Friday, July 19, 2013

Links for July 19, 2013

The recent discussions sparked by this summer's posts have been both exhilarating and stimulating, and I'm excited to see our readers and contributors engaging in fruitful conversation. If you've been following along but are unsure about whether your voice fits into Ground Motive's discussion, I assure you that it does! We'd love to hear your perspective.

As some of our contributors are involved in the vibrant (and occasionally volatile) conversations on some of Reddit's philosophy boards, two recent pieces created a bit of a stir on r/Philosophy. My post on why philosophy can be boring seemed to hit a nerve and was met with strong criticism from some but strong affirmation from others on Reddit, resulting in 117 comments (as of today). Joe Kirby's first piece on Star Wars and culture was a hot topic of discussion on r/Philosophy and brought in people with strong opinions from all sides, resulting in 131 comments on Reddit.


Some Links Worth Exploring...

Here are some links from across the internet I've come across recently that are related to issues that Ground Motive has been exploring (or are articles you might just find interesting).

If you'd like to read a little more about topics related to the recent Ground Motive discussion on homosexuality, I found this article by Rachel Held Evans to be a helpful way of framing the discussion. She provides some level-headed insights on how it's problematic that Christians sometimes use a "pick and choose" approach to reading the Bible "literally" when they want to identify people as sinners.

In working through my fears that philosophy might be boring and I might be making things worse, I came across an article describing a humorously heated exchange between Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Žižek in which Žižek says of Chomsky, "I don’t think I know a guy who was so often empirically wrong." Chomsky, on the other hand, is convinced that continental philosophy (and especially Žižek's work) is empty, boring chatter.

I recommend that you put Neil Gaiman's new book The Ocean at the End of the Lane on your summer reading list. It's a beautiful and profound novel that's thought-provoking and a pleasure to read. Here is an article on Gaiman's new book and his approach to fiction, reviewing his new book and his talk at this year's Book Expo of America. Fiction, says Gaiman, "shows you that the world doesn't have to be like the one you live in. Which is an incredibly dangerous thing for the world." If you haven't already, check out our recent post on what Richard Kearney has to say on this with regard to the Holocaust, Irish politics, and ancient Greek thought.

The summer is going by too quickly, and I don't know about you, but I'm looking for ways to make the most of it while it lasts. Maybe before the fall semester starts, I'll pop on over to Mars using NASA's new theoretical warp drive design and see those newly discovered Martian tablets with the text of John 3:16 in 12 languages and, inscribed in plain English, a message from God that reads, "I am real." I can imagine Kierkegaard turning in his grave as Christian faith becomes just a little less absurd. Or maybe I'll just content myself with watching pitch slowly form into a drop, now that, as of last week, it's finally proven to be an extremely viscous fluid. Either way, the rest of the summer will be a thrill.

An interview that is worth a listen and will get you thinking is Professor of Theology at Emmanuel College and professional jazz pianist Tom Reynold's interview on SoundCloud on the topic of jazz music and theology.

Exploring similar issues to Ron Kuipers' Ground Motive post on freedom and tradition, here is an interesting piece that looks to Kierkegaard for a way of talking about freedom as both limitation and imitation.

On the topic of Christian activism and his recent book The World is Not Ours to Save: Finding the Freedom to Do GoodTyler Wigg-Stevenson's interview with Qcast in New York explores some important ideas on how North American Christians should think about their involvement in social justice locally and globally.

Finally, speaking of social justice, James K. A. Smith's recent essay on "How I discovered I could long for justice in both this world and the next" is provocative food for thought as we consider the connections between personal faith, academics, the church, and social justice--do we need to talk about God when do social justice work? In what ways should our personal faith be integrated into or separated out from other spheres of life and activity?

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