Weekly Meanderings

Weekly Meanderings September 18, 2010

One of our favorite places on earth: Siena.

We mourn the passing of Vernon Grounds.

Make sure you give the Evangelical Portal at Patheos a good look, and notice that Patheos asked Karen to blog there.

JR Woodward‘s collection of his missional churches posts. Good source. Derek’s been doing some thinking about atonement. Justin did some post-post pondering on gospel and evolution. And Allan’s been doing lots of study on Church and State.

Church planting wisdom. Parenting wisdom.

Abby’s in love … well, forgive her for this. Andy Rowell found lots of info about seminaries. Church change: 8 essential Qs. I haven’t seen this site but will be checking it at times.

Don Johnson on the gospel of one. LaVonne Neff on civil discourse.

The top 22 seminaries (by enrollment) in the USA. Speaking of seminaries, there’s an interesting piece about how Al Mohler changed his mind from pro-women in ministry to the other side. (HT: MK)

Does anyone out there read Eunomia/Daniel Larison?

Meanderings in the News

1. David Brooks nails it: “America’s brightest minds have been abandoning industry and technical enterprise in favor of more prestigious but less productive fields like law, finance, consulting and nonprofit activism. It would be embarrassing or at least countercultural for an Ivy League grad to go to Akron and work for a small manufacturing company. By contrast, in 2007, 58 percent of male Harvard graduates and 43 percent of female graduates went into finance and consulting. The shift away from commercial values has been expressed well by Michelle Obama in a series of speeches. “Don’t go into corporate America,” she told a group of women in Ohio. “You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. … Make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry.” As talented people adopt those priorities, America may become more humane, but it will be less prosperous. … [later in the piece] he said we need less mortgage bankers and more mechanics.

2. An important reminder from Jonathan Sarna: “When New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg stood on Governors Island, in sight of the Statue of Liberty, and forcefully defended the right of Muslims to build a community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero, he expressly made a point of distancing himself from an earlier leader of the city: Peter Stuyvesant, who understood the relationship between religion and state altogether differently than Bloomberg does.”

3. Nicholas Kulish: “German pride did not die after the country’s defeat in World War II. Instead, like Sleeping Beauty in the Brothers Grimm version of the folk tale, it only fell into a deep slumber. The country has now awakened, ready to celebrate its economic ingenuity, its cultural treasures and the unsullied stretches of its history.”

4. Gerard Alexander: “Liberal missteps on race and ethnicity are explained away, forgiven and often forgotten; conservative ones are cast as part of a sinister, decades-long story of intolerance and political calculation, in which conservative ideology and strategy are conflated with bigotry.”

5. Allison Linn: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, college kids will nearly as much time on leisure and sports as on traditional “educational activities,” — about 3½ hours each on an average day. Students also spend about 48 minutes each day on “grooming,” the BLS reports.

If this fish isn’t non-kosher then it ought to be: “But make no mistake. The creation of this fish is just another tactic for big industry to make bigger, faster profits with no consideration for the impact it will have on our personal health and the health of our environment and ecosystem. The fish, an Atlantic salmon, contains growth hormone from a Pacific species, the Chinook salmon, as well as genetic material from another species, the ocean pout, that causes the “transgenic” salmon to grow at twice the normal speed.”

6. Wow, that’s some serious speed: “Chattanooga’s announcement comes at a time when the United States is focused on broadband speeds. The Federal Communication Commission in March announced a plan to try to speed up U.S. internet connections, which reports say are woefully slower than those in some other countries. That plan would put 100-megabit-per-second connections in 100 million American homes by 2020. Those speeds would be a 10th as fast as those reportedly offered in Chattanooga as of Monday.”

7. iPad vs. Kindle: “Meanwhile, his neighbor (the aforementioned bikini wearer) is reading her Kindle, which isn’t backlit and which Amazon promotes as a better device for reading in bright light. The man asks his neighbor how she’s able to read outside on the device. “It’s a Kindle. $139,” she says, smiling. “I actually paid more for these sunglasses.” No problem here, I don’t sit in the sun and read.

8. Meghan O’Rourke: “The literary debate of the fall is the tempest everyone is now calling, illogically, “Franzenfreude.” The storm, summarized here by Ruth Franklin in TNR online, has encompassed a debate about the place of commercial fiction and whether Jonathan Franzen’s work is overrated. But I’m interested less in arguments about the relative merits of Franzen’s latest novel, FreedomI’m halfway through and find it artful and engaging—and more in the deeper question raised by the debate: Namely, why women are so infrequently heralded as great novelists.”

9. David Brooks, perhaps too low on this list today: “Every political movement has a story. The surging Republican Party has a story, too. It is a story of virtue betrayed and innocence threatened.Through most of its history, the narrative begins, the United States was a limited government nation, with restrained central power and an independent citizenry. But over the years, forces have arisen that seek to change America’s essential nature. These forces would replace America’s traditional free enterprise system with a European-style cradle-to-grave social democracy.These statist forces are more powerful than ever in the age of Obama. So it is the duty for those who believe in the traditional American system to stand up and defend the Constitution. There is no middle ground. Every small new government program puts us on the slippery slope toward a smothering nanny state.” Yet…

“Throughout American history, in other words, there have been leaders who regarded government like fire — a useful tool when used judiciously and a dangerous menace when it gets out of control. They didn’t build their political philosophy on whether government was big or not. Government is a means, not an end. They built their philosophy on making America virtuous, dynamic and great. They supported government action when it furthered those ends and opposed it when it didn’t.If the current Republican Party regards every new bit of government action as a step on the road to serfdom, then the party will be taking this long, mainstream American tradition and exiling it from the G.O.P.”

10. Daniel Larison: “Considering how atrocious D’Souza’s argument is, why spend any time answering it? For one thing, when nonsense like this isn’t countered it tends to gain traction. Another reason is that conservative pundits and writers such as D’Souza have been indulging in so much evidence-free, ideological babbling for the last two years that many of them now seem convinced that this babbling is actually extremely serious, insightful commentary. If we are going to have anything remotely resembling an honest or informed debate over foreign policy or anything else during the remainder of Obama’s time in office, arguments like this one have to be knocked down.”

Meanderings in Sports

As we ponder the playoff season and then the World Series, here’s a good book to read: Old Hoss Radbourn. Enjoy Michael Stevens’ excellent (and well-written) review.

Will Barry, Mark and Sammy be next?

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