I try not to read, it only makes me think. It also makes me question my opinions and beliefs. No wonder Republicans are cutting funding for schools.
The latest text has been Porch Talk: Stories of Decency, Common Sense, and Other Endangered Species by Philip Gulley. The author is a Quaker minister and is on Indiana PBS. Despite Mr. Gulley having written several books, this is my first. The ministers at my church occasionally suggest books to read and somehow this Quaker's musings made the list.
One chapter relates the story of how when Gulley is asked his profession, rather than admit to being an author and then being faced with the response of "I've never heard of your book," Gulley simply responds that he is a professional thinker. With his homespun, Midwestern story telling ability, the Quaker pastor hits one home:
Despite our need for professional thinkers, our country has lately been relying on amateur thinkers. They populate radio, television, and the Internet, spewing their invective in the name of wisdom and common sense. Though wearing the guise of the thinker, they care less about knowledge and more about propaganda, trading in the party line, the half-truth, the telling wink. They speak with forked tongues and crossed fingers, ask God to bless their efforts, wrap the flag about their shoulders, and then strangle the freedoms they claim to love.
There ought to be a law that all thinkers, professional and otherwise, must foreswear all allegiances, resign from all factions and parties, and abandon all preconceptions before undertaking their work. Except for me, of course, who alone of all the professional thinkers is able to remain above the coarse partisanship of human exchange.
How quickly I can read this passage, yet jump to criticize the religious right or even praise Obama. The passage from Matthew suggesting that I worry about the speck in my neighbor's eye when there is a 2X4 stuck in my own surely comes to mine.