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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Recently, I played the role of father of the bride for the first time in my life. It was a life-changing event for me; I barely survived. I suspect it was an important day for my daughter too; she was quite animated and very interested in every detail. Months of planning and purchasing led steadily to the special day. Flower choices were debated, color schemes considered and rejected, songs chosen, an organist identified, a soloist, a photographer, a videographer, a caterer, a baker, greeters, readers, feeders, eaters—Eisenhower spent less time planning his visit to Normandy. It was the usual, once-in-a-lifetime kind of event in the chapel of the small liberal-arts college where I teach and the betrothed couple met, graduated and learned about lifelong commitment—like the legal obligations inherent in student loans.
Of course, there was the Friday-night rehearsal. My part was easy enough: Walk slowly down the aisle with a beautiful woman on my arm. After two walk-throughs, I was confident I could handle it. Although I had major parts, both onstage in a tuxedo and as the signer of numerous bank drafts, I had only one line, “Her mother and I,” in reply to the query, “Who gives this woman?” I delivered my line at the rehearsal in a strong, confident voice, accompanied by the thought, “I can do this tomorrow.”
But at 3 a.m., I awoke with a panic attack. I could not do this.
Read it all.
A local school's fund drive for a church has caught the attention of the American Humanist Association, a secular group concerned about the separation of church and state. The group is threatening legal action.
The student council of Oakbrook Elementary School in Ladson is raising money and encouraging donations to Old Fort Baptist Church's food pantry. The efforts were publicized on the school's website and in fliers as supporting "Old Fort Baptist Missions."
The Humanist Association, whose slogan is "good without God," said they sent a letter on Thursday by email to Dorchester District 2 Superintendent Joe Pye and Principal Monica O'Dea claiming that it was unconstitutional for a school to raise money for a church.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General City Government * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths * South Carolina
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
In the last few decades, there has been much talk about “Six Degrees of Separation,” which is the idea that any person in the world can be introduced to any other person in the world, by being introduced through our networks of friends. Statisticians have demonstrated that anyone in the US can be introduced to almost anyone else in the US by going through only two or three friends. But as often as we hear such things, it is still amazing when it happens “in real life.”
This week I received a private message on Facebook from a woman I never met. And that was the beginning (or possibly the end) of an unusual series of connections through my life and through social media. To understand the connections that led to this message, let me go back in time to high school.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Children Marriage & Family * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Methodist * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Every day all over America, postal workers complete their appointed rounds without much notice. But in one Midwest town, they turned into heroes.
Christy Perfetti has been delivering mail in East Peoria, Ill., for 23 years. Almost a decade along this same route.
For the most part, she says every day is like every other. Except for one day last year.
Perfetti was pulling into the post office parking lot when she saw an older man taking a young boy behind a shed. She had a gut instinct something was wrong.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Sexuality * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market The U.S. Government * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
A new study study reveals that an infant’s brain may remember a language, even if the child has no idea how to speak a word of it.
The finding comes from a new study performed by a team of researchers from McGill University’s Department of Psychology and Montreal’s Neurological Institute who are working to understand how the brain learns language.
Read it all.
Prominent U.S. evangelicals Russell Moore and Rick Warren blasted the sexual revolution at a Vatican conference Tuesday (Nov. 18) and said it is destroying the institution of marriage.
Moore, the public face of the Southern Baptist Convention, said sexual liberation had created “a culture obsessed with sex” that had simply led to a “boredom of sex shorn of mystery.”
“Western culture now celebrates casual sexuality, cohabitation, no-fault divorce, family redefinition and abortion right as part of a sexual revolution that can tear down old patriarchal systems,” Moore told a global gathering of leaders from Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and other faiths as part of the “Complementarity of Man and Woman” conference convened by Pope Francis.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Men Sexuality Women * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals Roman Catholic Pope Francis * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
If all you need is love, as the Beatles say, perhaps it makes sense that a shrinking share of Americans are even bothering with marriage. In 1960 85% of American adults had been wed at least once; last year just 70% could say the same. Young people are proving particularly reluctant to try: 28% of men aged between 25 and 34 in 2010—and 23% of women—will not yet have tied the knot by 2030, according to estimates from the Pew Research Centre, a think-tank.
There are several reasons for this change in marriage trends. More women are working outside the home, and for fairer pay, so a husband is no longer a meal ticket. And attitudes to cohabitation have shifted: almost a quarter of young adults now live with a partner. Given the exorbitant costs of both weddings and divorces in America, living "in sin" seems increasingly sensible, particularly for the many youngsters who are now drowning in college debt.
But while a larger proportion of Americans are shying away from saying “I do”, those that have done it before remain keen to do it again. Last year 40% of new marriages included at least one partner who had made vows before, according to a new Pew study. Divorced or widowed adults are about as likely to remarry today—57% have done so—as they were in the 1960s. The prospect is certainly more appealing than it ever used to be, as rising divorce rates have yielded a larger pool of possibilities. So In total, 42m adults in America have been married more than once, up from 14m in 1960. “It’s fascinating that among those people eligible to remarry, the share that do has been stable for such a long time,” reckons Gretchen Livingston, one author of the new research.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Psychology Young Adults * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Another day, another football player arrested for domestic violence.
Frank Clark, a senior defensive end for the University of Michigan, was arrested Sunday for allegedly attacking his girlfriend in a Perkins, Ohio hotel room. Sports analysts predict Clark will be a third-round NFL draft pick next year. It’s the latest in a string of scandals involving football players this year–including Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice and Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson–that has prompted the NFL to implement a revamped domestic violence policy.
But Drew Pittman, a Christian NFL sports agent whose firm has negotiated almost $1 billion in player contracts, claims we’re missing the real problem. He says America–not just sports–is experiencing an epidemic of men who are not equipped to be husbands and fathers. He’s compiled stories and principles from his career in a new book, First Team Dad: Your Playbook for a Winning Family (foreword by Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy), and argues that our real problem is ungodly men. Here we discuss his book, sports scandals, and what he believes every parent can learn about parenting and marriage from professional sports.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Men Sports Violence Women * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The number of homeless children in the U.S. has surged in recent years to an all-time high, amounting to one child in every 30, according to a comprehensive state-by-state report that blames the nation's high poverty rate, the lack of affordable housing and the impacts of pervasive domestic violence.
Titled "America's Youngest Outcasts," the report being issued Monday by the National Center on Family Homelessness calculates that nearly 2.5 million American children were homeless at some point in 2013. The number is based on the Department of Education's latest count of 1.3 million homeless children in public schools, supplemented by estimates of homeless pre-school children not counted by the DOE.
The problem is particularly severe in California, which has one-eighth of the U.S. population but accounts for more than one-fifth of the homeless children with a tally of nearly 527,000.
Read it all.
The other day, something came across my newsfeed about Kourtney Kardashian’s pregnancy style.
I’ll hand it to her; she’s a stylish pregnant lady. And we know this for certain now, because this is her third pregnancy with boyfriend Scott Disick.
But that’s just it. Boyfriend.
