LaVonne Neff is an amateur theologian and cook; lover of language and travel; wife, mother, grandmother, godmother, dogmother; perpetual student, constant reader, and Christian contrarian. She blogs at Lively Dust and reviews books for various magazines.

Posts By This Author

It's Time For Us to Grow Up and Sacrifice

by LaVonne Neff 08-01-2011

The other day the mail brought an advertisement for something I desperately need (or so the ad suggested). If I ordered it right now, the ad said, I would save a hefty percentage off the usual price. In vain I searched the flyer for the price. None was listed -- not the total, not my monthly payment. I was apparently supposed to place my faith in the kindly marketers and order it anyway.

I guess I should be used to this sort of marketing. After all, that's how our federal government does business. Shall we a. fight a war in Iraq? b. add a war in Afghanistan? c. subsidize medical care for seniors and the poor? d. rescue failed financial institutions? e. subsidize growers of corn and soybeans? or f. fund interstate highways?

The Infuriating, Scary, and Ironic Inside Job

by LaVonne Neff 06-22-2011
Matt Damon's closing words in the Academy Award winning film, Inside Job, are as follows:

The Medicaid Card: A Useless Piece of Plastic?

by LaVonne Neff 04-04-2011
The other day I saw a quote from The New York Ti

Violent Stories That Change Us for the Worse

by LaVonne Neff 01-11-2011
A public figure is shot. School children are shot. A building explodes. A package explodes. And immediately we look for someone or something to blame: Republicans?

End-of-Life Planning: Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

by LaVonne Neff 01-07-2011
"The Obama administration, reversing course, will revise a Medicare regulation to delete references to end-of-life planning as part of the annual physical examinations covered under the new health

Four Reasons Not to Mess with Payroll Taxes

by LaVonne Neff 12-15-2010
Now that President Obama's people have sent out glowing press releases about how wonderful the proposed tax agreement is (

Give Smart: Three Tips to Make Donations Count

by LaVonne Neff 12-02-2010
A lot of us don't have as much disposable income as we had two or three years ago. Some of us have a lot less. But Christmas is coming, and we still want to give.

Dear Candidate: Talk About Your Goals

by LaVonne Neff 10-18-2010

Which Corporations are Buying Your Candidates?

by LaVonne Neff 09-07-2010

The midterm election season is upon us, the first since the Supreme Court's January 21 ruling that allows corporations to spend as much as they wish on political advertising -- as long as they disclose their involvement.

A Different Idea for Ground Zero

by LaVonne Neff 08-23-2010
Here's an idea for people who are unhappy about having an Islamic Center near the site of the World Trade Center, especially if those people are Bible-believing Christians and/or defenders of the U

Righteous Imports: I'm OK With Strawberries Shipped in from California

by LaVonne Neff 08-20-2010
"More evidence links pesticides to hyperactivity," says a headline from yesterday's Los Angeles Times<

What I Meant To Say About Missouri

by LaVonne Neff 08-09-2010
When my previous post about Missouri's health-care insurance vote and obesity rates was posted, commenters told me I was

Missouri's Health-Care Dilemma

by LaVonne Neff 08-04-2010
Yesterday, by a 3-to-1 margin, Missouri voters passed

Understanding the Immigration Debate

by LaVonne Neff 08-02-2010

Follow the Money

by LaVonne Neff 07-16-2010
That could be the conclusion of an op-ed piece in the New York Times, "Economics Behaving Badly." P

Fixing Immigration: President Obama's Speech

by LaVonne Neff 07-01-2010

President Obama is getting no respite from contentious issues. Today, speaking at American University's School of International Service, he tackled immigration reform, held hostage for decades, he said, by political posturing.

Beyond Camelot: Britain's Un-American Austerity Program

by LaVonne Neff 06-24-2010
Our British cousins have come up with an economic policy that could not be more different from what we Americans have been doing for decades. I rather like it.

Bill McKibben's Brave New Eaarth (No, That's Not a Typo)

by LaVonne Neff 05-25-2010

A couple of weeks ago I read Paul Greenberg's excellent review, "Hot Planet, Cold Facts," of Bill McKibben's newest book,

10 Good Things Vegetarianism Can do for You (and the World)

by LaVonne Neff 05-12-2010
Having just read Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, I'm in a vegetarian mood.

Eating Animals: 10 Reasons to Avoid Factory Farmed Flesh

by LaVonne Neff 05-07-2010

"On average," writes Jonathan Safran Foer, "Americans eat the equivalent of 21,000 animals in a lifetime." Alas, most of these animals came from factory farms, n