Worth Reading - 6/4

1. A post on Vox (yeah, I know) by a liberal college professor about his fear of being fired over irrational complaints from . . . liberal students. There's plenty of bias in the article, but a good reality check, too:

The press for actionability, or even for comprehensive analyses that go beyond personal testimony, is hereby considered redundant, since all we need to do to fix the world’s problems is adjust the feelings attached to them and open up the floor for various identity groups to have their say. All the old, enlightened means of discussion and analysis —from due process to scientific method — are dismissed as being blind to emotional concerns and therefore unfairly skewed toward the interest of straight white males. All that matters is that people are allowed to speak, that their narratives are accepted without question, and that the bad feelings go away.

So it’s not just that students refuse to countenance uncomfortable ideas — they refuse to engage them, period. Engagement is considered unnecessary, as the immediate, emotional reactions of students contain all the analysis and judgment that sensitive issues demand. As Judith Shulevitz wrote in the New York Times, these refusals can shut down discussion in genuinely contentious areas, such as when Oxford canceled an abortion debate. More often, they affect surprisingly minor matters, as when Hamsphire College disinvited an Afrobeat band because their lineup had too many white people in it.

2. A good post by Marty Duren on why being insulting or resisting the desired name of Caitlyn Jenner really doesn't help the gospel:

I have not a scintilla of personal identification with a man or woman who so strongly feels they are actually members of the opposite sex that they will undergo a surgical process to become the opposite sex. I don’t know the kind of emptiness a person who believes himself or herself to be the opposite sex must feel.

Is is physical? Emotional? Psychological? Spiritual? A combination, all of the above, or something not mentioned?

I do not know all the answers.

What I do know is insulting transgendered people by mocking them does not gain us a hearing for the gospel. Mockery is not a characteristic of Jesus.

3. Why don't we share the gospel more? Often because we talk about what we love most:

My grandmother died absolutely convinced that God would accept her because she was a good person. She had no faith in Christ. And here’s what I regret. In the week before my grandmother died, I did not speak to her about Jesus. I tried to love her well, but didn’t say anything to her about Jesus. When my other grandmother had died, I’d taken her hand and prayed with her. But not that grandmother. I just let her go.

Why didn’t I tell her about Jesus? I’ve come to realise that I was afraid of what she’d say, and I was afraid of what my family would say, because I knew they’d think it was inappropriate and unhelpful. I was afraid.

I loved my grandmother, and she loved me, but the hard truth is that I loved myself more than her. I wanted my family to think well of me more than I wanted her to think of Christ as her Savior. That’s why I didn’t speak to her. I loved myself more than I loved her — and more than I loved my Lord.
There is no honest vocation that cannot be made to some extent a fine art. That is, in every honest vocation, each day, growth is possible, if the work is loyally done; and that, we have seen, is the meaning of art. Indeed, the one supreme fine art is the art of living, and the particular vocation gets its meaning as a phase of that highest art.

In most vocations, it is true, there is so much dull routine work that we can discover little growth in the action of the single day. To go to the shop and sell a spool of thread and a paper of pins, to make the physician’s daily round, prescribing for those who are ill and the larger number who think they are, to work over the lawyer’s brief for some petty quarrel, to write sermons for congregations that will not listen and that demand the sermon shorter every week—it all seems such a blind mill-wheel grind that one sees little progress in the day……

It is, nevertheless, just such work, done cheerfully and loyally, to a high purpose, through the succession of days, that builds into the human spirit the noblest elements of culture. What then do we mean by “culture”— some esoteric knowledge or remote adornment of life? Surely not. Its foundation elements are: loyalty to the task in hand, the trained will that does not yield to obstacles, cheerful courage in meeting the exigencies that come, serenity maintained amid the petty distractions of life, holding the vision of the ideal across the sand wastes and through the valley of the shadows: these are the basic elements of culture, and they are built into the spirit of a man or a woman by the loyal doing of dead work through the succession of days….