Michael's Favorite Reads of the Week

Each and every week, I will share some of my favorite articles and columns from the previous week. I hope you enjoy this new, regular feature, and that you'll be introduced to some great writing and ideas. If you find an article that you think is perfect for this feature, leave it in the comments or email me at michael (at) michaelrwear (dot) com.

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Jonathan Merritt in The Atlantic: The Real Duck Dynasty Scandal: Phil Robertson's Comments on Race

Jonathan writes on the somewhat mystifying lack of attention on Phil Robertson's egregious, historically ignorant remarks on race and pre-Civil Rights America. We can't afford to rewrite history on this, and I'm glad Jonathan corrected the record.

Lauren Markoe for Religion News Service: Respect for Clergy Drops to 36-Year Low

This article is just a snapshot of a wider societal trend: we believe in ourselves most and those in positions of authority less. I am hopeful that just as the seeds for this falling respect for clergy were planted decades ago, I believe that this current generation of pastors are going to restore that respect. 

Aaron Cline Hanbury in The Atlantic: Why C.S. Lewis Never Goes Out of Style

I loved this article for its history and its perspective. I particularly appreciated the author's effectiveness at keeping the focus on Lewis, rather than get distracted with grand claims about JFK or Huxley. Lewis' lasting influence is in many ways unique in modern Christianity and western culture.

Charlie Savage in The New York Times: Obama Commutes Sentences for 8 in Crack Cocaine Cases

The bipartisan, Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 was one of the most significant bipartisan accomplishments of Congress during President Obama's first term. In what could have been easily politicized, both parties came together to actually fix a broken, unjust law that incarcerated far too many for far too long. This week, President Obama commuted sentences for 8 individuals who were charged and tried under previous law. 

TOP READ: Frank Rich in New York Magazine: The Sondheim Puzzle (On his friendship with and recent documentary on Stephen Sondheim)

You do not have to be a musical theater fan to appreciate this amazing, touching article by Frank Rich. This article came out two weeks ago, but it was so good that I just had to share it with you here.

Frank was the executive producer for the recent documentary "Six by Sondheim" on HBO (make sure to watch it if you can), and writes here about Sondheim the artist, Sondheim the man, and Sondheim the friend. If you are a leader, a teacher, a mentor, an artist, or just a person on this planet, I found different sections of this article speaking to different facets of my life. This is one of those rare articles that actually stick with you.