Weekly Meanderings, April 27, 2013

Chicago’s flooding… this might be the original MacDonad’s, no?

Speaking of Chicago, this from my student and friend, Phil Jackson, at Lawndale Community Church: “If you have never held a mother, father, or crying child who has had to bury a family member because of gun violence, you might not understand the need to make the tough changes. If you have never seen the eyes of a student looking to you for hope as life seeps from their body or sat with a mother asking God why her child is gone — why her child had to die — I doubt you will understand the pain and the effect of what guns are doing on the streets of Chicago. If you have never had these experiences, you might not understand my sense of urgency when I say that I want to see the end of cheap and plentiful guns in my neighborhood. There is a passage in Luke 7:11-16  in which Jesus stops a funeral and heals a child from death, brings him back to life, and gives him back to his mother. How I dream of that moment. But, I also believe I can work to stop the funerals in the first place and bring our young men and women back to Christ, back to their families, and back to their communities. This means working for personal transformation of young people’s lives. But it also means looking at the structures we live in and asking how they can change to make our streets a safer place to grow up.”

Karen on John Paulk: “After John’s apology was made public this week I had a discussion with a clinician who sees first-hand the damage inflicted on the LGBT community: I live in Colorado Springs and in my therapy practice I have worked with a number of LGBTQ clients who underwent the “reparative therapy” John and Focus so ardently supported. I am glad John is coming to peace with this sexual orientation and mourn the pain he has endured over all these years. I am praying for the day when Christianity can move past demonizing LGBTQ people and their relationships. The pain and anguish I have witnessed in my therapy room is indescribable, and I firmly believe God weeps over how “his people” treat gays and lesbians. Thankfully, God hasn’t abandoned me over the years. He’s put me in relationships that have forced me to reconsider my preconceived and wrong-headed notions about the LGBT community.” Step one, love. Step two, friendship. Step three, let God.

TM Luhrmann and how church helps people to be more healthy: “ONE of the most striking scientific discoveries about religion in recent years is that going to church weekly is good for you. Religious attendance — at least, religiosity — boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. It may add as much as two to three years to your life. The reason for this is not entirely clear.”

Kate Figes, on the impact on children of an affair and divorce: “‘The children are too young to understand what’s happening,’ they reason. ‘In any case, it doesn’t concern them. And children are resilient.’ All of the evidence points to the contrary. People don’t just betray their partners when they shatter family life with a serious affair — the sad truth is that their children grow up believing their parents have been unfaithful to them, too. There is substantial research on the short and long-term effects of divorce if it isn’t handled well.  For children, these include low self-esteem, a sense of being abandoned, poor performance at school, anti-social behaviour and the heartbreak of simply missing the absent parent. Separations provoked by an affair tend to be the most acrimonious. Each parent shoves the blame for the split on to the other, sometimes forcing the children to take sides by supporting his or her version of events. By tearing a child’s loyalty in two, parents can inflict profound damage. To make matters worse, research has shown that around half of all fathers lose contact with their offspring within two years of the separation.”

Mary DeMuth: “When a man brags about his wife’s looks, body, or smoking hot prowess, we may consider his remarks loving compliments from a husband to his better half, but when I hear a man say those things, I bristle. Especially if he’s a pastor, a man apportioned by God to shepherd not only the men in their congregations, but the women too. Wounded women. Tired women. Abused women. Women with so many “godly” expectations thrown at them that they’ll either break under the weight or bootstrap themselves, try-try-trying harder, experiencing burnout, and never quite living up to anyone’s expectations.” And then Zach Hoag digs in from the male side: “It resonated because, as I’ve mentioned before on my blog, I was once a part of the segment of evangelicalism that fosters this kind of attitude — the kind that makes leaders go on and on about their wives’ hotness as if it’s some kind of requisite modern virtue. And, full disclosure, I bought into the smokin’ hot talk for a while, if only to be one of the guys, part of the team. Of course, underlying all that rhetoric is a strong complementarian view of gender roles in the church and home, where men are the heads and women submit, where men are the shepherds and women … submit, where men need lots of sex because that’s how God created them and women … submit. You get the idea.”

