Grenz Ricoeur Shelf

Grenz Ricoeur Shelf

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Weekly Reads - 20 February 2016 - In Defense of the Oxford Comma

Ken Schenck: Elephants Rule
Jonathan Haidt showed repeatedly, largely on the basis of experiments conducted, that people immensely follow their immediate intuitions rather than coming to conclusions on the basis of reason. Intuition is like an elephant that turns the rider (reasoning) in a certain direction, and then reasoning strategizes in that direction. Bottom line: "Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second." 
Our intuitions are like an elephant, and we have them in a fraction of a second. One study in the chapter compared the results of past elections with the flash intuitions of contemporary individuals looking at the pictures of the candidates. The question asked was, "Who looks more competent?" The results of the election highly correlated to those immediate intuitions of people who had no idea who these candidates were, what party they belonged to, or what their actual competency was.
Observations like this cause me to think that the advertising companies have a more perceptive implicit anthropology, focused as it is on the shaping of your desires and affections toward a particular end (ie, buying stuff), than the default of a great many still, that persons are primarily "thinking things." I think this also highlights the importance of the work of someone like James K. A. Smith and his emphasis on our loves, the affections, and desires - and the ordering of these toward the kingdom. For more see his books: Desiring the Kingdom, Imagining the Kingdom, and the soon to be released You are What You Love.

I'm completely behind this push by Sarah Bessey (with my normal disclaimer that I prefer the descriptors 'mutuality' and 'mutualist' rather than 'egalitarian'): Let’s collaborate for strong Jesus-centred kingdom-focused marriages

Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed on Miroslav Volf on the unhelpfulness of the so-called 'Secularization Thesis': Secularization Theory Ignores the Evidence

Just one quibble - I like my eggs scrambled. Pastoral Care Should Punch Us in the Face
The idea that a pastor would sometimes say uncomfortable things and impose discipline is foreign to many congregations today, but that is because for more than a generation we in church leadership have promoted the pastor-as-life-coach model while never talking about the hard road and the narrow gate that leads to salvation. Our parishes need priests today who are neither life coaches nor “middle managers for the Lord.”

The New APPS blog: Apple, the FBI, iPhones, and the Extended Mind Hypothesis - On the philosophical, legal, and ethical downsides of the federal government forcing access to the encrypted iPhone of the San Bernadino shooters.
There are a variety of reasons why Apple might do this, beyond Tim Cook’s love of privacy and the security of Apple’s customers. One is that, as Will Oremus points out on Slate, of the big three Silicon Valley companies (Apple, Google and Facebook), Apple is the only one whose business model is notpremised on selling off or otherwise distributing customer data. So this is a very good opportunity for brand differentiation. The leaders of places like Russia and China will also be watching: if Apple can be compelled by the U.S. government to enable access to its phones, then presumably it can be compelled by those governments too, and China in particular represents a very, very big market. Indeed, the FBI itself has a very poor track record when it comes to respecting privacy and keeping its searches within the bounds of legal authorization, and it’s easy to argue that the fight over encryption is very useful in getting us all to forget the incredible growth of surveillance – one might even argue that we now live in a surveillance state.

Ben Witherington on Mistranslated and Miquoted Verses - Isaiah 45.7.

The Oxford Comma is super!

Theology Forum: Book Review of From Nature to Creation by Norman Wirzba.

Christ and University: Marking Gratitude - Rethinking Plagiarism
The implication of this understanding of intelligibilia, words, and ownership is that at its core plagiarism is not theft so much as a violation of intimacy. As Griffiths points out, the Latin word “plagiarius” originally meant a kidnapper, particularly one who steals a child or seduces a lover. Thus a plagiarist violates intimacy. What the plagiarist takes is not another’s words or ideas themselves—these are commons and cannot be exclusively owned—but rather the author’s claim to a unique and originary intimacy with these words. Words are the fruit of intimacy with knowledge (this metaphor becomes even more rich if one considers the connotations of the Hebrew word for knowing, “yada”), yet a plagiarist wants to claim the fruit without doing the hard work of cultivating that relationship.

Business Insider: 10 popular grammar myths debunked

Ponder Anew: Worship Isn’t Always In a Major Key - I witnessed a facebook conversation the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday about what a particular person in my feed didn't understand about the liturgical season of Lent. Much of what this person was against seemed like a caricature of Lent and the church year that I myself used to have. However, one prominent reason cited was that Lent was such a downer and God has instead called us to celebrate! I have to say here that I like a good church celebration as much as anyone else, but yet Lent has become very important to me. I think one reason (there are many others) is my inability to keep up with the emphasis on constant celebration. My wife and I have endured a lot of struggle and heartache, including three miscarriages. When we arrived at a new (Baptist) church start that followed the lectionary it was refreshing to me. Even now we attend a eucharistic liturgy on Sundays. Why the lectionary, liturgy, and lent? Because built within into each of these is mourning and repenting along with celebrating on both a weekly and yearlong basis. As the link above says, "worship isn't [indeed can't be] always in a major key." If our weekly worship exists to story and shape us according to the narrative of Jesus our Liberating King, we can't only celebrate. Beyond mere therapeutic ends; our sorrows, griefs, and depressions need to narrated in the way and story of Jesus as well. I've increasingly found the lectionary, liturgy, and Lent already well suited for lament as a much needed spiritual practice.

Commas, Oxford Commas, and Semi-colons

Important notice: Some of you may have noticed me even more absent on social media than usual lately. There is a reason for this: I've purposely dropped off facebook until after Easter Sunday. A lot of things precipitated this, but certain events recently confirm it's a providential decision at this time. I can't give details, but if I were to use the language of Paul Ricoeur, I'd say there was a major 'disorientation' this last week. Now, Ricoeur also reminds us that out of these things, there is also a 'reorientation by disorientation.' However, to facilitate the 'reorientation by disorientation' I am turning to my Lent observance and to a fast from forms of social media like facebook. But please note as well, there will still be the occasional instagram pic (that will show up on facebook as well) to let folks know I'm still alive. As well, I'm still receiving messages through facebook messenger for those who need to contact me in that way. A blessed Lent to everyone.

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