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Showing posts from November, 2016

Ta-Nehisi Coates calls for reparations from our Midwestern campus – can we hear him?

Ta-Nehisi Coates 
James Cone came to talk to our University community onWednesday of last week, and Ta-Nehisi Coates came on Sunday.  Cone used a boxing metaphor to describe his writing career, and having these two on campus this week felt like a one-two punch.  Though the first is a black liberation theologian and the second is an atheist, their talks fit hand in glove.  Coming on the heels of the Donald Trump election, their reactions to this disorienting outcome were also complimentary.  I went to the second talk with the reluctant step-daughter’s boyfriend, an avowed liberal theologian who is just starting his professional life at a local church that is on the edge of insolvency.  As we walked away from Coates’ talk, we were both dumbfounded by what Coates had said – he provided an African American economics lesson that we didn’t dispute, but that was so much at variance with our received (and unquestioned) wisdom that we didn’t quite know what to do with the information.

Belvedere …

James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree

James Cone is a Black Liberation Theologian who delivered a “last lecture” at my school this week.  His thesis is so simple, clear and direct that it is hard to believe that we don’t all know it, not just the theologians among us.  He believes that the best way for Americans to understand the New Testament – the best way to read about and understand Jesus – is through the eyes of African Americans.  He says this because White America, post slavery, used the Lynching Tree in the same way that the Roman Empire used the cross – to terrorize and maintain suppression of oppressed peoples.  The experience of blacks in America is more like that of the Jews in Israel in the first century than is that of the whites and, if we are to understand the message of Jesus, we should be thinking through the eyes of those who have lived like the people he led lived – not through the eyes of those oppressed him and those like him.

In this age of Trump, it is more the rule than the exception for everyone…

The Rorschach

This has been a sad week.  Donald Trump was elected President and, on a much smaller scale, our faculty voted yesterday (9 to 1, with one abstention) to make a clinical psychology graduate course that I teach, the Rorschach, an elective rather than a required class.  Big deal, you may say, does every clinician need to know how to administer the Rorschach?  Isn’t that an old and outdated test?  And what difference does it make if students are taught one technique or another?  And, by the way, can’t they still take the class if they want to?  What’s your beef?

You probably think of the Rorschach as an inkblot test.  That would make sense because Hermann Rorschach, when he published the test in 1921, stated that it was an inkblot test – and the 10 Rorschach cards look, at first blush, like inkblots.  Unfortunately, Hermann died of appendicitis before he could come clean (I reviewed biography of Rorschach published in 2017 here).  The stimuli in his test are actually his pen and ink drawi…