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    The Myth of the Perfect (Christian) Parent

    The Myth of the Perfect (Christian) Parent

    A friend emailed this article to me from Christianity Today that I had somehow missed, about the pitfalls of being the perfect Christian parent. The themes of guilt, shame, anxiety (i.e., Law) about producing Christian children are not unfamiliar to MBird readers. Unfortunately, as the author notes, they are also recurrent themes in Christian parenting. She discusses the control that Christians parents often believe that they have over the spiritual formation of their children, and how this control is really an illusion. Here are just a few gems from the article:

    I find most Christian parents at the front of…

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    Participants Needed For An Online Questionnaire Study

    DZ gave me permission to post this on here, so I’ll be quick: I’m looking for participants to take part in a questionnaire study that explores people’s experiences of asking God for something or to do something (i.e. people’s petitionary prayers). It takes anywhere between 20-45 minutes to complete, is entirely anonymous, and has been approved by the University of Cambridge Research Ethics Committee.

    If you would like more information or to take part in the study, please click here.

    (And if you take part in the study and have comments to share with me, please email me rather than post comments…

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    My 30th Birthday Playlist

    If you, like me, were born in 1981, this is the year of the big 30 for you. (I turned 30 last week.) And if you, like me, have awesome friends, they may have made you a play list of songs from 1981 for your birthday. And gosh darn it, 1981 was a good year. Here’s my 30th birthday play list, with a huge thanks to Collin and Candice:

    1. Back in Black – AC/DC
    2. All Out Of Love – Air Supply
    3. 9 to 5 – Dolly Parton
    4. I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross & The Supremes
    5. Endless Love – Diana…

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    On Religious Insight

    Just a short excerpt from The Psychology of Religious Knowing by Fraser Watts and Mark Williams:

    “The contrast is between insight that is merely intellectual or neutral and a second type of insight that has been variously described as true, effective, dynamic or emotional. … Religious insight that, like therapeutic insight, has been chiseled out of experience will have more personal consequences than merely intellectual or ‘notional’ religious insight. Emotional and behavioural reactions are more likely to be congruent with beliefs that have been formed in this way.” (p. 71, 74)

    The Best of Both Worlds

    Quick To Judge And Slow To Forgive...

    Quick To Judge And Slow To Forgive…

    Following on DPotter’s recent post about how Americans are slow to forgive, I’m sure you’ve been (or are quickly becoming) aware of the internet’s reaction over how a food magazine used a piece of writing without the writer’s permission, and instead of offering an apology, the editor told the author of the article that she (the author) should compensate the magazine for editing her work for her. Now, hell hath no fury like the internet community sticking up for a writer plagiarized (apparently the original phrase “hell hath no fury…” is by William Congreve, whom I had never heard of):…

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    Scientists successfully teach gorilla that it will die some day

    Following on from DZ’s earlier post on talking to kids about God and all the moral/ethical/theological issues surrounding it, here is a genius piece from The Onion about teaching a gorilla about the concept of mortality:

    I Like It, So God Would Too: Egocentrism in Believers' Estimates of God

    I Like It, So God Would Too: Egocentrism in Believers’ Estimates of God

    Religion is often seen as a moral compass – it is frequently used by believers as a guide to doing and believing the right thing. People may disagree on social issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and the death penalty and back their opinions by invoking God as the ultimate advocate of their beliefs. But how do people reason about God’s beliefs? In an interesting set of six studies by Nick Epley and colleagues, it was argued that people are remarkably egocentric when asked to infer about God’s beliefs–that is, people seem to draw on their own beliefs about these issues…

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    On The Relationship Between Fart And Morality

    On The Relationship Between Fart And Morality

    When we think about ethics and morality, we often think that it is rational. Morality requires making judgments of right and wrong, and making judgments about what is right and wrong is a matter of logic and reasoning. But researchers interested in the psychology of morality are finding that morality is much more embodied and affective than we’d like to think. Specifically, moral judgments have been found to be linked to the feeling of disgust.

    Schnall, Haidt, Clore, and Jordan (2008) hypothesized that morality may be more of a gut reaction that is later justified by moral reasoning: “moral reasoning is…

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    Self help...doesn't help

    Self help…doesn’t help

    Does self help actually help? Apparently not as much as the self-help industry would like to think. Recent research published in Psychological Science shows that repeating positive statements about oneself, which is a common self-help strategy, doesn’t always increase self esteem.

    Researchers asked people to repeat positive statements about themselves, such as “I am a lovable person”. They found that people who had low self esteem to begin with actually felt worse about themselves afterwards. (People with high self esteem felt just marginally better after repeating these statements.) In a second study, one group of people was asked to think only…

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    Felicia Day on Flossing

    Felicia Day‘s recent tweet:

    When the teeth cleaning lady tells me I need to floss more, it makes me feel like a chastised 5 year old. I want to NOT floss because of it.

    (Felicia Day starred in Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog and was one of the potential slayers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her tweet captures the essence of the Law – it tells you what to do, but makes you not want to do it!)

    Joss Whedon on The True Enemy of Humanism

    Joss Whedon on The True Enemy of Humanism

    Joss Whedon (creator of the incredible Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse) recently received the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism from the Harvard Humanist Society, and delivered an interesting address at Memorial Church at Harvard. Here’s a snippet of it, but the most interesting part is the last 20 odd seconds, in which this quotation is heard:

    The enemy of humanism is not faith; the enemy of humanism is hate, is fear, is ignorance, is the darker part of man that is in every humanist, every person, in the world. That is the thing we have to…

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