brett’s morning blend (20apr10)

Lots of link love today.  And hopefully something for everyone.  I’ll try to keep my own comments brief:

Suffering as Sermon

From Voice of the Martyrs’ “Persecution Blog.”  I’ll tempt you with just a little quote:

“God doesn’t need your sermons or your theology. The puppets of Communism do this work. But they cannot share the sufferings of the Savior.”

Raising Girls

Now that I’m father to a little girl, I’m always looking for advice.  Tim Stevens, father of two teen girls, offers some here.  He also mentions a book by James Dobson, titled Bringing Up Girls.  Tyndale is sending me a copy to review on my blog, though I’ve not yet received it.  But it might be worth checking out; I’ll let you know my own thoughts later.

Shortcomings in Big Conferences

Carl Trueman reflects on large Christian conferences with speakers from large churches, and suspects there may be large problems.  Most attendees are not serving at churches of 1000 or more.  Might it be more practical to focus on bringing in speakers who work with churches more comparable in size to those served by the ministers in attendance?

We’ve Got Free Time

We take Wikipedia as a unit of time — time spent doing something “constructive” (as opposed to time watching TV or playing video games).  All of Wikipedia together represents 100 million hours of human thought.  And the U.S. alone watches 200 billion hours of television each year.  The author points out that we lose the equivalent of 2000 Wikipedia-sized human thought projects a year.  We’re, in essence, choosing to watch Lost rather than solving the world’s problems.  And he goes further; being more productive wouldn’t require us to stop watching American Idol altogether:

“Let’s say that everything stays 99 percent the same, that people watch 99 percent as much television as they used to, but 1 percent of that is carved out for producing and for sharing. The Internet-connected population watches roughly a trillion hours of TV a year. That’s about five times the size of the annual U.S. consumption. One per cent of that  is 100 Wikipedia projects per year worth of participation.”

Clay Shirky calls this untapped potential for thought “cognitive surplus.”  And we’ve apparently got it in spades…

Croesus, Diogenes, and the Best Tax Plan for the U.S.A.

Andreas Kluth, writer for The Economist, offers a pretty good argument for the “Fair Tax Plan.”  And he makes it interesting.  One of his big pushing points is simplicity; As someone who had to file for an extension this year, I appreciate that.

This is Why You’re Fat

A website (apparently a book as well) consisting of nothing more than pictures of foods that are bad for us, and their descriptions.  My personal favorites:

a bouquet of bacon

a bacon mug filled with cheddar cheese

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