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Posts tagged "bias"


Bayesian Theology or: How I Learned to Loosen a Doctrinal Death Grip and Love Statistical Thinking

This one comes to us from Rob Munk. Halfway through 2017, I met the woman I plan to marry. We bonded over pancakes at a greasy-spoon diner on our first date. She was Anglican; I was Lutheran. It was a match in high-church Protestant heaven. But like many Christian couples, we had our share of […]

Hopelessly Devoted: Nehemiah Chapter Six Verses Eight and Nine

This devotion was written by Simeon Zahl, from The Mockingbird Devotional.

Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.” For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands. (Nehemiah 6:8-9, ESV)

The mind is a master illusionist. It is possible to spend our whole lives shadowboxing with unrealities we have “invented out of our own minds.” Nothing seems more real than the rejection we perceive in an oddly raised eyebrow, an inopportune yawn, the scowl of a stranger. The mind can spin an epic tale of misunderstanding and betrayal out of the smallest and most meaningless experience. In that sense it is immensely creative. But it is a dull sort of creativity, because it so often manufactures the same boring story of our fears, our aspirations, and our anxieties. There is no reality here. “No such things as you say have been done.” Our heart races—“Did she look at me? Or is she avoiding me?”—but only because our minds have fooled our bodies into thinking something real is happening.

True work of our hands is an antidote to such projection. There is freedom in performing the task that has been given each day. The picture of Nehemiah building a very un-illusory wall is a picture of freedom. It is a freedom that can only be granted from without, but it is a true freedom.

Lord, strengthen our hands, and save us from our unrealities.

Another Week Ends: Comparisonitis, Funk Apostles, Boring Adults, Coffee Wars, Religious Radicalization, and the Ageless Persistence of Vision

“It’s not quite reality. It’s like a totally filtered reality. It’s like you can pretend everything’s not quite the way it is.” – Joshua Leonard 1. Envy: according to Moya Sarner at The Guardian this deadly sin is more present in our everyday lives than ever before, thanks to social media. More than a mere […]

Hidden Biases and Open Arms

You may have heard about this week’s feisty Supreme Court deliberations about jury secrecy and racial bias. I don’t want to talk about that, exactly, but instead about where that debate inevitably takes us…back to questions of what bias is, how to identify it impartially, and how to temper it without compromising our perceived freedom. According […]