Weekly Meanderings

Doodling art in the Q-5 series. Speaking of Dan Kimball’s doodling, check out this Dan Kimball look-alike. (And, by the way, have a good one Dan.)

I don’t often comment on the Weekly Meanderings we post, but this week’s batch emerges from reading some great bloggers and posts … so here’s a sampling:

Drew Dyck, at CT, on “Leavers”: “To tweak Kinnaman’s language, the problem today isn’t those who are unchristian, but that so many are ex-Christian. Strictly speaking, they are not an “unreached people group.” They are our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, and friends. They have dwelt among us.”

Mike Glenn ministers to (and with!) this very group of young adults. And even younger kids: April Diaz. And David Fitch, not trying to be controversial (wink, wink), sketches why he thinks youth groups have limitations.

Did you see this? The Story of Jonah at Preacher Mike’s blog. Or how about this? LaVonne Neff on Harry Potter’s new one.

Kenneth Sheppard interviews Brian McLaren. Adele Banks sketches response to Obama’s faith-based statement. Doomsday 2013.

For coffee lovers, even drip coffee counts for this article. Speaking of coffee … Lukas and Annika (and Aksel) are here, and Laura and Mark are doing work on their kitchen so Laura’s been here lots, and that means coffee making. Sure am glad I brought home the N’Espresso machine.

The Covenant News Services is providing pictures/images for Advent. Check it out. Speaking of Covenant, our friend Eugene Cho stirs it up.

Luke Bretherton blogs, and this post shows why we need to bookmark him. Bill Donahue on growing pains. Roger Olsen explores God’s sovereignty and the crucifixion of Jesus.

:mic: “One of the unpleasant realities of modern church culture is that we have created a culture of distrust for ourselves. This means that our default mode is more time spent assuming the worst in each other than anything else. For some people this happens when a brother or sister does something which is confusing. The first step is then to figure that this is some sort of mean-spirited behavior. In reality, the first step to act in Christian love should be to assume that a fellow believer will have the best intentions in mind, even though we might not understand it immediately.”

Jeff Dunn remembers Jack (ahem, CS Lewis). Speaking of writers, JR Briggs connects two words rarely connected: Hemingway and gospel. Ted connects two words: justice/injustice and love.

Did you see this? Megachurches and the recession.

Meanderings in the News

1. Don’t be a twit; Tweet! (HT: LNMM)

2. No wonder TSA isn’t as sympathetic as we might hope they’d be! “Across America (CNN) — A family tried to sneak a dead man, propped up in a wheelchair, through airport security in New York. A couple had to be stopped while having sex in the corner of a Phoenix, Arizona, airport terminal. A man flying out of Chicago, Illinois, set a rat free, insisting he had to do this for religious purposes. These are just some of the tales gathered last week as I traveled 5,900 miles through six American airports just days before millions of travelers started the annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage, making this the busiest air travel week of the year. What I saw wasn’t very pretty. For all our bellyaching about airline and airport employees, watching us through their eyes was, well, eye-opening. And kind of embarrassing.”

3. Mary Beth McCauley: “Twenty-six years ago, Jane Golden took to the streets of Philadelphia armed with paint, brushes, simple designs, and a small contingent of helpers. Her goal? Wipe out the city’s ugly graffiti. Her weapon of choice? Murals. Today, 3,000 walls later, her work has morphed into the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, the nation’s largest such initiative, a joint, public-private mix of artmaking, art education, and art-as-therapy. A staff of 50 – many of them former graffiti artists themselves – helps her.”

4. Mark Regnerus: “It’s what sociologists call an unintended consequence: when women no longer need men, the way romantic relationships are conducted will change. And change they have, as I describe in Premarital Sex in America (Oxford, 2011). In the end, many young Americans—indeed most—will still find their meandering way to the altar, but fewer than ever before.”

5. Black Friday Online: “While Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving in the United States — is one of the biggest retail shopping days of the year, tech-smart consumers are increasingly turning to the internet for the best gadget deals. Last year, 84 million people in the United States went online from mid-November to mid-December to shop for gift items, which was up 12 percent over the year before, according to comScore, a company that tracks online traffic.”

6. The Pope on condoms: “The comments from the Vatican’s spokesman came three days after excerpts of a book about Pope Benedict XVI quoted him as saying that prostitutes could use condoms to keep from spreading the virus. The book excerpts and the Vatican’s efforts to clarify their meaning have triggered global debate among Catholic theologians, with some saying that the pope had made a major shift on contraception and others saying he was simply restating the importance of protecting human life. In the past, official church teaching has banned condom use in all circumstances. A year ago, Benedict infuriated many AIDS experts by saying condoms were exacerbating the HIV problem, not helping to fight the disease.”

7. The education crisis, and Thomas Friedman gets this right: “All good ideas, but if we want better teachers we also need better parents — parents who turn off the TV and video games, make sure homework is completed, encourage reading and elevate learning as the most important life skill. The more we demand from teachers the more we have to demand from students and parents. That’s the Contract for America that will truly ensure our national security.”