Prayer and the Nones: “Prayer, it seems, can function as a marker of religious and spiritual uncertainty and possibility even for those who see themselves as largely unconnected to the institutional traditions that have shaped its theological meanings and lived practice since ancient times. It has both a personal and a cultural capaciousness that allows it a contemporary significance that has been mostly drained from other typical measures of “religiosity”—attending worship, studying scripture, even believing in God. For people put off by the religious and political rancor they see in organized religions, or who are repelled by financial and sexual scandals across religious groups, prayer is an experiential reminder that there might be “something else out there,” something “more than just me.” Prayer may also be a lingering reminder to churches and other religious institutions of the many other ways religion has been and can be organized for meaningful common and personal practice—an Easter lesson, perhaps.”

Top 200 jobs, and at the top? Actuary! “Pete Rossi can count on one hand the number of weeks out of the year that he works more than 50 hours. But the rest of the year, his job as an actuary with the Department of Defense, provides a good living with a minimum of stress. That partly explains why actuaries have the best job in the United States, according to a new survey by CareerCast.com that will be released Tuesday. Biomedical engineer was No. 2 and software engineer, the top job of 2012, came in at No.3. Careers that ranked the lowest included enlisted military personnel, lumberjack and newspaper reporter. (Click here to see the full ranking of all 200 jobs.)”

Four lies about introverts by Amie Patrick.

The Onion: “The English Department administration at Ohio State is taking a hard look at Rothberg’s performance in the wake of Berner’s poor evaluation. “Students and the enormous revenue they bring in to our institution are a more valued commodity to us than faculty,” Dean James Hewitt said. “Although Rothberg is a distinguished, tenured professor with countless academic credentials and knowledge of 21 modern and ancient languages, there is absolutely no excuse for his boring Chad with his lectures. Chad must be entertained at all costs.”

Meanderings in the News

Are Universities liberal? Yes. But why? Because liberals go to universities! “So, academia is indeed more liberal than America, just as other professions, such as the clergy and the military, are dens of conservatism. But where conservatives get it wrong, Gross says, is in their simplistic assertions that academia’s leftward lean is a result of bias or discrimination. Rather, he argues, academia is liberal because… it has been attacked for being liberal. Gross’s analysis concludes that the ivory tower’s well-known political reputation has encouraged a kind of self-selection effect, where conservatives gravitate away from it, and liberals towards it. That would mean it’s precisely backwards to claim that universities discriminate against conservatives in favor of the godless and liberal. Rather, people who are godless and liberal tend to flock to universities—and stay there.”

Writers on reading.

The curious case of stolen books at Lambeth by Martin Vennard: “London’s Lambeth Palace, home to the Archbishop of Canterbury, also has a leading historic book collection. The palace’s library was the scene of a major crime that stayed undiscovered for decades. A sealed letter that arrived at one of Britain’s most historic libraries in February 2011 was to leave its staff stunned. The letter had been written before his death by a former employee of Lambeth Palace Library. Forwarded shortly after he died by the man’s solicitor, it revealed the whereabouts of many of the library’s precious books. Staff had known since the mid-1970s that dozens of its valuable books had been stolen. But they had no idea of the true extent of the losses until the letter led them to the man’s house in London.

Concerns about Asian carp in Lake Michigan.

Mega-restaurants. “Strong and swift servers have become even more of a necessity in the past three years, with the opening of several mega-restaurants in the area. Carmine’s, which seats 700, opened in 2010, followed by the 1,000-seat Hamilton in 2011. Last October, Sterling’s 500-seat Bungalow Lakehouseopened its doors. And while its 260 seats (plus 50 more outside) are dwarfed by those behemoths, Stephen Starr’s Le Diplomate, which opened this month, is a huge addition to the 14th Street corridor. During that same period of time, some of the city’s smallest restaurants — the 12-seat Minibar, the 27-seat Toki Underground — also have opened. “Restaurants of size go in and out of cultural fashion,” said Clark Wolf, a New York restaurant consultant. “You’re more matured as a restaurant city than you’ve ever been, which includes a mix of size.”

Way to go LHS!

