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  • on 10-16-2008

    Learning From Mistakes Only Works After Age 12, Study Suggests 9/27/2008

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080925104309.htm

    Quotes:

    Learning From Mistakes Only Works After Age 12, Study Suggests

    "Eight-year-old children have a radically different learning strategy from twelve-year-olds and adults. Eight-year-olds learn primarily from positive feedback ('Well done!'), whereas negative feedback ('Got it wrong this time') scarcely causes any alarm bells to ring. Twelve-year-olds are better able to process negative feedback, and use it to learn from their mistakes. Adults do the same, but more efficiently. "

      • In children of eight and nine, these areas of the brain react strongly to positive feedback and scarcely respond at all to negative feedback.  But in children of 12 and 13, and also in adults, the opposite is the case.  Their 'control centres' in the brain are more strongly activated by negative feedback and much less by positive feedback.

      • 'We had expected that the brains of eight-year-olds would function in exactly the same way as the brains of twelve-year-olds, but maybe not quite so well.  Children learn the whole time, so this new knowledge can have major consequences for people wanting to teach children: how can you best relay instructions to eight- and twelve-year-olds?' ’

        • 'From the literature, it appears that young children respond better to reward than to punishment.' She can also imagine how this comes about: 'The information that you have not done something well is more complicated than the information that you have done something well.  Learning from mistakes is more complex than carrying on in the same way as before. You have to ask yourself what precisely went wrong and how it was possible.'
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          • on 10-10-2008

            Fighting the “Human Rights” Machine 10/7/2008

            http://www.chalcedon.edu/articles/article.php?ArticleID=2887

            Quotes:

            Fighting the “Human Rights” Machine

            While others sink under the firepower of Canada’s “human rights” machine, a British Columbia businesswoman stands directly in front of it and, like John Paul Jones, declares she has not yet begun to fight.

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              • on 07-28-2008

                FindLaw's Writ - Hamilton: The United States Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearings on Polygamy Cr...

                http://writ.lp.findlaw.com/hamilton/20080724.html

                Quotes:

                FindLaw's Writ - Hamilton: The United States Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearings on Polygamy Crimes: What Needs to Be Done at the Federal Level to Protect Children from Abuse and Neglect

                  • First, amend 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c) to include the following bolded language:
                    It shall be unlawful for any person, or enterprise engaging in, promoting, or facilitating childhood sexual abuse or neglect, employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise's affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt.

                  • Second, amend 18 U.S.C. 1961(1)(a), the definition of “Racketeering Activity,” to include the bolded language:
                    (1)“racketeering activity” means (A) any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, engaging in, promoting or facilitating childhood sexual abuse or neglect, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), which is chargeable under State law and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year;

                    • The first sentence of Section 1964(c) of the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. § § 1961- 1965 should be amended to include the bolded language:
                      ‘Any person injured in his business, property, or in his person if a victim of childhood sexual abuse or neglect by reason of a violation of section 1962 of this chapter may sue therefore in any appropriate United States district court and shall recover threefold the damages he sustains and the cost of the suit, including a reasonable attorney's fee, except that no person may rely upon any conduct that would have been actionable as fraud in the purchase or sale of securities to establish a violation of section 1962.’

                      • Revocation of tax-exempt status for organizations furthering child abuse or neglect. Tax-exempt status for a charitable organization under the Internal Revenue Code shall be revoked by the Internal Revenue Service from any organization if it is found by a court of law in a civil or criminal case that the organization:
                        (a) Fostered the abuse of children,
                        OR
                        (b) Took steps to conceal the abuse of children,
                        OR
                        (c) Failed to report knowledge of child abuse or neglect to the relevant law enforcement authorities.
                        Finally, federal agencies should not be permitted to do business with any organization that furthers or fosters child sex abuse or neglect.
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                        • on 07-18-2008

                          In the Fray : If You Build It, the Jobs Won't Come - WSJ.com 7/17/2008

                          http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121625362443460331.html?mod=dist_smartbrief

                          Quotes:

                          In the Fray : If You Build It, the Jobs Won't Come - WSJ.com 7/17/2008

                          Sports economists have long argued that publicly financed stadiums are a waste of taxpayer money. And they have the data to prove it.

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                            • on 07-16-2008

                              Passive Learning Imprints On The Brain Just Like Active Learning

                              http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080714111425.htm

                              Quotes:

                              Passive Learning Imprints On The Brain Just Like Active Learning

                              "But if practicing only consists of watching, rather than doing, does that advance proficiency? Yes, according to a study by Dartmouth researchers. They determined that people can acquire motor skills through the "seeing" as well as the "doing" form of learning."

