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The Wrong of Rudeness: Theology Brunch for November

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
November 21 2019

“The first front in any battle for a better world is improving myself.”

In a time of fractious politics, being rude can feel wickedly gratifying, while being polite can feel simple-minded or willfully naïve. Do manners and civility even matter now? Is it worthwhile to make the effort to be polite? When rudeness has become routine and commonplace, why bother? When so much of public and social life with others is painful and bitterly acrimonious, why should anyone be polite?

As Amy Olberding argues in The Wrong of Rudeness, civility and ordinary politeness are linked both to big values, such as respect and consideration, and to the fundamentally social nature of human beings. Being polite is not just a nicety–it has deep meaning. Olberding explores the often overwhelming temptations to incivility and rudeness, and the ways that they must and can be resisted. Drawing on the wisdom of early Chinese philosophers who lived through great political turmoil but nonetheless avidly sought to “mind their manners,” the book articulates a way of thinking about politeness that is distinctively social.

Senior Minister Scott Jones will review and discuss The Wrong of Rudeness at our next Theology Brunch, Thursday, November 21 at 12:00 at Early Bird Brunch.

Amy Olberding is Presidential Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma. Her work focuses on early Chinese ethics. She is the author of Moral Exemplars in the Analects (Routledge, 2011).  When not studying and teaching philosophy, she farms.

Instead of a pdf of a chapter excerpt, this month I offer some links to article and one podcast that you might be interested in perusing before we meet:

“20 Theses Regarding Civility”

“Righteous Incivility”

New Books Network podcast interview with Olberding summarizing the book chapter by chapter.