8. On TSA, Andrew McCarthy has some ideas: “People in prison are subject to highly intrusive searches; they have no expectation of privacy. To be sure, the government is given more latitude — relieved of the need to show probable cause for the search — because it is promoting safety, not trying to develop a prosecutable case. But what makes the search appropriate is the record of the people involved, not the abstract possibility of violence. A savage act is always possible. If that is all it took to justify gross infringements of liberty, such infringements would always and everywhere be justified. An intrusive search is reasonable, or not, based on what the people involved have done to prompt it, not simply because life is fraught with peril. … Imagine, though, if the marshals had said: “Let’s just cavity-search everyone — after all, you never know. In essence, that is exactly what the Transportation Safety Administration is doing with its perverse — in every sense of the word — security procedures. At a number of the nation’s most heavily trafficked airports, in the midst of the Thanksgiving holiday, when people routinely fly in order to be with faraway loved ones, the TSA is saying: Let’s suspect everyone of being a terrorist, no matter how groundless the suspicion, and move immediately to the most intrusive search procedures in our toolkit.”

He continues: “This is a rank violation of the Fourth Amendment. In my long-ago trial, it would have been thought obscene to make violent drug traffickers the measure of every person’s privacy rights. There would have to be something more — some concrete basis for suspicion, particular to the person. Yet, the TSA is making the savage jihadist its lodestar for navigating the threat it audaciously presumes to be posed by every American.”

9. The Food Safety Bill, by Patrik Jonsson: “Spurred by recent E. coli and salmonella outbreaks, the food-safety bill would hand the Food and Drug Administration more power to recall tainted products, strengthen inspections of vegetable and meat processors, and demand that producers follow tougher standards for keeping food safe. While some say that the requirements should apply to everyone who grows food for public consumption, the Senate last week amended the bill to exempt farms making less than $500,000 a year. With the so-called Tester amendment in place, the bill is likely to pass in the Senate. But it could get hung up in the new Republican-controlled House.”

10. Are liberals less happy? Yes. Why? Dennis Praeger: “Utopians will always be less happy than those who know that suffering is inherent to human existence. The utopian compares America to utopia and finds it terribly wanting. The conservative compares America to every other civilization that has ever existed and walks around wondering how he got so lucky as to be born or naturalized an American.”

Meanderings in Sports

Good story about Tony Dungy.

Does anyone care the Bears at 7 and 3? Are they that good? I’m a skeptic, but if they beat Philly, then I’m a believer. Does that make me a Thomist?

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  • Rick

    The Drew Dyck article is excellent. MTD is causing great damage to the church. I just wonder how many churches would admit they are contributing to MTD.

  • rjs

    I am with Frank Bruni. (And, by the way, enjoy the family time – we are.)

    Drew Dyck’s article is a good read. While I am not convinced that more 20-30 somethings are leaving the church, I do think fewer are or will come back, just from the change in social context. I also think he hits many of the key reasons. Relationship, discipleship, mentoring, mission (i.e. commitment to living out the kingdom which includes compassion and mission type activities) and solid intellectual engagement … we need these.

  • Travis Greene

    What exactly is the substantive difference between graffiti and murals? Permission? Ugly is in the eye of the beholder.

  • tscott

    Someone please tell me what is MTD that is causing great damage?

  • dopderbeck

    My old dispensationalist blood stirs at that beautiful chart! 😉 But isn’t it a bit Marcionite? OT God=Wrath, NT God=Love??

  • Scot McKnight

    MTD mean moralistic therapeutic deism.

  • 10. Are liberals less happy? Yes. Why? Dennis Praeger: “Utopians will always be less happy than those who know that suffering is inherent to human existence. The utopian compares America to utopia and finds it terribly wanting. The conservative compares America to every other civilization that has ever existed and walks around wondering how he got so lucky as to be born or naturalized an American.”

    I don’t see the justification for the immediate identification of “liberal” with “utopian.”

  • Daniel

    So the TSA is not sympathetic because someone tried to get a body on the plane. Well that certainly justifies searching a 70 yr old nun, the shaply co-ed, and the 3 yr old boy. If that’s what passes for logic then I think I understand.

  • Jeremy

    Mark, it’s a National Review article. I read it and “dreck” would be a highly generous term for it. It’s the same unthinking garbage one expects from any ideologue. I’m not entirely sure why Scot linked to it.

  • Regarding the food safety bill, it will not make food any safer. I work for our family farm, currently implementing a food safety program. The main benefit is a paper trail to the offending fields. Even the “most” food safe company in the US (Peri Onion) by many standards does not actually practice what is in their food safety manual.

  • Thanks, Scot. Yes, Dyck’s article hits close to home for me. I have a good friend in his later twenties who seems to have abandoned the faith due in large part to glaring inconsistencies he had seen in Christians, along with the influence of at least one family member who is an atheist, and a personal crisis as well. I’m thinking it seems empty to him, that it is doesn’t seem relevant to his life, nor helpful in him dealing with the tragedy of life. And his whole family was raised in an evangelical church.

    I really think that not seeing just how strong, deep and resilient the faith is in the midst of really asking and searching out the difficult questions, has hurt a lot. It is too much, you have to follow this line or that, like YEC. Any questions are a sign of sin and rebellion and departure from the faith. Something I want to battle against, but so tiresome when Christians think the faith of their children is at stake. We both do, but take opposite stands. Difficult!