Robbie Rambles | June 16, 2023
Conservation, effectiveness, postmodern scriptural engagements, and strong women.
Welcome to another addition of Robbie Rambles. I'd like to address a few housekeeping items before we start.
You may have noticed that I've begun publishing longer-form pieces. I'm challenging myself to write more regularly. For the past few weeks, I've been participating in IndieThinkers, an online writing cohort. It's helped me accelerate my publishing cadence, and I hope to keep this up in the future.
I've also changed the name of this larger publishing project to For The Rest Of Us. The idea is to write about truth, goodness, beauty, faith, hope, and love for those who aren't mystics or intellectuals. I will, however, retain "Robbie Rambles" for these link aggregation posts. I feel like "rambles" captures what I'm doing here in a couple senses: 1) short form, informal reflection on various internet reading, and 2) journeying in a leisurely manner. Think an after-lunch walk with friends or colleagues just shooting the shit.
With that, let's get into the links.
In this blog Alan Jacobs notes a trend, apparently common among Substack writers, of speaking in such absolute abstractions that it's difficult for him to even know what the author means. He points to recent essays from Paul Kingsnorth and Jon Askonas as examples. The two major takeaways from this piece for me are: 1) be specific and concrete in my writing, such that I can be held to account for my words, and 2) never give up on the abundant possibility of conserving.
I appreciated Jon Askonas's response to Jacobs, full of specificity. His point about editorial constraints is salient — they can tend toward abstraction, and it's easy to impute unintended meanings. I'm glad he calls for clear-eyed innovation in the midst of technological change, instead of rueful indignation.
Phil Christman's The Effective Samaritan made me chuckle and wince. I don't feel informed enough about "effective altruism" to comment much on it, though its technocratic gestalt and focus on utility make me look askance at it. That said, given the status of Samaritans as ethno-religious outsiders in Jesus' time, Effective Altruists seem an appropriate parallel as ideological outsiders to much Christian discourse today. And it's easy to forget actual neighbors in all our pontification. Lord, have mercy.
Cleo Kearns, a fellow participant of the IndieThinkers cohort, is beginning a project dealing with postmodern philosopher's engagement with the scriptures of the Abrahamic faiths. I'm still working my way through the intro piece, but I'm excited for what's to come.
Matthew Crawford asks what makes women strong. As a father to a 13-month-old daughter who's already developing rough and tumble sensibilities, this was an interesting read. As much as I want to shelter her from the inevitable bumps and scrapes that come with increased mobility, I know they provide a foundation for increased resilience going forward. I wonder if she'll get into dirt bike racing.
That's it for this edition. Thanks for reading, hope you have a great weekend.