Friday, May 19, 2006

Decline of Religion Leads to Simon Cowell?

Here's a tiny portion of fascinating blog post with all sorts of new insights, from Stumbling and Mumbling....

"I’ve said before that religion has utilitarian value. On further consideration, I think this might be even truer than I previously thought. Here’s a theory which, if even only partially correct, represents an argument for Christianity so strong as to swamp everything else.

It’s: The decline of religion is responsible (in part) for the existence of Simon Cowell.

When we stopped going to church, we lost something valuable – the ability to sing. Going to church every week from an early age gave us regular singing practice. It also gave us a collective body of music which was transmitted from generation to generation, which allowed parents to teach children singing and musicianship. And religion was a major reason why countless families, in the UK and US, had pianos, fiddles and guitars and family sing-songs.....

The result of this that music is no longer something we do, but something we consume. Music has become commodified. What’s more, because singing is a skill we’ve lost, we are disproportionately impressed by those who have retained it. So we turn people who would once have been averagely good choir singers into pop stars – a process greatly aided by recording technology.

So, the decline of religion has given us Simon Cowell....

So, every time you moan about the plastic inauthentic second-rate pop peddled by the likes of Simon Cowell, just remember the role the decline of religion has played in its emergence. "

Read the entire post here at Stumbling and Mumbling.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

US Ranks Poorly in Infant Mortality

This story, from AP via MSNBC is heartbreaking and deeply disheartening. But we need to know and face the truth.

U.S. gets poor grades for newborns' survival :Nation ranks near bottom among modern nations, better only than Latvia

"America may be the world’s superpower, but its survival rate for newborn babies ranks near the bottom among modern nations, better only than Latvia.

Among 33 industrialized nations, the United States is tied with Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia with a death rate of nearly 5 per 1,000 babies, according to a new report. Latvia’s rate is 6 per 1,000.

“We are the wealthiest country in the world, but there are still pockets of our population who are not getting the health care they need,” said Mary Beth Powers, a reproductive health adviser for the U.S.-based Save the Children, which compiled the rankings based on health data from countries and agencies worldwide.

The U.S. ranking is driven partly by racial and income health care disparities. Among U.S. blacks, there are 9 deaths per 1,000 live births, closer to rates in developing nations than to those in the industrialized world.

“Every time I see these kinds of statistics, I’m always amazed to see where the United States is because we are a country that prides itself on having such advanced medical care and developing new technology ... and new approaches to treating illness. But at the same time not everybody has access to those new technologies,” said Dr. Mark Schuster, a Rand Co. researcher and pediatrician with the University of California, Los Angeles.

Less healthy than Britain The Save the Children report, released Monday, comes just a week after publication of another report humbling to the American health care system. That study showed that white, middle-aged Americans are far less healthy than their peers in England, despite U.S. health care spending that is double that in England.....

I strongly encourage you to
Read the rest HERE.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Elvis Presley in Search of Jesus

"...The book he took to the bathroom just before he died was either The Force of Jesus by Frank Adams or The Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus, depending on various accounts...

Elvis never made a public profession of faith in Christ, was never baptized, and never joined a church.

Pastor Hamill, former pastor of First Assembly of God in Memphis, says that Presley visited him in the late 1950s, when he was at the height of his rock & roll powers, and testified: "Pastor, I'm the most miserable young man you've ever seen. I've got all the money I'll ever need to spend. I've got millions of fans. I've got friends. But I'm doing what you taught me not to do, and I'm not doing the things you taught me to do" (Steve Turner, Hungry for Heaven, p. 20)."

--- from
The Religious Affiliation of Rock and Roll Pioneer Elvis Presley, which is part of Famous Members of the Assemblies of God

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Once Again I Wonder...Why Did she Marry Him?

Once again I wonder....why did she marry him?

From AP, via

Laura Bush has a knack for making it known when she doesn't agree with her husband. But on the subject of belting out "The Star-Spangled Banner" in Spanish, it's not clear whether the first lady is in President Bush's camp or not.

A Spanish-language version of the national anthem, called "Nuestro Himno," which means "Our Anthem," debuted last week. It features artists such as Wyclef Jean, Carlos Ponce and Olga Tanon and has stirred controversy because it rewrites some of the English version.

President Bush fed the debate with a terse "No, I don't" when asked last week whether the anthem holds the same value when sung in Spanish.

"I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English," he said. "And I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English, and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English."

Asked her opinion on Wednesday in an interview with CNN's John King, Mrs. Bush said, "I don't think there's anything wrong with singing it in Spanish."

She noted that "we are a nation of many, many languages" and that the country has already heard many versions of the anthem "like at the Super Bowl."

"What people want is it to be sung in a way that respects the United States and our culture," she said.

But when it was pointed out that this position differed from her husband's, Mrs. Bush had a different answer. "Well, I think it should be sung in English, of course," she said.

She compared it to hymnals including translations into other languages. "I love it when I look at the bottom of `Amazing Grace' and there are the words in the Methodist hymnal in Swahili," Mrs. Bush said.