samedi, juin 08, 2013

Get your facts straight

Put more politely, and more articulately, that is Dale Hanson Bourke's message to those who want to understand and have an influence in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

A passion for education, and a desire to further the cause of peace, is, in part, why Bourke wrote a book on a topic that arouses such heat, and often little light, on many sides.

Describing herself as a "liberal evangelical," Bourke, who has been deeply involved in international relief and justice work, says she grew up in a conservative Christian home. Thus she is well-acquainted with dispensationalism and various schools of Christian Zionism.

In this interview, Bourke addresses the ignorance and emotions that often bar the way to a constructive dialogue -- and suggests that perhaps American Christians need to put aside selective use of Scriptures and start to build relationships -- and listen carefully.

mercredi, juin 05, 2013

Twitter rubbernecking: turning someone else's tragedy into your 140-character update

 Today I was working on a paper for my last course in the graduate program in counseling.

Remember the good old days (for some of us), when  online news, Facebook and other virtual opiates didn't pose a perpetual threat to productivity?

Those days are gone as though they had never existed.

Given that my self-control is feeble at the best of times when it comes to distractions, I soon found myself surfing Twitter, linking to articles, and thinking of clever ripostes to some of my followers tweets(most of which I was too sane or scared to post because really, they weren't all THAT smart).

A little after eleven, my Twitter feed lit up with bulletins: a building had fallen in Philadelphia.

There were injuries (as it turns out, there were also deaths).

Then the commentary began.

One update followed another. Some seemed rapt, even compelled, to bring us news of tragedy -- as some had done, one tweet following on another, during the Oklahoma earthquake the week prior.

Watching my followers, and those whom I follow (as I type, I am struck by the "Game of Thrones" quality of these descriptors), I started to feel queasy.

For minute, I imagined a town square, and villagers gathering to watch a public burning or a hanging.

Why were people tweeting about every tragic detail?

What was this voyeuristic impulse to watch, to communicate, to rubberneck in the virtual ruins of someone else's life?

One tweet -- that made sense to me.

Now everyone gets to be a reporter.

Buut on a more practical level, I wondered: didn't they have jobs?

Write a story? Teach third graders? Take their son to the doctor for his check up?  Change this sorry world for the better?

After a while, I turned away, feeling unsettled by the vigor with which some were chronicling the collapse and rescue efforts.

If the people were under the rubble were their brothers or daughters, would they want this much public attention to their personal grief and terror?

Perhaps I am overly pious. Perhaps some of these tweeters saw it as a public service to let the world know about this Philadelphia story.

Possibly this urge to share is a perfectly human impulse.

I'm still not entirely sure why.

After all, most of those who didn't have to know because they were related to the victims would learn soon enough.

It is never too early for joy -- and never too late for mourning.