Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Who Do You Read?

Just an observation...

I enjoy reading the blogs of people who I don't agree with in every aspect, but who have enough points in common with me that a conversation is easily facilitated.

You learn more from interacting with people who aren't exactly like you, in which case each of you simply congratulates the other on how right they(and you) are, and who aren't completely different from you, in which case the chasm of differences becomes too wide to contemplate crossing.

Who do you read and why?


DH said...

This reminded me of an interview I saw by Bill Moyers of John Sexton, president of New York University. In the interview, Sexton mentioned a quote from one of his high school teachers, Charlie, who used to tell people to, "play another octave of the piano."

You can find a good summary of the interview at http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/35215.

Retriever said...

I read Maggie's Farm because I love their topics, and generally agree with them, even tho I sometimes sputter with rage at some of the more libertarian, devil take the hindmost attitude of a couple of their bloggers. I read Sisu, Little Miss Attila, Villainous COmpany for my daily fix of conservative political blogging by females (more polite and civilized commenters than most of the guys). I read American Digest because Gerard can write beautifully at times, even tho I sometimes want to smack him when he uses Asperger's as a term of abuse for some hapless blogger he enjoys fisking. And he is pretty crude, but a Christian, and a patriot, and (as I said) writes so well. I occasionally read Dr. Helen because she writes about the psychology of violence and popular culture, but I daren't comment there because her male commenters are so vile to women at times.

I haven't found any blogger who really voices my concerns about health care: even the shrink bloggers don't explore the needs of the mentally ill and their families for more and better care, and for supports. The conservatives don't really "get it" about pre-existing conditions. We would be homeless and some of my family dead were it not for me giving up my career to take a job with good health insurance. Being "job-locked" is a pain. I could never get another job with benefits again if I lost this one, as when you are hired now you have to fill out questionnaires on family and health before being hired, so they just wouldn't hire a person with such high maintenance dependents. But I digress.

I just discovered a female blogger named Cynthia Yockey, a conservative lesbian, who used to be a liberal. She is more conservative than I am politically, but I was moved to tears reading her account of her twenty year relationship with her lover (who she cared for, for years, while she was dying). I am opposed to gay marriage, but for civil unions. On the other hand, reading Cynthia I realized that she was more loving to her beloved than many of us straight spouses are to ours. So reading her gave me a lot to think about. I read a lot of shrinks who I agree with about therapy, meds, and the needs of the mentally ill, but whose politics are way more liberal than mine. The problem is that they and I agree that there are huge needs. But the shrinks and most liberals I know think that "they" will pay for it. Who are "they?" They are "us".

I read almost no religious blogs, beause most of them leave me cold. I often enjoy the Anchoress (devout Roman Catholic who is a personal survivor of family abuse and who is a wife and mommy and deacon in the church), but my rebellious Puritan spirit can't always take her veneration of authority and what doesn't seem like a tough enough stance on cleaning house in the church after the clerical abuses. ENough, family squabble I have to go break up.

I always enjoy reading you, and have learned a great deal from your theological posts and reflections on your family and your battle with cancer. You are a great mom, and reading you reminds me that my kids were once young and adorable too, and I try to remind myself to be patient with their difficult political and spiritual rebellion and their "issues" now...

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I mentioned you in this morning's post, and just wanted to make sure you didn't miss it.

I used to read fantasy fiction - everything that was available in the 1970's, including the dreck. I read little fiction now. It's amazing how much of my reading is online as opposed to how long it takes me to read a book, with all the interruptions. PJ O'Rourke, CS Lewis, GK Chesterton. I find that reading Genesis is now more powerful for me than all OT and most NT writings. The difficulty, the opaqueness, and the counterintuitiveness of so many sections startles me still.

Interestingly, an uncle of mine taught bankruptcy law at NYU, and liked the administration in general. I don't know what he thought of Sexton in particular.

Retriever said...

Terri, more blather: I used to read nonfiction voraciously (history, anthropology, comparative religion, psychology,sociobiology, and books on how to do useful things. In recent years I have such eyestrqin from staring at numbers on computer sceens all day that I hardly read paper books any more. Fall asleep. Audible books and usually ten on a Kindle at a time. Basically, find it hard to read more than a few pages at a time on a topic as it usually sparks something I want to write about. When I started blogging it was a choice between reading all the books I am curious about or writing and surfing.

Have very litle free time or time alone because of work and the family. I neglect housekeeping to blog (my family do not pitch in)

ho hum. Out off sorts: our house flooding after days of rain, and trying to keep up with seepage into the ground floor (we don't have a basement) . The family bickers when this happens, because we wer traumatized b a real flood here (many years ago) with 4 ft of filthy water in the ground floor. So I freeze, grouse, a kind of space out .

