Web Notables (Feb. 27, 2015)

Anorexia, the Copts' cave church, political temptations, modern witchcraft, the fake gender gap, etc.

By The Editors Published on February 27, 2015

“Web Notables” is a daily feature that highlights articles readers may want to see but might have missed. It is compiled by senior editor David Mills.

How I Said ‘Goodbye’ to Anorexia and ‘Hello’ to Cheese, by Emily Stimpson from her Catholic Table website. Recovering from anorexia involved discovering cheese and changing her worldview, Stimpson writes. “Sometimes, anorexics don’t eat because they don’t believe they deserve to eat. Sometimes, anorexics don’t eat because their life is in chaos and food feels like the one thing they can control. Sometimes, anorexics don’t eat because they want to make themselves disappear. Sometimes, it’s all three. But always, always, always, it’s because they don’t see creation rightly.”

The Cave Church of Garbage City, by Eric Grundhauser in the web magazine Slate. The Zabbaleen, Coptic Christians forced into a settlement outside Cairo, have built a monastery and church inside a mountain. It seats 20,000 around a central pulpit. More pictures can be found here.

Season of the Witch: Why Young Women are Flocking to the Ancient Craft, by Sady Doyle in The Guardian. Invented a few decades ago, it’s not so ancient, but Wicca has grown in popularity, though how real a religion it actually is to most of its followers isn’t clear. “There’s something deeply appealing in the notion of being put in touch with an inner source of power that can’t be taken away.” The belief has its political uses too:

It’s tempting to write all this off as fluffy woo-woo stuff (a trivialization of which Starhawk [one of the most famous Wiccans] is well aware: “We’re no more nutty than most religions,” she says, “and probably a lot less nutty than some”). But the politics are there, and they hold up; mixed in with the spells and rituals of The Spiral Dance, you will find meditations on sexual violence, ecology and anarchist group building, and thoughts on how men can overcome patriarchal conditioning in order to participate effectively in leftwing activism.

Religion and Politics, an interview with Russell D. Moore in the magazine TableTalk. One of the temptations Christians face in politics, says the head of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Freedom Commission, is “the temptation to expect too much of government. Our vote for president of the United States is critically important, but our vote to receive members into our local churches is more important. . . . The other temptation is to be embarrassed by Jesus. It’s easy to talk about ‘values, faith, and principles,’ but many who do so cringe to hear themselves say things such as ‘the Bible says’ or ‘the blood of Jesus.’” Tabletalk is published by Ligonier Ministries.

No, Women Don’t Make Less Money Than Men, by Christina Hoff Sommers in The Daily Beast. Almost all the 23-cent “gender pay gap” the president and others keep mentioning “is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week,” explains Sommers, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Voegelin Enigma, by Montgomery C. Erfourth in the journal The American Interest. A philospher who fled the Nazis in 1938 when Germany invaded Vienna, Voegelin sought “to understand the sources of acute disorder in Western civilization. . . . Only a rejuvenation of both traditional Greek philosophy and Christian morality and revelatory experiences could stem the tide against disorder and inhumanity.” Erfourth, an Army strategist, describes Voegelin’s complicated but influential thinking.

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