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                                • on 07-15-2008

                                  Fibromyalgia: Little understood, often frustrating - CNN.com

                                  http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/07/14/hm.fibromyalgia/index.html

                                  Quotes:

                                  Fibromyalgia: Little understood, often frustrating - CNN.com

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                                    • on 07-09-2008

                                      SONNY SCOTT:Home-schoolers threaten our cultural comfort

                                      http://www.djournal.com/pages/archive.asp?ID=274594

                                      Quotes:

                                      SONNY SCOTT:Home-schoolers threaten our cultural comfort

                                        • Why do we hate (or at least distrust) these people so much?Methinks American middle-class people are uncomfortable around the home schooled for the same reason the alcoholic is uneasy around the teetotaler. Their very existence represents a rejection of our values, and an indictment of our lifestyles. Those families are willing to render unto Caesar the things that Caesar’s be, but they draw the line at their children. Those of us who have put our trust in the secular state (and effectively surrendered our children to it) recognize this act of defiance as a rejection of our values, and we reject them in return.

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                                        • on 07-09-2008

                                          American Thinker: Disconfirmations Disconfirmed: Saddam Had Nuke Program (Updated)

                                          http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/07/disconfirmations_disconfirmed.html

                                          Quotes:

                                          American Thinker: Disconfirmations Disconfirmed: Saddam Had Nuke Program (Updated)

                                            • But today, on July 6, 2008, the Associated Press reports that  Saddam Hussein had a nuclear programAt the Tuwaitha nuclear complex just south of BaghdadWhich included 550 metric tons (over 1.2 million pounds) of "yellowcake", or concentrated uraniumAnd multiple devices that could be used in a nuclear weapon. 

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                                            • on 07-09-2008

                                              Feature Article July/August 2008: Ding Dong, The Dream Is Dead

                                              http://www.thefutureofwork.net/newsletter_0708_Ding_Dong_The_Dream_Is_Dead.html

                                              Quotes:

                                              Feature Article July/August 2008: Ding Dong, The Dream Is Dead

                                              "Today suburban neighborhoods are emptying out. The sub-prime mortgage crisis was only the straw that finally broke the camel's back. Residential developments that were built on an assumption of cheap personal transportation are doomed."

                                                • We believe there will be a resurrection of central cities - if they're willing to make major investments in infrastructure

                                                • Coastal metropolises will thrive. Midwestern second-tier cities are in deep trouble.

                                                  • Survivor cities will attract two groups: young singles and older empty nesters. Areas with good colleges or universities will be in special demand.

                                                    • The bad news: the suburbs. Empty, empty, empty. People can no longer live there and work somewhere else.

                                                      • we still believe there will be tremendous growth in what are called "exurban" areas.

                                                        • The limits to development are energy (at an affordable cost); water (watch this one carefully), and environmental quality.

                                                          • Our picture of the future includes vibrant city centers, empty and decaying fringes, open areas, and then a network of thriving rural "islands."
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                                                            • on 06-26-2008

                                                              Touchstone Archives: Thirty Years of Light & Glory

                                                              http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=21-06-027-f

                                                              Quotes:

                                                              Touchstone Archives: Thirty Years of Light & Glory

                                                              "It is easy to understand why The Light and the Glory has had such staying power in the Evangelical world. While mainstream texts treat American history as if God did not exist, Marshall and Manuel offer a narrative of early American history focused on the sovereignty of God. The authors also tell their story in compelling prose. "

                                                                • Seventeenth-century New England Calvinists built communities with churches
                                                                  at their center. They celebrated family and were willing to sacrifice personal
                                                                  interest for the greater good. While it was necessary at times to remove divisive
                                                                  and arrogant members of their community, such as Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson,
                                                                  such exclusion was needed to maintain spiritual purity. (The chapter on Williams
                                                                  and Hutchinson is entitled “The Pruning of the Lord’s Vineyard.”)

                                                                • Seventeenth-century New England Calvinists built communities with churches
                                                                  at their center. They celebrated family and were willing to sacrifice personal
                                                                  interest for the greater good. While it was necessary at times to remove divisive
                                                                  and arrogant members of their community, such as Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson,
                                                                  such exclusion was needed to maintain spiritual purity. (The chapter on Williams
                                                                  and Hutchinson is entitled “The Pruning of the Lord’s Vineyard.”)

