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Our Bi-Monthly Look at Faith, Life and Culture

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It’s hard to pinpoint an exact moment when the Western obsession with saving Africa started, but it certainly hasn’t ended. More than one writer has speculated that the U.S. is nursing a guilt complex over its opulence and has sent billions of dollars in foreign aid and hundreds of thousands of college students, mission teams and nonprofit organizations over to Africa as penance.

And while these things might assuage the guilt, how much good is it all really doing? Read More

The Internet went into a happy meltdown in July when J.K. Rowling posted a new Harry Potter short story to Pottermore, the official fansite of the boy who lived. The story featured a grown-up Harry with “threads of silver” in his hair, and was written in the style of a gossip column. It was a comforting gift for millions of Harry Potter fans. The only thing it really lacked, like so many similar exercises, was courage. Read More

This December, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings—which tells the story of Moses freeing the Israelites from Egypt—will open, with producers hoping to capture the same box-office success that Noah and Son of God had earlier this year.

Like those movies, Scott’s biblical epic is already receiving criticism. Unlike those movies, the criticism is coming in for a non-theology related controversy: the casting. Read More

According to new research, being cynical doesn’t just make you a bummer to be around, it may also cause actual brain damage. A team of researchers at the University of Eastern Finland surveyed nearly 1,500 people—gauging their level of cynical distrust by their responses to statements such as “I think most people would lie to get ahead.” They found that the risk of developing dementia in later years was three times higher in the participants who were more cynical than those who demonstrated low levels of cynicism. Read More

The Real Social Networks

How 'community 2.0' is changing technology and real-world relationships Read More

Baptists have a baptism Problem. This spring, leaders from the Southern Baptist Convention released the findings of a report on the decline in baptisms within the denomination. Their numbers indicate that from 1999 to 2012 (the latest year of the study), baptisms fell by nearly 25 percent in Baptist churches across the country. The report also found 25 percent of Baptist churches didn’t report a single baptism the entire year. Read More