Sounds like fun

“Over at the Oxford English Dictionary, the life of a new word starts out in the Reading Program department, where about 50 people spend their 9 to 5 lives gobbling up all the printed material they can get their hands on: Novels, television transcripts, song lyrics, newspapers, magazines…anything. They’re on the lookout for new words (or innovative uses of old, mundane words). New discoveries are forwarded to a searchable electronic database of quotes, which Oxford calls ‘Incomings.’” mental_floss

Prosperity theology

“What remains is a materialism framed in a kind of Tony Robbins positivism… Jesus is front and center but not his Crucifixion, Resurrection or Atonement. There are chapters on overcoming trauma and a late chapter on emulating God’s generosity… But there are many more illustrations of how the Prosperity doctrine has produced personal gain, most memorably, perhaps, for the Osteen family: how Victoria’s ‘speaking words of faith and victory’ eventually brought the couple their dream house; how Joel discerned God’s favor in being bumped from economy to business class.” TIME.com, on megapastor and best-selling author Joel Osteen’s ‘Best Life Now’

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A literary criticism

“Shigeru Miyamoto’s masterwork Super Mario Brothers is truly a classic work of modern literature; borrowing heavily from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and an obvious inspiration for Trainspotting, SMB shows the initial joy but the eventual mental and moral decline due to drugs.” Super Mario Brothers: A Literary Criticism

Moving people on to God’s agenda

“The averaged Baptist pastor stays in his church for only about 2.5 years. There is a reason for this. Although most Baptist churches are board led, they are for all intents and purposes congregational in their polity. Thus, in many churches, even the most inane proposal must be but through a relentless series of committees and votes. This kind of governance does not tolerate strong leadership very well. If the pastor has a vision from God, he must communicate that vision and trust that the Holy Spirit will confirm it in the hearts of a committee system. This assumes that everyone on all those board and committees is listening to God and is seeking God. In reality, the pastor gets something else; he gets an agenda that is set by the least spiritual, most obstinate member of the congregation.” Robert Wynkoop

The gay animal kingdom

“Male big horn sheep live in what are often called ‘homosexual societies.’ They bond through genital licking and anal intercourse, which often ends in ejaculation. If a male sheep chooses to not have gay sex, it becomes a social outcast. Ironically, scientists call such straight-laced males ‘effeminate.’ Giraffes have all-male orgies. So do bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, gray whales, and West Indian manatees… As this list of activities suggests, having homosexual sex is the biological equivalent of apple pie: Everybody likes it.” Jonah Lehrer on Stanford University biology professor Joan Roughgarden’s controversial book, Evolution’s Rainbow

The new alternative

“Yet people agree, too, that the novel appeals because it offers a different way of seeing Christian tradition, particularly issues of patriarchy and women in the early church. This appeal has helped spur new subcategories in the publishing business… with each season bringing new books on Mary Magdalene and on what’s now called ‘alternative Christianity.’” Christian Science Monitor, on the Da Vinci Code

Anything that gets people talking about Jesus is good

“Anything that gets people talking about Jesus is good… People are very interested in the idea that the Church has secret information they are hiding. It demonstrates that we no longer live in the ‘modernist’ world. You can not take some rational points and reason up from them. The saddest thing is that a lot of people are desperate for spiritual answers but the last place they’d look for them is in the church. That’s a real indictment.” Early Christianity historian Dr. Tom Wright, on The Da Vinci Code