REFLECTIONS
The Proper Place of Technology Cherie Harder Wednesday, June 3, 2021 Americans recently passed a new technological milestone: we now spend more time on devices than we do sleeping – as well as working, reading, caring for others, or any other activity. According to a recent study conducted by emarketer.com, the average American spends around eight hours per...

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The Creative Work of Love Cherie Harder Wednesday, May 12, 2021 “Love is creative and redemptive. Love builds up and unites; hate tears down and destroys…. Physical force can repress, restrain, coerce, destroy, but it cannot create and organize anything permanent; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. Recently, I was part...

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MLK, Suffering, and Meaning Cherie Harder Wednesday, April 21, 2021 By any measure, these are times of deep and widespread suffering. More than 500,000 people have died from Covid since the pandemic struck. More than 100 mass shootings (defined as those resulting in four or more people injured or killed, not counting the perpetrator) have...

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The Most Unsettling of Holidays Cherie Harder Wednesday, March 31, 2021 This reflection is an adaptation from an earlier version we featured nine years ago on April 6, 2012. While Easter is often celebrated with brunches, egg hunts, and candy trappings, properly understood, it should be the most unsettling of holidays. Its claims are both...

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Christians and Conspiracy Cherie Harder Wednesday, March 10, 2021 A dark secret has emerged: Christians have a problem with conspiracy issues. Earlier this week, a fascinating and disturbing new study by the American Enterprise Institute indicated that more than a quarter of white evangelicals, the largest proportion of any demographic group, affirm part or all of the...

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Ash Wednesday, Attention, and Invisible Gorillas Cherie Harder Wednesday, February 17, 2021 The following reflection has been adapted from an email update first published on February 13, 2013. Growing evidence confirms that it is really quite common to entirely miss the elephant (or gorilla) in the room. In attempting to better understand the nature of...

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Lets Get Creative Cherie Harder Friday, January 8, 2021 It is hard to get the grotesque images from Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol out of one’s mind. The Confederate flag paraded in its halls, Members of Congress huddled under desks as police struggled to contain a stampede, the noose set up on the West Lawn,...

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And There Was A Great Calm... Richard Miles Wednesday, November 11, 2020 Our extraordinary year has been described as a mashup of the 20th century’s most tumultuous years. Among those, 1918, the year of the pandemic that eventually killed 675,000 Americans, is held up as a mirror and a warning. The devastating influenza appeared as...

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A New Beginning Cherie Harder Wednesday, November 4, 2020 As I write this, polls have only just started to close, and election results are hours (if not days, or even weeks) away. But regardless of the final outcome of this election, in many ways we begin a new season. As Atlantic columnist Joe Pinsker helpfully pointed out...

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Not an Impossible Task Cherie Harder Wednesday, September 23, 2020 In times of deepening division and increasingly heated conflict, it can be awkward to remember that Christ’s commandments centered on love — loving God, and the gritty, hard, often seemingly thankless work of loving one’s neighbors (even the obnoxious ones). It is a task well...

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Hope and Healing Amidst Deep Division Cherie Harder Wednesday, August 12, 2020 This year has brought dramatic and unforeseen changes and challenges to virtually every American. Assumptions, plans, and schedules have changed; industries have been upended, schools shuttered, churches closed, much of everyday interactions moved online. But amidst all the churn and change, one trend...

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Character and Culture Cherie Harder Wednesday, July 29, 2020 A month after graduating, I moved to DC to start work on Capitol Hill as a junior legislative aide. Over the next several years, I would work for a House Member and three Senators in a variety of capacities. Relatively quickly, I was struck by how the...

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Take Up and Read Cherie Harder Wednesday, July 15, 2020 One of the silver linings of this cloudy year is that the forced isolation and confinement of our once-flitting selves, unwelcome as it has been, has provoked new interest in and efforts at reading. While reading overall has been in steep decline in the country...

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Customs and Constitutions Cherie Harder Wednesday, July 1, 2020 In 1831, a young Frenchman named Alexis de Tocqueville visited America intending to study its penal system and provide a recommendation to his home country as to whether the US offered a worthwhile model to follow. But he was also personally curious about why the US...

