politics religion

Stating the Obvious

[Saturday’s run: 5.6 miles]

A few years ago my Uncle Ron told me about, and then sent me a copy of Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules For Life. And I found it very interesting.

Peterson seemed to start an internet trend of sorts, maybe because a lot of his lectures as a college professor are available for free on YouTube. And I think his book brought in a new wave of attention, because of the interviews and backlash to the book as much as anything else.

I had been looking at other things and came across another YouTube channel, a Christian Reformed Church pastor who had some videos about the struggles within their denomination over same-sex marriage. His name is Paul VanderKlay.

And it turns out that VanderKlay was very interested in Peterson, so there is a junction at that spot. VanderKlay in particular has a cloud of people around him who are mostly Christian but of all sorts of denominations and flavors. And the Peterson part seems to bring a lot of that.

Anyway, VanderKlay is a very smart guy. And his presentations on YouTube seem to have some similarities to Peterson. I don’t know if that was always the case.

In 12 Rules For Life Peterson has a rule that basically says: If you have children you should raise your children to not be annoying jerks. And in that section he points out that if your kids are annoying to you, they probably are even more annoying to strangers. Also that being annoying they will get less favorable attention or even negative attention, and their life will be more difficult. So if you want your children to succeed in life you should help them cope with their frustrations or selfishness or whatever, so as to not be annoying jerks.

Such an idea is actually very liberating. Good parents want their kids to be individuals, be expressive and to a point exploratory. But, yes, if they are on your nerves that is in itself a justification for modifying their behavior (if you as a parent aren’t being the jerk… so there is some moderation there).

The reply to such a statement: don’t raise jerks, should be hearty agreement. But somehow it isn’t.

VanderKlay has expressed ideas about why Peterson became so popular. My thesis is that Peterson, and VanderKlay also, are popular because they both bring respectability back to common sense.

Peterson does this by citing studies and research. He went to Harvard. He’s written important papers and books. He’s everything you would want in an expert.

Similarly VanderKlay has all the appearances of an expert, particularly on the history and development of The Church universal. His commentary on the Christian Reformed Church appears to be that of an insider and someone who is attempting to understand and explain the multiple points of view.

And both bring to the party these common sense observations that validate what “normal” people have observed. They are riding a wave of Duh! that is in reaction to so much What??

One reply on “Stating the Obvious”

12 rules in one book having 409 pages. They must be very long rules. Then there is book two that has 432 pages. They mush be very complicated rules.

Personally, never wanting to have children (8,000,000,000 people is plenty to have on the planet at any one time), I think we all have the opportunity to lead by example for all those around us. One example that comes to mind is a friend who is an opera singer who came from moderate beginnings and now travels internationally. She is highly educated in the arts and worldly (far more than I am) yet when I see her I feel elevated when we have a conservation. If I had to distill it to one word I would call it grace. (She also has no children.)

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