I draw your attention to this for three reasons: (1) I think the divergent opinions regarding this issue are interesting (2) Few would disagree that the tip jar at Starbucks has played a significant cultural role in paving the way for tip jars everywhere (3) Pastors and church planters spend a lot of time at Starbucks...a lot of time. And, unless you're the mute, introverted pastor/church planter type, the baristas at Starbucks know what you do.
So, the main reason I drew your attention to this is because I wanted to ask you a question: If all they had to base their opinions on was you, what would the baristas in your local coffee shop think about the generosity of Christians?
Jimmy Wales @ TED. Jimmy is the founder of wikipedia (here is his wikipedia entry coincidentally). He explains the goal of the wikimedia foundation, how wikipedia functions, how much it costs to run, and why it has been successful.
"Wikipedia begins with a very radical idea..."
Wales then addresses the issue-- if you begin with such a radical idea, how do you end up with an encyclopedia that's not total rubbish?
This is a paranoid moment in American politics. A host of conspiracies haunt our national imagination, and apparent incompetence is assumed to be the consequence of a dark design: President Bush knew about the attacks of September 11 in advance, or else the Israelis did; the Straussians took us to war in Iraq, unless the oil companies did; the federal government let the levees break in New Orleans, unless it dynamited them itself.
Perhaps the strangest of these strange stories, though, is the notion that twenty-first-century America is slouching toward theocracy. This is an old paranoia...(read more)