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Crisis-Ready Leadership Cherie Harder Wednesday, June 24, 2020 "Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm." — Publilius Syrus These are troubled times. We simultaneously face a health crisis in the form of a global pandemic that has killed more Americans than citizens of any other country; an economic crisis in the form...

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The Weight of Words Cherie Harder Wednesday, June 17, 2020 Words are weighty things. The Bible begins with God speaking the world into existence, and culminates with the Word himself becoming flesh. The reader is cautioned that our words have the power to wound, poison, and destroy, as well as heal—“a word aptly spoken is...

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The Reality and Opportunity of Pluralism Michael Wear Wednesday, June 10, 2020 In our recent report, Christianity, Pluralism, and Public Life in the United States: Insights from Christian Leaders, Amy Black and I describe the kind of pluralism we are interested in as, “the presence of meaningful social or political diversity in society.” Pluralism, in our view, encompasses many kinds...

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Times of Turmoil Cherie Harder Wednesday, June 2, 2020 This has been a week of such pain. As I write this, the death toll from coronavirus has passed 108,000 with nearly two million still battling its ravages. The anguish and rage from the on-camera killing of George Floyd has spilled out to the streets. In...

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Introducing New Senior Fellows Cherie Harder Wednesday, May 27, 2020 We are excited to announce the appointment of two new — and extraordinary — Senior Fellows! Our Senior Fellows are thought leaders whose work embodies and furthers the aim of the Trinity Forum to cultivate and disseminate the best of Christian thought leadership. Their range...

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A Liturgy Audit Tish Harrison Warren Friday, May 22, 2020 "Are there habits and practices that we acquire without knowing it? Are there ritual forces in our culture that we perhaps naively immerse ourselves in – and are thus formed by – that, when we consider them more closely, point at some ultimate end? Are...

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Attending to the Ordinary in Surreal Times Cherie Harder Wednesday, May 20, 2020 How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. —Annie Dillard One of the illuminations of the cloudy climate of quarantine is its effect of changing our daily habits enough to help us recognize them, rather than simply...

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Calling and Community Cherie Harder Wednesday, May 13, 2020 When Os Guinness’s wonderful book The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life was first published a little over two decades ago, it came as a revelation to this then-twentysomething. Like many of my driven, idealistic peers, I harbored a strong, if frustratingly...

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A Quality of Leadership Needed Now Dr. Ronald C. White Jr. This guest reflection is written by Trinity Forum Senior Fellow Dr. Ron White. Wednesday, May 6, 2020 In national crises, from the Civil War to Pearl Harbor to 9/11, wise leaders exhibit qualities that fit the moment. I have spoken often of the leadership...

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The Art of Living with Limits Cherie Harder Wednesday, April 29, 2020 In a typical week, we are everyday bombarded with advertising, self-help stratagems, and motivational pep talks that urge us to live life beyond limits—to break down the barriers and barge through the constraints that keep our desires just beyond our grasp. We are told...

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Resilience & Imagination Dr. Joseph Loconte Wednesday, April 22, 2020 On a stormy night in early December of 1929—about two months after the start of the Great Crash—two Oxford professors met to talk about their shared love of English literature and ancient mythologies. “I was up till 2:30 on Monday, talking to the Anglo-Saxon professor...

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Reading in a Pandemic Karen Swallow Prior Wednesday, April 15, 2020 Confession: I’m a lifelong avid reader who has, not one, but two, professions centered on books—one as an English professor and the other as an author (who writes mainly about reading). And yet, even with all this “extra” time at home, I’m having trouble...

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Good Friday Reflection Cherie Harder Friday, April 10, 2020 Friends, In most years, the joys and reverence of Holy Week are often eclipsed by the candy trappings and social hullaballo of the Easter holiday weekend. But this has been a very Lent-y Lent. Our vulnerability and mortality seems less remote and theoretical; our sources of...

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Loving Your Neighbor in a Pandemic Mark Lagon Wednesday, April 8, 2020 Mark P. Lagon is Chief Policy Officer at Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum. Mark previously served as CEO of Freedom House and of Polaris, as well as U.S. Ambassador at Large to...

