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Posts tagged "Psychology"

Another Week Ends: More Meritocracy, Hakuna Matata Election, Dating Apocalypse, Loving Psychos, The Ambush of Grief, and Irresponsible Gender Equity

Another Week Ends: More Meritocracy, Hakuna Matata Election, Dating Apocalypse, Loving Psychos, The Ambush of Grief, and Irresponsible Gender Equity

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of The Mockingcast, which features an interview with Zac Hicks, author of the brand new book The Worship Pastor.

1. In a great piece called “Meritocracy Is Exhausting,” from The Atlantic (ht DT), Victor Tan Chen explains how a society built on reward can be not only tiresome but also inescapable. Chen says that the cogs of America rely increasingly on “performance reviews,” synthesized by “data-gathering technologies.” He cites behavior tracking apps, marketing algorithms, and online review forums as just a few examples. Such technologies, or “models,” have obvious flaws: namely reinforcing a sense of supremacy among certain groups.

Even…

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Parents in the Hands of an Angry God

Parents in the Hands of an Angry God

As I type, my fourteen month-old son is downstairs alone. He is still alive — this is attested by the sound of plastic stacking cups banging together, alongside the odd mutterings and outbursts of a being whose vocabulary includes kitty, Bernie (an instance of kitty), Walter (idem), dada, uh-oh, and duck, but not mama. Mama spends more time with him than I do, of course, but at the moment both of us have things to do that don’t include young John. This is fairly often the case. Our son is neither attention-starved nor dangerously neglected, yet neither parent can quite escape…

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Mockingbird at the Movies: Reflections on Life of Pi

Mockingbird at the Movies: Reflections on Life of Pi

“When every link is a separation, when we understand our communicating with God to be scratches on a wall, the complexity of life does not have to be evaded; we do not cease to wonder and wander, but merely are assured our wondering and wandering are not futile.”

-Matthew Sitman, on Christian Wiman

The Life of Pi struck me at first as a shallow film, with a couple of aphorisms about religion (a house with “room for doubt on every floor”), a movie that excelled in some areas – with four well-deserved Oscars – but something without as much depth as it tries…

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Short Story Wednesdays: "A Father's Story" by Andre Dubus

Short Story Wednesdays: “A Father’s Story” by Andre Dubus

This week, we turn to Andre Dubus’s “A Father’s Story”, available here.

“Ethics demands an infinite movement, it demands disclosure. The aesthetic hero, then, can speak but will not.”

-S. Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

On July 23, 1986, Andre Dubus pulled over onto the side of the road to help a couple of strangers, male and female, having car trouble. An oncoming car swerved and was about to hit them; Dubus pushed the woman out of the way and, as a result, was hit himself and remained confined to a wheelchair for final thirteen years of his life.

As we saw with O’Connor’s lupus…

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Another Week Ends: Anglican Anniversaries, Attractive Uncertainty, Battlestar Theology, The Cooler and Better You, Compulsive Tweeting, and Neurotic Parenting Art

Another Week Ends: Anglican Anniversaries, Attractive Uncertainty, Battlestar Theology, The Cooler and Better You, Compulsive Tweeting, and Neurotic Parenting Art

1. As the current edition of the Book of Common Prayer celebrates its 350th anniversary, James Wood at The New Yorker offers a fascinating reflection on the book’s literary and cultural significance. It’s not everyday you read the sentences in those pages like “The sinner is justified—redeemed from sin, made righteous—by faith alone in God, not by doing good works or by buying ecclesiastical favors”:

Cranmer had been a Cambridge scholar (he had held a lectureship in Biblical studies) and a diplomat, before being plucked by Henry VIII to be archbishop, and he almost certainly did not imagine that he was writing one…

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Another Week Ends: Dead Liberal Arts, Glorious Ruin, Cagematch: Hoffman-Phoenix, Victorians in Baltimore, Creative Anxiety, and Imputed Guilt (by Association)

Another Week Ends: Dead Liberal Arts, Glorious Ruin, Cagematch: Hoffman-Phoenix, Victorians in Baltimore, Creative Anxiety, and Imputed Guilt (by Association)

1. Over at The Daily Standard, writer and lecturer Joseph Epstein asks, “Who Killed the Liberal Arts?” With pre-professional education and a degree of liberal-arts relativizing on the rise, Epstein finds a central problem with American higher education to be the same kind of achievement cult that recent films like Waiting for “Superman” have criticized. Epstein’s phrasing is particularly succinct:

Trained almost from the cradle to smash the SATs and any other examination that stands in their way, the privileged among them may take examinations better, but it is doubtful if their learning and intellectual understanding are any greater. Usually propelled by…

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Daniel Kahneman on Taking Credit and the Illusion of Control

Daniel Kahneman on Taking Credit and the Illusion of Control

From a very interesting, very comforting piece by Nobel Laureate economics and psychology professor/Mbird fave Daniel Kahneman entitled “The Surety of Fools/Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence”; October 23rd issue of the NYTimes Sunday Magazine. His thesis, based on years of research, is that much (i.e. all) of what we attribute to good (or bad) decision making is actually the result of chance and/or forces way beyond our control. In his words, “educated guesses are not more accurate than blind guesses.” He tells the following anecdote to drive home his point, as well as to illustrate people’s discomfort with the…

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Another Week Ends: Anti-Tebowmania, Hipster Mormonism, Sixty-Six Books, Coldplay, Hypocrisy, and Tullian Tchividjian's Story of Redemption

Another Week Ends: Anti-Tebowmania, Hipster Mormonism, Sixty-Six Books, Coldplay, Hypocrisy, and Tullian Tchividjian’s Story of Redemption

Filling in for DZ this week as the Birmingham Conference kicks off…

1. Can you be a hipster and Mormon at the same time? An interesting NY Times article appearing on Wednesday outlined a Mormon’s guide to looking cool without totally losing your faith (a.k.a “How to be like Brandon Flowers”). It’s a classic case study in the casuistry that arises when navigating between conflicting judgments – slightly appeasing one demand without violating the other, or transgressing just enough but not too much. As Mormonism seeks more and more acceptance from mainstream America, I suspect this will be just one of…

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Simul Iustus et Schizophrenic: A Quick One from Clinical Theology

Simul Iustus et Schizophrenic: A Quick One from Clinical Theology

Dr. Frank Lake was that rarest of beasts: a clinical psychologist, a pastoral counselor, and a learned theologian. Not surprisingly, we consider him a hero. In his landmark Clinical Theology, a textbook for pastoral counselors and theologically serious therapists, he relates classic Protestant anthropology and Christology to the process of psychoanalysis, using real-world case studies (and the Bible) as his foundation. The following is a characteristically profound quote on the simultaneity of human weakness and divine strength, viewed through a clinical lens:

The nature of the help God gives through His Church is to make what cannot be removed, creatively bearable. Paul’s thorn of weakness in the flesh remained. Resting in the power of God,…

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