Saturday, May 28, 2005

choosing our battles

A provocative line from David Brooks in The New York Times:

"...we can have a culture war in this country, or we can have a war on poverty, but we can't have both. That is to say, liberals and conservatives can go on bashing each other for being godless hedonists and primitive theocrats, or they can set those differences off to one side and work together to help the needy."

Brooks goes on to suggest what he calls "a natural alliance" between Evangelicals and liberals to end -- or at least ameliorate -- poverty.

Think of it: "The poor you will have with you always -- but it would please me no end if they got harder and harder to find in the course of time."

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

speaking the unspeakable

Not for the first time, Brian McLaren speaks the unspeakable.

"…in a time of war it becomes harder and harder to question the government without being seen as unpatriotic.

I was in the Holocaust Museum the other day and there’s a chilling display of where Hitler's doctor said, in a letter that is displayed, that basically the Fuhrer wants to keep the war effort going, because if it slows down, the churches will start criticizing him over what he’s doing to people with birth defects and the mentally retarded and so forth. The idea that keeping a war effort going inhibits criticism is a very, very old idea."

Not that this is happening today; only that it could. Only that something like this has happened in my lifetime, right here in America. If you want an insider's look, have Netflix send you a copy of Errol Morris' stunning documentary feature The Fog of War.

Monday, May 23, 2005

that's some blog entry

An hour or so after my 'don't nuke the senate' post, there are reports that Senate 'moderates' reached a compromise to forestall the "nuclear option."

What, precisely, it means will no doubt become clearer in the light of morning.

For what it's worth, Senator Boxer's speech is nonetheless worth reading.

don't nuke the senate

This may be more than you want to know but here is Senator Boxer's May 17 speech to the U.S. Senate on the subject of the "nuclear option" to outlaw the filibuster of court nominees before the Senate.

I for one am partial to the tradition that Senators who fail to persuade a preponderance of their colleagues are on notice that their position is flawed and not ready to be the law of the land.

If the U.S. Senate ceases to be a deliberative body, all the most important conversations will take place out of sight between individuals who are less accountable for their actions than ever. In my view, that would be a bad thing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

all marketers are liars

I'm reading Seth Godin's new book, All Marketers Are Liars. The first lie, he admits, is in the title.

All marketers are not liars, he says; all consumers are.

This may be his most challenging argument: That marketers tell a story and consumers (all of us) choose the part of the story we want to believe -- or maybe already believe -- and go with that whether it holds water or not.

If he's right about this -- and there's reason to think he is -- we may waste a lot of energy trying to convince people who've already made up their minds for us or against us.

I have to noodle on this some more.

Meanwhile I find myself thinking about what passes for evangelism in most church settings these days, which seems more like shuffling the deck than anything else.

Which reminds me of the first time I made media buys and was assured by a leading Christian magazine that my customers would find nothing to disagree with in their pages. I was 25 years old, give or take, and I remember recoiling from that line in the sales kit. "Then why publish!" I said out loud to nobody but me.

Now I know the answer to that pure, simple question:

For the money.

Excuse me; I think I'm gonna be sick. Again.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

insidework

One of my dirty little secrets is…I like working. I like working and I like work.

I'm part of a collective writing about the soul of commerce at a new site called InsideWork. Drop by and see what we're dreaming up to reintegrate work and spirituality.

— RANTS + REFLECTIONS ON THE COMMON GOOD —

[mostly]