Saturday (Night’s) Stray Thoughts

Lots of things going on in the world and in the land of blog. So much that I was tempted to skip the post today to concentrate on other things—like the IRS 1040. But a former student mentioned in an email that “Stray Thoughts” has been an enjoyable feature to read; she even provided a few links on subjects, some of which I’ll hold for another occasion.

March for Reason
I am waiting with decidedly unbated breath for reports on the march in Washington today (March 24). It was formed by a few atheists and featured Richard Dawkins speaking in honor of the recently deceased Christopher Hitchens, all in an attempt at rallying people of non-theistic mindsets. The trumpet call was that of reason, and the hope was that it could be an opportunity to be seen as nice, non-caustic representatives of those who have no faith, but do have a heart. (Non-caustic and Richard Dawkins would seem a bit of a stretch, but I’m willing to give him the chance at reforming—I live by faith after all). It’s the premise itself that is so old and worn out: faith and reason have nothing to do with one another, and a thinking person must choose reason in order to be taken seriously. No faith involved in assuming chance plus time yields a world containing reasoning beings? Come now, you’ll have to do a little better in order to claim the intellectual high ground. Another part of the rallying cry is for the heart of non-theists to be demonstrated, especially through altruism. That’s a great idea; I have no interest in claiming that non-believers do not have a heart or an ability to care about others; I do think they are incapable of providing a solid accounting for its existence.

On the Political Trail
Will he or won’t he? Will Mitt Romney have enough delegates to win the Republican nomination before the convention? It seems many pundits question whether he can win the nomination at the convention if he doesn’t win it beforehand—all the more reason to talk about inevitability in his camp. Rick Santorum, meanwhile, seems to have a problem with evangelicals, in that he can’t live with them and he can’t live without them. One thing for certain is that his staffers will need to do a better job at choosing those with whom he will share a platform, as last week he was introduced by a very zealous God-and-country, good vs. evil pastor who was sure where the Lord stood in this election. Backtracking without disaffecting is tricky business for a candidate in second place.

Health Care Debate
Aside from the blistering attacks given by Republican candidates, “Obama Care” may get a very deliberate scrutiny by the Supreme Court. Reports have been circulating across the internet, citing real or fabricated clauses in the 2,000+ pages that if true would be of real concern. We have all heard about the abortion and contraceptives controversies. I find it interesting that feminist groups want the government to stay out of the privacy of their bedrooms when it comes to abortion on one hand, also want the government to be there to provide contraceptives at public cost on the other hand. All of which raises what ought to be a concern for all of us: just how much do we want government involved in heath care at all? Something is amiss when children cannot take aspirin or cough syrup without explicit parental consent, but can be taken across state lines for a surgical procedure called abortion without ever being told about it. That, in my opinion, is the unavoidable consequence of a politicized state running what ought to be a private concern—our health. And it is not without great cost that we do such things. In separate reports it was mentioned that Americans pay an average of $7500 per person for health care; in England, it is $3500. Or in Singapore, heath care costs 7% of income; in the U.S., it’s 17%. Are we really that much healthier?

Blogging, Twittering, and Making a Difference
I’ve been reading a few blogs, including an always interesting one from a former student, which dare to raise questions such as why people do this sort of thing. Is the need really there, as far as lives into which these few words speak in a way that encourages new ways of thinking, calls old ones into question, and spurs more deliberative approaches to the living of a faithful Christian life? Or do we just like to hear ourselves think, foolishly believing that writing or speaking a few words can substitute for getting out and actually doing something? Do we write for ourselves or for others? I’m not always confident of giving the right answers to those questions. Maybe we should, while we’re at it, ask why people read what bloggers write. Feel free to answer.

A Season Misspent
I realized belatedly that I have not really paid attention to Lent this year in the manner in which I have in the past. Daily posting of the season have not been the pattern, for which I should repent. There will be reflections during Holy Week, beginning Palm Sunday, which will stay specifically on that week of our Lord’s Passion.

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5 thoughts on “Saturday (Night’s) Stray Thoughts

  1. Blogging… or Non-incarnational communications: I got to do much of this and its predecessors early. I first noticed the effect in the 1980’s of video conferencing and emailing with people who I knew vs those who I didn’t know. It was nearly useless with those who I didn’t know in “meat-space” (using an old cyberpunk term). For those who we did know, it was a great benefit in what we tried to do.

    In general: new ways of thinking – yes. question old ones – yes.

    spurring deliberative? hmm.

    You’d have to have either deliberative people and/or a questions that need deliberation, a desire to educate, and people willing to learn.

    Before Ray Ozzie went to Microsoft he invented a thing called Lotus Notes which in the early 90’s was the deliberative tool of choice for many groups, because not only did it provide a means to eke out some answers but you could structure it so that people could come later and understand HOW you came to those answers. And those answers did not only come from logic, but they came in a setting, in a specific time, with a polity and sometimes ex cathedra.

    Your personal opportunity it to figure out how to do this with your students since they represent a community that existed in meat space, this blog is a step, time to take the next one…..

  2. I had been wondering why the weather turned so terrible here in the DC Metro area this weekend. (“March for Reason”)

    To which they would reply: “if God really wanted to prove to us that He’s real through bad weather at the rally, wouldn’t he have added some tornadoes or a tidal basin tsunami? Rain isn’t so impressive.”

  3. Reason: I’ve found Dawkins most unreasonable. It’s difficult to get more than 2 pages through anything of his without becoming keenly aware that the man has LOADs of emotional baggage. (Of course, so do I and most others, but I’m not going around saying how full of reason I am.)

    This makes his false dichotomy (faith/reason) that much more frustrating.

    Um. Was that a “shout out”/props/recommendation to this former student?Reflection? Whaaah?
    Doesn’t this unnamed person understand the riptide of technology doesn’t allow for that? gosh… the nerve!

    btw! You are absolved of your lenten failings, and I look forward to your lenten reflections.

    • Of course it was, Lisa, but I couldn’t put your link in a post again. Or could I? lisacolondelay.com is a pretty together site. As to whether or not it leads anyone to deliebrate, cogitate, or otherwise flew the muscles above the neck I’ll leave to the reader.

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