“[N]ews stories are – and I’m speaking very generally here – more fungible than songs. If you want the Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire,” you want the Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire.” A wimpy Coldplay number just ain’t going to scratch that itch.”—Nicolas Carr, on why micropayments aren’t going to save news
Interesting - psychological research validating common sense morality…”[T]here is a measurable connection between income and happiness; not surprisingly, people with a comfortable living standard are happier than people living in poverty.
The catch is that additional income doesn’t buy us any additional happiness on a typical day once we reach that comfortable standard. The magic number that defines this ‘comfortable standard’ varies across individuals and countries, but in the United States, it seems to fall somewhere around $75,000….
A decade of research has demonstrated that if you insist on spending money on yourself, you should shift from buying stuff (TVs and cars) to experiences (trips and special evenings out). Our own recent research shows that in addition to buying more experiences, you’re better served in many cases by simply buying less — and buying for others.”
In order to understand who Jesus is, we must understand what He came to do. For this, we can best look to the Servant Songs of Isaiah, for it is with these that He inaugurated His ministry and it is these that were used by the Gospel writers to describe Him in His death.
From the Servant Songs, we can see at least seven reasons for Jesus’ coming:
He came to raise up and comfort the poor and needy.
He came to establish justice in the world.
He came to restore the glory of God’s people (represented by Jerusalem), and make them a light to the world.
He came to bring the Kingdom to the Gentiles (the “coastlands”).
He came to atone for the sins of the people.
He will come to judge the world.
He will come to inaugurate the New Creation.
To see Jesus’ mission as encompassing all this, and to see His passion for His people in light of these aims, is to be transformed. This is what it is to recognize Him as Savior and Lord.
There is no need to oppose His personal saving of people for life together with Him in the New Creation to His collective saving of the peoples here and now. Both now and for eternity, He is at work calling people to Himself in order that they might be a new people that recognize Him as completely worthy, for who He is and for what He has done.
In the case of the mayor, and other adults with non-coding-related jobs, he has a valid point. No one who has a good job already should learn to code unless they want to, and probably they won’t want to unless they are considering switching jobs.
That being said, the “let’s learn to code” is good, on the whole, because its real focus is on children, who, presumably, haven’t already decided that they want to be the Mayor of New York City when they grow up. Exposure to programming is good for them, and, considering the current shortage of IT professionals in the US, good for us as well.
Not really just about Facebook, actually. I think this is a scary reflection of modern culture:
"In 1985, only 10 percent of Americans said they had no one with whom to discuss important matters, and 15 percent said they had only one such good friend. By 2004, 25 percent had nobody to talk to, and 20 percent had only one confidant…In the face of this social disintegration, we have essentially hired an army of replacement confidants, an entire class of professional carers…The majority of patients in therapy do not warrant a psychiatric diagnosis. This raft of psychic servants [, over 100,000 counselors alone] is helping us through what used to be called regular problems. We have outsourced the work of everyday caring."
Jesus’ resurrection is His justification, in the sense of vindication: a public declaration of His righteousness, which He could then graciously grant to us. He was “delivered up for our trangressions and raised for our justification” (Rom. 4:25).
"[F]rom here on out, whenever we think of Jesus’ cry, let’s first remember that the beginning is not the end of the story."
Jesus died knowing that He would rise again. Jesus died knowing that He would be vindicated by the Father, “justified by the Spirit of holiness that raised Him from the dead.” And His justification would become our own - as the unrighteous sentence that we passed on Him, the sentence of scapegoating that proved our sinfulness, was rescinded. Though Jesus had the right to destroy us for what we had done to Him, He chose mercy, and revealed that, for God, mercy triumphs over judgment.
It is intellectual incoherent to be strictly conservative in a time of rapid change. However, it is equally incoherent to think that we can be progressive in a predetermined direction, as if legislation were the primary driver of that change.
If we are to intervene at all, we must seek to find the points of our system that are responsive to change. That will take greater understanding than I see our current politicians as possessing.
"The problems that we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." A systems approach is needed.
We need to recognize that in our society now everything affects everything all the time. We can’t focus on a single line of policy interventions in any of the issues that we face - with the economy, the climate, education, health care, etc. - unless we understand what all the major factors are affecting the system. That is the only way we can hope to turn vicious cycles into virtuous ones.
Last night I was at the Boston Federal Courthouse and saw a quote written on the wall, “Justice is truth in action” - a noble sentiment, but dangerous in a democracy, where people’s rights are in conflict. The courts will never be the source of perfect justice. From their perspective, it would be better to say justice is the proper balance between conflicting interests.
Somehow I can’t feel too sorry for these people. “We signed the release without reading it.” Well, when you’re signing away all your rights to an image of yourself, you shouldn’t complain about the uses to which it is put…as long as they’re not identifying you personally.