It’s head-scratching to me why a couple would have multiple children — all “planned” — but refuse to tie the knot. It seems to me, if you’re building a family together, why not make it official? Yet keeping it unofficial is becoming the new norm.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Men Psychology Religion & Culture Women * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
A network of savings clubs in primary schools which could give pupils as young as four years old practical experience of money management is being proposed by the Church of England as part of a drive to raise the level of children’s financial awareness.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings is putting forward plans for a pilot scheme where savings clubs administered by credit unions in primary schools would encourage children to save small, regular amounts of money.
Children would also be given opportunities to take part in the running of the savings clubs, as junior cashiers or bank managers and their practical learning would be reinforced by classroom teaching materials.
The proposed teaching resources would cover areas such as understanding the role money plays in our lives, how to manage money and managing risks and emotions associated with money. The teaching pack would provide practical ideas for schools to promote values such as generosity including charitable giving and fundraising.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Children Education * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Over the past decade or so, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—usually known as the “Mormon” or “LDS” church—has moved toward greater transparency about its earliest era.
Through the publication of “The Joseph Smith Papers” and new historical essays on the official church website, lds.org, interested readers have been able to learn about the fuzzy period of early Mormonism, the roughly fifteen years from its founding to the settlement in Utah.
Now a new essay, “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo,” makes frank admissions about the early days of polygamous relations (called “plural marriage” in LDS terminology) at Mormon settlements in Ohio and Illinois.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Mormons * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Keeping guns out of the hands of convicted abusers is one measure under consideration by a state House committee set up to improve the state's domestic violence laws.
The committee is to begin efforts Wednesday to draft the reforms. Rep. Shannon Erickson, a Beaufort Republican who chairs the panel, said guns could be banned from convicted abusers in a manner similar to the way the state last year restricted guns from those designated mentally incompetent by the courts.
Erickson said evidence presented to her committee showed that domestic violence often is an escalating crime that can result in severe injury or death to others. Accordingly, she said she believes it's possible to maintain South Carolina's support for individual gun rights while creating "good laws that protect our own citizens in the process."
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Sexuality Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General State Government * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
On Thursday 17 July a Beefeater planted a single ceramic poppy in the Tower of London moat.
Since that day over 800,000 have been added and more than four million people have visited the display - many of them taking photos as the poppies continued to swell in number.
We've collected some of the pictures posted by visitors and volunteers over the last four months - creating a fascinating record of how the display evolved from a single poppy to a vast sea of crimson.
Scroll down the page to see the installation grow before your eyes...
Please do not miss this (from the Telegraph).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * General Interest Photos/Photography * International News & Commentary England / UK
I never meant to play you this story. Let me tell you why I had to.
Every so often I record interviews as part of a school benefit. People ask me to question their parents, or grandparents, to preserve family history. The stories that emerge are a little like our series StoryCorps.
When the McHone family arranged for me to interview Sylvia and Ron of Crystal Lake, Ill., I didn't know their story. Only shortly beforehand did I learn that they wanted to set down some memories of their son, Capt. Nathan McHone, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2012 at age 29.
This recorded interview was meant to be private, but their story felt so important that I asked if I could share it. They agreed. Thousands of Americans have been through the same experience as the McHone family — but it's rare to hear it told in such a raw and honest way.
But there's no point trying to describe it. Just listen.
Listen to it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Military / Armed Forces * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Look at them all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Military / Armed Forces * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * General Interest Photos/Photography * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
There is a fabulous resource for this courtesy of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. There are many themes from which to choose, and various letters to see the text of and listen to. Take a moment a drink at least one in, and, if you have a moment, tell us your thoughts in the comments.
“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”
-- On many memorials to the dead in war worldwide, as for example that for the British 2nd Division at Kohima, India; there is a debate about its precise origins in terms of who first penned the lines
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Military / Armed Forces * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military
Hostilities ceased in the Korean War more than 50 years ago, yet there are still more than 7,800 U.S. service members unaccounted for in that conflict -- out of 83,165 missing since World War II (most of them from WWII, with 1,639 from the Vietnam War and six in Iraq and related conflicts.)
After five decades, it becomes ever more difficult to find family DNA samples for remains that are recovered.
Still, a flurry of Korean War identifications suggests the Pentagon -- which overhauled its POW/MIA search earlier this year after coming under fire for a money-wasting and uncoordinated operation -- may be trying harder to broaden its approach. A number of the identifications are now made using paternal DNA and/or autosomal DNA as well as maternal (mitochondrial) DNA.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Military / Armed Forces * International News & Commentary Asia Korea * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
25 year-old Kyle Carpenter should not be alive today. But he is, and he wears his scars with pride. After nearly 40 surgeries and two and a half years in the hospital, he got back to fighting shape and completed the Marine Corps Marathon. This summer, Kyle became the second living Marine since the Vietnam War to receive the nation's highest military decoration -- the Medal of Honor.
Watch it all and you can read more about the amazing Marine veteran Cpl. Kyle Carpenter there.
A doctor has been ordered to appear in a criminal court accused of planning an abortion based on the sex of the unborn baby in the first case of its kind ever to come to court in the UK.
Dr Prabha Sivaraman was one of two doctors filmed allegedly agreeing to arrange terminations because of the gender of the foetus in a Telegraph investigation in 2012.
The 46-year-old from South Yorkshire has been served a summons to appear before Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court next month to face an allegation under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act.
It is part of a rare private prosecution brought by a pro-life campaigner and supported by the Christian Legal Centre after the Crown Prosecution Service decided against charging Dr Sivaraman and another physician featured in the Telegraph investigation.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Sexuality * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
At least 47 students have been killed by a suicide bomber at a school assembly in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Potiskum, police have said.
The explosion at a boys' science and technical school in the town is believed to have been caused by a suicide bomber dressed as a student.
Militant group Boko Haram is believed to be behind the blast, police said.
The group has targeted schools during a deadly five-year insurgency campaign to establish an Islamic state.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Liberia lies just north of the equator and is home to part of the last great rainforest in West Africa, where the Ebola virus thrives in tropical, humid conditions.
With their hospitals overwhelmed, special centers for the sick, called Ebola treatment units, are being built as fast as possible. One of them is run by an American relief-group, the International Medical Corps -- where Lara Logan, who is currently self-quarantined for 21 days, reported this story.
To get to the Ebola treatment unit, we traveled north from the Liberian capital along pitted roads toward the border with neighboring Guinea where this outbreak began. American virologist Joseph Fair, who's been here for most of the epidemic, came with us.
Read or watch it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Globalization Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Poverty * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Liberia * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
A top medical expert in Britain has said that assisted dying will be made legal in UK within the next two years.
The deputy chair of the British Medical Association Dr Kailash Chand has confirmed that a Bill that offers assisted dying to terminally ill patients who are mentally capable and are likely to have less than six months to live will soon be cleared.
UK has been seeing a growing support for the move — influenced by opinion polls suggesting that up to three quarters of the public would support a change in the law allowing assisted dying.
One of the world's most revered religious leaders Desmond Tutu - a Nobel peace laureate and archbishop emeritus of Cape Town has lent his full-fledged support to Britain's plans of legally allowing assisted death.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
It sounds like The Da Vinci Code: a new history book claims that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and fathered two children with her.
The book, The Lost Gospel, will also claim that there was a previously unknown plot on Jesus’s life when he was 20 and an assassination attempt on Mary and her children.
