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Flotsam and jetsam (10/16)

every teacher needs this t-shirt

every teacher needs this t-shirt

Good Reads

  • Conservative Catholics question Pope Francis’s approach: Rattled by Pope Francis’s admonishment to Catholics not to be “obsessed” by doctrine, his stated reluctance to judge gay people and his apparent willingness to engage just about anyone — including atheists — many conservative Catholics are doing what only recently seemed unthinkable: They are openly questioning the pope. (Washington Post)
  • The Bible Is the Word of God: This is an ongoing series looking at critical “axioms” of hermeneutics (the art and science of biblical interpretation), those things that I believe one must know and/or believe in order to interpret the Word of God accurately. (Transformed)
  • Forget About Learning Styles. Here’s Something Better: Whenever I speak to audiences about the science of learning, as I’ve been doing a lot this fall, one topic always comes up in the Q&A sessions that follow my talk: learning styles. Learning styles—the notion that each student has a particular mode by which he or she learns best, whether it’s visual, auditory or some other sense—is enormously popular. It’s also been thoroughly debunked. (Annie Murphy Paul)
  • Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming: I’m going to tell you that libraries are important. I’m going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. I’m going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things.

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The Future of Learning (Infograhpic)

I like infographics, but I still thought this was funny. Of course, it’s also true enough to be a little terrifying.


Flotsam and jetsam (10/14)

not a train

Good Reads

  • 7 Unconventional Reasons Why You Absolutely Should Be Reading Books: In a world of omnipresent screens, it can be easy to forget the simple pleasure of curling up with a good book. In fact, a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults found that 28 percent hadn’t read one at all in the past year. But the truth is that reading books can be more than entertainment. (Huffington Post)
  • A Theologian’s Influence and Dark Past Live On: All of us fall short of our ideals, of course. But there is a common-sense expectation that religious professionals should try to behave as they counsel others to behave. They may not be perfect, but they should not be louts or jerks.By that standard, few failed as egregiously as John Howard Yoder, America’s most influential pacifist theologian. (New York Times)

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Flotsam and jetsam (10/11)


Good Reads

  • The Meaning of Martyrdom: For people who practise religion in comfortable, well-ordered places, and face no greater physical danger than sore knees or feet, the idea of being a martyr (in the sense of dying for one’s faith and receiving a heavenly reward) can seem rather remote. But in almost all the world’s religions, martyrdom plays an important role. (The Economist)
  • What Multitasking Does To Your Brain: In case we needed another reason to close the 15 extra browser tabs we have open, Clifford Nass, a communication professor at Stanford, has provided major motivation for monotasking: according to his research, the more you multitask, the less you’re able to learn, concentrate, or be nice to people. (Fast Company)

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How to Google Like a Boss (infographic)

Almost everyone uses Google these days, especially students. But with just a few tips and tricks, you can use it much more effectively. Here’s how.


Flotsam and jetsam (10/9)

boomerang fear

Good Reads

  • It’s Time to Talk about Power: As one who frequently wears what I have come to call the Wireless Headset of Authority, I have begun to worry that it is not just our microphones that are becoming invisible. What is also becoming invisible, especially to those with the most to gain and to lose, is power. (Andy Crouch)

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The Best Excuse Ever for Not Remembering a Source

You know those times when you know that you know what you know, but you don’t know from where you know it? In this fabulous video clip, David Mitchell not only defends why he can’t remember his sources, but why it would be detrimental for him even to try. 


I am totally going to use this the next time I can’t remember where I learned something. But if you’re one of my students, don’t even think about it. I have no problem with double standards.

HT 22 Words

Flotsam and jetsam (10/7)


Good Reads

  • Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy: Researchers at The New School in New York City have found evidence that literary fiction improves a reader’s capacity to understand what others are thinking and feeling. (Scientific American)
  • The Conference Shaking Up America’s Evangelicals: On Wednesday evening, 30 of America’s most influential evangelicals met on the patio of Marlow’s Tavern outside Atlanta for a private dinner….They met to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and brainstorm possible future endeavors together. (Time)
  • Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online: When I first started writing about religion for an online news site, I eagerly turned to the comment section for my articles, fishing for compliments and wondering if I had provoked any thoughtful discussions about faith. I don’t wonder anymore. (CNN)
  • Stop Slandering Christ’s Bride: the surest sign that thousands of Christian in church congregations across the country are talking about an issue is that someone will claim that believers in America are not talking about it. (Gospel Coalition)

Other Info

Just for Fun

  • The never-ending epic struggle continues: Geeks vs. Nerds.

A Prayer for Sunday (Teresa of Avila)

teresa of avila (250x360)Living in 16th century Spain, Teresa of Avila was a famous Carmelite nun, a key figure in the Catholic Counter Reformation, and one of the most prominent mystical theologians of the medieval church. Along with John of the Cross, she was a key figure in establishing Spanish mysticism as a formative influence in Catholic theology and a prominent feature of the Spanish renaissance.  For her writings and ministry she was named a Doctor of the Church, albeit not until 1970.

Teresa of Avila died on October 4, 1582. In honor of her life and ministry, today’s prayer comes from her.

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25 Signs You’re Addicted to Books

book hangoverIf you’ve ever found yourself yelling at a book in public, buying books you don’t need (and may not ever read), or getting your “old book fix” by walking into a used book store and breathing deeply, then it’s entirely possible that you’re an addict. You should seek help if there’s any possibility that the piles of books in your house might tip over and crush someone or if you have gone more than three days without speaking to a living human (besides yourself).

If you’re still not sure whether you’re a book addict, you may want to consult this illustrated guide: 25 Signs You’re Addicted to Books. Or, if you’d rather have all the images in one place, someone has now put the whole guide together in a handy infographic. Be aware, though, that some of the images contain some rather “colorful”  language.

According to the guide, I may need help, since I score high on quite a few criteria:

  • When reading a good book, I sometimes forget to eat or sleep.
  • I occasionally yell at books.
  • I often like rainy days better than sunny days because of the excellent reading opportunity.
  • dream homeThe picture on the right is definitely what I think of when I picture my dream home (though it needs a big, comfy sofa)
  • Whenever I start a new project, of course the first step is always to read a book about it. Are there other ways to learn?
  • Of course the book is always better.
  • And yes, I’ve experienced both “book hangover” (inability to start a new book because you’re still living in the last book’s world) and “book insomnia” (staying up all night to finish a book).

Fortunately, I’ve outgrown at least one problem. Instead of going on a trip and packing my suitcase so full of books that I barely have room for clothes, I now just take my iPad. But that probably doesn’t mean I’m less addicted, just more efficient at feeding my addiction.

book suitcase