Earl Creps just sent me a link to the article Revitalizing Religion In The Academy. Pretty boring unless you’re thinking about the role of religion in university settings (but interesting if you are).
Anyway, one stat leapt out at me: Campus Crusade for Christ reported a 73% increase in student attendance between the 95-96 school year and the 98-99 school year.
My phone rang just after 10:00am. What follows is a rough transcript of the ensuing conversation.
Her: Hi, is this the right number to call if I have a question about Chi Alpha?
Me: Yes, I’m Glen Davis, the director of the ministry.
Her: This is probably going to be the most random question you get today, but did you guys have a meeting last night?
Me: Yes we did.
Her: And were you selling tacos there?
Me: No. Why do you ask?
Her: My friends told me that you were and I said that was stupid. You were a Christian group and why would you be selling tacos?
Me: Precisely. There were no tacos for sale at our meeting.
Her: That’s what I thought.
Me: May I ask you a question in return?
Me: Were we doing anything to lead your friends to believe that we had tacos for sale?
Her: Not that I could see.
Me: That’s reasurring.
Her: Yeah, two guys had just made some totally inappropriate comment to me and my friends explained it by saying that your group was selling tacos.
Me: *pause* Did these two gentlemen seem to be connected with our ministry?
Her: Oh no, definitely not.
Her: Anyway, thanks for helping!
Me: Sure thing. Feel free to call me if you have any more questions.
How random was that?
I just read the most amazing article by a Yale prof explaining the religious impulse in American history.
If you have any interest at all in politics, international relations, anti-Americanism, or the role of religion in public life you really ought to give this article a read: Americanism–And Its Enemies by David Gelernter (that’s his faculty bio page, there’s a much more interesting profile here). If you want to have your mind blown wide-open, read Amazon’s summary of his survival of an attack from the Unabomber.
Also, we have new photos in the gallery.
There’s a fascinating article on the runaway hit CollegeHumor.com at the New Yorker: Funny Boys.
Two passages that struck me:
A key to college humor, the four have realized, is that students like to think they belong to a small in-crowd that understands the joke, while the public at large remains clueless. Take the phrase More Cowbell, which is a slogan appearing on one of the most popular of the companys Busted Tees; it comes from an instruction given in a skit on Saturday Night Live. Not everyone saw that episode, so the people who did see it think it is that much cooler because nobody else knows, Josh said.
Josh, of CollegeHumor.com, is happy to point out that his site has surpassed The Onion in traffic, though I cant say we are better. There is a crucial difference in content between The Onion and CollegeHumor.com: while the success of the former depends on the wit of its writers, the appeal of the latter is closer to that of Americas Funniest Home Videos. CollegeHumor.com offers found humor of the sort pioneered by, among others, Steve Allen and David Letterman. Yet CollegeHumor.com isnt the expression of a governing comic sensibility determined to entertain an audience with, say, Stupid Pet Tricks; rather, the audience decides what is funny, and entertains itself. CollegeHumor.com doesnt just cater to the lowest common denominator; its cooked and served by the lowest common denominator, too.
I just finished reading The Best Question Ever by Andy Stanley in preparation for a message tomorrow night. The book is quite good.
In case you’re curious, the question in question is simply this: What is the wise thing to do?