South Park – North Park – Golden Hill

Friday, March 10, 2017

Purity Is Not Everything, but It's Something

Major Pushback on Microagressions
Microaggressions are "the outward, unwitting expressions of implicit racism" or the "casual denigration of any socially marginalized group." The term has been tossed around much in the last few years. For example, to say that America is a melting pot is to microaggressively "demand" that people assimilate to the dominant culture. Or having pictures of American presidents on one's office walls announces that only white males can succeed (well at least before the immediate past president). This sort of thing is said to inflict pain and humiliation on the marginalized.

There is only one problem with the idea. There is no science evidence for the supposed harm microaggressions cause. That is the argument of Andrew Ferguson in The Weekly Standard, who reports on the results of a recent study. He calls the microaggression phenomenon macrononsense.

Lest one imagine this is merely conservative pushback, there is William Deresiewicz, who describes himself as "an atheist, a democratic socialist … and in case it isn't obvious by now, a card-carrying member of the liberal elite." His piece in The American Scholar is more about the deleterious effects of political correctness on elite college campuses, but microaggressions come into his sights. He suggests that what is being taught at these elite universities is nothing less than a new religion, with its own dogmas, heresies, and righteous ethics.

These authors rightly acknowledge that there are some genuine cases of microaggression, which in fact do cause some individuals unfortunate pain. But the phenomenon, they argue, is not a widespread one.
'Classic Illustrated' Bible
I admit to being ambivalent about "the World's Most Complete Graphic Bible," but it's here. Thought you should know about it. As someone who wants to see more people engage with the amazing good news of Scripture, I'll have to give the effort two cheers. I'm still of the opinion, however, that there is a reason God revealed himself in imageless words. I'm with Jacques Ellul who, in the end, says we should be on our guard when we put faith into images, because of the risk of idolatry (remember the Second Commandment!).

That being said, I won't hesitate to give a copy to my grandkids. My introduction to the classics of Western literature came through the old Classics Illustrated comics. I still remember how fascinated I was with the illustrations for War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (which you can still buy, used).
Purity Is Not Everything, but It's Something
I thought this piece brought balance to the conversation about the "purity culture" found in some conservative churches. Purity culture—a rigorous attention to behaviors, customs, and words that might lead to sexual sin—can be oppressive. Hardly the liberating message of freedom in Christ. Yet as author Samuel James puts it:
I absolutely agree that virginity and chastity aren't the chief values of the Christian life, and that a person without either is no further from the gospel than a person without kindness or patience. 100 percent correct. But the Christian faith demands holiness in our sexuality, and it's not shy about suggesting drastic measures to pursue it-such as, say, excluding a person from the fellowship because of who he is sleeping with.
Anyway, fodder for the ongoing conversation about how we negotiate relations between the genders in churches. If there were easy answers, there wouldn't be all this fuss.
One Step Forward for Trees
Looking the help better preserve the created order? Look no further than "reprintable paper," which can be erased and reused more than 80 times.
[The justified man] dares to live as one on whom [God's] judgment has passed, to whom [God's] pardon applies. He dares to consider all other men in the light of the fact that this judgment has been passed on them, this pardon applies to them.
—Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, IV I page 634.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor in Chief, Christianity Today

No comments: