As I near sixty years old (surreal!) I am working to leave our earthly possessions in such a way as not to be a burden to our two sons. To that end, I recently sold over 100 books from our somewhat large library (around 3000 volumes). These are niche books that would not be of interest to them. Fortunately, there are several books they want, but there are still many to get rid of. I continue sift and make decisions and a new batch will be going out soon. It is an ongoing battle as new review and interview copies keep coming from various publishers. Getting rid of these books are “little deaths” and reminders of my own mortality, neither of which are cheery! However, I don’t want leave David and Chris with unnecessary burdens. The added motivation is that we can use the extra money now so it adds further incentive to be perpetually pitching.
A few days back I read about this study which adds some more motivation! (HT: Scot McKnight/Jesus Creed):
Imagine for a moment a team of anthropologists walking through your door, taking a look around, and settling in for a close observation of your possessions, how you interact with them, and what this means about American life.
That’s pretty much what happened to 32 middle-class families between 2001-2005. I recently came across the results of this anthropological study, published in 2012: Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors, by Jeanne E. Arnold, Anthony P. Graesch, Enzo Ragazzini, and Elinor Ochs. Together with a large research team, the authors analyzed and cataloged the visible possessions in each and every room of the 32 households—counting, documenting, examining, and coding artifacts in situ, in their place.
Devoting thousands of hours to data collection, they hoped to glean insights on the acquisition and organization of material artifacts, and on how families interacted with their possessions, and with one another. The results of the study are at once illuminating and devastating.
Their most striking findings concern the sheer magnitude of our material possessions.
Seventy-five percent of garages contain no cars. They’ve been repurposed to contain surplus stuff—unused furniture, bins containing countless forgotten-but-not-gone possessions. (The typical garage contains between 300-650 boxes; nearly 90 percent of garage square footage is being used for storage, rather than for cars).
Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2017/08/reclaiming-life-at-home/#G1CodWjTVhUb76DY.99
Here is a Christian leader gushing over his access to power. Lord, have mercy! Sorry “ultimate selfie” is not with #45!
This summer I took a few minutes to look around the Sterling Library at Yale and landed up this picture (click to enlarge) of the first women to get PhDs from Yale:
A long-term project which is a joy to do! Some pictures of the process…Click to enlarge.
Journalist and gadfly, Rod Dreher, loves a good argument. If you read him, as I do, you know he can write and has loads of good things to offer. He pushes boundaries at times, sometimes makes incautious assertions, but you are always forced to think.
This is the second book I’ve read by Dreher. A few months back I read The Benedict Option book. How Dante Can Save Your Life was finished on a flight home late last night. There is much I liked about it.
First, kudos to the publisher for an absolutely stunning design. There’s nothing like real books!
Dreher’s book is full of well-written and insightful observations all while using Dante’s Comedy as his conversation partner.
My only major beef with the book is the Mommie Dearest kind of approach. It’s great to have honesty, but Dreher tells us far too much about the conflicts in his home. At times it felt like a Jerry Springer show in print.
Still, there is much to benefit from in reading How Dante Can Save Your Life.
From historian, Eric Foner:
My own saying, I don’t know if I invented this—perhaps I did—which I tell students is that “nothing is easier than finding what you are looking for.” In other words, that’s my plea to be open-minded. When you go to an archive, you have certain presuppositions but it’s very easy to find what you’re looking for and to ignore those things which don’t fit your assumptions, and you can’t do that. You have to, as they say, be open-minded enough to be willing to change your mind when you encounter countervailing evidence.
Dave Moore’s Reflection:
Many, and yes I said many Christians, are rather poor at this kind of godly, but nimble type of thinking. We pretty much mimic the culture at large. Most of us Americans hunker down in our own cultural, social, and intellectual silos. We regularly choose ignorance, group pressure, and fear to determine our cherished beliefs.
HT: John Fea
The rest is here: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/166481