Don’t quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test them all. Keep what is good. http://livestream.com/pepperdineuniversity/pbl15/videos/
Dr. Peter Steinke, internationally respected author and church consultant, applies systems theory to developing and maintaining healthy congregations. “Church – Making the Future Work” was a one-day seminar presented by the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry and CitySquare as a part of the “Equipping for Ministry” Series. Published on Jun 16, 2014
The Christian Church in Oregon and Southwest Idaho Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) hosted Dick Hamm to facilitate a discernment gathering.
He touches upon some excellent wisdom points. #demographics #denominations #denominomics #discernment #ecclesiaeconomics
Ever since my ADRIS Newsletter days, I’ve become more intrigued by economic and sociological data around the practices of global Christianity, my particular tribe (especially the economics of denominationalism, but I digress). News arrived via the Evangelical Studies Bulletin that the Wheaton College is closing the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals and that the Missions Dissertation Database formerly hosted at Yale will be moving to the Overseas Ministries Studies Center.
I learned earlier this year that Nicholas Holland had bought the building that formerly housed the Glenmary Research Center (said Center has moved to Cincinnati, OH).
The Alban Institute has recently relocated to Duke University.
The Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals (ISAE) at Wheaton College is pleased to announce a new round of modest grants aimed at supporting research into the growing ethnic and racial diversity that characterizes contemporary American evangelicalism. Funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, and building upon an earlier ISAE conference on “The Changing Face of American Evangelicalism,” this initiative seeks to come alongside those currently engaged in research on evangelical ethnic and racial communities and their relationship to both the larger American culture and its evangelical subculture. The grants are intended to assist researchers actively engaged in current projects during the upcoming summer of 2014 and for the 2014-2015 academic year.
American evangelicalism is routinely portrayed in media accounts as a “white” movement and subculture often assumed to be synonymous with conservative religious, cultural, and political constituencies from long-established “old stock” Western and Northern European immigrant groups. This sort of conception ignores the very real diversity within a subculture that, from its origins, contained a large African-American cohort, and a rich lineage of Latino and various Asian evangelical groups began to take root during the 19th-century. This diversity has only deepened and expanded in the wake of mid-1960s immigration reform as an influx of immigrants from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South and East Asia have created a whole new network of denominations and churches as well as strengthening the older evangelical groups. While there has been a great deal of research and writing about evangelicalism in recent years, this particular dimension of the movement has been understudied even as it grows in size and importance.
Possible areas of study that could qualify for assistance under this initiative could include–but are by no means limited to–studies of particular immigrant denominations or congregations; integral networks within evangelical ethnic communities; theological education; ethnic populations at evangelical seminaries; ethnic minorities and campus and other evangelical parachurch organizations; utilization of media and technology; political views and mobilization within evangelical ethnic constituencies; youth culture; relationships to established “old-stock” evangelical denominations; relationships between evangelical ethnic communities; gender roles and issues; economic mobility and evangelical immigrants; evangelistic and educational relationships with “home;” studies of key figures within evangelical immigrant groups; adaptations to the American cultural and religious context; immigrant evangelical churches and the American “Culture Wars;” music and worship, and many more.
As the above list of possible topics implies, the purview of this grant opportunity is not limited to any one academic discipline. While the ISAE’s focus has traditionally been historical, these grants are intended to encourage good work that advances our understanding of the scope and shape of contemporary evangelicalism—applications from scholars in disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, missiology, religious studies, and others are welcome. The ISAE intends to fund a total of five (5) $1,000 research grants targeting young and established faculty and independent scholars, as well as five (5) $2,000 fellowships for doctoral students currently engaged in researching and writing their dissertation. Applicants are required to submit a completed application form available here, as well as an up-to-date vita. Faculty applicants are asked to send along a letter from your department chair or dean verifying the nature of your current work; doctoral students are asked to accompany their materials with a letter from their dissertation advisor correlating the relevance of their application to their dissertation topic. Quality and strength of topic are, of course, the most important criteria that are sought, but consideration will be given to the potential travel and financial needs of the applicant. The deadline for completed materials is April 30th; the grant review process is expected to be completed by the end of May, with payments made shortly thereafter. Send all materials as attachments to email@example.com, or mail to: ISAE, Wheaton College, 501 E. College Avenue, Wheaton, IL 60187. Questions? Email the ISAE or tel. 630-752-5437.
