Life threw me some curve balls yesterday, so I didn’t blog (mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa), and the curves just keep on coming, so I’m blog-cheating today to spend some time in the batters box figuring out my next swing by just offering some quick takes. Discuss among yourselves.
1. Ever wonder who the top 100 writers of faith are? Neither had I until this popped up in my e-mail inbox. Ray Bradbury? Who knew?
2. The Wednesday Happiness posts draw interesting private e-mails with some extra tips. For instance, if you want to take off on your own happiness adventure, you could use the Happiness Project Toolbox. Or you could join happier.com, which is a Web site offering tools and tests to measure happiness, as well as webinars and links like this to happiness apps for your iPhone.
3. And speaking of Happiness, the tiny country of Bhutan actually tracks happiness. Everyone else studies the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but Bhutan also studies the Gross National Happiness. In the study, the country also encourages happiness. Here’s just a snippet from the GNH Web site, written by His Majesty King Khesar:
“Henceforth, as even more dramatic changes transform the world and our nation, as long as we continue to pursue the simple and timeless goal of being good human beings, and as long as we strive to build a nation that stands for everything that is good, we can ensure that our future generations for hundreds of years will live in happiness and peace.”
I love the line about “the simple and timeless goal of being good human beings.” If only all of us could do that.
4. Nearly half of all Americans don’t believe in evolution. These two scientists – who are also believing Christians – explain why religious folk need to “fear not” when it comes to the intersection of God and science. The column brought me back nearly a decade to when I was interviewing one of the Vatican astronomers who told me that, as a young boy, he hid an evolution textbook under his mattress so his devout parents wouldn’t find it. Most boys his age were sneaking porn magazines into their bedrooms; he had The Origin of Species. (This link is about the Vatican astronomers, in case anyone is interested in them, but Dr. Funes is not the one I interviewed for my story.)
5. Marriage has been on my mind alot lately, partly because I read “Why Marriage Matters” in a July issue of Time Magazine and “Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear” in the New York Times in the space of three days. The first is a defense of the intact, two-parent family and reports on statistics showing how much better off children are with two parents than are children of divorce; the second is about a wife who decided, against all popular wisdom, to stick out a difficult stretch in her marriage with zero help from her depressed and distant husband. They are both compelling reads about the price (and necessity) of commitment in our society.
But the other reason I’ve had marriage on the brain is because I have an old friend who has been with her partner for nearly as long as my husband of 27 years has been with me. The other night she did one of those Facebook lists and one of the questions she had to answer was “Married?” Instead of writing yes or no, she penned, “How do I answer this?” It struck me as heartbreakingly honest. She was pointing out the obvious: What do you call what she and her female partner have? It is like the saying, “If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck ….” We may not allow homosexuals to legally marry, but those in long-term monogamous relationships are really no different than people in long-term heterosexual unions, are they? If stability in relationships is what we want – and what some argue we absolutely need for the success of our country – shouldn’t we support things that increase stability in all partnered relationship? And if someone has been with the same person for two decades, what do you call that if not marriage?