City vs. Suburbs

Retiring baby-boomers are increasingly moving away from their houses in the suburbs to condos in the city.  This makes sense.  Single and just-married adults living in small apartments when just starting out, then moving to larger homes, more space, and better schools in the suburbs when their family grows.  Then, when the nest is empty, moving back to smaller, lower-maintenance apartments when they reach retirement age.  With both the young and the old liking a stimulating environment close at hand with less driving.

But this hasn’t happened all that much until lately, and it goes along with some interesting demographic changes.  Poverty is up 64% in suburbs, twice the rate as in cities.  And the crime rate is falling in cities and rising in the suburbs.

Why do you think that is?  What can be done to improve suburbs?  Or make cities habitable for families?  And where do small towns fit into all of this? [Read more…]

Taxation without representation

Just what school children need:  more internet!  President Obama has a new signature program in the works.  “ConnectEd” will provide high-speed internet access to schools, with its multi-billion dollar cost funded by new fees on cell phones.  And the beauty of it, according to the administration, is that it can all be done–including the funding–apart from Congress.  All it will take is approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

Wouldn’t this constitute taxation without representation? [Read more…]

The Six Types of Atheists

Christians have their different theologies.  Conservatism comprises a number of different ideologies.  Now studies are showing that there are different kinds of atheists.  Sociologist George Yancey discusses recent research that classifies atheists into six different types. [Read more…]

From tech to farming

Remember Stewart Lundy, my former student who helped me with the technical side of my blog?  He has now embraced farming.  But what a farm!  He is doing cutting-edge local, sustainable, organic farming.  He is raising heirloom vegetables, chickens, ducks, rabbits, bees, and “rare pigs.”  People are driving an hour and a half just to buy his eggs.  He is attending to the microbes in the soil, restoring minerals to the soil, and applying all kinds of other sophisticated techniques to make all of this work.

You have got to scroll through his site and see the pictures of what all he is doing:  Perennial Roots – Accomac, VA – Farm, Food & Grocery | Facebook.

Contact him from the site if you want to order a pig (either as food or as a pet) or get in on any of this other stuff.  [Read more…]

Another consequence of China’s one-child policy

China may be reconsidering its one-child policy, with its forced abortions and vast array of unintended consequences.  William Wan writes in the Washington Post about the impact of the policy on parents whose one child has died. [Read more…]

And now, the worship DJ

Trying to be “contemporary,” as in contemporary worship, requires hitting a moving target, since, by definition, what is up to the minute changes every minute.  This is especially true when it comes to pop culture, which depends for its commercial success on spinning out fashions that rapidly go in and out of style.  And what is “out” becomes looked down upon even more than it was considered cool a few months ago.  (In contrast, what is “classic” never goes out of style.)

So what are churches that want to feature contemporary music supposed to do? Michelle Boorstein of The Washington Post writes about a congregation that has gotten rid of its praise band and brought in a DJ.  Read about it after the jump, but here is the killer quote:

And to people younger than 30, the drums and electric guitars of the contemporary rock that dominates much of American Christianity are not only not edgy, “but for them, it’s like singing hymns,” [DJ Hans] Daniels said. “Why does the music you worship to and jam out to have to be completely separate?”

How would you answer that question?

And let’s test the premise:  Those of you who go to dance clubs, do you really want that same kind of music in church?  Wouldn’t you find that embarrassing? [Read more…]