Doug Sikkema  |  July 25, 2014  |  Education, Vocation

“So just what are you going to do with that degree?”  If you’re planning to enter university or college in a month or so, or maybe even just graduated this past spring and are on the hunt for gainful employment, you’ve probably heard a form of this question at least a dozen times from well-intentioned parents and friends. Now if you’re going into the sciences, any of the tech fields, or engineering, the question is usually accompanied with a look slyly acknowledging the oyster-ness of your world. If you’re going into the liberal arts—or God forbid, the fine arts—the question is usually accompanied with a look suggesting you’ve just told … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  July 24, 2014  |  Culture, Institutions, Justice

Although I’ve done it a few times, carrying a placard in a public protest really isn’t my thing. That’s not to say it isn’t important or can’t be effective. Washington, 1963. Gdansk, 1981. Tiananmen Square, 1989. Arab Spring, 2011. Mass people presence with chants and placards can make a difference and change history. But this needs to be kept in perspective. The fact that some … MORE »

Doug Sikkema  |  July 21, 2014  |  Language, Philosophy

Man is a symbol-using (symbol-making, symbol-misusing) animal.           - Kenneth Burke, “Definition of Man” In a piece in The Telegraph a few months ago, John Preston made the compelling case that we’re losing the war against jargon. And although he doesn’t frame it this way, jargon—the idiosyncratic language of the specialized chattering classes—commits sins against language. In failing to “be short, be simple, and be human,” … MORE »

Alan Jacobs  |  July 17, 2014  |  Education, Institutions, Religion

This article was originally published on the Text Patterns blog, July 3, 2014. Reprinted courtesy of the author. Peter Conn is right about one thing: college accreditation is a mess. But his comments about religious colleges are thoughtless, uninformed, and bigoted. Conn is appalled—appalled—that religious colleges can receive accreditation. Why does this appall him? Well, because they have communal statements of faith, and this proves that in them “the … MORE »

Cindy Brandt  |  July 11, 2014  |  Culture, Justice, Media

Last month a piece broke from Newsweek, launching a richly reported accusation against an activist superstar in the development field of human trafficking, Somaly Mam. According to Newsweek, there is significant evidence pointing to falsehoods in the back story of Mam. The details regarding how she was sold into a brothel and the amount of time spent in captivity contain inconsistencies that can’t be ignored. … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  July 9, 2014  |  Culture, Politics, Religion

“All the world is strange,” said the Quaker to his wife, “except for me and thee. But even thee I wonder about.” These days I am feeling a lot like the Quaker’s wife. Western democracy is the offspring of a marriage of ideas between Christian social thought and the enlightenment. In different contexts, the particular features of democracy remind us more of one intellectual parent … MORE »

Doug Sikkema  |  July 4, 2014  |  Culture, Loves, Religion, War & Peace

Whether you celebrated Canada Day earlier in the week or are celebrating Independence Day today, this is usually the time of year when the flags are unfurled, the fireworks lit, and national narratives reinforced. If, like me, you’re from Canada, you likely heard stories affirming our peacefulness, our tolerance, our multiculturalism, and our general goodwill at home and abroad. If you’re from America, then you … MORE »

Stanley Carlson-Thies  |  July 1, 2014  |  Arts, Business, Justice, Law, Religion

The US Supreme Court yesterday vindicated two Christian-owned companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods, that have a pro-life objection to including in their employee health plans certain contraceptive drugs and devices. In a 5-4 decision, the Court said that the government did not meet the test set up by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a 1993 law passed with overwhelming support in Congress and … MORE »

Peter Stockland  |  June 26, 2014  |  Complexity, Culture, Media, Politics

The indefatigable Ezra Levant has again dug up another under-reported story for Canadians, this time out of Nanaimo City Council, no less. Alas, while the Sun TV host is irrepressible at scouring the nation for nuggets ignored by the mainstream media, he was again on the wrong side of history this week. Ezra publicly found fault with the decision of Nanaimo’s democratically elected councilors to … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  June 25, 2014  |  Politics

Since the Ontario election, pundits have been trying to divine what broad shift the results showed. Tasha Kheiriddin saw warning lessons for Stephen Harper. Andrew Coyne declared it was a referendum on fiscal conservatism in which fiscal conservatism lost. John Moore found evidence that the Big Shift thesis of a few years back—which argued Canadians were becoming more conservative and setting the stage for the … MORE »