Uncle Ruslan. “In the next few minutes, the uncle to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, accomplished something that 11 years of post-9/11 press releases, news conferences and soundbites by too many American Muslim leaders has failed to do on the issue of radicalization and terrorism: with raw, unfettered emotion, he owned up to the problem within. Instead of being silenced by what they did, he openly said that his nephews had brought “shame” on the family with their actions. This is the same kind of “shame off,” as one admirer later called it, that protesters to the gang rape in India have to win: Are we shamed into silence? Or do we confront the serious issues that shame us?”

The origins of the Mayan civilization.

Meanderings in Sports

A long but sadly interesting article about Iverson: “But Iverson isn’t a basketball player anymore. This is something most everyone but Iverson has accepted, and for years a question worried those closest to him: What happens when the most important part of a man’s identity, the beam supporting the other unstable matter, is no longer there? For the past three years, as Iverson chased an NBA comeback, his marriage fell apart and much of his fortune – he earned more than $150 million in salary alone during his career – dissolved. Now, those who once ignored past signals have recognized that basketball may have been the only thing holding Iverson’s life together. “He has hit rock bottom, and he just hasn’t accepted it yet,” says former Philadelphia teammate Roshown McLeod.

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  • Holly

    I don’t know….seems to me that someone, somewhere, should be expressing sadness and sorrow for Paulk’s wife and children. I’m hearing such reaction to Paulk himself – some calling him honest and brave, some hating him for the pain they say he caused during his Focus years – but no one, NONE of the articles I have read – have grieved for his children.

    Why is that? I think it’s because homosexuality is the cause of the day. It has the trajectory of social media and emotion behind it. Children injured in the process? Not so much.

  • Rob

    A lot of assumptions in that paragraph about calling your wife hot. My goodness. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar folks.

  • julie

    I was told as a child the first McDs was in Park Forest, Il. My brother worked his first job there.

  • McDonald’s actually has a fairly confused history. A store (no longer in existence) in San Bernadino, CA actually has a legitimate claim to “first McDonald’s” status. But that was before Ray Kroc took over (i.e., when McDonald’s was run by two brothers actually named McDonald). The McDonald’s that is officially recognized as the first (yes, in IL) is post-Kroc.

  • Joe Canner

    Holly #1: I agree that we should grieve for the children. But your comment implies that the culprit is homosexuality. As best I can tell the culprit is reparative therapy, which attempts to make people into something that they are not. It is for this reason (and others) that Exodus International, formerly a strong proponent of reparative therapy, has now distanced itself from it. The sooner all Christians can do the same, the less grieving we will have to do for both the adults and their children who have been hurt by it.

  • LMoon

    That pic is of Lee St and River Rd in Des Plaines, just north of Chicago. The McDonald’s makes a claim to some sort of first and is now a little museum.

  • Holly

    I don’t see it that way, Joe.

    Doesn’t matter to me what a Daddy’s background is. Once he’s co-created children, he should stick with the commitments he’s made for their sake. (See Scot’s linked article to the effects of adultery and divorce on children.) Jon Paulk isn’t a confused, vulnerable 19 year old; he’s a middle-aged man with children. He should have thought a little more clearly of the effect this will have on his kids.

    I’ve followed the Paulk’s story since back in the day when we were all much younger and they were on the cover of Focus magazine. I’m sad for him. I’m sad for his wife and especially for his children. I don’t blame reparative therapy or Focus on the Family; some people very much WANT reparative therapy. We as individuals are responsible for our own decisions, for commitments we make, and for children we bring into the world. I won’t make a hero or a villain of him over the background issue – and that is what many are doing, and I still contend that it is an issue simply because as people we jump on the boat and social media sweeps us along in the wake waters. We very much pick and choose which issue we will focus on, and we are media led. Example – just one of many: we could solve the world’s water crisis, it is very affordable. Someday, we will – but not as quickly as we could if we were led that way with great hue and cry and emotional intensity for the unfairness of the lack of clean water. I wish we took up that cause and many other urgent causes with the same passion as the marriage equality debate. I’d like to see facebook statuses declare and demand Equality for Water! I also contend that it is only a wealthy, spoiled and bored nation who can spend so much time, money and effort on sexual identity issues.

    Personally, I have very little respect for parents who leave their children in order to find themselves – whether that is through adultery, divorce, or any other path.