Sunday, March 14, 2010

List #31: Some Numbers on My Mind

Here is a list of some numbers that have been on my mind lately:

100 – It has now been 100 days since I’ve returned from my sabbatical in September, October, and November. (Actually, it was 100 days about three days ago.) I have no idea why this number is important. It probably feels important because my sabbatical was 100 days long so that means I have been back at church for as long as I was on sabbatical.

292 – According to a staff member at the UUA Bookstore, that is the number of copies of my book, The Growing Church: Keys to Congregational Vitality, that have sold in the first two months since it was released in mid-January. You can order your own copy here.

$40,000 – That is the staggering amount of money that’s been pledged by a member of the Shawnee Mission UU Church as a challenge grant to provide incentive for us to reach our canvass pledge goal of $353,000 this year. Wow! Simply, Wow! You can find out more about the challenge grant here. You can find out about program plans for the coming year here. You can read member testimonials here. You can make a pledge here.

33%, 42%, and 80% - The last book I read was Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges. You can read my review of it here (scroll down to book #12). In the first chapter of Empire of Illusion Chris Hedges provides the following statistics:
33% of high school graduates in the United States never read another book.

42% of college graduates in the United States never read another book.

80% of American adults neither purchased nor read a book in 2007.
Hedges provides numerous citations but none of them are specific. Do these numbers seem believable to you?

65 – As I am writing this Mississippi State found a way to squander their lead against Kentucky in the championship game of the SEC tournament. In doing so, they cost themselves an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship tournament. Will their showing today be enough to get them into the tournament? The field of 65 teams gets announced later on this afternoon. It is March Madness which means I will spend the next three weeks hooked on college basketball. I will plan to blog my bracket later on this week. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

6 – That is the number of Academy Awards won by The Hurt Locker at last Sunday’s Oscars. Congratulations! In a blog entry I wrote earlier I wrote that I was torn between choosing The Hurt Locker or Inglourious Basterds as my top film of the year. In the end, I gave the nod to Inglourious Basterds. That does remind me that I need to post my rationale for this decision on my blog.