Good story from Marko about Michael: “the sunday morning he returned, not one person asked him where he’d been or how he was, or expressed that they’d missed him. a switch flipped, and michael suddenly, in that space (remember: he was a 14 year-old 9th grader at the time), saw that he didn’t belong. and he never came back. ” Go to the link above to read the whole story, but this is the clincher: “after a dozen years, michael felt the pull to try out a local church he’d heard about. funny thing is, while it might have been god’s spirit prompting him to return, michael’s entire reason for giving it a shot was to prove, to himself, that he was right about how cold and hypocritical the church was. by this time, michael had tattoos up and down his arms. he purposely wore a sleeveless shirt that morning, as an intentional dare to whoever would look at him funny or say something negative about his tattoos. michael was walking across the parking lot of this church, steeling himself for the negative response he was confident he would receive. but the first person he encountered said, “great tats, man. who does your work?”
Scott Simpson, at Wineskins, with this reflection on baptizing the American Dream so that it becomes Christianity: “Can we see this? Can we see how radical the Kingdom is? Can we allow our own baptism to truly end life as we knew it, and reshape everything? Can we take on the gospel dynamic that says death actually leads to resurrection? That giving is actually better than receiving? That love has nothing to do with keeping things fair and everything to do with grace? If we get this, it means we won’t have a home in America anymore. It means we won’t fit into the free market system anymore. We’ll frustrate the cogs of the capitalist way of life. We’ll reveal the nightmare that is the flip side of the American Dream. We’ll be taken, ripped off, put out of the marketplace… maybe even left for dead… just like our King.”
A blog to keep on your radar, by Johnson Thomaskutty.
Matt Papa evaluating Christian radio: “ Over the next month or so, I’ll be writing a series of posts about the current state of the christian music industry, more specifically, the current state of that which spearheads it, namely christian radio. By saying radio “spearheads” the industry, I realize I have begun with a proposition a small percentage of people could find disagreeable. Certainly, there are a few christian artists who do not utilize radio and still have a good deal of influence (Lecrae, John Mark McMillian, Phil Whickam). But for the most part, despite the rise of the internet, radio remains the key player in getting songs and artists ‘out there’. If you don’t want to take my word for it, check it out for yourself HERE. I will speak more to this later, but essentially, you can think of it this way: christian radio is to the christian music industry what the movie theatre is to the movie industry. If a movie hits the theaters, you hear about it. If it doesn’t, you usually don’t. As you might have gleaned from the title, what will follow will be a hard, honest, word of rebuke. I have no idea if anything I say in these posts will mean anything for the sake of change, but someone has to say it: Mainstream christian radio is altogether banal and shallow in both a musical sense and a spiritual sense. The songs are man-centered and the DJ’s and radio programmers are man-pleasers…..they play the songs that will attract the most listeners to their station, period. Christian radio is like Joel Osteen in musical form….safe, happy, and untruthful. It is the TBN of music…a large-scale, embarrassing presentation of Christianity to the world.”
Stanton L. Jones, a well-known expert on research about homosexuality, offers this lengthy sketch of the state of research.
Roger Olson has said he could not worship the God that some Calvinists depict, and some have gotten after him for that, but they are missing the important premises: Roger’s premise is that God is good and the Bible is his source; those critical of him are saying he is calling into question what the Bible teaches about God (because they differ on some passages). Roger responds here.
Rick Warren and the Saddleback Daniel Diet: “Members of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., on Saturday celebrated their success in losing extra weight at a rally to mark the first anniversary of theDaniel Plan, which Warren launched in collaboration with cardiac surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, brain expert Dr. Daniel Amen, and metabolism expert Dr. Mark Hyman in January 2011. At the beginning of the program, the over 15,000 participants, including Warren, promised to avoid sugar, white bread, white rice, pastas, white and wheat flour, hydrogenated fats or oils, caffeine and processed food; the results were thrilling.”
A good review of the theology of Rowan Williams by Chris Green.
Meanderings in the News
The 5% and the 1% when it comes to health care costs, by Jordan Weissmann: “When it comes to America’s spiraling health care costs, the country’s problems begin with the 5%. In 2008 and 2009, 5% of Americans were responsible for nearly half of the country’s medical spending. Of course, health care has its own 1% crisis. In 2009, the top 1% of patients accounted for 21.8% of expenditures.”
Gotta play more, with Esther Entin: “Play is important for the emotional, social, cognitive, and physical development of children. In addition to being critical for general health and a preventative against overweight, play develops life skills for children and communication skills among peers and family members. But because of over-scheduling, over-supervision, lack of appropriate play environments, and too many entertaining screens many children have less access to play time and play spaces than children in the past. Children living in poverty experience these barriers and more, according to a recent clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Underprivileged children often have less access to recess and school-based creative arts, music, and physical education programs. Additionally, the socioeconomic stressors on poor families often conspire against parents having the time, energy, or skills to engage in play with their children.”
Kodak: “According to the Wall Street Journal, camera manufacturer Kodak is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, following a long struggle to maintain any sort of viable business. The announcement has prompted some commentators to claim that Kodak’s near-demise has been brought on by:
- a failure to innovate, or
- a failure to anticipate the shift from analogue to digital cameras, or
- a failure to compete with the rise of cameras in mobile phones.
Actually, none of these claims are true. Where Kodak did fail is in not understanding what people take photographs for, and what they do with photos once they have taken them. Where Kodak got it wrong was its perception that people were still taking photographs which they would then print. But this is increasingly no longer the case. From dedicated photo print shops to automated kiosks, Kodak persisted with this notion for longer than it should have. A large part of the company’s more recent business strategy has focused on printers and ink. But here, as with their digital cameras, Kodak only holds a small market share – roughly 2.6%. In the days of film cameras, personal photography was principally about holding on to personal memories, with photos usually ending up in a shoebox. But recent research by anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists suggests personal photography has moved from being mostly a tool for remembering, to one of emphasising communication and our individual identities. As with most change, researchers have noted this switch most prominently in teenagers and young adults.”
If you are into memory, here is an interesting site.
Male demand for modesty in how women dress sexualizes women: “But there is another point missing from all of the discussion of the new vigilance on modesty and the backlash against it. The extreme focus on distancing from women turns them into sexual objects. There is something perverse about the obsession with female dress of these “guardians of modest,” and I don’t mean perverse just in the sociological sense. These men are so focused on sublimating their own sexual impulses that they see women only as sexual objects, whose images and very personhood must be contained to the point of invisibility. And it is internalized all too quickly by too many religious women. … But there is a flipside to focusing on modesty to the point of seeing women almost only as sexual objects. It is a paradoxical sexualization amid all this repression of perceived sexual danger, and something I would love to see some Haredi defender of the faith explore.”
Iran, Israel and USA — and war by Anthony Billingsley: “Relations between Iran and the United States and its ally Israel have descended into the worst crisis in years. Concern is growing that the situation could quickly degenerate into conflict… While Ahmadinejad and Khamenei represent a detestable regime and there are grounds for concern about Iran’s intentions over nuclear weapons, enhanced diplomacy rather than military action is needed. Experts in the US and Israel have warned that an attack would ultimately be unsuccessful. Sanctions also have little impact. When sanctions started, Iran had no centrifuges. Sixteen years and many sanctions later, Iran has about 8,000 operational centrifuges and a supply of low enriched uranium. The danger is that key people in Washington and Tel Aviv are not listening.”
Meanderings in Sports
The sort of golf partners that annoy you. This one is flat-out funny (and accurate).
Brandon Wood, at the Michigan State Spartans, got it going at Highland where my brother-in-law was the coach.