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Silence, Space, and Rest Cherie Harder Tuesday, March 31, 2020 The following reflection, written in February of 2011 has been adapted from our archives. Friends, We are now in the midst of what may be the most counter-cultural of holiday seasons: Lent. In stark contrast to the crazed consumerism that accompanies Advent, or even the...

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Navigating Uncertain Times Cherie Harder Friday, March 20, 2020 Dear Friends, It has been a sobering and unsettling week. We hope each of you reading this is staying healthy and staying connected, if through creative and virtual means. The Trinity Forum transitioned to telework last week, and have been praying each day at our video...

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Positively Pluralistic Cherie Harder Monday, February 24, 2020 Learn more about the Trinity Forum's first-ever report "Christianity, Pluralism, and Public Life in America: Insights from Christian Leaders" here. The times, they are a-changing: America is quickly becoming much more religiously diverse and divided. By some estimates, over three-quarters of senior citizens identify as Christian, but...

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In Memory of Al McDonald Os Guinness Wednesday, November 27, 2019 It is with sad but grateful hearts that we commemorate the extraordinary life of co-founder Alonzo (“Al”) McDonald, who passed away this past week at the age of 91. Al’s remarkable life included service as CEO of McKinsey, President and Vice-Chairman of the Bendix...

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Crossing a Digital Divide Cherie Harder Friday, June 7, 2019   Sometimes dramatic changes happen with little fanfare. This year, a cultural Rubicon was crossed, as significant as it was unheralded: the time we spend on mobile devices now exceeds the time spent with TV. The time-use study published by emarketer.com shows the trajectory of Americans’...

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The Ties That Free Cherie Harder Tuesday, April 2, 2019   These are lonely times. By many measures, rates of loneliness in the US have doubled. We are more likely to live alone, to lack confidantes, to feel ourselves abandoned in the world. We report enjoying fewer friendships, particularly close ones. Nearly one in four...

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Confessions Byron Smith Friday, January 25, 2019   As the new Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Trinity Forum, I have a few confessions to make: First, you need to know that “we are Russian sympathizers.”  It’s true! We have great admiration, respect, and regard for the works and thoughts of Leo Tolstoy,...

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Fake News and the Good News Cherie Harder Friday, August 31, 2018   In the contest for attention between fake news and truth-telling, fake news wins in a landslide. The Atlantic recently reported on the results of a comprehensive study that analyzed every contested news story in English since the advent of twitter, and found...

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Friday, August 31, 2018   Yesterday, a sobering report from “The Democracy Project,” released by the George W. Bush Institute, Freedom House, and Penn Biden Center raised questions and alarms about the state of American democracy. It declared that “confidence in our governing institutions has been weakening over many years, and key pillars of our

...

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Seeking Truth in the Doing of Business C. William Pollard Friday, August 31, 2018   Etched in stone in the chapel of Christ Church College at Oxford University are the words of John Locke spoken over 300 years ago: “I know there is truth opposite falsehood, that it may be found if people will search...

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Why Means Matter Cherie Harder Friday, February 23, 2018   One of the most significant recent shifts in public attitudes is the crumbling of trust in bedrock institutions – ranging from Congress to academia, law enforcement, finance, the media, business, health providers, even the church. As respect for such institutions, along with the norms and...

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Getting Mad and Giving Thanks Cherie Harder Monday, November 20, 2017   The holidays are rapidly approaching — and we the people are angry. A year after the nastiest presidential election in modern history, our general ire seems further stoked. In this age of rage, one can find any number of reasons to be furious:...

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In Memoriam: Michael Cromartie Cherie Harder Wednesday, August 30, 2017   After a valiant two-year battle with cancer, waged with his characteristic energy and verve, author, scholar, Faith Angle Forum founder, and Trinity Forum Senior Fellow Michael Cromartie died earlier this week. He leaves behind his extraordinary wife Jenny, sons Ethan and Eric and daughter...