Small-Town America: Finding Community, Shaping the Future Robert Wuthnow
# # # #
Virtually Religious: Technology and Internet Use in American Congregations
by Scott Thumma March 2011
A report on Internet and technology use by churches and other faith communities based on the Faith Communities Today 2010 survey results.
# # # #
Links to Information on the Internet/Web and Religion [Hartford Institute for Religion Research]
1) A City Sponsored BOINC Distributed Computing Effort
Zivis is the first “city-wide supercomputer”. The project is run by the Zaragoza City Council, and the Institute for Biocomputation and Physics of Complex System (BIFI) at the University of Zaragoza. The objective is to harness local (and non-local) computing resources for local research; and at the same time to involve the community in the science being done locally. The initial research being done on Zivis is on the subject of fusion plasma (“Integration of Stochastic Differential Equations in Plasmas”) — improved understanding of this could lead to better designs for fusion power stations. (Fusion power is a form of nuclear energy that produces a lower volume of less dangerous waste than traditional nuclear fission power.)
Start Date: October 2005
Project URL: http://zivis.bifi.unizar.es
2) Intel introduces distributed computing to Facebook
Intel has set up a Facebook page designed to induce casual users to sign up for a distributed computing project that runs on the BOINC client system. Now Facebook users can crunch away on any of three DC projects… – Ars Technica
3) HIMSS crowdsources with Clinical Decision Support Wiki
Hello! The HIMSS Clinical Decision Support (CDS) Task Force helps guide and execute HIMSS efforts to ensure that CDS delivers on its promise to improve care delivery and outcomes.
What’s a Wiki? A wiki is an easy-to-use Web site that makes it easy to collaborate. You can use it to run a project at work, plan a trip, teach a class, etc.
Why a Wiki? The wiki provides a forum where stakeholders can come together to help develop, use, and discuss Task Force deliverables. The links below provide access to pages where this conversation and work is unfolding. Please browse this home page and links, and join us on this important performance improvement journey.
In some cultures and at some places of business and of friendship groups, it is a custom for the person who has a birthday to give gifts to others.
So here is my Birthday Gift to you on this day of my birth. It consists of two “packages.” I hope they will stimulate your reasoning mind (Romans 12:1-8; Colossians 2:6-8, etc.) and help you to ponder on issues of public morality, sometimes called “social justice” or “social sin and righteousness,” that ought to be among the concerns of every citizen of the USA. They especially should receive major attention by all Christians who are trying to know “the mind of Christ,” those who want to love the Lord with all their minds (Matthew 22:37-40), to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1), and to worship Him instead of Mammon (materialism or money, Luke 16:13) and the greed that is idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
My gift consists of some of my observations about two current issues. They have arisen under the stimulus of seeing how our great nation that once was “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” to use Abraham Lincoln’s words, has become one that is “of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.” People of wealth control both political parties and most major institutions of society. Many of them have so shrewdly twisted biblical principles that their (recognized or unrecognized) greedy interests have won the support of many evangelical Christians as well as of many poor and middle class people.
Of course, I know that many people at every social and economic level have money-directed and materialistic values, while others at every level (like you! [editor: I need to do way better!]) do honestly try to live in accord with ethical and biblical values that put the well-being of people ahead of the acquisition and protection of property. The Bible includes the condemnation of unrighteous wealthy people (read examples in Isaiah, Amos, the other Hebrew prophets, and James 2:5-13) and the sinfulness of loving money (1 Timothy 6:10), but it also has instructions for the proper use of wealth (e.g., 1 Timothy 6:17-19).