I can really relate to Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own right now. Wish I had space and solitude to read and write all day. But instead am commenting from a cellphone inthe interminable Walgreen's line to drop off a family prescriptin.

James Pate said...

These days, I read the following blogs:

1. Exploring Our Matrix---mainly for the LOST posts and links, so I can hear ideas about what's going on.

2. Ken Pulliam's "Why I Deconverted from Evangelical Christianity." www.formerfundy.com. I'm intrigued by his story, because he got a Ph.D. from Bob Jones, and decided to chuck the faith. I also enjoy his commenters, who are knowledgeable about various fields. I get an education at this blog because Ken interacts with evangelical scholarship. And he comes across as level-headed, unlike many atheist blogs, which display a smug "you're stupid" attitude.

3. I read Stone's Fence (www.stonesfence.net) when Laswon Stone (a professor of OT at Asbury) was doing that. Basically, he took a photo of himself and commented on it, so we got to live his life with him. I'm bitter against conservative Christianity, but I was nourished by his thoughtful reflections.

4. Rachel Held Evans' blog at www.rachelheldevans.com. She's a Christian, but she's disillusioned with aspects of conservative evangelicalism. Yet, she gets her share of conservative commenters!

5. I read Joel Watts at the Church of Jesus Christ when he's writing something I'm interested in---like hell, or when he's debating John Loftus.

5. I enjoy Randy Olds' blog at www.randyolds.blogspot.com. He's a Christian, but he's also open-minded.

One thing I like about these blogs is that they're down-to-earth. There are so many blogs that cover topics I'm interested in---such as inerrancy---yet I don't get what they're saying, and, when I do, they appear to evade the issue.

terri said...


I'm sorry that you've had to deal with flooding/the prospect of flooding in your home. I didn't realize that you were in one of the affected areas.

I'll have to check out some of the blogs you mention. In general, I have shied away from mainly political blogs. Too much going on those types of blogs for me to remain sane while reading them.

James...well you know I hang out at Exploring Our Matrix quite a bit! ;-) McGrath does a good job of being thoughtful, funny, and having a wide variety of characters come through his blog. Half the time I visit just to check out what he's listed in his side-bar.

I'll check out some of the other blogs you list. I forgot about Randy Olds....he might be another good addition to the blogroll.

AVI...interesting thought about Genesis. Do you mean mainly the creation account, or the whole book?

It is true that Genesis probably instigates more conversation and interest than any other book in the Bible. There are so many jumping off points wrapped up in the creation account.

James Pate said...

I like McGrath's side-bar, too, especially when it comes to LOST. Actually, I found about about Ken Pulliam's blog from Exploring Our Matrix.

jackscrow said...

Like AVI, my reading is mostly online.

But for relaxation,two he mentiioned: O'Rourke, Lewis - more Lewis. I haven't grown out of the fantasy fiction, Zelazny/Vance/Heinlein, although most of it is older stuff and re-reads.

And then Donald Westlake, Lawrence Block - two wonderfully funny writers.

A lot of poetry. Lately I've been reading and re-reading through The Fugitives.

Randy Olds said...

I don't normally comment here; in fact I comment rather infrequently on most of the blogs that I read unless I find something rather pertinent to comment upon.

However, since James was so kind to drop my name, I kind of figured it might be a bit rude to simply read the comments and pass on by as I normally do.

I enjoy reading James blog and yours as well. I also enjoy Weekend Fisher at http://weekendfisher.blogspot.com/. I'm not sure what the lady's name is who blogs there as she never leaves it, but her posts are often very thought provoking.

I like James Mcgrath's blog as well as Victor Reppert's as they often have various information that I find of interest. I also read Ken Shenck at http://kenschenck.blogspot.com/, I like his posts that normally come from a Wesleyan point of view. I'm not quite sure quite yet of what to make of Polycarp; although he occasionally has something of interest, I'm not finding much of depth over there.

There are a number of others on my blogroll who only occasionally post but when they do I read what they write. Some of them are personal friends who live in the area. I also sometimes visit the blogs that I find on the blogrolls of the blogs that I frequent.

Otherwise, I primarily read non-fiction. I've been on an N.T. Wright kick for the last few months and have read no less than five of his books in that span. I also enjoy C.S. Lewis and Philip Yancey. I divide the rest of my time between the Bible and the Patristics with various web journals thrown in for good measure.

I spent many years enjoying the likes of Steven King, Tolkien and Frank Herbert but don't read nearly as much fiction these days. And, oh yes, Fyodor Dostoevsky, love me some Dostoevsky.

I did take a break from Wright this winter to read Steven Kings "Under The Dome." Interesting book. Although King can be deeply spiritual at times, I sometimes get the impression that he doesn't care for Christianity much. He caricatured fundamentalist Christianity in this latest book in ways that I found to be somewhat unnerving.