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News That Illustrates: September 5, 2011

Steve Jobs's Best Quotes
After Steve Jobs resigned as Apple's CEO, The Wall Street Journal ran an article with some of Jobs's most quotable quotes over the past thirty years. Here are a few examples about leadership, communication, and creativity:

  • On simplicity: "Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean and make it simple."
  • On quality: "When you're a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you're not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though nobody will ever see it. You'll know it's there, so you're going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night … the quality has to be carried all the way through."
  • On focus & self-denial: "It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don't get on the wrong track and try to do too much … it's only by saying no that you can concentrate on things that are really important."

Is Steve Jobs Our Savior?
Here's a beautifully-written piece by Andy Crouch on Steve Jobs's secular vision of hope. Crouch begins by noting Apple's early logo—a rainbow slapped on a bitten fruit, the traditional (and biblical) symbol of human fallenness and failure. Jobs converted that symbol of sin into a symbol of hope—and we can have it all through technological innovations. Crouch calls it "the gospel of a secular age." But can it really provide the hope we so desperately need? Crouch argues, "Steve Jobs's gospel is, in the end, a set of beautifully polished empty promises. But I look on my secular neighbors … like sheep without a shepherd, who no longer believe in anything they cannot see, and I cannot help feeling compassion for them, and something like fear." Read the whole article: it's a beautiful way to set up a sermon on hope, trusting Christ, spiritual hunger, or evangelism.

Martin Luther King Jr. Weeps From His Grave
In anticipation of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C., Cornel West wrote a moving piece about Dr. King's vision for America. Shortly before he was murdered, Dr. King said that his dream for a more democratic America had become "a nightmare," owing to the persistence of "racism, poverty, militarism and materialism." On the Sunday after his assassination, King planned to preach a sermon titled "Why America May Go to Hell." As West points out, "King did not think that America ought to go to hell, but rather that it might go to hell owing to its economic injustice, cultural decay and political paralysis." Even if you don't agree with Cornel West's political vision, it's tough to argue with his claim that King was "a courageous and visionary Christian blues man, fighting with style and love in the face of the four catastrophes he identified."

The Real Reason College Students Drink So Much
New research points to the real reason why college students drink so much: they want to get drunk. Or in the words of research psychologist E. Scott Geller, "They intend to get intoxicated …. If they intend to get drunk, it's difficult to stop that." Apparently, most of them are looking for "liquid courage" and for adventure. Another college professor commented, "Because so much can go wrong, interesting, exciting, funny things happen when you have many people intoxicated together." And a young female student from Ohio University said, "Part of the thrill of it is you don't know where the night is going to take you." You have to wonder if there's a better way to get courage and have adventures.

Who Is the Highest Paid Athlete in the World?
What do you think—who is the highest paid athlete in the world? Is it Peyton Manning, Alex Rodriquez, or Kobe Bryant? Nope, it's now Cameroonian soccer star Samuel Eto'o. The superstar of global soccer is willing to leave his Inter Milan club to play for an obscure club in a violence-wracked region of Russia. And apparently the move is driven by money: with Russia's favorable tax rates, Eto'o will earn nearly $29 million per season. The article concluded, "Eto'o's decision to swap the glamour of Milan for megabucks in [Russia] is only the latest testament to the lengths athletes will go—and the indignities they will endure—in exchange for astronomical paychecks."

College Football: Is Any Program Clean?
The NCAA announced that they are investigating possible (and probable) violations in the football program at the University of Miami—after already nailing USC and Ohio State. Now USA Today asks, "Do you believe any college [football] program is clean?" In a meeting a few weeks ago, 50 university presidents promised reform, but the article seemed to imply that no one can get these violations under control. I'm reminded of C.S. Lewis prophetic indictment of our culture back in 1947: "And all the time—such is the tragic-comedy of our situation—we continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible …. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and find traitors in our midst."

12-year-old Detective Cracks a Real Burglary
If you're preaching on stewardship, spiritual gifts, or the service of all of God's people, here's a fun but true story about a 12-year-old girl who cracked a real burglary case. Jessica Maple from Atlanta used the investigative skills she learned at a Junior District Attorney crime fighting summer camp to follow-up on a burglary on her grandmother's house. Police found no evidence of forced entry, but Ms. Maple dug a little further, found more evidence, tracked the stolen stuff to a local pawn shop, got the names of the thieves, and brought it all to the underachieving local police department.

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