Weekend Reading: 5/20

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by John Ellis

I freely and happily admit that I have cribbed this idea from many other writers and bloggers. So be it. A good idea is a good idea, right? There is so much content vying for our attention on the internet, it’s often hard to find the diamond in the rough, so to speak. Although, there are plenty of diamonds hidden throughout the interwebs. That fact means that aggregate sites are useful, and websites and blogs that devote articles and posts to serving as an aggregate for interesting and/or useful content are likewise useful. While I have next to zero desire for this blog to become an aggregate site, or even provide daily posts that offer some help to my friends and readers uncovering some diamonds that they may have missed, a weekly post seems fun for me and possibly profitable for others.

Below, are several of the more interesting articles and blog posts that I read over the last week. Enjoy.

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Slavery, Class Privilege, and the Denial of Moral Absolutes

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by John Ellis

This past week, The Atlantic published a fascinating story titled, “My Family’s Slave.” In his piece, Filipino-American writer Alex Tizon recounts the tale of Eudocia Tomas Pulido (called “Lola”), his family’s live-in “maid” who was never paid, wasn’t allowed to see her family, worked from before sun-up to past sun-down, and who didn’t have her own bedroom most of the time. In the article, Tizon remembers seeing Lola sleeping against piles of laundry.

I had already planned on sharing The Atlantic cover-story in my next “Weekend Reading” article, and I encourage you to take the time the read “My Family’s Slave.” Alex Tizon, who died this past spring, writing what amounts to a horrific confession, of sorts, managed to be interesting, appalling, amusing, frustrating, heartwarming, and chilling all in the same story. On the strength of his writing skills and the nature of the story, “My Family’s Slave” has gone viral, and has prompted much outrage. It’s some of that outrage that I’m currently interested in commenting on, though.

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The Sacred VS. the Secular: Having a Party Instead of a Bible Study

Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.” Job 41:11b

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by John Ellis

Several years ago, pretty much every other Sunday evening at my house, I hosted a group of men from church. We would gather, drink Scotch or beer, listen to music, and talk. Sometimes, we discussed theology. Often, though, we discussed sports or movies or philosophy, current events, politics, music, literature, you get the picture; our evenings together were rather unstructured, and we discussed whatever came to our minds. The evenings were fun and edifying.

At some point, we invited several of our younger brothers in Christ (they were in their early to mid-twenties). Several of them took advantage of the invitation, and showed up at one of the Sunday evening gatherings in my library. As the evening came to a close, it was obvious that our young brothers were disappointed. We discovered later that they were expecting a structured time of Bible study and/or prayer. The following Sunday, one of the younger brothers haughtily confronted me and a friend and accusingly asked, “What’s the point of your getting together? It was a waste of time!”

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Christians and Nudity in Movies

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by John Ellis

This is an older article. Well, older in the sense that I wrote it at the end of this past December. In a paragraph of two (or more), I’ll explain why it’s taking me so long to share it with my blog readers and Facebook followers. The reason why I’m sharing it now is because I believed and still believe that this is an important topic that many Christians either willfully ignore in order to justify watching their favorite TV shows and/or movies, or they interact with the topic dishonestly for the same reason. That’s a seemingly harsh and judgmental thing for me to say, I know that; and it ties into why I’ve waited to share it, which I’ll get to in a moment (how’s that for a tease?).

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Christians and GMO’s

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by John Ellis

As a whole, the crunchy Christian movement amuses me. That being said, there are aspects of it that irritate me. At points, I find some aspects self-righteous in ways that threaten to erode the unity that is supposed to characterize followers of King Jesus. However, if we’re being honest (if I’m being honest, especially), all Christians hang onto pockets of self-righteousness; that’s why we need Jesus.

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Ranking Six Flag America’s Roller Coasters

roller coasterby John Ellis

I rode my first roller coaster the summer after 6th grade. My family was vacationing at Disney World, and my dad was eager to ride Space Mountain. I don’t remember if he had to cajole me or bribe me into riding, or if I entered the line with great eagerness under my own, unmanipulated will-power. However, I do remember that after we had finally made it to the front of the line, with a serious look on his face and in his tone, my dad pointed to the empty, returning cars and said, “Look. The cars leave with people in them, but return empty. Do you think that’s what all the screaming is about?”

Before I could answer, he ushered me into the car, and we were off.

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Dyeing Hair, Boring Preachers, and Kerfuffling

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by John Ellis

“Kerfuffles started kerfuffling.”

The above line uttered by my friend Joffre the Giant in his latest YouTube “rant” should be enough to induce you to watch. However, if that line is not enough of an inducement (a failure that you should examine about yourself, by the way), know that my friend may have given us all permission to dye our hair blue. I don’t know. You be the judge.

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