Weekend Reading: July 16, 2017

Welcome to another weekend!  I’ve gotten a few people asking me about why I haven’t done a weekend reading in the last few weeks, and the reason is that with seminary responsibilities and many Saturday activities during the summer, its been harder to sit down and blog/email regularly. I’m going to be a little hit or miss for the next several weeks until the summer settles down.

I do have a few items for your radar though, some are from the last few weeks.  Here we go…

A good friend of mine sent along this article by Walter Isaacson from the Harvard Business Review: The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs.  It’s about 5 years old, and its rather long, but its a great weekend article with some very insightful points, and worth taking some time to scroll through.

Over at Cardus, David Koyzis has written a book review on Walter Newell’s new book on Tyranny.  The title of the article is called: DOES TYRANNY NEED A TWELVE STEP PROGRAM: Democracy and tyranny have a codependent relationship. This is heady stuff, and its another long one, but I think he makes some good points here – especially his closing counter-point to Newell re: the anecdote to tyranny.  Newell seems to think that the anecdote is liberal arts education, and reading the classics to see how governments (mal)functioned in the past. Koyzis rightly says that its more than that, its putting into place (doing something!) governments that have separations of powers, and checks on the tyranny that comes from democracy, and authoritarian types (among other species of tyranny….of which I think he lists 4).

Of all the “trump is the devil and we are investigating him and Russian connections” articles out there in the last few weeks, I found this one to actually be the most interesting: Trump-Russia investigators probe Jared Kushner-run digital operation.

Now a few thoughts about the political state-of-play. A friend of mine brought up the frustrating nature of the last few weeks watching the news on Donald Trump, Jr. and said that his major frustration was that he’d see the President or his team say or do something that just seemed utterly reprehensible one day, and then a few days later when more facts came out, it seemed like maybe it really wasn’t that big of a deal (that the media over-hyped it).  The frustration wasn’t aimed at the media per se (though they are doubtless out of control), but rather the fact that its very easy to have ver mixed emotions about the President even factoring in the media bias.

I know there are people who will be loyal to him no matter what – but I think the media’s dishonesty and unprofessionalism actually aids in that sentiment and is a sample of the real reason he was elected in the first place. Namely, people so distrust the media and their elected leaders (note: ELECTED…by them) and the bureaucrats they put into place, that they were willing to put this man in the White House.  Those are the major factors in play here. As long as the major news outlets continue their bias and buffoonery (a la Joe Scarborough), then the President will be given a free pass on just about anything.

Momentary time out to clear my throat……*cough* *cough*  How Ironic: George Clooney Moving Family Out of England For ‘Security Reasons’ …okay…back to my political update…

I do think there are some seriously messed up freaks who support Trump (and you have that on both sides of the political spectrum).  But take that hilarious video that Trump tweeted out with him body-slamming CNN – that actually came from one such cuckoo.  This is the stuff that the media uses to characterize Trump supporters – which would be ridiculous and unethical of them to do that, IF THE PRESIDENT HAD NOT BEEN THE ONE TO PROMOTE THEM!!!  When the President re-tweets stuff like this from people like that, he is tacitly endorsing those people and what they are putting out there.

So the way I see it, right now, you have two parties in a standoff: the President and the 4th Estate.  Each is committed to this battle and each seems more efficient at self-harm than of doing their jobs. But what I will say is this – at least the President seems to care about the country, and its people and is working to further our interests (at least as far as he understands them – that is a disputed point), whereas the media is committed to destroying any public figure (esp. on the right), and has no compunction about the future of our country. That is the material difference that gets lost in the milieu.

Moving on…TECH news: Tesla’s first mass-market electric

and this: To improve AI, scientists may have to make it worse 

ALSO…a story about the way of the world, and technology: How Pokemon Go Went From Viral Sensation To Wasteland in Just One Year

Also…an interesting Foreign Policy backgrounder on past assassination attempts on North Korea’s Kim family. 

This is another discussion for another day…but in case you missed this: California Issues ‘Travel Ban’ on Some Red States.  When men fall deeply into sin, it is the normal pattern of sin to protect and defend that sin against all assaults. Putting up walls to any critique, whether caring or not, is the militant manifestation of how we lash out against all attempts to have light expose our depravity.  This is manifested socially as well as individually, and its what we’re seeing from the gay rights movement, which essentially leads the pubic policy makers of California on a leash.

Some interesting Jane Austen stories are being cranked out by those who enjoy her literature because its going on 200 years since she died.  Oddly enough, the New York Times has a few decent articles. One is a quiz on your Austen knowledge (I didn’t score as well as I thought I would…though I expect Jim B. to turn in a high %).  The second is a story about how Austen dealt with death:  In Jane Austen’s Pages, Death Has No Dominion.

As an avid reader, I found this interesting: Is Harry Potter the boy who saved reading?  My own opinion a year ago would have been decidedly derogatory, yet despite the fact that Tolkein, Lewis, L’Engle and others have written superior literary classics, my daughter Chloe absolutely adores the Harry Potter series, and this has come at a critical junction in her reading development.  So for that reason I am extremely grateful for Rowling’s work.

Food for thought here:  The Lowering Of The ‘Presidential’ Bar And How Moral Relativism Became ‘Conservative’

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this excellent piece of writing from Desiring God.  Here’s an excerpt:

Everyone we know and love will return to the dust. Family members will hear heavy words from their doctor. Great loss will strike dear friends. We will weep. And pretending like we can manage our sufferings on our own won’t help. We weren’t built to handle them. We need the body of Christ — and we need Christ himself, our sympathetic High Priest, the man of sorrows, the one who shouldered our grief.

I hope you enjoy the remainder of your weekend.  Thank you for your patience as I am more spotty with my writing (at least through the next few weeks).

PJW

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