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July 31, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Review of Bromleigh McCleneghan’s Interview with Jonathan Merrit

Johnathan Merrit provides an appropriate preview:

Her way of interpreting the Bible is not systematic, for example, and she tends to feel her way through the text. And she also admits in this interview that her sexual ethics might not rule out polyamory.

I’m confused how the theology of Elmo and Seasame Street provides any link to the theology of God.  That is God is the ultimate frame.  How I feel is an almost entirely subjective question that relativizes the Biblical text until its meaningless.

The question of polyamory specifically highlights that issue.  She doesn’t solve anything–she really multiplies the issue (see also polyamory).

You have no notion of relationship or the expectations thereof, if the idea of an individual “feeling” dictates moral principle.

The whole point of morality, ethics, and values is to check biology–to provide accountability and justice and responsibility to its downsides.  Its not to just affirm all that biology allows.

The issue of grace and forgiveness is a much better basis on which to struggle with these issues rather than eliminating sex from our moral lexicons. [not to mention the ways she relativizes the entire text–making most all commands or principles just a question of my personal and subjective feeling at the time, not mored to any notion of wisdom or principle.]  It seems to turn humans into kids who just feel their way around and ends up justifying Machiavelli, all the dictators of history, and Donald Trump.

For clarity, this is at the end of Merrits’ interview:

RNS: What are your thoughts on polygamy? It seems a polygamous relationship could adhere to your principles here–fidelity, consensuality, etc. Can a polygamous relationship ever be “holy” in your view?

BM: Polygamy as it’s usually practiced in fundamentalist cultures – one older dude with a bunch of younger women – doesn’t pass the tests of equal power and mutuality. Polyamory, though, as a sexual and romantic relationship between three or more consenting people?  I don’t know. I think it would be really hard insofar as intimacy is hard enough in a dyad, and mutuality would be well near impossible given the even more complicated power dynamics and the reality of sin. I think there’s something really lovely about long-term monogamy that would be hard to capture with additional partners.

Whats more her last statement encapsulates her relativism.

But, just because something is outside my experience doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong.

which is a red flag that biology, culture, and radical philosophy and not the Bible is the leading principle guiding her interpretation.  Once you decide that you are at the center of the text, rather than God and that you are the authority rather than God, the ethics unravels and the principles unravel, and you’ve turned the world upside down with you at the top and God under you.


July 30, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

This should be in every philosophy of science textbook and probably every science textbook too

Here is a list of the philosophical presuppositions of science:

• existence of a theory-independent, external world
• the orderly nature of the external world
• the knowability of the natural world
• the existence of truth
• the laws of logic and mathematics
• the reliability of our cognitive and sensory faculties to serve as truth gatherers and as sources of justified beliefs in our intellectual environment
• the adequacy of language to describe the world
• the existence of values uses in science (e.g., “test theories fairly and report test results honestly”)
• the uniformity of nature and induction

(Garrett J. DeWeese & JP Moreland, Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult: A Beginner’s Guid to Life’s Big Questions, p. 136-137)

July 29, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

The need to integrate faith and reason for truth, understanding, and decision-making

Here are seven key considerations which can point in the direction of the critical need for integration:

  • The emotional aspects of decision-making are 100% inevitable.
  • Behavioral economics makes this argument in terms of Thinking I and Thinking II (its also developed by David Brooks in his book The Road to Virtue, in which he draws on Adam I and Adam II thinking, which parallels somewhat the distinction in behavioral economics).
  • Either you are explicit about your faith, or you get one implicitly.
  • Faith is key to the human life. Its impossible to life without faith.
  • Value and worldview discussions are articles of faith.
  • Faith can be grounded in empirical data and experience.
  • Wisdom is reflective of an emotional and faith-based approach to life.

