Ah, I have so much on my mind, but don't know where to start. Some days I go through droughts with not much worth sharing, but then I go through, um, spouts where I have too much. It's not that stuff I want to share is oh-so-fascinating especially to you, but it's just thoughts that come to mind. So maybe this post should just briefly mention those things and maybe I'll "flesh 'em out" in later posts if the mood strikes.
I started a new book, The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark. He's not a historian, but a sociologist and he's trying to answer the question about Christianity's rise from that perspective. It's slightly technical at times when he gets into the arithmetic part, but I am enjoying much of the cultural tidbits very much! His main question is this: "How did a tiny and obscure messianic movement from the edge of the Roman Empire dislodge classical paganism and become the dominant faith of Western civilization?" He explores such things as primary (often women) and secondary (often their husbands) conversions, social networks, epidemics, status of women, fertility, conversion of Jews being higher than we think, Christians being from all social groups not only slaves. Well, those are the ones I've read about so far. I'm about halfway through the book.
Just a bit ago I read some interesting facts about the declining birthrate and how the Roman Empire was giving incentives to men who would father at least three children. The Roman Empire so very much needed its citizens to have higher fertility rates that many emperors imposed "political and financial sanctions upon childless couples, upon unmarried women over the age of twenty, and upon unmarried men over the age of twenty-five." Perhaps if their male to female ratio were not 131 to 100 due to infanticide (killing mostly unwanted female infants), this would not have been such a problem.
The declining birthrate thing reminded me of this post Why Tanning, Barbie and God Forbid Belgian Chocolate May Disappear In the Future? by a Jordanian-Syrian man living in the United States. If you don't want to read the post, it's so titled because of the declining rate of white people in the world. There is a reason places like Germany are inviting other nationalities into the country to study basically free of charge.
By the way, that blog is one that I started reading this week and have found most interesting. I especially love when Malik shares cultural tidbits from both the US and Arab world. I enjoyed reading his Arab perspective on the 4th of July, for instance.
Another blog about a serious topic is this new one by a Jordanian who is speaking out about childhood sexual abuse. Visit Mohammed's blog here and lend him your support if you wish.
In other news, I was reading through Luke 2-4 recently and kept getting stopped by patterns I was noticing. And then today I started rereading some things in those chapters and ended up visiting Deuteronomy and Exodus and three places in Isaiah because my Bible had links back to those places. I was reminded again that I love Isaiah 40 and need to read it more often.
Note to self: write a post about Luke 4:14-30 and why Jesus didn't just leave well enough alone. They liked him and were amazed by him so why challenge them to the extent they want to throw you off a cliff?
Random thought that came to mind as I was driving the other day: I think I'd heard a story about single parenting and how many children are growing up in poverty due to mainly a lack of fathers. Then my mind went to polygynous families and how even if you have only one other wife, you've perhaps made your wives single mothers half the time. I guess unless you live with both wives and all the children in one household. But for those men who have two separate households and maybe spend one week with Jane and her kids following by a week with Cara and her kids...that reminds me of the children I've always felt sorry for because their divorced parents had joint custody meaning they had to live one week at mom's followed by one week at dad's. I assume the children get used to it, but it seemed rather dreadful to me. Only with polygyny, it's the man of the householdS who must move from place to place.
Which lead me to wonder if that's OK really. After all what is the father's role besides providing for his family? If he is providing for Jane and her kids sufficiently why not also have a life with Cara and her kids if he can provide materialistically for them just the same?
QUESTION FOR YOU: What roles did your father/grandfather have in your household? What about your husbands and adult brothers? The men in your life? Are they only useful for fathering children and then providing for them? Or do they have other roles that would be missed if they were gone 50% of the time to non-work-related things? Granted I know even in monogamous relationships, fathers can essentially make their wives into single mothers because they work too many hours or they pursue too many hobbies outside the household. Too much golf or fishing or maybe even just sitting in front of the television while the wife does all the child-rearing stuff.
The only other thing on my mind is remnants and I'll not talk about that now since this post is long and rambling enough.
Hope all are well! And, can it be that Zach is ten weeks old today?