Saturday, November 09, 2019

Once more, round the 'net

An eclectic collection again this week. A friend of mine once told me I have the weirdest reading habits; so be it. I hope you enjoy this collection of various and sundry goodies (or baddies, as the case may be).

First off, many comments on the state of evangelical support for the current ruler. I think Michael Gerson's comments are probably the most appropriate:

The reform of evangelicalism is probably the work of men and women of a rising generation, who have significantly different views and values from their elders. About two-thirds of young white evangelicals believe that immigrants strengthen the country. Their approval of Trump is significantly lower. Time will work in favor of sanity.

But we should not underestimate the cultural trauma that many leaders of the religious right have inflicted. It is in the order of things that a younger generation should challenge the views and values of its parents. It is a source of cynicism and social disruption when an older generation betrays civilizing values in full sight of its children. Many evangelical leaders now lie drunk, naked and exposed.

Meanwhile, at the Anxious Bench, Chris Gehrz chimes in:
Evangelicals will only recover their witness when they forget about their brand — and the strong man politician they think protects it. Their activism needs to be brought back in line with the rest of the Bebbington Quadrilateral. It will take at least a generation, and it may never be the case again that evangelicals are known primarily as people who forgive those who have hurt them or their families, and as those who call people to conversion — “Give your life to Christ.” Calling on Trump to do exactly that would be a good start.
And, let's be an equal opportunity blog, Ron Sider offers a biting critique of the Dems, which is correct in my opinion:
The Democrats have a problem with religious people, especially Catholics and Evangelicals—and it is substantially their own fault.

Many Catholics and Evangelicals (including yours truly) find themselves closer to Democratic positions on many issues including racial justice, economic justice, creation care, combating global warming, tax policy that demands more of the rich, health care for all. But on religious freedom and abortion, many if not most Democrats stubbornly refuse to acknowledge and care for valid concerns of deeply religious people.

Think again about what "defending the gospel" means. According to Rodney Reeeves, it isn't what most people think it is (HT: Jim E.):
So, listen up crusaders, zealots, loyal members of self-sequestered theological clubs and secret societies: you're not defending the "truth of the gospel" when you alienate your brother and sister in Christ. In fact, according to Paul (the one you call your "beloved brother"), you prove you're not even justified by faith.
Yep. And Roger Olson takes aim at the Fundamentalists trying to pass themselves off as Evangelical spokesmen (and it's all men!):
In brief, what has happened is that people with fundamentalist temperaments and theologies have managed to mantle themselves with tremendous influence if not authority—as normative evangelical leaders. But they are the same people who fifty years ago would have been denouncing Billy Graham for being too inclusive and generous in his treatment of pastors (and others) who wanted to cooperate with his evangelistic crusades.
Yep. I'm old enough to remember when they denounced Billy Graham for letting his hair grow a little bit longer than "white sidewalls," saying he had gone liberal.

First Things has a feature on Rubio's "Common Good" economics. You need to read it; would that it became more of a norm:

Rubio said that economic growth is an inadequate indicator of economic health: “Economic growth and record profits alone will not lead to the creation of dignified work.” He argues for placing human dignity at the center of the economy. “Does our country exist to serve the interests of the market? Or does the market exist to serve the interests of our nation?”
Indeed! If only! Speaking of which, A.J. has an interesting dystopian view of the future:
Consider this scenario: At some point in the next couple of years, Tim Cook meets behind closed doors with Governor Gavin Newsom and and a handful of other political leaders. Here’s what he says:

“Friends, you know as well as I that this state is in a mess. The electricity in this part of the state is provided by a company whose idea of dealing with wildfires is to take away people’s power so the old and uninsulated lines won’t shoot out sparks. Many Californians have come to think it perfectly normal to step over homeless people — sometimes sick or even unconscious homeless people — on the way to work each day. Housing costs have forced thousands and thousands of people who work in our cities to live dozens of miles away, increasing the already infamous congestion on our roads. . .

Scary idea that probably will happen, or some version thereof.

Speaking of those big tech companies, there's a nice primer on anti-trust laws at Ars Technica. Do read it.

Times Higher Ed in an op-ed toys with the possibility that we've made professors too tame; how's this for a headline: "Why universities need to embrace their wild side. Lincoln Allison makes the case for the revival of the old-style academic eccentric." Sounds good to me : )

Is Martha overtaking Mary in your life? Read this for a nice romp through church history before arriving at the conclusion:

Why? Isn’t God’s creation good? Aren’t we supposed to celebrate the many-faceted active life God gives us to enjoy? Sure—but with two caveats. First, our active life is worthy of celebration only because it aims at the contemplative life. Without a contemplative horizon, our human activities turn into distractions. If the active life is all there is, it remains without telos to give it meaning. Contemplation fills action with truth, goodness, and beauty. It is contemplation that gives action a share in its luster.

Second, if the significance of action is derivative, this means that we should insist, without compromise, that contemplation (not action) is ultimate and makes up our eternal future. The reason is simple: The creator, not the creature, is our final end. Just as natural desires aim at a greater, supernatural end, so our active lives aim at something higher, beyond themselves—namely, eternal contemplation of God in Jesus Christ.

Meanwhile, in the "what you eat" category, Michael Greger looks at food synergy and eating a wide variety. Good stuff, but he also includes this marvelous slam on the supplements market:
As T. Colin Campbell has pointed out, more than a hundred trials “overwhelmingly show no long-term benefit for vitamin supplements, along with worrisome findings that certain vitamins may even increase disease occurrence for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.” Supplementation with fish oil, for example, appears useless or, even worse, “posing increased risk for diabetes,” yet the science doesn’t seem to matter. People continue to buy them. “The public desire for quick fixes through pills…is overwhelming, especially when money can be made.”
And, finally, the National Transportation Safety Board just threw bicyclists under the bus. Bicycling Magazine has a good summary, but basically, as is the norm, it's a case of blaming the victim.
I’m not even sure where to start with this idea that calls upon cyclists to be more conspicuous. I’m certainly not arguing against riding with lights after dark, nor am I questioning people’s interest in gear like high vis apparel and daytime running lights. But this idea that folks riding bikes need to wear specialized clothing so motorists don’t hit them, especially when so many other dangerous driver behaviors and issues are being overlooked, is an insult to the perils American cyclists face every day. Like if you think I need to wear fluoro kit or a blinking vest because it’s just too challenging to see me on the road, maybe you should stow your iPhone or slow down or altogether reconsider driving a motor vehicle.
Yep. Put down the phone, folks. Did you know that 40% of drivers admit to using social media while driving, and 10% admit to watching a YouTube video! Come on folks! You are driving a 5000 pound powered missile. I don't care how many lights and helmets I have, you will do a good job of hurting me if I get hit. I know; I've been hit by a Ford F-150. It isn't fun and the driver felt terrible, too. I got off easy, just 6 weeks in a cast and some staples.

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