I thought I would share some answers to specific questions publicly in case others are curious as well. Please feel free to leave comments on the blog as well as contacting me directly. Here is some general information in no particular order:
- Any of the illustrations I use on United Methodeviations are available for your use. I will gladly share a .jpeg/.png of the illustrations with anyone who asks, free of charge. I do ask for credit.
- Yes, I would be willing to lead a Zoom basic training on Critical Thinking if enough people are interested.
- No, I don’t think I am smarter than other people (LOL) but I do think there are levels of cognitive engagement that are able to process higher levels of complexity that we should be listening to; and I also believe that a greater quality of thinking is possible, preferable, and teachable. I believe we need the most sophisticated levels of thinking to help guide us, perhaps now more than ever. We should not allow the lowest common denominator to define us.
- Books I recommend on Critical Thinking: The one I like best is Brooke Noel Moore and Richard Parker’s Critical Thinking (13th edition); the one I have used for years and years is Critical Thinking by Linda and Richard Elder. Something new that I really appreciate (well, new to me; it has been around for seven years) is Maureen Linker’s Intellectual Empathy: Critical Thinking for Social Justice.
- Respecting the right of people to hold worldviews different from our own does NOT mean agreeing with them, endorsing them, embracing them, or even allowing them to be acted upon. The point I have been trying to make (obviously poorly) is that valid accountability must come out of community, not individuals. Individuals hold diverse and varied perspectives on right and wrong. But it is not up to individuals to determine the best way to live in the world. An individual may think 1) it is not only acceptable, but necessary to own firearms, 2) I have every right to protect myself with firearms, 3) anyone invading my property is someone I have the right to shoot, 4) immigrants are invading my country and threatening my way of life, 5) it is my right and duty to protect my country by opposing immigration, even if it means using my firearms. Okay, this is a clear line of reasoning and perspective. What kinds of community would endorse this worldview? Wouldn’t most communities allow for the right to own firearms, as long as they are reasonable (no semiautomatic military weapons, rocket launchers, grenades, etc.) and are used solely for the purpose of protection of one’s loved ones and property? Communities would limit in big and small ways the “rights” of individuals to expand the worldview to allow that person to essentially do whatever he/she/they determined good and proper. This is civil society, and it is what is currently threatened by the polarization and partisanizing of our social, ecclesial, and political structures.
- “We” always has more power and potential than “me,” though any “me” can do incredible damage when the “we” is weak. My sense is that coalitions of “we” bent on selfishness, entitlement, greed, gluttony, and power are currently better organized and empowered than “we” coalitions of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23, NRSV). I am calling the church to lead and model instead of acquiesce and assimilate. Church should be having a greater positive impact on culture than culture has a negative impact on church.
That’s it. I love the public and private conversations; that’s where I feel the value of the blog truly is. One last thing: The church needs to take an active, radical, and decisive stand against hate crimes and all forms of toxic and destructive -isms. Enough is enough, and there is no acceptable defense for hate-crimes, no matter your politics, past, or predilection. The time is now to witness to the world that God is love.