While it may appear to be fiction, the book, which is published later this month, is based on an ancient manuscript held by the British Library.
The authors are Simcha Jacobovici, an Israeli-Canadian writer and film-maker who specialises in ancient historical and archeological investigations, and Barrie Wilson, a professor of religious studies at York University, Toronto.
Read it all (requires subscription).
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Books Children History Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Christology Theology: Scripture
Our mission is to nurture children in Charleston's Eastside by providing a safe environment where they can learn and grow.
The Biblical Family Center provides hope and optimism to the Eastside Community of Charleston.
Through our summer camps and after school programs,we provide year round mentoring and support for families. The Biblical Family Center has created a safe space to address risky behaviors, build on protective factors, and improve relationships. We are addressing: school attachment, avoiding self-harm, positive body image, avoiding tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, communicating needs of families, making healthy choices regarding nutrition, self care, recreational activities, and abstinence.
Check it out.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Children Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues * South Carolina
[Stacy Pride's dog] Paco died this fall, two years after her husband's death. Pride wanted a special way to say goodbye to a special pet.
Although the family had buried earlier pets, this time she went to McAlister-Smith Funeral & Cremations to have Paco cremated. She picked out a simple copper urn to keep Paco with her family forever. Her daughters bought her a charm with Paco's nose print because he loved to kiss with his nose.
With that, the family joined a growing number of pet owners scampering for the same kinds of services for pets that they long have relied on to mourn human loved ones.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * General Interest Animals * South Carolina * Theology
As a kid, Tim Scott badly wanted to fit in with the majority white kids at Stall High School, and the black kids, too. And he didn't want any outward signs of his family's poverty.
A pair of Converse high tops were the ticket.
But his mom said no.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Women * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Politics in General House of Representatives Senate * South Carolina * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
"Pregnancy and childbirth were very male experiences for me," said a 29-year-old respondent in a study reported Friday in Obstetrics and Gynecology. "When I birthed my children, I was born into fatherhood."
If this statement at first seems perplexing, it's less so when you realize the person talking is a transgender man – someone who has transitioned from a female identity to a male or masculine identity.
He is one of 41 participants in a study of how it feels to be male and pregnant, a study the authors think may be the first of its kind.
Pregnancy as a transgender man is unlike any other kind. No one expects a man to be pregnant, and the study participants said they were often greeted with double-takes, suspicion and even hostility from strangers and health care providers. "Child Protective Services was alerted to the fact that a 'tranny' had a baby," one participant reported.
Read it all.
On a dirt field between two tall plum trees, barefoot young women played a surprisingly ferocious game of kickball one evening this week. Sweating in the heat and humidity despite the approach of dusk, they battled with the pent-up energy of teens who have been stuck at home too long.
A crowd of 100, maybe more, gathered to watch. Huge speakers blared the Ghanain hip-hop of Sargo D, making conversation nearly impossible. The spectators stood closely together. Some danced, some moved more subtly to the music. Had there been food and drink, this gathering in Monrovia’s Capitol Hill neighborhood could have been a block party.
Barely six or seven weeks ago, it also would have been impossible.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Globalization Health & Medicine Psychology Teens / Youth * Economics, Politics Economy Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Liberia * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Watch it all--loads of fun.
MPs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion declaring that sex-selection abortion is illegal.
They voted 181 to 1 for a motion brought forward by a cross-party alliance of MPs in an effort to end uncertainty over whether doctors can be prosecuted for the practice. It will now have a second reading in January.
Confusion over the law was exposed last year by the decision of the then Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Keir Starmer, not to bring charges against two doctors caught on camera agreeing to arrange abortions of baby girls purely because of their sex, in a Telegraph investigation.
The case was investigated by Scotland Yard and passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service which said that although there was enough evidence, it was not in the “public interest” to bring charges.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology Sexuality * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Though it has brought advanced care planning to a remarkable number of people, Respecting Choices has encountered some resistance. Britt Welnetz, the organization’s business development consultant, said that she is often asked whether a nonphysician facilitator can effectively discuss medical decisions. She explains that the standardized, patient-centered conversation leads to an overall level of patient satisfaction.
Others ask if the Respecting Choices model can work in a community that’s more diverse than La Crosse. Research indicates that it can. The Respecting Choices program was implemented in a hospital in Milwaukee, and the use of advance directives among racial and ethnic minorities increased substantially from 25.8 percent to 38.4 percent. Research suggests that it’s knowledge of advance directives, regardless of race and ethnicity, that leads to their use.
The advance care planning facilitator model has gained acceptance both nationally and internationally. Respecting Choices has trained more than 10,000 facilitators, as well as nearly 600 instructors and nearly 30 faculty members who can implement system-wide changes. There are facilitators in 47 states in the United States, and Respecting Choices is the national standard of care in Singapore and Australia; the program is also the model for an $8.5 million European Union study of advance-stage cancer patients and end-of-life care.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The holy grail for helping youth remain religiously active as young adults has been at home all along: Parents.
Mothers and fathers who practice what they preach and preach what they practice are far and away the major influence related to adolescents keeping the faith into their 20s, according to new findings from a landmark study of youth and religion.
Just 1 percent of teens ages 15 to 17 raised by parents who attached little importance to religion were highly religious in their mid- to late 20s.
In contrast, 82 percent of children raised by parents who talked about faith at home, attached great importance to their beliefs and were active in their congregations were themselves religiously active as young adults, according to data from the latest wave of the National Study of Youth and Religion.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Sociology Teens / Youth Young Adults * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Entire families navigate their smartphones while sharing meals at restaurants. Students text in class. Parents take phone calls at their children’s sporting events and plays.
It’s no surprise that cellphones affect even church.
It has become common for parishes to place blurbs in their bulletins about silencing cellphones and for lectors to make announcements about it before liturgies, reminding parishioners they’re in a place of worship.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Science & Technology Teens / Youth * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
If you went to a wedding this summer, there is a better-than-even chance that the happy couple was already living together. Today, more than 65 percent of first marriages start out that way. Fifty years ago, it was closer to 10 percent.
Cohabitation before marriage, once frowned upon, is now almost a rite of passage, especially for the millennial generation. Young adults born after 1980 are more likely to cohabit than any previous generation was at the same stage of life, according to the Pew Research Center. With more than 8 million couples currently cohabiting, it is obviously a living arrangement with appeal — but it is also one with unique challenges.
Claire Noble and Charlie Sharbel are among those who have decided to share the keys to an apartment. They are both 27 years old and have been living together in Washington, D.C., since August.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Men Psychology Religion & Culture Women Young Adults * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Archbishop of Canterbury has told how he broke down in tears at learning of the horror of child abuse within the Church of England.
The Most Rev Justin Welby said the details of sexual abuse dating back decades are “beyond description – terrible” and that he had been profoundly moved by the “shredding effect” of survivors’ experiences.
He also said the full scale of the abuse has not been revealed and that the failure of the Church was greater than other institutions such as children’s homes and the media because it purports to hold itself to a “far, far higher standard”.
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At the turn of the 20th century in rural South Carolina, a domineering father, still bitter over the loss of the Civil War, drives his son to uphold the family name by relentless personal achievement. The farm boy complies by setting unequaled athletic and academic standards at the state college and by winning a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. He seeks a life of his own, forming unacceptable friendships with a brilliant Negro farm hand and a politically progressive girl friend. When a shocking accident fragments the young man's world, the patient friendship of a country pastor and the bold witness of Christian athletes challenge his priorities. The human hunger for accomplishment and the universal longing for grace collide in a midnight raid and high-stakes court battle.
Read ordering information here.
Do teachers really know what students go through? To find out, one teacher followed two students for two days and was amazed at what she found. Her report is in following post, which appeared on the blog of Grant Wiggins, the co-author of “Understanding by Design” and the author of “Educative Assessment” and numerous articles on education. A high school teacher for 14 years, he is now the president of Authentic Education, in Hopewell, New Jersey, which provides professional development and other services to schools aimed at improving student learning. You can read more about him and his work at the AE site.
Wiggins initially posted the piece without revealing the author. But the post became popular on his blog and he decided to write a followup piece revealing that the author was his daughter, Alexis Wiggins, a 15-year teaching veteran now working in a private American International School overseas. Wiggins noted in his follow-up that his daughter’s experiences mirrored his own and aligned well with the the responses on surveys that his organization gives to students.
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“The question for our government” says Lenni Benson, executive director and founder of the nonprofit Safe Passage Project, “will be, even if they have deportation orders, is it ethical and legal to remove a child to a country of origin if we aren’t assured that child will be safe upon return?”
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Immigration Politics in General * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
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China's newly announced switch to a two-child population control policy does not resolve the coercive nature of the program, pro-life leaders say.
The disclosure of the change came even as the communist government imposes the most severe oppression in four decades, according to a leading advocate for the Chinese church.
Christians face the "worst persecution in China since the Cultural Revolution," Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid, said in an article by Christian Today on Oct. 9.
That description is justified, Fu explained to BP in written comments in an email interview...[yesterday] (Oct. 22), due to "both the large scale and the severe degree of [the] violent crackdown" against not only the unregistered house churches but against the government-approved Three-Self Patriotic Movement congregations. About 300 churches have either been destroyed or had crosses forcibly removed recently in an ongoing campaign, and various believers have been arrested, Fu said.
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Beginning just over a century ago, all this changed. Catholics and Protestants alike have now embraced a new ecclesiology based on the consumer model. Adam Graber tells us that this huge shift was sparked by the invention of the automobile: “How Cars Created the Megachurch and put churchgoers in the driver’s seat.” As recently as the turn of the last century my great-grandparents, who lived in rural southeast Michigan, attended a Friends Church. Not because they were Quakers, but because it was near their farm and thus easily accessible. In their world, a megachurch would have been an impossibility. If you couldn’t walk or ride a horse or horse-drawn vehicle over unpaved country roads, you simply couldn’t get there at all.
Now virtually every family has at least one automobile, and this reality has transformed not only our cities, but also our churches. Here’s Graber:
Cars have made distance less of a factor in our lives. For this reason, church goers can choose from a marketplace of churches. But in order to decide, they have to narrow down the options, and when they do, they (naturally) consider their personal preferences first. They’ll try on different churches and see what “fits.”The most important consequence of this trend is that the gathered church—as distinct from the church as corpus Christi, which is all-encompassing—has been reduced to a mere voluntary association of like-minded individuals who can join and quit, or come and go at their discretion. The church, like any other commodity in the marketplace, exists only to serve the needs of its individual members.
Pastors, in reaction, are today forced to account for these new dynamics of affinity. Because church shoppers are exploring their options, area pastors often respond by targeting “felt needs.” For pastors, attracting and retaining church goers often means preaching on the topics people are looking for.
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United Methodist Church leaders recently announced they are closing the Wilderness Retreat and Development Center, as well as three other camps the denomination operated in Missouri. Together, the camps served about 2,000 children this summer.
“I’ve wanted to get married at Wilderness since I was 11,” Dyer said. “I have a boyfriend I want to marry, and now they’re taking away my camp.”
The announcement by the church’s Camping and Retreat Board sparked an instant social media campaign — complete with hashtags, blogs, online petitions and more than 2,000 Facebook likes — in an effort to roll back the decision.
The discussion in the Kansas City area has been particularly lively because of its proximity to Wilderness, which hosted more than 600 children at summer camp this year, said D. Garrett Drake, a clergyman and conference staff member who advises the camping board.
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Talk to Katie Meyler for 30 seconds and you understand why children love her. The 32-year-old from Bernardsville, New Jersey, is as effervescent as a shaken bottle of soda, with an infectious laugh and boundless energy.
Then consider where she works: Monrovia, the capital of Liberia and the capital of the Ebola epidemic devastating West Africa. For nine years, Katie has used her skills and passion to try to improve the lives of kids in this impoverished nation of 4 million people. Last year, she opened the More Than Me girls academy, the first tuition-free school in West Point, one of Monrovia’s poorest neighborhoods.
Ebola has forced the government to close the academy and all other schools to try to stop the epidemic. Undaunted, Meyler is now using her building and resources to help those children victimized twice by the disease, the children who are now orphans and outcasts within their own community.
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Since Ebola broke out in Liberia's capital city, more people have started coming to Sunday service at Trinity Cathedral, says the Very Rev. Herman Browne. And like many priests across Monrovia, Browne has been spreading the word about Ebola prevention through his sermons.
But Browne's message this week was personal. It came from his family's encounter with the virus.
For the past three Sundays, the reverend had been under a volunteer quarantine. This week he returned to the pulpit and explained to his congregation what happened.
It all began when his wife, Trokon Browne, went to see a close friend. "The friend ... broke down, fell on the floor and started to cry," Herman said. "Some illness had returned to her, and she was explaining it to Trokon."
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A call to reflect, pray and take action on child poverty, from the bishops of the Anglican Church.
In a new booklet, they're asking Anglicans to keep up the focus on child poverty, even with the election done and dusted.
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Among the 253 participants in the Synod on the Family which will conclude here in the Vatican on Sunday are eight delegates from different Christian Churches who are sharing insights from their own communities and traditions. Among them is the Anglican Bishop of Durham Paul Butler who has specialised in children and family ministry within the Church of England. As a husband and father of four children, Bishop Butler also brought his own experience to the Synod and especially to those working in one of the English language groups this week.
Bishop Butler sat down with Philippa Hitchen to talk about his impressions of the two-week meeting and about the struggle within the Anglican world of reaching out to people in same-sex relationships while upholding the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life
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This latest story from our brave new world may blow your mind, so I’ll read straight from the Chicago Tribune: “A white Ohio woman is suing a Downers Grove-based sperm bank, alleging that the company mistakenly gave her vials from an African-American donor, a fact that she said has made it difficult for her and her same-sex partner to raise their now 2-year-old daughter in an all-white community.”
Now, I don’t doubt the lesbian couple’s love for the child. But I find it troubling which challenges the couple was willing and isn’t willing to tolerate. They’re suing because of the difficulties of raising a black child in a white community, but they were perfectly willing to risk raising the child without a father—a situation that the best evidence suggests poses far greater consequences for the child. Make no mistake: this is one of those stories that’s a mirror of our culture’s view of sex and children.
