Politics

“Invisible Wire Pullers”

Eerily familiar to the American left… Prideful of their own higher learning and cultivation, the intellectual classes could not absorb the idea that, thanks to “invisible wire-pullers”—the self-interested groups and individuals who believed they could manipulate the charismatic maverick for their own gain—this uneducated “beer-hall agitator” had already amassed vast support. After all, Germany was a state where the law rested on a firm foundation, where a majority in parliament was opposed to Hitler, and …

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Overwriting Monuments with AR

I do think augmented reality and voice-first computing (Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant etc) will get us out behind computer screens and keyboards and into the “real” world. What “real” means is subjective, and that will only intensify in the coming decades as computing comes full circle to being something that we naturally do with our voices and thoughts and without the need for a keyboard and mouse. Now we just need a good pair of …

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Romans 13 and American Appeals to Authority of the Government

Good read on the historical uses of Romans 13 in American history to justify obedience to the government in light of our Attorney General’s use of that text today to defend the deplorable and immoral and utterly un-Christian internment camps we’re setting up along the Mexican border for children that we’re forcibly separating children from their asylum-seeking parents… As I wrote at my own blog, I’m not sure we should “act as if the New …

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Fear and Preaching in Sin City

It is possible — even essential — to take a stand against things that are morally wrong without taking sides between Republicans and Democrats. We are currently hamstrung by the myth that to work against things like racism and sexism and mistreatment of refugees is to take sides on politics. There are some things to which there are not two sides — things the church must condemn as morally wrong whether they are advocated by …

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Cautionary Tale of Climate Change Prepping from Ancient Egypt and Bronze Age

These agricultural feats managed to extend the life of the Egyptian empire about half a century longer than it might otherwise have lasted, according to the archaeologists. The lesson for our own civilization — which is likely to face increasingly severe droughts as humans change the climate far faster than nature has ever done — is to plan ahead, Dr. Finkelstein said. — Read on www.nytimes.com/2018/03/30/climate/egypt-climate-drought.html

Trump blocking Twitter critics is unconstitutional, court decides

What a time to be alive. It is unconstitutional for public officials, including the president, to block Twitter followers who criticize them, a court ruled today in a legal dispute over President Trump’s account. — Read on www.theverge.com/2018/5/23/17385298/trump-blocking-twitter-unconstitutional-court-ruling

Changing Conceptions of Marriage and Church Marketing

Fascinating stats here for same-sex and different-sex marriages. To think of marriage as a trophy or celebration of what two people have accomplished in life that come together into a new stage directly flies in the face of so much of what churches of all stripes and sizes (but especially my beloved Baptist tradition) have supported: According to the Census Bureau, the median age at first marriage—the age at which half of all marriages occur—was …

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Reaping Data

Not to mention how companies and governments so haphazardly use this data for causes and purposes… The unchecked power of companies that harvest our data is a great problem—but it’s hard to get angry about an idea that’s so nebulous. Like climate change, the reaping of our data is a problem of psychology as much as business. We know that the accumulation of massive power in so few hands is bad, but it’s impossible to …

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Facebook is facing an existential crisis

Zuckerberg really needs to make a statement. This is going thermonuclear and Facebook’s sole commodity is trust via relationship. The Cambridge Analytica scandal has done immense damage to the brand, sources across the company believe. It will now take a Herculean effort to restore public trust in Facebook’s commitment to privacy and data protection, they said. Outside observers think regulation has suddenly become more likely, and yet CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears missing in action. Source: …

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Churches Should Turn and Face the Strange

  The “America” that Baby Boomers and my fellow Gen X’ers grew up with is rapidly changing, and Protestant churches are an example of community institutions that will be most affected… and made irrelevant or obsolete if they continue to operate as if it’s still 1985. Of course, whites are a smaller share of the post-millennial generation than any other, so their views will be less dispositive in shaping its direction. Other changes cataloged in the …

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Should Americans buy Hauwei phones?

The Mate 10 looks like a pretty amazing device and I’ve wondered at times whether I should pick up a Hauwei device to make sure I’m staying on top of things. Last week, U.S. intelligence officials warned citizens about buying devices from Chinese companies such as Hauwei and ZTE over concerns that there are potential “back doors” allowing for the Chinese government to eavesdrop on Americans. Given all that we do on our mobile devices …

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Baptist Fields

“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense. The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.” Rumi The painful truth the Illumination Project uncovered in their long discernment process is how silent our churches are …

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“What is the spirit saying here?”

Good reflection by Julia Pennington-Russell here on the CBF’s Illumination Project work as well as moralism, legalism, and theopolitics regardless of denomination: And many, maybe most, CBF churches are so anxious about jeopardizing a fragile harmony that they avoid even the mildest conversation about human sexuality, even as their LGBTQ brothers and sisters suffer outside the gate. What is the Spirit saying here? Source: Illuminations: The Healing Space between “Good” and “Bad” | CBFblog

CBF’s New Hiring and Personnel Statement

Here are results from the 18-month long Illumination Project that the CBF launched to address its controversial anti-LGBTQ hiring policy back in 2016. Thomas and I did an episode of Thinking Religion last night to share some thoughts if you’d like to know where I stand. To reflect the practice of most of its congregations, the procedure states: “Among other qualifying factors, CBF will employ persons for leadership positions in ministry who exhibit the ideals set …

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As an AmeriCorps alum, this is just maddening

So frustrating. How do people like this climb the ladder to be something like head of AmeriCorps? “Trump appointee resigns as public face of agency that runs AmeriCorps after KFile review of racist, sexist, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT comments on the radio” http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/18/politics/kfile-carl-higbie-on-the-radio/index.html

Churches and nonprofits must explore income alternatives in 2018 and beyond.

American churches and nonprofits are in for an even louder wake-up call in 2018 and beyond. It’s definitely time to start planning for the near future to keep your church or nonprofit solvent, especially if you are smaller in size and rely on donors who make less than $75,000 yearly. Churches must begin to explore income alternatives with an expected decline in individual giving in 2018 from the pending tax reform plan, along with year-over-year …

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Tech and Public Policy

Interesting article from NY’s Attorney General directed at the FCC: In today’s digital age, the rules that govern the operation and delivery of internet service to hundreds of millions of Americans are critical to the economic and social well-being of the nation. Yet the process the FCC has employed to consider potentially sweeping alterations to current net neutrality rules has been corrupted by the fraudulent use of Americans’ identities — and the FCC has been unwilling to …

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