Its also worth noting the following seven key insights:

  • Reductive rationalism is actually bad. Sheldon Cooper and Spock are great examples. [this provides the need that emotion & faith can serve]
  • The idea that Christianity isn’t rational—assumes a particular type of rationality, in the same way that Objectivism by Rand assumes a particular type of rationality that not everyone buys into.
  • Aristotlean logic and even Platonic logic is more in line with Christian thinking than the reductionistic aspects of new atheism. Various reasons why reductionism is anti-logical and anti-rational.
  • Ideologies like determinism, scientism, and materialism are hardly rational.
  • Relativism is irrational and morality is rational. (justifies all forms of evil)
  • Hedonism is irrational. (hedonistic treadmill)
  • Utilitarianism is irrational in many circumstances. (rights, justice, intrinsic value, etc…)

Honorable mention:

  • Further, all decisions are data plus inference.
July 24, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Bill and Melinda Gates at Stanford–Studies in the Rhetoric of Leadership

Ego Appeal
Common ground/mission
Parallelism on specific issues (evidence/demonstration)
One word we love: optimism. That…. *** Belief ***
His story
My belief…
Its been 40 years since then…
More optimistic then ever.
Evolution of optimism
Your optimism & ours could do more
What we wanted to do….bring it to people
Democratize computing
Digital divide
Story of trip to South Africa
Passed into a world that was completely different from….
Before….but I was blind…..
So taken back….did I still believe innovation could solve the toughest problems….
Struggling hospital….individual story…
“This was Hell with a waiting list”
Optimisim dismisses…theres also false hopelessness

Desires….to touch….
Home for the dying…
the stigma of aids….especially for women
I felt complete and totally helpless….

NK: faces of suffering/stories of suffering = empathy

July 24, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

What should preachers know about storytelling

Core components of storytelling for preachers:
1. Context and scene set up
2. Conflict (internal–heart/mind/gut and external)
3. Details, concreteness, and VACOK description
4. The power of silence and pausing
5. The Hero’s Journey (1000 Miles version). Very key ***
6. Contrast….(this isn’t just…its…..)
7. Calling Out Experiences (Attention Getting, Empathy, Understanding)

Here are a couple others:
1. Relatability/Humanity of the story
2. Translation of the story.
3. Moral of the story.
4. Application & Memory.
5. Helping parishoners create questions for reading the text and implementing in their own lives. Helping them become critical thinkers with regard to story, etc..
6. History, where does the story fit?
7. Ah-ha moments
8. Mystery, curiosity (Open Loops)
9. Empathy (this is me, this is human)
10. Other Possibilities: In story realizations, Archetypes (?)

July 24, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

My little diatribe on Gays and the Church

I think its moving away from a distinction of lifestyle sin versus sin. That sin is sin. I think a lot of stuff we just label sin or addiction is sin. He didn’t use this justification, but if we thought lifestyle sin was an issue we would have to kick out the alcoholics and drunks and the over-eaters and liars too.

We need to act out the love of Jesus to other people, sinners included. I’ve seen it does well and I’ve seen it done wrong

I think its about sheep. We need sheep. We are dying. We’re told to find sheep. We’re not told to judge. We’re told to find sheep. Our focus has been singular in terms of the do-nots versus the positive dos….positive action. I think its a realization that when we polarize against gays….there is about ZERO hope of them coming to church.
And thats historically just true.
At least in my experience.
I think you can make an argument based on “seasons of the church” He didn’t make that argument.
He made the argument primarily based on church growth and our need to go after the lost. Period.

July 24, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

My summary of the concepts in 3D Negotiation

1. Away from the table tactics
2. Backwards mapping
3. Value net
4. Perceived fairness & ego (p. 76-77)
5. Map the parties (identify blockers & allies)
6. p. 166
7. p. 215-216 (barriers, gut, fairness, people) my interp
8. Map differences (possible exercise)
9. Develop a no deal option.(possible exercise)
10. Identify barriers
11. Make it sustainable/Make lasting deals (entire chapter)
12. Anticipate their fairness arguments

Two other sources:
1) Look at the Index
2) Look at title page for more (note to self)

1. Seems to be primarily for complex deals
2. Seems to be primarily for legal & political deals–although economic ones are certainly included (probably 1/2 to 2/3rds of the examples)

1. Brainstorm, Document, Checklist, Reminder, Note taking, Visual (maps)


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