Challenge your thinking

Read it all.

Some of the rhetoric will sting. Strip the emotionally charged language. Strip the emotional reactions from your response.  Think about the facts, the reality, the way the world around you actually operates.

Are all cultural practices morally neutral?  Do you also believe racism is a systemic part of western or white culture?

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Mountain Village, Philippines

Several of the younger generation (mostly guys in teens and 20s) at our congregation routinely visit villages and small churches up in the mountains. The places they go are only accessible by motorcycle and on foot. For some of their routes they leave their motorcycles at the last village accessible by trail and then walk a few more hours. For some, they walk their motorcycles part way.

Last week they took my husband with them, something they’ve all be wanting to do for a while, but it isn’t always safe. There are rebel soldiers in some areas, and frankly, out in the mountains you don’t necessarily want to have a run-in with government soldiers, either. In fact, they had to change their plans 3/4 of the way there, because at the place where they left the motorcycles they were told rebel army and government soldiers had been spotted in the area they planned to go, so they should visit somewhere else. They did. They still had a small meeting with a couple government soldiers. One of the young preachers was filming some of their visit and the soldiers were concerned that he was filming them. They came to the home where the guys were staying and asked him questions about who they were, why they were there, and had him show them all the images on his camera so they could make sure he wasn’t filming them. My husband, for a brief and foolish moment considered surreptitiously taking a picture of them because soldiers in uniform with their very large and obvious weapons questioning our preacher friend is the kind of picture the folks at home would just love to see. But then he remembered it wasn’t only himself he was placing at risk, so he didn’t. I punched him in the arm anyway when he told me about it, just for thinking about it.

Pictures below:


That bridge:

One of the churches they visited:



Drying cacao:


House where they slept- six on the floor, two in a bed:


Laundry room:


Leaving motorcycles with a friend, they start walking.

The road narrows to a mud path.  My husband took off his shoes about here:

Tramline: You can walk it- that’s what people did to get from village to the other before the tramline went in. It’s a steep walk and you have to cross a river. But it’s free. The tramline is about half a day’s wages.


This is back in our neighbourhood, just a couple blocks from home:

Posted in Davao Diary | 2 Responses

Saving the West

  1. “One of the leading philosophers of our time says Western culture will have to be handed down outside the ivory towers and college lecture halls – and he has strong reason to believe that its promulgators will be successful.”


The whole article is worth reading.


There are many ways to rage against the dying of the light, to push back.


I would suggest thinking about two questions:

What are you reading?

To whom are you reading?


“It never occurs to the people who run our schools, Fitzhugh said recently on his Concord Review blog, “that if students read more, they would know more, and in that way actually have some knowledge they wanted to write about.””

““But reading and knowledge never seem to find their way into discussions of Literacy in Our Time,” he said. “When teaching our students to write, not only are standards set very low in most high schools, limiting students to the five-paragraph essay, responses to a document-based question, or the personal (or college) essay about matters which are often no one else’s business, but we often so load up students with formulae and guidelines that the importance of writing when the author has something to say gets lost in the maze of the processes.””

What are your kids reading?

What are their friends reading?


Posted in Books, education, family, homeschooling, reading | 1 Response

Culture stuff

Asked Korean friends to define pittakkage- 삐딱하게- which is most often translated as crooked but via context means something much different than the usage in ‘there was a crooked man who walked a crooked mile.’
So they tried to demonstrate with a series of charades. They showed somebody sitting in church and crossing their legs. That was a complete blank for me. They showed somebody sort of slouching, weight off center, more on one foot than the other, arms crossed. Sort of like the way I stand all the time, because one leg is shorter than other and I prefer to get the weight off of that hip. They showed me somebody sitting properly- straight up, both feet flat on the floor, back straight, hands on the knees (preferably, slightly closed hands, fingers folded down under the palms, palms down on the knees)- this is not 삐딱하게. It’s proper. Then they showed me the contrast, sitting unevenly, a leg crossed, slouching…

For me we went from stiff and uncomfortable to comfortable, relaxed or possibly lazy and sloppy, but none of these conveyed what they felt was the essence of 삐딱하게.

I can’t recap all the work we went through trying to reach mutual understanding and alternately shocking each other. Much of it went like this, though:
Me: You can’t sit with your legs crossed? This is so unimportant in American culture I would not even notice if somebody’s legs are crossed or not!
Them: You don’t notice? IT doesn’t MATTER? You can do that in CHURCH?!

Essentially, it’s a combination of being rebellious, on the hostile side, looking for trouble, making trouble, selfish.

Straight and centered seems to be an important key to understanding a lot of Korean culture, from the alphabet on up.

Posted in culture, Davao Diary | 4 Responses

Current events

Grievance study:

Writers Behind ‘Grievance Studies Scandal’ Address Criticisms


The Grievance Studies Scandal: Five Academics Respond

Moral panics:


Media dereliction of duty:

Media Mangles Its Duty to Question Ford

Susan Collins’ speech on Senater floor: why she will vote yes on Kavanaugh:

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