                                                                  • Because Marshall and Manuel sought facts from history that seemed to fit
                                                                    their thesis, their narrative is dominated by the story of early New England.
                                                                    Jamestown is covered and dismissed in one chapter, and other colonies (such
                                                                    as William Penn’s experiment in Pennsylvania) and religious movements
                                                                    (such as the Baptists and Anglicans) that shaped early American life are ignored.

                                                                    • Just because historical actors believed something about the providential
                                                                      purposes behind the events they experienced does not mean they were correct
                                                                      in discerning the divine will. This would be the equivalent of future historians
                                                                      arguing that the events of September 11, 2001, were a punishment from God because
                                                                      their sources—certain prominent television preachers—said so.

                                                                      • Marshall and Manuel interpret the fog that rose in the East
                                                                        River on the morning of August 30, 1776, as God’s direct intervention
                                                                        to aid George Washington’s midnight retreat from the British assault
                                                                        on the Continental Army’s position on Brooklyn Heights. They describe
                                                                        the fog’s rising as “the most amazing episode of divine intervention
                                                                        in the Revolutionary War.” They believe this because Washington, members
                                                                        of his staff, and many Continental soldiers described this event in terms of
                                                                        God’s special protection of the army.

                                                                        • Was God’s providence evident in this event? American Christians certainly
                                                                          believed that it was, but I doubt whether an English Christian would have thought
                                                                          so. Who had the better insight into God’s purposes?

                                                                          • If God’s
                                                                            rule extends over all of history, and his providence subsumes all events, then
                                                                            how can we say that some events—such as those that led to the development
                                                                            of the United States—are more providential than others?

                                                                            • But to suggest that the Reformation was an example of God’s providential
                                                                              intervention in the affairs of mankind is to also suggest that God was not
                                                                              overseeing human history before he had to “intervene” at Wittenberg
                                                                              in October 1517.

                                                                              • Books
                                                                                like the Light and the Glory often offer a simple and direct providential
                                                                                reading of American history that assumes an understanding of the secret things
                                                                                of God, things that sinful men cannot fathom outside of the Scriptures.

                                                                                • But as we live with this hope, we must be cautious about trying to pinpoint
                                                                                  the specific plan of God in history. We must avoid trying to interpret what
                                                                                  is hidden from us or what is incomprehensible because our understanding is
                                                                                  so limited.

                                                                                  • Thirty-one years after its original publication, The Light and the Glory maintains
                                                                                    a prominent place on the bookshelves of Evangelical Christians. But it must
                                                                                    be read with caution. Perhaps Ambrose Bierce best described Marshall and Manuel’s
                                                                                    approach when, in his Devil’s Dictionary, he defined providence
                                                                                    as an idea that is “unexpectedly and consciously beneficial to the person
                                                                                    so describing it.”
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                                                                                    • on 06-25-2008

                                                                                      Right In Texas: Just When You Thought it Couldn't Get Any Worse

                                                                                      http://www.rightintexas.com/2008/06/just-when-you-thought-it-couldnt-get.html

                                                                                      Quotes:

                                                                                      Right In Texas: Just When You Thought it Couldn't Get Any Worse

                                                                                      In the ongoing saga from Nueces County, Vanessa Cayhill (vanessafratila@gmail.com), who headed the rump delegation that was not allowed to make their case at the state convention, has just completed a review of the voting records of the the County Chairman's delegation (the one that was seated at the RPT State Convention). Her research shows that one delegate and one alternate in that delegation voted in the Democratic Primary and one alternate was not even registered to vote. In addition to that, of the delegates seated by the County Chairman at the Nueces County Convention (those not elected at precinct conventions but added to the delegate list at the county convention), seven had voted in the Democratic Primary and six were not registered to vote. I guess it is worse than we thought!

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                                                                                        • on 06-23-2008

                                                                                          Always in Parables: Amplified Versions | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

                                                                                          http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2002/april22/28.86.html

                                                                                          Quotes:

                                                                                          Always in Parables: Amplified Versions | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

                                                                                            • No, the real distinction between "contemporary" and "traditional" worship comes down to music and a power plug. The genres of music that we now call "contemporary" are dependent on amplification for their very existence. Neither bone-crushing electric guitar solos nor intimately breathy love songs could exist without electrically powered support systems. While Pavarotti sometimes uses a discreet microphone, and pop stars sometimes go "unplugged," the essence of contemporary music is electric.

