Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why denominations grow internationally?

Here's an abstract from a paper "Exporting Christianity: Governance and Doctrine in the Globalization of US Denominations" by Gordon H. Hanson and Chong Xiang

"In this paper we build a model of market competition among religious denominations, using a framework that involves incomplete contracts and the production of club goods. We treat denominations akin to multinational enterprises, which decide which countries to enter based on local market conditions and their own “productivity.” The model yields predictions for how a denomination’s religious doctrine and governance structure affect its ability to attract adherents. We test these predictions using data on the foreign operations of US Protestant denominations in 2005 from the World Christian Database. Consistent with the model, we find that (1) denominations with stricter religious doctrine attract more adherents in countries in which the risk of natural disaster or disease outbreak is greater and in which government provision of health services is weaker, and (2) denominations with a decentralized governance structure attract more adherents in countries in which the productivity of pastor effort is higher. These findings shed light on factors determining the composition of religion within countries, helping account for the rise of new Protestant denominations in recent decades."

It's interesting to read scholars in other disciplines take such different approaches than sociologists.


Thanks David!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter one-up manship

Over the weekend, we attended a wonderful Easter service at our church, complete with very well-done drama. (Our church benefits from have several writers and drama-types in it). I was going to brag about this to my sister, but when we got home from church, there was an e-mail from her saying how beautiful were the Easter services at St. Peters in Rome (and they were just a couple of rows back). Wow, that's even more impressive than what we do here in Storrs, CT!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Going to college

My 17-year-old son, Gus, was accepted to a Christian college (hint: It's in a suburb west of Chicago named Wheaton), and today he sent back the acceptance form. One of the questions asked if he had any special dietary needs. Me being me, I suggested that you put that he can only eat steak and lobster. This time, however, Cathy seriously one-upped me... she suggested that he write "kosher". It's probably best that he's filling out the forms himself.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

An olympic sport for the rest of us...

Rabbit jumping Everyone's doing it now!

(Though it's just a matter of time before they need to start testing for BPEDs--Bunny Performance Enhancing Drugs).

Thanks KT Cat.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Love and poison ivy

We live near the local high school, and there's a nice stonewall at the end of our streets. Periodically I see teenage couples sitting on the wall while canoodling. It's not indecent, though it usually looks a bit awkward for them; however, the entire wall is covered with poison ivy. Sometimes when I'm passing by, I'll point this out to them, but other times I just think it's a useful metaphor for teenage love--not without its unexpected costs.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pass the gripes forward

I had an interesting experience with the concept of "passing it forward", but instead of charity, it was griping.

At the gym, I was getting dressed after going for a swim, and Person A walked in and launched into a several minute diatribe about some injustice that he perceived during his workout. Apparently he was walking around the track, and another walker, Person B, asked him to walk in slower lane. He felt that he was going fast enough to merit being on the faster lane. It didn't sound like that big of a deal, but by the time he got to the locker room he was spewing.

He left the locker room, and Persons C and D, who listened to the rant, started griping about how much he was griping. They complained about several minutes about it.

That left me, Person E, thinking about the whole interaction and just shaking my head about it.

So, there you have it... a simple unpleasant interaction rippled through various interactions. There is something to everyday love and courtesy in even the smallest of interactions.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Go Huskies! I mean, autism research.

Last night, while driving home from an errand, I noticed that the main building on campus was lighted in blue light. (Usually just a regular white light). It's final four, UConn is in it, and UConn's colors are blue and white. I thought that was a fun idea and hoped it would become a tradition for when UConn teams do well.

While... I spoke with a neighbor today, one who is in the University administration, and he explained that the blue light is to support autism.  Apparently an autism advocacy group has asked universities to shine a blue light on this weekend, and it just happens to be the final four.