7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 177)

June 22, 2012 | 23 comments

— 1 —

I’m short on time today, so I’m going to do one of my speed-writing sessions to see how quickly I can get this post written. My computer clock says 5:24. Go!

— 2 —

One of the reasons I’m short on time is because the Darwins are in town, and they’re coming over for dinner tonight. My dad is also coming over to help us mark the location of the sunset — it’s the Summer Solstice, and we have a wooden board thing nailed to the porch railing where me mark where the sun is on the Solstices and Equinoxes (kind of hard to explain, and possibly confusing to non-astronomy-nerds; I’ll post a picture later). The last time we made a mark was the Spring Equinox, and that happened to be the last time Mr. Darwin was over here as well. We have a rule that he can only enter the house on major solar events.

— 3 —

If you’ve been checking in on Quick Takes for a while you may have seen Leah Libresco’s blog Unequally Yoked in the mix now and then. I always smiled when I saw her name on the list, since I was pretty sure she was the only well known atheist blogger to do 7 Quick Takes Friday. Well, if you haven’t already heard, Leah had some big news this week — so big that it’s getting buzz from major media outlets. You can read all about it here.

— 4 —

The other day I heard an interview with Eric Metaxas (author of the excellent book Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy) on Relevant Radio. He was talking about an event series he started called Socrates in the City. From the website:

The Greek philosopher Socrates famously said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Taking this as a starting point, Eric Metaxas thought it would be valuable to create a forum that might encourage busy and successful professionals in thinking about the bigger questions in life. Thus Socrates In The City: Conversations on the Examined Life was born.

Every month or so Socrates In The City sponsors an event in which people can begin a dialogue on “Life, God, and other small topics” by hearing a notable thinker and writer such as Dr. Francis Collins, Sir John Polkinghorne, Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, N.T. Wright, Os Guinness, Peter Kreeft, or George Weigel. Topics have included “Making Sense Out of Suffering, ” “The Concept of Evil after 9-11, ” and “Can a Scientist Pray?” No question is too big — in fact, the bigger the better. These events are meant to be both thought-provoking and entertaining, because nowhere is it written that finding answers to life’s biggest questions shouldn’t be exciting and even, perhaps, fun.

Love, love, love, love this idea. It sounds similar to what Professor Robert Koons has done with his apologetics series, as well as those salon dinners we sometimes go to. If I had more free time, I would make sure we had something like this every week in Austin.

— 5 —

Earlier this week I suddenly started getting a flood of emails from an old website that I haven’t updated in years, called Suburban CEO. It was nice to hear from folks, since I’m still passionate about the core ideas behind the site, but I couldn’t figure out where all the traffic was coming from. Then someone told me that my blogging friend Ann Voskamp linked to it in a recent post. Ah, yes, that will do it. The funny thing is that I’m not even sure if she knew that it was my site, since my last name isn’t on there anywhere.

— 6 —

Start your weekend right by listening to the Greek Orthodox monks of Simonopetra Monastery chant a Psalm:

(Thanks to reader Valeria for passing that along!)

— 7 —

Done! It’s 5:50. (Though, in my defense a good five to ten minutes of that time was because I accidentally clicked on Pinterest while I was looking something up.) Have a great weekend.



  1. Eva

    Wow.That’s amazing about Leah, and I’m torn. I do love me a good, sassy atheist and I’ve always liked her writing. But then comes the jealousy; another person leaps into faith while I’m still flirting around with uncommitted agnosticism!

    Good luck to her; will enjoy hearing about her journey.

    (seriously, 900 comments to her post? yowzers!)

  2. Leah @ Unequally Yoked

    Thanks so much for the encouragement, Jen. Your blog was pretty much my inspiration for entering the religion blogosphere in the first place.

    • Steph

      I’ve said it before, but I don’t think I can say it too often – congratulations Leah!

      So does it make you cringe that they misspelled your last name in the MSNBC post? Copy editors FTW!

    • JC

      Yes, congratulations for sure (again!). I hope that the RCIA process goes smoothly for you, and that you find the right answers to at least some (and hopefully all) of your questions (e.g. on the Church’s stance towards homosexual relationships, etc). God bless and pax Christi!

