The Trinity Forum put on a well-worth-your-time program with Rachael Denhollander. You can and should watch it if you have the slightest interest in thinking about the issues of power and abuse. It will make you think differently about how to deal with prevention of abuse and responding to reports. [link]
As I often do, at the end of the day, I repaired to Snakes and Ladders (blog.ayjay.org), to see what Alan Jacobs was keeping up with that I had missed. (I am coming to the conclusion after many years that “Alan Jacobs” must be a consortium of at least four or five people — no way this is just one guy.)
Here’s what I saw today:
I admire David French because he tries to live out his Christian convictions as consistently as possible. Those convictions led him and his wife Nancy, who are white, to adopt a girl from Ethiopia . . . .
“On David French” (May 30, 2019) [link].
Frankly, I had never heard of David French (because I am obviously completely illiterate), but when I read that first line, I though of my many friends who adopted cross-racially and/or cross-culturally (the Bs, the Hs, the other Hs, the Ms, the Ps, the Ss, the Ws, the other Ws, etc.) all out of a Christian conviction that to love and care for those in need is proper work for the followers of Jesus even when it is incredibly hard, whether it is popular or not.
Read Jacobs’ post, but even more importantly, go read David French, “America Soured on My Multiracial Family,” The Atlantic (Aug, 18, 2018) [link], where you will find:
There are three fundamental, complicating truths about adoption. First, every single adoption begins with profound loss. Through death, abandonment, or even loving surrender, a child suffers the loss of his or her mother and father. Second, the demographics of those in need of loving homes do not precisely match the demographics of those seeking a new child. Adoptive parents are disproportionately white. Adopted children are not. Thus, multiracial families are a natural and inevitable consequence of the adoption process. Third, American culture has long been obsessed with questions of race and identity.
Read the whole article, please.
I still don’t know anything about David French, but when Alan Jacobs says “I believe that if you could demonstrate to David French that positions he holds are inconsistent with the Christian Gospel, he would change those positions accordingly,” I hear high praise indeed.
The less you know about a person, the easier it is to venerate them, which is why you generally don’t want your children writing your biography. My favorite parts of biographies are not the quotes from the person being written about, but rather from those who knew them well — or — too well.
Josh Retterer, “Stories Told Behind Auden’s Back,” Mockingbird (Oct. 24, 2018) [link].
It is also true that the less you know about a person the easier it is to demonize them, which probably goes for everyone we read about in the “news.”
Sarah Willard, “The Pilgrim Soul,” Blind Mule Blog (Oct. 17, 2018) [link] writes about dementia and memory:
It can be very hard when someone you love is losing their memory, not to lose yours too. It’s easy to only see who they are in the moment, and not who they are really, which includes who they have been and who they will be.
One anodyne for dementia is the shared memory of the ones who give care.
Gavriel Rosenfeld, “How Americans Described Evil before Hitler,” The Atlantic (Oct. 9, 2018) [link], raises the interesting question “Who was evil incarnate before Hitler?” and suggests some history lessons germane to our current discourse:
Our present moment is a tricky one: Some commentators feel more justified than ever in invoking Hitler, yet many feel a bit numb to the comparison. The solution, it seems to me, is not to ban comparisons to the Nazis—as if such a thing were possible—but to grant that analogies have always been a tendentious business, and that only the future can tell which ones were valid. Commentators should proceed with a little more humility, a little more circumspection, and, perhaps, a little more creativity.
From Søren Kierkegaard, via Alan Jacobs:
The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly.
Alan Jacobs, Snakes and Ladders (May 6, 2013) [link].
This is a hyperbole, of course, but I often wonder how much we will eventually be shown that our careful exegesis was really carefully hidden eisegesis.
Today, we remember that two years ago, PHD passed into the rest which was prepared for him by his Lord. [link]
We are grateful.
“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].
Even with the modern emphasis on statistics (“sabermetrics”), attempts to speed up the game, and scientific measurements, baseball is one of the most pastoral of sports.* It is also one of the most traditional.
“Keeping score” is a core baseball tradition — a way of taking notes during the game. Like taking notes in class, the main purpose is to help you slow down and concentrate on the event. It pushes you to process the event and condense it into a few marks of lead or ink. It may later serve as an aid to memory, but that is not the sole purpose.
Here’s a primer on keeping score, though I am going to give you an alternative blank scorecard that I designed and that I think works better than the traditional format:
Here’s a full size .pdf you can download: [Scorecard 2018 full]
Lyman Stone, writing for Vox, adds* his voice to others suggesting that we are having too few children in the United States.
He looks at polling data to show that while the Total Fertility Rate is now only about 1.8, the number of children desired is much higher. He explains why this shortfall is bad for our society, and proposes some fixes (all interesting) but this paragraph brought a grin to my face:
If getting ahead in your industry requires happy-hour drinks three nights a week, that’s unfriendly to families and may be preventing your female colleagues from having the family they want. Check your childlessness privilege. If you never volunteer to babysit your friends’ kids, but expect to benefit from their Social Security taxes, you’re a societal free-rider.
I would have never thought to say this, honestly.** There are many other rewards to having larger-than-replacement families, but this Vox article does raise some points we don’t often hear. Lyman Stone, “The US needs more babies, more immigrants, and more integration,” Vox (Nov. 10, 2017) [link].
*I guess he “added his voice,” but I did not see the article at the time.
**He also proposed special parking privileges for minivans, but that proposal is way too late for us.