First links first: Presby-peeps, have you registered for the NEXT Church National Gathering in Charlotte? It's going to be a fun, creative, hope-filled gathering. Go register now, because early bird rates end next week. I'll be here when you get back.
OK. Away we go:
Is Atheism a Religion? -- New York Times
A variety of perspectives from lots of smart folks, including Phyllis Tickle and Diana Butler Bass.
He's not quoted here, but I am a fan of Alain de Botton and his School of Life for Atheists. (I linked to him yesterday in my post about why atheists need holidays.)
Salon's Guide to Writing a Memoir -- Salon.com
H/t to Katherine Willis Pershey for linking to this wisdom recently.
Accept the limitations and boredom of your life as the challenge of writing. Accept your profound lameness as the wages of your craft. The problem is never that your life isn’t interesting enough, it’s that you aren’t looking (or writing) hard enough.
Sabbath in the Suburbs is memoir-ish, and I gotta say, I'm pretty sick of myself. My next book will not be a memoir. But I still love reading good ones. Good ones.
If you’re not sure about the difference between publishing a story and therapy, you especially should find a good shrink.
50 Life Hacks to Simplify Your World -- Twisted Sifter
The most useful list I've seen. OK, posts like this don't solve world hunger, but they give me a weird sense of hope. Human beings are so resourceful:
Why Is There a Gap Between What We Feel and What We Express When It Comes to Gratitude? -- Science and Religion Today
A recent study sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation found a dramatic gap between the gratitude people say they feel and what they express. In the large and demographically balanced survey, fully 90 percent of respondents said they were grateful for their immediate family, and 87 percent were grateful for their close friends. But when it came to expressing it, the numbers dropped almost in half. Only 52 percent of women and 44 percent of men said they express gratitude on a regular basis.
So why the big gap? Several factors come into play. Many people assume that those close to them already know how they feel, so they don’t need to state their appreciation. They are, of course, quite wrong.
More at the link.
Australia Banned Assault Weapons. American Can Too -- New York Times
I was elected prime minister in early 1996, leading a center-right coalition. Virtually every nonurban electoral district in the country — where gun ownership was higher than elsewhere — sent a member of my coalition to Parliament.
Six weeks later, on April 28, 1996, Martin Bryant, a psychologically disturbed man, used a semiautomatic Armalite rifle and a semiautomatic SKS assault weapon to kill 35 people in a murderous rampage in Port Arthur, Tasmania.
After this wanton slaughter, I knew that I had to use the authority of my office to curb the possession and use of the type of weapons that killed 35 innocent people. I also knew it wouldn’t be easy.
How to Write a Muffin Recipe -- Deb Perelman, Slate
I'm a big Smitten Kitchen fan and a HUGE muffin fan. Muffins are the perfect food. They are easy to make, bake up quickly, come in infinite varieties, and have built-in portion control. The recipe for Plum Poppy-Seed Muffins looks wonderful, but just as delightful is Deb's description of her trial and error and her basic formula for create-your-own muffin flavors. This is kitchen improv at its finest.
100 Best YouTube Videos for Science Teachers -- Boogie Man Journal
Science teachers, and parents:
16.) Earth-Building Wounds Scientists are studying the unique geological properties of Iceland in order to better understand how tectonic plates form and shift to permanently change the shape of the planet. 17.) The Wright Brothers Discover Aspect Ratio John D. Anderson at the National Air and Space Museum provides an interesting talk on the Wright Brothers and their indispensible contributions to the history of human flight. 18.) Through the Wormhole: DNA Morgan Freeman(!!!!!!) narrates a brief clip on the structure and importance of DNA. Short, but soothing. Also educational. Also Morgan Freeman.
Much, much more at the link.
Have a great weekend, everyone. I'm off to Windy City tomorrow, where I'll be leading a pastors' retreat on Sabbath-keeping. Once I get back I'll be preparing for Preacher Camp. So blogging will be light next week. Peace!