                                                                                            • But I am troubled by many amplified worship services. Next time you're in one of these settings, watch and listen to the congregation. Get ready for the sound of silence. If the sheer volume of amplified worship is like a sonic cathedral, it can also trump the most forbidding medieval liturgy in its capacity to stun churchgoers into a passive stupor.

                                                                                              • Cynics compare these services to rock concerts, but rock concert audiences participate with a fervor that would put most congregations to shame. They dance with abandon, they scream, they hold up lighters, they even bring offerings—homemade signs, flowers, undergarments. In the face of amplified worship, most congregations don't do much more than clap, close their eyes, and sway a little. Especially among self-styled "postmodern" churches, which like to turn down the lights and turn up the sound, two-thirds of the people could keel over and the band would play on. When you can't hear yourself singing, why even try?

                                                                                                • Singing used to flourish in Protestant churches for a theological reason. Protestants believed and taught the priesthood of all believers. But today we are witnessing the rise of a new priesthood—the ones with the (literal) power. Armed with microphones and amps, gleaming in the multi-hued brilliance of spotlights, the amplified people do for us what we cannot do for ourselves: make music, offer prayers, approach the unapproachable.
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                                                                                                  • on 06-17-2008

                                                                                                    Ezekiel 16:51 Bible Commentary

                                                                                                    http://biblecommenter.com/ezekiel/16-51.htm

                                                                                                    Quotes:

                                                                                                    Ezekiel 16:51 Bible Commentary

                                                                                                      • Ezekiel 16:51 >>

                                                                                                      • Geneva Study Bible

                                                                                                        • Neither {c} hath Samaria committed half of thy sins; but thou hast multiplied thy abominations more than they, and hast {d} justified thy sisters in all thy abominations which thou hast done.

                                                                                                          • (d) You are so wicked that in respect to you Sodom and Samaria were just.

                                                                                                            • Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary51. Samaria-the kingdom of the ten tribes of Israel less guilty than Judah; for Judah betrayed greater ingratitude, having greater privileges, namely, the temple, the priesthood, and the regular order of kings.justified thy sisters-made them appear almost innocent by comparison with thy guilt (Jer 3:11; Mt 12:41, 42).
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                                                                                                              • on 06-17-2008

                                                                                                                Ezekiel 16:49 Bible Commentary

                                                                                                                http://biblecommenter.com/ezekiel/16-49.htm

                                                                                                                Quotes:

                                                                                                                Ezekiel 16:49 Bible Commentary

                                                                                                                  • < Ezekiel 16:49 >>

                                                                                                                  • Geneva Study BibleBehold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, {b} pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.(b) He alleges these four vices, pride, excess, idleness and contempt of the poor as four principal causes of such abomination, wherefore they were so horribly punished, Ge 19:24.

                                                                                                                    • Wesley's Notes 16:49 This was - The fountain and occasion of all. Fulness of bread - Excess in eating and drinking.

                                                                                                                      • Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary49. pride-inherited by Moab, her offspring (Isa 16:6; Jer 48:26), and by Ammon (Jer 49:4). God, the heart-searcher, here specifies as Sodom's sin, not merely her notorious lusts, but the secret spring of them, "pride" flowing from "fullness of bread," caused by the fertility of the soil (Ge 13:10), and producing "idleness."

                                                                                                                        • Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

                                                                                                                          • How much the sins of Jerusalem exceeded those of Sodom and Samaria; they were more heinous in the sight of God, either in themselves or by reason of several aggravations: "Thou hast not only walked after their ways, and trod in their steps, but hast quite outdone them in wickedness,

                                                                                                                            • Jerusalem was more polite, and therefore sinned with more wit, more art and ingenuity, than Sodom and Samaria could. Jerusalem had more wealth and power, and its government was more absolute and arbitrary, and therefore had the more opportunity of oppressing the poor, and shedding malignant influences around her, than Sodom and Samaria had. Jerusalem had the temple, and the ark, and the priesthood, and kings of the house of David; and therefore the wickedness of that holy city, that was so dignified, so near, so dear to God, was more provoking to him than the wickedness of Sodom and Samaria, that had not Jerusalem's privileges and means of grace.

                                                                                                                              • Sodom has not done as thou hast done, v. 48. This agrees with what Christ says. Mt. 11:24, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee. The kingdom of the ten tribes had been very wicked; and yet Samaria has not committed half thy sins (v. 51), has not worshipped half so many idols, nor slain half so many prophets. It was bad enough that those of Jerusalem were guilty of Sodom's sins, Sodomy itself not excepted, 1 Ki. 14:24; 2 Ki. 23:7. And though the Dead Sea, the standing monument of Sodom's sin and ruin, bordered upon their country (Num. 34:12), and that sulphureous lake was always under their nose (God having taken away Sodom and her daughters in such way and manner as he saw good, as he says here, v. 50, so as that one thing should effectually make their overthrow an example to those that afterwards should live ungodly, 2 Pt. 2:6), yet they did not take warning, but multiplied their abominations more than they;

                                                                                                                                • But now they justify them comparatively: Sodom and Samaria are more righteous than thou, that is, less wicked. It will look like some extenuation of their sins that, bad as they were, Jerusalem was worse, though it was God's own city. Not that it will serve for a plea to justify Sodom, but it condemns Jerusalem, against which Sodom and Samaria will rise up in judgment. (2.) For this they ought themselves to be greatly ashamed: "Thou who hast judged thy sisters, and cried out shame on them, now bear thy own shame, for thy sins which thou hast committed, which, though of the same kind with theirs, yet, being committed by thee, are more abominable than theirs," v. 52.

                                                                                                                                  • They thought Sodom not worthy to be named the same day with Jerusalem, little dreaming that Jerusalem would at length lie under a worse and more scandalous character than Sodom herself. Those that are high may perhaps come to stand upon a level with those they contemn.

                                                                                                                                    • Or "Sodom was not mentioned, that is, the warning designed to be given to thee by Sodom's ruin was not regarded." If the Jews had but talked more frequently and seriously to one another, and to their children, concerning the wrath of God revealed from heaven against Sodom's ungodliness and unrighteousness, it might have kept them in awe, and prevented their treading in their steps; but they kept the thought of it at a distance, would not bear the mention of it, and (as the ancients say) put Isaiah to death for putting them in mind of it, when he called them rulers of Sodom and people of Gomorrah, Isa. 1:10. Note, Those are but preparing judgments for themselves that will not take notice of God's judgments upon others.
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                                                                                                                                      • on 06-17-2008

                                                                                                                                        Op-Ed Columnist - David Brooks - The Great Seduction by Debt - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com

                                                                                                                                        http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/10/opinion/10brooks.html

                                                                                                                                        Quotes:

                                                                                                                                        Op-Ed Columnist - David Brooks - The Great Seduction by Debt - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com

                                                                                                                                          • Sixty-two scholars have signed on to a report by the Institute for American Values and other think tanks called, “For a New Thrift: Confronting the Debt Culture

                                                                                                                                          • The deterioration of financial mores has meant two things. First, it’s meant an explosion of debt that inhibits social mobility and ruins lives. Between 1989 and 2001, credit-card debt nearly tripled, soaring from $238 billion to $692 billion. By last year, it was up to $937 billion, the report said.

                                                                                                                                            • On the one hand, there is what the report calls the investor class. It has tax-deferred savings plans, as well as an army of financial advisers. On the other hand, there is the lottery class, people with little access to 401(k)’s or financial planning but plenty of access to payday lenders, credit cards and lottery agents.
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                                                                                                                                              • on 06-06-2008

                                                                                                                                                The SPP and Merging Military Command Structures 6/6/2008

                                                                                                                                                http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-SPP-and-Merging-Milita-by-Dana-Gabriel-080605-495.html

                                                                                                                                                Quotes:

                                                                                                                                                The SPP and Merging Military Command Structures

                                                                                                                                                "The plan would allow for military from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a civil emergency, including one that does not involve a cross-border crisis. Some fear that this agreement could lead to foreign troops being used for gun confiscation and marital law."

                                                                                                                                                  • Canada Command and NORTHCOM have established close bilateral ties, meeting regularly and planning as well as participating in joint military exercises. American, Canadian, and even Mexican troops have held military training exercises in advent of a possible natural disaster or terrorist attack during the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver.

