Cultural preferences must take a backseat to unity in Christ. The most important issue is always identity: What is the strongest defining reality for us-- Christ or culture? Culture is important-- indeed, a necessary part of the fabric of our lives-- but Christ, not culture, gives the primary definition to life. Culture is the means by which Christ is expressed, but the message is Christ himself. Do ethnic churches exist to preserve a culture or to promote Christ? Often one gets the impression that the real center of all our churches is our culture, not our Lord. That attitude needs to change
Churches need to be astute enough to know when they are using culture, when they are adapting culture, and when they must confront culture. Churches must demonstrate that the barriers are down. That most churches are culturally monolithic is an embarrassment. Church members must show they care about other people in Christ, even if they are different culturally, economically, politically, or socially. A monolithic church in a multicultural context is a failure. Churches need to demonstrate unity with Christians of other cultures, to seek justice, and to evangelize across cultural and racial lines. We have to show that the barriers are down.
Since 2005, we have been a one car family. And, given that Katie uses our car the majority of the time, the walkability of the neighborhood we live in is pretty important to me. Actually, walkability is important to me for social and theological reasons-- so my concern would be the same whether we had four cars or none (why walking matters).
A great piece by Tom Mullaney in the Chicago Tribune connecting the company's financial trouble with their declining culture and breaking their brand.
Starbucks once defined the coffee market but has lost control of its brand. Its ubiquity has killed the joy of discovering a new hangout.
Maybe Schultz needs to read "Moby Dick" again. He joined Starbucks in 1982 as the idealistic Starbuck. But in his relentless drive to pursue the White Whale of coffee supremacy and please his Wall Street masters, he now seems more like the character with the ivory peg leg and harpoon. (read the whole thing)
A friend just sent me the link to Ben Stein: Expelled, a forthcoming documentary that deals with intelligent design and chronicles Ben Stein's "confrontation with the widespread suppression and entrenched discrimination that is spreading in our institutions, laboratories and most importantly, in our classrooms, and that is doing irreparable harm to some of the world’s top scientists, educators, and thinkers" (source).
The Expelled Blog has been around since August (read Stein's introductory post), so this may have been discussed ad nauseam in the blog world. But if there are others who, like me, have taken a joyful and extended holiday from the blogs, I thought it would be worth linking again here.
Stein approaches the issue based on the fact that a free and progressive society should have the freedom to discuss intelligent design without fear of discrimination and persecution.
One of my favorite books in the world is Heath and Potter's, Nation of Rebels: Why Counterculture Became Consumer Culture. I have read the book three or four times and have had more conversations with people about the book than I care to count. I don't ascribe to all the tenets of the book, but if I haven't told you to buy the book yet, consider this your introduction. Buy Nation of Rebels.
The concept of countercultural rebellion and its elusive twin—cool—have resulted in a status competition that has driven consumption to unprecedented heights. It's not conformism that leads us to spend, spend, spend on the unnecessary and the ephemeral, but its opposite: the quest to distinguish ourselves from the masses through our enlightened, hip, or just plain rebellious consumer preferences. And marketers of products ranging from cars (the Volkswagen Bug) to computers (the Mac) to shoes (Doc Martens) have been reaping huge harvests from the countercultural seeds that were sown in the 1960s. The point was never underlined more heavily than when Kalle Lassen, editor of the ragingly anti-capitalist Adbusters magazine, came out with the Black Spot sneaker: a "subversive" running shoe that Lassen hoped would "uncool Nike" and "set a precedent that [would] revolutionize capitalism." As Heath and Potter point out, there is nothing "subversive" about trying to beat Nike. "That's called marketplace competition. It's the whole point of capitalism...."
Essentially, Baumeister explores how cultural systems shape action with respect to gender. I found his thesis fascinating and enjoyed reading the whole article.
What I found particularly interesting about his argument is that he rejects contemporary theories of gender (overwhelmingly shaped by feminist ideology) in favor of a complementary view of gender:
Hence this is not about the “battle of the sexes,” and in fact I think one unfortunate legacy of feminism has been the idea that men and women are basically enemies. I shall suggest, instead, that most often men and women have been partners, supporting each other rather than exploiting or manipulating each other.
Let’s return to the three main theories we’ve had about gender: Men are better, no difference, and women are better. What’s missing from that list? Different but equal. Let me propose that as a rival theory that deserves to be considered. I think it’s actually the most plausible one. Natural selection will preserve innate differences between men and women as long as the different traits are beneficial in different circumstances or for different tasks.
Ultimately, Baumeister argues that gender inequality cannot be adequately explained by feminist theories of patriarchy (which he rejects as conspiracy theories). Instead, he suggests that the proliferation of gender inequality can be explained by the way in which men's larger, more shallow social networks have progressed culturally while women have concentrated on close relationships that have enabled the species to survive.