>What Song Are You Listening To? — Fascinating

>iPod Shuffle Earphones                                       Image via WikipediaSo, a guy with a camera and a microphone goes around the streets of New York City, asking anyone and everyone with headphones on “What song are you listening to?”  And the people share what it is that they are listening to.  I found this fascinating, not because there was a lot of mainstream pop, which there was.  I’d expect that.  Not because the music selections were mostly new artists.  I’d expect that when considering the ages of folks I see walking around with headphones in.  I found it fascinating because there is all this music going on all around us, with people walking to different beats styles and in their own little musical worlds, oblivious to the sounds coming from around them.  I found it fascinating because I think it’s indicative of how we segregate ourselves off from the rest of our communities.  We put our headphones on and, in a sense, we…are…alone.


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>Why Is There No Looting In Japan? Important article

>Please Donate For Japan EarthquakeImage by waprojecty via Flickr

Anyone who has been watching the news out of Japan has had to ask themselves that basic question:  “Why is there no looting?”  After all, remember what happened in the good old USA after Katrina?  We had looting and shooting and raiding hospitals and carjackings and…   It was ugly.  Contrast this to the orderly lines we see in Japan.  What’s going on here?  Why aren’t people “looking out for number one?”

With a hat tip to Allan Bevere, I read this really important article (I think) by Elizabeth Stewart of Deseret News.  I have excerpts below.  Here’s the link to the full article.  But it gets at issues of alienation and community and culture–not unimportant concepts for the church.

News organizations around the world are chattering on about the remarkable order with which the Japanese have responded to the disaster.

“Three days after a magnitude-9 killer quake devastated Japan, triggering Pacific-wide tsunamis and a likely nuclear plant meltdown and then consigning millions of Japanese to darkness, thirst and hunger in the wintry cold, I still have yet to read reports of widespread looting,” wrote Frederico D. Pascual Jr. of The Philippine Star. “This Filipino watching 3,200 kilometers from Ground Zero finds this disciplined behavior of a huge population in distress awe-inspiring. Let us pray that they stay that way β€” and that we learn from them.”

Gregory Pflugfelder, director of the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University, told CNN he believes the phenomenon has its roots in Japanese culture. He said the Japanese feel responsible “first and foremost” to the community.

“Looting simply does not take place in Japan,” Pflugfelder said. “I’m not even sure if there’s a word for it that is as clear in its implications as when we hear ‘looting.’ ”  …

Merry White, an anthropology professor at Boston University who studies Japanese culture, told CNN that she attributes the looting and disorder that is traditionally associated with natural disasters to social alienation and culture gaps.

“There IS some alienation and indeed some class gaps in Japan, too, but violence, and taking what belongs to others, are simply not culturally approved or supported,” White said in an e-mail.

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around what this means for culture–theirs and ours.

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>Charlie Sheen = God (Interesting Analysis)

>Charlie Sheen in March 2009Image via WikipediaThis is a video from Christian musician Regie Hamm.

Essentially, Hamm says that, if we have a culture that reveres wealth and power and sex and attitude, then we have a God in Charlie Sheen. He’s doing exactly as we’d expect a god to be and do.  He is, in his own words, “winning.”  He knows it.  And he knows he’ll be celebrated for this…whether he’s fired or not.  This is not good.

This implies that, as Christians we have a lot of work to do in working against this culture.

Here’s the video.  Enjoy.

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