The Tensions of Love for Family and Country
t’s been an adventurous, power-packed week here at On Being on Loring Park. It feels so gratifying to release the first of Krista’s three interviews from Northern Ireland — especially a poet, as she says, “for the final days of this wretched campaign.” But, there’s hope…
After reading Rod Dreher’s blog post on Russell Moore’s stunning speech, Krista wrote this enlightening take on how journalism has failed to cover the nuanced positions of Evangelical Christians in this election season:
“There is a varied array of religious people and projects active in today’s public life — from Rev. Barber’s Moral Mondays movement to Sr. Simone’s Nuns on the Bus tours. But the religious voice is quieter overall, politically speaking, than it has been in decades. The conservative religious voice has seemed to fall into inarticulate disarray like the party it chose to follow in the bygone days of the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition. Until now.”
There’s nothing Pollyannish about loving your country. But, as Vincent Harding once noted, it is a country that is not yet fully realized. Courtney’s column reasserts her love of country and, more importantly, its people:
“As I listen to my girl, I know in my heart that I do love this country. A stupid amount. I don’t love it because I think it’s superior, just as I don’t love my daughter based on some false hierarchy. I love it, as I love her, because it’s mine and it’s a miracle of sorts and it has the capacity to surprise me.”
“If greatness is written for America, and I hope it is, it is in our future, not our past.”
To love one’s country also means accepting contradictory realities and difficult truths. To grow into the nation we want to be, Omid offers this hopeful position of American aspiration over American pride.
Guest Contributor of the Week
Reading Nikaela’s essay was an absolute delight: clear and honest, candid without being sordid, personal without being self-indulgent, and fresh in its instinct. Her ideas about the pure physicality of sex hearkens to Lawrence Durrell’s Justine trilogy and serves as a gift to reflect on your own relationship:
“Back then sex was all romance and fantasy. There was an element of seriousness to it; we were getting to know each other and everything was of consequence. Now that our pheromones have done their job and procured us mates, sex has been stripped of its mystery. There is no hiding everything we are. It’s simpler. The drive is different. We are no longer fantasizing. We are desiring and pleasuring and playing.”
What Else We’re Reading
Michael Chabon’s endearing article for GQ is a splendorous account of watching a young man coming of age while his father looks on at Paris Men’s Fashion Week:
“You are born into a family and those are your people, and they know you and they love you and if you are lucky they even, on occasion, manage to understand you. And that ought to be enough. But it is never enough. Abe had not been dressing up, styling himself, for all these years because he was trying to prove how different he was from everyone else. He did it in the hope of attracting the attention of somebody else — somewhere, someday — who was the same. He was not flying his freak flag; he was sending up a flare, hoping for rescue, for company in the solitude of his passion.”
Thanks to our producer Marie Sambilay for pointing me to it!
The Economist publishes a new chart or map every day on its website, giving you insights into a whimsical tidbit of information (which U.S. city offers the best protection from zombies) or a downright disturbing trend (the suicide rate in the U.S. is at a 30-year high). In this chart, Samantha McCann of the Solutions Journalism Network points out that news coverage creates a reality, a distorted perception that is not faithful to what’s really happening in the world:
“In this study, for example, the French public thought Muslims comprised 31% of their population, while in reality they only comprise 8%. Italians think it’s 20%, but it’s really only 4%. How did this belief come to be? When one journalist reports a story about a unique event (or person or movement or ideology), it’s a good story. But when a thousand journalists do it, it comes to be seen as the norm or more a part of the community’s reality than it actually is.”
From 1997–2003, historian and civil rights legend Vincent Harding interviewed elder women and men who have shaped U.S. history through their commitment to social change. And now this repository of wisdom is fully available online — ensuring that these stories serve as a powerful resource for generations to come. Please explore.
From the On Being Tumblr
Jason Vieaux and Julien Labro perform this soothing cover of Pat Metheny’s “Antonia.” Gotta love that accordina!
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May the wind always be at your back!