This week's Wrap was guest curated by Sojourners contributor Tripp Hudgins. Read along for his top stories and notes from the week!
There’s a lot that could be said about this week and I’m genetically inclined to say All the Things, but that won’t do. I could talk about the Democratic primary debate, but there’s likely too much to sift through. Sojourners ran a story entitled, “Will Democrats Play the God Card at Their Debate?” It was a fun question and led to interesting results. But I don’t want to share a bunch of links about the debate.
Instead, I want to talk about music and technology and the fabric of society this week. So, put on your tin foil hats, spin your favorite disk, and let’s see what we can find out together.
Let’s talk about sociology and religious polling for a second. As most of us know, the “nones” have been The Topic of Conversation for the last decade or more. But what if there are no, well, nones? In his book Inventing American Religion, Robert Wuthnow, a well-respected scholar of American religious life, writes about journalistic and political honesty in reporting on America’s religious life. Perhaps, he suggests, the last century or so of reporting has been more political than sociological.
…This, of course, isn’t to say that things aren’t changing. Ronald Brownstein is also talking about polling. The latest Heartland Monitor Poll, “explores Americans’ views on community in the digital age: how the communications and computing advances have changed the way they connect with friends, family members, and neighbors; and how this is reshaping community life, ranging from where people shop to how they participate in causes they care about.”
As a music nerd, I’m interested in how technology has shaped musical performances and how musicians are responding as technology shifts and shifts again. Tim Exile writes, “There’s something very special that happens when an audience realizes they’re experiencing something wholly new, not regurgitated for the billionth time from an unchanging slice of imaginary time somewhere in the cognosphere.”
…Which takes us to this little bit of fun (tutorial included!). Don’t say I never gave you anything. Please post a video of you performing in the comments section.
Another essay on the validity of the famous personality type test. It’s a curious bit of prose exploring the life of the test’s creator and trying to answer the question, “Would she approve of what we do with her test now?”
In other news, the Harvard Business Review reports that people are not using all their vacation time and this is a very bad thing and our kids are noticing. “The impact is clear: it’s causing stress and burnout, both at work and at home, and moving up the ladder doesn’t solve the problem.”
Getting back to technology, I’m wondering if our own twenty-four hour news room is next after reading this article. I have a Periscope account, as does the seminary where I work. The CEO of Twitter calls it the “speed of #now.”
The “speed of #now” has some pros and cons, of course, depending on who you are. If you are Vladimir Putin, it may not be such a good thing. Will Russia try to shut off the Internet completely? Who can say — but it’s plain enough that, as with U.S. politics, it’s hard to play international poker when your own citizens are standing behind you with a mirror.
Theologian Scott MacDougall has some astonishing things to say about the power of individual relationships to overcome denominational differences. I wonder if technology will make the World Council of Churches work of ecumenical harmony impossible or obsolete? Does social media change the way we embody ecclesiological relationships? Do we need a hashtag for this, too?
If you don’t know Tinariwen, please take a moment to listen. What happens when the blues get to North Africa in the 1970’s? Well, it sounds something like this.
It’s a strange and glorious world, dear readers. I’m glad to share it with you.