1. My neighbor Mr. BooMan cites that dreaded clobber verse from Romans 1. Except, unlike the vast majority of others citing it, he actually quotes the entire argument Paul is making in that passage — which isn’t about condemning LGBT people, it’s about the danger of condemning anyone. Kind of sad that you’re more likely to find responsible exegesis on a secular political blog than on 99 percent of the largest “Christian” ones.
2. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. I didn’t know there was a word for that. But then given that it’s longer and nowhere near as easy to remember or to say as “fear of the number 666,” I’m not sure it’s worth learning that word.
3. Kevin Drum notes that “American Cars Are Getting Older.” That’s partly a sign of economic insecurity — we’re keeping our clunkers because we haven’t got cash. But Kevin wonders if it might also be partly due to the increasing reliability of older cars — a 5-year-old car might not be a clunker anymore.
I read that statistic with one daughter just starting college and the other one starting next year — which means I won’t be car-shopping again until the summer of 2018. And my family isn’t the only one in that situation — the largest ever American generation is now going through college, which now costs way more than ever before. So I’m wondering if this statistic is partly due to millions of parents still driving their my-kid-is-in-college car. (There’s a reason those rear-window stickers for colleges were designed to last for at least four years.)
4. Dianna Anderson collected some great responses to her #PlanetCCM synchroblog on “contemporary Christian music” (which tends to be — say it with me … none of the above).
Granted, cash donations are far more helpful and efficient for food pantries than canned-good drives are, but canned-good drives are an effective way of drawing attention to the need and creating the awareness and participation that will, hopefully, later mature into forms more focused on the need being served than on the felt needs of the donors. The Souper Bowl of Caring shouldn’t be the final step or the only step, but it can be a good first step, and as such it’s worth celebrating.
6. Ian Welsh: “The Death Bet”
The men and women who lived through the Great Depression always planned for the future. They built power plants which produced more power than needed, bridges which could handle more traffic, water purification plants which produced more water. They made sure infrastructure would last for decades, and then built it so well it outlasted even their specifications.
Their heirs, the Silents and the Boomers, thought this was absurd. Why not party now, and let the future take care of itself?
Call this the “death bet”. In it’s pure form, the death bet is just that, a bet that when the bill comes due, you’ll be dead. If you live a good life and die owing millions, well, what do you care?
7. Rebecca Solnit: “The Arc of Justice and the Long Run”
Optimism says that everything will be fine no matter what, just as pessimism says that it will be dismal no matter what. Hope is a sense of the grand mystery of it all, the knowledge that we don’t know how it will turn out, that anything is possible.
… I don’t know what’s coming. I do know that, whatever it is, some of it will be terrible, but some of it will be miraculous, that term we reserve for the utterly unanticipated, the seeds we didn’t know the soil held. And I know that we don’t know what we do does. As Shane Bauer points out, the doing is the crucial thing.