Saturday, January 11, 2020

Once more, round the web

Are you a teacher and had a bad week? I remember those—especially when I was teaching high school! Take a look at this post for some encouragement. He's right : )

Speaking of school, this article is spot on. Here's the opening gambit, and it should make you read the whole article:

The most damaging thing you learned in school wasn't something you learned in any specific class. It was learning to get good grades.

When I was in college, a particularly earnest philosophy grad student once told me that he never cared what grade he got in a class, only what he learned in it. This stuck in my mind because it was the only time I ever heard anyone say such a thing.

He's right. By the way, the title of the article is "The Lesson to Unlearn." And speaking of unlearning, maybe libraries need to unlearn charging fines. Take a look at this article. Summary: Less fines equals more use. Kind of like grace versus law : )

Shifting gears a bit, worried about fragmentation of society? Seems like everyone is today. I've run across a few articles this week along those lines. Here is this:

So, how should kingdom people in America respond to this social fragmentation. First, if any aspect of your essential well-being is anchored in the well-being of America, or any other nation, I’m afraid you’re going to be anxious, frustrated and disappointed. A wiser course of action would be to divest yourself of all hope in America and all other nations of the world, and instead anchor your well-being in the only King and Kingdom that you have reason to believe will last forever.
And Jim E. sent me this one this morning:
We Americans are locked in political combat and focused on President Trump, but there is a cancer gnawing at the nation that predates Trump and is larger than him. Suicides are at their highest rate since World War II; one child in seven is living with a parent suffering from substance abuse; a baby is born every 15 minutes after prenatal exposure to opioids; America is slipping as a great power.

We have deep structural problems that have been a half century in the making, under both political parties, and that are often transmitted from generation to generation. Only in America has life expectancy now fallen three years in a row, for the first time in a century, because of “deaths of despair.”

“The meaningfulness of the working-class life seems to have evaporated,” Angus Deaton, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, told us. “The economy just seems to have stopped delivering for these people.” Deaton and the economist Anne Case, who is also his wife, coined the term “deaths of despair” to describe the surge of mortality from alcohol, drugs and suicide.

And it goes on. Good stuff; do read it.

Here's an interesting repost from over 100 years ago. Small snippet of prophetic stuff:

Many of us believe that our nation has a peculiar mission to restore peace. Nothing is so likely to tamper with our judicial qualities, to undermine the confidence of other nations in our sincere friendship, and thus to frustrate that mission of peace, as the growth of these war interests. They will create an American “war party.” When the foreign market fails, they will turn to the home market, and we shall feel their influence in the demand for American militarism.
Anybody care to deny that's what's going on? I didn't think so—especially since 9/11/2001.

In even less encouraging news, the United Methodist Church has decided to acknowledge that they are anything but united (and haven't been since probably the mid-1970s). This article is probably the best summary of the situation I've read. Most other ones either don't grasp the depth and length of the problem, or ignore it to score culture war points. Sad; it was my denomination growing up and well into my late 30s.

How about some theology? Roger Olson takes on Greg Boyd and others who deny substitutionary atonement. I agree with Roger; you can't have full reconciliation without substitutionary atonement, but not the popularly defined version of penal substitution! A good book to read is Scot McKnight's A Community Called Atonement. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Concerned about the Middle East? Take a look at a guest post on Ron Sider's blog. Amen and amen.

Two final posts here. One on a professor taking a stand on transgender studies. The other, it appears that in France after generations of looking the other way about underage sexual exploitation, the women are speaking up. A well-known French author is being held accountable and the laws are being enforced and tightened. Interesting world we live in, isn't it?

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