Books Will Never Die

Wandering Bark Books

Last week, Mireille Silcoff wrote an article for The New York Times: On Their Death Bed, Books Have Finally Become Sexy.

Given that I recently published a blog post, “Sexiest Book Alive,” I took issue with the idea that physical books have ever NOT been sexy. Then I read the piece, and I took serious issue with some other things, indeed.

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The new right to be forgotten

The more accurate guide to the future

The European Court of Justice recently ruled that Google has to remove links to specific articles on (proper) request where the damage to the individual outweighs the public right to know.

It has generated a lot of reaction. Lots of people have done things, or have been accused of doing things, and would prefer that the records of that don’t appear when people do a search for them. If a pedophile or a corrupt politician wants to erase something from their past, then many of us would object. If it is someone who once had a bad debt and long since paid it off, that seems more reasonable. So is there any general principle that would be useful? I think so.

When someone is convicted of a crime, sometimes they are set to prison. When their sentence terminates, they are considered to have suffered enough punishment and are free to live a…

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Rights and Privileges

Trudging Through Fog

When the federal judge struck down Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage on Monday, I didn’t expect to cry. After all, it was more or less a foregone conclusion. The state flat-out refused to defend its own law in court. Requests from out-of-state conservative activist groups to defend the ban, and later, to stay the ruling, were denied. According to a recent public opinion poll, 58% of Oregonians support gay marriage. The judge himself is gay, has a partner and a son. So I wasn’t exactly worried.

Almost ten years ago, Oregon voted on the infamous Measure 36. I was in Washington, DC for work. I watched the results of the referendum roll across my hotel room TV screen in utter shock. Measure 36, which would amend the Oregon constitution to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman, passed. It wasn’t even close. 57% of Oregonians…

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Solitude’s a Lady, Loneliness a Bitch

Mindless Productivity

“You should get out and meet people,” they tell me, like they’re urging chemo. “It’s easy,” they say, “and besides, What Do You Have To Lose?”

Like most social advice, this is intuitive, reasonable, and bullshit.

They assume I have nothing to lose because, to their extroverted eyes, a lonester like myself has nothing worthwhile at all.

They don’t know recognize the value of what I have. I have Solitude, and Solitude is a lady of the highest quality.

You don’t see her? That’s all right. Not all invisible friends are imaginary.

When she walks through the house, she is quiet and elegant, her subtle scent the only indication she’s around.

She listens to my unusual music choices without complaint, giving every artist its fair due without judging. Sometimes she hums along.

Solitude doesn’t complain when I ruin a meal–she always knows just how to salvage the leftovers.

When we watch a…

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“The Son You Love”

LAW AND RELIGION FORUM

Yesterday, during Shabbat services, Jews read Vayera (Genesis 18:1 – 22:24), the portion of the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) whose narrative includes the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham’s expulsion of Hagar and Ishamel, and then as its climax, the Akedah — the binding of Isaac.

During yesterday’s service at the Havurah in my synagogue, I gave a d’var Torah (homily) on Vayera.  Here’s a lightly edited version:

*   *   *

The typical question we’re moved to ask about the Akedah is whether, in Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac at God’s command, he passed God’s test of faith, or spectacularly failed it. That is a big question, but it is too big for me this morning. It might also not be the right question. Because, actually, Abraham failed his test long before the Akedah, long before God…

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“The Son You Love”

LAW AND RELIGION FORUM

Yesterday, during Shabbat services, Jews read Vayera (Genesis 18:1 – 22:24), the portion of the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) whose narrative includes the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham’s expulsion of Hagar and Ishamel, and then as its climax, the Akedah — the binding of Isaac.

During yesterday’s service at the Havurah in my synagogue, I gave a d’var Torah (homily) on Vayera.  Here’s a lightly edited version:

*   *   *

The typical question we’re moved to ask about the Akedah is whether, in Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac at God’s command, he passed God’s test of faith, or spectacularly failed it. That is a big question, but it is too big for me this morning. It might also not be the right question. Because, actually, Abraham failed his test long before the Akedah, long before God…

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Jack Spong (article in the Herald)

Sky Pilot

Church to meet over preacher’s lectures

Tuesday 24 September 2013

PLANS for two Scottish lectures by a controversial American preacher are to be discussed by Church of Scotland figures at a meeting next week.

Glasgow Presbytery is expected to seek to address concerns raised by some Church figures over the booking of Bishop Jack Spong – an Episcopalian who rejects the idea of a supernatural God and does not believe Christ died for man’s sins – at Cairns Church, Milngavie, and Orchardhill Parish Church in Giffnock.

He is due to lecture at the two churches’ Thinking Allowed series of events that will take place over the coming months. Each of the October lectures costs £12 per ticket.

Mr Spong, who also rejects the virgin birth and believes the resurrection was not a physical rising, has attracted admirers and critics alike. The preacher has been firmly in favour of Christian churches…

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