Worth Reading - 1/27

1. How hard is it not to tell a lie? Here is an account of someone who stopped telling all lies, even little white ones. This is worth reading:

I didn’t realize how often I lied until I stopped lying completely.

It wasn’t an intentional decision. Two summers ago I did my first ten-day silent meditation retreat, and we were required to sign five vows to join the program, including a vow of honesty. I didn’t know this until I arrived. But when you’re about to begin ten days in silence, signing your name on a vow not to lie does not feel like a bold step. At the end of the retreat, however, we were told the vows, which also include no killing and no stealing, now apply to the rest of our lives.

I’ve always been a literal person, often to a fault. I have the opposite curse of a flaky person – if I say I’m going to do something, I’ll do it, even if it no longer serves my interests. Having learned that I just agreed not to lie for the rest of my life, I decided to give it a try.

2. There is a close tie between human trafficking an online pornography usage. Here is a brief video that highlights the link and encourages people not to use internet porn:

3. A long-ish piece, but an interesting perspective on the benefits of working in an office. It may be there is a future for traditional employment patterns and office work:

For decades now, the office has suffered a lousy reputation. It’s a cubicled Hades of demoralized proletarians; it’s a glassed-in pasture of innocent cows that at any moment could get carted off to the abattoir. We saw this dim view played out over and over again in the pop culture of the last half of the 20th century, whether in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit or “Dilbert” cartoons or Office Space, the cult film from 1999 that culminated in Ron Livingston taking a baseball bat to a fax machine. (And in this century, of course, we have Dwight Schrute’s stapler entombed in a Jell-O mold.) Saval chronicles these visions and dozens more in Cubed, ultimately implying there’s an irresolvable tension between white-collar workers and management: You may love your work, but the company you work for will never love you back; your office may be designed for maximal autonomy and self-determination, but you are not, in the end, autonomous and self-determining. Offices are factories in drag, their indifference to your life reflected in their most basic unit of design, the cube. Even if management is experimenting with the latest design fads (volleyball pits between desks! Workbenches! No assigned workstations at all!), its efforts will inevitably regress back to the cube. No matter how much lipstick you put on it, the cubicle, with its burlapped walls and push-pinned art, will inevitably be the office pig.
As a historian, I appreciate the sympathetic, but not hagiographical portrayal of King. “Selma” depicts King as a man driven by faith, but struggling with personal doubts. He is a man whose life was saturated with the biblical worldview, but was also marred by moral failure. In both of these respects, he was not unlike many biblical figures such as Moses, Abraham, David, and Paul. Furthermore, the movie helpfully shows that King was not a solitary prophet; others surrounded him and played crucial, if lesser-known roles in the movement. Coretta King, Ralph David Abernathy, and especially John Lewis receive well-deserved attention in this movie.

I also appreciate that the movie does not depict a uniform Civil Rights Movement. As Walter pointed out in his earlier review, there was tension and competition between groups like King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and other organizations not mentioned in the film. The Civil Rights Movement further fractured in the years following the March on Selma and especially King’s murder three years later, and not all of the fractures were as influenced by Christianity as the SCLC was during King’s lifetime.

5. Last week some of the faculty at Southeastern participated in a casual conversation about the Church and the issue of marriage and divorce. It is worth the time to watch  this video, recognizing that every question could not be answered fully in this forum.