Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In-Box: Replies to Comments

I like being able to reply to the comments left on my posts, but it sometimes takes me a while and, by then, I think the discussions often wither. To remedy that, I’m instituting a new weekly blog post: The In-Box. Here is the first of these.

[On my post about Proposition 8]

…I might print [the post on Prop 8] to give to my students, who are currently tasked with writing an analysis paper that keeps their own opinions out of the mix…

I would be honored! I hope serves as a good example. I really tried to keep balanced in writing it.

I think it’s important to teach my students that, however we might try, it’s truly impossible to be perfectly objective. All we can do is attempt to understand all the sides. Maybe your students might find value in just understanding (he says, thinking out loud)? My students often get a lot by deeply exploring a view or experience that they are not familiar with initially. If they’re pro-abortion, for example, I wonder if they’d get an appreciation for how to write objectively by trying to understand and defend a pro-choice decision. Again, just thinking out loud.

[On the greater purpose of marriage]

I question whether someone ELSE'S marriage has ANY bearing on anyone else's.

If we accept marriage as an institution that is firmly grounded in personal choice, without social obligation, then perhaps it doesn’t, although the many deleterious psychological effects of divorce on children would suggest it has at least some effect on society as a whole. If we explore marriage as a contract that holds a sacred place in the fabric of society (and carries with it a level of social responsibility commensurate with its recognition by the state), then my marriage becomes part of a larger effort to foster those values, routines and traditions that the institution is supposed to uphold. In that sense, when viewed in the context of community, my marriage most definitely does have bearing on everyone else’s. Is that the way marriage actually works in our society now? Yes, and no.

What greater purpose might that be? How does limiting unions to one man and one woman figure into that greater purpose?

This is exactly the conversation that we, as a society, should be having! Right now, we have a lot of people getting married (and 60% getting divorced again), and no one really understands why we do it. We get married because we think we’re supposed to. Should we? Why? What’s the point? Why is marriage even worth recognizing by the state? The answers to these questions help us come to two important things. First, it puts everyone on the same page. We’ll all be talking about the same concept, instead of about myriad (often muddled) personal ideas of what marriage is or should be. Second, it creates a sense of value to the institution that everyone can see and understand. People can then make sense of what marriage does, and can make informed choices about whether or not to enter into it.

[On poems on the whiteboard]

I love the idea...

It really seems to help people feel like they’re part of Wayfarer House. It’s not the only way this happens, but it’s a whole lot less effort than emptying the dishwasher or helping put the kids to bed.

To everyone: I’d love to know what things happen in your house to make people feel at home and part of your family! Will you share?

[On the voting and elections post]

The English teacher in me is questioning whether you really KNEW all that stuff. Do you owe a works cited page?

You’re a good teacher to question where my information actually came from. Certainly, if this were an actual research paper and I were defending a point I would want to produce a selected bibliography, but since the vast majority of this is what we would term “common knowledge”, and since I’m not really defending a point but dispensing knowledge, I would argue citing my work is overkill. Still, if you like, I’ll offer something like what I see in the paper all the time:

NOTICE: AP sources were used in the preparation of this blog entry.

[On BloMoNaPo perfection]

Dude, you dropped the ball. You know you can schedule posts, right?

I do know I can schedule posts, but there was no way in hell that I was going to get ahead of posting in advance of the conference. NO. WAY. I had hoped to do it while I was there, but I just couldn’t justify the expense. I am struggling to come to terms with a goal unrealized. [whimper]

…I'm still interested in trying to get underneath your thinking on those points (about which we disagree philosophically).

I really value these discussions! How can we make them happen? Can we open them up to others? What makes sense as an achievable next step?

[On my 10 Things Tuesday post, which posted on Monday]

Um, Babe? Check your calendar.

Yeah, about that... See, I had a post for Monday, and it exploded. Can I get it to you next week?


Mrs. Chili said...

I'm going to like this feature. I like the folks who respond to comments, but I rarely have time to go back to check if my comment has been the topic of a response.

I DID print out your post and read it aloud to my students. Until the very end, you did exactly what I asked them to do - and most of them did it pretty well.

Kizz said...

If the blogger you're commenting on uses blogger you can subscribe to have the responses sent to your e-mail. I wouldn't suggest it for Mrs. G (I STILL get e-mail responses from her Women's Colony post) but for people like us it's an easier way to keep us in the discussion.

Wayfarer, I know you're making a concerted effort to write objectively about this marriage discussion but I'm still hearing in it that YOU feel there is a specific "higher purpose" to marriage and that's what I was asking to hear.