Monday, November 09, 2009

"Corrie eleven Boom"

Did you know that "Corrie eleven Boom" doesn't return a hit in Google. I'm not sure about "Corrie nine Boom". You'll have to look up "Corrie ten Boom" yourself.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Three Recent (Audio)Books

1. The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--and How It Died by Philip Jenkins

This book was quite interesting. For example, I remember being taught that it was the Muslim scholarship that kept ancient Greek learning alive during the European Dark Ages. Jenkins claims that, really, it was the Christians who held the hereditary position of scribe in much of the Caliphate and Muslim lands.

Really, the book is largely about the Christian minority in Asia and Africa, especially since the spread of Islam. The decline of this minority, which began a few centuries or sooner after the time of Christ -- far earlier than Christianity was prominent in much of Europe, has been accelerating. In some places this 1800(?) year presence is being wiped out in 2009.

The book gets bogged down in comparisons with Islam, but is still worth a read.

2. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Interesting, though in some places more anecdotal than scholarly.

3. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

Boring at times, but still pretty good. Contains chapters on the the history of Norse Greenland, Easter Island, etc. Claims that the current first world is using resources at an unsustainable rate, and the rate of resource usage will increase as nations like China strive to increase their living standards/consumerism.

Author sees a strong correlation between political trouble spots and areas where population has outstripped resource (i.e. food) production. With globalisation, local problems become global.

Author claims traditions are often what allows a culture to survive, though they can definitely outlive their usefulness. (For example, the Greenland Norse didn't eat fish. Why not?)