I’m not at all sure where my head is these days. I confess to growing tired of the daily political grind. The same voices all saying the expected things.
I’m no different mind you. I can throw the tomatoes with the best of them. But I grow weary too.
Perhaps my weariness is that nothing seems to change much. I can collect a dozen or more instances per day of absolute insanity which passes as some kind of political action. We all know the players. At times it seems that the Republicans are so bereft of ideas about what to do, that they have made a conscious effort to come up with a unique objection to anything proposed by a Democrat. As one blogger suggested, tomorrows headline will likely be: “Obama ignores efforts to cap the oil well by having dinner with his family.”
Which is all to say that through reading books and following links, I am at least occasionally seeking more substantive stuff to think about. Websites like 3quarksdaily and Arts and Letters Today have lead me on a trek to a land of high brow intellectual argument that I haven’t indulged in since my college days.
This is the stuff that makes the average working class fundie wanna hurl. It requires real attention to what you are reading. It ain’t like reading People or (gasp) Playboy. Since they don’t take the time to try to understand it, they brush it off as more intellectual elitism. I can understand.
Maybe I’m being snooty here, but frankly, it’s nice to get one’s teeth into something that is not every body’s Chevy. Thinking is a lost art most would argue, in this country at least. It has been replaced with knee-jerk reactions to sensory input in the form of instantaneous images and sounds.
We are as addicted to flipping websites as we are to holding tight to our remotes. A long article means we might miss God knows how many YouTube offerings and blog postings on whatever our favorite pass times are.
I denigrate none of the above of course. Hobbies are essential I believe to well-being. Balance is part of a healthy life. I confess that I do more than my share of flipping. I read a few paragraphs here, and then skip to the first sentence of each paragraph, then look to see–how much longer is this thing?
I try to give some choices to you, and as I do so with more determination, I find that I read deeply less and less. Except when I slip away to read actual books. I do pretty well at that, by sheer force of will.
I have no clue what I am getting at here, except to say that I’ve grown more thoughtful lately, and my interests, I find continue to broaden. I think that is a good thing, but I’m not sure. How thinly can one spread oneself before you know a tiny bit about a lot of things. That seems not much of a foundation from which to pontificate from.
So I continue to puzzle. What I am getting more sure of is that real knowledge comes with sweat and hard work. Well, maybe not sweat. But important ideas are not simple ones. One that seems so on the surface is seldom so underneath.
I’ve been reading some stuff on homosexuality and the church, and that is what I have come to. There is, it seems to me, taken fairly, enough there for either side to hang a reasonable argument on. I have changed my mind NOT at all, by the way. I am still firmly convinced that the bible doesn’t speak to the issue of homosexuality in any way that is determinative, and in it’s inferences, especially in the New Testament, offers more than enough to suggest that loving committed relationships are to be upheld regardless of the sexual configurations.
What I am suggesting, is that below all the rhetoric are some difficult issues, and although I still come out on the same side, I at least recognize that the other side is not bereft of argument, though most of its actual proponents may be woefully unskillful in either understanding or arguing them. Unfortunately to change their minds would require that they at least learn the real basis of their objections.
This all came to mind with a piece I located at a site called “The National Interest Online. The article is about appeasement as it relates to foreign policy. It raises the important question as to whether it is always a bad thing? The very word, as we know, suggests yes it is. Neville Chamberlain, Hitler, WWII. Need we say more? But do read, and see what you think.
Think being the operative word. Don’t dismiss it as wrong because we all know appeasement is a bad thing. That’s what is going terribly wrong today. We are captured by phrases and recoil or embrace with little more thought.
Huckabee is pissy mad because the liberal media has glommed onto his use of “the ick factor” referencing homosexual behavior. Well, he chose to react in typical homophobic fashion didn’t he? What does he expect? Republicans generally loved to use the word liberal because they thought it made most Americans recoil. They found it does not, so they moved on to socialism, Nazism and Fascism, and the ever popular Communism.
It seems to me we need high level discourse on our issues. No amount of simply bandying about the usual catch phrases will do. In order to take our conversation to the next level, we each have to read more and more difficult “stuff.”
There is still plenty of time and room for our usual fun-loving satiric fun. But it cannot replace, as it has now tended to do, really thoughtful reading, contemplating, and discussion.
Amen! I agree with you on all points and I particularly like the ending paragraph here and for your parable post. I’ve been reading 3quarksdaily since you mentioned it a few posts ago, good stuff.
I’m a Jewish Pagan who is more spiritual than religious, but I’ve always liked and felt I should learn about other belief systems. Due to my beliefs and homosexuality I’ve gotten into quite a few heated discussions/debates. To better understand the others’ views so I could counteract them I figured I should read the Bible. I’m still on the Old Testament, but have already seen many loopholes and passages that are truly open to interpretation. Translating between languages is also difficult. In Aramaic virgin meant to be unwed and now it means someone who hasn’t had sexual intercourse. I basically think of it as a really long game of Telephone where words/stories change through time.
Mish, I can guide you through the relevant passages in Liviticus, Sodom and G. which really don’t count at all, and the Pauline passages in Cor, Rom and Timothy. Just let me know. It will perhaps make it a bit easier. I’ve had the benefit of several books on these matters.
I’m pretty sure that a few classes I took in seminary made my brain sweat….but like all forms of working out it does build up endurance….:-)
and, uhm, as one who is avoiding much of this conservative stuff (sick and tired of it) I have not heard the term, “ick factor”…there is just no end to the homophobia…
and lastly, I think the Conservative Republicans (and a few people in the church I know) must sit around at night and think up things they can say, outrageous, lies even, but say it with authority and suddenly it’s headlines and true.
MP…yes, Huck used the term “ick factor” when referring to gays. Now he’s all mad cuz everyone has latched on to his actual words, when of course that was not the main point he was making. Apparently Hucky is unable to see that he speaks volumes unintentionally.
Why don’t the relevant passages really count? Please guide me to those passages.
Mish, if your e-mail address is on your site, I’ll pop over and e-mail you a quick version of biblical exegesis regarding the relevant passages in the OT and NT regarding “homosexuality.” 🙂 If you don’t have one posted could you either e-mail me at the address listed on my sticky note at the top of the page?
Thinking is a lost art most would argue, in this country at least.
It would help if schools went back to teaching how to think instead of what to think.
There are places in the OT in which homosexuality is condemned. I don’t have to worry about that one personally, but in the same contest, I may be stoned to death, because I eat shellfish.
Tom I agree, schools today just teach rote info that mostly is not of much use.
All the references in the OT are in Leviticus Tom and they relate to Holiness Codes which apply to Jewish males living in the Holy land who adhere to the strictures of said behavioral systems. The don’t apply to Gentiles, nor o women.
And, homosexuality was unknown to them frankly. They referred to specific acts which some Jewish experts refer to as “conservation of semen” prohibitions. Since temple prostitution was the order of the day, Leviticus aimed to set Israel apart in this way as not participating in pagan rites.
I know. It had to do, also, with population increase. Onan was killed for spilling his seed on the ground.