I participated in Model UN for years in high school, and would have continued to do so in college if it had been available. Frustrating as it might have been to work with other "delegates", recognizing the limitations of power even in our mock setting, it was very enlightening and we had some deep discussions on how to find solutions to world wide problems.
Those discussions immediately came back to me today, when I read a fascinating column on World Net Daily, regarding enduring poverty and its connection to basic land rights (or, more precisely, the lack thereof). It's an idea I've never heard before, but that makes a lot of sense.
Perhaps what makes this most interesting to me is the talk I've heard/read recently pushing to move 80-90% of Americans into cities. Proponents suggest this is the most responsible and practical way to move forward as a society for a number of reasons. In my experience, however, few city dwellers own their own land. When they do, they're limited by vastly more zoning laws and hobbled by much more extensive taxes and fees than their suburban or rural counterparts.
Call me paranoid, but I'm going to start paying more attention to conversations and legislation on this topic. Renting may be a good arrangement for us right now, but I've no interest in seeing American's rights in such an important arena eroded any more than they already have been. Speaking of which, Last Child in the Woods would be another great reading option on this subject.
World Net Daily had a couple other great articles today as well. The first related the story of some nutcases who have started a website for the public to vote on whether or not they should abort their baby. Not surprisingly, the columnist suggests the couple is complete unfit to have a child and should neither be allowed to keep it nor ever get pregnant again. I totally agree. I've long been convinced that it was time to reopen the American Eugenics Program. Nice to see other people on the same page - now if only it were possible!
The second was about mega-author Max Lucado and the comprehensive, three year marketing plan his publisher has put together for all things Lucado related. The author's main point was that the Christian book market is heavily over-invested in a few key people, making it even more difficult than it already would be to get new authors into the public, regardless of how valuable their message is. He also noted the failure of almost every Christian publisher to adapt to the demands of the modern book market, such as iPhone aps, compatibility with digital readers and the availability of free digital material.
This brings up a number of interesting debates about what the Christian publishing market should look like, how much it should mirror the secular market and in what ways. Personally, I think they should start by raising the standard of what gets published and by whom. I've read many a "Christian" book that was theologically flawed but at the top of the best selling list, and works from many an author that had no business calling himself a Christian. I've also seen plenty that were just Harlequin novels with the sex scenes removed and a couple Bible verses thrown in. Doesn't the Christian market have a responsibility to self-monitor and carefully measure the image and theology it sells?
The more complex questions start when you debate things like the marketing plan. Whether it's a good business decision or an arrogant, selfish move is open to discussion. As is the question of how deeply invested publishers should be in the digital market. If anyone has opinions, I'd love to hear them because this could be a fascinating conversation. Why don't they have debate clubs for adults?!