1. From the Washington Post, an article explaining why children should be taught philosophy.
The idea that schoolchildren should become philosophers will be scoffed at by school boards, teachers, parents, and philosophers alike. The latter will question whether kids can even do philosophy, while the former likely have only a passing familiarity with it, if any — possibly leading them to conclude that it’s beyond useless.
Yet nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, nothing could be more important to the future well-being of both our kids and society as a whole than that they learn how to be philosophers.
2. Conspicuous consumption hasn't gone away, it has merely changed form:
Simply put, the way you signal status in contemporary society is to spend a bunch of money to show off how much you reject consumerism, globalization, and “the corporations.” You show off how intellectual and worldly you are by devoting your disposable income to make a stand against what made much of that income possible.
Within the bohemian bourgeois elite, who has higher status, a banker making $500,000 per year or a social sciences professor making $120,000? An operations manager making $200,000 per year or an artist making $50,000? To ask these questions is to answer them.
Taking part in the perpetual wealth creation machine known as capitalism is considered to be a dirty, demeaning activity. You sold out. Not selling out, making a living still ensconced in a world in which you can still pretend that all those things your humanities professor taught you in college are true, that is true self-fulfillment (i.e., high status).
3. If you were awake in 2004 you probably remember the much lampooned "Dean scream." It was the moment when it seemed that Howard Dean's campaign to win the DNP's nomination for POTUS fell apart. However a recent 10 minute documentary tells a little different story. That scream is certainly a political meme that will be remembered in infamy. However, it's likely his campaign was faltering by that point. The scream simply gave an opportunity for a new narrative that hastened the end. Click this link to see the video on the native webpage.
4. In this era of skyrocketing self-esteem, it may just be that an individual's concept of their self-worth is the most significant barrier to the gospel.
When asked why he shared a table with tax collectors and prostitutes, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Awareness of their own depravity is what made sinners receptive to Jesus; they recognized their illness and need for healing. The Pharisees, on the other hand, rejected Jesus because they were convinced of their own righteousness; they were perfectly healthy (or so they thought). Today, we increasingly live in a culture of secular Pharisees—non-religious people convinced of their own righteousness who view Jesus as a morally inferior kook followed only by simpletons. Will we be more effective at reaching today’s Pharisees than Jesus was?
5. Our friend, Bekah Mason reviewed Jennifer's book of devotionals that focus on different names of Jesus. The review is gracious and kind, but in my opinion, it gets at the heart of what Jennifer is trying to do.
With all that has been written in recent years about the exodus of youth from the church and the biblical illiteracy of professing believers, devotional works like this one show us that learning about Jesus does not have to be either loud and flashy or dry and boring; learning about Jesus can be simple and satisfying. Learning can be fun, and it can be genuine, and it can be done alone or in groups. We can even learn as families. An ideal plan for families with kids spread across developmental stages is to simply start small (one verse and the concept) and then just allow the conversation to continue by using the additional passages and questions as your guide. You may be surprised just how long even the youngest in your family may stick around to talk and learn.
6. If you haven't noticed, the Superbowl is this weekend. It is likely to be Peyton Manning's last game. Even though he is playing in Denver, an Indianapolis sports reporter honors Manning's integrity and legacy. The writing alone is worth reading this article. As for me, I'm a fan. I appreciate Peyton's humility, consistent character, and pursuit of excellence.
He was different from the start, the privileged son of an NFL quarterback who scoffed at the idea of shortcuts. At times it felt like he was engineered in some sort of football laboratory, this 6-5, 230-pound quarterbacking machine with that laser, rocket right arm and the mind of an offensive coordinator to match, constructed to make all the right reads and all the right throws and when he was finished, say all the right things.
Hours after signing his first professional contract, the Indianapolis Colts’ rookie quarterback and newly minted $48 million man was asked what he planned on doing with all that money.
“Earn it,” he said.
How many 22-year-olds say that?
Peyton Manning did.
7. In the midst of political chatter and rancor, there is some meaningful meta analysis going on, including a recent article at Christianity Today on the importance of virtue in Christian engagement in the political conversation. It's worth a read, I think.
Followers of Christ are called to “hope all things.” According to Paul, this is one of the defining features of love. If this is true, then for Christians, there is no room for nihilist politics. We are obligated to treat our neighbors as people who deserve honest appeals. This does not mean that all political discourse must be highly rational. There is a place for appeals to emotion, as well as to beauty. Don’t think I am denouncing all political ads that appeal to our emotions. While I do think that our politics could do with a great deal more logic and reason, I reject the idea that only what is rational is relevant to political discourse.
No, my objection is to appeals that are dishonest, and dishonesty can be cloaked in “reason” or “emotion” or “patriotism.” The most common and insidious form that this takes is the example I began with: when we lie about particulars in order to justify a general truth. I call this insidious because it occurs so subtly and is so easy for us to personally justify.