shorts

I have read a great deal about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and I have many thoughts — and a few strong opinions — but I am keeping them all to myself. Why? Because I don’t have any first-hand or even second-hand knowledge about the matter. It’s a useful spiritual discipline for me to shut up about all this. Indeed, over time I want to increase the number of things I shut up about until I finally achieve perfect silence. 

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The primary — not the only, but the primary — reason journalists decline to name their sources is simply this: They don’t want us to be able to evaluate those sources. Readers fear some things and hope for other things, and journalists stay in business by feeding the fears and the hopes alike. They can best do this by writing that “an expert told me that the worst will indeed happen” or “a person close to the situation told me that the event you’ve all been praying for will soon come to pass.” The expertise of the supposed expert might not bear up under inquiry, nor the closeness of the person supposedly close to the situation; so identities stay under wraps. 

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The vast majority of journalists, TV talking heads, talk-radio hosts, and politicians never ask themselves whether what they are about to say is true. They ask whether they’ll get in trouble for saying it. 

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A line from an entry in my journal: “Everybody lied, and lied all the time.” Could be about any period, any place. (I’d say more about this, but I have an essay forthcoming on lying and truthtelling, so I’ll save my comments for its appearance.) 

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Another line from my journal: “Nobody can be bothered to find out how the world actually works.” 

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Charles Spurgeon (on Luke 15:20): “The eyes of mercy are quicker than the eyes of repentance. Even the eye of our faith is dim compared with the eye of God’s love. He sees a sinner long before a sinner sees him.”