Friday, March 14, 2014


In this month's edition (and I do seem to only be posting monthly so far this year), the theme is balance.

Maintaining balance and speaking in nuanced terms is a difficult thing to do in the highly polarized atmosphere that we currently find ourselves in.  Even at our best it can be challenging to avoid unconsciously slipping into a more adversarial tone.  At least, I've found that to be the case for myself, and I've seen it happen to others as well.

Link 1: Justin Lee is an individual who has a good track record of disagreeing graciously and maintaining a balanced perspective.  As such, it gives his words more weight when he writes an exhortation to conservative Christians like this one.  Only God knows how many will actually listen, but given Justin's reputation as a bridge builder he's in a better position than most to get through to those who genuinely do care.

Link 2: I also appreciate Rob Tisinai, who very ably tears apart anti-gay myths while still maintaining a nuanced perspective, as well as a strong respect for free speech and engaging with opposing viewpoints.

Link 3: Brian McLaren is another gracious voice who often takes a lot of heat for swimming against the tide of evangelical opinion.  In this piece he answers one of his critics.

Link 4: Being a fan of astronomy and science in general, I watched the premiere of the new Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson last weekend.  The first episode was a bit basic, but the show has potential as a teaching tool for young learners and for anyone else seeking to broaden their understanding of the universe we live in.

That said, the first episode also provided an example of how to fail at maintaining balance.  As Tobias Haller points out, Tyson's use of Giordano Bruno as an example of the dangers of placing dogma ahead of evidence was a bit misguided.  Bruno, as Tyson acknowledges, was not a scientist, and his belief that the Earth wasn't the center of the universe (while ultimately proven correct) was neither the product of scientific reasoning nor the primary reason he was executed for heresy.  And while the show half-heartedly acknowledged those facts, its emphasis on Bruno's martyrdom was nonetheless misleading.

No comments: