Weekly Meanderings

Weekly Meanderings September 8, 2012

Announcement: Fuller and Biola have teamed up to create LA Theology. This, like Wheaton’s well-known conference, is scheduled to be an annual conference that seeks to draw theologians from California and beyond to do constructive theology in conversation with the Christian tradition, broadly conceived. The theme for the first conference will be Christology and is entitled “Christology, Ancient and Modern: Explorations in Constructive Theology.”

Dan White Jr. on missional marinating: “I’ll tell you up front, my old-high-capacity-leader-self resists this marinating process.  My old self can’t rest, it can’t sleep.  It needs quick returns, escalating numbers, regional buzz and high excitement.  All of those pieces previously helped me not feel like a failure.  But here in the laboratory of a Missional-Community, slow is our friend.  Seeking slowness is essential in the stew of discipleship.  Cultivating a culture saturated in the embodied life of Jesus requires purposeful patience.  A new character needs to be developed while leading in this type of atmosphere.  Slow is not something to bear with, it’s something to embrace.  No longer am I trying to launch an organization that sparkles before its consumers.  The call is to shape a way of life; to create a conducive setting for transformation.  In this stew we need unhurried time and grace-filled space for:long conversations, unearthing conflicts, detox from consumerism, facing missional fears, relearning how to listen, frustrated prayers and moving beyond suspicion to trust.”

Check out Andrew Camp at The Christian Epicurean.

Good post by John Mark Reynolds, in true Orthodox fashion, finding the smell of coffee to be a window onto other dimensions of life.

Jeremy Affeldt on God as love and our judgmentalism: “Why are Christians so judgmental, when it’s so obvious that God is all about love? This is one of the hardest questions to answer, since it involves all the intricacies of life. It’s normal to judge! We all do it. And we need some kind of shared moral code to preserve the peace and our common life together. But God tells us not to judge, and to replace judgment with forgiveness, and He tells us to love each other as He has loved us. How do we make sense of this?”

Blake Mankin, a 20something writes a letter to 20somethings.

Kotsko on Zizek.

Meanderings in the News

This rather melancholic look by Victoria Hislop at Greece on disillusionment: “The bars are still full, as these are where people go to argue about politics and the future of the country. There does not seem to be any other conversation worth having. One friend, a leading Athenian journalist, told me how at least half of her friends are without jobs and money, and how anger is growing. Many people, in Athens at least, are at breaking point. “We don’t care any more,” she told me. Suddenly, I can feel how dangerous the mood has become. My friend Maria, who voted for Pasok, Greece’s main party on the centre-Left, in the recent election will shift allegiance to the communists; she has been driven to this after her salary dropped from €2,500 a month to €1,000. She is weary and disillusioned.”

Maia Szalavitz on how the brain makes decisions.

Teens and pot usage: “ScienceDaily (Aug. 27, 2012) — The persistent, dependent use of marijuana before age 18 has been shown to cause lasting harm to a person’s intelligence, attention and memory, according to an international research team.  Among a long-range study cohort of more than 1,000 New Zealanders, individuals who started using cannabis in adolescence and used it for years afterward showed an average decline in IQ of 8 points when their age 13 and age 38 IQ tests were compared. Quitting pot did not appear to reverse the loss either, said lead researcher Madeline Meier, a post-doctoral researcher at Duke University. The results appear online Aug. 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The key variable in this is the age of onset for marijuana use and the brain’s development, Meier said. Study subjects who didn’t take up pot until they were adults with fully-formed brains did not show similar mental declines. Before age 18, however, the brain is still being organized and remodeled to become more efficient, she said, and may be more vulnerable to damage from drugs.”

Questions for presidential candidates about science. “Scientific American is partnering with the folks at ScienceDebate.org and more than a dozen leading science and engineering organizations to try to inject more discussion about critical science issues into the U.S. presidential election campaign this year. As part of that effort, we will be asking the two main presidential candidates—Barack Obama and Mitt Romney—to respond to 14 questions (listed below) on some of the biggest scientific and technological challenges facing the U.S. in the near future. We will grade the candidates’ answers in the November magazine issue of Scientific American—as well as give you the opportunity to provide your own assessments (or take issue with ours) on the web.”

Bill Nye’s anti-creationism screed dissected.

Rosie Mestel and Eryn Brown: “Now an international team has taken the crucial next step by delivering the first in-depth report on what the endless loops and lengths of DNA inside our cells are up to. The findings, detailed Wednesday in more than two dozen reports in the journals Nature and Science and other publications, do much more than provide a straightforward list of genes. By creating a complicated catalog of all the places along our DNA strands that are biochemically active, they offer new insight into how genes work and influence common diseases. They also upend the conventional wisdom that most of our DNA serves no useful purpose.”

College dorm rooms redesigned: “When it comes to decorating their dorm rooms, some students aren’t even attempting to give it the old college try — they’re hiring the pros. Coeds and their parents are turning to interior designers to transform the traditional linoleum-and-cinderblock caves into spaces worthy of magazine spreads, complete with upholstered headboards, wallpaper and crystal chandeliers, for $90 to $175 an hour, plus the price of the posh paraphernalia. “I’ve seen some residence hall rooms that look like they’re straight out of Southern Living,” says Auburn University housing director Kim Trupp.”

You like science and scientists? Check out this article about this picture:

Our brains and chunking.

Organic food and health: “Yes, organics is a $29 billion dollar industry, and still growing. Something is pulling us toward those organic veggies that are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. But if you’re thinking that organic produce will help you stay healthier, a new finding may come as a surprise. A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds scant evidence of health benefits from organic foods.”

Foreign Accent Syndrome.

Zimbardo on young males: “Zimbardo blames this allegedly poor showing by the modern male on not simply video games, excessively compelling sports media, or the lure of “the asynchronistic internet world,” but the broader development of all sorts of technologies all geared to deliver “change, novelty, excitement, and constant arousal.” This, according to his argument, has thrown a wrench into the mental machinery of today’s guys, rendering them totally ignorant of “the language of face contact” and “the rules that enable you to talk to somebody else, to listen to somebody else.” And don’t even get him started on how the pornography industry, more robust than ever, has created an “arousal addiction” worse than real drug addiction: “Drugs, you want more,” Zimbardo explains. “Arousal, you want different.”  (Can Alain de Botton help?) This new and unquenchable thirst for “change, novelty, excitement, and constant arousal” puts guys “totally out of sync” with the gradual progress and subtlety of proper education and romantic relationships. Perhaps you’d expect to hear such an indictment of modern society from a professor emeritus nearing eighty years of age. Even he admits that “I’m here to alarm,” but I respond as a guy about to leave for a date as soon as I finish writing this post: mission accomplished.”

An introduction to paleoanthropology.

Meanderings in Sports

Kottke: “Leveraging the high number of specialized heat-transfer veins in the palm of the human hand, researchers at Stanford have developed a thermal exchange glovethat is able to cool a person’s core temperature in a matter of minutes. Turns out this is helpful for athletes.”

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