“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. But I have come that you may have links, and have them abundantly,” Jesus said (John 10:10). Ah yes, abundant links, and with them, abundant click traffic for my website which generates no revenue whatsoever. This is the life, I’m telling you. Anyways, here are some finds from the past two weeks.
• It was only a matter of time until someone pointed out that the Bieber Pastors are wearing really expensive shoes. @preachersnsneakers is an Instagram account posting side-by-sides of celebrity megachurch leaders (Chad Veach, Judah Smith, Steven Furtick, John Grey, etc.) and the actual retail value of their designer clothes. Here are three reply takes of various quality: from okay, to great, to annoying.
• Countering the narrative that high income taxes drive high-tax payers out of the state, we have Poor Left, Rich Thrived When Illinois Hiked Flat Tax. Main takeaway should be that of course it isn’t as simple as the narrative would have it: “Nuance, however, is not the stuff of political narratives, which in the case of Illinois’ anemic population numbers often draw on anecdotes and cherry-picked data to attempt a cause-and-effect link to tax rates.”
The Germanic speaking peoples, who inhabited and hunted in northern climes and were presumably in frequent contact with the bear, did not use its common name. Instead, they used a circumlocution: “the brown one”, and this is reflected in the modern word for bear in all the Germanic languages. Linguists hypothesize that in old common Germanic, the true name of the bear was under a taboo — not to be spoken directly. The exact details of the taboo are not known. Did it apply to hunters who were hunting the bear and did not want to warn it? Or to hunters hunting other animals and did not wanting to rile up the bear and have it steal their prey? Or did it apply to anyone who did not want to summon the bear by its name and perhaps become its prey? Whatever the details, the taboo worked so well that no trace of the original *rkto- word remains in Germanic languages, except as borrowed historically in learned words from Greek or Latin.
• Incoming College Students Are Re-creating Facebook on Instagram.
Alexis Queen, who runs Harvard’s class account, adding that the school’s official Facebook groups are ghost towns. “The most popular post in our admission group is just, ‘Comment your Instagram handle,’” she said. “Facebook is just an easy way to find people on Instagram.”
• My friend and fellow seminarian Yangkwon Jeong also happens to be a world-class photographer. Here is one of his recent works, in three parts:
Understanding the Light
Knowing the Light
Walk in the Light
Thanks Kwon for sharing these!
• The Gospel of Mark traces a persistent theme: the Messianic Secret. Jesus on several occasions tells people to be silent about his identity once they’ve figured it out. The demons see him and start screaming about his divinity but Jesus makes them be quiet. Jesus speaks in parables so that nobody understands him. Jesus elicits a confession of his Messianic identity from Peter and then immediately silences him. The reason? Large crowds would gather not to hear Jesus’s preaching but to be healed or to somehow become prosperous, which infuriated Jesus to no end. Now, in 2019, another man shares the same fate. Behold, from Washington Post, The Internet was obsessed with this philosophy-quoting homeless man in China. Now he’s fled the fame.
• King’s Kaleidoscope released their long-anticipated new album Zeal. Full review coming soon.
• Analysis from Ezra Klein of Pete Buttigieg (boot-edge-edge). He raises all the right questions to sort the Democratic field:
The words we use to describe the ideologies of presidential candidates are imperfect, but at least they exist. There are liberals, neoliberals, democratic socialists, leftists, conservatives, neoconservatives, centrists, paleoconservatives, libertarians, and New Democrats, to name just a few. The boundaries among these groups can be fuzzy, but overall, it’s a pretty flexible vocabulary for describing what this or that politician believes.
There’s no similarly accepted shorthand for the difference between candidates like Warren and Buttigieg and Inslee, who envision sweeping reforms to the way laws are made, and people like former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who emphasize that their relationships with Republicans better equip them to maximize change in the system we have. Nor are their categories clearly describing the approaches the candidates intend to take toward electing allies or mobilizing public opinion, or much discussion of whether they’d prioritize expanding the earned income tax credit over curbing money in politics….
We are better at discussing what candidates want to do than how they will do it. That hole in our political vocabulary matters, as it makes it hard to debate the core question of any political campaign: How will the candidates actually make real people’s lives better?
(I asked my friend David his thoughts on Buttigieg and he replied, “Is that a type of topsoil?” Long way to go on name recognition.)
• Last, enjoy this new playlist: moode.