There is no doubt that having a mom and a dad in the home is the best situation for healthy development of children. The evidence is overwhelming.
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It was a Tuesday afternoon when my 15-year-old son called from his academic summer program at a leafy New England boarding school and told me that as he was walking across campus, a gray Acura with a broken rear taillight pulled up beside him. He continued along the sidewalk, and two men leaned out of the car and glared at him.
“Are you the only nigger at Mellon Academy*?” one shouted.
Certain that he had not heard them correctly, my son moved closer to the curb, and asked politely, “I’m sorry; I didn’t hear you ... ”
But he had heard correctly. And this time the man spoke more clearly. “Only ... nigger,” he said with added emphasis.
My son froze. He dropped his backpack in alarm and stepped back from the idling car. Within seconds, the men floored the sedan’s accelerator, honked the horn loudly, and drove off, their laughter echoing behind them....
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While Malala’s courage in defying the Taliban’s barbarism won her the admiration of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, her Pakistani detractors’ criticism reflects the national malaise that young Malala has committed herself to fight. Hundreds of young Pakistanis, most of them supporters of cricket icon Imran Khan, have started the #MalalaDrama hashtag on Twitter to describe Malala as a tool of the evil West who is seeking to impose Western values on Islamic Pakistan. A few on Twitter even called for her to be charged with blasphemy, the catch-all accusation frequently used in Pakistan against those advocating anything but the most primitive ideas. Luckily, she now lives in Birmingham, England, after having come to Britain for medical treatment for her head wound.
Malala began documenting life under the Taliban in 2009, after they took control in the Swat Valley of northwestern Pakistan and then tried to shut down her school. The Taliban and their Islamist supporters oppose education for girls, and their concept of education for boys is far from enlightened. A young village girl with little outside exposure, Malala wished to connect to the rest of the world. She says she was inspired by the Pakistani Benazir Bhutto, who became the Muslim world’s first woman prime minister and was killed in 2007 by terrorists for challenging their ideas.
By rejecting the Taliban’s version of Islam—which was being brutally imposed by force of arms—Malala showed greater foresight than many of Pakistan’s politicians, generals and public intellectuals who have gradually ceded space to extremist Islamists. She didn’t buy into the propaganda description of the Taliban as a nationalist reaction to U.S. dominance or Indian influence, recognizing them as a menace that would set the country back several centuries.
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I happened to come across these this week, and I haven't seen them since 1990 when we first caught them on boxing Day in England (really). French with english subtitles, beautifully filmed, and, perhaps most notably, full of Christian themes--KSH.
Filed under: * By Kendall * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Movies & Television Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Energy, Natural Resources * International News & Commentary Europe France * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Anthropology Christology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology Soteriology
I admire Isabel Sawhill deeply, but I respectfully disagree with this recommendation.
First, American marriage isn’t disappearing, it’s fracturing along class lines. In upscale America — about one-third of the society — marriage is thriving. Most people marry, few children (fewer than 10 percent) are born to unmarried mothers, and most children grow up through age 18 living with their two married parents. Among the more privileged, then, marriage clearly functions as a wealth-producing arrangement, a source of happiness over time, and a benefit to children.
Indeed, scholars today increasingly identify America’s marriage gap — in which the affluent reap the benefits of marriage while the non-affluent increasingly do not — as an important driver of rising American inequality. Wouldn’t it be odd, and sad, if American elites, at the very moment in which the role of marriage as both an indicator and producer of high status in their own lives is crystal clear, decided to throw up their hands in resignation when it comes to marriage in the rest of the society?
Second, changing what we support from “marriage” (a social institution) to “responsible parenthood” (a piece of advice) means downplaying the role of society and putting all responsibility on the individual.
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Most of the tutors, not all of whom are church members, have just finished a full day at work. “We never start by just opening the books,” said Jon Findley, a bank data-base manager who has been volunteering for 24 years. “These kids bring their day with them. So you listen. It’s important that they know someone wants to hear about their lives. I don’t want to be another person who lets them down.”
Since the program started in 1964—one night a week, that first year, in the church basement—more than 6,000 children have been taught. Now tutoring is available four nights a week. The children who journey downtown from some of the city’s bleakest, most dangerous neighborhoods could be excused for complaining about the hand life has dealt them. But complaining is easy; working to better oneself is hard. The volunteers could be excused—even commended—if they chose only to give money to charities instead. But writing a check is easy; being the person who does something—the one who shows up—is hard.
The rewards, though, are lasting. Tamatha Webster’s daughter no longer has to struggle to learn in chaotic classrooms. She has been a faithful attendee on tutoring nights for seven years now, and because of her intelligence and diligent work has been awarded a scholarship to one of Chicago’s finest private schools.
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Las Vegas is such an impossible, unlikely place, a neon metropolis in the middle of the desert. Equally marvelous and unlikely is the technology that allows me to safely retrieve and freeze my eggs for future use, without a single incision. Because egg freezing only recently lost its “experimental” status and the success rates are not as well known as with embryo freezing, I decided to keep my options open and freeze both eggs and embryos. It feels a little bit like I’m living in a science fiction novel.
Now, a few months post-retrieval, I wonder when and how I will decide to use the eggs I’ve just nourished, protected, collected, and frozen. It’s possible I’ll meet someone and have children the traditional way. It’s possible I’ll marry in time for one child, but need to return to my frozen eggs for a second one. It’s possible I’ll decide to be a single mother, the way my mother was for many years. It’s possible I’ll adopt or decide not to have children at all, and be equally happy. But if I do have a daughter or son some day from the eggs I retrieved, I look forward to telling my child about the unexpected summer night in Vegas when it all started.
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Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work for children’s rights.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the two “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
Malala, 17, is the youngest ever winner of a Nobel Prize. A schoolgirl and education campaigner in Pakistan, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman two years ago. She.
Satyarthi, 60, has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, “focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain,” the Nobel committee said.
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Albert and Winnie Sami gave nearly $5 million to Zoo Miami on the condition that they remain anonymous until after their deaths.
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Katharine Welby-Roberts, the Archbishop of Canterbury's daughter, has lived with depression since she was a teenager and says the stigma she has faced as a result has been as damaging as the illness itself.
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Students from affluent families are taking out loans for college at twice the rate of two decades ago, the fasting-growing borrower’s group.
Fifty percent of graduates in the class of 2012 whose parents had incomes of more than $125,700 left college with loans, up from 24 percent about 20 years earlier, according to a study released today by the Pew Research Center. For graduates whose parental income was below $44,000, the rate rose to 77 percent from 67 percent.
“Across the spectrum, student debt has become an important way to pay for college and even graduates from well-off families rely on debt,” Richard Fry, an economist and primary author of the study, said in an e-mail.
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A government ethics committee in Germany has last week argued that laws banning incest between brothers and sisters, who were consenting adults, were an unacceptable intrusion into the right to sexual self-determination.
This intervention came after a much-publicised case, that involved several court hearings. A brother and sister living as sexual partners in Saxony have four children together. They were brought up separately and met when he was young adult and she 16. He was found guilty of incest and served a three-year prison sentence. The couple have tried unsuccessfully to get the case overturned by the European Court of Human Rights.
