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Monday, December 3, 2012

Diversity For Thee But Not For Me

Over the past few weeks, our adult education class at church has been discussing Michael Sandel's most recent book, "What Money Can't Buy." It's an excellent and thought-provoking book, in which Sandel argues (in a nutshell) that there are some goods that shouldn't be subjected to market forces because they (i.e., the market forces) crowd out the norms and values generally associated with that good (for a libertarian critique of Sandel's book, see Tom Parker's review at the Cato Institute's website).

For our final forum, we watched a video of Sandel speaking at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival ("Markets and Morals: What Money Can't Buy"). In it Sandel is engaging as always, and, true to form, he encourages discussion/debate on the topic among those who were present. He closes his talk with a question and answer period. Although it was hard to hear (but Sandel repeated the gist of the question), one woman asked Sandel if he thought we, as a society, would be better off if we got our news from various sources, in particular from those that challenge our assumptions. Given his belief that hearing and deliberating multiple sides of an issue is a good thing, it isn't surprising that Sandel agreed.

Now, I may be going out on a limb, but I'm betting that this woman had in mind political conservatives who only listen to FOX News. That is, she believes or at least hopes that if they got their news from somewhere else (e.g., NPR, Pacifica Radio, New York Times), they wouldn't hold such conservative beliefs.  That said, my guess is that she didn't see any immediate need for her to watch, read, or listen to something other than NPR or the NY Times, such as FOX News, since she probably wasn't interested in having her worldview challenged or changed.

But, then again, who knows? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe she avidly reads the NY Times while watching FOX News. You never know. Thus, in the spirit of encouraging the reading of diverse resources, I offer this array of my favorite theological journals that I try to regularly read and consider (I currently subscribe to Books & Culture, The Christian Century, and First Things):
  • Books and Culture (Moderate Evangelical)
  • The Christian Century (Moderate to Liberal Mainline Protestant)
  • Christianity Today (Conservative Evangelical)
  • First Things (Conservative Roman Catholic)
  • Sojourners (Liberal Evangelical)
Happy reading


  1. Sean,
    My primary news sources are NPR and Fox News online (I will not pay for anything but basic cable, $15 a month). When my schedule allows for it, I will watch PBS Newshour as well. Interesting combination, but I figure that it gives me a number of sources and perspectives. For print media I am more selective, since I have to pay for that! I quit the Century years ago, as it got so liberal and so predictable. I read World magazine, which can too ideological at times, but is a good source for a conservative perspective. I get Books and Culture as well, and have access to First Things online (I think). I do so much of my own reading (theology, biography, etc.) that I don't give as much attention to news printed. All this is in addition to the internet news sources.

  2. We need more folks like you Walter. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. We spent it in Memphis