Around the ‘Sphere

~ Volume XVII ~

Are you swimming in a sea of objectivity? That might not be such a good thing when it comes to scholarship. Charles Halton, who is quite the scholar in his own right, contends that bias isn’t necessarily a bad thing:

I want to be a biased scholar. Furthermore, I want to read works from biased authors. Throw objectivity out the window, I have no use for it because it’s bad for research.

Personally, I’m biased toward Halton’s work, so read the whole thing and decide for yourself.

Another scholar, one Albert Mohler, has posted about the decline in people playing musical instruments, both in the culture at large and in the church. He cites a Charles Rosen article that examines the replacement of performed music with pre-recorded tunes. The rise of recorded music has had a dramatic effect on the amount of music people perform themselves when compared to times before 1900. Mohler observes:

An even greater problem is the effect of all this on congregational singing. Church members, especially the young (and especially young males), have so little experience singing or participating in the production of music in any form that they know only how to listen, not to sing. In one sense, churches that buy into the culture of canned music are setting themselves up for silence in the future. Who will be left to sing?

About the only places I know of where non-professional musicians sing are churches, karaoke bars, and baseball games. Even the film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings edited out almost all of the countless songs and singing of the hobbits. Singing has become counter-culture for those without a recording contract.

I hereby resolve to sing more. Don’t worry, earplugs are on the house.

If you’re like me, and the perennial “let’s boycott stores that say ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas'” talk has left you weary, you’ll appreciate Tom Ascol’s post on the matter:

Isn’t it interesting where we evangelicals often choose to draw battle lines with the world? We take personal offense when retailers make marketing decisions that have absolutely nothing to do with biblical standards of morality and yet heartily support them when they blatantly violate biblical standards. The Bible says nothing about Christmas–either as a special day to be observed or a term to be included in marketing (for the record, I do celebrate Christmas, but not because I think I am biblically obliged to do so). So, why should Christians be exercised when retailers don’t advertize “Christmas” specials?

Interesting indeed. Read it all.

The Rough Woodsman‘s “Swamphopper” tells of an encounter with novelist John Grisham where he picked up some good advice for disciplined writing:

Among the many comments, most notable was his advice to budding authors: nothing replaces discipline. Even when he was still working full-time as an attorney, Grisham committed to writing at least one page a day. He continued the discipline through his second novel as well. Most writers he knows give the same advice. Find a time and place that becomes your daily routine for consistently completing a page a day. Sometimes it may mean twenty minutes of writing; other times, it may mean two hours. If one commits the time, he’ll have a book full of writing at the end of each year.

Sounds like good advice, but right now I have a hard time averaging one blog post per week. How elusive is discipline!

Technically, this last item has little to do with the blogosphere, but technically this is my blog, so I’ll write about it here anyway. It’s called Pandora, and it’s a new, free, internet radio application that chooses songs automatically for you based on the style of and artist or song you choose. For example, I chose “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” selected the Mannheim Steamroller version, and Pandora picked a wide selection of instrumental Christmas songs and played them to me.

I know, I know, recorded music…

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