A Bad Year of Good Words: 2020 in Links

An unranked list of 2020's great reads

A Bad Year of Good Words: 2020 in Links

An unranked list of 2020's great reads

I won't overcomplicate this. Below is a reading list of good writing and ever better ideas from the year that was. For more curated reads–and words on faith, tech, and being–subscribe to Good Words.

Faith

What ‘The Lord of the Rings’ can teach us about U.S. politics, Christianity and power
Tolkien’s fiction reminds us that power cannot be controlled; it enslaves you. To act freely is to acknowledge your limits, to see the journey as a long road that includes dozens of future elections, and to fight against the temptation for power.
Markets and the Strangulation of the American Family | Mere Orthodoxy
If the American people care about the family, it’s high time we start to act like it because, as two recent books show, the American family is struggling.
The American ‘way of life’ is unsustainable for so many. Is it time to build radical forms of community?
As a reporter, it is my job to follow along as individuals and communities try to figure out who they want to be and how they want to live.
Tim Keller - A Biblical Critique of Secular Justice and Critical Theory
Which justice? There have never been stronger calls for justice than those we are hearing today. But seldom do those issuing the calls acknowledge that currently there are competing visions of justice, often at sharp variance, and that none of them have achieved anything like a cultural consensus, n…
How to Be Pro-Life in Our Real Lives
The Christian call to care for the vulnerable starts with facing the heightened needs in our own communities.

Technology

Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine
The architecture of the modern web poses grave threats to humanity. It’s not too late to save ourselves.
The Analog City and the Digital City — The New Atlantis
How online life breaks the old political order
Google’s Top Search Result? Surprise! It’s Google – The Markup
The search engine dedicated almost half of the first page of results in our test to its own products, which dominated the coveted top of the page
Why Speech Platforms Can Never Escape Politics | National Affairs
A quarterly journal of essays about domestic policy, political economy, society, culture, and political thought.
A Tale Of Two Ecosystems: On Bandcamp, Spotify And The Wide-Open Future
There’s Bandcamp, beloved by artists. There’s Spotify, very well-liked by listeners. And then there’s that big question mark. The artist Damon Krukowski takes a look.
Loyalty Tests — Real Life
Subscription services aren’t an escape from shopping, they’re a surrender to brands
Is Substack the Media Future We Want?
The newsletter service is a software company that, by mimicking some of the functions of newsrooms, has made itself difficult to categorize, Anna Wiener writes.

Being Alive in 20xx

Handmind in Covidtide
By forcibly breaking some of our technological habits, Covidtide creatively destabilizes others.
Drinking Alone
Moving to a Rust Belt town taught me that real solidarity is harder than it looks.
Everything Is Not Okay: How Chernobyl Tells Our Story - Christ and Pop Culture
Chernobyl has acted as a reminder to me that social media hasn’t made people crazy, paranoid, or stupid—people have always been willing to spread misinformation, lies, and conspiracies when it suits an agenda like a political or religious ideology.
The Great Pause Was an Economic Revolution
Governments stopped the world in its tracks during the pandemic—and our relationship to the economy will never be the same again.
Cats and Sixty Foot Whales: Reflections on Children’s Books
Wonder is the birthright of every child and yet the vast majority of contemporary children’s lit is designed to beat wonder out of even the smallest child.
Bent Out of Shape: The Ring of Power and the Wraithing of Humanity - Christ and Pop Culture
Power is no thing to love, only to bear with, as Tolkien teaches us.
This Japanese Shop Is 1,020 Years Old. It Knows a Bit About Surviving Crises.
A mochi seller in Kyoto, and many of Japan’s other centuries-old businesses, have endured by putting tradition and stability over profit and growth.
The Skill of Hospitality - Breaking Ground
In this reflection on the thought of Ivan Illich, L.M. Sacasas writes that there can be no substitute for the work of rediscovering our common humanity in the practice of hospitality, which, insofar as it flowers into friendship, will be the starting point of politics.
After Apple-Planting - Front Porch Republic
Our trees are unlikely to make a measurable difference in global carbon dioxide levels, and they will not do anything to hasten the end of the coronavirus pandemic, but according to Wendell Berry, these facts have nothing to do whatsoever with whether or not our decision to plant trees is, as Kersti…
Against Projection; For Promise
To make promises, to stand by one words, to be answerable for them, is to open oneself to blame.
Tactics For Waiting
Herbert Blau and the actors he was directing were nervous. Standing backstage before their performance
Walkable? Check. Urban? Check. Rural? Also Check.
<p>Our mission is to support a model of growth that allows America’s cities, towns and neighborhoods to become financially strong and resilient. Join the Strong towns movement today.</p>

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