Dr. Spin: A seminary class was debating whether the Garden of Eden story (Gen. 2-3) reinforces or resists the oppression of women when one student interjected: “It’s all just spin anyway. You can spin the text any way you want.” But Professor Jacqueline Lapsley, ruminating on the unlikely story about Balaam and his donkey (Num. 22-24), says two principles of biblical interpretation can guard against spin: our interpretation shouldn’t reinforce our own self-interest, and it should serve the larger purposes of God, that is, God’s love “for Israel, for the church and for the whole world” (Interpretation, January).
Military action against Iran is unwarranted and unwise: one, a nuclear threat is not imminent. Two, the U.S. and Israel’s military superiority should discourage Iran from aggressive action. Three, the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities would be difficult: they are widely dispersed, with many in underground bunkers. Four, Iran has the means with which to retalliate. Five, Iran could embargo its oil and plunge the world into deep depression. Finally, military action would strengthen hardline Islamists (Richard Falk, the Nation, Feb. 13).
Reallivepreacher: "The lion's roar came out of the age of enlightenment. It was the roar of freedom. It was the roar of truth. It was the roar of the victor standing over the body of his vanquished foe. It was an angry roar, and the lion had good reason to be angry."
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Did you know? National Public Radio has been under pressure from conservatives for its alleged liberal bias, but Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, NPR ombudsman, notes that NPR draws on many think tanks for its commentary. A tally of commentaries by think tank experts in 2005 indicates that interviewees more often came from the right than the left: 239 from the right, 141 from the left (www.npr.org, December 14).