    • Kimberlie

      Congratulations Leah! I always looked forward to reading your QTs. Now even more so. My conversion was different in that I was a Christian, but I was rabidly anti-Catholic. ThenI met a Catholic who could articulate his belief intelligently. The rest was history. 14 wonderful and challenging years later, I am still awed and wondered by the beauty of the Mass. Enjoy your journey!

    • Lisa Schmidt

      The multiplier effect! Jen “sucks in” Leah. Now Leah is going to suck in many more! Congrats on crossing the Tiber, Leah. Godspeed. (Suck in isn’t the best phrasing … hopefully you get my drift!) 🙂

      • Kris

        Glad you got mentioned on MSNBC. But wasn’t it funny how they practically tripped over themselves not to mention that you converted to CATHOLICISM. Hahahaha. 🙂

  3. Contra

    Thanks for #7! I love Byzantine Chant and that Psalm was a great choice in particular.

  4. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    WOW, I am super impressed at your mad speed writing skills! Especially with the Pinterest session 🙂

    I hadn’t read that about Leah yet. Honestly, I didn’t see that coming. What a great story and so excited for her next steps!

  5. Cate

    After watching your interview with Brandon Vogt, I was inspired to actually stay up after the baby’s 5:30 feeding this morning and get my 7 Quick Takes posted! This may be the only time all year that I am up watching the sunrise from my porch completely on purpose. I must say it *is* much easier to get things done before the rest of the house it up! Thanks!

  6. Stacy

    I sat on the couch and absolutely rocked out to the chanting…. me thinks I’m doing it wrong!

  7. sara m

    Jen, A few years ago I read and enjoyed Suburban CEO and was shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, when you revealed that you were the author. It made sense of course – I think I’m remembering that you ended that site by saying that you could no longer separate your religious feelings from the rest of your life (only much more eloquently than that I think)? but I thought it was so funny to have found your two sites independently of each other and without linking or stumbling or clicking or whatever.

  8. Erika Evans

    I’m so happy about Leah. I haven’t followed her blog closely–to be honest, a lot of it’s over my head; I’m reasonably bright and but not like she is–but I have visited a couple of times, and each time thought, “It’s only a matter of time. She’ll get there. No one can be this fascinated with the Church without having it thrumming in her heart, and we all know where THAT leads.” : )

  9. Jess

    Awesome news about Leah Libresco! I have followed her blog here and there and she is a fascinating person and writer.

  10. Kendra @ The Nerdy Wife

    Congrats on your speed writing, I try to do that sometimes and fail!

    I’m very happy for Leah!

  11. Lisa Schmidt

    Jen for the win. Impressive time. Just read a post over at Copyblogger that encourages completing a “3-minute warm-up” each day. Set a timer for 3 minutes and just write, write, write – no editing, censoring, etc. The author suggests some of your most creative writing will come out of these exercises.

    Do you engage in anything like this? I’m extremely impressed with the content you produced in such a short time here!

  12. Michelle

    Very happy for Leah. Excited to see how her journey continues.

    Go you with the speed writing! My takes were kind of “speed” written today because I got going way late!!! I keep trying to figure out if it’s good to be #102 or #12 on your list? LOL

    Thanks for the music! As I walked to Mass over the noon hour, I thought…I really need to get some good chants and other holy music on my playlist!

  13. bobbi

    #3 – I read about that the other day. God is so good!
    1-7 I don’t know how you write all that in 30 minutes. I write drivel in comparison and I don’t think I’ve ever done it in less than 30 min. 😉

  14. Lisa V.

    I’ve never listened to monks chant. When I saw the link I got a weird excitement, and then listening to it, I was struck with how beautiful and wonderful it is. I’m not going to be embarrassed (ok a little) to say I often wondered HOW the Psalms could be sung, but of course I was imagining it sung in English. Ahhh now I get it. I’m actually considering buying the music.

  15. Kayla @ The Alluring World

    Oh my goodness. I listened to that Psalm and now I’m hooked! I’ve been surfing through youtube looking for more ever since.

    Thanks for linking back to your old site. I don’t stay home with children yet, but it is our goal and anything that will make it possible quicker is welcomed by me!

    My goodness, speed writing?? It took me almost 5 hours to write my “quick” takes yesterday!

  16. Jeannine

    A half hour? No, really. How do you put in so many links in such a short amount of time? It’s the links that trip me up, the links!

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