this week’s round-up (august 8)

Playing catch-up from the past couple weeks, but here’s a few things that have caught my eye:

This video is well worth your time – “A Thousand Questions” (via Jeremy Smith)

From Cornel West:

“We have a market-driven society so obsessed with buying and selling and obsessed with power and pleasure and property, it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for non-market values and non-market activity so that love and trust and justice, concern for the poor, that’s being pushed to the margins, and you can see it.

You can see it in terms of the obsession on Wall Street with not just profits but greed, more profit, more profit. You see it in our television culture that’s obsessed with superficial spectacle. You see it even in our educational systems, where the market model becomes central. It’s a matter of just gaining a skill or gaining access to a job to live in some vanilla suburb, as opposed to becoming a critical citizen concerned with public interest and common good.

It’s a spiritual malnutrition tied to a moral constipation, where people have a sense of what’s right and what’s good. It’s just stuck, and they can’t get it out because there’s too much greed. There’s too much obsession with reputation and addiction to narrow conceptions of success.

And when I talk about love, I’m talking about something that’s great, though, brother. I’m talking about something that will sustain you. It’s like an Aretha Franklin song, brother, or a Coltrane solo or Beethoven symphony, something that grabs you to the gut and gives you a sense of what it is to be human.

That’s what we’re more and more lacking, and it’s very sad. It’s a sign of a decline of an empire, my brother.” (via Mike Todd)

I love that line “It’s a spiritual malnutrition tied to a moral constipation” – don’t know how I’d ever work it into a sermon (or a poem), but it’s certainly an image that gets the point across. That quote also intersects with part of what I’ve been reading in Seth Godin’s latest book which talks about how that “market” undermines “art” and “community” – rather than delve into it right now, I’ll try to pick up more on that theme later. (Actually I have this idea of doing a Linchpin for pastors/churches series of blog posts that aim to apply the lessons of his book to the context of ministry; I don’t know if it will see the light of day, but it might).

7 Reasons Leaders Quit Your Organization

Scot McKnight points to an article on the erosion of the middle class. Also via McKnight’s blog this entertaining little cartoon on Twitter disciples.

Among my circle of friends and colleagues the NY Times article on clergy burnout has been receiving (needed) attention this week. NPR’s Talk of the Nation also provides a discussion of it as well:

Insightful, short article in Leading Ideas – The Promise and Peril of Conflict by David Brubaker.

Fred Clark on why every AG in the country should be suing the credit rating agencies. Also check out this post which is a letter written by a former slave to his former slave owner; as Fred says, “The letter provides a valuable glimpse into the atrocious reality of our history, but it should also be studied and relished as one of the all time great examples of the cheerful and elaborately polite ‘Screw you.’

Donald Miller put this song by Andrew Peterson up on his blog a couple weeks ago; its a lovely little song about life and marriage:

That does it for this week. I think I will probably be moving to a Sunday posting schedule, for the handful for people who actually follow this little thing.



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