I have been watching, reading, and pouring over the events surrounding Wikileaks, wanting to write some sort of thoughtful commentary. But, as The Atlantic points out, this event has brought about some of the best journalism, political analysis, and writing we’ve seen in years and I find it difficult to try and say something newer or more insightful than those that are more knowledgeable of the past and have more time and acquaintance with the primary sources in question. With more of these leaked diplomatic cables being released every day, this coverage is literally non-stop. My productivity at worked has suffered because of the tangled web of links one can get caught in going from one story to the next to the next; I have at least a couple dozen quotes and links saved in my Evernote notetaking app in order to use in some future writing (or present).
But nevertheless, even among my friends who care about this situation, there appears to be some common misconceptions about this whole situation, leading them to direct their frustrations, diatribes, and anger in the wrong direction. I wish to clarify some of those here today. First, I must say on the outset that I am absolutely, entirely in favor of most all that Wikileaks has done and is doing. I think they are serving America’s longterm interest and the well-being of its citizenry far more than even our own federal government is doing. Do I think they have done everything perfectly and responsibly? No, but no four-year old media organization can be said to have done so. Wikileaks has (and will) make mistakes–its founder has even admitted that–but so will/has our federal government in its own “attempts” at serving the greater good. The only question remains: who do you think does more damage when they make those inevitable mistakes (the government or Wikileaks?), and therefore, who requires more scrutiny, responsibility, accountability, and fear of being out of control? I (as well as Glenn Greenwald and The Economist) wholeheartedly fear the results of a government out of control more than a Wikileaks out of control. But, in fact (as we move on to the misconceptions) ….
I have a new article up on Patrol Magazine (yeah, I know; it’s the first in a long while). Patrol recently changed up the philosophy and design of the site, making it much more of a blog-type format, as well as trying to focus more on consistently substantive and “Christianly” reflections on the world today. In the spirit of that, today was posted I review I wrote for Thomas Nelson Publishers on Jack Cashill‘s newest book, Popes & Bankers. Some of you may remember that while I was in the middle of reading the book, I wrote for Patrol about Cashill, and how I thought he was a propagandist, revisionist historian, and (frankly) crazy. I also mused about how it was that Thomas Nelson Publishers, a Christian publishing house came to publish this particular book. This caused a response from someone involved in the nonfiction acquisitions process at Thomas Nelson that was involved in getting Popes & Bankers published. I get what he was saying at the time, but even now, after having finished the book, I stand by what I said. You can read the exchange below after the link and the break. Enjoy the review and leave your comments!
Review: “Popes & Bankers,” By Jack Cashill | Patrol Magazine
Here was the exchange:
Every year, change.org sponsors its Blog Action Day, where they take an issue of world importance and try to get as many bloggers writing posts about as possible, hoping for a viral effect that can influence larger political structures. This year’s topic is global access to clean water. I had known this was an issue, and an issue of importance, but it wasn’t until I signed on to write this post and started researching it that I realized what all it entailed.
“Social Justice-y” issues are in style right now. As globalization and social media collide, our global neighbors are feeling ever and ever closer, and our awareness to global issues is rising. What’s your little pet issue? Women’s rights? Children’s rights? Animal right? Poverty? The Environment? Global conflict and wars? As the change.org website points out in its suggested post ideas page, this clean water access issue is a primary factor in all of the above areas. Unclean and unsafe water is the primary cause of 80% of all disease and it kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. 90% of all of these deaths happen to children (source). Many global wars, including the conflict in Darfur can find their root in water access (source). The hours spent finding, carrying, and distributing water–and not going to school or working–are so numerous that it is a major source of poverty in the world (source). Indeed, there are even more implications for this most basic of issues, and they are well-catalogued on that “suggested post ideas” page, but these were the issues that struck me most.
Those that know a little about the history of computers may have heard that phrase as the traditional first thing anyone programs when learning a new programming language. I’m wondering if this counts. It certainly feels, at least, like I’m blogging in a new language.
Yes, in case you’re wondering, this post is mainly a test got me to see how simple this could be. Could I blog regularly from my phone? Perhaps. I’ve got to admit- -this post is coming along pretty quickly.
I should wrap this up. I’m currently in miami at the airport waiting for my girlfriend (yes, I have one of those) to pick me up for this weekend trip. I’ve got several blog posts in queue that should be going live in the next couple of weeks; my flights back to philly will be kind of long, so I’ll hopefully work on them then.
