Showing posts from March, 2014

Brain scans link concern for justice with reason, not emotion

By Jann Ingmire March 27, 2014 People who care about justice are swayed more by reason than emotion, according to new brain scan research from the Department of Psychology and Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience.
Psychologists have found that some individuals react more strongly than others to situations that invoke a sense of justice—for example, seeing a person being treated unfairly or mercifully. The new study used brain scans to analyze the thought processes of people with high “justice sensitivity.”

“We were interested to examine how individual differences about justice and fairness are represented in the brain to better understand the contribution of emotion and cognition in moral judgment,” explained lead author Jean Decety, the Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry.   
Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain-scanning device, the tea…

Rohr on Brueggemann on Scripture as Template for Human Development

Scripture As Template For Development (Walter Brueggemann) Brueggemann says there are three major segments to the Hebrew Scriptures. 1.Torah = first half of life. 
The Torah is the period in which the people of Israel were given law, tradition, structure, certitude, order, clarity, authority, safety, and specialness. It would define them and give them their identity and hold them together. 
You have to begin with some kind of Torah in normal healthy development. And it sure helps to believe that you are the “chosen people.” That’s what parents are giving their little ones—security, safety, specialness. The possibility of divine election is first mediated and made possible through the loving gaze of your parents and those around you (even neurologically).        
2.Prophet = toward second half of life. 
Self criticism, recognition of the dark side, without which most people (and most of religion) never move beyond tribal thinking, which is the belief that they and their group are the best, a…

Where the Stars Are Strange: A Review of Noah

by March 31, 2014
“First of all, she had a name, and she had a history.” So begins “The Turning of Lot’s Wife,” a part of Christian poet Scott Cairns’s prose-poem cycle The Recovered Midrashim of Rabbi Sab. Cairns imagines—and invites us to imagine along with him—that Lot’s wife did not meet her ensalinated end because of any nostalgia for the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah. Perhaps instead she “saw that she could not turn her back on even one doomed child of the city, but must turn her back instead upon the saved.” Apocryphal and faintly irreverent? Yes, but that’s the midrashic tradition for you: speculating about lacunae in Scripture that have gone unconsidered, then using these speculations to challenge and enrich our too-comfortable faith. In “The Turning of Lot’s Wife,” Scott Cairns does this by making the impolite suggestion that true faithfulness is demonstrated by compassion for the unrighteous, not by flight from them. In Noah, director Darren Arono…

Daily Lenten Reflection (3/31)

Faith in the dark: Lenten meditations on the creed (1)
I believe 
Not I know. Not I think. Not I feel. Not I understand. But I believe. When I am in darkness, when I do not know the way, when every step is uncertain, I walk. I live not by what I know or feel but by a trust that proves itself only after each new step is safely taken.

The Christian Penumbra 29, 2014 Ross Douhat       
HERE is a seeming paradox of American life. One the one hand, there is a broad social-science correlation between religious faith and various social goods — health and happiness, upward mobility, social trust, charitable work and civic participation. Yet at the same time, some of the most religious areas of the country — the Bible Belt, the deepest South — struggle mightily with poverty, poor health, political corruption and social disarray. Part of this paradox can be resolved by looking at nonreligious variables like race. But part of it reflects an important fact about religion in America: The social goods associated with faith flow almost exclusively from religious participation, not from affiliation or nominal belief. And where practice ceases or diminishes, in what you might call America’s “Christian penumbra,” the remaining residue of …

The rich West is ruining our planet

Image   The industrialised economies have created climate change, but the poorest are paying the price for it. We must do more to help

People stand among debris and ruins of houses destroyed by Super Typhoon Haiyan Photo: REUTERS
By Rowan Williams 6:30PM GMT 29 Mar 2014 148 Comments The storms that have battered parts of the UK this year and left hundreds of people facing the misery of flooded homes and ruined land have again brought questions about the impact of climate change to the forefront of the public consciousness. And this week the whole question has been put into still sharper focus, as the world’s leading climate scientists publish a report on the subject putting our local problems into a deeply disturbing global context.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading body of scientists in this area, will be pointing out that, appalling as t…

Caring too much. That's the curse of the working classes

Image Why has the basic logic of austerity been accepted by everyone? Because solidarity has come to be viewed as a scourge 'Working-class people care more about their friends, families and communities – they’re just ­fundamentally nicer.' Illustration by Matt Kenyon
"What I can't understand is, why aren't people rioting in the streets?" I hear this, now and then, from people of wealthy and powerful backgrounds. There is a kind of incredulity. "After all," the subtext seems to read, "we scream bloody murder when anyone so much as threatens our tax shelters; if someone were to go after my access to food or shelter, I'd sure as hell be burning banks and storming parliament. What's wrong with these people?"

It's a good question. One would think a government that has inflicted such suffering on those with the least r…

Oculus, Virtual Reality and Why Books Must Win the Battle for Our Eyesight

Posted: 28/03/2014 13:19
The bookshop Waterstones tweeted a joke yesterday in which Mark Zuckerberg went into their shop on Oxford Street: 'What's this?' he said, holding up a book. 'It's a book,' I replied.
He looked at it for five minutes before asking what it does. 'Well,' I said. 'You look at it and it kind of shows you another reality.'
His eyes widened, his voice trembled with excitement. 'Like virtual reality?' 'Well, sort of..' I said. 'EIGHT BILLION POUNDS!' he screamed.
He threw a £10 note at the till and ran out of the store laughing nervously, like someone who's been tickled for just a bit too long.
The joke, if your head has been in a bucket the last few days, centres on Facebook's purchase of Oculus VR - a virtual reality start-up that, even though it has yet to release a single product, found itself bought for billions …

“Go forth!” A sermon of following

Inhabitatio Dei (Genesis 12:1-4a; Romans 4:1-4,15-17; John 3:1-17) Preached on 3/16/14 at COSK in Portland, Oregon “Go forth!” We could say, and we would be right to do so, that this is the first call to the Gospel recorded in the Scriptures. Abraham, the father of faith is called by God to go. Abandon what is known to you, depart from the familiar, the secure, the solid, the sensible, the self-evident, and go. The call of the Gospel, when it comes to Abraham, begins, as the Gospel must always begin, with a break. Just as we heard a few weeks ago from Jesus in the sermon on the mount, the Gospel always begins with a rupture, a radical disruption: “You have heard that it was said . . . But I say to you . . .” These words come to Abraham in Genesis no less than they came to the disciples from Jesus, no less than they come to us again and again in the course of our lives, which so easily slip back into the pattern of this world, into “the way things” are, o…

my spot on editorial on a movie I haven’t seen (or, OMG “NOAH” GETS THE BIBLE WRONG!!)

A Book We Read That Also Reads Us A Conversation about the Psalms with Dr. John Goldingay

"If you open to the middle of the Bible, you'll probably be in Psalms." "The Psalms are like the worship music of the Old Testament."

Those two sentences summed up my (Jesse’s) knowledge of the Psalms for the first twenty years of my life. I memorized Psalm 23 as a kid, and I knew some of the "Greatest Hits" like Psalm 8 and Psalm 139, but for the most part, they remained a mystery. Some exploded with happiness and thanksgiving, others with sadness and anger, and many of them had images and words I did not understand. 

Selah. Maybe you can relate.

But as it turns out, we can understand and experience the Book of Psalms as a wonderful, intricate blessing once we have a little training, and there are few persons better suited for that task than Fuller Seminary's John Goldingay. Dr. Goldingay is the David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament at Fuller, and has publi…