IVP - Andy Unedited

December 12, 2018

Persuading People Who Don't Want to Be Persuaded

Persuading anyone is hard. Persuading people who have already made up their minds is even harder.

These designated hitter brian-dozier pixabay.jpgdays everyone seems to have made up their minds about everything from gun control to public education to refugees to the designated hitter. With almost all persuasion directed to resistant audiences, what's a person to do? In Think Like a Freak, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, authors of the bestselling Freakonomics books, offer a chapter on this topic. Here are their suggestions.

Understand how hard such persuasion is. Realize that the people who are most dogmatic--on both sides of an issue!--are generally those who are best educated. Why? Such people tend to have greater confidence in what they know. Also because we often link our opinions to a group we closely identify with, fact and logic often won't penetrate our emotion-shaped ideology.

Put yourself in the other person's shoes. What makes sense to you may not connect at all with others. Consider what motivates them and why they might believe what they do.

Don't think like a freak.jpgpretend your argument is perfect. Every viewpoint has flaws. Every plan will have unintended consequences. "If you make an argument that promises all benefits and no costs, your opponent will never buy it--nor should he. Panaceas are almost nonexistent. If you paper over the shortcomings of your plan, that only gives your opponent reason to doubt the rest of it."

Admit where your opponent is right.
Opposing arguments almost always have some value. Show you are being objective and reasonable by admitting it. Those who feel their side is being ignored will be less likely to take you seriously.

No name calling. Respect those you disagree with. Don't demonize them.

Tell stories. Stories can bypass our rational objections by appealing directly to the heart. And they are easier to remember than a list or logical argument. People usually can't name the Ten Commandments. They are much more likely to remember the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, David and Bathsheba, which make the same points.

If you are skeptical of how effective these could be in this age of extremist rhetoric, I understand. I know these approaches won't convince everyone. But I trust your good will, and I found the chapter helpful. Maybe you will too.

Photo Credit: Pixabay, Brian Dozier

Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:06 AM | Comments (2)

December 4, 2018

The Christmas Story You Never Heard

You mean you never heard the story of the red, seven-headed Christmas Dragon? You know, the one so powerful that its tale swept billions of stars from the sky and flung them to earth in a fury. That's the dragon that showed up Christmas morning, determined to kill the baby boy destined to rule the nations as soon as it was born.

Right. That dragon!

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:05 AM | Comments

November 28, 2018

Background Check

If we do not make use of historical background to the New Testament, we are in danger of misreading these books and letters with 21st-century eyes. Reading Mark in Context introduces us to important historical and religious writings from the Second Temple Period (roughly from the Jewish return from Babylonian exile in 516 BC to the destruction of the temple by Rome in AD 70). These range from the works of Josephus to the Dead Sea Scrolls to the apocrypha to Rabbinic writings, and more.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 1:42 PM | Comments

October 24, 2018

When Eugene Peterson Was Unknown

As we grieve the recent passing of Eugene Peterson, we remember the first encounter IVP had with him. When Peterson was an unknown Presbyterian pastor in Maryland, he sent IVP an unsolicited manuscript. Here is an excerpt from Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength. that tells what happened behind the scenes that led to the publication in 1980 of one of his most influential books.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:27 AM | Comments (2)

October 9, 2018

The Popularity of Teen Dystopias

How many times can bestselling dystopias have plots about a dictatorial, caste-like society in which a group of teens are forced into a contained area where they must fight and kill each other as a prelude to overthrowing the harsh regime? Apparently a lot. Most similar to The Hunger Games, Pierce Brown's Red Rising also shares major plot arcs with The Maze Runner, Divergent, and the grandmother of the them all, The Giver.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:46 AM | Comments

October 1, 2018

Mark Through Roman Eyes

Commonly in biblical studies, as in other academic disciplines, a scholar arrives at a genuine insight and proceeds to interpret everything through that lens, seeing it as the key to the whole. The problem is that such ancient texts defy easy modern categorization or simple unifying themes. Adam Winn admirably avoids this trap.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:30 AM | Comments

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Get to Know IVP

book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.