According to a price-tracking site called camelcamelcamel (and highlighted by qz.com), Amazon has changed the price of the King James Version of the Bible over 100 times since May of 2010. What on earth? In the past five years, it's been listed as low as $8.99 and as high as $16.99. Amazon spokesman Scott Stanzel wouldn't dish on the exact process that goes into determining when and how a item's price changes, but Amazon does change prices on up to 80 million items a day. So, the Bible's not exactly unique in having its rate adjustments, but some of the circumstances around it all are a little interesting.
A little snooping gives a clearer picture. For example, the KJV Bible saw a dramatic price hike in early 2014—jumping from its all-time low at the end of 2013 all the way to about $14.49—which just so happened to take place right around the time of the History Channel's The Bible miniseries. And that $16.99 high? That was on December 30, 2012—back when everyone thought the world was about to end. But here's the question: Is Amazon changing prices to keep up with customer demand? Or are they anticipating demand based on current events? ... Discuss
Pope Francis didn't reference the Charlie Hebdo shootings directly, but he came down strongly against violence in the name of religion, while also cautioning against insulting others. "One cannot make war (or) kill in the name of one's own religion," Francis said on his way to the Philippines. "To kill in the name of God is an aberration." But he also noted that "One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people's faith, one cannot make fun of faith ... you can’t make a toy out of the religions of others.”"
Pope Francis has had quite a year, and he's not slowing down in 2015. The big item on his agenda for next year in climate change, and he'll be spearheading the first comprehensive Vatican edict on environmental policy, urging earth's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics to get to work. "If we had just a fraction of those acting on climate change, it would be bigger than the networks of some of the biggest environmental groups in the U.S.," Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, told Mother Jones. "That could help change the way we live our lives, and impact our views on public policy" ... Discuss
Back in January, we told you about the mission of Ryan Bell, a former pastor and Christian university professor who decided he was going to spend 2014 "without God" and doing "whatever I can to enter the world of atheism and live, for a year, as an atheist.” Well, it's been a year, and it must have been a good ride, because Bell isn't getting off. He told NPR that he's now an actual atheist and doesn't believe in God anymore, saying:
I don't think that God exists. I think that makes the most sense of the evidence that I have and my experience. But I don't think that's necessarily the most interesting thing about me ... It's, I think, an expression of really the part of me that hasn't changed. I'm still the same person deep down that I was before. I care about justice and equality, and I want to see opportunities spread more evenly in our society.
Since he's no longer a pastor, Bell is current Director of Community Engagement at People Assisting the Homeless. You can read his blog about his journey here ... Discuss
Last week, Wheel of Fortune genius/nerd Matt DeSanto totally cleaned up an episode of your Great Aunt Lucy's favorite gameshow, completing the show's first sweep since 2011. Among puzzles he solved was this shot in the dark, which DeSanto guessed (correctly) with only one letter, netting himself a cool nine thousand dollars ... Discuss
This Sunday, Saddleback Church pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren was invited to deliver the final sermon at Seattle’s Mars Hill Church. You can watch the message, which was delivered via video, below. Mars Hill recently announced that after 18 years of ministry, all of its satellite churches would either operate separately or dissolve completely. The move comes after a team of elders confronted lead pastor Mark Driscoll over a series of allegations involving the mistreatment of members of the congregation, plagiarism, the use of church funds to prop up book sales and other accusations of improper behavior. Driscoll resigned in October.
On their website, the church posted a message that read, “As we close the doors on Mars Hill Church, and consider the evidence of God’s grace shown to us over the years, words cannot express the depth of our gratitude for the people of Mars Hill and our Global Family who have served tirelessly, prayed continually, and given sacrificially to support Jesus’ mission through Mars Hill Church ... making disciples and planting churches" ... Discuss