Posts tagged "Iraq"

Iraq: Into the Fire and into the Water

Iraq: Into the Fire and into the Water

It’s going down in Iraq. As ISIS (the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) presses towards Baghdad, the amount of blood on their hands grows thicker and the number of knee-jerk reactions grows greater, and the storm of indescribable pain rises higher, especially for the individuals on the ground. For what it’s worth, ISIS’s organized structure suggests it shouldn’t be written off as a haphazard group of militant extremists; they move with steady precision, employing highly-trained armies and sophisticated social media. (A quick Google search returns systematic Tweeting and refined yet chilling video footage…

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Character, Achievement and… Limerance

Character, Achievement and… Limerance

Great interview with David Brooks on The Daily Beast, about his brilliantly-titled new book The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement (out Tuesday), worth reading as much for the commentary on Brooks’s peculiar “position” these days – i.e. a man without a country – as it is for the details about his fascinating and clearly very relevant new project. Some of it may sound a little familiar:

“[The book's] thesis can be stated simply: who we are is largely determined by the hidden workings of our unconscious minds. Everything we do in life—the careers we…

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Joey Berglund Breaks Down

Joey Berglund Breaks Down

The powerful bottoming-out moment of young Joey Berglund, one of the protagonists in Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom, who has just eloped with his girlfriend Connie after miraculously pulling off a lucrative but pretty underhanded deal to provide the US military with shoddy parts for some Cold War trucks they were using in Iraq:

The depression that for years had stalked the women nearest him seemed finally to have identified its rightful prey and sunk its teeth in him. The one thing he knew he absolutely had to do, which was to tell his family that he’d married Connie, he could…

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I Like It, So God Would Too: Egocentrism in Believers’ Estimates of God

I Like It, So God Would Too: Egocentrism in Believers’ Estimates of God

Religion is often seen as a moral compass – it is frequently used by believers as a guide to doing and believing the right thing. People may disagree on social issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and the death penalty and back their opinions by invoking God as the ultimate advocate of their beliefs. But how do people reason about God’s beliefs? In an interesting set of six studies by Nick Epley and colleagues, it was argued that people are remarkably egocentric when asked to infer about God’s beliefs–that is, people seem to draw on their own beliefs about these issues…

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Mockingbird At The Movies: Some Thoughts On Avatar

Mockingbird At The Movies: Some Thoughts On Avatar

With so much build-up to this movie, on this blog as well as everywhere else on the planet (the global gross just exceeded $1 billion!), I felt obliged to post a few thoughts on the film itself, some of which appeared in a recent comment.

1. The visuals. They actually were as stunning as they were hyped to be, particularly the use of 3-D, which was nothing short of groundbreaking. Overall, the Na’vi looked pretty real, the few exceptions being some of the walking shots and anything involving Sigourney Weaver’s avatar. But they shine in the close-ups and flying scenes. The…

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The Making of an American Solider

How an American soldier is made

Being unemployed for a while, I’ve found a lot of time to kick around on the Internet. One of the blogs I read, Kottke.org (a liberal arts blog) posted a link to a pictorial essay by the Denver Post that follows the life of a young man from High School Graduation through his enlistment in the Army and first tour in Iraq. The pictures were incredibly well done, and I thought I’d pass them along. I grew up right outside of Quantico (where the Marines are HQ’d) and my grandfather was a…

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Mockingbird at the Movies: True Stories

Mockingbird at the Movies: True Stories

The last six years have been an amazing time for documentaries.

I am not thinking of the Usual Documentary. That is a movie about important issues you ought to care about: global warming, AIDS, Iraq, the Bush Presidency, the war on terror, the curtailment of civil liberties, genocide in Africa, Columbine, abortion, homosexuality, Iraq, big tobacco, the food industry, the capitalist exploitation of XXX, Iraq, etc..

Or it’s a movie about an important person you should care about (famous athlete, rock star, Hollywood celebrity, or historical figure). Or it’s a movie about Science or Nature, which everybody should care about.

Don’t…

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(Christ-like) Passivity in Iraq

(Christ-like) Passivity in Iraq

From an article in today’s NYTimes:

Shiite clerics and politicians have been successfully urging their followers not to retaliate against a fierce campaign of sectarian bombings, in which Shiites have accounted for most of the 566 Iraqis killed since American troops pulled out of Iraq’s cities on June 30.

“Let them kill us,” said Sheik Khudair al-Allawi, the imam of a mosque bombed recently. “It’s a waste of their time. The sectarian card is an old card and no one is going to play it anymore. We know what they want, and we’ll just be patient. But they will all go to…

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The Gospel of Self Esteem?

The Gospel of Self Esteem?

I have been thinking recently about “self esteem.” It’s a concept about which I have moved from indifference to a regular disdain. My opinion has always been that the modern obsession with self-esteem is related to the abundant narcissism in our families and culture. But recently, as I’ve become more familiar with some of the research involved, I’ve realized that there is something that doctors are observing here that reorients us towards the gospel.
Terrance Real, a psychiatrist at Harvard, defines self esteem in this way: “It is the capacity to cherish oneself in the face of one’s own…

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Collect for the Unrighteous

Collect for the Unrighteous

My Favorite Collect written By Jady KochCollect for the Unrighteous

Almighty God,Who while we were yet sinners, sent your own Son to be the one full,perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, and without whom we would not know love. By your Grace, create in us new hearts that love as we’ve been loved, so that we would live as sinners saved; people of mercy who, through the imputed righteousness of Your Son, have been wholly justified, completely sanctified and fully redeemed. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,…

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WSJ – What would Martin Luther Do?

WSJ – What would Martin Luther Do?

“Issues, Etc,” the nationally syndicated radio program of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) has been shut down! Dubbed “talk radio for the thinking Christian”, the show, which is based in St. Louis and boasts a wide podcast following, has been canceled, its website terminated, and its hosts killed. Actually, that last part isn’t true, but the way this thing happened is pretty outrageous. The Wall Street Journal (of all places!) reports:

“The program was in all likelihood a pawn in a larger battle for the soul of the Missouri Synod. The church is divided between, one the one hand, traditional…

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New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

Resolutions are a tricky business. All of us have things we could be doing better, right? Habits we know we should kick, ways we could improve ourselves, obvious steps to a happier, healthier life: more exercise, less TV, earlier bed-times, etc. Things which do in fact lead to a happier, healthier life.

But everyone knows that New Year’s resolutions, despite their attractiveness, seldom acheive what they promise. Maybe we lack the willpower to keep up new routines over the long haul, or maybe the resistance proves too great. Or maybe we drive ourselves hard enough to reach our goals, only…

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