Michael's Favorite Reads of the Week: The Week of December 22

Each and every week, I will share some of my favorite articles and columns from the previous week. I hope you enjoy this 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. Read last week's favorite reads here.

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Scott Stossel for The Atlantic: Surviving Anxiety

Scott Stossel, the editor of The Atlantic Magazine, writes a stark, vulnerable long-form piece about his battles with anxiety. His book on the subject comes out early 2014.

Michael Gerson in The Washington Post: Can Muslim Lands Learn to Tolerate Christianity?

Michael Gerson, former Presidential speechwriter for George W. Bush, draws attention to the surge of violence and systemic elimination of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa. As Gerson quotes Pope Francis, “We won’t resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians.”

Bari Weiss in The Wall Street Journal: Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues

I don't agree with much of what Camille says here, but she is undoubtedly one of the most interesting intellectuals of our day. I always try to pay attention to what she has to say, and here she gives quite a lot to consider on everything from gender roles to culture to politics.

McKay Coppins for Buzzfeed: Paul Ryan Finds God

McKay Coppins is always well-worth the read, but I found this story interesting for a number of reasons: First, I lived through much of this. Gov. Romney's selection of Paul Ryan was an absolute game-changer for the faith community in the 2012 election, and I consider it to be one of the Governor's primary missteps principally because Ryan had such an awful reputation on issues of poverty. The budget he drafted was roundly criticized by most of the religious advocates in D.C.--from the Catholic Bishops to the National Association of Evangelicals. The addition of Ryan to the GOP ticket changed my role leading faith outreach for President Obama's re-elect significantly. Second, Coppins' detail about Secret Service tensing up when clergy "laid hands" on Ryan is a bi-partisan truism: from clergy laying hands on President Obama to prayers in the Oval Office, it was pretty clear to me Secret Service wasn't too thrilled with any of it!

TOP READ: Megan Garber for The Atlantic: The Eavesdropper

Megan Garber profiles MIT professor Sherry Turkle on how in our age of hyper-connectivity and an increasingly democratic public square, we are actually losing the art of conversation. Turkle is a fascinating thinker. If you want to hear more, check out her TED talk.

BONUS READ:  Ian Shapira in The Washington Post: Mr. Thornton Ends Career as CIA Driver with Stories to Tell

This is just a great D.C. story. Ian Shapira profiles Bernard Thornton, a driver for the CIA who served honorably for 45-years until his retirement on December 20.  What an incredible life.