Friday, September 30, 2016

Brotherly harmony or "Pet Sounds"?

Joe Spagnardi (on rhythm guitar) jams with his brother Billy, the mandolin player. That right there is two fifths of The Gravy Boys, who put on another fine show -- this time for North Carolina's "Wide Open Bluegrass" festival.

Unusually thoughtful analysis

This essay by Julia Shaw on why Joshua Harris was wrong to "kiss dating goodbye" has far more thoughtful rigor in it than its headline might suggest.

I vaguely remember that Mr. Harris was arguing for virtue in relationships a few years back, but other people had taken up the same cause, and so Harris never exercised any particular influence on me. What I don't know about the big names in evangelical Christian publishing circles could fill a book. That said, Julia Shaw's answer to Joshua Harris was and is well worth reading.

Dating leads to broken hearts, Harris contends. In response to that, Shaw notes  -- in effect -- that the problem there lies not with dating per se, but with love itself.

Where Harris still thinks of dating as a sort of sanitized hookup, Shaw reminds him (and her readers) that many advocates of his preferred alternative -- old-fashioned, family-controlled courtship -- make the same wrongheaded assumptions about pleasure being an end in itself as the people immersed in "hookup culture" do. That looks counter-intuitive in the sentence I just used to summarize Shaw's point, but she develops her thesis carefully while defending dating from the libel under which Harris blithely tried to bury it. One significant problem, she argues, is that "Rather than exploring our emotions and thoughts, Harris recommends fleeing them." It's no surprise, then, that Shaw finds Harris guilty of "influence without analysis" that has the unintended consequence of treating God like a "helicopter parent." I'm persuaded that Shaw is right. Three cheers for her, and for editors at The Federalist who recognized the merit of her critique.