Smart people saying smart things (2.24)

Smart people saying smart things (2.24) February 24, 2016

Sarah Posner, “Why Ted Cruz’s Preacher Sidekick Is No Friend of the Jews — or Israel”

[Mike] Bickle is not interested in Jewish history or in Israeli reality. He does not address the political alternatives Jews themselves argue over, such as Jewish nationalism versus pluralistic democracy, or continued settlement building versus a two-state solution. It’s impossible to place him on this ideological spectrum, because his public views on Israel are entirely devoted to an end-times prophecy in which Jews and Israel must repent for not accepting Jesus as the Messiah.

Heather Havrilesky, “What Romance Really Means After 10 Years of Marriage”

It’s not the romance of rom-coms, which are predicated on the question of “Will he/she really love me (which seems impossible), or does he/she actually hate me (which seems far more likely and even a little more sporting)?” Long-married romance is not the romance of watching someone’s every move like a stalker, and wanting to lick his face but trying to restrain yourself. It’s not even the romance of “Whoa, you bought me flowers, you must REALLY love me!” or “Wow, look at us here, as the sun sets, your lips on mine, we REALLY ARE DOING THIS LOVE THING, RIGHT HERE.” That’s dating romance, newlywed romance. You’re still pinching yourself. You’re still fixated on whether it’s really happening. You’re still kind of sort of looking for proof. The little bits of proof bring the romance. The question of whether you’ll get the proof you require brings the romance.

Broderick Greer, “Rend: Ash Wednesday

Edmund N. Santurri, “Reinhold Niebuhr, Barack Obama, and the sense of a reality that ‘judges yet forgives’”

For me the principal attraction of Niebuhr’s work is its anthropological vision. That vision is traditionally Pauline or Augustinian in casting the world as fallen, but it’s also one that Niebuhr imaginatively rearticulated in trenchant observations of signature twentieth-century political events. According to Niebuhr, human beings generally are confronted with two persistent temptations: (1) the temptation to overreach, to ignore human limits, to indulge in Messianic delusions — what Niebuhr calls the sin of pride, and (2) the temptation to underachieve, to surrender prematurely, to evade responsibility for action in the world — what Niebuhr calls the sin of sensuality.

Julie Rodgers, “How a Leading Christian College Turned Against Its Gay Leader”

The stories of the earnest students that sat in my office were sacred, and the people they yearn to please have sent a message that, at best, they might be kind of tolerated one day. If gays commit to never date or marry, if they keep their stories quiet, if they remain theologically conservative and they war against their gayness, then maybe they can kind of stick around. They probably won’t get a job on staff and there will certainly be special rules for them, but they might be tolerated someday.


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