Monthly Archives: June 2007

Interesting Aspect of the Facebook / MySpace Dichotomy

Came across an article about trends of class differences common in the main user groups of Facebook and MySpace. Seems like the easiest route would be to somehow convince each site to compile and release a report on their demographic breakdowns.

But no, that would be too easy… So I respect the author for making a great effort to do the bulk of her research through interviews, both formal and informal. I’m no expert on research methodology, but the author’s process seems pretty sound:

I have done formal interviews in California, Washington, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts. When I do this, I do not capture parents’ income but I do get parents’ education level and job. In each of these communities, I have spent time roaming the streets and talking informally with people of all ages. I have analyzed profiles from all 50 states (and DC and Puerto Rico). I use the high school data from these profiles and juxtapose them with federal information on high school voucher numbers to get a sense of the SES of the school. I have spent time in cities, suburbs, small towns, and some rural regions.

She also acknowledges possible weaknesses of not spending much time in rural areas or the Deep South.

The essay opens with a history of the rise of the two sites. Also discussed are the roots of bad blood between each site’s loyalists.

Next up is an exploration of socioeconomic trends among Facebookers contrasted with MySpacers. “Look and feel” factor in immensely. Facebook users tend to be

very aware of MySpace and they often have a negative opinion about it. They see it as gaudy, immature, and “so middle school.” They prefer the “clean” look of Facebook, noting that it is more mature and that MySpace is “so lame.”

Loyal MySpace users, on the other hand, interpret what the Facebookers criticize to in fact be

“glitzy” or “bling” or “fly” (or what my generation would call “phat”) by subaltern teens. Terms like “bling” come out of hip-hop culture where showy, sparkly, brash visual displays are acceptable and valued.

So those are just a few things to get your gears turning. The author also points out interesting divisions in the sites’ user bases that surface within the military…

All things considered, it doesn’t seem like the author tries to stretch the facts to make a point… I think she’s on to a pretty intuitive but not-often-expressed difference. I’ve read the article once at this point, and just had some basic reactions. I plan on going back over it a few times. You should too:

Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace

[HT]: CPYU, “Articles & Research” section

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Alternative

Reading my first Walter Bruggeman book , I’ve come across a great quote that fits the questioning spirit of this blog. Well, the ideally questioning spirit. Sometimes I notice that posts end on a note bearing more resemblance to an answer than a question. Anyway, without further ado, this snippet from The Prophetic Imagination:

The alternative consciousness to be nurtured, on one hand, serves to criticize in dismantling the dominant consciousness. … On the other hand, that alternative consciousness to be nurtured serves to energize persons and communities by its promise of another time and situation toward which the community of faith may move. …

In thinking this way, the key word is alternative and every prophetic minister and prophetic community must engage in a struggle with that notion. Thus, alternative to what? In what ways alternative? How radically alternative? Finally, is there a thinkable alternative that will avoid domestication? And, quite concretely, how does one present and act out alternatives in a community of faith which on the whole does not understand that there are any alternatives or is not prepared to embrace such if they come along?

The Prophetic Imagination, page 4

Could come up with quite a few posts’ worth of musings here, I suppose.

  • How can I carry out my work –ultimately a work of reconciling– in a fashion alternative to the dominant culture in need of said reconciling?
  • What aspects of the dominant culture beg an alternative? Are some aspects more than others urgently lacking an alternative?
  • Are the unhealthy aspects of the local dominant culture different than those of the overall (national? hemispherical?) dominant culture?
  • Within the local dominant culture, what is different for the students directly under my care, or for their age group?
  • Are the local or the larger aspects more important to promptly address? Are they addressed in the same way?
  • Can I offer alternatives piecemeal? Or must I require blanket acceptance on the part of members of the dominant culture?
  • Can piecemeal acceptance of the alternative grow into full acceptance? Is such a progression scriptural? Practical? Tolerable?
  • Does my alternative approach change with dominant culture? Or are there things about my approach that will forever be inherently alternative?

Tech Tweaking

Spent a while chatting with Matt about all the various apps we use on our computers. Calendars, RSS aggregators, blog publishers, etc.

A little update on the new apps/innovations I’m pretty sure I’ll be sticking with:

No longer is my Firefox homepage my MySpace login screen. (I’m really feeling like I’m over MySpace, anyway. Seems like I just use it for work purposes. That’s another post…) Now, iGoogle greets me when I open my browser. Basically, it allows people to consolidate various Google features they use, ranging from web search to email, into a personalized home page. Just an ideal portal site for those of us that use 2 or more Google services…

I’ve been in the process of switching over all my digital scheduling to Google Calendar (I also use the basic large paper desk calendar, but I do need something that I can check from anywhere). I like GCalendar a lot so far. Google seems to come up with intuitive interfaces pretty well. A clean, straightforward design, with just the right mix of common display options (day, week, month, 5-day, agenda).

Continuing on the Google thing, I just started moving all my RSS feeds over to Google Reader tonight. I had been using Sage, and it’s not bad at all. I’m a minimalist in a lot of things, and my reading list is definitely one of those. I have enough actual content to read; I don’t need to spend too much time reading the list describing the content. Two main benefits arising from letting Google handle my feeds… tags (which can be both simple and helpful, used correctly)… and seamless login- because I’m usually already logged into Google from checking my mail as soon as I open Firefox (although login was a non-issue with Sage because it wasn’t account-based anyway). I do think I’ll enjoy the easy level share-ability, with one-click emailing whenever I come across cool posts.

