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. Inhabiting God’s story? Over the past several days Tom hosted Bobby Gross, National Director of InterVarsity’s Graduate & Faculty Ministry. They had a number of conversations with faculty, pastors, and friends of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. As part of the visit, Bobby participated in an Ascension Day service at First Presbyterian Church, York, PA. The gathering was in partnership with Hearts and Minds Bookstore. One of Byron Borger’s recent blog posts related to the event, Living the Christian Year author Bobby Gross to speak here on Ascension Day (5/10/2010) commends several books on the topic. In another post Byron shares that the beginning of Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God is worth the price of the book. Here’s an excerpt he highlights:
“Most of us think of ourselves as ordinary people living quiet lives in unremarkable places. We are merely hobbits in our shires. But listen! We may not be caught up in dangerous drama like Frodo and his loyal companion, Sam, but we nonetheless live inside a big story, one that started long before our birth and that will go on long after our death, one that’s as wide as the universe and as old as eternity: the Story of God as centered in Jesus the Christ.
Our personal narratives take their fullest shape and deepest meaning in relation to God’s purposes for us and for the world. As Eugene Peterson puts it, “God is the larger context and plot in which our stories find themselves.” A very large context and very long plot indeed. — Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God (5/11/2010)
2. Want to know Why Amish businesses don’t fail (Geoff Williams, CNN Money, 5/4/2010), then read Erik Wesner’s new book Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive. By-the-way, the 95% success rate Wesner uses is based upon a 2009 report by Elizabethtown College sociology professor Donald Kraybill, who has spoken for two Central PA Emerging Scholars Network events. HT: Scot McKnight, Business folks, what do you see here? (5/13/2010).
“studying several Amish settlements, Kraybill found failure rates ranging from 2.6% and 4.2%; interviews with loan officers, accountants and industry professions in other Amish regions yielded additional anecdotal evidence of closure rates significantly south of 10%.Compare that to the average five-year survival rate for new businesses across the United States, which hovers just under 50%. So what’s the secret?” — Why Amish businesses don’t fail (Geoff Williams, CNN Money, 5/4/2010)
3. The New War Between Science and Religion (Mano Singham, The Chronicle Review, 5/9/2010) opens
There is a new war between science and religion, rising from the ashes of the old one, which ended with the defeat of the anti-evolution forces in the 2005 “intelligent design” trial. The new war concerns questions that are more profound than whether or not to teach evolution. Unlike the old science-religion war, this battle is going to be fought not in the courts but in the arena of public opinion. The new war pits those who argue that science and “moderate” forms of religion are compatible worldviews against those who think they are not. … — The New War Between Science and Religion (Mano Singham, The Chronicle Review, 5/9/2010)
I [Tom] do not have the space or time to comment on the article, except to say that it’s worth reading to be informed about how some understand/articulate the science and religion story and as such it is an example of why history and philosophy of science are such vital, related fields. You may remember my post An Obituary for the “Warfare” View of Science and Religion. If you’re interested in a on-line summer discussion of Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion, let us know.
4. How did you come to be who are are? What happened during childhood? Below’s the conclusion to How Childhood Has Evolved (Melvin Konner, The Chronicle Review, 5/09/2010). Take a few minutes to read the whole article and then forward/discuss with friends to discern how this perspective intersects with your understanding of the story of childhood. Would appreciate the opportunity to hear your responses. Some thoughts from Tom coming …
The evolutionary theorist Theodosius Dobzhansky used to say that nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution. We are now in a position to say that very little in childhood does, either—or, at a minimum, that children’s behavior, their developmental course, and even our treatment of them make much more sense in that light. In a world in which religious fundamentalists and some postmodern liberals stand in unholy alliance against Darwin’s science, we will do well to keep our minds open. Our children will benefit from a view of them and their care that includes our best understanding of that science. — How Childhood Has Evolved (Melvin Konner, The Chronicle Review, 5/09/2010)
5. Let us conclude with a special shout out to our guest blogger Janine Giordano, a graduate student and ESN member from the University of Illinois. Be sure to read, consider, discuss/share with friends, comment upon her excellent series on “the topic of cultivating your voice and finding your audience while in graduate school.” Great to have Janine part of the ESN blog team!
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!