Perhaps fiction’s greatest creativity boost is what literary critic Viktor Shklovsky said is the purpose of fiction: to make the familiar strange, so that we look at things in a new light. Fiction allows us to compare how the human experience and ideas work in a made-up world to how they work in real life. From these comparisons, we can begin to think about ideas in profoundly different ways. I like to think that fiction disorients us to reorient us and during that reorientation new ideas spring to our minds.
What happened to the newspaper and magazine business is about to happen to higher education: a rescrambling around the Web.
Many of us view the coming change with trepidation. Will online learning diminish the face-to-face community that is the heart of the college experience? Will it elevate functional courses in business and marginalize subjects that are harder to digest in an online format, like philosophy? Will fast online browsing replace deep reading?
In my research of churches and consultation with churches, I have kept a checklist of potential signs that a church might be moving toward inward obsession. No church is perfect; indeed most churches will demonstrate one or two of these signs for a season. But the real danger takes place when a church begins to manifest three or more of these warning signs for an extended period of months and even years.
Despite emotional protests and fierce lobbying, United Methodists voted on May 2 to maintain their denomination’s stance that the practice of homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Two “agree to disagree” proposals were soundly defeated during separate votes by the nearly 1,000 delegates gathered for the United Methodist Church’s General Conference in Tampa, Fla.