Weekly Meanderings, 22 July 2017

photo-1474291102916-622af5ff18bb_optWe begin this edition of Meanderings with this good news story from Janie Fulling:

MCKINNEY, TX – An 11-year-old boy from McKinney, Texas could potentially put an end to hot car deaths.

Bishop Curry is a young inventor who loves gardening and all things technology. When a baby from his neighborhood died after being left in a hot car, he never wanted something like that to happen again.

Curry invented Oasis, a device that will sit on a car seat and detect movement if a baby is left in the car. It will blow cool air on the baby and call emergency responders.

The 11-year-old prototyped his idea with the help of his dad, Bishop Curry IV, and asked him to pitch it to his employer, Toyota. The father and son team made a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of a patent and initial manufacturing and raised more than $46,000.

Curry says he feels awesome to be able to make something that will actually help people. “I never even knew it would get this far. I made twice the amount I was going for.”

Business students from Miami Dade College reached out to the young inventor and volunteered to put together a marketing plan, business strategy and website as part of a class project.

When asked about his next steps after securing a patent, the young inventor said, “After that we gotta work with the manufacturers, which I don’t know a lot about that stage but I will learn about it. But then it should be manufactured and sold.”

And this one about Donna Gaines:

Born and raised in the “birthplace of Rock ‘N Roll,” Donna Gaines returned 25 years later armed with a background in education and a heart for the county that claims one of the highest rates of childhood poverty.

Gaines is a women’s ministry leader and wife to Southern Baptist Convention president and Bellevue Baptist Church pastor Steve Gaines, where they minister together in Cordova, Tenn. Although she spends much of her time traveling with her husband, discipling women, and spending time with her 10—soon to be 11—grandchildren, Gaines is also the founder and president of a literacy program that targets at-risk children.

Five years ago, Gaines launched ARISE2Read, a faith-based literacy program for second graders in the greater Memphis and Jackson areas. Since starting the program, ARISE2Read has mobilized 822 volunteers who tutor 853 students in 19 schools—including in Gaines’s very own Georgian Hills Elementary, where she attended growing up.

“Our goal is to tutor every second-grade child,” Gaines said in an interview. Their goal for the upcoming school year is an ambitious 30 area schools.

Several studies, including a popularly cited study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in 2011, correlate high school graduation rates with reading on grade level by the end of third grade. The Casey study showed that children living in poverty who are reading proficiently by the end of third grade have an 89 percent graduation rate, since in fourth grade students are no longer learning to read, they are reading to learn.

“If you’re not on grade level by then, that impacts everything,” Gaines said.

Eric Shelkopf:

My Half of the Sky coffee shop owner Renee Pollino wants to do more than satisfy someone’s hunger with a pastry or empanada.

She hopes her coffee shop and retail store, which opened in April in an 1800s house at 121 W. Wesley St. in downtown Wheaton, has both a local and global impact. Purchases help those facing such challenges as extreme poverty, human trafficking and addiction.

My Half of the Sky is a social enterprise, a business that serves a social purpose.

“We’re using business as a means to provide jobs and development,” she said. “Our goal is to show that the marketplace can be used to create sustainability.”

The store is an outgrowth of her desire to help others who might need a helping hand.

“I’ve worked with at-risk students and at-risk families,” said the West Chicago resident, who attended Wheaton schools growing up. “I’ve lived in the Middle East. I’ve spent time with people in severe poverty in Africa and Haiti. There’s this common theme that people need jobs. It doesn’t matter if I was in Africa or Haiti or if I was dealing with inner-city families.”

See this by Pete Enns on apologetics? [HT: JS]

The notion of “Christian apologetics” presumes that the intellect—weighing evidence, sifting through pros and cons, rigorous analysis—is the primary arena for engaging the truth of Christianity.

I don’t think it is. At least it hasn’t worked very well. If it works, it works among those already convinced. At its worst, it simply props up the apologist’s insecurities.

A burden of (at least western) Christian apologetics isn’t so much in failing to show the wider world how well Christianity works intellectually, but in presuming that the intellect is how Christianity works.

But our arguments are constructed after the fact, after we believe, not in order to believe. Belief is first. Intellect follows. The problem I have with apologetics is that that order is reversed.

The best apologetic isn’t proving we have a better intellectual system. Nor do we persuade others with fear of divine retribution if they don’t agree and the promise of an afterlife if they do.

The best apologetic is where there is payoff now. Embodying, “Your kingdom come”—how Christians live positively toward others, showing the difference our faith makes to those near us and our global community, living out the notion that we are here to serve and not to be served.

We are the apologetic, and that is much harder than crafting arguments.


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