Week in Review: Friends of Computers and Animals Edition

What are you reading, watching, thinking about this week? As usual, here’s a few which have been on our mind. Let us know your thoughts on any/all of them. If you have items you’d like us to consider for the top five, add them in the comments or send them to  Tom or Mike.

1. Friend Request: Confirm or Ignore? (Tom Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education, 4/5/2010). Are “we” (are you) becoming more friendly due to increased use of the internet tools such Facebook? Is there a positive feedback loop of increased number of friends with whom one communicates and friendship? How do you define friend in the context of social media such as Facebook?  Is there a threshold for the time/energy expended in virtual versus face-to-face friendships.  Maybe it’s time to read the research instead of the summary 😉  HT:  Gordon.

2.   Swing by the Mustard Seed Associates (MSA) for their series 2010-2020, New Challenges-New Possibilities:  Technology & Social Networking, e.g.,  Rosie Perera‘s thoughts on The 10 Commandments of Computer Ethics. Note (3/10/2011): MSA’s site has been under attack. I’ve substituted other links to the same material. Praying for full restoration of MSA’s valuable on-line resources.

3.  Christian Legal Society v. Martinez: Can Government Funds be Denied to Religious Groups on Campus? by David Masci, Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, 4/6/2010.

On April 19, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a case that will determine whether a public institution can refuse official recognition to a religiously-based organization that prevents those who do not share its religious and moral values from becoming voting members. The case arose in 2004 when a chapter of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) expressed a desire to register as an official student group at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law.

4. Science, Advocacy, and the What It Means to Be Human: “Can Animals Be Gay?” (Jon Mooallem, New York Times, March 29) raises some fascinating questions. This would be an excellent article to read and discuss with a campus group. Questions that you might raise:

  • What’s the connection between scholarship, advocacy, and application?
  • How do we determine good models for being human?
  • What do you do when your research is misinterpreted or misapplied?
  • How should Christians interact with topics like “heterosexist bias”?

5. Are you missing chances for Christian community? From Mike: I’m at the Stone-Campbell Conference today at Cincinnati Christian University, an annual academic conference for faculty and students at universities affiliated with the Christian Church, Church of Christ, and Disciples of Christ (“Stone-Campbell” churches).  So far as I can tell, there isn’t anyone here from a secular university, yet here are some of the plenary and seminar topics:

  • Scot McKnight (North Park U., author of Jesus Creed, Blue Parakeet, Embracing Grace) is the main speaker, addressing Spirituality in a Postmodern Age and Spiritual Disciplines for Today
  • Tomorrow, David Fleer of Lipscomb University will speak on The Challenge of Spirituality for Academic Scholars.
  • Seminars include:
    • The Relevance of the Philosophy of Science for Christian Faith
    • Finding God in the Midst of Crisis
    • Spiritual Direction in the Mentoring Relationship
    • 10 Things You Can Do Now to Get Published
    • Post Civil Rights Spirituality
    • Pursuing a PhD: Tips and Warnings

Wow! If you’re at a secular university, don’t those sound like great topics to discuss with your fellow Christian academics?


Tom’s almost finished with Brian Godawa’s Word Pictures: Knowing God Through Story & Imagination (InterVarsity Press, 2009) and it continues to be excellent!  Yesterday Tom couldn’t resist picking up The Comet and the Tornado: Reflections on the Legacy of Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture and the Creation of Our Carnegie Mellon Dream Fulfillment Factory by Donald Marinelli, Executive Producer of Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center.  Anybody else reading it?  Note:  For Tom’s take on the last lecture, click here.

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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