In July of this year, an Australian judge, Garry Neilson, suggested that the community may now accept consensual sex between consenting adult sibling couples. He opined that views against incest may have changed since the 1950s in a manner similar to those relating to homosexuality.
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The discussion preceding the synod of bishops on the family has ignored the most vulnerable party in divorces and remarriages: children. In so doing, it mirrors the discussion of sex and marriage in western culture more broadly, which focuses on the gratification of the desires of adults—however legitimate—while paying no attention to the needs of children.
For some children, no doubt, their parents’ divorce brings relief. For many, however, it leaves a wound that never fully heals. Children find themselves caught between two parties who each have a claim on them. They can frequently feel like pawns in a game, or like a piece of land fought over by conflicting nations. They have to grow up fast to take care of adults who, in their hurt, have begun to act like children.
Divorce ends the world that the child knows. It says that the foundation of her life, the structure that produced her and formed her is no more. This is captured well in the title of a book by a professor of youth ministry, Andrew Root: The Children of Divorce: The Loss of Family as the Loss of Being. The title is not an exaggeration.
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When Shamon Smith witnessed her mother being abused, she never dreamed it would spark within her a passion to address domestic violence all these years later.
A woman of deep faith, Smith realized many victims seek help from their pastors, who often didn't know how to help abused congregants facing very real dangers within violent relationships.
As a result, her North Charleston church is hosting a free three-day domestic violence conference Oct. 17-19 titled "Uniting the Pastors, Equipping the Clergy and Gathering God's People."
"Pastors have sent victims back to their abusers," Smith said. "They felt they were doing the right thing."
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If we are going to reflect on a theme like “The Ethics of Sex, Marriage and Family,” and presume to be doing so on the basis of the canon of scripture, we must be prepared to accept a cardinal reality. To speak of Christian Ethics is to speak of scripture in action, in the lived life of Christian formation and catechesis. Increasingly, very few progressives dismiss the scriptural record on sex, marriage and family. Some of course still do. They are bold to proclaim that the biblical witness is not just wrong in its parts (Genesis 1-3 as ancient Hebrew musing, Paul as wrong or speaking about something else, Jesus as all loving and disinterested in a modern phenomenon like gayness, which exists in a timeframe the bible does not nor could ever be expected to comprehend). The Bible is wrong, outdated, or just not addressing the matter of the challenge of new understandings of sex and human thriving, altogether. If it gets things right, it does so accidentally or inferentially, like the proverbial blind hog finding an acorn.
I mention this right up front because, as with the early church, what we now see is something else: a heavy assault mounted from within Christian circles themselves on prior understandings of the estate of marriage and its goods. Not from cultural despisers or secularists, but from those who purport to argue that their new understanding is indeed scriptural after all. Many secular and religious proponents of same-sexuality had concluded earlier that marriage was a patriarchal invention that no card-carrying proponent of sexual liberation—gay or straight—ought to go near. Inside Christian circles, this has changed.
So alongside those dubious about scripture having anything to say, accidentally or properly, are those who argue that their new understanding of sexuality is somehow biblical after all. In this sense, the debate over marriage, sex and family is one in which both sides, or several sides, all appeal to scripture. That is, not unlike the early church examples just cited. So we must ask: What account of scripture is it that has been brought to bear on our present and older understandings of sex, marriage, and family. Because of its scale, depth, and complex two-testament character, Scripture is infinitely capable of producing multiple interpretations. Irenaeus used the image of a mosaic. One receives a gift of scripture with all its myriad pieces, and the goal of interpretation is to see the face of the king, Jesus Christ, when all the pieces are properly and proportionally assembled....
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality * Theology Anthropology Christology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The Pew Research Center recently released a study claiming that a quarter of Millennials will never get married, and those that will won't get married until they're older. While it's true that Millennials are waiting longer to get married, the data ignores generational traits driving young people to tie the knot.
The statistics are grim. In 1960, only 9 percent of adults older than 25 had never married. As of 2012, that number has increased to 20 percent. In 1960, the average marrying age for men was 23-years-old and for women was 20-years-old. Census data from 2012 shows that the average age of marriage has jumped to 29 for men and 27 for women. Over half of never-married adults say they would like to marry someday (53 percent), a third (32 percent) are unsure, and 13 percent say they would never like to marry. These statistics lead Pew to conclude, "When today's young adults reach their mid-40s to mid-50s, a record high share (25 percent) is likely to have never been married."
However, Pew's assumptions ignore core truths about Millennials' views towards marriage and their life-long chances of getting married.
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In the most Catholic country in Asia, The Philippines, the Church has played a significant role for centuries.
Recently the Catholic Church lost a long battle in a bid to prevent a family planning bill which aims to provide contraceptives to those who need it most.
Read it all and see what you make of the video. Please note that this is part of a series, there are also reports for example from Brazil and Ireland and Ghana.
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The time has come when, as a society, we say that those who are abused are never at fault. In the Church of England, the issue is known as ‘the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults’. It is not simply a question of children. Adults who have been the survivors of previous abuse when they were younger, or who are in a vulnerable position because of pastoral need, are no more to blame than anyone else. They are the objects of a terrible wrong. And I pledge that any allegation brought to the Church will be taken seriously and rigorously investigated.
I long for the day when not only in the institutions of the Church, but also among every Christian, we show that we understand that those who have things done to them are never the ones to be blamed.
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This Synod is an opportunity to express timeless truths about marriage. Why do those truths matter? How do they represent true love, not “exclusion” or “prejudice,” or any of the other charges brought against marriage today? Men and women need desperately to hear the truth about why they should get married in the first place. And, once married, why Christ and the Church desire that they should remain faithful to each other throughout their lives on this earth. That, when marriage gets tough (as it does for most couples), the Church will be a source of support, not just for individual spouses, but for the marriage itself.
You have written so powerfully, Holy Father, of the importance of a new evangelization within the Church: “An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others.”
May we humbly suggest that in the context of marriage and family life your words are a call to personal responsibility, not only for our own spouses and children, but for the marriages of those God has put by our side: our relatives and friends, those in our churches and in our schools.
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The “squeezed middle” is being forced to endure a lower standard of living more than a decade on from the credit crunch, keeping consumer spending growth below pre-crisis levels.
The EY Item Club predicts that real take-home pay in 2017 will still be below the rate in 2007 because of subdued wage growth.
The economic forecaster’s report will make for uneasy reading for George Osborne as he prepares to address the Conservative party conference today, and it is compounded by further evidence from a free market think-tank of the existence of a “cost of living crisis”.
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The Morningstar Youth and Family Life Center, a 13,000-square-foot facility and a $5.7 million project, is expected to open in a year. As speaker after speaker pointed out at the ceremony, the project is a real-life lesson to never abandon a dream.
Miles, pastor of Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, is 69. How old was he when first began work to assemble property for the center?
"About 44," Miles said, smiling.
Plans are for the center to serve about 200 people a day, including youths and seniors, with a wide range of programs and services including math, science and computer tutoring; jobs skills training; food and clothing programs; counseling; and sports programs.
