Winston has written about the Salvation Army in Red Hot and Righteous: the Urban Religion of the Salvation Army. Hear her talk about it here, in a 2009 interview with NPR.)
I confess to having been a member of that cultish and indoctrinating group, the Girl Scouts. Three residual effects have stayed with me: I can make butter from fresh cream and a mason jar; I can recite the group’s subversive creed (“On my honor I will try to serve God and country and mankind, and to live by the Girl Scout law”) and I can’t shake my enduring love for Thin Mints.