An Interview with Nicole Chung — Paper Darts
Illustration by Annie Dills

#1: I Have Notes by Nicole Chung

The Atlantic has recently begun a series of newsletters (I know, at this point there are more newsletters roaming the internet than readers!), but I have enjoyed this one so far. It is short and sweet, as most things in life should be.

I just love this phrase in her last newsletter, because her words made me feel the very feeling she is describing: “One reason we read is to know that burst of recognition when someone supplies new language for that which we once found indescribable.

#2: Empty Pews Are an American Public Health Crisis

Even though is a Christian Magazine, and one could argue is inherently biased on where it stands on certain issues, I still found the article interesting. It’s been two years since I’ve stepped on a church (#COVID). However, I feel that I am becoming more spiritual than religious. Yet (Therefore?) the main premise of the article hit close to home:

“People find their social and personal lives improved—sometimes their lives are even physically saved—when they go to church often. [..] A religious upbringing profoundly affects lifelong health and well-being. We found regular service attendance helps shield children from the “big three” dangers of adolescence: depression, substance abuse, and premature sexual activity. People who attended church as children are also more likely to grow up happy, to be forgiving, to have a sense of mission and purpose, and to volunteer.”

And I wonder… has my life really been missing out on those Sundays at church? Maybe I need to reexamine my posture on church attendance. And while I consider this, I too remember those Sunday mornings in the Paloma Lake ward, and feelings of estrangement wash over me and overwhelm me . And I am reminded, as a consequence, never to settle with acceptance but to strive for inclusiveness wherever I may be so no one has to feel the way I felt back then.

Who knows? Maybe church attendance effect on one’s health is only true if there’s a sincere sense of belonging and community. Much to my parents dismay I am still going to pass on church services for now.

#3: Maybe we should try this on republicans?

#4: Many years after, I am still processing this

You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath.


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