Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bits and Pieces

Rod Dreher responds to a post about "Why Republicans don't write good novels" -- "Larison's post crystallized for me why I find myself so alienated from mainstream conservatism: it has no room for a tragic sense, and too often suffocates mystery and ambiguity in syrupy nationalistic uplift or platitudinous moralizing. Besides, I think most people on the right -- shoot, most people, period -- don't trust art any more than they trust religion (real religion, the wild and terrifying stuff, I mean, not just bourgeois churchiness). The more intelligent people on the right understand that culture is more important than politics, but have no idea where to begin creating works of art that live and breathe. " As a whole, the post is pretty thoughtful, but I don't think the problem is with conservatives and literature (Dreher forgets that Tolkein was a great conservative, as was Chesterton). The problem is with literature and agenda (and liberals are just as culpable as anyone else on this one). Dreher's main point is that good literature is a function of wanting to make good literature -- not a function of propagandizing a point.

The Donor Power Blog (a blog for nonprofits) points to this interesting finding -- brain scientists have shown that altruistic giving activated areas of the brain that are associated with pleasure and with social connection. In other words, brain chemistry seems to show that giving to other people is good for you. Now this seems patently obvious -- and materialists might point a finger and shout "see! it's all a function of the brain!" -- however I tend to think that God designed our brain in such a way that we should get pleasure out of being a blessing to others (and that God designed our brain in such a way that we should get pleasure out of worshipping Him too). This news should make Church stewardship committees celebrate heartily.

Al Mohler gives two great blog posts about family dynamics:
The first highlights the supposed tension between family time and church time -- it seems that church mid week activities are suffering because children are hyper scheduled and parents don't have so much time with the children. Here's a telling quote from Carol Welker: "....the church isn't helping by segregating families once they arrive on campus. "Shouldn't we as a church try to bring families together?....Instead what we do is bring them to church and then put mom and dad in this room, the high school kids in that room, and the elementary kids down the hall. It's no wonder families are spending more time doing family things than they are spending at church." Folks at Covenant-First know that I've got some definate thoughts on this -- that ministry to families needs to move away from the ghetto concept to the covenantal concept. But that's fodder for a different post.

The second post talks about the importance of involved fathers in the lives of their children. It seems then that if we want to have a healthy balanced next generation, we need to make sure that dads are doing their job as dads.