10 Easy Pieces (I’ve Been Writin’, I’ve Been Writin’…)

Just as the August heat really starts to wear a Texan down, I finished my summer internship with The High Calling. Somehow, magically, I got to write a lot. One of my articles was even–to my great shock–published on TIME.com. I’ll archive the articles on this site in the near future, but, for now, here’s a list of links by publication date.

They make for a surprisingly coherent anthology, sandwiched together like this, as if they’re in dialogue with each other. This reveals my sensibility and the limitations of my neural pathways, obviously (slightly younger Nathans talking to slightly older Nathans). But I hope these also reveal broader themes that come up whenever we talk about morality, faith, and work. I think they do:

1. Is Home More Stressful Than Work? Not super exciting. Had me experimenting with the current-event-response format. I still agree with my conclusion, though.

2. Social Justice: How To Respond To Extravagance. Originally published here as How Do We Respond to the 190K Night? A New Yorkery take on Social Justice.

3. What Can Pharrell’s “Happy” Tell Us About God? (Originally posted here.) Surprise of the summer. Took me about six hours to write; if I knew that it would blow up like it did, I would’ve probably edited it for years.  Strange to see something so small grow so fast; fun to see people really digging it. And like most internet opinion pieces, it got some entertainingly boneheaded responses from Christians and non-Christians alike. We binary-oriented, over-literal Westerners aren’t really equipped to talk about nuanced relationships between physical and metaphysical properties. Inspired by some of those loony responses (one of which even made it into TIME Magazine Proper), I started an essay with the resolutely unsexy title “Trouble with Metaphysics and Exemplification.” Maybe at some point I’ll finish the piece and throw it up here. With incredibly gripping topic sentences like “Let’s do some basic semiotics,” I’m sure that TIME will go head over heels for it.

4. What Does Sin Look Like in the Internet Age? This was my favorite article to write, I think. It was a little hard to get back on the saddle after “Happy,” but only a little bit. I just love essay-length media/cultural criticism. It gets me going on all cylinders. And the Deadly Sins website is a lot of thoughtful fun, too. The best sort of object d’research.

5. On Developing A New Style of Leadership. Written for a High Calling community linkup on leadership styles that go “beyond the stereotype”. It wasn’t actually picked up, and that’s just fine by me. Apple’s not really hurting in the good press department.

7. God Has No Favorites and Light Sabers, Bank Accounts, Trust Funds. A couple of reflections on the theme “Working for Free.” The closest I ever get to straight-up Biblical exegesis and application. Thanks, Tim Keller, for helping me with these.

8. I Was An Unpaid Intern for an Oscar-Nominated Director. An memoir-ish piece for the “Working for Free” theme. It was kind of tricky and fun to weave together. Personal, theoretical, and ethical elements overlap in (genuinely, for me) surprising ways. I didn’t know exactly where it was heading while I wrote it, but I like where it ended up.

9. There’s No Such Thing As The Good Book. At last! I got to riff on Susan Sontag, shitty Bible design, and the importance of style. Every writer’s dream, right?

10. Farewell, Middle Class Morality: What Comes Next? Finally, to round it all out, a little bit of A.O. Scott and a little bit of social theory. It’s a little heady, but I had fun.

I also wrote the text for some infographics that will be published later in the fall. Stay tuned for those! And thanks to Marcus Goodyear and all of The High Calling staff for an exciting, creative summer.

Category(s): Blog, Essays, Philosophy, Technology, Theology

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  1. […] every once in a while. If you’ve missed my past pieces, you can find some of them here, here, and here. And if you’d like me to write for your publication (and if you pay at least a little bit&#8230, […]

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