Are We a Christian Nation? Or Aren't We?

Over the last several days, as our country has poured its empathetic support into France's emptied streets, we've seen humanity give way to politicking, and only trouble can follow.

Let's go back a bit to gain some context. Bear with me. Before the terrorist attacks in France, before Charlie Hebdo, before ISIS gained ground in Syria, that country's political regime, led by a forceful and occasionally brutal Bashar Al-Assad, fell victim to the Arab Spring.

The country split open as a disorganized uprising of rebels challenged Al-Assad's government, and as those fractured forces came closer and closer to toppling the presiding administration, Al-Assad resorted to barbaric tactics, firing SCUD missiles at them and deploying chemical weapons, often to the devastation of innocent civilians. The world watched in horror as Syrians fled their country to escape the torture.

The embattled factions created a vacuum, though, as the rebels continued their fight. The Obama administration did little to support them--as did the rest of the international community. And that's worth exploring, too, because Al-Assad is an ally of Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Russian president Vladimir Putin, both thorns in America's global political side.


Wading Out of the Digital Stream

Keeping up with this world made me weary and mad. So I deleted my Facebook app and decided to try walking away from our constant world.

About six months or so ago, I got a FitBit, one of those wearable tech devices that counts how many steps you take in a day and how many staircases you climb and how well you sleep. The gizmo gives you a daily goal of walking 10,000 steps every day, and it buzzes soothingly when you hit your mark.

I got the thing after reading one too many articles about how having a desk job--or at least a lifestyle in which you sit at a desk for hours every day--is worse for your health than smoking. It was a compelling enough purchase to push me to get up frequently and move about, to hold myself to taking walks in the afternoons around campus, and maybe even taking more walks in the evenings when I got home. For the most part, I do well enough, hitting my 10k goal five or so days of the week, with Saturdays often doubling thanks to working in the yard.

At the end of the day, though, all the FitBit accomplished was giving my life one more measurement. I won't deny the usefulness of this information, at least in my attempt to not jinx my own longevity, but I have recently started to grow weary of how many pings my life receives on a minute-by-minute basis.


Review | Jeanne Jolly's Boundless Love

The music of a journey is tinged with memory. With a voice that soars across genres, Jeanne Jolly's A Place to Run delivers a remarkable collection of songs about moving through life. 

Just like in literature, one of the better themes in music is that of the journey. If you've ever made a road trip mix tape (or playlist, these days), you understand: songs that take you from one place to another are special. And nothing keeps us moving along in life more than love.

Jeanne Jolly's full-length debut album, ANGELS, released three years ago, was one such collection of music; it traced the long road home, following the artist as she left the dusty west coast and made her way back to the land of the pine.

With A Place to Run, her new album released just this week, Jeanne Jolly brings us another warm bundle of songs to keep us moving.