Introverts strike back

The ideal in the business world, especially for corporate leaders, has been the glad-handing extrovert.  Consequently, private offices have given way to open cubicles so that everyone can mix and collaborate, even though that seldom happens.  Also, everyone has to go to brainstorming meetings, even though research has shown that the best ideas come not from groups but from individuals thinking alone.  But now a new appreciation for introverts in the workplace and in leadership positions is emerging.

Susan Cain has written a book on the subject:  Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  After the jump, an interview with her about her findings.

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A sociologist looks at Progressive vs. Conservative Christianity

In the context of a discussion about a growing movement of conservative Catholicism in England, Peter Berger–a giant in the field of sociology and an ELCA Lutheran–discusses some misconceptions about the appeal of progressive vs. conservative Christianity.  He says that “supernaturalism” increases a church’s appeal (despite Mainline Protestants’ [and I would add some ostensible conservatives'] attempt to appeal to the age by playing that  down by replacing the supernatural gospel with morality, self-help psychology, or politics).  He says that “sexual repression,” though, probably does dampen the appeal of conservative religion. [Read more...]

Social mobility requires social capital

You know the American Dream, that in this country if people work hard and grab their opportunities they can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and find material success?  Or, put another way, that America is a land of social mobility, where poor people can newly-landed immigrants with a just dollar in their pockets can rise to the highest levels of wealth and status?

Well, America has been doing worse than other countries when it comes to social mobility.  What happened?  Among other reasons, according to columnist Fareed Zakaria, is our loss of “social capital.”  That is, the breakdown of American families. [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

College does NOT undermine faith

Glenn T. Stanton, in a useful feature at Gospel Coalition called “FactChecker,” cites research overturning the conventional wisdom that going to college undermines a young person’s faith.  Actually, NOT going to college is much more strongly associated with losing faith.  And 2.7 times more graduates say that college strengthened their faith, as opposed to weakening it. [Read more...]


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