Haters Are Gonna Hate, Study Confirms: Haters really are going to hate. A new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology corroborates the hip-hop and Internet truism that you just can’t win with some people. (No word yet on whether playas gonna play or ballers gonna ball, but we’ll probably find out soon. Researchers gonna research.) (Slate)
Exploring the Religious Prisoner’s Dilemma: America is a country with an extremely high regard for religion, which regard is matched only by her enthusiasm for mass incarceration. What, then, of the intersection between the two things, religion in prison? (Big Think)
Against Symbolic Killing: Just war-making requires clearly articulated and substantive goals. Launching cruise missiles or air strikes simply to “show resolve” or “send a message” cannot be justified. At the end of the day, these rationales authorize symbolic killing, which is fundamentally immoral. (First Thoughts)
How To Be Polemical Without Being a Downright Nasty Person: There was a time, of course, when every theologian, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, was a polemicist. Later, polemics became merely a distinct position on a theological faculty. Finally, it disappeared altogether in a spirit of congenial tolerance. (Michael Horton)
Duck Dynasty’s Cultural Christianity: Here’s the dilemma – what the show presents is a good life, but it is not in any specific way the Christian life. It is cultural Christianity of the kind that still characterizes much of the South. (Thomas Kidd)
Creating an Assessment Culture: When we speak of the need for an assessment culture, we want churches and Christians to avoid making claims that are unsubstantiated. We, above all others, need to be trustworthy, and we can do that with accurate assessment of where we are as individuals and a church. (Ed Stetzer)
Race Equality Is Still a Work in Progress, Survey Finds: Though gaps in life expectancy and high school graduation rates have all but been eliminated, disparities in poverty and homeownership rates are about the same. Compared with five decades ago, imbalances in household income and wealth, marriage and incarceration rates have widened. (New York Times)
Make the Bible Your Native Tongue: Our limitless access to prepackaged devotional, inspirational, and theological insights from others can unwittingly give us a BSL — Bible as a Second Language — status with God. But intimacy with him is better reached via a firsthand relationship through his word than through someone else’s translation of it on our behalf. (Desiring God)
How to Keep the Faith on Campus: Those going off to college this time of year are in the midst of the most significant transition of their lives….Often overlooked in the transition to college are the spiritual and religious dimensions of the change. (Washington Post)
The Immortality Financiers: The Billionaires Who Want to Life Forever: Of all the things money can’t buy—love, happiness, time machines—immortality is one we sure pay a lot for. According to the market-research firm Global Industry Analysts, the anti-aging industry generates more than $80 billion per year. All this despite the fact that there are no proven ways of extending human lifespan. (The Daily Beast)
The lingering, devastating impact of bullying: Children who are bullied are more likely to have serious mental and physical health problems as adults and less likely to hold steady jobs or develop meaningful relationships with family and friends, according to a new study on the lingering effects of bullying. (The Week)
The Pope’s Theology of Sin: True Christian mercy presupposes a strong moral order with clearly defined teachings on good and evil: It is not an open-ended, amorphous, free-floating concept; nor is it a prelude to changing moral doctrines rooted in eternal truth. (First Things)
A True Leader is an Aggressive Listener: What experience and maturity has taught me is it’s actually more valuable to have the right questions and an ability to listen and work collaboratively than it is to try to hold yourself out as the person with all of the answers. (Big Think)
How Your Biased Brain Makes You a Jerk Online (and How to Stop It): Haters gonna hate, and you can’t change them by learning why. Fortunately, you can use this understanding of our overactive biases to understand where the trolls and…get their steam. You can feel smarter for not engaging, know exactly why, and move on with your life. (Lifehacker)
Why We Talk in Tongues: Last month I was in Accra, Ghana, to learn more about the African version of the new charismatic Christian churches that have become so popular in the United States and are now proliferating in sub-Saharan Africa….What struck me was how much people spoke in tongues: language-like sounds…thought by those who use them to be a language God knows but the speaker does not. (New York Times)
Six Ideas on How to Lead Congregations to Integrate Work and Discipleship: Most Christians do not have a theological framework that accommodates the integration of faith and vocation. Many are even hostile to the idea. They are more comfortable with a life that is not integrated, compartmentalizing work and discipleship. Any attempts at integration feel like intrusions into their private lives. (The High Calling)
Before You Hit Send, Read This: While email can sometimes be a quick and convenient way to gauge interest or disseminate information, it’s often not the best tool for the job, he said. About 20% of the time, we’re using email correctly – leveraging it to communicate across time zones or answer a well-defined question. But 80% of email traffic is “waste,”…stuff that’s useless or really requires a phone call or face-to-face discussion. (The Wall Street Journal)
Are We Letting Kids Online Too Early? The biggest problem experts like Toyama see in the implementation of educational technology is that it is often viewed as an end unto itself and not a tool through which to achieve broader learning goals. (Daily Dot)
The Root of Evil: It is common in the secular West to run through a list of such episodes—the Crusades, the Inquisition, Aztec human sacrifices, the European Wars of Religion, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and so on—and conclude that religion has a peculiar tendency to lend itself to violent acts.
‘Like’ This Article Online? Your Friends Will Probably Approve, Too, Scientists Say: If you “like” this article on a site like Facebook, somebody who reads it is more likely to approve of it, even if the reporting and writing are not all that great. But surprisingly, an unfair negative reaction will not spur others to dislike the article. Instead, a thumbs-down view will soon be counteracted by thumbs up from other readers.
Fasting in an Age of Fast Food: Not only can this teaching be neglected and unknown, but it can also be shunned as somehow leading to legalism; the rationale being that it’s an “Old Testament” doctrine. What I want to explain here is not only that this is a biblical teaching and practice, but one that is so relevant in our time.
Why the Trinity can’t tell us about gender: Once we commit to the task of finding triunity in human relations, we enter a zone of free theological construction that lacks specificity, guidelines, and doctrinal seriousness. And we are very likely to bring to this task the resources at hand, the things that we already are most committed to and passionate about.
Commentary: The Frightening—But Biblical—Moral Logic of ‘Breaking Bad’: , the show runs on a frightening moral logic: No one gets away with anything. Breaking Bad revolves around the least fashionable concept imaginable: wrath. It offers something quite different from the fatalism of The Wire, where things start off ugly and pretty much stay that way. In Breaking Bad, things get steadily worse.
Families, Flourishing, and Upward Mobility: It is certainly true that this dream easily slides towards idolatry. It can become a nightmare of crass materialism and selfish ambition. But we shouldn’t confuse idolatrous perversions with more humble aspirations of families to simply enjoy a mode of economic security that is conducive with flourishing.The Invention of Teenagers: Historians and social critics differ on the specifics of the timeline, but most cultural observers agree that the strange and fascinating creature known as the American teenager — as we now understand the species — came into being sometime in the early 1940s.
The $4 Million Dollar Teacher: Tutoring services are growing all over the globe, from Ireland to Hong Kong and even in suburban strip malls in California and New Jersey. Sometimes called shadow education systems, they mirror the mainstream system, offering after-hours classes in every subject—for a fee. But nowhere have they achieved the market penetration and sophistication of hagwons in South Korea, where private tutors now outnumber schoolteachers.
The Invention of Teenagers: Historians and social critics differ on the specifics of the timeline, but most cultural observers agree that the strange and fascinating creature known as the American teenager — as we now understand the species — came into being sometime in the early 1940s.