Details of my first gift to you, GIFT 1: REFLECTIONS ON HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA, are elaborated below. To oversimplify, it reflects the Mammon Worship that is preventing the most genuinely major reforms of the health system of our nation (even though the changes under consideration will bring improvements). If members of Congress would no longer profit personally from our expensive system, we would win better health care at far lower costs. You and I are lavishly paying for huge costs classified as healthcare expenses that are mostly hidden but prevent any genuine overhaul of our extremely expensive and discriminatory circumstances related to health. To plead that “government must not come between me and healthcare” is equivalent to the foolish plea that “we want the profit-seeking insurance bureaucrats to continue to stand between us and healthcare instead.” Read some of the details below.
My second gift is passed along to you under the title of GIFT 2: MORAL ISSUES IN OUR NATIONAL ECONOMY. It clarifies significant aspects of the causes of our current worldwide economic depression, and it reflects the moral and mental lethargy of Christians who support maintaining or strengthening the very conditions that brought it about. I fear far too many of us concentrate so heavily upon the first part of Christ’s “Great Commission” that we overlook its last part, the command to teach his disciples to obey everything that He commanded (Matthew 28:20). That includes applying His teachings (all Scripture!) to life in our own society, which is so different from that of Israel and the ancient Roman Empire in which Jesus lived. Again, our woes have come from allowing “free enterprise capitalism” to overpower the governmental controls that are so necessary as long as people (yes, even Christians, 1 John 1:8-10) are sinners. Fortunately, despite the strong pressures of Mammon to eliminate the balance of powers (legislative, executive, judicial) that characterize our government under the Constitution, they still exist. An analogous or similar balance of powers also is needed more than ever in the economic and other institutions of society.
Christians need to focus upon each respective specific issue that calls for action instead of simply assuming that any one political gang is always correct on every issue. We must not give our highest loyalty unswervingly away to any person (president, governor, mayor, pastor, pope, or other) nor to any group (political party, profession, union, church, denomination, nation, etc.). There is only ONE, whom we should love (i.e., obey and serve) above all else. Only He deserves to receive our unmitigated loyalty and obedience. Of course, we who pledge loyalty to Him sometimes can disagree about the specific actions that obedience to Almighty God calls for because life is so complex, circumstances have so many entangled components, we observe but few of them, and we tend to apply or misapply different teachings from the Bible. We need to help one another to work together as members of the one Body of Christ in this world in which Satan masquerades as the servant of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:13-15), trying continuously to squeeze us into its mould (Romans 12:2, Philips) or pattern of conformity.
I hope many of you will share and discuss these observations with family members and friends. They are passed along as “grist for the grinding mill” of your astute minds, not at all “the final word” on their subjects, but as perspectives to place under the revealing “Light of the World” that ideally is reflected by all who are sincere believers in Jesus Christ and servants of Him as their Lord.
Happily, humbly, and gratefully your one-year-older friend, David
David O. Moberg
7120 W. Dove Ct.
Milwaukee, WI 53223-2766
GIFT 1: REFLECTIONS ON HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA:
For your information, I have publicly shared some questions again, this time about the healthcare reform bills that may soon be consolidated by the House and Senate and then made into law. If passed, there will be improvements for most ordinary people, but per capita healthcare costs will continue to soar far above those of most (possibly all) other industrial nations.
On Friday, Dec. 18, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published my letter copied below (with minor adaptations of the first paragraph) in its Letters to the Editor section entitled, “YOUR OPINIONS” under the label, “HEALTH CARE, Keep digging.” (The title I gave it referred to Recusals.)
The article to which its first paragraph refers is Lawmakers invest in what is at issue: Three own stock in medical firms by Diana Marrero on Dec. 13 (pp. 1B & 6B). She revealed that numerous Wisconsin legislators own health care stocks and similar investments. (The three most egregious examples she gave are Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner, Paul Ryan, and Tom Petri.) Marrero emphasized the possibility that personal financial gain could influence their votes on health care reform and, by implication, on other subjects. Similar circumstances apply to senators and representatives from every state of the USA.
