Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Linkorama 1/9/10

HOW SMALL IS YOUR GOD: This post raises one of the crucial issues facing modern-day Christians. In a world where every day, we find new ways to make our life simpler and become more self-reliant, God has lost His omnipotence for us. After all, we can manage just fine without Him. And science and research are constantly promising (though they have not delivered yet!!) to prove the reason for our existence to be the combination of a number of different random events which occurred in the right order by some inexplicable chance. So in this scenario, people 'view god as some sort of personal life-enhancement, not the author and judge of their life. They obey his commands selectively, and feel free to ignore or re-interpret those that might cause too much change, or that conflict too fiercely with the spirit of the age. They view his church not as something they are deeply privileged to be a part of, but something they consume like any other form of entertainment, and that had better keep the goods coming.' By viewing God in our own image, rather than the other way around. So how small is your God....

USING FACEBOOK FOR MINISTRY: Dr. Vijayanand, the redoubtable medical superintendent of the Makunda Hospital in Assam told me sometime back that he had become a regular user of Facebook for the sole reason that it helped him to keep in touch with medical students and encourage them to think of long-term missions. That sounded like a great idea, though I never managed to get going (as I mentioned in a previous post). Here is an article which suggests ways of using Facebook as a tool for ministry as well as the pitfalls of this approach.

MORAL AND SCRIPTURAL DECISION MAKING: This post suggests 8 questions to ask before making a decision taken from Ethics for a Brave New World by John Feinberg. They are
  1. Is it right and acceptable to God
  2. Can I do it as unto the Lord
  3. Can I do it without being a stumbling block to anyone
  4. Does it bring peace
  5. Does it edify my brother
  6. Is it profitable (not in the financial sense!!)
  7. Does it enslave me
  8. Does it bring glory to God
ECONOMIC DECISION MAKING: If someone gave you some money with no strings attached, would you take it? Maybe not, if you are American as this study with the Ultimatum game shows. The Ultimatum Game works like this: You are given $100 and asked to share it with someone else. You can offer that person any amount and if he accepts the offer, you each get to keep your share. If he rejects your offer, you both walk away empty-handed. It appears that a majority of Americans would reject the free money if the offer was not good enough. 'Educated Americans will make an average offer of $48, whether in the interest of fairness or in the knowledge that too low an offer to their counterpart could be rejected as unfair. If you're on the other side of the table, you're likely to reject offers right up to $40.' However, in most other parts of the world, the free money would be accepted, whatever the offer was!! A study has identified a WEIRD population that would reject lower offers. And WEIRD stands for Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic!! The study also makes note of the fact that though the WEIRD people are actually the psychological outliers of humanity, 96% of world-wide behavioural research subjects came from this group!! Talk about a representative sample!! Are any Indian psychologists listening?!! (HT: Freakonomics)

MOTHER CUDDLES BABY BACK TO LIFE: Today's paper had this amazing story of a baby who was declared dead after 20 minutes of resuscitation immediately following birth. The mother put the baby on her chest and cuddled him, talking to him and calling his name. Over the course of the next 2 hours, the baby gradually showed increasing signs of life, starting with an occassional gasp and then sucking milk off a finger and turning his head, until the doctor was forced to accept that a miracle had taken place. Now, 5 months down the line, the baby and his twin sister are doing fine....

ANOTHER FEDERER TRICK SHOT: For my brother, who I have seen do this... (HT:Z)

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