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Tommy Montgomery was 9 years old when he watched his hard-drinking, abusive father stab his mother to death in their Charleston home, plunging a knife into her body 38 times. Her screams and the blood-soaked images from that day haunted him for years, stealing his sleep, filling him with anxiety and fueling hallucinations that churned in his brain.
Montgomery dropped out of school, cycled through low-paying jobs and turned to drugs and drink to chase away his demons. In the end, he unleashed his bottled-up rage on others, just like his father had done.
Nine months after he was accused of choking his wife in March 2009, Montgomery killed a church music director in North Charleston, stabbing him 92 times. Then, DNA testing revealed he was responsible for slitting the throat of a woman in a Charleston park three years earlier, police said.
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...the high divorce rate has ceased to shock or even concern many people. Divorce has become an acceptable, normal fact of life. The predominant view is that many marriages break down through no fault on the part of either spouse: they simply “grow apart.” And so—the thinking goes—one cannot expect married men and women to keep their vows to remain devoted to each other until death parts them. If marriage is a love relationship, and the love has died, is it not pointless to continue with the charade of “marriage”?
But this conventional wisdom is based on a redefinition of what marriage is. In the traditional understanding, the term “marriage” is reserved for the comprehensive union of a man and a woman—bodily, emotional, and spiritual—of the kind that would be naturally fulfilled by conceiving and rearing children together (even though in some instances that fulfillment is not reached). In the alternative view, marriage is seen as an essentially emotional and sexual relationship that, by implication, can be dissolved when the relationship is no longer emotionally fulfilling.
This false view has caused marriage to be fragile and has led to immeasurable tragedy for children, wives, and husbands. In this view, children are only extrinsic additions—burdens or benefits. And if the emotional closeness has been lost, it seems to follow that the marriage itself has simply broken down of its own accord and can be dissolved. This view has led to the rising divorce rates we’re seeing reported.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children History Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sociology * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
A California charter school has decided to pull Corrie ten Boom’s Holocaust memoir, The Hiding Place, from its library because the content was deemed too religious. Where to begin? It’s impossible to separate remembrance of the Holocaust from matters of faith; only a modern educator would try.
According to the report of a parent at the school, library staff were told to “remove Christian books, books by Christian authors, and books from Christian publishers.”
When the Pacific Justice Institute, a Christian legal defense group, sent a cease-and-desist notice, the school superintendent responded, “We . . . do not allow sectarian materials on our state-authorized lending shelves.”
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education History Philosophy Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Europe * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Other Faiths Judaism Secularism * Theology
Fewer than one in five adults worldwide can be considered thriving -- or strong and consistent -- in levels of purpose well-being, as measured by the inaugural Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index in 2013. Residents living in the Americas are the most likely to be thriving in this element (37%), while those in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa are the least likely (13%).
The Global Well-Being Index measures each of the five elements of well-being -- purpose, social, financial, community, and physical - through Gallup's World Poll. Purpose well-being, which is defined as people liking what they do each day and being motivated to achieve their goals, was the lowest performing element of the five elements of well-being. Global results of how people fare in 135 countries and areas in this element, as well as the four other elements, have been compiled in the State of Global Well-Being report.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Globalization Marriage & Family Psychology Sociology * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance * Theology Anthropology
Consider also the reasons given by Francis and Anne which are partly personal fears and partly about a false altruism. Not wanting to ‘watch the slow decline of a partner’; fear of going to a nursing home; ‘too many people on this earth’- making more pension money available for others; not wanting to ‘dig into our savings’ and not being able to do the things they could at an earlier age. Add this to John Paul’s clear point that he didn’t want to look after them, and it’s almost a ‘perfect storm’ of lack of imagination, lack of a willingness to care and to look towards other alternatives.
There is also an insidious cultural side to this affair evident in the reporting at Moustique. There is no alternate voice here; no suggestion that promoting this story might have a deleterious effect upon others. No help lines promoted, no questioning in any constructive way. The social question, as always, is about the cart and the horse – is the media effectively pushing the issue or is it, as it may claim, simply reflecting the vox populi?
This is not a ‘celebration of choice’; far from it. It is a rationalization devoid of humanity and created, in the first instance by the legal possibility of euthanasia. It is then abetted by whatever it is in that family and that society that confirmed and supported the kind of dysfunction that allowed the children to confirm and assist instead of saying a clear, No, and offering every alternate support, no matter what the cost.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Media Psychology Suicide Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Europe Belgium * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Secularism * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Craning his neck, he sought the eyes of his daughter, Maureen Stefanides, who had promised to get him out of this place. “I want to go home, to my books and my music,” he said, his voice whispery but intense.
He was still her handsome father, the song-and-dance man of her childhood, with a full head of wavy hair and blue eyes that lit up when he talked. But he was gaunt now, warped like a weathered plank, perhaps by late effects of an old stroke, certainly by muscle atrophy and bad circulation in his legs.
Now she was determined to fulfill her father’s dearest wish, the wish so common among frail, elderly people: to die at home.
But it seemed as if all the forces of the health care system were against her — hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, insurance companies, and the shifting crosscurrents of public health care spending.
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A father’s level of education is the strongest factor determining a child’s future success at school, creating a self-reinforcing cycle of poverty and lack of achievement passed down from parents to children in Britain, according to research.
The report from the Office for National Statistics claims that children are seven and a half times less likely to be successful at school if their father failed to achieve, compared with children with highly educated fathers.
A mother’s education level was important to a lesser degree, with a child approximately three times as likely to have a low educational outcome if their mother had a low level of education.
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Doubtless, death is a loss. It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children. In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.
But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.
Americans seem to be obsessed with...a valiant effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible. This has become so pervasive that it now defines a cultural type: what I call the American immortal.
I reject this aspiration. I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive. For many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop....
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology
Nine months ago Bol Olor Ding and his friend Kamis Ngor Ajack were in school studying math and science. Now, at the ages of 14 and 15, they’re veterans of the civil war in South Sudan that’s created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
After fighting forced their schools to close, the two boys exchanged their classrooms for the battlefield and received a government army uniform and a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
“If you don’t have a gun you will be killed,” Ajack said through an interpreter in the town of Wau Shilluk, whose population of 5,000 has swollen to 40,000 as violence spreads in the oil-rich state of Upper Nile. “I was afraid of fighting in the beginning, but when I got a gun and uniform I became brave.”
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Sudan --South Sudan * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
“My sense of the big picture is that we’re moving toward laws like the one in Illinois, which accepts that the demand for surrogacy isn’t going away but recognizes the hazards and adds regulations and protections,” said Joanna L. Grossman, a family law professor at the Hofstra University law school.
The Illinois law requires medical and psychological screenings for all parties before a contract is signed and stipulates that surrogates be at least 21, have given birth at least once before and be represented by an independent lawyer, paid for by the intended parents.
The law allows only gestational surrogacy, in which an embryo is placed in the surrogate’s uterus, not the traditional kind, in which the surrogate provides the egg. In addition, it requires that the embryo created in a petri dish must have either an egg or a sperm from one of the intended parents.
“That eliminates some of the concerns about designer babies,” Professor Grossman said.
