Kelli Marshall‘s candid, insightful reflections on the life of a doctoral student and then life with the PhD. “After I completed my tenure as a VAP at the University of Toledo, both the husband and I were unemployed. We were living on Ohio unemployment ($400/week), what we had in savings from the sell of our home in Texas (our virtual depletion of this is making our current home-buying problematic), and some funds from our gracious parents. We had 5 college degrees between us, over 30 publications and presentations to our names, and a combined 28 years’ experience in higher education, and we still couldn’t land jobs in our respective fields. The good news: the cost of living in Toledo is low, very low. After a year of unemployment, my husband was finally offered and accepted a job in Chicago, which is where we are now. And thanks to the recommendation of a colleague, I’m currently an adjunct at DePaul University and Columbia College Chicago, teaching film and TV courses.”
Shane Scott reflects on a biblical approach to economics: “BUT – and here is where I would love some friendly discussion – is it possible that those who have shifted to the GOP because of biblical concerns about social issues unwittingly assumed that the GOP’s policies on economic matters must also be more biblical? Does a commitment to the authority of Scripture demand a commitment to conservative economic policy? I don’t think so. Here is a quick summary of what I think the Bible says about economics:…”
Tom Lawson on the “sneakers” in worship: “So, this is 2012. Praise and celebration worship is everywhere. It has helped many churches experience unprecedented growth for two or three decades. It’s what we know. It’s what we like to play. It’s what we’re good at. So, of course, it’s what we keep doing week after week. For most people, it is the only style of worship they have ever known. And so, like everything dazzling and new, while most are still contented, some are feeling trapped in a growing rut. So, here’s a little secret people in Christian higher education know. The sneakers have returned. They do not advertise it. Many do not post updates on it. They think their parents would disapprove. Their Youth Pastors might be alarmed. It is not that they don’t want to worship. On the contrary, they just long for something they can’t find in our Sunday worship or campus chapels. They are not sneaking off to Pentecostal services. They are sneaking off to Mass.”
Making decisions, too many decisions: “The president first touted the necessity of daily exercise — a habit that I endorse wholeheartedly. But what he said next was even more interesting: “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” I share President Obama’s practice of “routinizing the routine.” I eat essentially the same thing for breakfast each morning: a bowl of cold cereal and a banana. For lunch, I eat a chicken salad sandwich with a diet soda. Each morning, I dress in one of a small number of suits, each of which goes with particular shirts and ties. Why do President Obama and I subject ourselves to such boring routines? Because both of us (especially President Obama!) make many decisions each day — decisions that are far more important to us than what we wear or what we eat for breakfast. Making too many decisions about mundane details is a waste of a limited resource: your mental energy.”
Simon Gathercole’s fine sketch of the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife”: Jesus has female disciples in the canonical gospels, who support his ministry (Luke 8), and who are part of his entourage generally. There is no reference to marriage of any kind, which is striking in a biography. (Suetonius’ Lives of the Caesars, for example, mentions wives and fiancées of all 12 of his subjects.) Other apocryphal gospels develop some of these relationships. So, for example, Salome who is a very minor character in the gospels (mentioned only twice, only in Mark’s gospel), but she becomes significant in the Gospel of the Egyptians, and especially in the Gospel of Thomas, where she shares a couch with Jesus: it was a dining couch rather than a bed, but sharing a dining couch was still a louche thing to do, and effectively meant being married or lovers. The Gospel of Philip might refer to Jesus kissing Mary, but the manuscript has some holes in at the key point! In a later text called theGreater Questions of Mary, Jesus even – in front of Mary Magdalene – has sex with a woman whom he has produced out of his side. Harvard Professor Karen King, who is the person who has been entrusted with the text, has rightly warned us that this does not say anything about the historical Jesus. She is correct that “its possible date of composition in the second half of the second century, argues against its value as evidence for the life of the historical Jesus”. But she is also right that this is a fascinating discovery which offers us a window into debates about sex and marriage in the early church, and the way Jesus could be adapted to play a part in a particular debate. If it is genuine.”