Dear Christian women, Sometimes men are oblivious. It’s not un-Biblical for you to clue them if you’re interested in a relationship. I think the whole “waiting in a tower for my prince” mentality that’s been perpetuated in many Christian books on dating is one of the most damaging things that’s happened in recent years.
“I’m going to tell you something that my Republican friends are loath to admit out loud: climate change is real. I am a moderate Republican, fiscally conservative; a fan of small government, accountability, self-empowerment, and sound science. I am not a climate scientist. I’m a meteorologist, and the weather maps I’m staring at are making me uncomfortable. No, you’re not imagining it: we’ve clicked into a new and almost foreign weather pattern. To complicate matters, I’m in a small, frustrated and endangered minority: a Republican deeply concerned about the environmental sacrifices some are asking us to make to keep our economy powered-up, long-term. It’s ironic. The root of the word conservative is “conserve.” A staunch Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, set aside vast swaths of America for our National Parks System, the envy of the world. Another Republican, Richard Nixon, launched the EPA. Now some in my party believe the EPA and all those silly “global warming alarmists” are going to get in the way of drilling and mining our way to prosperity. Well, we have good reason to be alarmed.”—Shawn Lawrence Otto | A Message from a Republican Meteorologist on Climate Change (via ayjay)
The Atlantic Monthly editorializes that people are “stupid” for being confused about what the health care bill actually does. Well, considering that lawmakers passed it largely without reading it, and only started finding some of its provisions after the fact, I don’t think their confusion is surprising. And it’s certainly not stupid.
These are some interesting graphs about unemployment, etc. Whether the government or even “corporations” could actually fix most of these systemic problems in any kind of timely fashion is debatable, though.
George Will says that no one knows how to deal with the social pathologies caused by mass incarceration. Well, what about the racist and unjust drug sentencing laws that have put many of those people in prison?
Ross Douthat Explains Why the Republican Party Isn't As Crazy As People Think
From early 2011 onward, the media have overinterpreted [the] sifting process [between Republican primary candidates], treating every polling surge for a not-Romney candidate almost as seriously as an actual primary result. They might nominate Herman Cain! They might nominate Michele Bachmann! Why — they might nominate Donald Trump!
Why has the media done this? I would argue that it is in their best interests to do so - to draw out Romney to the far right in the hopes that he can’t tack back quickly enough for the general election, thus leaving the field for Obama wide open.
Lots of discussion on New York Times website about the demise of Britannica. Several people write that they will miss the serendipity of print, or that search boxes do not encourage wonder.
I find that criticism poorly founded, having researched the structure of Wikipedia for my college thesis several years ago. The internal links within Wikipedia articles make them an dense tissue of connected knowledge, much better for serendipitous learning than the random juxtapositions of the alphabet. That is, if you are comfortable with the technology.
I suppose some people will never find technologically-mediated reading as comfortable as print. But to say that the Web can’t stimulate wonder says more about yourself than it does about the Web.
The Incarnation lies at the root of Christianity’s mystery and power. God became man - in no other religion is this believed. If we are to witness to others about Jesus’ death & resurrection, human sin & salvation, we must ensure that those to whom we speak understand what we mean by the Incarnation.
We as evangelicals must be careful to offend people only with the exclusivity of Christ, not the exclusivity of our church - as if we were ourselves the source of truth and not simply those who have been caught up in it, and saved by it.
Certain people just shone as exemplars of wholeness, intensity, virtue, achievement, and delight; Maslow was left wondering what an entire society led by such men and women might achieve.
It would become Maslow’s life’s work to describe such people, to explain their excellence, and to spread the word to the multitudes that this richness was in fact an inborn human possession, lost to most by dint of social malfeasance and emotional attrition, recoverable on a wide scale by overthrowing the diminished and oppressive view of mankind that had passed for wisdom down the millennia…Maslow became confident that he would succeed where his predecessors had failed, not only in the scientific description of what man is, but in the moral prescription for the best that man can become.
Later in the article it describes what Maslow saw in his field research to justify this belief:
Nearly all of the Blackfoot [Indians], he discovered, displayed a level of emotional security that only the upper percentiles of the U.S. population reached, and Maslow attributed this in large measure to the Indians’ emphasis on personal responsibility instilled from early childhood. For example, a seven-year-old boy faced with a tough decision would go off into the woods by himself for several days to think things over. A demanding but loving upbringing enhanced the essential goodness and strength with which these children were born.
But, as the article shows, later generations misread Maslow, and he became just an apologist for self-gratification, with a Nietzschean flavor. Perhaps this is because they forgot what his field research had shown: that liberty becomes license unless one has learned constraint.