The classroom should be a consecrated place—a dedicated space for attending to ideas not normally addressed as ardently elsewhere. Strange, good, and serendipitous things happen there. Questions are newly formed, puzzlement gives way to intellectual pursuit, and insights arrive serendipitously. On the other hand, even after earnest preparations, professors can be greeted with vacant stares, wandering eyes, stupefied silences, or irritatingly inept comments. We struggle to win, keep, and enrich our students’ attention.
- The Guardian has an interesting piece on the place of libraries in the community, and what we’ll lose if we stop funding them.
The great untold truth of libraries is that people need them not because they’re about study and solitude, but because they’re about connection.
- Justin Taylor reports on a recent roundtable of pastors asked how they would explain the gospel in two different contexts. And, he shares the following story that Mark Stiles often uses when witnessing to Muslims.
Two men went to the mosque to pray. One was a rich man, the other a poor man. The rich man went through his libations and prayers as he did five times a day. As he was praying, he began to have a sexual fantasy about the young wife who lived next door to his home. But he finished his prayers and went home. The poor man stood off at a distance. He came so infrequently to the mosque, that he couldn’t remember the positions for prayer or his libations. But he looked up to heaven, beat his breast, and said, “Forgive me, O Lord, for I’m a sinner.” Who went home justified? [Mr Stiles says that every Muslim he has asked this question has answered “The rich man.”]
- Michael Bird discusses whether the Bible sees judgement as retribution or restoration.
We do not have to choose between retributive and restorative schemes of divine justice. The righteousness that brings judgment also fills the universe with God’s shalom….There can be no reconciliation without recompense otherwise the disorder, destruction, and decay of evil prevents peace from lasting. The incarnation and the cross achieve both: juridical judgment and relational peace wrought in the atonement.
- Lots of bloggers are reflecting on the news that Osama Bin Laden is dead and how Christians should respond. I won’t even try to link all of them, but here are some thoughts from Joe Carter, Denny Burk, Jason Goroncy, Christopher Morgan, and Doug Chaplin. And Mashable has a nice roudup of links if you just want to read more on the events surrounding his death.
- This month’s free audio book from ChristianAudio is Tim Challies’ The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion.
- Julian Assange claims that Facebook is a giant spy machine developed for US intelligence agencies.
- And, for those of you mourning Michael Scott’s departure, here’s a list of the Top 20 Steve Carrell Moments on The Office.
The New York Times post an article yesterday, “Your Brain on Computers,” summarizing the debate about whether our constant use of technology is affecting in mostly positive or negative ways. I commented on this a while back, suggesting that anyone involved in any kind of education/formation needed to be keeping an eye on this discussion. So, if you’re looking for a primer on the debate, this should be helpful.
Although the article is well written and worth reading, I mostly wanted to point out that the article also links to a couple of games designed to test how much you have already been twisted and corrupted by the neurological affects of technological overexposure. (Technically, they just test how much of a multitasker you are; but I like my version better.) One game tests your ability to concentrate in the face of distractions, and another your ability to switch between tasks quickly. According to both tests, my current level of techno depravity is actually rather low (i.e. I don’t distract easily and I switch easily between tasks). Apparently I still spend too much time doing old school things like reading books and talking to people.