Are you WEIRD?

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the adjective “weird” as “of strange or extraordinary character : odd, fantastic.”  Joseph Henrich, an anthropologist at Harvard, has coined the term WEIRD to describe societal differences between the West and other global regions. The acronym stands for “Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic.” Tufts University philosophy professor Daniel Dennett described Henrich’s concept as follows: Continue reading

A final reflection

This coming weekend celebrates the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time during Lectionary Cycle C. Today we consider a reflection from the Scripture scholar Alan Culpepper, who, at the end of his commentary [277-78], provides an interesting story from Franz Kafka:

His parable “Before the Law” is the story of a man from the country who seeks admission to the Law. When the doorkeeper tells him he may not enter, he looks through the open door, but the doorkeeper warns him that he is just the first of a series of doorkeepers, each one more terrible than the one before. So the man waits for the doorkeeper’s permission to enter. For days and then years, the man talks with the doorkeeper, answers his questions, and attempts to bribe him, but with no success. The doorkeeper takes the man’s bribes, saying he is only doing so in order that the man will not think he has neglected anything. As the man lies dying, he sees a radiance streaming from the gateway to the Law. Thinking of one question he has not asked, he beckons the doorkeeper and asks him why in all those years no one else has come to that gate. The doorkeeper responds: “No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. Now I am going to shut it.”

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