Martin Luther, Lectures on Romans 130 (W. Pauck, trans.) (Westminster John Knox Press 1961):
[T]his life is a life of cure from sin; it is not a life of sinlessness, as if the cure were finished and health had been recovered. The church is an inn and an infirmary for the sick and for convalescents. Heaven, however, is the palace where the whole and the righteous live.
Justin Lee, “In The Age Of #MeToo, Men Must Read More Literary Fiction,” ARC (Nov. 6, 2018) [link]. Lee argues that fiction reading impacts the reader’s ability to place themselves in another’s shoes:
Reading fiction requires a sustained act of imagination: you inhabit a world of others, identify with their joys and travails, even learn the texture of their minds. Serious readers know that reading great fiction enhances their ability to empathize. And habitual reading helps sustain that empathy, makes it reflexive.
This (not surprisingly) makes me think of a well-known quotation from another Lee:
“First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view–until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) (Atticus speaking to his daughter, Scout).
I believe both Lees are correct.
“It was not that they were looking for meaning, this man and woman on the hilltop in the early morning. They were too tired for that. But it rose like the sun among us, shadowed and slow, revealing a day we did not wish to see. In waiting, in sleepless nights, in labor, in fears, in blood, in tears, in a grave, in the gospel of the brokenhearted, in the life of the world to come, in a moment, our labor is not in vain . . . .” Sarah Willard, “Talitha Cumi,” Blind Mule Blog (Sept. 11, 2018) [link].
Elissa Ely, “From Bipolar Darkness, the Empathy to be a Doctor,” New York Times (Mar. 16, 2009) [link]; see also Alan Jacobs, “Rene Giraud, please call your office,” Snakes & Ladders (August 29, 2018) [link].
I read this about 10 days ago. I continue to think about it. Eric Dorman, “Of Cubs and Humans and Good Thieves,” Mockingbird (July 30, 2018) [link].
It reminds me of “If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable.” David Foster Wallace, “This is Water,” available many places on the Web, including [link] and [audio link].
Three stimulating articles, without any obvious common theme except the most common of all — a fallen world with fallen people in it:
“Ultimately, God is still good. And he is still enough.” Bekah Mason, “Finding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman,” Christianity Today (June 2017) [link].
“I am capable of any sin. And God loves me in spite of my sinful nature.” Sanya Richards-Ross, “My Abortion Broke Me, God Redeemed Me,” Christianity Today (June 2017) [link].
“What explains a person or a group of people doing things that seem at odds with who they are or what they think is right?” Malcolm Gladwell, “Thresholds of Violence,” gladwell.com (October 19, 2015) [link].
But still, there is always the offer of God’s grace.
This is pretty overwhelming, so don’t watch it when you feel you are going to need your composure intact. Mike is an attorney I have had the pleasure to work with on several occasions. [Mike & Sheila’s Story] This was a video tribute played at Chet’s Creek Church last week.
Two interesting short reads, each a welcome break from the relentlessly depressing political news:
Richard Gilbert, “Why I Hate My Dog,” Longreads (July 2016) [link] is a well-written analysis of the (animal and human) psychology of one man and his rescue dog.
At 22 pounds, she’s too heavy for a lapdog. She’s ambivalent about cuddling anyway. We’re seldom inclined to offer much physical affection, given her peculiar odor, an intermittent acidic stink, especially pungent when she’s hot from running.
Jon Stokes, “Why I ‘Need’ an AR-15,” Medium (June 14) [link] explains something of the point of the style of gun used in more than a few domestic shootings. As Stokes concedes, it may not change any minds, but if you want to understand the thought process behind the ownership of such weapons by normal people, this is a good start:
[T]his article is for the genuinely curious — those who assume that 5 million of their fellow Americans are not inhuman or insane, and who want to understand what set of rationales, no matter how flawed and confused they may ultimately turn out to be, could make an otherwise normal person walk out of a gun store with an “assault weapon.”
I was proud to be a Republican. The GOP I worked for, fundraised for and fundamentally believed in put forward candidates who reflected my values. But now? I’m embarrassed to be a Republican because of who is leading in the polls. We’ve become a party that preys on the discouraged, not one that fosters hope. We’re incentivizing anger, not integrity. We tear down others to promote ourselves.
T.T. Robinson, “Why I’m no longer proud to be Republican” Washington Post (April 25, 2016) [link].
Don’t despair, T.T. There are a lot of Republicans who agree, and who will continue to be “compassionate, innovative and enthusiastic . . . . woven together by our common belief in . . . the importance of character.” Of course, this group may have to become “former Republicans” to make a point.
“No, I don’t” [link] “To be clear . . .” [link]
from Fred Holland Day, “The Seven Words” [link]
Rembrandt, Three Crosses (1653) [link]
More careful irenic writing on the Wheaton College/Larycia Hawkins matter:
- Tracy McKenzie, “Academic Freedom in a Christian Context” Faith & History (Jan. 18, 2016) [link], and (of course)
- Alan Jacobs, “Once more on the Academic Freedom Merry-Go-Round” Snakes & Ladders (Jan. 19, 2016) [link].
Jacobs is more or less critiquing a response which McKenzie got to the original piece. Each writer is calmly thinking through the issues, which seems very appropriate, under the circumstances, and unusual, compared with the rest of the blogosphere.