I wish that many of the conversations I have had ended up as my blog posts. But when I try to translate these conversations they tend to fall flat. As Merleau-Ponty observes good conversation creates a shared space between the participants, such that things spoken that make profound sense in that space may only make ordinary sense if not well translated to another space. Still, sometimes statements or realizations will transcend the space of shared conversation and carry similar weightiness in different situations. Such is the case, I claim, for the conclusion to a recent conversation provided my my fellow blogger Joel Peters:
“The easiest way to stay on the straight and narrow is to never ask what the straight or narrow is.”
An observation particularly to be heeded, perhaps, during an election campaign (which we are in the midst of in Canada) when easily offered straight and narrow ideologies are rampant.
Compassion is a radical critique of the imperial imagination because it announces that the hurt of the people, even of one’s enemies, will not be disregarded but will be taken seriously. To do otherwise is to make pain normative, injustice permissible, and evil god. Empires live in callous disregard to the human pain which they require to sustain themselves. God and God’s people live in compassionate empathy with the broken ones. God and God’s people offer hope to the hopeless. – Harry Huebner
For the past three and a half years I have done a monthly radio broadcast for the Mennonite Church of Manitoba. Because the radio audience and the audience I have (or might one day have, perhaps) in blogging are quite different, I have never shared my programs online. Last Sunday’s program felt like an exception to this – perhaps it is that my program should have been written for the blog not the radio. In any case I think it is fitting here, so here’s an excerpt. Continue reading A Compassion-Formed People
Children are using art to “ridicule structures of oppression.” Among all of the hopeful and good aspects of this story, I find the multiple levels on which space is being transformed here especially captivating. It’s a story worth checking out.
I was recently chided by a good friend for my frequent and (I was told) vague use of the terms “politics,” “political,” and the like. The point was well-made: if everything is political, then how does the use of such a term help us in any way at all? I want to try to respond to this question with the claim that the peculiar nature of Christian allegiance calls for a use of such terms like in theological discourse, even if such use is hard for those in other disciplines to understand.
My widespread description of many things related to church, faith, and identity related as “political” is, I think, not unusual to me, but is widespread in theological literature. I acknowledge that there is probably some semantic laziness here that evacuates the term of useful meanings; I spot it in my own writing. However, I claim that it is primarily something else that is going on. Continue reading On the (over?)use of the term political
One of the most difficult aspects of reading Deleuze and Guattari is the fleetingness of helpful examples. Let me clarify. There are many quite illustrative literary examples and there are many historical examples that help to give a sense of their differentiations of the various political modes they explore. However, for this reader none of these help much when thinking about where and how Deleuze and Guattari may or may not position themselves politically, or how we might use their tools of analysis in the various political movements and landscapes of today. Having said that, I just came across a helpful one on women’s politics. Continue reading The example of women’s politics in A Thousand Plateaus