Pretend that everyone can punish you.

In some respects, “love your neighbor as yourself” could be interpreted to mean “act as if everybody’s well-being is equally important as your own”.

On road trips, we’re really good at acting like the well being of each person in the car is equally important, because everyone in the car with us can hold us accountable to treat their well being as important.

So perhaps a mental strategy to help me love my earthly neighbors is to pretend that they — all 6+ billion of them — each had as much ability to socially and materially punish my iniquities as the person squeezed up next to me in a little Honda Civic pounding its way across North America.

Thoughts?

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What to Read Wednesdays — July 3, 2013

Sometimes, when I haven’t read through my RSS reader for a while, it starts to pile up. And then, when I finally DO read it, I have like 237 million articles that I want to share… which is too many for Facebook. So this time I’m just going to start funneling them into one blog post list. That way it’ll be easier to avoid link-spamming my Facebook, *plus* I can give some extra blog-cred to these fantabulous folks.

Ok. Without further ado, here’s this week’s What to Read Wednesday list:

Christena Cleveland: Psychology, Faith, & Reconciliation [the whole blog]

Ok folks, seriously, I don’t understand how I am just discovering this blog. I mean faith + racial reconciliation + psychological research??? Yes, please! Here’s an excerpt from Why our diversity efforts often fail – and what we can do about it:

Research suggests that diversity initiatives are most likely to fail amongst Christian groups that idolize their cultural identities. Due to this idolatry, minority group members are not invited as valuable members of the all-inclusive we.  Rather (and perhaps this is unintentional) they are invited to participate in the organization as them – subordinate ‘Others’ and second class citizens who are bound to be dissatisfied. Until we relativize our cultural identities and adopt an inclusive group identity, our diversity initiatives are doomed to failure because we will never fully appreciate our diverse brothers and sisters and they will not feel appreciated.

Wow. Just so much food for thought! I’m just digging in myself, but here are a couple more posts that have already grabbed my eye:

Sandra Glahn at bible.org: “How to Influence ‘The Liberal Media'”

This is a thorough, well-thought-out piece from a (conservative I think) Christian about the best way to influence and deal with “the liberal media”. A quote:

Are we willing to listen to why without assuming those who disagree must have a low view of the Bible? Some believers think the government has no business deciding what marriage is. Some think commitment is better than serial sexual relationships, thus seeing gay marriage as landing higher in an ethics hierarchy than uncommitted relationships. Some read in Romans 1 that “God gave them over,” and reason, “So why don’t we ‘give them over’ too”? … Proverbs 18:2 serves as a fitting reminder here: “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” How much are we willing to listen without labeling people as “liberal” whenever we disagree with them?

Jamie the Very Worst Missionary: “The Perfect Shade of Greige”

As a current suburbanite struggling to find ways to live out reconciliation, I felt totally convicted by this post about finding God in suburbia. Great read.

It’s a rookie mistake, and I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but I think I have managed to translate my cross-cultural experience into something holier and more important than my life in the U.S. I almost convinced myself that God was more present there than he is here. Which is, of course, ridiculous.

Richard Beck at Experimental Theology: “Fridays with Benedict: Chapter 46, The Confession of Public and Private Sins”

While the post title might sound really boring, the direction Dr. Beck takes this is quite the conversation-starter!

It seems that for Benedict public confession and repentance is inherently a communal and relational activity. Public confession is about a rip in the communal fabric and the attempt to mend that tear. Public confession is less about airing your dirty laundry than about being reconciled to your sisters and brothers. … Thus I wonder if our public confessions of private sins isn’t symptomatic of something wrong in how we approach church.

Jerry Park at Patheos: “Hmong, Indian, What’s the Difference?”

This fascinating dissection of national census data is a great reminder of why sweeping generalizations break down. (Because they’re sweeping generalizations.)

As some readers know, Asian Americans tend to be grouped together as if they were a racial equivalent to “white” “black” and sometimes “Hispanic.” When this kind of grouping occurs, scholars and interested citizens look for similarities and differences between racial groups on outcomes like educational attainment, household income, poverty levels, health etc. From this classification approach Asian Americans tend to appear exemplary on a number of outcomes. …while it is the case that Asian Americans as a group appear to have a lot of education, the reality is that only certain groups are showing this level of attainment.

 

What other awesome things have you read recently? Let me know in the comments!