IVP - Andy Unedited - Culture Archives

December 18, 2018

Christmas Eve 1968

Fifty years ago next week, a manned spacecraft for the first time entered orbit around another celestial body--the moon.

The year 1968 had been a harrowing one for the country and the world. It began with the devastating Tet Offensive in Vietnam and was followed by the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The "Prague Spring" was crushed by Soviet tanks in August with the tumultuous Democratic National Convention a week later.

Weary and worn, we were ready for some good news. That night, Christmas Eve, the crew of Apollo 8 sent a message to everyone on earth in what has been called the most watched television broadcast in history. Here is what they said:

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:24 AM | Comments

October 9, 2018

The Popularity of Teen Dystopias

How many times can bestselling dystopias have plots about a dictatorial, caste-like society in which a group of teens are forced into a contained area where they must fight and kill each other as a prelude to overthrowing the harsh regime? Apparently a lot. Most similar to The Hunger Games, Pierce Brown's Red Rising also shares major plot arcs with The Maze Runner, Divergent, and the grandmother of the them all, The Giver.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:46 AM | Comments

September 11, 2018

An American Ideal, An American Myth

Ken Wytsma was talking with a young man running his own landscaping firm who was proud of how he'd started from zero and succeeded by virtue of hard work, with no benefit from privilege. So Ken asked where he got most of his business (the suburbs) and where they worked on jobs (in backyards) and when (during the day) and how he got business (putting flyers on doors and knocking at houses).

Then Ken asked, "If you were a young black man proposing to work in the backyards of those suburbanites during the day when they're not home, is it possible some of your client might show a degree of suspicion or bias? If you were Hispanic, talked with an accent, or looked like you were from a culture unfamiliar to the suburban communities where people can afford backyard ponds and fountains, do you think it might--even if ever so slightly--affect how successful you are when you knock on doors?" The white friend understood.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 12:38 PM | Comments

August 23, 2018

Bad Religion

Heresy has always been with us, and, as New York Times columnist Ross Douthat tells us in Bad Religion, that has not necessarily been a bad thing. Heresy can stimulate orthodoxy to clarify itself and perhaps help correct an imbalance in the church. What is different now is that heresy is no longer at the margins of an orthodox center. Today the situation is reversed.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 11:58 AM | Comments

May 2, 2018

Cultivating a Lost Art

Civil conversation is sadly a lost art. In Winsome Persuasion, however, Tim Muehlhoff and Richard Langer contend that the more civil we are, the more persuasive we become.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 11:53 AM | Comments

December 27, 2017

The Social Animal

"We are not who we think we are."

In The Social Animal, David Brooks tells the story of a composite American couple Erica and Harold, from their first moments of life to their last. Weaving in and out of this tale of their early childhood, high school years, career highs and lows, and the opportunities and challenges of aging, Brooks offers insights from recent research in a variety of fields which provide a new understanding ourselves.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:12 AM | Comments

November 2, 2017

From Africa for the World

Why would a old, white, North American, evangelical male be interested in the Africa Study Bible? I'll get to that in a minute. First, a bit of introduction to this remarkable volume.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:06 AM | Comments

August 23, 2017

Family in a Time of Technology

Glowing screens entrance us wherever we are. From smart phones to tablets to laptops to maximum-strength HD TVs--young and old alike are mesmerized by our enticing "easy everywhere" culture. Promising the Nirvana of connectivity, ear buds and touch pads actually detach us from those who are bodily in the same room or at the same table with us.

What's a family to do? Andy Crouch to the rescue.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:16 AM

July 11, 2017

The Penultimate Curiosity

Are science and religion enemies, each seeking supremacy over the other? Or do they simply look at the same thing from different, perhaps complementary, perspectives? In The Penultimate Curiosity, Wagner and Briggs propose a very different relationship than either of these options.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:06 AM | Comments (2) are closed

April 6, 2017

The Man in the High Castle

What would it be like for white Americans to be second-class citizens in their own country? What if we had to accommodate ourselves to a dominant culture that wasn't native to us? What if we had to negotiate different values, different customs, different ways of speaking, and a lower economic status than we are used to--all with the vague fog of inferiority hanging over us constantly as we and others compare us to a superior race? What would it be like? How would it feel?

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 2:03 PM | Comments

February 10, 2017

What Augustine Offers Our Multicultural World

Augustine, the great church father, has been such a giant on the theological landscape for so many centuries, he has become a huge, lifeless statue to some. In The Mestizo Augustine Justo González pumps life back into our view with a fresh and fascinating look at the humanity and the competing cultures at work within Augustine.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:22 AM | Comments

February 2, 2017

Understanding Gender Dysphoria

It seems obligatory these days to begin any discussion of sex and society with autobiography. So here goes. I'm an old, white, heterosexual male who basically doesn't have a clue when it comes to understanding gender dysphoria. (But I guess the second half of that sentence was redundant with the first half.) That's why I appreciated psychologist Mark Yarhouse's book, Understanding Gender Dysphoria, so much.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:35 AM | Comments

