Worth Reading - 5/1

In the long run, there is nothing about God–no activity or attribute–that cannot be a comfort to the Christian. That might strike some of us as too sunny a view on things. I mean, everything? Obviously, attributes like his compassion and his mercy are comforting, and his creation and salvation, but what about his jealousy, or his anger? Or how about this one? His derision.

What possible comfort and blessing is there in knowing God holds certain things in contempt and derision?

2. Pregnant at Harvard. This is an important read, but it is emotionally raw.

I still remember freshman orientation, when the Office of Student Life had us all bond with our entryways by sending us on a dorky scavenger hunt through Harvard’s plethora of campus resources, from the Bureau of Study Counsel to the Office of Career Services to Room 13. In the Women’s Center, my friends and I giggled awkwardly at the rainbow condoms and joked about a brochure entitled “Pregnant At Harvard?” I never dreamed that it would be relevant to my life. And yet two and a half years later, I walked sobbing out of a clinic in Boston after having an abortion.

Okay. Rewind needed.

When I came to Harvard, I was very much the stereotypical Harvard freshman. I fit in well with the high school student body presidents, star soccer players, first violinists, and newspaper editor-in-chiefs. I’d never done drugs. The most I’d ever had to drink was a glass of champagne with my parents. I had a steady boyfriend of two years. Life wasn’t picture-perfect; it never is. But mine was almost scarily wholesome.

3. Trillia Newbell on the impact media has on our perceptions, and sharing hope we can see the good news out of Baltimore and not just the bad:

A picture of an African American boy handing water out to police men lined up with their shields and weapons is making its way around the web. The picture, posted by Prophetic Deliverance Ministries senior pastor Bishop M. Cromartie, provides a beautiful picture of humanity in the midst of destruction since the funeral of Freddie Gray.

As my friends share another photo of clergy, black and white, walking hand-in-hand to protest peacefully, I’ve seen phrases like, “Share this. It won’t be shared broadly,” as though only depressing news is coming out of Baltimore.

If we rely on our Facebook feeds or cable news for news, we might not see the peaceful protests or the little black boy handing out water to the police. We tend to see the fire, the destruction, the anger, the hate.

4. An interesting post from someone within academe about the chilling effect the refusal of many to encounter contrary ideas is having on educators, even liberal ones:

This isn’t an issue of hypocrisy. This is a matter of real, palpable fear. Saying anything that goes against liberal orthodoxy is now grounds for a firin’. Even if you make a reasonable and respectful case, if you so much as cause your liberal students a second of complication or doubt you face the risk of demonstrations, public call-outs, and severe professional consequences. My friends and colleagues might well agree that the student-teacher relationship ban is misguided, but they’re not allowed to say as much in public.

C-can you guys see the problem, here?

Personally, liberal students scare the sh** out of me. I know how to get conservative students to question their beliefs and confront awful truths, and I know that, should one of these conservative students make a facebook page calling me a communist or else seek to formally protest my liberal lies, the university would have my back. I would not get fired for pissing off a Republican, so long as I did so respectfully, and so long as it happened in the course of legitimate classroom instruction.

The same cannot be said of liberal students. All it takes is one slip—not even an outright challenging of their beliefs, but even momentarily exposing them to any uncomfortable thought or imagery—and that’s it, your classroom is triggering, you are insensitive, kids are bringing mattresses to your office hours and there’s a twitter petition out demanding you chop off your hand in repentance.