Smart people saying smart things (7.20)

Smart people saying smart things (7.20) July 20, 2014

April Bo Wang on why poor communities need fewer heroes; Morgan Guyton on Satan as the original troll; Brian Walsh gives an appropriate answer to the non-question of a junior gatekeeper; Daniel Silliman on a Sunday in Christian America; and a new Tumblr where your big sister has got your back.

April Bo Wang, “When Teachers Romanticize Their Students’ Poverty”

I came to Helena to be a heroine. But a heroine can’t be a good social advocate, because social advocacy is all about the community — not about being at the center of one’s own story. Likewise, a romance that requires a backdrop of continuous strife cannot be a successful social movement, because a successful social movement will eventually eradicate that strife. Nostalgia has no place in progress.

Morgan Guyton, “Exit-trolling: The new tactic in Facebook psychological warfare”


There are two words for the devil in the Bible. Satan, the Hebrew word, means “the accuser” or “the heckler.” Diabolos, the Greek word, is a compound word combining ballo (“to throw”) and dia (“in the midst of”), so basically it means “pot-stirrer.” Knowing the meaning of these two words, I generally assume that any and all unnecessary drama is of Satan (whether Satan is an actual being or an anthropomorphic label for a kind of phenomenon). Online interactions are a place where Satan thrives and proliferates like an evil flesh-eating bacteria …

Trolls are Satan incarnated into human cyber-flesh. A troll is not a permanent type of person, but rather a temporary state of being possessed by a particularly poisonous spirit that makes you diabolate and satan the people you’re interacting with. I suppose some people become permanent trolls over time if they don’t have enough real-life interactions with people they love to counterbalance their toxic online interactions. Trolling is such an interesting phenomenon. I imagine it’s no less addictive than internet pornography and probably has a similar biological trigger that reinforces itself.

Brian Walsh, “Christian Expletives and Public Discourse”

A lot of people in that room were suffering from “Post-Evangelical Stress Disorder.” It was precisely the kind of language, spirituality and evangelical culture that lay behind my interlocutor’s interrogation that had so hurt these folks and had pushed them to the brink of abandoning Christian faith. For these folks the questions and the tone in which they were presented reawakened all the bad memories of an oppressive past.

“So speak and so act as those who are judged by the law of liberty,” James wrote.

Daniel Silliman, “Sam Hose’s Christian America”

One can find, today, pretty much every day, Christians concerned about how America is not a Christian country anymore. Things have changed, times have changed, and America isn’t like it used to be. They don’t mean things like this, though. They’re not thinking about the “Christian America” that was Sam Hose’s America.

All that talk, however, of that imagined idyllic past when Biblical morality was given due deference and Christians had a respected place in the public square is haunted by the Sunday when churchgoers came back from a place called Old Troutman Field with bits of Sam Hose’s chopped-up body.

ibelieveyou | it’snotyourfault, “Welcome! What Are We Doing Here?”

Can we use our collective life experience to be a safe haven for kids who need it? Can we tell stories and answer questions and offer solidarity and resources and maybe break some cycles before they begin? Can we do it with humor and transparency, and without coming across like dorky, hand-wringing moms? After all, so many of us are still those kids. So many of us will always be those kids.

Well, we can try. … We’re just people who’ve been through stuff, and we’re here. Ask us anything.

It’s not your fault. We believe you.


Browse Our Archives