America’s Favorite Poison, the Death of Decency, & Valentine’s Envy

Wisdom for Your Weekend is your regular installment of what we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web. Presented to you by Chris Pappalardo, with guidance from Pastor J.D., this is our attempt to reflect Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”

While we do not always agree with everything these authors post, we share these resources because we find them challenging and enriching. As we often say around the Summit, “Eat the fish and spit out the bones.”

Articles of the Week

America’s Favorite Poison, Olga Khazan. “Regardless of how much Americans love to drink, the country could be safer and healthier if we treated booze more like we treat cigarettes. The lack of serious discussion about raising alcohol prices or limiting its sale speaks to all the ground Americans have ceded to the ‘good guys’ who have fun. And judging by the health statistics, we’re amusing ourselves to death.”

As Christians, How Are We Called to Deal With Loss? James K. A. Smith. “I am still fascinated and humbled at the way people know what to do in the face of loss. At times of death, for example, the machinery of a parish’s collective wisdom whirs to life and surrounds the bereaved. People step into roles that seem natural. Maybe we are all just muddling through, mimicking, pretending to know, improvising on the unconscious inheritance of those who have gone before.”

Seven Points of Clarification on Critical Race Theory, Carl F. Ellis, Jr. “I am encouraged by the young people I see awakening to the historic and consistent ways of living their Christianity. The genuine Church in America is in a much different day than fifty years ago. In this day, our God who transforms, calls us to prioritize our Union in Christ and abandon all other loyalties that demand preeminence, be they external commitments to political allegiances, particular ethnicities or tribes, to group loyalties based on distorted perceptions of gender or sexuality, or what have you.”

Valentine’s Envy, Lisa LaGeorge. “As much as I might like to be, I am nobody’s Beloved. Even so, I want that Valentine’s waffle-maker. Not really, but I want the affection such a gift represents. To be clear, I am talking about envy: begrudging or longing for what someone else has. The Ten Commandments calls this ‘covetousness.’ Maybe you can relate.”

The Death of Decency in the American Mind, Melissa Edgington. “How can people who live in the same country have such different and clearly defined ideas of what makes a person ‘good’ or what makes a life worthy of honor? How is it possible that even two people who both claim to be applying Scripture can be so oppositely situated on moral issues? And, maybe more importantly, what are my responsibilities as a follower of Christ in a time when decency seems completely arbitrary?”

On the Lighter Side

Japan’s Lost-and-found System Is Insanely Good, Allan Richarz. So, if you’re going to lose your cell phone, lose it in Tokyo. “The scheme for reuniting unlucky people with their wayward valuables relies on a complex mix of infrastructure, carrot-and-stick legal encouragement, and cultural norms. Taken together, they form a shockingly efficient system that has long been a source of wonder for Western observers.”