I seem to have run across a whole lot of good stuff this week:
In anticipation of the new season of LOST, which starts tomorrow, Maureen Ryan (my favorite TV critic) has a long but excellent interview with Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, in three parts. It’s completely free of Season 6 spoilers (Seasons 1 to 5 are fair game, however), in case you’re as spoiler-wary as I am. I was especially pleased to read their comments in Part 3 about having having a plan verses “making it up as you go along.” And don’t miss the discussion of Ewoks. Really! Oh wait, did I say there were no spoilers…?
Speaking of televised sci-fi, the Dollhouse finale was also fantastic, if a bit rushed. Scott Tobias has an outstanding review here, and io9 discusses 10 Reasons We’ll Miss Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. It’s a shame the show only hit its stride after it was already assured of being cancelled, as there was a lot more story that could have been told in this world of “dolls” and mindwipes. Regardless, Whedon has given us one of the most nuanced explorations of the nature of memory and identity as you are likely to find on television, and I suspect this is a series that will reward repeat viewing down the line.
On a more serious note, I’ve been enjoying a fascinating conversation with John Hobbins regarding the inspiration and “inerrancy” of scripture. If more defenders of inerrency thought like John, I’d be much more comfortable with the idea. Though we do not entirely agree, the whole exchange is well worth reading.
Speaking of the nature of Scripture, I also got into a bit of a tussle this week with one Joel Taylor over whether Brian McLaren is a heretic and whether “penal substitution and hell” are among the most important doctrines in Scripture (hint: they’re not). I’m sure he’ll be very pleased to know that he’s inspired me to read McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy. I’m sure he’ll really be thrilled if I end up liking it.
On Oct. 17, 1989, a major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 struck the Bay Area in Northern California. Sixty-three people were killed. This week, a major earthquake, also measuring a magnitude of 7.0, struck near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Red Cross estimates that between 45,000 and 50,000 people have died.
This is not a natural disaster story. This is a poverty story. It’s a story about poorly constructed buildings, bad infrastructure and terrible public services. On Thursday, President Obama told the people of Haiti: “You will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten.” If he is going to remain faithful to that vow then he is going to have to use this tragedy as an occasion to rethink our approach to global poverty. He’s going to have to acknowledge a few difficult truths.
Be sure to read Doug’s whole post as well, which also offers some interesting reflections on sin and evil and the facile reactions to tragedy seen among both theists like Pat Robertson (who blame it Hatii’s sin) and atheists like Richard Dawkins (who dismiss the whole concept of blame). As Doug rightly observes:
The huge death toll of Haiti is not a punishment for their sins, but it’s certainly in part a consequence of ours.