(Like the Kruse Kronicle at Facebook if you want links to daily posts to appear in your Facebook feed.)
I hope you had a great Christmas and are enjoying the holidays.
1. The Huffington Post offers their top religion stories of 2012: 2012 Religion Stories: The Top 10
2. David Gushee reflects on Glen Stassen's A Thicker Jesus: Incarnational Discipleship in a Secular Age: The illnesses of American Christianity
"... The first kind of Christianity avoids reactionary authoritarianism but is often a therapeutic or vanilla mush that fails to ask anything of anybody out of fear of giving offense. The second kind of Christianity offers stern, clear moral directives that attract people seeking the “specific instruction, even confrontation that calls us to grow in discipleship” (p. 6), but disastrously embraces right-wing ideology and baptizes that as the content of Christianity.
Both of these versions of Christianity are so deeply flawed, says Stassen, that both are contributing to the alarming spread of secularism in the U.S. The first version of Christianity is so thin as to lack any particular reason why one would want to get out of bed on Sunday and go to church; the second is so reactionary as to drive thoughtful people into an anti-religious posture if they conclude that religion equals right-wing authoritarianism.
I believe this is a stark but actually quite accurate depiction of the primary problems afflicting the Protestantisms of the left and of the right in the current U.S. setting. ..."
3. When New England Progressives Won't Tolerate Evangelicals. "Once a center of 19th-century evangelism, Northfield, Mass., is unsettled by the prospect of a school with religious aims."
4. Peter Enns with yet another provocative post: What do Turkey, Bethlehem, and Tennessee Have in Common? They Don’t Bode Well for the Conservative Christian Subculture
5. Peter Liethart offers a book review of Peter Brown's new book, Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 Ad, at Christianity Today: How the Early Church Made Peace with Prosperity. (And, no, I don't know why everyone seems to be Peter this week ... Enns, Liethart, and Brown.)
"While not exclusive to Latin America, the culture of family, support, and living a life to spend time with your family, I think, is an important part of Latin American culture that keeps people positive. Being with those close to you and finding other friends and partners that value that way of life is a key part of Latin American culture. That might be the main reason why people remain positive: they are never truly alone. Interestingly, many discussions and documentaries about immigrant groups in the United States show an internal conflict among many who move to the US and who do not wish to lose their support systems in a new culture rooted in individualism. While being motivated and entrepreneurial is valued, a life being with your family, where you are never truly alone, is the basis for many cultures in many parts of the world. Many new Americans frown on the thought that children can detach themselves from their family at 18 years of age. They believe people can only truly thrive as a family."
7. In contrast to Latin American happiness based in family connection is this survey of British children that revealed that A 'dad' is tenth most popular Christmas list request for children.
8. Christian Science Monitor reports on Parental leave global comparison: US still among least generous
9. And in yet another story on familial collections China orders children to visit their elderly parents.
10. Scientific American reports some positive news: Early Childhood Obesity Rates Might Be Slowing Nation-Wide
11. Men may want to think twice before taking up yoga. It seems men are more prone to serious injury from yoga. Wounded Warrior Pose
12. What are the ten most popular books of all time? The 10 Most Read Books In The World
"A Pew Internet Research Center survey released Thursday found that the percentage of Americans aged 16 and older who read an e-book grew from 16 percent in 2011 to 23 percent this year. Readers of traditional books dropped from 72 percent to 67 percent. Overall, those reading books of any kind dropped from 78 percent to 75 percent, a shift Pew called statistically insignificant."
14. Here are nine interesting findings about state by state data from the Census Bureau: Here Are The States Where People Are Leaving, Moving To, And Having Lots Of Babies
- Puerto Rico, Vermont, and Rhode Island are the only states (and territory) that saw a net decrease in population over the year.
- The fastest growing region was the South (1.06% population growth) followed by the West (1.03% population growth).
- North Dakota and the District of Columbia had the highest population growth, with 2.5% and 2.3% population growth, respectively. Texas, Wyoming, and Utah also saw major growth.
- West Virginia and Maine are the only two states where people are dying faster than they are being born, with 0.93 and 0.99 births for each death.
- Utah (3.44) and Alaska (3.33) had the highest birth to death ratio in 2012. That means 3.44 babies were born for each death in Utah.
- Domestic migration determines the rate that people leave and enter states to and from other states. Per capita, more natives left New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island to move somewhere else than any other states.
- On the other hand, people flocked to North Dakota, D.C., Wyoming and South Carolina.
- The states that had the highest rates of international migration — that is, the rate of immigrants coming in — were Hawaii, New Jersey, Florida, New York and D.C.
- Puerto Rico is seeing a massive exodus — 1% of their population left last year.
15. When we think of transportation in the United States, few of us think about river and costal water transportation. Yet a great many goods and commodities are shipped on our rivers. The Midwest drought is having an impact on a major artery of that transportation network. The Mississippi River's Water Levels Are Dropping, And Could Shut Down Trade Next Week
16. Facebook?! Twitter?! Instagram?! We Did That 40 Years Ago. "Three decades before Yelp and Craigslist, there was the Community Memory Terminal. ..."
"In other words, Americans are increasingly likely to have to purchase and replace these goods some time soon as they get more and more worn out. That's bullish for spending, jobs, and the economy as a whole."
18.From right here in my hometown, just a mile or two from where I live: In a Kansas City Neighborhood, Deep Investments and an Uncertain Future. The Atlantic Cities reports on Kansas City's experiments with Green Impact Zones.
19. Why are men, in aggregate, better navigators than women? National Geographic: Of Men, Navigation, and Zits
"... Yet a few differences between the sexes do seem to hold up to scrutiny. One is spatial abilities. If men look at an object, for example, they are slightly faster at guessing what it would look like if it were rotated 180 degrees. There are plenty of women who do better than individual men. But overall there’s a stasticially significant difference in their average performance. This kind of difference carries over from one culture to another. It’s even detectable in babies. ...
... Whenever we reflect on human evolution, it pays to compare our species to other animals. And in the case of spatial abilities, the comparison is fascinating. Almost a century ago, the psychologist Helen Hubbet found that male rats could get through a maze faster than females. The difference can also be found in a number of other species. ...
... Clint and his colleagues propose a different explanation: male spatial ability is not an adaptation so much as a side effect. Males produce testosterone as they develop, and the hormone has a clear benefit in terms of reproduction, increasing male fertility. But testosterone also happens to produce a lot of side effects, including male pattern baldness and an increased chance of developing acne. It would be absurd to say acne was an adaptation favored by natural selection. The same goes for the male edge in spatial ability, Clint and his colleagues argue. They note that when male rats are castrated, they do worse at navigating a maze; when they are given shots of testosterone, they regain their skill. ..."