Quick Takes – 11/17/2007

Richard Rubin writes about Frank Buckles, the last surviving U.S. veteran from Word War I. “Of the two million soldiers the United States sent to France in World War I, he is the only one left.”

Stephen Purcell reflects on the positive side of disillusionment. “Of course it isn’t necessarily bad to be disillusioned. After all, doesn’t the word mean ‘getting free from illusions’? Perhaps dis-illusionment is a necessary part of growing in the truth.”

ABC presents The History of Mario. “In 1982, our unprepossessing little rescuer Jumpman was given a cheerful name rarely seen in the annals of heroes: Mario – in a sequel game called Donkey Kong Jr. In 1983, little Mario was given a shot at his own game, Mario Bros.” (HT: Neatorama)

Christianity Today surveyed more than 1,000 self-identified Christians 18 years of age and older on their religious beliefs and practices and identified five kinds of Christians in America. “Portraits of five distinct segments emerged from the study. We have named them Active, Professing, Liturgical, Private, and Cultural Christians.”

Bradley Wright offers a sociological review of Reveal, Willow Creek’s new book sharing the results of a three-year study on spiritual growth. “Spiritual growth doesn’t happen best by becoming dependent on elaborate church programs but through the age old spiritual practices of prayer, bible reading, and relationships. And, ironically, these basic disciplines do not require multi-million dollar facilities and hundreds of staff to manage.”

J.A. Ingold provides a helpful and comprehensive series of posts on selling books in the church. “Having books available for purchase in the church increases their accessibility. Many people, including church members and visitors, think more of spiritual matters when they are in the church than when they are about their daily business. Placing in the church something they can take with them to spur continued meditation on spiritual matters can be a great aid.”

Thomas D. Jones of Popular Mechanics discusses the benefits of running into problems with the International Space Station. “The space station is giving us a graduate-level course in how people and machines can survive in space for the long term. We’re pushing our own limits, forcing ourselves to react quickly to the unexpected, and gaining invaluable experience for dealing with surprises that surely await us on the Moon, the asteroids and Mars. We surely can’t live on other worlds if we can’t manage an outpost a couple of hundred miles from home.”

David Brickner (Executive Director of Jews for Jesus) comments on Ann Coulter’s statement that “Christians want Jews to be perfected.” “I imagine that people who were offended by Anne Coulter’s desire for Jews to be perfected felt she meant that Jews are imperfect while Christians are perfect. But when we realize it is our standing before God that is perfected or completed in Christ, it is no longer a matter of being Jewish or Gentile. In Jesus, God has declared us righteous; that kind of completeness or perfection is not achieved through our own efforts but though God’s mercy and by the righteousness of Christ. Without Jesus, whether we are Jewish or Gentile we are imperfect, incomplete and frankly, without hope.”

Geometric Object E8 Physicist Garret Lisi proposes a theory of everything. “Lisi’s inspiration lies in the most elegant and intricate shape known to mathematics, called E8 – a complex, eight-dimensional mathematical pattern with 248 points first found in 1887, but only fully understood by mathematicians this year after workings, that, if written out in tiny print, would cover an area the size of Manhattan. E8 encapsulates the symmetries of a geometric object that is 57-dimensional and is itself 248-dimensional. Lisi says ‘I think our universe is this beautiful shape.'” (Note: Click on the picture for a larger image.)

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Willow Creek Shifts Model Based on Reveal at Ray Fowler .org
  2. What Do People Want Most from Church? at Ray Fowler .org
  3. A Sociologist Reviews Willow Creek’s Reveal Study at Ray Fowler .org

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