What A Man Peeing on My Neighbor’s House Taught Me about America’s Ability to Learn God’s Holiness


Anger, Disgust, Outrage

So I’m driving out of the church parking lot in a rush to play taxi for my children and I see a guy standing with his back to me in that little space between the fence, the bush and the house across Amherst from the church. I instinctively and immediately know what he’s doing, he’s relieving himself in the corner on my neighbor’s home.

Immediately a whole set of impulses and emotions flash through my mind.

  • I’m angry at the gall of such a person to be so vulgar and inconsiderate not just to my neighbor but to everyone who has to drive by on this busy intersection.
  • My mind immediately flashed back to life in the Dominican Republic where public urination is a very common thing. I remember an occasion when after a drive up into a mountain community a pastor who I had just transported stepped out and urinated on the wheel of the jeep. With 50 trees all around us I wondered why he couldn’t have peed on a tree rather than my jeep. I wasn’t happy.
  • I remembered the time I caught a mentally ill woman urinated on the paved courtyard of the church. I told her very clearly that if she needs to use the restroom I’d be happy to open it for her.
  • As I saw the man doing this I was torn between pulling the car over and having words with him, venting my righteous indignation and needing to get to my waiting children. I drove on.

In a moment like this the mind moves so quickly with memories, emotions and impulses that the conscious mind has to struggle to keep up and process all of it. This reminded me of the reading I’ve been doing Jonathan Haidt, a moral psychologist. The “elephant” of our automatic mind producing moral intuitions and feelings far before the rational, conscious mind can catch up.

Harm?  Continue reading

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Jonathan Haidt’s 5 Moral First Drafts

  1. Harm/Care
  2. Fairness/ Reciprocity
  3. Ingroup / Loyalty: only among humans can large groups join together.
  4. Authority/Respect:
  5. Purity/Sanctity

5 Best Candidates for First Draft of the Moral Mind

Hieronymus Bosch The Garden of Earthly Delight


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Wesley Hill on Friendship


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Links about Renting Facilities Space

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Douthat on Reactions to Modernity

NY Times

So writing off the West’s challengers as purely atavistic is a good way to misunderstand them — and to miss the persistent features of human nature that they exploit, appeal to and reward.

These features include not only the lust for violence and the will to power, but also a yearning for a transcendent cause that liberal societies can have trouble satisfying.

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Constitutional Protection of Religion vs. Ideologies

The Daily Beast

Gay Marriage Vs. the First Amendment – The Daily Beast

Unfortunately, the problem is even worse than that. The First Amendment is also biased against religion in an unexpected way. As we are all familiar, Congress “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Sorry, theocrats! But think more deeply: Congress could make all kinds of laws that aggressively establish an ideology that is not a religion.

To underscore the point: The Constitution strongly protects us against theocrats who would pass religious precepts into law. The Constitution provides us with pretty much no protection against ideologues who want to hardwire specific secular dogmas into our laws and our lives—so long as the attorneys defending this process in court convince judges that due process and equal protection standards are met.

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True Love Waits Pledge

XO Jane on a 10 year old’s Baptist Virginity Pledge

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