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Hospitality and Healing Cherie Harder Thursday, March 30, 2017   It is a strange irony: at the most globally connected moment in all of human history, we are lonelier than ever. Even as our social media connections grow, so do our rates of living alone, and our reported feelings of loneliness and estrangement. A survey...

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Grinches, Gifts, and Grace Cherie Harder Friday, December 6, 2016   As if Economics was not already considered “the dismal science,” a vocal number of economists have taken to questioning the value of gift-giving, even labeling it a “market failure.” By the laws of economics alone, the Grinches have a point: giving a gift is...

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Hope and Change? Cherie Harder Friday, November 11, 2016   It has been a wild election. The majority of our deeply divided fellow citizens, many of whom are clearly hurting or angry (or both), fed up with gridlock in Washington, and eager for change, chose a new president, in what has seemed a joyless and bitter...

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The Weight of Words Cherie Harder Friday, September 23, 2016   It is uncanny how much attention is paid in the Bible to the weight and power of words. It is a recurrent theme, beginning in Genesis with God speaking the world into existence, and culminating with the good news that the Word himself became...

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For Such a Time As This Byron Smith Wednesday, July 13, 2016   We are pleased to provide a special guest reflection by Trinity Forum Trustee Byron Smith.   "Shocked… Confused… Dismayed… Angry! " The sense of frustration many of us feel as we observe what is happening in our country can be disorienting. The demoralizing...

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Faith Reminds Us of the Limits of Politics Cherie Harder Thursday, June 9, 2016   Editors' Note: This article first appeared in Patheos online and is part of the Patheos Public Square on Faith and the Election. You can find the article here.   Faith inevitably shapes politics. It cannot be otherwise, as faith speaks to...

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Valuing Vocabulary Cherie Harder Friday, May 20, 2016   "Political chaos is connected with the decay of language... one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end." —George Orwell.   The institution of “Newspeak”—a flattening of language to collapse moral, aesthetic, and analytical distinctions, and reduce the sublime, beautiful, brave, kind,...

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Noise, Hell & Healing Cherie Harder Wednesday, March 2, 2016   There is a certain appropriateness to Super Tuesday falling mid-way through the Lenten season – an illustration of the attention-grabbing demands and distractions of the world around us in a time traditionally dedicated to spiritual reflection. If Lent encourages silence and solitude, presidential campaigns...

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A Shocking Lack of Solitude Cherie Harder Wednesday, January 21, 2015   "All of man’s troubles stem from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone." -- Pascal   It is a truth long acknowledged that it is not good for man to be alone. But new research suggests that our aversion to solitude...

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Reading, Reflection, and Redemption Randy Robertson Thursday, May 29, 2014   Dilemma: A Forum For Transformation in Prison Here in the Tomoka maximum security prison outside Daytona Beach, roaring car engines from the distant superspeedway call out to the inmates inside during race weeks. The sound of swaying palm fronds past the razor wire can...

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The Greatest Story Ever Told Cherie Harder Friday, April 18, 2014   The power of story is getting unlikely attention. In a fascinating collaboration, literary scholars and neuroscientists have teamed up to explore the physiological impact that stories have on the human brain. A recent Wall Street Journal article by Allison Gopnik entitled “Want a Mind Meld?...

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Readers, Viewers, and Players Cherie Harder Monday, February 24, 2014   "We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us." - Marshall McLuhan   Sometimes sales data can provide useful insights into what we as a society value, and how we are changing. Compare, for example, sales of last...

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The Singularity of Grace Cherie Harder Monday, December 23, 2013   In What's So Amazing About Grace? author Phillip Yancey recounts: During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of...

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Thinking About Thanksgiving Cherie Harder Tuesday, November 26, 2013   "In everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 The Bible is not subtle in its calls for thanksgiving. Repeatedly, urgently, and throughout its many books the reader is urged to "give thanks to the Lord, for...

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Evening Conversation with Andy Crouch Cherie Harder Thursday, October 24 2013 The Trinity Forum recently hosted an Evening Conversation with Andy Crouch -- editor of Christianity Today and author of "Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power." In the talk, Crouch talked about how, from the beginning, God has a plan to move things from good, to...

