Weekly Meanderings, 11 January 2014

Weekly Meanderings, 11 January 2014 January 11, 2014

Chicago’s icy week.

Jordan Weissmann says the US government is giving out more money than would be necessary to make college tuition free in all of America’s public universities/colleges:

A mere $62.6 billion dollars!

According to new Department of Education data, that’s how much tuition public colleges collected from undergraduates in 2012 across the entire United States. And I’m not being facetious with the word mere, either. The New America Foundation says that the federal government spent a whole $69 billion in 2013 on its hodgepodge of financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants for low-income students, tax breaks, work study funding. And that doesn’t even include loans.

Michelle Van Loon has a proposal to the publishers of John Howard Yoder’s books:

At this point in the story, since the perp has been dead for 16 years, I think this is probably a good start. It underscores that there is a difference between baby and bathwater. While there is now no way for those who were abused by Yoder with their allegations, it would be a nice gesture if either his publisher or his denomination offered to pay for counseling for anyone with a credible abuse account. Perhaps I’m being a bit idealistic with this suggestion; I am assuming that few would go to the trouble of coming forward at this point with a false account in order to score some counseling. At this point, those most in need of help may have already sought it. In Yoder’s Mennonite tradition, turning the other cheek is core to following Jesus, so it is possible that many of his survivors have processed what he did to them. Maybe a half of handful of the dozens of victims would ask for help. Maybe only one. But that one deserves the dignity of compassionate care. Her life has been altered by the selfish actions of this man.

Which brings me to what the Herald Press statement says to me. If Yoder was still alive and had been found guilty, a responsible publisher would pull the books no matter how good his ideas are. But the decision for Herald Press to continue to publish Yoder’s books with a disclaimer communicates to me that in this life, he got away with his sin – and gets to have the final, published word. Character is disconnected from message, which is a textbook description of hypocrisy.

Was your grandma a health hacker?

Technology measuring Antioch’s influence:

Digital humanities research—research that employs cutting-edge computing technologies to study disciplines in the humanities—has allowed researchers to examine ancient political structures with a broader perspective. So believes Kristina Neumann, doctoral candidate at the University of Cincinnati, who created an interactive map illustrating ancient Antioch’s changing political and economic relationships over time using the popular Google Earth software. Her research,described in a press release from the University of Cincinnati, reveals that ancient Antioch—a Syrian city that played a vital role in the emergence of Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity—had greater political influence over the region and a wider trading network than previously thought.

Neumann created an extensive database of Antiochene coins and coin hoards dating from the late third century B.C.E. to the early fifth century C.E as well as non-Antiochene coins excavated at ancient Antioch. The database recorded information such as where each coin was found, when it was minted and under which ruler it was made. Neumann then imported the data into Google Earth.


New, cheap smartphones

We need total darkness, or as dark as we can get it, for the best sleep and health.

The modern bedroom is full of lights, from glowing computer monitors and clock radios to any number of blinking and glimmering electronic devices. Trouble is, chronic exposure to light at night leads to a host of health problems…

All this research points to one basic fact: We need to keep our bedrooms as dark as possible and avoid blue light before sleep. To that end, you should turn off all your light-emitting gadgets and close the blinds. And if possible, refrain from reading your tablet computer or smartphone in the hours preceding sleep.

My colleague and friend, Claude Mariottini, did a 3 part series on the virginal conception of Jesus. Part one was by Ed Fudge, part two on the historical context of Isaiah 7:14, and part three on .

Thom Rainer moves to a website called Pastors Today.

FGCU — Florida Gulf Coast University — on the heals of the success and visibility of its men’s basketball team, has had a surge of 35% application increase. (HT: LNMM)

Last fall’s incoming freshmen class consisted of 2,773 students, counting only first-time freshmen, not transfers or second-year students who are still freshmen credit-wise. By comparison, FGCU welcomed 1,882 new freshmen in fall 2008, representing an average annual growth rate of about 9.5 percent. The university does not maintain a hard and fast cap on admits, but this fall’s freshmen class likely will be in the neighborhood of 3,000 students. Total enrollment is 14,251, almost two-thirds of the way to FGCU’s one-time projected student body target of 22,000.

Was John Calvin’s view of depravity the same as Augustine’s? This article contends Calvin’s was darker, or deeper, but definitely not the same.

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