Ethical Edge Cases So Sharp You’ll Cut Yourself

I've run into three considerations of hypotheticals (two of them in the last week) that all seem to fall into a pattern.  First up. there's this dialogue, related to me by a friend who teaches a second grade catechism class. (They were discussing how the disciples of Christ spread the gospel). Teacher: If you had to spread a message today, how would you do it? Second Grader: I'd capture a mountain lion and tame him and ride him so fast. Teacher: Hmmm... That might not work if the mountain … [Read more...]

Trapped by Torture in Enmity with the World

Reading over more details about the Torture Report, I was reminded of a passage I'd just read in Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character, in which Jonathan Shay tries to put his finger on just what it is that makes torture an abomination, rather than ordinary roughness or ill use: American soldiers literally felt tortured by their Vietnamese enemy. Prolonged patrolling in Vietnam led to a decomposition of the normal, the familiar, the safe.  Every familiar item of the p … [Read more...]

Torture Report Details Wounds to Prisoners and Guards

The torture report (well, the unclassified executive summary) came out today, and the news is grim and gruesome.  The Daily Beast has aggregated some initial lowlights: In Nov. 2002, a detainee who had been held partially nude and chained to the floor died, apparently from hypothermia. This case appears similar to the that of Gul Rahman, who died of similarly explained causes at a Afghan site known as the "Salt Pit," also in Nov. 2002. The site was also called ‘The Dark Prison’ by former captive … [Read more...]

Welcoming Depression into the Church [Guest Post]

This is a guest post by Christian H of The Thinking Grounds, and is appearing here as part of our symposium on Loving Parishioners in their Particularity – discussing how the church community can focus its approach on serving people in different life circumstances.In the US, about 3 to 5% of people—averaged over age, sex, etc.—have depression, and about 17% will have depression or have had depression. (I’m not American, but I imagine the statistics are comparable in most WEIRD countries.) … [Read more...]

Saying Hello Under the Shadow of Street Harrassment

This post is part of a symposium on Loving Parishioners in their Particularity -- discussing how the church community can focus its approach on serving people in different life circumstances. In partnership with Hollaback!, Shoshana B. Roberts walked silently around NYC for 10 hours, with a confederate taping the things men said to her.  Predictably, she is now receiving rape threats for creating the video below.I can certainly attest that her experience matches mine -- I got … [Read more...]

Loving Parishioners in their Particularity [Symposium Index]

Kat Fernandez of The Crescat wrote recently about the experience of feeling ignored by the church as a single mother.  Especially during the Synod on the family, she felt invisible, except, sometimes as a warning: Single parents work all day, and spend all evening taking care of our children, so we don’t have the time or resources to rally on our own behalf; in fact, we shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t be protesting and writing articles on the internet about how we’ve gotten overlooked yet again. … [Read more...]

Avoiding Rape-Adjacent Sex

I've seen a bunch of pieces about California's proposed Yes-Means-Yes law (which only applies to public college disciplinary hearing, not criminal standards), saying that the proposed law, requiring affirmative consent, isn't realistic.  Sex is too ambiguous for students to be confident, in any given hookup, whether they're having kosher sex or committing rape in the eyes of the law.I do believe them that there's plenty of sex happening now, that isn't experienced as rape by either partner, t … [Read more...]


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