My letter added to her perspective about health care reform legislation. It emphasizes that it will be impossible to get major reforms as long as nearly all of our legislators reap big benefits from the status quo.
The ethical principles that apply in scientific research, academic scholarship, legal representation, and many other professions demand that persons who would directly benefit from either changing or retaining the status quo must recuse themselves from policy decision-making, but Congress has made its own rules, so it exempts its members from the need for recusals whenever they are proposing, discussing, or voting upon potential legislation.
I am still sure that “If members of Congress no longer profited from our expensive system, we would win better health care at far lower costs.”
On this topic, there almost seems to be a coverup about many details related to healthcare in the USA. One reason is that the mass media themselves profit financially from keeping our current system. Significant reforms will reduce their income.
Someone, however, must have collected and reported information about the actual health care dollars that are spent (by health insurance companies, pharmaceutical corporations, hospitals and clinics, prosthetic device manufacturing and sales agencies, and other medical and health-related companies) for each of the following categories of expenditures, but why are they not shared with all of us in the regular news channels?
1. Individual and total contributions to the campaign funds of the members of Congress, the President, state legislators, governors, judges, and others who are elected to their offices.
2. Expenditures for federal, state, regional, and municipal lobbying related to health care issues.
3. Advertising in newspapers, magazines, TV, and other mass media that aims to make patients insist that their physicians prescribe specific medications, surgical procedures, prosthetic or other devices, etc.
4. The marketing expenses for promoting and selling private health insurance plans, including Medicare supplemental policies.
5. The total cost of excessive salaries (is that above $250,000 or $500,000 a year??), the special fringe benefits (country club memberships, lavish paid vacations, etc. that normal workers do not receive), and cash or stock bonuses received by the CEOs and top administrators of healthcare-related corporations.
6. The extra costs of repeatedly collecting the same information again and again, plus maintaining and updating those duplicate records, for each patient who uses the services of more than one physician, clinic, hospital, etc., as well as the expenses for transferring data from one agency to another, in contrast to the savings that would come from maintaining a single central data bank on each person. (Fears of abusing such information are linked more with worry over increased premiums or loss of insurance coverage under our current for-profit insurance system than with anything else.)
7. The profits “earned” by those who are executives of and investors in our private health and health-related industrial and commercial companies. (Yes, that includes most of us who have investments in mutual funds.)
8. All the other expenditures from the health and health-related segment of the national economy that are aimed at influencing legislation and protection of the interests of the industry in contrast to those of consumers. (Some of this is labeled as disseminating information or education.)
Those are among the non-healthcare costs of current health care. They are tucked into its bookkeeping as if they are valid expenses for whatever aspect of healthcare they offer to their clients. Is my impression, that many or most of these costs will be retained or increased and not eliminated by the proposed health care reforms that were separately passed by the House and Senate, correct?
Both “conservatives” and “liberals” have strongly held opinions and fears of what could happen. Both spread lop-sided propaganda through their respective channels as if their views are the whole truth and nothing but the truth on the subject.
But what are the truly relevant facts related to the legislation under consideration in Congress? To me they seem to center around the Almighty Dollar. For the “upper crust” this means the fears of reduced income from their health-related investments, of losing current income tax privileges (under which billionaire Warren Buffett has publicly told that he pays a smaller percentage of his income than does his $60,000 a year secretary), and of carrying a larger share of taxation. For “working class” people it means gaining improved access to healthcare services within their means to pay and without regard for pre-existing conditions, fine-print exclusions from coverage, lack or loss of employer-covered health insurance, etc. But only after there is a competitive public option plan and the eight issues I mention above have been addressed satisfactorily are we likely to see significant reductions in overall healthcare costs for the nation and for individuals.
(No reply to this memo is requested, unless you can provide a single source that has all the answers to all the issues I mention, using solid biblical ethics as the guide to values.)
