Thanks for coming! I plan to post a lot of interesting articles and comment on a wide range of things-- from political to religious, from private to public, from formal writing on public policy to snippets on random observations.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
Hochschild's "To End All Wars" on World War I
I knew too little about it, something remedied to some extent by Adam Hochschild's excellent book, To End All Wars.
HP Religious Discussion forum
The Honors Program has a "Religious Discussion Forum" on Thursday, March 15-- and they want questions for their panel connecting the forum to this year's "Common Experience" theme of social justice. The deadline is this Thursday.
Here's what they have so far. Do you have anything to add?
2012 Religious Discussion Forum: Potential Questions
I would certainly be interested in the question of how various faiths and faith communities perceive their roles in responding to issues of social justice. For instance, if we believe that the poor will always be with us, how does one also gather up the impetus to work on BEHALF of the poor?
What does justice even mean to each of these religions? I am sure they have slightly different, nuanced definitions.
What specific action verbs does their religious text use when addressing social need? What "commands" or "exhortations" or what have you play a central role in their faith's specific idea of social justice?
What is the ultimate goal of social justice for people of their faith? What is the vision that drives them?
F. Nietzsche writes in "Thus Spake Zarathustra" that charity is an ugly thing because it makes the object of charity less than human, reducing them merely to an object of someone else's charity. What is your religion's answer to that criticism?
Is there any room in your religious principles for government, secular NGOs and religious institutions to work together toward social justice? Or do you think that social justice should mainly be handled by the church/mosque/temple?
Should providing social justice also include sharing your religious worldview with those you are helping? For example, when feeding the poor do you believe it is imperative to also make sure they understand your personal religious beliefs?
What message of hope does your worldview have to offer those who are frustrated by the overwhelming amount of injustice and need in the world?
Many religious traditions support or promote the equality of human rights. Given the various types of human rights (right to life, right to family, and so forth), are there precepts in your religious texts and teachings that support a hierarchy of support? For instance, are financial donations to charities viewed differently than directly feeding the poor? In short, how does your religion prioritize human needs?
Monday, February 20, 2012
my notes for The Story, Chapter 2 (excerpts from Genesis 12-35)
Genesis 17: The Centrality of Circumcision
my notes for The Story, Chapter 1 (excerpts from Genesis 1-8)
1:1 (p. 1)’s “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”; God is…
--> if you believe Genesis 1:1, the rest is a lot easier...
evolution vs. Evolution—and the “three gaps”
1:2 (p. 1)’s “formless and empty, darkness…the Spirit of God was hovering…”
-w/ app. to our lives
1:26-28 (p. 2-3)’s made in the image of God, to “be fruitful and multiply”, to “rule over” the Earth: we are made in God’s image implies we are built/made/created to...
2:7 (p. 3)’s dust and breath
1:27 (p. 3) and 2:18,20,23 (p. 4)’s male/female, equal but complementary
2:15, 24 (p. 4)’s first two “institutions”: work and marriage
2:16-17, 3:1-3 (p. 4, 5)’s wide bounty and narrow prohibition
-Genesis’ three Creation accounts: 1:1’s big picture (1), 2:4’s humans (3) and Genesis 5:1’s overview of history from Adam to Noah
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Back to our Future (David Sirota)
His discussion of the A-Team-- as type for the 1980s view of govt as inept and unjust-- was funny and provocative: the govt wrongly imprisoned our nation's heroes but couldn't properly incarcerate them; they permitted a flourishing criminal underground and couldn't catch the fugitives (even though common people could find them easily enough) who were then able to fix those problems. He notes the view of govt as "faceless menace" in some of the climactic scenes of E.T.-- and the resurgence of Westerns with similar themes.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Brent McKim defends the status quo against charter schools...oh my!
Not true. They are subject to less regulation of a sort (contradicting another claim he makes) but more regulation in the sense of an additional oversight body and market pressures (especially since they get less money than other public schools!).
This lack of oversight has led to countless charter school scandals.
Romney, Buffett and Tax Rates
So, it shouldn’t happen, but it certainly could. When a tax code is loaded with special loopholes — deductions and credits for all sorts of activities — an otherwise progressive system may not yield progressive outcomes.