1. My friend Bethany Jenkins writes about a time her parents left her at Hardee's, alone, by accident. It is a humorous and poignant story that Bethany tells well, weaving the gospel throughout it. A worthwhile read.
My parents still had no idea. They were past New Orleans and thought I was sleeping in the seat where I’d placed my backpack and blanket. (Two decades later, I’m still unsure how a backpack and blanket is confused for a 5’10” daughter, and what happened to the biscuit and orange juice.)
Mary Lou called my parents, and they flipped. Dad immediately turned the car around and broke all sorts of speeding laws. But when he finally arrived to Hardee’s, Mom wasn’t in the car. “Where’s Mom?” I asked. Dad replied, “She had to go to the bathroom a few stops back, but the line was so long I left her. We’ll pick her up along the way.” So at one point, we were at three different spots along I-10.
Later friends sent me cards, joking, “We’re sorry your parents don’t love you. We’ll adopt you.” Since Home Alone had just come out, someone drew a cartoon of me at Hardee’s with the caption, “Hardee’s Alone starring Bethany Jenkins.” One of my mom’s friends sent her Stein Mart’s list of “100 Things to Bring to College,” adding “#101—your daughter.”
2. Sam Allberry writes a well-constructed post on how celibacy can fulfill human sexuality. This is an important topic, as Christians need to be for a properly oriented sexuality, not merely against certain types of sexuality.
A friend of mine has an interesting spoon. (Bear with me.) Its slightly larger than a teaspoon and has a large hole in the middle, making it incapable of holding—let alone carrying—the sort of substance that typically requires a spoon. My friend keeps it in his sugar bowl, waiting for unsuspecting guests to attempt productive engagement with it. Some will quietly (but unsuccessfully) persevere with it, not wanting to make a fuss and assuming the fault must somehow lie with them. Others will immediately declare the spoon is ridiculous and insist on something better suited to the task at hand.
The spoon, it turns out, is actually an olive spoon. The hole in the middle is to drain the fluid as you lift the olive to your mouth. And so the lesson for us is this: You can’t make sense of the way the spoon is without understanding what it’s for.
The same is true of our sexuality.
3. In an essay a few years ago, Matthew Anderson wrote about developing intellectual empathy for those with whom we disagree. A good piece and worthy of digging up from the archives.
Like all virtues, intellectual empathy needs some sharp edges to be of much use. For just as ‘compassion’ can become a sort of loose affection disconnected from a normative order of goods, so too the intellectual good of empathizing and understanding can be disconnected from pursuit of both people’s good of discovering and affirming what is true. Still, when the gap between outlooks is so wide, it is easy to skip the empathizing and move straight into the work of objecting and persuading.
But lest there be any confusion, let me reiterate that I am not suggesting we should give up our first principles or revise them in our imaginative exercising. If anything, the opposite. It is precisely because of our confidence that we are able to enter in to how others see the world, with the freedom to explore along with them and see what they see. And for the more mercenarily minded, the cultivation of intellectual empathy has the additional effect of helping us find inconsistencies and difficulties internal to their accounts of the world that may make persuasion easier. Again, that should be a byproduct and never the intention. But it is a byproduct that deserves at least a mention.
4. Jim Gaffigan is one of the funniest comedians out there, in my opinion. He's had a show on TV Land for a couple of years, which is supposed to be very funny. I've seen one episode and thought it quite good. They've recently announced they are shutting the show down, and the reason is a great one. They feel they can't be effective parents and produce the show. A tough decision, but an important one.
This particular show, the way that we conceived it: It’s about our lives, it’s our unique spin about how we incorporate our faith into our comedy, our children, our real story. It’s not the type of thing where we can just get a room of 22 writes and show up a couple times a week to give notes. The way that we like it to look, and the way that we like it to be cast and the guest stars and all that stuff there’s no system in place to make that happen without us working 80 hours a week. The way that the schedule is, the fact that it airs in the summer, the fact that it’s on cable TV—there’s a multitude of factors that, moving forward, could we do it? Yes. Would it be at the expense of children being people that we raised in their formative years? I don’t think that could happen.
5. What weekend could be complete without watching some lions taking down a large giraffe? See the video below from Smithsonian Magazine.