Smart people saying smart things (10.29)

Smart people saying smart things (10.29) October 29, 2015

Richard Beck, “Emotional Intelligence and Sola Scriptura”

Basically, fundamentalism — denying that you are engaged in hermeneutics — betrays a shocking lack of self-awareness, an inability to notice the way your mind and emotions are working in the background and beneath the surface.

I think statements like “this is the clear teaching of Scripture” are psychologically diagnostic. Statements like these reveal something about yourself. Namely, that you lack a certain degree of self-awareness.

Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig, “The Shape of Things”

I don’t think Christian Rand apologia is legitimate or valid, and I don’t want to write as though it might be among those things we can reasonably disagree about, and I don’t want anyone to see it as ordinary. Maybe I don’t have any real control over that (probably not) but I do have to account for how I present what I do, how I play my teensy tiny role in making up the ordinary. Yeah, there’s a certain careerist impulse not to be dismissed as, y’know, another catty-snarky lady blogger, but I’m comfortable that’s not what I am, and I am aware of the service careerism does for particularly brutal forms of ordinariness. For me certain positions don’t belong in the canon of the regular, and I try to use style to advance that.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Creationist Style of Crime Control”

It is worth considering what manner of America Comey’s creationism would have us build. On Monday a black student in Columbia, South Carolina, refused to move out of her seat. She was then assaulted by a police officer. The officer then told the other students in the class, “I’ll put you in jail next.” The officer has been the subject of two civil-rights suits. In James Comey’s America, the actions of this officer are not recorded, and not scrutinized. The creationist style of crime control renders the beating of Marlene Pinnock invisible. Policing on a hunch allows that Walter Scott was resisting arrest and that his killer feared for his life. Indeed it asserts, implicitly, that Scott’s murder wasn’t the problem, so much as the fact that citizens saw it.

Marilynne Robinson, “A Conversation in Iowa (part 1)”

I’m a great admirer of American education. And I’ve traveled — I mean, a lot of my essays, you know, are lectures given in educational settings — universities everywhere. And they’re very impressive. They are very much loved by people who identify with them. You meet faculty and they’re very excited about what they’re doing; students that are very excited, and so on.

And then you step away and you hear all this stuff about how the system is failing and we have to pull it limb from limb, and the rest of it. And you think, have you walked through the door? Have you listened to what people say? Have you taught in a foreign university?

We have a great educational system that is —  it’s really a triumph of the civilization. I don’t think there’s anything comparable in history. And it has no defenders. Most of the things we do have no defenders because people tend to feel the worst thing you can say is the truest thing you can say.

Mikey Dickerson, “Why We Need You in Government”

The most sobering thing about my time in government is to really understand on an emotional level that this country belongs to you and me and it is exactly as good as we make it. Grownups are not going to fix it for us and billionaires are not going to fix it for us. We either do it ourselves, or nobody does.

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