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Smart people saying smart things

Smart people saying smart things January 25, 2012

Richard Rohr: “Purity

I did a study recently of how Jesus understood the ideas of purity or cleanliness. He never applies it to the body or the physical world, but only to motivations (Matt. 23:26) and to the heart (Matt. 5:8). In fact, he declares “all foods clean” (Matt. 7:19) in strong disagreement with his own Jewish tradition. Purity seems to be singleness of heart for Jesus, when I am not split, when I am “all here.” Impurity is mixed motivation, denial of parts of the picture, and self delusion. How different from most religion which has been preoccupied with purity codes, based in physical touching, eating wrong foods, seeing bad things, sexuality, and avoiding of “UnChristian” people and places. Again, Christian tradition has not followed its own teacher, and he was indeed a master teacher here.

W.V. Quine, in Quiddities: An Intermittently Philosophical Dictionary

At some point each of us has perhaps been misled, or has known some equally literate acquaintance to have been misled, by the preterite and participle misled. He encountered the word in reading, grasped its meaning by context, and even used it in his own writing. At length he even spoke it, as mizzled, never detecting that it was just the old familiar preterite and participle of mislead that he had been pronouncing correctly for half his life.

But the verb misle that is born of that misconception is too pat to pass up, descriptive as it is of the very circumstance that engendered it. Perhaps we can press it into service as a mild word for the restrained sort of deception, not quite actionable as fraud … that has a respected place in enlightened modern merchandizing.

Christian Piatt: “GOP Nostalgia Is a Symptom of Privilege

Those in the position of privilege to write history are the ones whose story is most prominently told. So when we talk about going back to some better time, it’s with the lens of that same privilege that we’re looking back.

The fact is that, unless you’re a white, Christian, straight male, there’s little to look back to and say “yeah, I was better off back then.”

One way this longing for the reclamation of privilege is expressed is in espousing what many of the GOP candidates call a restoration of “traditional family values.”

… What underlies this sort of nostalgic talk is privilege. The longing is to go back to a time or place when their particular way of viewing the world was considered “normal,’ and all others were not. There is some selective memory at work even in these cases, however, since most who call for the return to ways of the past would readily call for exceptions in the case of blatant racism and (for some at least) sexism.

To call for a return to the good old days is, in some ways, a marginalization of those for whom history has meant progress. For the majority of Americans today, turning back the clock means losing ground, acceding power or opportunity and returning to a time of greater imbalance and division.

Kay at Balloon Juice: “Only the elites insult the working adults who pick up after us

Newt Gingrich believes janitors and cafeteria workers and people who work in school libraries and offices can and should be replaced by children.

That’s how much respect Gingrich has for the work that these people do.

Third grader = adult working class person. The children are paid less per worker unit, hence it’s thirty kids to one adult, sure, but Gingrich believes children can do these job as well as the adults who currently do them, because that’s what he said.

Personally, I think any random janitor is worth more than Newt Gingrich in terms of adding value to society so I’d like to leave the nine year olds out of it and just do a straight comparison between adults: adult janitor compared with adult conservative blowhard/grifter.

Dick Pierard: “An Accurate Choice for Renamed Southern Baptists

It used to be said that the Episcopal Church was “the Republican Party at prayer,” but surely this distinction has passed on to the Southern Baptists.

Just think of the recent meeting of Republican activists held at Judge Paul Pressler’s Texas ranch to settle on a suitable “evangelical” candidate in the South Carolina primary, or the SBC’s public policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and its leader Richard Land, which is a mouthpiece for the Religious Right and Republican views on current social issues.

If Southern Baptists want to abandon their hallowed name, I can think of no more appropriate replacement than the “Republican Baptist Convention.”

It would apply nationally and be a good descriptor of its social and political outlook.


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