                                                                                                                                                  • This agreement was not signed by the governments of both countries, but by military commanding officers with no public debate or Parliamentary and Congressional oversight.
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                                                                                                                                                    • on 05-27-2008

                                                                                                                                                      PLoL.org - The Law Library | Public Library of Law

                                                                                                                                                      Quotes:

                                                                                                                                                      PLoL.org - The Law Library | Public Library of Law

                                                                                                                                                      "If you work with the law study it or find it interesting you should visit PLoL.org . PLoL, The Public Library of Law is a search engine that helps users find the law research materials they need. "

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                                                                                                                                                        • on 05-27-2008

                                                                                                                                                          FOXNews.com - Dvorak: The Internet Is Making Us Dumber - 5/27/2008

                                                                                                                                                          http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,358381,00.html

                                                                                                                                                          Quotes:

                                                                                                                                                          FOXNews.com - Dvorak: The Internet Is Making Us Dumber - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News

                                                                                                                                                          "Meanwhile, the public continues to read about what they already know. And they hang out only with like-minded people. There are huge cadres of people who are practically duplicates of each other. They all think alike, dress alike, and go to the same group-approved places."

                                                                                                                                                            • With the slow death of newspapers, this beehive-like behavior is only going to get worse. And schools are not helping; they tend to have a political agenda and seem to limit, not enhance, world perspective.

                                                                                                                                                            • I blame these three factors: the Internet; newspapers, for not acting responsibly and instead cheapening their product; and educational institutions. Schools do not teach kids how to use the Net responsibly. Kids need to be shown how to make it a useful resource rather than a source of disinformation and gossip.



                                                                                                                                                              What will the end result be of a nation of narrow thinkers? I do not know. We'll find out soon enough, and I suspect it won't be a good.
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                                                                                                                                                              • on 05-18-2008

                                                                                                                                                                "Church Membership Issues" by William F. Hill, Jr.

                                                                                                                                                                http://www.rtrc.net/documents/theology/ecclesiology/ch_mem.htm

                                                                                                                                                                Quotes:

                                                                                                                                                                "Church Membership Issues" by William F. Hill, Jr.

                                                                                                                                                                "Why is it that we bristle at the idea of church authority?"

                                                                                                                                                                  • This problem is that of the ease upon which people leave godly churches, (not perfect) and join with another communion (or start another church) for the sake of their "ideals" or "ways to do ministry" or "preferences" or whatever sounds good.

                                                                                                                                                                  • So let me ask: when can a person legitimately leave a communion that is doctrinally sound (not perfect) and join elsewhere?  Are there ever times when we are allowed to do so?  I am beginning to have serious doubts as to the validity of those who think they can.  

                                                                                                                                                                    • Do we have a duty to labor where we are placed (for a lifetime, if necessary) or do we have a right to simply walk away when things get rough or it appears that we will never change the minds of those around us?

                                                                                                                                                                      • I would argue that American church goers in general have become so individualistic in their thinking about this matter that they are quick to answer, "Yes".  However one only has to look at the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century to see that the reformers in no way desired a schism nor did they desire to start a new "church".  What they desired was to see the Roman Catholic Church repent of apostasy.  This was their hearts desire.  People today, however, leave their doctrinally sound churches for reasons that fall far short of this.  They leave over disagreements in "application" instead of differences in "doctrine".  Certainly application is necessary and without it doctrine would be useless however there are often times that people split hairs over application and leave churches unnecessarily.  

                                                                                                                                                                        • How are we ever to impact our world with the truth if we are so easily fragmenting and leaving those we say we love and those we were providentially called to labor among?  This needs to stop.  

                                                                                                                                                                          • I am grateful to the article titled: "Church Hopping" by Chris Schlect and it can be read in it's entirety at: http://www.patriarchy.org/church/church_hopping.html    I will be using it as a springboard to my comments throughout this post.

                                                                                                                                                                            • When are people allowed to leave a church that they have committed to serving and laboring within?

                                                                                                                                                                              • God's people are allowed to leave to join with another communion when He has providentially called them to relocate due to work or other matters providentially orchestrated.  Of course this is really not "leaving" the church.  It is simply a "transfer" to another congregation and in this the elders of both churches should rejoice to see God at work in the lives of His people.

                                                                                                                                                                                • Second, a person is allowed to leave churches when clear doctrinal differances affecting the major tenets of the faith exist that are of an irreconcilable nature.

                                                                                                                                                                                  •  Some of these issues are homeschooling, courtship, age-segregated Sunday schools, youth groups (or the lack of them) modesty, women working, birth control (or the lack of it), etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • we should not be leaving our local fellowships as a result of these kinds of matters that are mere preferences and practice especially if the church is not discouraging people from following their conscience in these matters.   No, we must leave only when the current congregation is apostate or has so clearly left fundamental and clear tenets of biblical orthodoxy.  Anything less violates the covenantal relationship that God places people into and calls them to labor within.  If you feel strongly that these "practical" issues are vitally critical then labor where you are placed to seek reform.  Leaving will not fix it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • leaving is allowed when staying would force one to sin.  This is where most people will play the "my conscience says this or that" card.   Yet our conscience cannot be captured to unbiblical requirements or, for that matter, man-made rules of application.   Our conscience can only be captured by the Word of God rightly understood.  If you are mishandling Scripture and claim that your conscience is being "held captive" to it then your captivity is your own fault.  It is not God who placed this burden on you.  It is your own poor understanding of Scripture.  I would caution people to be very careful how they apply this aspect.

