You know you’ve entered a temple when disagreement is treated as sacrilege. The animosity directed toward NFL players kneeling at the anthem, protesting police brutality and structural racism, is the sort of acrimony we reserve for infidels….
This response to the kneeling controversy tells us something about the state of American civil religion and the way it accommodates — and then deforms — traditional religious communities.
The tropes of “God and country” or “faith and the flag” are almost always instances where country and flag domesticate faith in God. Or, to put this in terms that religious folk should understand: These liturgies of civil religion are covert modes of idolatry. The rank and priority are reversed; our political identities trump all others.
This is how stadiums became temples of nationalism. When the Constitution functions like Scripture, and the pledge serves as our creed, and the flag is revered like the cross, and the national anthem becomes our hymn, and the hand over heart is a sacred expression like the sign of the cross, then a swelling patriotism becomes our religion and dissenters are heretics.
Ran across this excellent piece about the storms of parenting adolescents.
I had to hold back tears when I read this, because it dredged up deep memories of watching friends and parents I know do this for their teens. Grace always hits me in the feels like that.
I usually got to see both sides — the fear and fighting from the scared teen, and the pain and fear it caused their parents.
Yet they both held on. And they made it.
A beautifully told story of WW2 heroism.
A stunning visualization of data about deaths in World War II – and definitely skim to the end where he puts these numbers in perspective related to the rest of the 20th century.
What a great tool!
If we are to encourage a healthier Internet culture of discourse, I submit that we may need to make a half-turn towards the trolls, away from the non-differentiated culture of the reactive masses in the social Internet the corporations and the massification of the Internet have formed for us. We need contexts that are less ‘safe’ and which demand more from us. We need to push towards the creation of more differentiated environments of discourse. We need to recognize that healthy conversation may require a greater degree of exclusivity and even exclusion, something which existed more organically in the earlier Internet. Most people are not equipped for such conversation, not without considerably more formation. Vigorous and fruitful exchange of diverse ideas is only possible where a certain culture exists and this culture requires particular types of persons and contexts to sustain it, people who regard themselves as self-defined collaborative architects of a conversation and contexts that are more capable of sustaining confrontational and more differentiated interactions.
The data emerging about the mental health of our kids only confirms the harm done by asking so little of them when it comes to life skills yet so much of them when it comes to adhering to the academic plans we’ve made for them.
Really. This has got to stop. And not just “everybody else is doing it wrong” but a genuine assessment of our own attitudes and behaviors toward the kids in our lives.
I think any of us who’ve worked extensively knows that loving a teenager is very much like “hugging a cactus.” Or trying to make friends with an aloof feline – sometimes it feels like all they want is food; otherwise, “go away.”
But the teen years, hard as they are on parents and mentors, offer deeply rewarding moments as well: the opportunity to watch, before your eyes, a young adult emerging into life and discovery and calling.
Good article, quick read.
When teens push themselves away, says Hill, “it does not mean that they don’t want and crave their parents’ acceptance of their identities and interests. One of my colleagues said parenting teens is like hugging a cactus. Even as the ‘warm fuzzies’ are not often reciprocated, teens still need them, still need to know they are loved unconditionally. Don’t miss the opportunity to say or show love, warmth and affection toward even your most prickly teen.”