If there’s anything we’ve learned since 2016, it’s beware of opinion polls. All kinds of factors have affected polling accuracy, from the rise of mobile telephones to people refusing to participate (I don’t). An example was a recent Fox News poll about American’s sentiment toward impeaching President Trump – it was much ballyhooed in the media (it was a Fox poll!) until people looked at and discovered it has significantly oversampled Democrats.
One of the most common recent poll reported has been the rise of the so-called “Nones” – younger Americans who claim no allegiance to organized religion. That poll, too, needs to be taken with a few grains of salt. A new book, The Twenty-Something Soul, is about a large (way large) study of young Americans and religion. It found what most polls find – the continuing decline of the mainstream Protestant denominations that have played such a large role in shaping American culture, society, and politics. But it also found something else. Richard Ostling at Get Religion has the story.
Eight years ago, Adam Phillips (a pseudonym) began a journey he never expected to take – his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. And he discovered that this would not be a war or a battle; instead, it was a journey, with emotional pain, distress, sadness, and laughter. Read Among the Lotus Eaters.
Eleanor Parker, who teaches medieval English literature at Braesnose College, Oxford, offers an alternative view of the Viking invasions of England. She suggests that perhaps the Vikings weren’t all about plunder but more about something more prosaic. Like expansion and settlement. Interestingly enough, I’ve been working on the last of the Dancing Priest novels, and this idea plays more than a small role in the story.
More Good Reads
Defending the Thames: Hadleigh Castle – A London Inheritance.
Leicester Cathedral – Barb Drummond at Curious Historian.
More About the Crystal Palace – Judith Taylor at English Historical Fiction Authors.
Life and Culture
Social Justice and Slander, Critical Theory and Conspiracy Theories – Samuel Sey at Slow to Write.
Every Movie Cliché We Have about Dating is Basically Wrong – Chris Bourn at Mel.
Which Model Best Serves Religious Freedom for All? – Os Guinness at The Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics.
Writing and Literature
“Beowulf” and the Men of the Twilight – Bradley Birzer at The Imaginative Conservative.
‘Philosophy’ by Gwyneth Lewis – D.S. Martin at Kingdom Poets.
‘Let Me Go Gentle into That Dark Night’ – Rohini Sunderam at Society of Classical Poets.
Fermata – Jared Carter at First Things Magazine.
Why is Christianity Declining in America? – Zak Schmoll at Entering the Public Square.
Genesis 1:5 – Lori Heyd at Lori’s Prayer Closet.
‘To Particularize is the Alone Distinction of Merit’: Blake’s Visionary Imagination – Jenny Uglow at New York Review of Books.
Sonnet 5 for Elizabeth: John Charles MacKenzie
Painting: Woman Lying Reading a Book, oil on canvas by Albert Bartholome (1883).