December 15, 2016

Feeling Bad a Whole New Way

Good news for all of us racked by guilt as a result of being raised Jewish, Catholic or Protestant! There is a whole different way to feel bad about ourselves, and it is called honor-shame.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:09 AM | Comments

November 29, 2016

Hillbilly Elegy

The hillbilly or redneck culture of poor whites in Appalachia is largely hidden from view or intentionally ignored by much of the rest of the country, as the recent election showed. In Hillbilly Elegy, J. D. Vance, who himself grew up in this culture, offers a warm yet starkly honest view of himself, his extended family and his people.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:00 AM | Comments

November 9, 2016

Fighting Hatred in an Unexpected Way

One evening in June 1991, Michael Weisser and his wife, Julie, were unpacking boxes in their new home in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he had become the new Jewish Cantor at a Jewish congregation. The phone rang, and they answered it. "You'll be sorry you ever moved in, Jew boy," the caller said and hung up.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:57 AM | Comments (2)

June 7, 2016

Where Is Technology Going?

Kevin Kelly, guru of Wired magazine, proves himself to be a polymath who is not afraid to have an opinion or two in his book What Technology Wants. His main provocative point is that technology is developing in certain predictable ways.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:12 AM | Comments (4) are closed

April 13, 2016

The Right Brothers

The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough, paints a portrait of two heroes and celebrities who stand in sharp contrast to those of today. The brothers didn't look to maximize their fame; they simply wanted due credit. They didn't try to amass enormous wealth; they simply ran a business.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:08 AM

March 31, 2016

Between the World and He

What is it like to grow up black and male in the United States? Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of the highly acclaimed Atlantic article on reparations, tells us in Between the World and Me, a memoir cum extended letter to his fifteen-year-old son. It is a life in which you don't have final control over the most basic aspect of human existence--your own body. Your body can be thrown in prison or shot or just pushed aside at most any time for most any reason with little recourse.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:02 AM | Comments (2) are closed

February 16, 2016

Grace and Truth

After decades of sending quarterly newsletters to authors, I sent my last one last week. I received many encouraging responses to it. So I thought I would post it here for the rest of you.

Dear IVP Author:

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:06 AM

April 22, 2014

True Equilibrium

I was recently rewatching the 2002 Kurt Wimmer film Equilibrium when I suddenly realized this is Ray Bradbury's 1953 classic Fahrenheit 451 all over again. But it wasn't a crass failure of imagination. No, Wimmer was doing what many writers, artists and movie makers do--borrowing from a past work to offer an homage while providing a few twists of his own.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 11:32 AM

August 7, 2012

Two Views of Ourselves

In a recent column, David Brooks recommends a wonderfully healthy form of personality disorder. While he begins a bit humorously, Brooks works his way to a serious conclusion when he suggests that we embrace two very different views of ourselves at the same time.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:08 AM | Comments (2) are closed

December 23, 2011

Following the Wise Men

Gift giving at Christmas is a wonderful tradition which comes to us from the wise men. They visited Jesus, and gave him gifts that honored and recognized him as king. When we give gifts to show our love and respect for each other, we follow their path.

Yet gift giving can be difficult--and not necessarily because we lack generosity. Sometimes it's simply hard to know what to give. When so many of us are awash in material goods, it is a challenge because it seems everyone has everything.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 8:28 AM

November 21, 2011

Why Did Malcolm Succeed? (Outliers 2)

Why did Malcolm Gladwell succeed? Is he a self-made bestselling writer? Is his story different than the story of why some succeed and others don't that we looked at in my previous blog about Gladwell's book Outliers? Does he have none to thank except his own hard work and native talent? In the epilogue to his book, he offers an answer.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:09 AM | Comments (2) are closed

November 8, 2011

The Myth of the Self-Made Man--or Woman (Outliers 1)

Why do some people succeed and others don't? Is it luck? Is it pluck? Is it talent the size of a truck?

That's the question Malcolm Gladwell sets himself to in Outliers. The answer he finds is, often, none of these. To make his point, Gladwell compares Christopher Langan to Robert Oppenheimer.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 7:54 AM

September 28, 2011

Consuming Technology

Technology tends to consume and absolute technology consumes absolutely.

I was at a conference recently where often, when there was a break, the participants tended not to get up, stretch, get a cup of coffee, chat with those nearby or even go to the bathroom. Instead they sat there. They were not mesmerized by the presentation they had just heard. They were mesmerized by their screens—handheld or laptop—checking email, tweets, Facebook, news feeds and more.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 8:37 AM | Comments (10) are closed

May 3, 2011

Out of the Wasteland

Fifty years ago this month, the phrase “vast wasteland” entered the national lexicon when Newton Minow, then chair of the FCC, spoke before the National Association of Broadcasters. It even inspired Hollywood producer Sherwood Schwartz to name the sinking ship in Gilligan’s Island after him.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 8:30 AM

March 15, 2011

Opinionated Me

I don't often look at stats for my blog, but the last report I got had some dramatic results. While there is a pretty steady readership for Andy Unedited, two posts (here and here) had massive readership spikes. Why? Well, not surprisingly I suppose, they were picked up by a couple very popular bloggers who pointed their readers this way. But I think there is another reason as well.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 7:53 AM | Comments (2) are closed

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