28 August 2012

“You know what you could write about?…”

There was a stretch there where I never read the op/ed page. Didn’t miss it either.

The opinions of my local newspaper’s editorial board were interesting, and well-informed, but they’d never seek any radical action—it was always about doing the prudent thing instead of the right or generous or inspiring thing. That’s always the catch with editorial boards: They want to reflect everybody’s point of view, so they get a bunch of people with diverse viewpoints. But the extremes balance one another out, so they wind up with the middle-of-the-road view. That’d be fine if it were a radical middle—but it’s not. It’s the milquetoast middle. It’s the “Here’s what we oughta do” that doesn’t make waves, instead of the “Here’s what we really oughta do” that wakes people up and makes ’em move.

The columnists… well, there are two kinds of columnists: Those who are clever, and those who aren’t. I like the clever ones; I don’t care what party they are. Make me think and I’ll like you. Most aren’t clever—or have far too many bad weeks in a row.

And then there are the letters to the editor. I lump them into two categories: Those with legitimate statements and questions; and the cranks.

24 August 2012

Naming names.

Back in 2005 Kyle Lake, a Texas emergent-church pastor, electrocuted himself. He was standing in a baptismal and grabbed a microphone and zzzzt, dead. On the one hand, I was sympathetic to the family, friends, church—namely the 800 people who watched him drop dead—but good Lord what a stupid thing to do.

Irony of ironies, when Christianity Today eulogized Lake, they included excerpts from his book on God’s will—namely that old myth about how “everything happens for a reason,” despite an entire book in the bible, Ecclesiastes, pointedly written to teach otherwise. I digress, but mostly ’cause I’ve had to correct a few people about that myth recently. If everything happens for a reason, then God had that pastor killed simply to remind us not to grab the mic when we’re hip-deep in water. Seems a bit extreme. Seems more likely the pastor lacked the proper respect for electricity.

I bring this up ’cause Brian Kelly, my then-boss (and then-pastor), read my blog and, some weeks later, expressed some concern that if he ever did anything so dumb, he’d get a write-up in my blog.

“But you don’t do anything so dumb,” I pointed out.

“But I might,” he said. So how free was he to act around me, when any ridiculous thing he said or did might wind up on the Internet, where all 27 of my readers could see it and mock him?

10 August 2012

01 August 2012

Poking the conservatives.

For a while there I had a blind spot where I’d provoke conservatives. Not deliberately. Never meant to. I just seemed to do it a lot. Maybe it was ’cause I was swinging to the other extreme as a recovering conservative. I think we all tend to assume that just because we’ve grown past something, others have kept up. But every time I took a poke at some of my immature knee-jerk behavior, it poked other people who still practice this behavior. Only to them it wasn’t immature or knee-jerk: It was good, and right, and righteous, and God-fearing.

Yeah, I know, they’re sheep gone astray.

(See what I mean?)