David O. Moberg
Letters to the Editor (sent Dec. 15, 2009; published Dec. 18)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
RECUSAL FROM INDIRECT HEALTH CARE COSTS
Congratulations on revealing how personal gain directly (even if unconsciously) influences votes in Congress (“Lawmakers invest in what is at issue,” by Diana Marrero, Dec. 13). But dig still deeper!
Most politicians have such strong vested interests in privileges from the status quo in Health Care that they ought to recuse themselves from voting on health care reform. They reap rich personal and politicalbenefits from insurance, pharmaceutical, medical device, financial, and other health care companies.
Even when “reformed,” health expenditures will continue escalating. Reasons include legislators’direct profits from investments in those companies, but also major donations by the companies to campaign funds and other benefits.
Citizens are the ultimate payers of the expanding non-medical expenses charged to health care. These include lobbying, advertising to make patients persuade physicians to prescribe expensive medications, duplicating medical records (how many times must we tell each provider the same things, each set fattening another file?), excessive profits and bonuses, and marketing costs of insurance (48 plans just for Medicare supplements in Wisconsin to enable “the annual choice best forus”).
If members of Congress no longer profited from our expensive system, we would win better health care at far lower costs.
David O. Moberg, Ph. D.
GIFT 2: MORAL ISSUES IN OUR NATIONAL ECONOMY
[The author and source of this article are at the end. DOM]
Did You Know?
“Repentance was an involved process in the early church. Sin was seen not as a personal matter but as something that destroyed the unity of the church. Penitents fasted and prayed for the forgiveness of their sins, appeared before the church to make public confession, and were barred from the Lord’s Supper until they gave evidence of a change of heart and were absolved. (The only exception was for people facing persecution. They were readmitted to the Lord’s Supper so they could receive strength.)” —John O. Gooch (Christian History Newsletter, Feb. 13, 2010)
Thank God, even the sins of which we are completely unaware and that that we think are righteous deed are forgiven by our Lord Jesus
Christ. — D.O.M.
<ed.note>I thought it might be an interesting exercise to revisit some predictions I made in the ADRIS Newsletter back in the day.</ed.note>
Dr. David O.
Most of the content of previous
ADRIS began with a strong mission to
I became involved with ADRIS just as
I came to the conclusion that it would
As some of you know,
I thought I would use
<ed.note>This movement/philosophy is referred to now (2009) as "Open Data".</ed.note>
<ed.note>Insert standard iPod/iTunes University story here.</ed.note>
<ed.note>While the degree to which models of commercial higher ed schools, charter schools, home schools have multiplied — and with this a variety of distance and web-enabled ed models, the credentialing oligarchy is still in place. It is worth observing that undergraduate standards are being developed via an initiative under the auspices of the National Governors Association (with 47 States participating). I expect these credentialing folks to be overturned as the public becomes aware that the true bottleneck (say for nurses and doctors) is not the number of students who can enter programs (say medical school) but the number of folks/process society have deemed authoritative to determine competency on the outcomes side of the ed pipeline. The for-profit ed model will necessarily have to begin lobbying for alternative accreditation mechanisms within 5 to 10 years for their profitability to continue as their stock holders demand. Also, this just in at BusinessWeek.</ed.note>
<ed.note>Note the growth of P2P-based development like Grameen Bank, Kiva, etc. and tools like Relational Tithing.</ed.note>
Surely students are spending more time on their social network site than any other educational websites like wikipedia, howstuffworks, discovery etc, and there’s no way on earth anybody can stop them from doing so.
But the least any school can do is while those students are online is to give them little bit touch of education from their teachers or fellow friends. We can do this by getting the e-learning system up and running where teacher share learning materials, quiz, discussion, chat, document management and perhaps some social activities between friends.
These are some of the most powerful open source learning management system that can easily adopt by any school, institution or any communities. Most of the systems support SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model – a collection of standards and specifications for web-based elearning).