For the roundup this week I’ve got one article from Time, one video and one poem. And each one comes with a bonus!
The article, in particular, has given me so much to think about. It brings to mind a lecture I heard by Dr. Willie James Jennings a few years ago where he used the term “fictive middle” to describe the same thing — the “common ground” that Jones writes about. Jennings pointed out that Christians, especially, seem prone to point to a middle place as the place that is most Christ-like but is, in fact, fiction. I’m so curious to hear how other folks react to Jones’ piece. You can find it here.
Compromise is not valuable in its own right, and justice seldom dwells in the middle.
Jones also wrote An American Marriage which is definitely worth a read.
The video. I’ve heard a lot about voter suppression but, if I’m honest, I’ve never really understood what that means. Watching this short clip with Trevor Noah and Carol Anderson was really helpful in understanding more about it. If you don’t have time to watch the full video clip (it’s 11 minutes), check out the image below. Even just those tiny sound bites give you a decent picture of what is meant by voter suppression.
Sidenote: our community group had a ballot party last night in lieu of our usual conversation and it was totally great. Everyone was assigned to research, read up, whatever on one initiative/candidate/race and report their findings to the group. It made the whole process less daunting, it sparked some interesting conversations and further research, and sure made filling out my ballot this morning a whole lot easier than times past. Granted, this might not be a good call for every group out there. For some it’s bound to be way too fraught to be worth it but it worked for us and I highly recommend trying it. Wine helped, too.
Noah also wrote one of the better memoirs I’ve read in a while — Born a Crime. I actually listened to it on Audible and it might be even better if you listen to him narrate it.
And finally, the poem. It’s by Maggie Smith and I think it actually might have made the rounds on social media sometime in the not-so-distant past. So maybe you’ve already seen it. Either way, it’s worth a(nother) read. It captures, beautifully, the difficulty inherent in talking to your kids about the world — in looking at things with an honest, eyes-wide-open sort of way while still inspiring hope and a fervor to make things right.
If you’re interested in poetry but don’t know where to start, Smith has 5 award-winning poetry books to choose from.
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
BY MAGGIE SMITH