ELSEWHERE: Rethinking Cotton Mather

Even Jonathan “Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God” Edwards gets more love than Cotton Mather, the third-generation American Puritan pastor and theologian often blamed for the Salem Witch Trials.  Earlier this year, Christ and Pop Culture brought out some thoughtful words from his father, Increase.  Now, 350 after Cotton Mather was born, Agnes Howard at Patheos Evangelical’s Anxious Bench brings us a healthy reminder of his complexity (and his wig). … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Diversity’s Role in Helping Minorities Flourish

In a recent post at the Reformed African American Network, Anthony Bradley addresses what he calls "a pervasive misunderstanding" of diversity: its presence doesn't automatically help blacks flourish, and its lack doesn't automatically harm minorities. Discrimination and inequality are the problem, not necessarily segregation. "Race," he writes, "is not nearly as helpful of a category as progressives want us to believe in our efforts to evaluate what constitutes flourishing." … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Wikipedia Closing the Gender Gap

Not long ago I wrote an article about the imbalance of women represented in film, so I was pleased to discover Wikipedia’s concerted effort to address the gender imbalance in its online content. In celebration of Ada Lovelace Day, a gathering will be held at Brown University to edit and expand information of women in science, technology, and math. Earlier this year, a similar meeting was held to address women in the arts content. It’s also well worth noting: “Wikipedia, unlike other knowledge sou … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Nobel Prize for Using Computers to Do Chemistry

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry, announced earlier this week, has been awarded to three different scientists this year. NPR has an interesting story on the new laureates and how they changed the way molecular interactions are studied. The scientists made computer models in which Newtonian physics and quantum mechanics—two fields of science that have been notoriously difficult to reconcile—work together to simulate complex chemical reactions. … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: An Incredible Adoption Story

A Christian couple working in a hospital in India have adopted a baby whose physical deformities led his birth family to consider killing him. Critics of the evangelical adoption movement, who point out instances of corruption and what they see as naked proselytizing or ethnocentrism, would do well to factor in stories like this one, fraught with beauty, love and self-sacrifice. … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Mobile Apps for Foodies

Wherever you find yourself on the local, fair-trade, organic, seasonal-eater spectrum, the growth is evident in these types of eaters. The change can also be seen in this list of 23 mobile apps that are, so they say, "changing the food system." Whether you want to locate farmer's markets close to you, learn how to plant a vegetable garden, or discover how to plan your next grocery trip, there's a helpful app for that. … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: 125 Years of National Geographic

When I was a child and would visit my grandparents’ home, there was a shelf in one corner  overloaded with back issues of National Geographic magazine.  I would spend hours poring through those pages, drinking in the wonders of the world God had made.  The esteemed National Geographic Society celebrates 125 years in existence this month, and you can find out more at their website, which includes some of the most renowned photos from their history. … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: How Much Water Should You Drink?

Do you drink enough water throughout the day? The recommended 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water isn't a hard and fast rule, but it's easy to remember. Earlier this month, a water campaign was launched, under Mrs. Obama's guidance, called Drink Up. But will it help you drink the water you need? Here's an article asking some basic questions of the campaign's potential impact and overall message. … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Ross Douthat on Pope Francis and the Disappearing Middle

Ross Douthat, complementing recents posts from us and Russell Moore, provides a broader sociological perspective regarding the pope's alleged moderating tendencies. In Western religions, liberal elements have withered while conservative congregations have continued to grow. The confessional middle, as we might call it, simply doesn't hold. In an increasingly secular world, accommodative theologies are just pointless. Might as well join UNICEF or the United Way or the ACLU if your church is ac … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Reading Literary Fiction Develops Empathy

The New York Times reports how a new study published in the journal Science found participants who read literary fiction scored better on empathy tests than participants who only read non-fiction, popular fiction, or nothing at all. It seems reading Dostoyevsky and Proust can help you understand the minds of others better than, say, Stephenie Meyer or Dan Brown. Who'da thunk? … [Read more...]