what matters

What matters in life is only what people will say to your face.

-Tom Friedman on Recode Decode (49:41)

https://art19.com/shows/recode-decode/episodes/7a8df6e7-0221-4ad9-b745-3e4c46e562ec/embed?theme=black

Bonhoeffer is holding up for review here the kind of Christmas celebration described by Friedrich Schleiermacher in his famous dialogue Christmas Eve (1826). Family and friends gather around the tree in the glow of lamps and candles. Laughter and singing resound. Happy souls converse serenely, exchanging gifts in a scene all suffused with the spirit of a Jesus meek and mild. Such a view of Christmas is not so much heretical as utterly inadequate.

-Timothy George ‘Christmas: ‘The full glorious yes‘ First Things

also

The Catholic archbishop of Berlin, Heiner Koch, also sounded a cautionary note. “Perhaps we focused too much on the radiant image of humanity, on the good,” he said in an interview broadcast Sunday. “Now in the last year, or perhaps also in recent years, we have seen: No, there is also evil.”

-Anton Troianovski and Christopher Alessi ‘At Christmas, Germany reflects on compassion in a dangerous world‘ The Wall Street Journal

to us

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

-Isaiah 9:6

Most of the people around you probably seem to be happy and all put-together. It’s Christmas, after all. They feel like they have to be. But, if you really pay attention, you can see a lot of hurt. People are remembering loved ones who’ve died or walked out on them. People are thinking of children or parents who don’t speak to them anymore. People are thinking of their own battles with addiction or guilt or shame. Some of these people have been hurt by the church, just as maybe you have. Listening to the actual words of our Scriptures and our songs, though, will show you that Christianity isn’t for well-put-together people.

Russell Moore

shift

It turns out that Curious George’s appeal is splitting: he’s more iconic and more beloved as a cartoon character than as one from books. This plays out in his Q Scores: though the over-all brand’s likeability is decreasing, the cartoon character has a higher Q Score than the original book character does. George is becoming Cartoon Corporate George.

The shift from George being primarily a book character to being a cartoon brand can be seen in Harvard Square, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near where the Reys settled in the nineteen-sixties.

-Adrienne Raphel ‘Curious George learns about brand recognition‘ The New Yorker

drifting

A great paradox of our hyper-connected digital age is that we seem to be drifting apart. Increasingly, however, research confirms our deepest intuition: Human connection lies at the heart of human well-being. It’s up to all of us — doctors, patients, neighborhoods and communities — to maintain bonds where they’re fading, and create ones where they haven’t existed.

-Dhruv Khullar ‘How Social Isolation Is Killing Us‘ The New York Times