stream of consciousness

Here’s what’s on my mind this morning:

  • It’s Finals Day for the Christianity and Culture class I’m teaching at Pepperdine. Going to class of any kind in July from 11:30 – 1:45 every day is likely to feel a bit like a sentence or Traffic School at times. My hope is that somewhere along the way, something of lasting value was imparted to the 27 students I’ve spent much of the last four weeks with.
  • College students are smart, fun, insightful, and full of hope. I love being around them. I feel about the future of America having been around these young people for a month.
  • I’m teaching in the same classroom in which I sat at the feet of Tom Olbricht for Religion 101 as a Freshman at Pepperdine in 19(really, is the year important?).
  • Speaking of the awesomeness of college students, how about these two remarkable college students that comprise the two person band, Jack + Eliza. If you are looking for clean, happy, summery, 60’s-like style sunshine pop composed and recorded this year—this is really remarkable throwback stuff for 2 college kids. There’s a little Beach Boys, a little Beatles, a little Mamas and Papas and some other stuff in there. I’ve embedded a video of one of their songs at the bottom. My favorite of theirs is either Oh No, Quarter Past the Hour, or So Open (especially the chorus). Their debut album comes out in August.
  • Those Planned Parenthood videos. Good God (literally).
  • If you are looking for some solid thinking on such matters and others from a serious academic who writes with the church in mind, let me recommend Ron Highfield’s blog to you. Full disclosure: He is a friend and former professor.
  • I’ve upgraded to Windows 10, and so far, I love it. Cortana is a great add, the start menu is back, Jack, but in a snazzier, more helpful layout. But, to me, the big plus is the replacement of Internet Explorer with the Edge Browser. It is simple, highly intelligent, and VERY fast. Props to Microsoft for making a legitimately better product that I can already tell is more stable than Windows 8 or 8.1.
  • Time for you Apple shills to wake up!
  • I’ve been trying to eat more fish since I’ve been up here. So far, I’ve only been able to get into Fish and Chips, and shrimp. It doesn’t really fill me up. Is that just me—or is that the way it’s supposed to be?
  • Some quotes from the readings for the class I’ve been teaching you mind find thought-provoking:
  • “There is, for example, almost no example in history of a sensitive or understanding approach to an invasive nation that successfully staved off a war in the long run. This seems to have been as true for Rome and Carthage, Athens and Sparta, the Allied Powers and the Central Powers of World War I, or the Allied Powers and the Axis Powers of World War II. On the contrary, history is filled with examples of democratic countries trying unsuccessfully to stave off conflict with invasive nations by trying to appease them. Furthermore, this reluctance of democracies to go to war against totalitarian nations is identical to the reluctance of members of any family, marriage, partnership, or institution to stand up to the “troublemaker.” And in institution after institution the invasive forces get their way because of a lack of “stamina” that is hard to muster up in the “peace-loving.” The institution can be a church or synagogue, a stock market firm, a privately owned business, psychotherapy, the courts, or an academic institution.”
    Edwin Friedman, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix.
  • “As we’ve been talking about, no matter what we’re doing on the outside, people respond primarily to how we’re feeling about them on the inside. And how we’re feeling about them depends on whether we’re in or out of the box concerning them.”
    The Arbinger Institute, Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box.
  • “In the recent history of developed western society, though, racism earned a well-deserved promotion in the ordering of vices. This is all to the good. But with that promotion came an increased emotional cost in the recognition, “I am a racist.” If racism is worse than we thought, then ifs harder than it used to be to admit to yourself that you’re a racist. And it is at this point that life offers us the self-deception deal. You can experience the satisfaction that rightly belongs to the person who steers clear of the vice of racism if you can but convince yourself that you’re not a racist. Unsurprisingly, a great many people take the deal. What’s surprising is that they’re able to pull it off. And what’s alarming is that if I’ve taken the deal, it will seem to me (as it does in fact seem to me) that I have not. So, whenever a particular vice gets a promotion in the ordering of vices, the temptation to be self-deceived about the fact that one exhibits that vice increases.”
    Gregg A. Ten Elshof: I Told Me So: Self-Deception and the Christian Life.
  • “The great task, rarely achieved, is to blend creative intensity with relentless discipline so as to amplify the creativity rather than destroy it. When you marry operating excellence with innovation, you multiply the value of your creativity. And that’s what 10Xers do.”
    Jim Collins and Morten Hansen: Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All.
  • “The question is not: How many people take you seriously? How much are you going to accomplish? Can you show some results? But: Are you in love with Jesus? Perhaps another way of putting the question would be: Do you know the incarnate God? In our world of loneliness and despair, there is an enormous need for men and women who know the heart of God, a heart that forgives, cares, reaches out and wants to heal.” Henri Nouwen: In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership.
  • I’m a man without a streaming music service. Briefly:
    • Spotify’s social component feels voyeuristic to me
    • Tidal is pricey and feels a little greedy to me (and no offline listening for desktop).
    • I can’t do Apple anything.
    • Deezer is awesome, but its Android app isn’t really stable–and no one else is on it because its only available in the U.S. to Bose or Sonos customers.
    • Google Play Music’s UI is cartoonish to me.
    • Microsoft’s Groove is way behind the others on Android.
    • Pandora has the best radio features but you can’t choose your own music or make playlists.
    • Slacker Radio would be the best to me, but its Android app doesn’t allow FF or rewinding within a track.
  • Three best new band finds (at least new to me): Jack + Eliza, Gary Clark Jr., and
  • So, I’m zigging and zagging between Tidal and Deezer for now.

I leave you with the happy, summery sounds of Jack + Eliza