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So…my recent vacation and related absences also coincided with an offer from to cover religion for them, as editor Melinda Henneberger announces here in her roundup on the site’s very successful first 100 days. 

That means, in short, that I’ll have to sign off from blogging here at Beliefnet after nearly a year and a half of a very rewarding time. This was my first opportunity as a blogger, something that was new for me and challenging–in terms of the commitment, the style of writing, and, yes, keeping up with the feedback and trying to digest it all. 
But the traffic grew steadily from a standing start to a very healthy level, and I regret having to leave off. But there are so many fine options at Beliefnet, including Amy Welborn’s Via Media, which has been going like gangbusters for the past few months. 
And of course I’ll welcome any and all of your comments at PoliticsDaily. Not all of you will be in agreement (or even charitable–or is that an understatement?!). But I have honestly appreciated the feedback, and, yes, learned from it. And I hope it has been a reciprocal experience at some points. 
So thanks to the faithful, friends and foes. Arrivederci a tutti

Jean Cauvin.jpgIf you thought you knew John Calvin–who turned 500 last week–you probably don’t know enough. For example, that he was French, born Jean Cauvin. And if he was in fact scandalized by dancing, he was also a lot more complex than that. I explored the new look Calvin in an essay at PoliticsDaily, “Patron Saint of the Recession.”

So can anything rescue Calvin from his reputation? Some big names are giving it a good shot. Marilynne Robinson, whose 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “Home,” is one of the most convincing portraits ever of a Congregational pastor, spends a good deal of time in her essay collection, “The Death of Adam,” trying to rehabilitate Calvin, and doing an admirable job. And a spate of new books timed for the anniversary includes works that highlight Calvin’s pastoral side, and one, from Princeton Seminary professor William Stacy Johnson, that calls Calvin a “Reformer for the 21st Century.” Biblical scholar Roland Boer weighs in with perhaps the most provocative thesis, arguing in “Political Grace: The Revolutionary Theology of John Calvin,” that Calvin was at heart a political radical, not a conservative.

Read the rest here

 In my defense, I’ve had computer outages and family reunions and a few days of single-parenthood, which is always a bracing reminder of what many parents go through all the time.

And this weekend it’s off for a week’s vacation.

Anyway, hence the long absence. Apologies to those who have checked in faithfully, and I’ll try to put up a few of the many interesting items that are out there. And maybe some thoughts about family reunions.

We have a couple of main roots, one from France and the other through upstate New Yorkers by the name of Cronkite.