Smart people saying smart things

Kimberly Knight: “What took you so long or PTL?”

Today, and last week, and last month, my gut reaction is gratitude Ð and hope. With that impulse I am choosing not to jump into the “nothing is ever good enough” or “why now, why not two decades ago” critique campaign. I just want to believe that one step and a time, one heart at a time compassion and justice are seeping into every corner of our beautiful and broken world.

OK, to be a little less squishy and more matter-of-fact, these powerful men and women hold the key to the equality of many, so at the end of the day I guess I don’t care so much why or when they’ve changed official positions, just that they are. Either way I believe that the end result is the same and that the arc is bending before our very eyes.

Gershom Gorenberg: “Don’t Be Naive, That Speech Was a Revolution”

After a couple of days for careful reflection, it’s clear: Barack Obama gave an amazing speech. The president of the United States stood in a hall in Jerusalem, and with empathy and with bluntness that has been absent for so long we forgot it could exist, told Israelis: The occupation can’t go on. It’s destroying your own future. And besides that, Palestinians have “a right to … justice” and “to be a free people in their own land.”

If you don’t think this is a breakthrough, you are letting naïve pessimism overcome realism. Yes, it’s true that one speech will be worth nothing if not followed by intense American diplomacy. That comment has become banal. A realistic assessment is that Obama’s visit, and the speech, were the opening act of an American diplomatic effort — a near perfect opening.

Dean Burnett: “Nothing Personal: The questionable Myers-Briggs test”

There are many possible reasons why the MBTI is so entrenched in workplaces and promoted so enthusiastically. There’s the expense and training involved, mentioned above. It may be because everyone uses it, so people conclude it must be reliable, and thus its success becomes self perpetuating. Also, any personality type you get assigned is invariably positive. There is no combination of answers you could give on the MBTI which says “you’re an arsehole.”

James McGrath: “What I Like About You(ng-Earth Creationists)”

The call of Jesus was not to hang around with him denying prevailing scientific theories in his time. It was to join him in loving Romans and Samaritans and not just Jews. It was to spend time with the marginalized and touch the untouchable. It was to live in a manner that embodied different values. Today’s Christians tend to think that by rejecting science, or claiming that something they call science is “true science,” they are “going against the flow” and embodying different values. But a closer inspection shows that in fact these things embody the same values – among them, science as the only means to truth (coupled at times with a dose of postmodern rhetoric suggesting that everything is just a matter of interpretation when that argument is convenient). But also distracting from the fact that we are not feeding the hungry, much less transforming society in Jesus’ name to eliminate hunger.

If young-earth creationists took their same willingness to stand against the flow, and applied it to the things the Bible emphasizes, they would put me to shame, instead of bringing shame on the Christian faith as they now do.

Women in Theology: “God Is Constantly Coming Out to Us”

Because in that stretched moment that surrounds the words “I’m a lesbian,” I’m not giving you information about who I am. I’m inviting you into who I am. Yes, in some pale shadow of how God offers herself — but also in one of the very ways that God’s self-gift is given. That is what I hold onto when I’m overwhelmed and exhausted with how coming out isn’t a once-and-done thing. That’s what I hold onto when I think I can’t bear the awkwardness of it one more time. I hold onto the idea that in coming out, I’m offering someone the opportunity to see how I love, and to love me and be loved by me in a way that doesn’t hold anything back, that has no part locked-away and inaccessible.

Because that’s how I’ve come to know God. She doesn’t dole out pieces of information, one tablespoon to one person but three cups to another. She doesn’t give out information at all. She gives herself.


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And wisdom to know the difference
"Slightly related to this, there's a good takedown of Steven Pinker's new book here:, ..."

And wisdom to know the difference

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