Judaism

The Real Miracle Of Bartimaeus

The Real Miracle Of Bartimaeus

activism, autonomy, awareness, Challenge, Change, Character of God, citizenship, civics, Compassion, critical judgment, Enlightenment, Ethics, faith, faithfulness, God, Gospel of Mark, Gratitude, Hope, Human Condition, Judaism, Judean Peasant, Kierkegaard, kindness, Kingdom of God, Letting go, Outside your comfort zone, peace and justice, Religion, separation of Church and State, Skeptic, Theology, Uncategorized
Even if you reject the “metaphysics” of Christianity – the Incarnation, the miracles, the bodily Resurrection, etc. -- you still have to deal with Christianity as an ethical system, and by that measure there are Gospel texts that, perhaps because of their very simplicity, challenge the current conservative ethic of “I’ve got mine, Jack, so screw you”.  One such text is the story of Jesus’ encounter with the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, on the road leaving Jericho. But matters are not that straightforward. For it is easy enough, in fact, borderline-trivial, to understand the story as a critique of contemporary conservative Republican attitudes toward any form of material assistance to the indigent. What is usually overlooked is that the story contains a very recessed and implicit critique
Channeling Alan Dershowitz

Channeling Alan Dershowitz

activism, autonomy, awareness, bigotry, Challenge, Change, Christianity, Church, citizenship, civics, community, conflict, conservatism, constitution, courage, Criminal Procedure, critical judgment, culture, Discernment, Education, Enlightenment, Equality, Executive Branch, Fascism, Fear, First Amendment, Freedom, Hillary Clinton, history, Ideology, injustice, Judaism, justice, law, Outside your comfort zone, political rhetoric, Politics, Presidency, progressive politics, Rationality, republic, Secularity, Skeptic, Supreme Court, Tolerance, Trump, Uncategorized, Welcoming the other
I must admit it feels really strange to be channeling Alan Dershowitz, not only because Prof. Dershowitz is still very much alive, but also because, at least on some issues, I share his oft-reviled ability to act as an honest broker by disinterestedly considering constitutional issues from the standpoint of both parties to a dispute.  But that is the position I find myself in while reading stories about and pondering the back and forth between Democrats / progressives and Republicans / conservatives regarding the matter of the confirmation of Supreme Court nominees Merrick Garland and Brett Kavanaugh. People on both sides of these controversies seem much more conversant with and concerned about the principles of tennis than those of the US Constitution.  Moreover, there is about equal
Cherry Picking The New Testament

Cherry Picking The New Testament

Archetypes, Art, Atheism, autonomy, awareness, Challenge, Cherry picking, Christianity, conservatism, Creator, critical judgment, culture, Discernment, epistemology, fables, faith, God, Hebrew Scripture, Ideology, Jesus, Judaism, monotheism, Rationality, reflection, Scripture, Secularity, Skeptic, Theodicy, Theology, Trump, Uncategorized
When I was at Exeter College, Oxford, in 1988, one of the more unsettling things I learned in my classes on postmodernist interpretation theory, both the ones I took and the ones I taught, is what the seemingly prosaic act of reading (almost?) always entails. Unpacking that statement is a many-splendored thing, too complex to address here. Suffice to say that one of the more disillusioning aspects of the act of reading a text, any text, is that we always, almost always despite ourselves, read selectively even when we do not want to. Or think we do not want to. Cherry-picking reading with a usually unconscious confirmation bias is an almost constant aspect of reading. And I am tempted to remove the "almost" in that prior sentence. Usually, on some level (almost?) always unconscious, we ...