1. About halfway through the first season of Breaking Bad, I realized two things: 1) This was a really good show, rewarding attentive viewing, and thus is probably the sort of thing I’d prefer to watch on DVD/Netflix after its run; and 2) This is a tragedy — inexorably headed for an unhappy ending, and thus something I’d be better off watching on DVD/Netflix. (Some days I love a good tragedy. Other days I’m not really up for that kind of story. Those days don’t usually coincide neatly with a network broadcast schedule.)
All of which is to say that I’m out of the loop on one of the things I imagine everyone will be talking about today. Feel free to discuss it in comments anyway, but careful with the spoilers.
2. Roger Olson is deeply offended at having been called a meliorist. Apparently this is a thing, now, among white evangelicals with way, way, way too much time on their hands. Someone named Gerald McDermott is apparently trying to make his bones with the white evangelical in-crowd by sniffing out alleged meliorists and denouncing their melioristic meliorism. Both the accuser and the accused are convinced that this is a grave charge.
I suppose the never-ending quest to find some way to occupy our time other than by loving our neighbors has now led to these accusations of and defenses against “meliorism.” This word, I do not think it means what you think it means.
White evangelicals are my people, but boy howdy, we’re a deeply weird bunch.
3. “There’s a lot of prayer, scripture and impulse to conversion – probably enough to prompt most non-religious people to close it without finishing,” Kay Campbell writes in a book review for Alabama.com. “There is a lot of txt-msg abbr from cell phone conversations, a lot of predictable dialogue, and enough banality to likely keep the book off the Pulitzer committee’s desk.” The man loves his telephones — even in a book about the Apostle Paul.
4. I’m noting this story because it’s a potentially hopeful development — and also because this is another one of those things President Obama just did, publicly, that the religious right continues to deny he has ever done: “Obama tells Rouhani he’s concerned about jailed U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini.” Abedini’s wife said the president’s advocacy on behalf of her husband was “an answer to prayer”: ”I am very grateful to President Obama for standing up for Saeed and for the other Americans who are held captive in Iran.”
5. Kyle Mantyla notes: “Exxon will begin offering benefits to legally married same-sex couples. We wonder what [Family Research Council] will say.” I’m torn. On the one hand, I’d love to see the FRC and NOM and One Dozen Moms and all the other right-wing groups direct their wrath at Exxon. But on the other hand, I’ve watched company after company flourishing in the wake of religious right boycotts, and that kind of success, for Exxon, would just get channeled into even more funding for corrupt politicians and climate denialism. Religious right vs. Exxon is one of those games where you wind up rooting for injuries.
6. I intend to be very happy about this news from New Jersey as soon as Gov. Chris Christie’s attempt to block this in the courts fails.
And so, I went to see this psychiatrist, and, uh – this is true – and, uh, I sat down and I said, ‘”Doc, uh, for years I’ve been getting in my car and I drive back to my town and I pass my houses late at night and, y’know, what am I doing?” And he said, “I want you to tell me what you think that you’re doing.” So I go, ‘That’s what I’m paying you for.” So he says, “Well, what you’re doing is that something bad happened, and you’re goin’ back there, thinkin’ you can make it right again. Something went wrong, and you keep going back to see if you can fix it, or somehow make it right.” And I sat there and I said, “That is what I’m doing.” And he said, “Well, you can’t.”