That’s it for me, I guess. I think this little experiment went well enough. I could see myself doing this from time to time to give little personal updates. We’ll see. Well, I’m of to brave this terrible, terrible 90° humid weather, while my beloved philly is resting securely in the 70′s.
posted from WordPress for Android on my Droid X
Ah, this is a tough one to write. As some on the blogo-rounds have been quick to jump on the coat tails of, Al Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Karl Giberson, the Vice-President of the BioLogos Foundation, have been in a bit of a tizzy for the past couple of months. Mohler is a very conservative Evangelical whom Time proclaimed as the most influential Evangelical intellectual in America of couple of years ago. Giberson is also a Baptist, but has devoted much of his time, writings, and energies to showing how Darwinian Evolution is not inherently antithetical to a Christian worldview. Mohler, as can be expected, disagrees. This little debate has reached a climax in the past couple of days. For a full account of what’s been written in this exchange, I have a full timeline at the bottom of this post.
Hopefully in the next few days I can actually lend some (hopefully) helpful thoughts on the actual argument taking place, but today I just wanted to step back and lament a little.
Thanks to David Sessions, the editor of Patrol Magazine for bringing this all to our attention.
Now, I have remained in the closet for much of this discussion (forgive the pun), though I have spoken of this in-person with others, with varying reactions. For a myriad of reasons, it’s generally wiser to controvert into a half-empty coffee cup or beer pint than it is to do so on the web. But nevertheless, this is a charged issue that demands response, both public and private, from those that have (hopefully) given it deep and communal thought, allowing both time and others to help refine and nuance one’s opinions. I hope I may be so bold as to include myself in those numbers.
For now, I’m still figuring it out, and discussions like the one I want to bring to your attention today both clarify and confuse the issue for me. I find myself agreeing with each article you will find below; a similar reaction Sessions has eloquently articulated in his Patrol article. I appreciate his public candor and can easily relate.
Do we form Social Networks or do Social Networks form us?
That’s the fundamental question raised by Peggy Ornstein’s recent article “I Tweet, Therefore I Am” in The New York Times recently. It’s also the question I want to address in my recent article in Patrol Magazine. So, whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook, or no Social Network at all, I promise the article has something for you, our culture, and the world in which we find ourselves. Leave comments! Here’s the link:
“Is Twitter Really Killing Us?” – Patrol Mag
You can read all my articles for Patrol Magazine here.
Rest in peace, Reform & Revive.
As of today, the online magazine I used to run, Reform & Revive, is no more. It was started in a coffee shop in Richmond, and now it is ending in a coffee shop in Philly (forgive the melodramatic picture attached to this post).
For those that just met me, just started following this blog, or just started reading my stuff, you probably have never really heard much about this little attempt at an online magazine I had. That’s because it’s last original article was posted almost nine months ago.
The original idea of the site was to gather a diverse group of writers and guest contributors who would then write about the “intersection of theology and life”. This could find its expression in art, poetry, prose, meditation, short fiction, or more typical non-fiction theological fare. But in the end, I wanted it to be the expression of hearts whose affections had been inflamed by the deeper truths of who God is.
And I think we greatly succeeded in this. The vast majority of writings on the site certainly constituted this calibre of expression. It was exciting. But then people, due to life and such, stopped writing. Eventually, in my desperation to get somebody–anybody–to consistently write, I let the quality of the posts at times slip. The site’s readership, for one reason another (probably because it had the word “Reform” in it) began to appeal and primarily lead towards the Mark Driscoll/John Piper groupies and wanna-be’s; the “TR’s” as we would call them at my seminary (the “Totally Reformed!”). It just wasn’t fun and fruitful anymore when the hyper-Calvinistic theology police came to town, and it all went downhill from there, until no one was writing anything, and the only other person that had written as much as I had on the site deleted all of her stuff off the site, on the off-chance that someone would find her name attached to it someday.
Look at that picture above. Click on it to make it bigger. That’s my iTunes. As you can see, I listen to a LOT of podcasts. And no, this isn’t just a narcissistic moment to seem smart. You see all those blue numbers above each podcast? Well, those are just the episodes I haven’t listened to. Also notice the 320 iTunesU lectures that have also been neglected.
And so begins my newest article in Patrol Magazine. It’s about our culture’s (and my own) addiction to information consumption, how we should think about it, and where our hope is that something good may come of it. I know, it’s some light reading, right? Here’s the link:
“Information Overload, Social Darwinism, Linguistics, & Nuclear Forensics”
For all my previous articles at Patrol, click here.
According to the Philly.com’s Insider blog, my (and most everyone’s) favorite breakfast diner, Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat, will be opening a second location. And where does this bastion of greatness decide to place this most-coveted of second locations? In Graduate Hospital. Three blocks from my house. For those that know the area, the new location will be found at this corner of 21st and South St, across the street from the great bar Ten Stone and the great coffee shop La.Va. It will also have in it a branch of the dog shop, Doggie Style. They plan to open in the winter. (this story was found via Philly Grubstreet)