Wednesday's News & Ideas

  • Rating the God-talk at the Inauguration
  • The first 30 (not 100) days
  • Traditioned innovation; aka "The history rant"

Obama refashions America's old-time (civil) religion. Religion News Service: Seeking to revive a dispirited nation, President Obama told Americans to get religion -- civil religion.

Rick Warren's inaugural invocation gets mixed reviews. Los Angeles Times: Critics of his stance on California's gay marriage measure welcome his inclusive language. But others question his use of a Christian prayer.

Obama begins day with National Prayer Service.Washington Post: On his first full day in office, President Obama will spend part of the morning at the Washington National Cathedral, placing his own stamp on the traditional National Prayer Service.Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Jim Wallis: Religious leaders have new common ground

New leaders: Stop downward performance spirals before they startHarvard Management Update: A U.S. president is often graded on his first 100 days, but research shows that a new business leader has only 30 days to get off to a good start with subordinates.

The history rantDaily Episcopalian: Whenever Derek Olsen teaches a class, he usually begins with “the history rant:” “We are not called to be part of the Christian Historical Society. We are called to be part of the Christian Church. We don’t do things because they’re old; we do them because they proclaim the Gospel.”

The Spark: What people are still willing to pay for

Banking, autos, publishing, retail, manufacturing--the recession has hammered them all. But there is one squishy sector that just keeps on growing, Forbes magazine reports: the self-help industry. Americans spent $11 billion in 2008 on self-improvement books, CDs, seminars, coaching and stress-management programs--13.6 percent more than they did back in 2005. Latest forecast: 6.2 percent annual growth through 2012. What are they getting for their money? In a word, hope.