A Morning Peacock of Links (8/8)

4 Disturbing Trends in the Contemporary Church

I’d say that we’ve been suffering from these trends for a long time.

A plea to all media outlets re: ‘the Westboro cult’

The journalistic profession has turned out a small number of plagiarists whose words were stolen from the creativity and hard work of others then passed off as their own. Yet, though some among your number bring a pall on the word “journalist,” I do not refer to each of you as “cheats,” “word thieves” or “plagiarists.” It would be inaccurate to label you thusly because of a few whose actions obviously do not represent the whole. But in the mass media we see, with alarming near-universality, a refusal to call the wackos from Westboro anything except a “Baptist church” or a “church.”

Evangelicaphobia

As you can probably guess from the excerpt below, Andrew Wilson points out the irony and shortcomings of Crossley’s re-defining of “phobia”:

Much could be said in response, but the thing that fascinated me about this is the broadening of the term ‘homophobic’, which I have frequently encountered in popular discourse but have not yet seen an academic seek to defend. Homophobia, for Crossley, is no longer limited to a response of hatred, vituperation, mockery or violence towards gay people. Now, it is also “an attitude that sees homosexuality as an unfortunate condition that should not be practised.” That is, if you believe that God says people ought not to behave in a certain way (like Wright, Hays and co), then in Crossley’s definition, you are homophobic.

The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Great article that talks about the practical issues and problems that “the disease of more” presents. I actually tackled the topic in an earlier post, albeit from the angle of how it impacts our personal, rather than professional, lives. On a side note, the first thing I thought about after reading about the “endowment effect” was how guys treat their own fantasy teams haha:

If success is a catalyst for failure because it leads to the “undisciplined pursuit of more,” then one simple antidote is the disciplined pursuit of less. Not just haphazardly saying no, but purposefully, deliberately, and strategically eliminating the nonessentials. Not just once a year as part of a planning meeting, but constantly reducing, focusing and simplifying. Not just getting rid of the obvious time wasters, but being willing to cut out really terrific opportunities as well. Few appear to have the courage to live this principle, which may be why it differentiates successful people and organizations from the very successful ones.

Olympians, Ordinary Folk, and Mindset

When people first learned about the cash they could win, the ventral striatum, an area of the brain that focuses on rewards, took notice. The more cash, the more excited the ventral striatum was, brain scans showed. This bit of brain is known to track the possibility of rewards, so this finding is predictable. But what’s really interesting is that once people started actually playing the ball game, activity in the same brain area decreased as the prize money went higher. Once folks seemed to realize what they might lose, the ventral striatum went quiet. And, the more this brain area focused on reward shut down, the more people choked.

Gymnast McKayla Maroney was likely counting on her vaulting gold before it happened. And, this really puts the pressure on. When we fear losing something we have been counting on, this fear of failure tends to make us more likely to screw up.

Fortunately, the opposite is true too: thinking about success alters our mental mechanics to help us shine under pressure. Since the last Olympics, Hap Davis, the psychologist for the Canadian Swim Team, has been employing a mindset exercise that changes how his athletes’ brains deal with failure. Davis says that getting his swimmers to see their past failure in a more positive light helps them avoid the dreaded “choke.”

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