Friday, September 06, 2013

Wake Me Up When the Semester Starts: Highlights from Summer 2013

“Summer has come and passed
The innocent will never last
Wake me up when September ends”
     - Green Day

Around this time of year I always seem to find myself humming that classic emo tune that makes a perfect theme song for the period of limbo between summer and fall. But what’s so bad about September? My wheezing air conditioner finally gets some much needed R & R, the leaves start to consider turning crazy colours, I start craving pumpkin pie (too early?), and we plunge into a new year of invigorating study. I think I’ll stay awake for September, thank you very much.

So maybe I’m not quite as cynical about September as Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, but I can at least agree that the summer has come and passed, and I think it’s worth taking a second to look back at the highlights of Ground Motive’s summer escapades.

Ground Motive had some exhilarating successes this summer and some spellbinding content both homegrown and outsourced. Here are some highlights.

Most Viewed - How to Be Boring: Faking Philosophy
This article is a bit polarizing. Some people loved it; others hated it. It seems to have resonated with friends of philosophers who find themselves patiently putting up with endless mind-bending philosophy talk, and it also makes us philosophers and academics stop to consider whether our jargon is a useful tool or just something to hide behind.

Best Discussion Starter - The Spiritual Mistake of Star Wars and the Political Failure of Modern Culture
Joe Kirby’s first summer contribution launched the idea for a series on culture and narratives called “Popular Mythology.” Drawing Star Wars fans, philosophers, and those interested in thinking carefully about culture, this post lit up the /r/Philosophy board on and sparked vibrant and heated conversation, both on Ground Motive and on Reddit.

Most Popular Guest Post - Evolving Our Understanding of Evolution
We brought in scientist Jill Johnson to give us a primer on what evolution really is, pitched for non-scientist philosophers and Christians. It’s an engaging article that provides a great opportunity for us non-scientists to get our terms all sorted out before we say things about science that we’ll regret later.

Best Handling of a Controversial Issue - We Love You But…
Director of the CPRSE Ron Kuipers gave us a well-balanced, informative, and thought-provoking assessment of the recent developments related to the Christian attitude toward the LGBTQ community in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He hopes for the day when the Christian church won’t have a “we love you but…” attitude.

Most HeroicJustice and Texts as Superheroes
Exploring the connections between justice and faith, Allyson Carr (associate director of the CPRSE) posted a beautiful bit of prose on reading the Bible as a call to stand up against injustice. The important questions raised in this piece lead deep into the heart of the CPRSE’s ongoing research projects related to faith and justice.

Longest Discussion in the Comments - Forty Days Later on a Thursday
While this post waxes poetic and borders on stream of consciousness, it handles biblical hermeneutics and metaphysics in a way that generated a lengthy conversation about metaphysics and the nature of justice.

Some Honorable Mentions

Most Extraterrestrial - The Hermeneutics of Ancient Astronaut Theory
Best Sports Metaphor - Stickhandling Tradition: Freedom and Constraint in Religious Life
Best Use of Particle PhysicsEthics and the Theory of Everything
Best Philosophical TakedownSam Harris and the Morality of Torture
Best Post Published on September 6, 2013 - You're reading it.
Most MusicalFrayed Anthems: When Creativity Scandalized America
Best InterviewFiction Stronger than Truth: An Interview with Richard Kearney

Thanks to everyone who contributed this summer. In the coming semester, we look forward to many more exciting conversations about questions that arise when philosophy, religion, and social ethics meet.

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