Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bits and Pieces -- April 3 2007

Been saving up some bits for quite some time -- hoping I could do more in depth commentary, if there were but world enough and time. Well, I'm done hording -- here's the links, make of them what you will!

  • The Jewish Theological Seminary has a fine site that gives a view of Passover through Archaeology and Ancient Documents. Browse through this gallery of Archeological finds related to passover (such as the Meremtah stele -- the first extra-biblical mention of the Hebrews in the ancient world) and ancient and modern Jewish rites for passover. Very interesting.
  • The great PBS show American Experience aired a one hour documentary on Aimee M'Pherson, the pioneering media evangelist from the early half of the 20th century. In it we learn that showbiz, spectacle, and "reclaiming America for Christ" are nothing new. We also get a sypathetic portrait of a Christian leader who was intentional about racial reconcilaition. "Aimee was equal parts evangelist, movie star and social activist," says film producer Linda Garmon. "She offered a brand of old time religion that people could connect with at a time when Americans were craving something to hold onto." See the PBS Webpage for the show for more information (the nice thing about the webpage is that they cross reference other shows that they have done on contemporary events and themes -- you can get a holistic picture of the time).
  • Beau Weston at the Gruntled Center has been on a roll. Check out this post defending the practice of parents intentionally scheduling their childrens' time: "As I reflect on the difference between my early adolescence and my son's, though, some crucial differences emerge. Sure, I watched lots of stupid cartoons. But there were not enough TV options, and no computer options, to keep me from reading or playing outside all the time. My son, on the other hand, could play "World of Warcraft" 24/7. That is, in fact, his plan for the summer. If we choose no structure at all for his time, the choice will be made for us by the "new media.""
  • Or this post of Beau's which has had me thinking for days about how much I interact with my children: "Betty Hart and Todd Risley have been studying language development in infants and toddlers for a quarter century. They have been doing this not simply for academic reasons, but to find the real causes of the advantage that higher class kids have over poor kids. Their main finding is that, in general, the higher the class of the family, the more they talk to their babies. And their amount of talk– not their social class or income or race -- predicted their children’s intellectual accomplishments." (see the article he references here -- it's worth a skim for more detail).
  • Meanwhile Gary Sweeten has a winner of a post talking about the church as a "social glue" that helps hold culture together. "Involvement in communities of faith among all goers collectively is strongly associated with giving and volunteering. Indeed, involvement in religious community is among the strongest predictors of giving and volunteering for religious causes as well as for secular ones. Religious communities embody one of the most important sources of social capital and concern for community in America. Religious people are great at "doing for others."Moreover, religious involvement is positively associated with most other forms of civic involvement. Holding other factors constant, religiously engaged people are more likely than religiously disengaged people to be involved in civic groups of all sorts, to vote more, to be more active in community affairs, to give blood, to trust other people (from shopkeepers to neighbors), to know the names of public officials, to socialize with friends and neighbors, and even simply to have a wider circle of friends. "
  • Seth Godin tells you why you should write an e-book -- and how to go about doing it.