For Your Consideration (05/10/17)

sculpture-2209152.jpgDEMOCRATIC STORYTELLING (THE ATLANTIC)

Kawandeep Virdee contributed a very short piece for this week’s Atlantic suggesting that stories play an ever needed role in our democracy.

It wasn’t actually a wonderful piece. (It was a bit aimless.) But… buuut… I did agree with his overall premise. Stories humanize, whereas most political mediums for engagement polarize by reducing groups to faceless, wrong masses.

He writes of the latest general election:

The walls between points of view thickened. There now seem to be multiple realities, each with media outlets to support them with fragments of a story instead of the full picture. Because of this divisiveness, people cannot understand each other, and even choose to ignore each other.

I think this is true. And I enjoy voices who realize that the question needs to shift from “Who’s right?” to “Where did the conversation break down?”

He goes on:

Stories can be personal, and convey vulnerability. They can also cultivate empathy to thin the wall between dissonant points of view. While most of the stories may not resonate across different opposing views, even just a few can start building bridges of understanding.

I’m all for thinning walls between dissonant points of view. Our nation could stand to learn some lessons from cheap hotels, eh?

Stories are indeed powerful forces for empathy and understanding.

EVERY OTHER HOUR (WBEZ)

In light of the power of story, I’m really proud of my local NPR station (that’d be WBEZ Chicago) for this bold and timely initiative. It is a year-long effort exploring the question of “Who picks up a gun, and why?”

They explain:

For more than a year now, there’s been a person shot about every other hour. That relentless violence has ended hundreds of lives and damaged thousands more. It’s changing the life of the city.

Chicago has woven in and out of the news cycle as a placeholder for urban violence. Most references are downright lazy or uncharitable. But it is indeed a complex and dire issue in our city. If we can’t begin to grapple with the human realities at play, we’re only working with broad abstractions.

To better understand who picks up a gun and why, WBEZ will offer stories and conversations designed to break through entrenched assumptions and shape the conversation around gun violence in Chicago.

What’s cool is that they have provided audio for each piece. Listen while you travel!

I just get a warm feeling inside me when I think of this great station taking up this project, and I plan to keep checking back in. Maybe we should give to support this station? Where do you go to do this?

TEBOW & KAEPERNICK

Sydney, AU based missiologist, professor and author Mike Frost offers a reflection on the reception of two Christian figures (“A Tale of Two Christianities on Its Knees“).

Why does our nation throng to Tebow and root him on, while abandoning Kaeperkick, en masse? Frost simply anguishes over the needless dividedness this reveals in American Christianity. Division between two sides who need one another a great deal:

You can see where this is going. The bifurcation of contemporary Christianity into two distinct branches is leaving the church all the poorer, with each side needing to be enriched by the biblical vision of the other.

Biblical Christianity should be, as Walter Brueggemann expresses it, “awed to heaven, rooted in earth.” We should, as he says, be able to both “join the angels in praise, and keep our feet in time and place.”

Sadly, with the suspicion and animosity shown toward each side of the divide by the other I can’t see a coming together any time soon.

I’m with you, Mike.

I think everyone should read this, if for no other reason than to hear an achingly sympathetic account of Colin Kaepernick. He deserves more of this.

SOCIAL CURATE

There needs to be a term to describe the art represented by those exploring digital mediums of creative-interface. There are a bunch out there. I’m always tickled by Rich McCor (@paperboyo) and his paper cut-out overlays from around the world.

Evidently there’s a documentary piece being made about him. (Watch the video below, where you hear some thoughts on art and medium.)

I would recommend a scroll through his Instagram, and, obviously, giving him a follow.

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