All posts filed under: Current Affairs

Here’s why Rhode Island is the only state that celebrates Victory Day |

Current Affairs

Here’s why Rhode Island is the only state that celebrates Victory Day | “If ever a state was at the center of the American war effort in World War II, it was Rhode Island,” veteran political reporter Scott MacKay wrote in a 2010 essay. “From Westerly to Woonsocket and everywhere in between, Rhode Island was focused on winning what has become known as, in Studs Terkel’s famous words, ‘The Good War.’” The Navy had a […]

The tragedy of the commons is a false and dangerous myth | Aeon Essays

Climate Change / Current Affairs / Religion

I’ve certainly read people who quoted from Garrett Hardin’s 1968 paper in Science “The Tragedy of the Commons” often enough. It’s a cautionary tale about how, if humans are left unchecked, our selfishness will destroy the environment and the resources that are our common wealth. But it appears that this paper has some major flaws that I’ve not seen laid out before. There are deep lines of eugenic thoughts going through it and his subsequent […]

The Human in AI – Comment Magazine

Current Affairs / Religion / Web/Tech

Having co-written a piece with Kirk Smith on some practical ways that AI might be useful in small church ministry; I feel like I should point people to this longer, much more thoughtful article by Prof. Walter J. Scheirer on how AI might impact what it is to be a human being in the years to come: The Human in AI – Comment Magazine: The Portuguese political scientist Bruno Maçães has argued in his recent […]

Loneliness Is an ‘Epidemic,’ Surgeon General Says. How can congregations respond?

Current Affairs

From CNET: Loneliness Is an ‘Epidemic,’ Surgeon General Says. Here’s What to Know: There’s no getting around the fact that we are social beings at our core. If we’re removed from a sense of community or do not have a feeling of belonging, it’s a threat to public health and can cause myriad health effects for the individual, as outlined in a new advisory from the Office of the US Surgeon General. […]Persistent feelings of […]

Mozilla Social Private Beta Launch

Current Affairs / Web/Tech

Content moderation is the hard part of any online social platform. It was a big problem early on with email and email lists, with Usenet, and with any chatroom. It’s a problem on websites, particularly discussion sites and lately with social media. Each platform has its own challenges, but they all have the common issue of dealing with giving jerks a big megaphone to be jerks to others. (Human sinfulness, etc.) There have been all […]

Knowing nothing as a strategy to heal a nation: a return to Socrates and his techniques

Current Affairs

Turns out there are lot of parallels between ancient Athens and the modern Western societies. “In ancient Athens, as much as in the U.S. today, being perceived as right translated into money and power. The city-state’s culture was dominated by the Sophists, who taught rhetoric to nobles and politicians, and the Poets, ancient playwrights. Greek theater and epic poetry were closely related to religion, and their creators were treated as mouthpieces for aesthetic and moral […]

RNS: Vatican statement repudiates Doctrine of Discovery

Current Affairs / Reconciliation

The Doctrine of Discovery was the theological justification for the atrocities that Western nations and church (including the Church of England and later on in the US, the Episcopal Church) committed against the indigenous people living in North and South America. It was first expressed in the middle of the 15th century by popes during the age of Discovery, as Western Europeans were coming into first contact with these existing civilizations.  The Episcopal Church repudiated […]

Luddites: It’s not technology, it’s what it does to human dignity.

Current Affairs / Web/Tech

I’ve misunderstood the Luddites. The point they were making back then is still valid today. From an essay by Cory Doctorow: As Merchant explains, the Luddites were anything but technophobes: they were skilled high-tech workers whose seven-year apprenticeships were the equivalent to getting a Master’s in Engineering from MIT. Their objection to powered textile machines had nothing to do with fear of the machines: rather, it was motivated by a clear-eyed understanding of how factory […]

We are saved by the same love that we so often reject

Current Affairs

Newsletter article April 6 2022 We are watching the images from Ukraine with horror. The human suffering of this war is unimaginable. I have had to turn off the news on several occasions because I couldn’t bear to witness anymore of it. This war has happened as we have been keeping Lent this year. And the terrors and the cruelty of the war are being revealed more broadly as we are about to begin Holy […]

Ash Wednesday 2022

Current Affairs / Religion

World history swirls about us as we begin Lent today. I have the sense that what has been happening over the past few years, particularly over the past week, will define the world that the next generation of leaders will manage. We are watching the atrocities in the Ukraine with horror. We are facing the accelerating rate of Climate Change, And the pandemic, though waning, is still part of our lives. It is easy enough […]