Perspectives on the Indiana Debate

April 14, 2015

Now that religious freedom has become a hotly debated thing (which is odd, given I used to depend on the left-leaning justices of the Supreme Court to help protect it), what is the future. Here’s a collection of some articles that touched on elements of the debate.

From the Reclaiming the Mission Blog, here’s a more progressive Christian take. It urges Christians to avoid being part of ideological battles. There’s a point there, but I wonder if there can be peace on this issue given the current social and political climate.

I think that is the point (or at least part) of Ross Douthat’s set of questions. Where are there boundaries? Presumably for most there are some limits, but no one seems to be able to describe where state mandated requirements will end.

Which leads to Kevin Williamson’s essay about the war on the private mind. Perhaps this is the endgame, at least for some. Here’s an interesting comparison:

Like Antiochus and the Jews, the game here is to “oblige them to partake of the sacrifices” and “adopt the customs” of the rulers. We are not so far removed in time as we imagine: Among the acts intended to Hellenize the Jews was a ban on circumcision, a proposal that is still very much alive in our own time, with authorities in several European countries currently pressing for that prohibition.

So back to Douthat and his interview with a Christian. More or less a self-interview. With a balanced and thoughtful Christian defense of traditional Christian teaching.

Perhaps we will need to end up with the Benedict option. Not for the first time in Christian history.

And then there’s one essay asking what is driving the intensity of the debate. Could it be Selma envy? There’s at least something to the notion, though it is certainly not the whole story.

We live in interesting times.

Corporate America and Christian America

April 13, 2015

Jonathan Merritt interviews Kevin Kruse on his book One Nation Under God: How Corporate American Invented Christian America. For those who know history, the early stuff is not so new. Some of the information about more recent events – especially the role of Corporate America in pushing a Christian America theme – may be more surprising. Here’s his key observation:

Most of the markers that Americans invoke when they argue that we are one [a Christian nation] – the words “under God” in the pledge, the national motto of “In God We Trust,” the National Prayer Breakfast, the National Day of Prayer, etc. – are creations of the modern era and, more specifically, creations of corporate America.

A Fellowship of Differents

April 13, 2015

Here’s an interesting take on what the church should be like. It’s another book to read, I guess! From Scot McKnight.

Here’s a syllabus

April 13, 2015

Recently saw this post about a syllabus by W H Auden where students were required to read 6000 pages (and for only 2 credits!). Not sure that is the right goal, but it should silence some student criticism!

Politics as Bloodsport

April 13, 2015

Adam Garfinkle highlights a problematic trend. And it’s not a partisan one. It includes Bush haters and Obama haters as targets. There’s some interesting history in the essay, as well as measured criticism of the recent “deal” with Iran (which is not some much a deal as an agreement to work toward a deal, at least as I understand it). But that is not the main point. Here’s part of what he says:

Whatever else they do, the internet and kindred social media technologies seem to have democratized the popularity of politics as bloodsport. The bottom-feeding frenzy seems to intensify day by day, judging by most of the from-the-hip commentary that trawls beneath the waterline of feature essays. Its crypto-theological dogmatism is unmistakable, and not surprising in an age when politics so often trumps religion as creedal anchor number one. It does so in the case of the Iran portfolio despite the leavening details of the prospective framework accord with Iran, and despite Friedman’s interview of President Obama this past Saturday.

Demographics and Islam

April 13, 2015

Will Islam become the world’s largest religion? Researchers at the Pew thing perhaps by 2070. Perhaps, but 2070 is a long time away and lots can happen during five and a half decades! This is the more important point, however:

The data seems to undermine the theory that the world is on an inevitable, historical march toward secularization.

The Social Justice Wars

April 13, 2015

There have been a number of essays recently about the social justice clashes taking place – mostly in the online world, but not exclusively so. Here are a few I found interesting (as much for their origin as for their content):

Social Justice Bulllies by Aristoltelis Orginos. Here’s the closing paragraph:

But the fact of the matter is — anyone unwilling to engage in productive, open, mutually critical conversations with people they disagree with under the moral protection of liberalism and social justice are not liberals, are not social justice advocates, and are not social justice warriors; they are social justice bullies.

How Campus Progressives Ruined LIberalism for the Rest of Us by Taylor Schmitt. Here’s his closing paragraph.

Unless my fellow liberals learn to stop shoehorning every situation to fit the narrative they are trying to construct, the left of tomorrow will be made up of individuals who are unable to distinguish their beliefs from reality. Those of us who can make this distinction will not want to associate with the liberal movement any longer. Where will we go?

The Truth about UVA and Ferguson Isn’t Good Enough for P.C. Crowd by John McWhorter. Here’s a key part of his conclusion:

Make no mistake: The idea that facts are all that matter is blinkered. True thought requires climbing past the cloud cover to a mountaintop where one understands that context matters. However, to embrace the idea that the story is paramount and facts are beside the point is not to climb higher—one couldn’t—but to roll down the other side of the mountain and wind up back on the cold, hard ground.

They’re all worth a look.

Tedious, Detail-oriented work

April 3, 2015

I could joke that this sounds like grading papers. But it really isn’t. Not entirely. Having said that, it is interesting that there is some connection between this “skill” and success. I can believe it.


April 3, 2015

This article on triggering makes some good points. But was mysteriously banned from facebook. For some unknown reason. I don’t know how this ends well.

More yoga

April 3, 2015

I posted something about this a while back. Here’s another discussion of yoga and religion.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.