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Filed under: “Quick notes”

The best summary I’ve seen from a white guy on the complexity of race relations:

I often feel like we are drowning in the sins of the past. Working at this is like swimming across of river of mud. Every inch of progress is hard-won, and the shore seems far away. When I taught US History, I emphasized that slavery was not only a sin, it was a systematic sin infecting an entire culture, and such sins have a lasting effect.

What does one do for the man who is on the losing end of this cycle? Perhaps he has come to the point in his life where he wants to get things straightened out. Perhaps he realizes that it isn’t all someone else’s fault, and that he needs to take responsibility. We give him the gospel, we try to help him shore up his education in some small way, we try to help him sort out his legal and debt problems, and we point him towards a job.

But when we are done, he still lives in a dying city with low employment and poor churches. He’s still single, often supporting (or not supporting) children. He carries with him a criminal record and a lifetime of learned habits which do him little good. And he’s not getting any younger.

That individual perspective must be remembered. It is true that the weakness of families in the African American community is a huge problem, but what good does it do to wag a finger in that man’s face and say, “You blacks need to be better husbands and fathers!”

—Tom Chantry in a comment (the original article is helpful, as well).

I have not slept enough this week. Tonight, I read Genesis 9, Psalm 17, Proverbs 25, and Matthew 9. Now, I am going to sleep. Sometimes, the wise thing to do is treat one’s body well, as the temple of God, and care for it so that one can continue using it well.

I’ve been reading a lot of books. I’ve been posting not so many book reviews. This, I hope, will change in the near(ish) future. My changed schedule will make an enormous difference on that front.

I’m currently reading The Book of the Dun Cow, by Walter Wangerin Jr.  This is an amazing book so far.

Incidentally, I just finished Friedman’s The World Is Flat, and I’m hoping to have a review up by later in the week.’s advertising… ugh. This, along with a smiling couple, was the entirety of the content of one of their ads:

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. —Psalm 37:4.

There are so many things wrong with this. So many that I don’t even have words for it, at least at the moment. (That, and I need to get out the door if I’m going to finish my 13-mile run before dinner.) But there will be words on this one. Oh, yes.

In addition to posting reviews of Christian books, it is my intent to post a review or response of every book that I read for the first time henceforth. As I noted in my launch post, I think it will be helpful to me in processing the contents of the books I read.

One consequence of this will be my reviewing a great number of books that are not explicitly Christian. I think these may actually prove to be the more interesting reviews and responses in some ways, as they will afford an opportunity to think more critically and synthetically about the world. It is an unfortunate reality that most (modern) Christian books are not nearly as penetratingly engaging with the world as they should be, and so I often find that the books that challenge me most to think Christianly about the world are, while not usually opposed to Christianity, also often rather disinterested in it.

In any case, I look forward to seeing what I learn from reviewing non-theological books from an explicitly (and, hopefully, robustly) theological framework. I expect the first such volume I respond to to be Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, which I hope to finish within the next week or so.