My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

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How NOT to debate

Most of my regular readers know that I get a lot of heat for being outspoken in my opinions here and elsewhere. I love a good heated debate that is logical and challenging. Sadly, that is a rare occurrence on blogs or debate boards, but occasionally you will get some good debate partners and even become good friendly adversaries. That happened to me several times on debate boards, and in my new life as a blogger (I think JCecil would agree with that as we share the joy of parenting.)

Nonetheless, what passes as debate or discussion in cyberspace in a lot of instances isn't of a much better caliber than what I encountered in Jr. High. A recent exchange made me think perhaps I should illustrate what is NOT compelling or persuasive debate.

Personal attacks are the easiest to go for and when you see them in discussions or debate you can pretty much guess that the challenger doesn't have any more compelling or persuasive arguments to put forward. It's like a 12 year old sticking his tongue out and saying, "so there." Big deal.

Here are some more examples from a discussion on church responsibility and economics.

"Woman, you are a fool, and not a little mentally disturbed."

Well, perhaps, but unless we were discussing my mental abilities or mental health, that's not really the point of the debate. It has nothing to do with the topic and tells me my adversary is out of trump, therefore it is easier to go for the personal attacks.

Some more examples:

"You're a mean, nasty, frustrated old lady, and that's all you're ever going to be."

"I suggest a few sessions with a psychiatrist. Or a with a good vibrator."

Ah... going for the shock value!! Would have thrown me off my game about 5 years ago but one must remember what the topic is and not let sexual comments or liberal use of the F word or other vulgarities sway you from it. Remember, shocking someone out of the debate just means the commenter didn't have anything more important or interesting of a persuasive nature to say. You can't compel or persuade such a person since they have lost all focus on the topic and are now more interested in just ticking you off.

"It wasn't anything else until you set up this bullshit strawman about the working poor and who gave what to whom and blahblahblah."

Not being able to articulate the opposite side is a sure sign that the opponent doesn't know it or understand it.

"Stop taking your bitterness and misery out on anyone who doesn't kiss your considerable ass 24/7."

Scolding and mentioning someone's physical attributes (although as far as I know the only pictures of me on the web are from the waist up!!) are also signs that the the opponent "ain't got nothing."

And now a final thought to my detractors and a suggestion. If you are caught in a corner without the slightest clue how to get out of it (rhetorically speaking) and the temptation to thrown in a personal attack is just too strong to resist, then for cryin out loud make it a memorable one! And be creative without being vulgar. My all time personal favorite (that I even think about putting on the side bar) was this classic from January:

"is so many shades of stupid they don't make a Crayola box big enough to begin coloring her in."

Now THAT's an how to make an ad hominem!!!

Oh, and I've said it before, but hiding behind an anonymous doesn't do much for credibility either.

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