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Shocks, Awe, and Friendship Cherie Harder Friday, October 11, 2013   Recently, a friend asked me to accompany her as she received electric shocks while participating in a study to better understand friendship and attachment. (For real.) We drove to the University of Virginia, where electrodes were strapped to her ankles and she was pushed...

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A Hole in the ``Heart of the Matter`` Cherie Harder Tuesday, July 16, 2013   Last week, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) released a compelling report affirming the necessity and centrality of the humanities and liberal arts in developing citizens and perpetuating democratic self-government. Entitled "The Heart of the Matter," the report...

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Revolutionary Readers Cherie Harder Monday, June 17, 2013   “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” -- Ray Bradbury It has long been an assumption that the act of reading is not only foundational but formational: that what and how we read helps determine how...

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In Memoriam: Dallas Willard Cherie Harder Thursday, May 16, 2013   Last week, Trinity Forum Senior Fellow Dallas Willard died, just a couple of days after publicly confirming a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. He was 77, and leaves behind his wife of many years, Jane, two children, a grandchild, and legions of friends, students, colleagues,...

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Disrespect and Distortion Cherie Harder Monday, March 18, 2013   Nastiness, new research shows, corrodes not only relationships, but also reading comprehension. A recent study published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication and reported in the New York Times sought to study what was termed “the nasty effect” – the impact of insulting comments about an article on readers’...

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Lent, Attention, and Invisible Gorillas Cherie Harder Wednesday, February 13, 2013 Ash Wednesday   New evidence confirms that it is really quite common to entirely miss the elephant (or gorilla) in the room. In attempting to better understand the nature of focus and attention, a group of researchers showed test subjects a video of a...

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Christmas and Connecticut Cherie Harder December 2012   If the Christmas season typically consists of a frantic race to buy presents, hit sales, and max out one’s credit card, the events of last week have exposed, if only for a time, not only the relative folly of materialism in practice, but also the bankruptcy of...

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Beware of Wolves and Termites Cherie Harder September 2012   Earlier this week marked the 11th anniversary of 9-11. Most of us who lived through the 9-11 attacks in New York or Washington can vividly remember not only the horror, but the confusion and bewilderment, of the morning hours of that day. The idea of...

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Why Read Stories? Cherie Harder Friday, June 22, 2012 “I don’t waste time reading make-believe.”So said a friend, in response to being asked to name his favorite novel. It’s a widespread attitude – that literature is somehow fundamentally un-serious, that reading non-fiction is more practical, commendable, and responsible; that stories themselves are somehow the realm...

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Why Read Stories? Cherie Harder Friday, May 11, 2012   This Sunday is the last that I and thousands of other parishioners will worship at the Sanctuary of The Falls Church in Virginia. Earlier this year, a judge ruled that despite the fact that The Falls Church is older than the Episcopal diocese, and that...

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Heresy & Holy Week Cherie Harder Friday, April 6, 2012   While Easter may commonly be celebrated with brunches, egg hunts, and candy trappings, properly understood, it should be the most profound and potentially divisive of holidays. Its claims are both extravagant and exclusivist; its assertions strange and supernatural: that God, who came to earth...

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Character, Community & the Church Cherie Harder Monday, March 12, 2012   James Q. Wilson’s death last weekend generated a flurry of rightfully laudatory tributes. Wilson was perhaps the most respected political scientist of his generation. His scholarship reshaped approaches to crime prevention and policing, and reaffirmed the importance of virtue for the public good,...

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Valentine & MLK Cherie Harder Tuesday, February 14, 2012 “I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems…. I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love. I’m talking about a strong, demanding love.” --Martin Luther King, Jr.   On a day typically celebrated with candy hearts, Hallmark cards, and...

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Salons and Subversion Cherie Harder Thursday, January 19, 2012 Each election year typically brings renewed salvos in the ongoing culture wars, and there is little reason to think that 2012 will prove an exception. But in the midst of all the sound and fury that surrounds such battles, it can be easy to overlook less...

