- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New generation

“Even as many ‘next Christians’ remain rightfully critical of the ways they were raised to think and believe, theres the indisputable fact that many of us have gone on to live happy lives with relative intellectual stability and modest to wild success in whatever endeavors we choose. We may have been inculcated with science denialism or bigotry or more difficult emotional things like self-hatred and repression.

“But on the whole, the ‘next Christians’ are not badly damaged, wounded souls whose parents and churches have left them for dead. In fact, quite the opposite: many are well-adjusted, upwardly mobile young professionals who owe what success and sanity they have to the values they were raised on. Its important that every Christian who faces the inevitable bitterness that results from breaking out of a small-minded worldview remember that when they turn to critique the ones who came before. And though I clearly believe in opposing those who continue to articulate a reactionary political version of Christianity, I think a lot of the Next Christians can probably do more good persuading their parents than condescending to them.”

- David Sessions, writing on “The ‘Next Christians’ and Their Parents,” on Dec. 16 at Patrol

King football

“Americans are watching more football - and networks have technology, fantasy leagues, and Michael Vick to thank. Of the 20 highest-rated telecasts on television so far this season, 18 have been NFL games. … The sport has been by far the most popular form of programming on television. … NBC’s Sunday night games are up 10 percent this season, and CBS’ Sunday afternoon games are up 10 percent as well. Fox games are up 2 percent, and ESPN’s ratings are consistent with last year’s record-breaking season. With three games remaining, ‘Sunday Night Football’ is on track to be the most-watched prime-time broadcast of the fall.

“What’s happening? Three things at once: Personalities: Two of the biggest names in the game, Brett Favre and Michael Vick, brought sideline drama to the sport. … Technology: High-definition TV has made football feel more alive than ever, and better camera lenses and locations have headed to the you-are-there intensity. … Fantasy football leagues have given casual or non-fans a reason to care about the sport, and given anyone with a team a reason to pay close attention.”

- Tim Molloy, writing on “3 Reasons the NFL Rules Fall Ratings,” on Dec. 20 at the Yahoo TV blog, the Wrap

Religious liberals

“The problem for liberal Democrats is that pious Americans are also free to choose a place of worship in which the political slant is conservative or progressive, or where secular issues have little or no place. And, since the waning of the civil rights movement some four decades ago, the liberal churches have been losing both members and a dynamic sense of worldly mission.

“One traditional stronghold of liberal Christianity, the United Church of Christ, has only half as many members as it did when it was formed in the late 1950s. The other one-time citadel - the Episcopalians - are undergoing a nasty schism that may leave the conservative fragment as large as the parent body it has departed. According to American Grace, the marvelous new study of religion by Robert Putnam and David Campbell, “liberal churchgoers who attend politically active congregations” comprise just 2 percent of the overall population.”

- Michael Kazin, writing on “The Silence of Godly Liberals,” on Dec. 21 at the New Republic