Weekly Notes: January 31, 2008

I’ve gone a bit light on the blogging lately, but I do have a few things to share. Unfortunately, none of them is a college basketball Top 25 list.

  • I’ve been following some blog activity this week about [HU Prof.] Flavil Yeakley’s presentation on youth in the churches of Christ, which he made on January 19th at Freed-Hardeman. I enjoyed the handful of his presentations I got to see while I was at Harding, and he comes across as one of the most well-educated people I know on the subject of church growth. I’m not an expert on the subject by any means, but it’s definitely one of my interests.Having said that, I have some reservations about the blog reactions I read, one of which was sent via my church’s congregation-wide e-mail list, that of Steve Higginbotham. I appreciate his optimism on the standing of the church, and I agree with his sentiment that we should emphasize the positive things we do in the church, but I would like to have seen the entire set of statistics used in the presentation (and learn about how Dr. Yeakley arrived at them) to form my own conclusions.To me, his “interesting tidbit” about how “middle of the road” churches fare better at retaining young people into adulthood than “much more liberal” churches should be presented with the full context. I don’t doubt that’s the case, but I suspect there is more at work in retaining youth than a church’s position on the left-right spectrum. For any non-CoC folks reading this, ‘left’ in the CoC is probably closer to ‘moderate’ in the context of American politics, but that’s a totally different issue.There are a number of questions worth asking about the study, such as “Did the churches identify themselves ideologically, and if so, who from the church did the identification?” (I haven’t been to many churches that think they’re not “middle of the road,” or that don’t at least want to give off that impression) and “What makes a church ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ for the purposes of this study?” Hopefully these questions were considered beforehand and these factors were controlled in some way. I’m currently looking into it, and I’ll report if I figure anything out.

    If you happen to read this and you are also on the aforementioned mailing list on which this was sent out, I think it’s worth pointing out that the forwarder mis-attributed the above post to “Dan Jenkins,” who is presumably Dale Jenkins from this blog post.

  • That probably could have been a whole post, I guess.
  • Santana to the Mets = bad for the Braves, but if I have to look on the bright side, it does make my NL-only fantasy league slightly more appealing than it has been for a few years.
  • A few years back, I was one of the detractors of the Andy Marte for Edgar Renteria deal that turned out pretty well for the Braves. I hated that the Braves gave up a “sure thing” like Marte for a comparatively expensive second-tier shortstop. Since most casual fans probably still don’t know who Marte is, that’s probably enough to show that that I was very wrong. Here’s a good retrospective analysis of the deal from THT.
  • J.C. has been covering this story every step of the way, but it’s still worth noting here that the people who run Gwinnett County, GA are doing their constituents a great disservice by bringing in the Braves’ AAA team and trying to pay for it with a ridiculous tax on car rentals.
  • I haven’t followed a lot of the great PITCHf/x research that baseball folks have been doing, so it was helpful for me to read the great primer that Mike Fast wrote a few weeks ago at his Statistically Speaking blog. This is one of those cases where statistical analysis is really blending well with traditional scouting.
  • Last night was my first of six weeks co-teaching 3rd through 5th graders in a Wednesday night class at church, and it was a new and interesting experience for me. I have limited experience leading studies with my peers, but kids are totally different. I’m hoping that the kids will get something out of it, and I anticipate that I’ll learn a lot about teaching in the process. We’re discussing some of the big questions that kids their age ask as they learn about God, using a study series that was made to help 6th graders as they transition into the church youth group.
  • Recently, Fire Joe Morgan has been hit-or-miss to me, as they seem to recycle some of their criticisms to the point that someone should be mocking them instead. Still, no one deconstructs ridiculous columns like they do, and this is one of the best jobs they’ve done in a while, on Mike Seate of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • Tonight in the GSC West, Harding should be able to win another road game at SAU, at least they should on paper. OBU will have to prove that they belong in the top five (I think they do) by beating their rivals the Reddies, and Delta State could really help Harding out by beating ATU at home. Christian Brothers will try to get back on the right track by fighting off a UAM squad that is playing much better than I thought they would. A UAM win would dramatically change my preseason vision of the final GSC standings, as it would be the Bucs’ third consecutive loss.
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