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To The Best Of Our Knowledge
September 15, 2018

Born Again, At Age Fourteen

On August 10, 1984, during an evangelical tent revival service in rural Ohio, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and savior. I was 14, and I was born again. I took this conversion seriously. I spent the coming summers as a teen preacher in the Philippines, Haiti and in China. I witnessed in the streets. I attended a Christian college. I was, as they put it, lock, stock, and two smoking barrels for Jesus.

But that was then, and then is now.

I no longer believe in Jesus. In fact, I no longer believe in God, any God. But what do I do with the fact that I was once “born again”? Was I really reborn? Even if it was only metaphorical, what happened? And now that I do not believe, what happens to my born again status? Am I unborn again? Or re-reborn?

This week’s show unfolds in three chapters: Birth. Rebirth. And Born Again. We take a look at the history of midwifery in the US (with a quick peek at the BBC hit TV show, “Call the Midwife”). Spoiler alert: We aren’t doing so great on the birthing front compared to other industrialized nations. Next we spend time with Benn Marine. He’s a transgender man who tackles the complicated world of gender with empathy and lots of humor. Lastly, I sit down with an evangelical theologian and finally get at those “born again” questions I should have asked a long time ago.


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The Power of Choice When You're Giving Birth

Baby, new to this world
If you think of your life as a series of births, what changes? Why does the birth metaphor matter?
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Life and Work In The Mind of a Literary Giant

David Foster Wallace gave the commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005. It was popular enough to eventually be published in a thin little book called “This Is Water.”
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David Foster Wallace on “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again”

Cruises suck
David Foster Wallace's essays have their own unique cult following. There’s one, “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” which is a hilarious diatribe about cruise ships, which convinced many of us we should never, ever go on a cruise.
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The Genius and The Misogynist

Cracked cover
Even this many years later, it’s hard to underestimate what a popular and controversial writer David Foster Wallace still is. There’s even an entire field of "David Foster Wallace Studies" — one of its leaders is Clare Hayes-Brady.
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