I’m typing this post within Windows Live Writer. I’m usually at least in a weak wifi zone (or on my work desktop), so any blogging I do can be instantly posted. I think I’ve maybe done a total of 2 posts offline in MS Word, and then pasted them into WordPress. But my problem is this: I’m an impulse reader. When I’m working on a post using WordPress’ interface in Firefox, it’s highly likely that a tangent idea will cross my mind, and off I go. The post is relegated to Draftville, to be postponed and procrastinated on. Well my hope for using Live Writer is to cut out those distractions (or at least maybe switching over to Firefox from this app instead of just typing the tangent into my Google search bar will be enough of an interruption that I’ll just get in the habit of finishing posts as quick as intellectually responsible). EDIT: Now that I’ve posted this post, I like that it looks exactly like what was displayed in Live Writer before posting. Formatting and other stuff didn’t always transfer over nicely from MS Word. But I was easily able to set up Live Writer to only let me tweak things that are already in the WordPress interface. w00t!

Anglican Priest Peter Matthews on…

…his journey from growing up Methodist to pastoring in the SBC to settling in an Anglican Mission in America congregation, but stopping short of joining the Roman Catholic Church.

Two issues posed an impassable barrier for joining the Roman Church. [… First, Matthews’ comments on papal authority …] A second issue was the doctrine of justification. I believe the reformers got this right. We are justified by faith alone through grace alone and the righteousness given in justification is the alien righteousness of Christ imputed to us. Rome believes we are justified by grace. However, Rome defines justification as infused righteousness. I think this conflates justification and sanctification and can lead to dire pastoral consequences — e.g., moralism and works righteousness. However, like the great Anglican theologian Richard Hooker, I do not believe one has to believe in justification by faith to be justified by faith. I am confident there are many Roman Christians who have a living faith in Christ and thus are justified. [italics added by RPD]

For most of my mature faith life, I’ve had this hunch that not all Roman Catholics are universally missing the point. I’ve never known how to articulate it very well, though. My wife is an example of such a Catholic. She grew up steeped in Rome’s traditions and whatnot, but when the topic of assurance of salvation comes up, her sole answer is faith in Christ’s redeeming sacrifice. So, yeah, that’s great, but I still thought that there was something more subtle at work than a Catholic making a not-so-Catholic confession. Richard Hooker’s theory nails it. A Roman Catholic might not know it, or at least might not know to confess it, but he or she might indeed be living their life guided by a vibrant faith in Christ, and thus it matters not how well they’re observing their sacraments.

[HT]: internetmonk

Thesis 9

A long time ago Matt and I started a joint-blogging project (March 31 was the launch… wow). It was a discussion of a 9-part article, “Learning to Read the Bible Again.” We devoted a post to each of the theses in the article, and tried to pull in some outside voices with whom to compare notes. Well I’ve finally reached the end of the project, Matt finished Thesis 9 a while back. Anyway, it’s high time I jot some of my own thoughts down on the last thesis. Without further ado…

9. We live in the tension between the “already” and the “not yet” of the kingdom of God; consequently, scripture calls the church to ongoing discernment, to continually fresh re-readings of the text in light of the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work in the world.

Because the narrative of scripture is open to a future that God will give, and because our vision is limited by creaturely finitude and distorted by sinfulness, we lack the perspective of the finished drama as we seek to live faithfully in the present. Yet we trust that the story is moving to a final consummation in which God will overcome death and wipe away every tear from our eyes. Knowing that we do not see ourselves and our world from God’s point of view, we are grateful for the gifts of scripture and community and for the possibilities of mutual correction in love that they offer. We are also grateful for scripture’s promise that the Spirit of God will lead us into truth, which gives us hope that our speech and practice might yet be a faithful witness to the righteous and merciful God who is made known to us in Jesus Christ.

If the story has not yet reached its conclusion, does this have implications for understanding the relationship between scripture’s identification of God and the claims made by other religious traditions? How are our fresh rereadings to be distinguished from interpretations of scripture that purport to separate the “kernel” of the gospel from the “husk” of cultural accretions? To what standards of accountability are we called in order to keep our rereadings faithful to the God of Jesus Christ?

I chuckle when I imagine the disciples eagerly asking, naively and expectantly asking, “So, like, next week… that’s when you’re gonna restore the Kingdom… right, Rabbi?” (Acts 1:6) But we do the same thing, don’t we? We just leave it up to God to bring the Kingdom here, and we’re pretty sure it’ll be any day now. Hope is great, but by no means should it devolve into lazy expectancy. And that’s why it’s so important to begin the discussion of our last thesis with the “tension between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’ of the kingdom of God.” Like millions of believers who have preceded us, we still have a lot of work to do. Roll up your sleeves, open your Bible, and share with your brothers and sisters what you find.

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Fare thee well, old friend.

Bitsy

a.k.a. Boo-Kitty, Boo-Bear, Beezer, Baroobus T. Boobus

10/28/1988 – 6/20/2007

(Click thumbnails below for full-size picture.)

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We will miss you, Bitsy…

Tag. You’re It.

 

I’ve been tagged by Stewart.

Here are the rules:

  • Grab the book closest to you.
  • Turn to page 161.
  • Copy the 5th complete sentence into your blog.
  • Tag 5 others.

The book closest on my desk was The Kingdom of the Cults, edited by Ravi Zacharias, and originally authored by Walter Martin.

Page 161, 5th complete sentence (you ready for this?):

“The claim by Bill and Dittemore that the directors had usurped the authority of Eddy and acted contrary to her expressed wishes went unchallenged for the most part by the Christian Science board of directors, for Dittemore had strong evidence from The Memoirs of Adam Dickey, which the board suppressed, and excerpts from the unpublished writings of Eddy’s secretary, Calvin A. Frye, that she expected a personal successor within fifty years.”

Well, a little Christian Science political history never hurt anyone, I suppose…

I tag Matt, Nate, Taylor, Travis, and Chris.