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Christmas and Contemplation Cherie Harder Thursday, December 22, 2011   Holiday departures have already begun. Here in Washington, rush hour traffic is slowly (and blessedly) thinning, airports are packed, and offices are clearing out. For the next few days, families will gather to celebrate, shop, open presents, and overeat. And in the midst of the...

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Tidings of Wonder Cherie Harder Wednesday, December 7, 2011   Holiday departures have already begun. Here in Washington, rush hour traffic is slowly (and blessedly) thinning, airports are packed, and offices are clearing out. For the next few days, families will gather to celebrate, shop, open presents, and overeat. And in the midst of the...

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A Feast for the Soul: Sacramental Celebration Meredith Schultz Wednesday, December 7, 2011   “Of what happened later in the evening, nothing definite here can be stated. None of the guests later on had any clear remembrance of it. They only knew that the room had been filled with heavenly light, as if a number...

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In Remembrance of George H. Gallup, Jr. (1930-2011) Friday, November 25, 2011   George H. Gallup, Jr. (1930-2011), the son of the founder of Gallup Poll and good friend to the Trinity Forum, passed away this past Wednesday. The Trinity Forum would like to join those who send their condolences to the friends and family...

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Happiness & Thanksgiving Cherie Harder Thursday, November 24, 2011   “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” --G.K. Chesterton   During this Thanksgiving week, it is customary to reflect on, and offer thanks for, our many blessings. Recent research suggests that doing so...

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Conflict and Conversations on Science and Faith Cherie Harder Monday, November 14, 2011   The past several years have seen an intensifying of a long-running conflict between the claims of science and faith. Debates over our origins, the reliability of the Bible and the scientific record, and the proper realms of authority of faith and...

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Faith, Crime, & Punishment Cherie Harder Monday, October 31, 2011   What causes a person to change? It is a question pondered by parents, pastors, politicians, educators, therapists, physicians -- and of course, Oprah. From twelve-step programs, public awareness campaigns, and management techniques, to the promise of “statecraft as soulcraft” virtually every occupational sector offers...

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Founders' Gala Report Cherie Harder Thursday, September 29, 2011   What a celebration! Last week at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Trinity Forum hosted our 20th Anniversary Founders' Gala - and what a party it was! It was a wonderful time to honor our co-founders, Os Guinness and Al McDonald, while...

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Serving Our Work and Neighbors: Which Comes First? Cherie Harder Saturday, September 17, 2011   In an excellent piece published by Comment Magazine, John Terrill and Kenman Wong explore the ideas of Dorothy Sayers in her essay, "Why Work?", recently published by The Trinity Forum as a Reading. They present Sayers' context at the time...

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Civility in the Little Things Cherie Harder Thursday, September 15, 2011   According to polls, “we the people” are rude. A recent nationwide study on civility in America found that 95% of Americans believe the level of civility in the country is a problem, and 65% consider it a “major” problem — and most believe...

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Celebrating 20 Years! Wednesday, August 24, 2011   The Trinity Forum is throwing a party! We hope you will join us next month as we celebrate our 20th anniversary, and a generation's worth of the work of the Trinity Forum. The 20th Anniversary Founders' Gala will be held at the beautiful Corcoran Museum of Art...

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Rest and Reading Cherie Harder Friday, August 12, 2011   The August doldrums are upon us.  Here in Washington, Congress has, after many misadventures, recessed for the month, and with their departure, traffic has thinned, the pace has slowed, workdays have shortened, and vacations are taken. The city (and perhaps the nation as well) seems...

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Mind, Memory, and Meaning Friday, July 15 2011   One of the more interesting and repeated biblical injunctions is that against inattention and amnesia.  In the Old Testament alone, there are dozens of exhortations to the Israelites to “remember,” “fix it in mind,”  “write on the tablet of your heart,” “bind on your fingers,” “tell...

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Silence, Space & Rest Cherie Harder Wednesday, February 16, 2011   We are now in the midst of what may be the most counter-cultural of holiday seasons: Lent. In stark contrast to the crazed consumerism that accompanies Advent, or even the candy trappings of Easter, Lent offers nothing for the world to commercialize or capitalize...

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