1. My friend Alan Noble wrote an article for Christianity Today talking about a sane approach to immigration:
This tension between the political left who support the refugees and the far right who see them as a threat is simply not conducive to accurate and unbiased reporting. On the contrary, both sides have reasons to silence parts of this event and broadcast others. Much to their shame, it appears that the local government in Cologne tried to ignore or downplay the sexual assaults. Meanwhile some American pundits have jumped on the event as evidence for why we can’t possibly allow more Muslims into the United States.
Take, for example, The National Review, which ran a story claiming that Muslims are “unassimilable” into western society and that the immigration is really just part of a larger plan of conquest with “rape jihad” as a major strategy to overtake the West. Countless other, smaller online publications have likewise promoted this angle, arguing that fundamentally, Muslims cannot coexist with civilized western culture. According to them, Muslims will outbreed us, use political correctness to silence critics, use terrorist attacks to kill infidels, institute Sharia law in our court system, rape our women until they submit to Sharia law, mooch off of our entitlement programs, lie about Islam or anything else in order to seduce us into accepting them, insist that they are entitled to special treatment because of their religion, infiltrate and undermine every level of our government and military, and in general cause the destruction of the western civilization as we know it.
2. Every new technology has an impact. Looking back in history, we can find evidence of apocalyptic predictions that didn't entirely come to pass. Smithsonian Magazine recently published an article talking about how the phonograph changes music and how it didn't.
It’s almost hard to reconstruct how different music was before the phonograph. Back in the mid-1800s, if you wanted to hear a song, you had only one option: live. You listened while someone played it, or else you played it yourself.
That changed in 1877 when Thomas Edison unveiled his phonograph. It wasn’t the first such device to record and play back audio, but it was the first generally reliable one: scratchy and nearly inaudible by modern standards, but it worked. Edison envisioned a welter of uses, including for business, “to make Dolls speak sing cry” or to record “the last words of dying persons.” But in 1878 he made a prediction: “The phonograph will undoubtedly be liberally devoted to music.”
3. Racism isn't gone in our society. A white mother with black children steps up to offer evidence of the racial bias of which many in the majority are likely unaware:
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that racism still existed. Some things you just can’t understand until you personally experience it – I would venture to say racism is one of those things. I would listen to my black friends and my friends who had black kids talk about their experiences. I listened and was aghast at some of the things they told me. But I never really understood until I experienced it myself. This is why we need to and we must listen to those who have lived this thing called racism, day in and day out. We need to take our cues from them, rather than from our own experiences and perceptions. Because as white men & women, our own experiences and perceptions are vastly different than our black friends and neighbors, I can assure you of this.
I learned just how real this difference is when I became the mom of black kids.
4. Have you ever thought about leaving a fake money tract as part of or instead of a tip at a restaurant? Here is a slightly whimsical explanation as to why that is a bad idea:
I ran into a post there the other day that caught my attention and promptly depressed me (but then, Happy Meals also depress me, so take that with a grain of salt). The post relayed a tweet from a server in Kansas named Garrett Wayman who thought a customer had left him a generous tip, only to find it was actually a Christian tract “cleverly” disguised as a $20 bill. I’m not sure how this got to be national news, since Christians do this all the time, because Christians are basically terrible (the Friendly Atheist and I agree on that point, I suppose)—but there you go.
Let’s take a second to be fair. There’s actually a good chance the people who left the tract wouldn’t even identify as Christians. While it’s possible they were misguided religious folks trying to save his soul, it seems at least as likely that they were just a couple of drunk jerks playing a “hilarious” practical joke. But—if you were the people who left the tract, and you’re reading this, and you’re Christians, let me be the umpteenth to tell you: you’re terrible.