Thursday, January 16, 2014

Reading biographies

.... Hagiography and exposé are rarely worth the time. Fine biographies hardly ever give me a simple model for emulation, but they nevertheless instruct. For starters, searching biographies always remind me that all human beings are more complex than they seem at first glance. That’s a good thing to keep in mind for colleagues, neighbors, and even family members as well as historical subjects. I find encountering other human beings in all of their complexity encourages me to be humble. Also, I find it instructive to remember how differently Christians have conceptualized Jesus, structured their religious lives, and addressed a whole host of perennial human tasks (from childrearing to being with loved ones on their deathbeds). Biographies always remind me of just how limited my approach to nearly everything is by my own time and place. ....