Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Semi-Random Musings (16)

If you don’t believe anything you see on CNN or MSNBC anymore, if The New York Times prints more fiction than fact, and if The Drudge Report has too many tabloid-style shock items for your taste, you may like Disrn, a new website created by Adam Ford of The Christian Daily Reporter and the Adam Ford Newsletter in partnership with Seth Dillon of The Babylon Bee.

Disrn gives you your daily news fix synopsized in articles of three to six paragraphs, which has the benefit of allowing Christians like me who don’t really bother with news anymore to stay relatively up to date without dipping our feet in more muck than is absolutely necessary. Their motto is “Brief, smart, faithful,” which is basically all I’m looking for in my news. The tone depends on the story, but for the most part the summaries are light, breezy and flavored with the occasional touch of humor and Christian good sense.

Not surprisingly, the overall look of Disrn is not wildly dissimilar to that of The Bee: clean, clear and simple to navigate. There are also plenty of links to the original story sources in the event you feel the need to pursue one or more articles in detail.

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Speaking of which, from the aforementioned newsletter:
Duke University’s student government denied official status to a religious organization because it excludes LGBTQ people from holding leadership positions.

Young Life is a national Christian organization with an unofficial presence at the prestigious North Carolina university. When the group tried to attain official recognition, it was unanimously rejected last week by student senators, who cited the university’s nondiscrimination policy, which prohibits discrimination on the basis sexual orientation and gender identity, among other characteristics.”
There’s probably a moral to that story, which goes something like this: never try to “attain official recognition”. Historically, Christians have rarely sought formal approval from the powers-that-be. An unofficial presence works just fine. Whenever we have “gone legit” it seems to have turned out rather badly. The first century church in Jerusalem never asked for official recognition from the Jews, though they continued using their temple until it was destroyed by the Romans in AD70. Their relationship with civic and religious authority was spotty at best. Sometimes they had peace, other times virulent opposition, but at no point was “official recognition” given or sought.

The results of such a request are thoroughly predictable in today’s actively anti-Christian college/university environment. It is difficult to see what interest Duke’s student governing body might have in officially recognizing a religious group, let alone a group which doesn’t observe the current inclusivity standards of secular society. You are asking them to put their name to something they do not agree with, and with which they are bound to come in conflict at some point in the event Young Life is doing any sort of genuinely Christian outreach or serious Bible teaching on campus.

I do wonder, though, whether a request for official status from a campus organization called Young Muslim Life would be assessed in quite the same way. I suspect not.

At any rate, kudos to Young Life for maintaining moral standards, but official recognition is the sort of thing no group of Christians needs. Having to meet informally and/or off-campus is no big loss. Even generating a little active hostility from the university authorities may not be a bad thing in the long run if it tells onlookers who you are and what you stand for.

Also, when you call someone a “student senator”, you’re definitely asking for whatever you get ...

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Christianity Today reports the results of a recent study in the Journal of Religion, Media, and Digital Culture which suggests men who read the Bible on phones and tablets get less from scripture than men who read the word of God on paper. Women come out roughly even in retention and comprehension.

There are many possible reasons for this. The obvious one is that hand-held technology lends itself to scan reading and quick browsing rather than poring over the text and meditating on it. Then again, phones and tablets are devices one uses when on public transit, at work and on the road, where reading is often interrupted and distractions are plentiful. The differences being observed in retaining and comprehending scripture may have more to do with where the Bible is being read than how.

Explaining the differences between the sexes is tougher. I’m not about to take a shot at that.

Personally, I’m all about digital these days, but I can’t help noticing that how well I retain what I read is affected at least to some degree by where and when I choose to do it. I have done my Bible reading at work once or twice, but it’s certainly not the best place for it, not least because I retain better when I read slowly and out loud, something generally frowned upon in a crowded office.

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