Tag Archives: social justice

What Does St. Augustine Have to Do With Social Justice?

“[. . .] where ignorance is bliss,
‘Tis folly to be wise.”

Those lines are from “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College”, by 18th century poet Thomas Gray. Now we both know the origins of the phrase; you’re welcome. There’s a reason those three words I bolded have survived and become a part of our cultural lexicon when the man who wrote them, and even the fact that they come from a poem to begin with, have long since faded away: we all know what it’s like to learn something we wish we hadn’t.

Kind of like when that image of what appeared to be a pink boa constrictor began circulating around the internet a couple of years back-

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-and many people, when they found out what it was, said they would never eat another chicken nugget again. Which, let’s be real, can’t be a resolution that most of them ended up sticking with.

It’s easy to continue hitting up our dietary habits when it comes to Gray’s words; after all, don’t we eat every single day? Anyone who has seen the documentary Food Inc. may come out of it with the hot piece of trivia that corn makes its way into almost every item of food in American grocery stores, but the real question is whether or not they continue purchasing and consuming meat that has, in all likelihood, been produced by a factory farm. Continue reading

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Angoulême, #OscarsSoWhite, and the Possibility of Change

I had initially planned on permanently shelving this blog post, for the most part due to the fact that I felt the two incidents I was comparing had come and gone, and I try to stay topical. Then recently Facebook notified me that Kate Winslet not boycotting the Oscars was trending, and just today that acclaimed director Steven Spielberg had some thoughts about the awards ceremony. It appears that a discussion that began with the continuing hashtag #OscarsSoWhite is far from over.

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I wanted to call Chris Rock the one bright spot in this upcoming Academy Awards, but the irony was too much.

This may surprise you, but the focus of this particular blog post isn’t race. It is about social justice in general, though [just because this pony has more than one trick doesn’t mean that he has a lot of them]. Social justice is ultimately concerned with change, a positive transformation of our society, and is more often than not battling against the presumption that this is impossible. I’m going to be covering two somewhat recent events, both surrounding awards shows, that prove it’s not. Continue reading

The Ethics of Tourism: Considering A Small Place in the Traveller’s Era

Is it immoral to be a tourist?

A few weeks ago we returned from spending a week long vacation in Cuba. You may have even read my last post with suggestions for anyone else who might be interested in traveling there.

So, why, out of the blue, am I asking you about the morality of tourism?

Well, it’s probably because of Jamaica Kincaid and her book, A Small Place.

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Fame Day: Liberation Theology (Can the Church be a Force for Social Justice?)

I grew up as an Evangelical Christian. There are many wonderful people I love who strongly associate with that title, but at this point in my life I no longer consider myself one. As I’ve struggled with certain tenants of the Evangelical movement over the last few years I’ve also struggled with the urge to write off Christianity entirely.

As I’ve gotten older and moved away from my previous home and (wonderful) community, I’ve started to realize that the “brand” of Christianity I was raised with is certainly not the only one out there. I also discovered that the emphasized conversion message that I was brought up in is actually a relatively new aspect of Christianity. While this method had a real heyday in the 80-90’s (think altar calls), here in North America things seem to be evolving yet again.

While I’d love to share more about what I’ve been learning regarding the evolution of Christianity sometime soon, for this post I want to focus on a branch of theology that I didn’t even realize existed until pretty recently: Liberation Theology. Continue reading

Shame Day: The Sochi Olympics

I have this weird thing where I actually really love crowds, so if I was in Sochi right now I would be all up in the Olympic excitement. And of course as a Canadian I’m particularly excited to be a winner in something sporty, even if my association with winning is only via my citizenship.

That being said, I’m going to have to pull a Debbie Downer here and remind everyone of all the crap that has happened in Russia as a direct result of the Olympics.

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Fame Day: Johnny Cash

Readers, I do what I can to keep my fame days contemporary, but with Switzerland pretty much legalizing apartheid, bloody crackdowns in Egypt, and network giant Cisco cutting 5% of it’s workforce, finding something positive today just isn’t happening. So I figured I’d reach back a bit and pull out a shining beacon of hope from days gone by- my favorite music artist of all time, Johnny Cash.

Yes, he is looking at your soul.

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Arguments for Trayvon

It’s 10:30 here in Las Vegas and 96 degrees, and with tonight’s news out of Florida, I know I’m not going to be getting any sleep without howling a bit first.

In spite of the widespread shock and outrage at the acquittal of Florida neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman for the murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, there are still plenty of people out there trying to come up with defenses for this, the most widely publicized miscarriage of justice since the wrongful execution of Troy Davis.

In the coming days, we’re going to be seeing rallies, marches, and perhaps even riots around the nation in response to this travesty, and some responses are going to be needed to the litany of excuses that are going to be offered for the decision of the jury.

Here’s what we’re probably going to be hearing:

I. The Court Must Be Right, Because It’s The Court

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