1. Hymns jubilee
In celebration of seven years of music-making (specifically, “making hymns accessible and known again”), Page CXVI is giving away its entire catalog of 74 songs throughout the month of March. It’s great stuff.
3. Earning a voice
Ever wonder what it would be like to eavesdrop on a conversation between brilliant philosophers like James K.A. Smith and Nicholas Wolterstorff? Okay, unless you’re a nerd, maybe you haven’t. But in the latest edition of Comment, they discuss how the field of philosophy has changed in recent decades, and how Christians have earned a voice in academia. It’s really interesting:
What happened in my field of philosophy was that positivism collapsed… The big programs in contemporary philosophy had all been gatekeepers: the positivists were saying that one can’t even talk about God, the ordinary language people were worrying whether language is being used improperly when we talk about God, and so forth. The collapse of the big gatekeeper programs meant that there was nobody around anymore who was saying, not with any plausibility, anyway, that it’s impossible to make judgments about God, impossible to talk about God, etc. All of those programs collapsed. They did not collapse because of what they said about the impossibility of religious/theological language; they collapsed for other reasons. What this collapse meant was that religious/theological discourse was now open.
4. Bono at TED
Last fall the U2 frontman made some waves at a tech conference when he admitted his “humbling” discovery that business and entrepreneurship have a crucial role to play in poverty alleviation. “The strongest and loudest voice with moral punch [in Africa] at the moment,” he said, “is a nerd.” He’s now taken his “factivist” tour to TED2013. The video hasn’t been posted yet, apparently, but here’s a snippet from the TED blog:
Bono’s passion: countering what Nelson Mandela refers to as “that most awful offense to humanity, extreme poverty.” His weapon of choice? Facts. “Forget the rock opera, forget the bombast, my usual tricks,” he says. “The only thing singing today will be the facts. I have truly embraced my inner nerd. Exit the rock star.” He removes his trademark sunglasses. “Enter the evidence-based activist.” He puts his glasses back on upside down. Bono is now a “factivist.” And he has the infographic-filled slides to prove it.
All by itself, “the common good” is as vague as fine-sounding phrases tend to be. And being fine-sounding and vague, it easily becomes political pabulum to promote whatever policies the speaker wants to advance. Not surprisingly, it arises at times when politicians want to justify imposing costs on some part of society, as when Hillary Rodham Clinton told a group of donors in 2004, “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” To some ears, “the common good” echoes communism’s demands that all lesser goods yield to the construction of a people’s paradise. At the least, when we hear that some sacrifice will serve “the common good,” it’s reasonable to ask, “Sez who?”
2. A post-election prayer
My friend (and remarkably prolific blogger) Paul Burkhart shared a great prayer on his blog for President Obama, other newly elected/re-elected government officials, and those who lost their races.
3. Principled pluralism
The video of Gideon Strauss’s talk from Q earlier this year went online this week, and it’s wonderful. For those made nauseous by the political rancor on Facebook leading up to and following the election (and for those causing the nausea), I commend this talk to you. Here’s the blurb:
From debates about the hiring practices of churches to rumors of community adherence to Sharia law, Americans have long been facing questions regarding the role of various religions in public life. As our nation grows increasingly diverse, can we coexist without compromising those principles we hold dear? Gideon Strauss says the answer lies in “principled pluralism,” a paradigm that allocates enough freedom of conscience, worship, and practice that all faiths can flourish rather than compete.
4. Guatemala earthquake
Guatemala suffered its worst earthquake in 35 years this week, with San Marcos in the western part of the country hit especially hard. A family friend in the town where we used to live nearby let me know things were fine there, but many in other towns weren’t as fortunate. The death toll is up past 50, and these photos show some of the structural damage. Please keep victims in your prayers.
Repaso is intended as a thought-provoking compilation of news and commentary from the past week related to the intersections of faith, development, justice and peace. As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of the links and ideas in this roundup!
[Photo credit: theblaze.com]