Trinity Forum Reflections

Thu, Oct 24 2013
The Trinity Forum recently hosted an Evening Conversation with Andy Crouch -- editor of Christianity Today and author of "Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power." In the talk, Crouch talked about how, from the beginning, God has a plan to move things from good, to very good, to glory -- and that human and government institutions, when following that plan, can create human flourishing. But when they abuse that plan the result is an idolatry that can cause suffering. Responding to Crouch is Washington Post columnist Mike Gerson -- who served as chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush, and was an eyewitness to the practical exercise of power in the White House. Below is a Trinity Forum video with highlights the event. The entire event can be viewed in the link at bottom. View the full video
Fri, Oct 11 2013
Recently, a friend asked me to accompany her as she received electric shocks while participating in a study to better understand friendship and attachment. (For real.) We drove to the University of Virginia, where electrodes were strapped to her ankles and she was pushed inside an MRI machine, and a test series consisting of images of either an “X” or an “O” flashed before her eyes. When an “O” appeared, she knew no shock was coming. But if an “X” popped up, she had a 20% chance of receiving a strong electric shock. My job was to literally hold her hand through part of the process. The rest of the time, she either endured the test (and shocks) alone, or held the hand of a stranger (in this case, a UVA lab assistant). Sensors attached to her skull read neurologic activity in each case, measuring levels of fear and distress...
Tue, Jul 16 2013
Last week, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) released a compelling report affirming the necessity and centrality of the humanities and liberal arts in developing citizens and perpetuating democratic self-government. Entitled "The Heart of the Matter," the report was drafted in response to a bipartisan request from Members of Congress, and incorporated input from a large commission of luminaries, including university presidents, scholars, business executives, artists, journalists, and even poets such as our own Trinity Forum Senior Fellow Dana Gioia. The report articulates goals of educating Americans in the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary for citizenship, fostering a society that is innovative, competetive, and strong, and equipping the nation for leadership in an interconnected world - and argues for strengthening the teaching of and research in the humanities and social sciences, expanding lifelong learning programs, strengthening the teaching of American history, and encouraging the use of new digital...
Mon, Jun 17 2013
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” -- Ray Bradbury It has long been an assumption that the act of reading is not only foundational but formational: that what and how we read helps determine how we think, and thus, who we are. But what happens when reading itself is in decline? Sadly, it is not a theoretical question. A comprehensive report on reading compiled by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) a few years ago found that both reading and reading comprehension are in decline across all age groups, and that half of all young adults do not read any literature. It concluded: “although there has been measurable progress in recent years in reading ability at the elementary school level, all progress appears to halt as children enter their teenage years. There is a general decline in reading...
Thu, May 16 2013
Last week, Trinity Forum Senior Fellow Dallas Willard died, just a couple of days after publicly confirming a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. He was 77, and leaves behind his wife of many years, Jane, two children, a grandchild, and legions of friends, students, colleagues, and readers who will forever be grateful for the life, example, thought, and work of this extraordinary and humble man. Dallas served as a professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California (USC) for the past 40 years, as well as a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum for the past decade. He was a best-selling and prolific author, an ordained minister, an extraordinary thinker, and a gifted translator of philosophy and theology to the curious and thoughtful layman. But he may be best known for the manner in which he helped so many better know God. He was a passionate advocate for intentional spiritual...
Mon, Mar 18 2013
Nastiness, new research shows, corrodes not only relationships, but also reading comprehension. A recent study published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication and reported in the New York Times sought to study what was termed “the nasty effect” – the impact of insulting comments about an article on readers’ capacity to accurately understand the article’s content. In the study, researchers asked test subjects to read a blog post that explained the various advantages and risks of a new technology product, then read comments on that post (purportedly from other readers). Half of the study participants were given reader comments that included either epithets or profanity. The other half of the sample read comments to the original blog article that were similar in content, length, and intensity, but were civil in tone. Simply reading the nasty comments, the researchers found, could significantly distort what the test subjects thought the original article...
Tue, Feb 19 2013
Merry Christmas from the Trinity Forum! In this update, we offer a reflection on love, evil, and Newtown.
Thu, Feb 14 2013
Earlier this week marked the 11th anniversary of 9-11.
Wed, Feb 13 2013
Lent, Attention, and Invisible Gorillas New evidence confirms that it is really quite common to entirely miss the elephant (or gorilla) in the room. In attempting to better understand the nature of focus and attention, a group of researchers showed test subjects a video of a half dozen students, differentiated by shirt color (half wearing white shirts, the other half black shirts) passing basketballs back and forth while weaving in and out of a circle, and asked the test subjects to count the times a white-shirted player passed the ball. In the midst of all the ball-passing, a man in a gorilla suit saunters into the middle of the circle, mugs for the camera, beats his chest, and ambles off. Fully half of the test subjects are so focused on counting the number of passes that they do not even notice the gorilla. Earlier this week, NPR reported on a...
Fri, Jun 22 2012
“I don’t waste time reading make-believe.”