                                                                                                                                                                                        • I have yet to be a part of a church that refused to allow me to homeschool.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Some will object and say that in some churches they are made to feel "isolated", as a result of their views.  I would suggest that one can only feel this way if you allow it.  If this is truly happening leaving will not fix it.  Only following biblical requirements for conflict resolution will.
                                                                                                                                                                                            • This is worth considering. The church often doesn't live like a community. comment by Wisely

                                                                                                                                                                                          • These are hard words -- words that strike deeply into my own heart and soul.  Yet this issue is serious.  God's people need to wake up.  The “family” is not the bride of Christ -- the Church is.

                                                                                                                                                                                            • we are not on account of every minute difference to abandon a church, provided it retain sound and unimpaired that doctrine in which the safety of piety consists, and keep the use of the sacraments instituted by the Lord. Meanwhile, if we strive to reform what is offensive, we act in the discharge of duty. To this effect are the words of Paul, "If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace," (1 Cor. 14: 30.) From this it is evident that to each member of the Church, according to his measure of grace, the study of public edification has been assigned, provided it be done decently and in order. In other words, we must neither renounce the communion of the Church, nor, continuing in it, disturb peace and discipline when duly arranged.
                                                                                                                                                                                              • INTERESTING QUOTE from John Calvin comment by Wisely

                                                                                                                                                                                            • We are to work for unity as often as we can and in areas we disagree we are to be charitable, working and laboring together for the glory of God and His church especially as it pertains to secondary doctrines and matters.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • We are not called to divide.  We are called to love.  Love does not seek its own.  Love does not desire its own way.  Love desires the good of the body and the unity of this most precious work God has given us -- His church; His bride.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • I was recently discussing with a freind this topic of church authority when my friend made a comment that disturbed me.  The comment centered around the idea that fathers have "sole authority" in their home.  This is a main idea of those that are currently ensnared in this "Patriarchy movemement" (read "legalism).
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • "Legalist": someone who thinks something is Biblical where you do not share their conviction. Often used to evade discussion of the merits of a position. comment by Wisely

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Why is it that we bristle at the idea of church authority?
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Good question! comment by Wisely

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Our elders have real authority.  They not only offer "ideas" or "counsel".  They speak for Christ when they speak to us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Some questions should be asked before leaving.  First, did you communicate your struggles with your elders before departing?  Second, have you labored over the matter in prayer and a diligent reading of God's Word? Third, are you departing over critical and central doctrines?  Fourth, have you worked patiently to reform those elements that have caused you to consider leaving?  
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • GOOD QUESTIONS. comment by Wisely

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • This is not a bridge club or a chess club.  It is not a club at all.  It is the community of believers called by the providential wisdom and divine decree of the living God of which we better take seriously.  Do you?
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Are we a community or do we just say we are a community?
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Does geography make it impossible to be a community? comment by Wisely

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • I implore those with such a low view of Christ's church that they would be quick to divide over matters not germane to the central doctrines of our most precious faith to repent

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Everyone imbued with zeal for the honour of Christ must deplore the fragmentation which has marred the body of Christ and to a large extent dissipated its witness. (Collected Writings of John Murray, Volume 1, p. 275)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Christians talk about influencing the culture and turning the minds and hearts of the world to what the Scriptures say to our world.  We discuss "cultural impact" at great lengths and certainly there are many reasons why we do not stem the tide of much of what is happening in our world today.  Yet, it is my studied opinion that one of the greatest reasons we do not demonstrate a powerful witness to the world is, by and large, because we are a fragmented bunch that leave our churches and start new ones or join with others when things do not happen the way we think it should.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Remarkable quote. comment by Wisely