Mark Fairchild, a prof at Huntington University, has a significant archaeological discovery … and it probably involved the apostle Paul!
Meanderings in the News
Who killed the liberal arts? Joseph Epstein speaks: “For many years, the liberal arts were my second religion. I worshipped their content, I believed in their significance, I fought for them against the philistines of our age as Samson fought against the Philistines of his—though in my case, I kept my hair and brought down no pillars. As currently practiced, however, it is becoming more and more difficult to defend the liberal arts. Their content has been drastically changed, their significance is in doubt, and defending them in the condition in which they linger on scarcely seems worth the struggle.”Good idea, bad idea? What do you think? Charging customers a wastage fee for food not eaten in restaurants.
Molly Worthen: A tale of two Catholicisms in this election. “AS the 2012 presidential race enters the homestretch, both parties vow that this election is not just a choice between different policies. It is a cosmic decision between “two different visions, two different value sets,” as Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. told delegates at the Democratic National Convention. Behind the competing catchphrases lurks another contest, one that illuminates this war of worldviews. It is a tale of two Catholicisms.”
Literary figures and the reality behind them.
Males and make-up: “Cho’s meticulous efforts to paint the perfect face are not unusual in South Korea. This socially conservative, male-dominated country, with a mandatory two-year military conscription for men, has become the male makeup capital of the world. South Korean men spent $495.5 million on skincare last year, accounting for nearly 21 percent of global sales, according to global market research firm Euromonitor International. That makes it the largest market for men’s skincare in the world, even though there are only about 19 million men in South Korea. Amorepacific, South Korea’s biggest cosmetics company, estimates the total sales of men’s cosmetics in South Korea this year will be more than $885 million.”
Sad story about Niger: “In Hawkantaki, it is the rhythm of the land that shapes the cycle of life, including the time of marriage. The size of the harvest determines not only if a father can feed his family, but also if he can afford to keep his daughter under his roof. Even at the best of times, one out of every three girls in Niger marries before her 15th birthday, a rate of child marriage among the highest in the world, according to a UNICEF survey. Now this custom is being layered on top of a crisis. At times of severe drought, parents pushed to the wall by poverty and hunger are marrying their daughters at even younger ages. A girl married off is one less mouth to feed, and the dowry money she brings in goes to feed others. “Families are using child marriage, as an alternative, as a survival strategy to the food insecurity,” says Djanabou Mahonde, UNICEF’s chief child protection officer in Niger.”
The 20 most significant developments in food and cooking. “The Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, had a question: What are the most meaningful innovations in humanity’s culinary history? What mattered more to the development of civilization’s cultivation of food: the oven? The fridge? The plough? The spork? To answer that question, the Society convened a group of its Fellows — including, yup, a Nobel Prize Winner — and asked them to whittle down a list of 100 culinarily innovative tools down to 20. That list was then voted on by the Fellows and by a group of “experts in the food and drink industry,” its tools ranked according to four criteria: accessibility, productivity, aesthetics, and health.”
Young adults ditching cars: “NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — America’s young people just aren’t buying cars like they used to. The share of new cars purchased by those aged 18-34 dropped 30% in the last five years, according to the car shopping web site Edmunds.com. Some say the economy is mostly to blame — that the young aren’t buying because they’ve been particularlyhard hit by the recession. But others say the trend could be part of larger social shifts.”
Meanderings in Sports
Theo tells the truth: “CHICAGO — As a rough 2012 season nears its end, Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein was bold enough to suggest Friday that 2013 might not be much better when it comes to playoff expectations for the team. That might not make the ticket department stand up and cheer but it goes along with Epstein’s objective of being as forward as possible about the Cubs’ rebuilding project. “I think obviously we really care about our fans and we want them to have a great experience, but we’re trying to be transparent about it,” Epstein said. “We have a plan and we have a vision and it won’t happen overnight, but given the way of things I think this is the best way to go.”