The Japanese Church: Healing A Wounded Nation

On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake occurred off the coast of Japan, creating powerful tsunami waves that battered the country's northeastern region. The resulting damage was nigh-apocalyptic: nearly 16,000 people were killed, over 6,000 were injured, and over a million buildings were damaged or destroyed. The earthquake and tsunami caused a massive failure at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power and leaking radiation into the … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Hacking Your Life Just Leads To More Work

Last week, I posted a piece on the "self-quantification" movement, which seeks to use technology and data analysis to improve the quality of one's life. And now, Slate's Evgeny Morozov has posted an article on "lifehacking" that questions whether or not it makes us better and more efficient, or if it just makes us work more. Or, as Morozov puts it, "Is there anything more self-defeating than using technology to free up your time—so that you can learn how to do an even better job at it?" … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Is Reza Aslan’s “Zealot” As Revolutionary As It Seems To Be?

I'm sure you've seen by now links to the recent Fox interview with author Reza Aslan regarding his new book about Jesus titled Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. However, according to The American Conservative's Alan Jacobs, the real news should be that Aslan's views are not nearly as new or revolutionary as they seem. Or, as Jacobs puts it, "Reza Aslan’s book is an educated amateur’s summary and synthesis of a particularly skeptical but quite long-established line of New Testament … [Read more...]

What’s The Best Way To Talk To Little Girls?

I'm sure we've all done it. I know I have. We meet a little girl -- at church, a family reunion, or some other social function -- and the first thing we do is comment on how pretty she looks in that dress, or with that bow in her hair, or in those little shoes. This seems like completely normal, innocuous behavior. After all, what girl doesn't like to hear that she's pretty?However, Lisa Bloom, author of Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World, argues that, while … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: “Dear Mr. Watterson” Explores The Ongoing Legacy Of “Calvin & Hobbes”

I think that for people of a certain generation, the comic pages have been forever ruined because of Calvin & Hobbes. Bill Watterson's clever, whimsical, imaginative comic strip won millions of fans during its 1o-year-run, and its legacy hasn't dimmed one bit since it ended in 1995. An upcoming documentary titled Dear Mr. Watterson explores this legacy from the perspective of fans and other comic artists. The film premiered at the Wisconsin Film Festival to solid acclaim, and opens in more c … [Read more...]

Can You Know Too Much About Your Body?

 Every day, as you go through your normal patterns and routines, you're generating massive amounts of data about your body and its habits, performance, and abilities. These metrics can range from caloric intake or the number of hours you slept the previous night to the number of miles you ran or steps you took going to the office. And those are some of the more obvious ones. At first blush, these metrics might seem trivial. However, thanks to devices like Fitbit and fitness apps for … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Would You Give Up Your Career For Your Religion?

Grantland's Jason Schwartz has posted a fascinating and thoughtful piece about Ibby Jaaber, a talented basketball player who walked away from a promising career as a point guard because he felt it conflicted with his Muslim beliefs. What's more, he even paid back hundreds of thousands of dollars to his former team, claiming the money was "unlawful". The American Conservative's Alan Jacobs offers some more commentary. … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Facebook Can Bring About Forgiveness (No, Really).

You can find all sorts of people on Facebook. If you're Alix Wall, it can even help you find the man who turned you into a drug mule without your knowledge to smuggle 'shrooms into Israel. And, it might even help you to find forgiveness and healing, decades after the fact. … [Read more...]

‘Popular Science’ vs. Jenny McCarthy, or, How Not To Engage In Cultural Dialogue

It was recently announced that television personality and former model Jenny McCarthy would become one of the hosts of the daytime talkshow The View. Most of the time, this sort of announcement would probably fly under most people's radars, but McCarthy's hiring has prompted a not insignificant amount of criticism and backlash. And not, as you might expect, because of McCarthy's past experience as a Playboy model. Rather, it's because she is a well-known and popular critic of child vacci … [Read more...]

The Science Behind Effectively Sharing Your Faith

You probably saw a BuzzFeed article by Ashley Perez alarmingly titled "8 Foods We Eat In The U.S. That Are Banned In Other Countries" pop up recently in your Facebook or Twitter feed. You may even have shared it yourself. If you haven't seen the article, it lists several items (artificial food dye, olestra, synthetic growth hormones, arsenic) that are commonplace in American foods, and that have been linked to numerous negative side-effects (cancer, nerve-cell deterioration, birth defects, leaky … [Read more...]