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • As Murray writes, we must see this fragmentation (starting new churches; leaving sound churches; starting another denomination, etc) as a key factor to the driving away of the Christian witness in our world.  Murray continues that it was at times necessary, however, to maintain the purity of the church, to divide.  As a result of sin and error different denominations have risen up.  The question now is "to which branch of Christ will you join"?  After we belong to a church we have a responsibility to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • There is, indeed, no stereotyped formula which all of us can apply in the various situations in which we are placed by God's providence.  And we must not take lightly the matter of severing our connection with one denomination and joining another.  Sometimes we may run away from solemn responsibilities and opportunities by severing our ecclesiastical bonds. And if we belong to a church that is unfaithful we should do what we can to bring that unfaithfulness to an issue before we abruptly terminate our connection with it. Our corporate responsibility is most intense in that very communion in which we happen to be, and this responsibility requires the ministry of reproof and protest.  (Collected Writings of John Murray, Volume 1, p. 276, emphases mine)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Murray's counsel to us is that we labor and fight where we are placed before we simply walk away.  Just because you can leave does not mean you should leave.  As one pastor commented recently -- "You may be right (about your issue) but in some cases there is a deeper right to consider".  We are to labor where we are placed.  We are to be diligent in our calling to a local body.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • You would think that since Presbyterians subscribe to the same doctrinal standards, (The Westminster Standards) that there would be little need of so many individual Presbyterian denominations. Yet there is the OPC, PCA, RPCNA, RPUS, RPCUS, CRC, ARP, and so many more. In this "alphabet soup" there is little unity except for the lip service of "fraternal relations" given by the leaders of these denominations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consider the following comments written by John Frame:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • some Reformed thinkers have subscribed to the notion of 'pluriformity', the view that denominations are, on the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                whole, a good thing. On this view, denominations are God's way of dealing with diversity in temperaments, gifts and doctrines. They maintain peace in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                the body of Christ in the way that good fences make good neighbors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Other Reformed theologians, however, have rejected pluriformity, believing that God never ordained denominational division and that he intends for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  differences among believers to be worked out within the church, not over good fences. That position became more influential in the late twentieth
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  century.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Reformed churches tend to glory in their distinctives: their history, their ethnic origins, the theological battles of the past that have made them different from others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • when groups of people leave a denomination over some issue, they tend to form new denominations rather than join denominations that already
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      exist. So those who left the CRC over the issue of women's ordination did not, for the most part, join other Reformed or Presbyterian denominations,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      but formed new bodies. In my judgement, these new denominations were unjustified, and therefore add to the divisions in the body of Christ.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The scriptural form of church government, which is representative or presbyterian...This scriptural doctrine of Presbytery is necessary to the perfection of the order of the visible Church (PCA Book of Church Order Chapter 1.1 and 1.6)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • We are more interested in our "theological distinctives" then in true unity founded upon our one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are more interested in squabbling over what divides us instead of being as the Westminster Divines and uniting with the goal of solving those things that currently divide us with the rule of the day being submission to the brethren. As long as we continue this way of thinking (on purpose or not) we will never impact a world we say we are so concerned to impact. In this way we are a disgrace to our most precious faith we say we love. We must not ignore our differances! We must work together to resolve them and seek the peace and purity as well as the unity of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God help us....
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • on 05-14-2008

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Book Review: The Dumbest Generation 5/13/2008

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121063808679386853.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Quotes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Book Review: The Dumbest Generation 5/13/2008

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "To Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University, the present is a good time to be young only if you don't mind a tendency toward empty-headedness. In "The Dumbest Generation," he argues that cultural and technological forces, far from opening up an exciting new world of learning and thinking, have conspired to create a level of public ignorance so high as to threaten our democracy."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Adults are so busy imagining the ways that technology can improve classroom learning or improve the public debate that they've blinded themselves to the collective dumbing down that is actually taking place. The kids are using their technological advantage to immerse themselves in a trivial, solipsistic, distracting online world at the expense of more enriching activities – like opening a book or writing complete sentences.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Mr. Bauerlein presents a wealth of data to show that young people, with the aid of digital media, are intensely focusing on themselves, their peers and the present moment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • "The verbal values of adulthood and adolescence clash, and to enter adult conditions, individuals must leave the verbal mores of high school behind. The screen blocks the ascent."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What frustrates Mr. Bauerlein is not these deficits themselves – it's the way a blind celebration of youth, and an ill-informed optimism about technology, have led the public to ignore them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Mr. Bauerlein contrasts such "evidence-lite enthusiasm" for digital technologies with a weightier learning tradition. He eulogizes New York's City College in the mid-20th century, a book-centered, debate-fostering place where a generation of intellectuals rejected the "sovereignty of youth" in favor of the concerted study of canonical texts and big ideas.
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