Friday, December 6, 2013

All Around the Web - December 6, 2013

HT: 22 Words

Washington Times - ‘Genderqueer’ rising: Colleges welcome kids who identify as neither male nor female
The weekly meetings of Mouthing Off!, a group for students at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, always start the same way. Members take turns going around the room saying their names and the personal pronouns they want others to use when referring to them — she, he or something else.

It’s an exercise that might seem superfluous given that Mills, a small and leafy liberal arts school historically referred to as the Vassar of the West, only admits women as undergraduates. Yet increasingly, the “shes” and “hers” that dominate the introductions are keeping third-person company with “they,” ”ze” and other neutral alternatives meant to convey a more generous notion of gender.

“Because I go to an all-women’s college, a lot of people are like, ‘If you don’t identify as a woman, how did you get in?’” said sophomore Skylar Crownover, 19, who is president of Mouthing Off! and prefers to be mentioned as a singular they, but also answers to he. “I just tell them the application asks you to mark your sex and I did. It didn’t ask me for my gender.”

On high school and college campuses and in certain political and social media circles, the growing visibility of a small, but semantically committed cadre of young people who, like Crownover, self-identify as “genderqueer” — neither male nor female but an androgynous hybrid or rejection of both — is challenging anew the limits of Western comprehension and the English language.

WORLD Magazine - Muslim official stands up for persecuted Christians

The United Kingdom’s highest-ranking Muslim spoke out against the religious persecution of Christians minorities around the world earlier this month. 

Minister of Faith Baronness Sayeeda Warsi addressed the violence against religious minorities—especially Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christians—in the Middle East in a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. 

“A mass exodus is taking place, on a biblical scale,” Warsi warned in her speech. “In some places, there is a real danger that Christianity will become extinct.” She previously called the persecution in the region a global crisis. 

Persecution of Christians is widespread in the Middle East: Blasphemy laws in many countries mean Muslim converts to Christianity risk arrest and death. In September, Islamic terrorists increased attacks against Christians across Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

Denny Burk - Tim Keller: Why Sex Outside Marriage is so Destructive

WORLD Magazine - The House that Steven Built
By the numbers, Steven Furtick and his Charlotte, N.C., megachurch, Elevation, are roaring successes. More than 14,000 people attend Elevation’s six campuses each weekend. The budget for the church will likely top $25 million this year. Most significantly, the church says it has baptized more than 11,000 people since it began in 2006.

The problem, though, is that the good Elevation and churches like it do may be undone by financial and organizational controversies.

One involves lifestyle. When a local TV news reporter started looking into the details of a new home being built by Furtick, the Elevation pastor launched what he thought would be a pre-emptive strike against what he anticipated would be a negative story. During a service he told his congregation the station had flown a helicopter over the house, suggesting the helicopter was an excessive measure since “it isn’t even that big a house, really.”

But then the truth started coming out. Furtick’s house will be more than 8,500 square feet of heated space, with nearly that many more feet of porches, pavilions, and garages. It has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The station needed a helicopter because the house sits on a 19-acre lot surrounded by gated communities and similarly sized mansions, posted with no trespassing signs: A helicopter is the only way to get close enough to see it.

LA Times - Young people prefer printed books to e-books, survey finds

Here’s something to consider when you’re Christmas shopping for that teen or young adult in your family.

Yes, young people spend a lot of time reading and writing short messages on their smartphones, or listening to music and playing games on those and other electronic devices. But there’s one aspect of their lives in which they prefer -- by a large margin, according to one poll -- the old-school ways: reading books.

The British marketing research agency Voxburner recently surveyed more than 1,400 people, ages 16 to 24, about their media-consumption habits. The survey found that 62% of the respondents said they prefer printed books to e-books.

Voxburner spokesman Luke Mitchell told the Guardian that the agency’s researchers heard all sorts of reasons why young people prefer physical books to e-books, including: “I collect,” “I like the smell” and “I want full bookshelves.”

“Books are status symbols; you can’t really see what someone has read on their Kindle,” Mitchell said.

In an earlier report, Voxburner found that a substantial plurality of young people surveyed also said they believe that e-books were too expensive.

What’s more, as the British trade journal The Bookseller put it: “The report suggests that publishers should look at how young people download content, because although about 85% have a smartphone, only 55% have some kind of e-reader.”
Longest married couple just celebrated their 81st wedding anniversary.

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