> The cost of defending Arizona's half-baked immigration law has now topped $1 million. If the law is good for nothing else, it is good for the economy -- especially the segment of the economy which is engaged in the practice of law. ~ AZ Central
> One of the candidates for the office of governor in Arizona was arrested for drunk driving, according to details released this yesterday. Of course, the candidate's maiden name is Drinkwine. (Frankly, even though I wouldn't vote for her, I think that it seems a bit silly for the opposition to bring up her 1988 DUI. Most voters will see that as petty.) ~ link (.pdf)
> Drawing a salary changes the way that pastors relate to their congregations. David Fitch's observations are rooted in reality. But there are also benefits to both pastor and congregation that he doesn't mention. ~ link
> Do you wonder why the rest of the world thinks that Americans are totally wacko? They're watching TV with us. India has a new English language channel with shows new and old. As you're watching CSI, try seeing it all through the eyes of an Asian. ~ WSJ
> Ed Stetzer on churches meeting in non-traditional venues. Yes, people are more accepting of non-traditional venues. I would add, though, that not all venues are equally helpful -- even if they are seen as acceptable. For example, theaters tend to turn congregations into audiences (not an insurmountable obstacle but a dynamic we often fail to recognize). Bars might trigger negative past memories or addictive tendencies. Certain coffee houses could confuse people into believing that the gospel message is bohemian in nature. An exclusive country club setting might communicate that certain people are unwelcome. (Again, not insurmountable but something which needs to be recognized.) There are challenges which come with every type of venue -- whether conventional or non-conventional. ~ link
> Gregory Paul on the decline of religiosity among Americans, especially young adults --
...A growing body of research that I have contributed to has found that socioeconomic factors play the leading role. The higher the level of financial and economic security — as measured by the presence of universal healthcare and job security, plus lower rates of income disparity, poverty, lethal crime, incarceration, STD infections, abortion, teen pregnancy, divorce, illicit drug use and mental illness — the less religious a country is. It turns out then when the majority of a modern population is ensured a comfortable, safe and stable middle-class lifestyle, they lose interest in organized faith and soon lose their personal faith as well...
Another factor behind Western secularism is the growth of the popular corporate-consumer culture. The religious right owned the mainstream culture until World War I, but the churches then ran into a great enemy. In the search for ever-greater profits, it is necessary for capital to do what it can to convert citizens from pious, frugal churchgoers into materialistic consumers whose lives center on acquiring the money and credit needed to satisfy their earthly desires. The need to materialize society is so compelling that most of the laws that kept people from spending their Sundays shopping have been repealed, and as a result only a fifth or less of Americans are in church on a given Sunday morning. The now dominant corporate-consumer culture has driven the religious right into a shrinking parallel culture that most young Westerners see as pathetically square (for similar reasons, young Americans are reluctant to become "tea partyers," and the tricorner hats do not help)...
Putnam and Campbell also fail to acknowledge technology's role in creating a less pious America. Increasing use of consumer digital electronics is soaking up so much of young people's time and interest that they are decoupling from the social organizations that used to fill a person's life before TV and computers. Of course, organized religion is just the sort of social "club" that is vulnerable to this potent side effect of technology. The secularizing effect of digital technology is so potent that it threatens to overwhelm the reproductive superiority of conservative believers... ~ LA TimesSo, assuming that the prolific Paul is reading the situation correctly, are we to assume that the breach in the hull is unrepairable? Is the religious right the last gasp whimper from the realm of religion before all is lost? Is the social lift that comes with religious movements self-defeating? Is capitalism the greatest enemy of religion? Should I be losing sleep over this stuff?
> Guam is all excited because Hilary Clinton's plane will be making a quick pit stop on the island. Hey, when you live in the middle of nowhere... (and there is nothing wrong with that!) ~ link
> The millionaires are feeling optimistic about the economy. ~ WSJ