Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday Mash

David Gibson, whose quick-out-of-the-gate book-length treatment on the new pope won the best title award (The Rule of Benedict), has moved from Beliefnet to Politics Daily. I'm a fan of Melinda Henneberger (check out the blogroll) and have followed her efforts on Politics Daily with cheers. So, some nifty synergy going on.

And, in the "synergy" category, compare these two analyses of the role of faith in the Obama administration. Gibson's latest offering notes disappointed rumblings among secularists ("Non-Believers Losing Faith in Obama"). Compare that to Peter Steinfels "glass half-full" take in his "Despite a Decade of Controversy, the Faith-Based Initiative Endures."

Attention has been paid to Robert Wright's new book, The Evolution of God. Writing in the New York Times, Paul Bloom ("No Smiting") and Deborah Solomon (a puffy magazine "profile") seem overly amazed at the most basic insight of religious studies: that religions have always closely tracked cultural and social practices. Stephen Prothero highlights what's important about a book like this as, while he ("Preaching the Gospel of Maybe") finds Wright not to be overly persuasive in his "argument" about God, he does think that Wright presents a constructive "tone." How nice, Prothero imagines, to think that "we can somehow learn to talk about religion without throwing our food." That would be a plus.
[UPDATE: Even the WashPo's Joel Achenbach gets in on the act (Achenblog), wearing a goofy hat for gravitas.]

You check the blog's "Today's Reading" feature daily, don't you? Well, make up for it today, Laura Munson's essay describing her decision to simply hold her family together, instead of reacting to a mate's declaration of a need for "space," is inspiring.

And finally, is my slip showing? A plea to my friends in the "gifted" blogging group: I've just added the RSS feed, this is WAY over my pay grade, if you get a chance -- would you test it and shoot me an email?