Good Reads: Articles I recommend from this past week

I liked last weekend’s ’roundup’ of my favorite reads on the Internets, so here’s another round. I recommend all of these:

College is not a commodity. Stop treating it like one. – The Washington Post.
“If we are going to treat college as a commodity, and an expensive one at that, we should at least grasp the essence of its economic nature. Unlike a car, college requires the “buyer” to do most of the work to obtain its value.”  The author continues in this excellent essay to explain why today’s consumerist, assessment-driven view of education results in “trigger warnings,” low student motivation, and bad teaching.

What Overparenting Looks Like from a Stanford Dean’s Perspective | MindShift
othing earth-shattering here, but she gently reminds parents that over-parenting isn’t a virtue, no matter how much social pressure exists to push everyone in that direction.

I’m a professor. My colleagues who let students dictate what they teach are cowards. | Vox
About a week ago, an anonymous professor wrote a Vox piece that splashed hard in social media. He wrote that the rising tide of student fears about encountering ideas they disagree with had pushed him away from teaching truly challenging material in the classroom.

This rebuttal, by a female minority professor is a thoughtful piece, one that I highly recommend. Her title is provocative, but don’t make too many assumptions on the front end about what you think she’s going to say. It’s a good read.

Suicide Isn’t About Wanting To Die | PsychCentral
Many people assume that suicidal people want to die. They don’t. They just want the pain to stop. An important read for understanding how to help suicidal people.

Black America is so very tired of debating and explaining |Salon
An important read from a perspective I do not naturally hear within my personal context. The author insightfully parses the causes for the continuing deep and damaging racial divide in America. You might not agree with his viewpoint, but you definitely should read it.

Why did it take 50 years for Calvinists to care about race? How the Mainline saved Evangelicalism | Anthony Bradley
An excellent post by Dr. Anthony Bradley about the PCA, SBC and acknowledging dark racial history in Evangelicalism:  “My Protestant mainline friends are wondering why the Calvinistic Baptists and conservative Presbyterians are so celebratory about the current progress in 2015 given the fact the rest of American Protestantism had these discussions 50 years ago. In fact, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic clergy came to the assistance of African Americans during the Civil-Rights Movement while gospel-centered, grace-centered Calvinists did nothing or supported racial segregation from the Bible. However, even with the half-of-a-century slowness to embrace issues that African American and “liberal” Christians regularly raise, we must give credit wherever credit is due. Progress is progress.”

And don’t miss the bibliotherapy article I posted yesterday.

Can Reading Make You Happier? – The New Yorker

Bibliotherapy. It’s a thing.

Can Reading Make You Happier? – The New Yorker.

^^ A group of Cambridge-educated ladies will listen to your woes and anxieties and then recommend books you should read to work through those issues. They’ll also offer ideas for recharging or restarting your reading life.

This is made of win.

I don’t know how many “jobs” the bibliotherapy industry can generate, but I know a few people who really should make this their calling. They read widely, understand people well, and love to connect people to books.

A few quotes from the article which struck me, especially concerning the power of fiction to heal the soul:

The insights themselves are still nebulous, as learning gained through reading fiction often is—but therein lies its power. In a secular age, I suspect that reading fiction is one of the few remaining paths to transcendence, that elusive state in which the distance between the self and the universe shrinks. Reading fiction makes me lose all sense of self, but at the same time makes me feel most uniquely myself. 

Berthoud and Elderkin trace the method of bibliotherapy all the way back to the Ancient Greeks, “who inscribed above the entrance to a library in Thebes that this was a ‘healing place for the soul.’ ”

 “Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines,” the author Jeanette Winterson has written. “What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination.”