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Posts tagged "Self-Justification"


On the Fragile Souls of Imperial Sycophants

Another one from Ted Peters’ Sin Boldly!:

51lU3StHrKL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Measurements, milestones, merits, awards, and orthodoxies rule over our psyches like Caligula ruled Rome. Like sycophants in the emperor’s royal court, we create a fictional public image by bowing and fawning before the ambient opinions of what is acceptable, respectable, admirable, good, just, and true. And in our rare moments of self-bolstering, we assure ourselves that we stand for eternal justice, the unassailable good, and what is absolutely right–what Luther refers to as “the Law.” In doing so, the fragile soul becomes temporarily hidden beneath self-justifying bravado. Nevertheless, fragility is ever present, sapping our soul of honesty, integrity, and authentic caring. To make matters worse, Christian sermonizers–preachers whom Cathleen Falsani calls “spiritual bullies”–man their pulpits like a captain on the bridge; they manipulate our already innate anxieties and turn timidity into terror. The perpetual fear of eternal damnation turns a fragile soul into a petrified self. We fragile ones go through the motions of life, but we don’t really live it.

Romans 8:33b, “God is the one who justifies,” should be heard by us as good news, as grace, as gospel. The gospel is aimed at liberating our selves from fragility and our souls from the endless unrolling of [spiritual] duct tape.” (pgs. 16-17)

Winners and Losers Under Your Own Inner-Editor

I have to admit, as a watcher of The Bachelor, that I participated in this phenomenon without ever thinking about it. Colson Whitehead, in the most recent NYT Magazine, talks about the “loser edit” in most competition-based reality television shows, the fact that, in winnowing 30 TV faces from total strangers into winners and losers, […]

“Abjection”…Or, Better Yet, Taylor Swift and a Postmortem Body

This wonderful reflection comes from Emily Stubbs. Often times we self-justify through the things that we associate with and claim as part of our identity: I am a vegan, I am a Phi Mu, I am a fellow at Christ Church, and I wear Led Zeppelin t-shirts from Goodwill and earrings that I bought from […]

Binging on Bags of Popcorn, or Misadventures in Hate-Viewing (and Reading)

A pretty relevant article appeared in The NY Times the other day on the phenomenon of “hate-reading/-watching”, courtesy of novelist Teddy Wayne. Not much to say on the subject that we haven’t said elsewhere, either when asking why we’re so obsessed with that person from sixth grade or contemplating “87 percent of our mental life.” […]

On TV: Breaking Bad, “To’haliijee”

This covers last night’s episode of the final season of Breaking Bad. Spoilers! To’haliijee, the Navajo reservation upon which the empire began in the Fleetwood Bounder in Season 1, now lines up the beginning of its end–and the end is coming by way of inversion. In last night’s episode, we watch a painted redux of […]

Mockingbird at the Movies: 12 Angry Men (Minus One)

You can watch the focal length elongating in 12 Angry Men. This makes the close-ups (which come more and more frequently as the film furthers) become more personal, more detached from the judicial background. Also you can see that the camera shots, while doing this, are also beginning to take a different angle. The courtroom […]

Another Week Ends: Religious Justice, Self-Esteem Pathologies, WWE SummerSlam, and Jealous Partners

1)  Well, if you planned on taking your kids to see Planes, thinking it would be the aviary of the Cars legacy, think again. As it has happened before, Pixar has created something seemingly unrepeatable, except unto itself (and unto scripture), and the Atlantic tells us what it is. Luke Epplin says it is the […]

87 Percent of Our Mental Life

Another absolute gem from Tim Kreider, this time via his essay on the intoxicating nature of anger in We Learn Nothing. It’s just as much as riff on the pleasures–and costs–of self-justification, and while that may not exactly constitute breaking news, still, it takes guts to talk about this tendency so openly and specifically when […]

Stray Takeaways from Arrested Development Season 4

1. Is Arrested Development a Christian show? At the risk of over-criticizing, if it weren’t, they probably wouldn’t have botched the ending the way they did. We all wanted les cousins dangereux to find love at last, but instead we witness a series of falls, especially with Michael and George Michael, up ’til now the show’s everymen/heroes, sinking […]

Are We Really Who We Used To Be?

There’s an old cliche that gets trotted out at weddings. It’s not politically correct, but it always gets some laughs. “A woman marries a man hoping he’ll change and become the incredible husband she knows he can be–and then he doesn’t. And a man marries a woman hoping that she’ll always be the girl he […]

David Byrne on Superrationalization Engines and the Legacy of Good Habits

A bit random: last week Brain Pickings highlighted David Byrne’s 2006 collection of pencil diagrams, Arboretum, and suffice it to say, the project is in keeping with the oddball beauty/eclecticism of everything the former Talking Head does. The diagrams in question are as funny as they are unorthodox, but it was the rationale laid out […]

The iLife Pursuit and Adultescent Loneliness: A Conference Breakout

Bryan J’s recent post on The Law of Social Media (which could not have been a more apt primer on the subject) looks into a TED talk given by Sherry Turkle, an M.I.T. professor and author of Alone Together, who has become something of a clarion caller upon the state of our lonely lives as […]