Compassion in the Face of Force

Simone_Weil_1921

  For Simone Weil, justice is primarily an act of paying attention, which protects the sacred cry in every human being not to be hurt.  "It would seem that man is born a slave and that servitude is his natural condition." So concludes Simone Weil’s Analysis of Oppression. The essay is a study of political history,  but throughout her short life, Weil also encountered human slavery far more immediately. Born in Paris in 1909 to an agnostic French-Jewish middle-class family, … [Read more...]

Blessed Are the Homesick: Hospitality for Mobile Millennials

dinnerwcurrys

The independent rootlessness of emerging adults presents potent opportunities for the practice of hospitality.  Shana Tovah! It was Rosh Hashanah in Washington, D.C. I unexpectedly found myself on my neighbor’s patio, ringing in the lunar New Year with a small gathering of his Jewish friends. Everyone was in his or her twenties, a bipartisan collection of government staffers, advocacy workers, and writers. California. Georgia. New Jersey. Everyone was from somewhere else. Our … [Read more...]

You Can’t Choose Your Friends

Friendship

  Axiomatic in our times is the foundational nature of choice. Our politics, economics, and law are all based on the idea that individuals make choices that can be good or bad. When asked, this is what we mean by “responsibility”: we are responsible for our own choices. After all, we can’t be responsible for other people’s choices. Responsibility, therefore, implies personal responsibility. It only exists when we choose something. Even friendship with others is reduced to … [Read more...]

Friendship and Vocation

Sergebac7thcentury

A few years ago, Gallup asked employees in 152 organizations in 26 countries whether they were likely to have a best friend at work. The question was part of its overall assessment of “employee engagement,” which also asked employees other questions about the company’s mission, its growth and development, employee recognition and praise, whether your supervisor cares about you as a person, and so on. Not too surprisingly, average engagement among employees in Canada and the US are among … [Read more...]

What We Can Learn from Young Atheists

Ephesians

Recently The Atlantic posted an article entitled, “Listening to Young Atheists, Lessons for a Stronger Christianity.” In it, Larry Alex Tauron, the article’s author, reports the results of a survey he conducted to figure how, why, and when young atheists decided to become atheists (“Tell us your journey to unbelief.”). Taunton states that he expected to find Hitchens, Dawkins, and the other New Atheists at the forefront of these young people’s minds—but instead, they rarely … [Read more...]

Friendship, Gender, and Literature

dostoyevski

“What we need is… better art and better stories—better fictional worlds, by which I mean fictional worlds that rhyme with what is the case, with what is true yesterday, today, and forever,” says Alan Jacobs over at First Things. He is concluding his rather lengthy article comparing Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls with Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park. Austen, he has argued, writes “interestingly about good people [and] really bad ones too”—and the moral character of her … [Read more...]

The Economic and Political Roots of Our Friendship Crisis

campfire

Yesterday Jordan Monge asked the question “why don’t we talk about friendship more?” The post was prompted by a talk she heard given by Wes Hill on the topic of spiritual friendships. (For what it’s worth, you really should start reading Wes’s blog on a regular basis.) This is an issue I’ve thought about a good bit because of the role friendship has played in my own life.I'll get to some causes of our neglect of friendship below, but first I want to give some personal background that … [Read more...]


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