I have to say that I resonate with the purpose statement that you proposed. It may be vague, but I agree that this suits our goals well, since we want this blog to have flexibility. I have added this statement to our “About” page, which was an embarrassment to our website, since it said nothing. I also think that the short story project is an excellent idea. Not only is it entertaining to read (and write), but it buys us about a month to get prepared for writing more academic posts that will probably require more careful thought and planning, although I found it sufficiently challenging to continue a story that you had started. It will be interesting to see how the process goes for you. Based on the positive feedback that we have already gotten on this Fiction Project (you haven’t been here to actually hear how much people have been talking about it), I think that we will probably find ourselves returning to this kind of project again, probably between topics. We should probably also brainstorm what other kinds of entertainment we can provide to balance out our more wordy threads.
Having scanned over your proposed topics, I think that we should try to start with a topic that is not overwhelmingly large, but more manageable. For this reason, I think that Religion and Politics is fitting, particularly given the upcoming elections and the large role that religion will undoubtedly play in them. This topic will also help stretch me personally, since I have a hard time keeping up with politics. Hopefully it will force me to engage the news more and actually process the information that I receive. This topic also encompasses a field of questions that I have had for the last several years, namely:
- How should my religious convictions affect the way I vote or participate as a citizen?
- When presiding over a court case, is a judge supposed to rule with his own personal convictions in mind, or try to interpret the laws and constitution to mean what the authors intended?
- Generally stated: there are necessary conflicts between being a citizen and being a Christian (or an adherent to any religion), and how does a good citizen reconcile these conflicts?
Anyway, I think that the accessibility, contemporary relevance and general appeal of this topic (Politics & Religion) make it a prime candidate for a starting point. We don’t necessarily have to begin with the group of questions I have listed above. There are plenty of others that we can pursue in this arena:
- Should a Christian vote for a promising Mormon candidate on common social grounds, despite the enormous disparity in theology?
- Is it ethical for a presidential candidate to gain popularity simply because of his religious views, turning religion into a selling point?
Those two questions just popped into my head, and I’m sure you have others in mind, since you proposed the topic in the first place.
To the readers: we greatly appreciate the support that we have already gotten from you. It is encouraging to know that someone is actually reading what we are writing. We want to make this blog accessible, entertaining, and highly educational for all of us (by the way, I just used a rhetorical device known as ascending tricolon, or tricolon crescens in Latin; ascending tricolon lists three things of increasing significance and verbal length, which creates a climactic effect–I just had to include that tidbit, since I learned it yesterday). Bear with us as we are slowly publishing the next two segments of our short story, and gear up for some more thought-provoking material. Also, if there is a particular question that you would like us to address, feel free to post a comment. We don’t just want feedback from each other, but from you as well.
James, the younger brother