Showing posts from June, 2011

Short on Logos, Disingenuous on Ethos, and Long on Pathos

“O simple ones, learn prudence;
O fools, learn sense.”
--Proverbs 8:5

It’s election year again. Every time the political debates come round, I am reminded of the section in Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death where he described what political discourse looked like a hundred and fifty years ago.

Postman cites the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates as an example of how much things have changed. In 1858 a day’s debate could last seven hours and was packed with richly developed intellectual argumentation. By contrast, today’s politicians typically offer us a succession of quick, disconnected points which attempt to convey a general impression of competence and trustworthiness while lacking in the rigors of analytical depth and philosophical sophistication.

Elvin T. Lim, political scientist from Wesleyan University, has chronicled the gradual dumbing-down of American political discourse in his 2008 publication The Anti-Intellectual Presidency: The Decline of Presidential Rhetoric from G…

A Chance to Die

Things were supposed to slow down after Easter.
I promised my wife that I would be more available after the flurry of activity surrounding Passion Week. But alas my predictions were way off. Because of a "late" Easter, the end of the school year activities came quickly on the heels of the holiday. My administrative assistant had her baby two weeks before we expected. This meant that our new pastoral intern was thrown into his role as church administrator with no training. On top of this we are launching a day camp this summer--a new ministry for us. My reaction to this type of perfect storm, of course, is to go into "Superman mode" and think I can single-handedly get everything off the ground at once. Things never go as planned. You would think at 43 I would know this by now. Not so.

When things speed up, the chance of things going wrong increases. And that's what has happened since Easter. From my perspective, a boat load of things have gone wrong. The elusive …