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Even though the government is working hard to reform the GCSE and ensure that it is rigorous and challenging, it will not be included as one of the humanities options in the English Baccalaureate. This exclusion has not stemmed the rising numbers of those young people who value and want to study the subject, but that is primarily because the Ebacc was not compulsory and schools can still offer the subject as one of the ‘Progress 8’ that will be measured in performance tables.
But recent announcements from the Secretary of State suggest that the Conservative Party’s manifesto is likely to see the EBacc becoming compulsory, and that will have a disastrous impact on the numbers of students able to take a subject which they value so highly.
Perhaps the largest challenge is found in the desperate shortage of specialist or dedicated RE specialist teachers. It is shocking that more RE lessons are currently being taught by non-specialists than by teachers trained in the subject. One can only imagine the outcry if this was the situation with Maths or English. Encouraging new RE teachers requires the government to reconsider their current policy not to provide bursaries to PGCE students wishing to train as RE teachers. Why would anybody want to train to teach a subject which is undermined by central government in such a fashion?
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Janna Weaver is proud she’s managed to keep her bamboo plant alive for more than a year. She’s not quite ready for a pet yet, and a child? “Definitely not anytime soon.”
“I want to know who I am before I bring someone else into the equation,” said Weaver, 25, who has a master’s degree in exercise physiology and moved with her boyfriend to Dallas in July. “The longer I wait and the more established I am, the more I’ll be able to provide for the family.”
More U.S. millennial women, those born after 1980, are holding off on motherhood, which bodes well for their economic and social mobility and that of their future children, according to recent research. Odds are that lower U.S. birth rates are here to stay, even if some of the recession-induced decline reverses, said Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
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After I published a story about my grandmother’s dilemma on July 24 last year, I received hundreds of emails and letters from readers worldwide. Some wrote about struggles they’d experienced with their relatives. Others were anxious about their parent-care challenges ahead.
“I have never cried when reading a Bloomberg story,” wrote one reader. “I am going to make sure to talk with my grandmother about what she wants when she reaches that point.”
The story was also read by medical professionals. Kojiro Tokutake, a Japanese gastroenterologist, shared his story about his own internal conflict about the value of tube feeding. His experiences formed the basis of another story that I published.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Asia Japan * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Police are trying to track down young women whom they believe have been lured over the internet to travel to Syria by Islamic State (Isis) with the promise of cash for babies.
At least three Somali families in Minneapolis have female members who have disappeared in the past six weeks. They are all from the St Paul area of the city. At the end of last month, a 19-year-old Somali woman from St Paul, who left home saying that she was attending a bridal shower, instead flew to Turkey and joined Isis in Syria.
On Friday, Shannon Conley, 19, from Colorado, pleaded guilty to trying to travel to the Middle East to enrol in Isis. She was arrested at Denver International airport in April with a one-way ticket and had been recruited online by a male militant in Syria.
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HIRSCH: I was completely shocked when Gabriel died and I tried to go back to work after a while and I couldn't really function at work and so in order to alleviate my grief I began to write a document in which I wrote down everything I could remember about Gabriel. I suddenly became desperate that I would forget things because I'd lost him so suddenly, so completely. It all was sort of a blur and I wanted to remember and I began to talk to my partner, to my ex-wife, to my sisters, to my mother, to Gabriel's friends and every day I went to a coffee shop and I basically tried to tell the story of Gabriel's life....
GREENE: You've said though that poetry is not a protection against grief.
HIRSCH: On the contrary, poetry takes courage because you have to face things and you try to articulate how you feel. I don't like the whole language of healing which seems to me so false. As soon as something happens to us in America everyone begins talking about healing, but before you heal you have to mourn and I found that poetry doesn't shield you from grief but it does give you an expression of that grief. And trying to express it, trying to articulate it gave me something to do with my grief.....
GREENE: Talking about - mourning and grief it makes me want to hear another passage from your poem. It's on page 73, and it starts with, I did not know the work.....
HIRSCH: (Reading) I did not know the work of mourning is like carrying a bag of cement up a mountain at night. The mountaintop is not in sight, because there is no mountaintop. Poor Sisyphus Greif. I did not know I would struggle through a ragged underbrush without an upward path. Because there is no path, there is only a blunt rock with a river to fall into and time with its medieval chambers. Time with its jagged edges and blunt instruments. I did not know the work of mourning is a laborer in the dark we carry inside ourselves. Though sometimes when I sleep I'm with him again and then I wake. Poor Sisyphus Greif. I'm not ready for your heaviness cemented to my body. Look closely and you will see almost everyone carrying bags of cement on their shoulders. That's why it takes courage to get out of bed in the morning and climb into the day.
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Growing into a full humanity requires cultivating virtues that temper one another. Some are associated with adulthood—courage, tenacity, autonomy. Others are more closely associated with childhood—curiosity, humility, generosity.
So, yes: only engaging in “juvenile” culture could shape us in bad ways. (And here at CT, anyhow, we try to take part in both—so go read about the Dardennes brothers’ new film when you’re done here.) But only engaging in “grown up” culture can, too, as can reflexively defending sophisticated products and rejecting simpler ones.
As Scott points out, the kind of culture creative output that results from our cultural shift doesn’t merely mean we end up with “juvenile” culture and fart jokes and boy-men and girl-women. It also means we end up with a lot of “childish” culture.
Or maybe “childlike” is a better term.
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Twenty stories above ground zero, its existence and whereabouts known only to those who needed it, the Family Room served for a dozen years as a most private sanctuary from a most public horror.
It was spartan office space at a 54-story tower at 1 Liberty Plaza for families to be by themselves, a temporary haven where they could find respite from bad weather and the curious stares of passers-by. Piece by piece, without any planning, it was transformed into an elaborate shrine known only to them.
Unconstrained and undesigned, a profusion of intimate expressions of love and loss filled the walls of the room, the tabletops, the floors and, even, the windows, obscuring views of the World Trade Center site below, as if to say: Jim and John and Jonathan and Harvey and Gary and Jean and Welles and Isaias and Katherine and Christian and Judy are all here, with us, not down there in the ruins.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Douglas Schreiber, vice-president of DUSA, told the Dundee Courier: “We have students on campus who have had abortions in the past and there was clearly some distress felt by a number of the students that attended the fair surrounding this issue.
“The students largely do not want anything to do with a group that promotes the removal of rights over bodily autonomy for over half the student population that attend this university.”
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“What day is it?", asked Winnie the Pooh "It's today," squeaked Piglet "My favorite day," said Pooh”
ike many Americans, I have changed my mind on gay marriage—though my change of mind has gone the opposite way of most. My support for gay marriage was early and enthusiastic. In high school I wrote a research paper titled “Gay Marriage as a Constitutional and Human Right.” I was earnest and impassioned, motivated by a desire to see justice done and unsure of how or why anyone could disagree.
I triumphantly quoted J. S. Mill’s On Liberty, and cited Socrates in Plato’s Apology, about the limits of religious views on civic matters and the growth of our national wisdom, respectively. The arguments seemed clear. I agreed with Jon Meacham, “society can no more deny a gay person access to the secular rights and religious sacraments because of his homosexuality than it can reinstate Jim Crow.”
Then something changed. As I entered college, I found myself being drawn from social democratism to conservatism thanks to Roger Scruton, and from skepticism back to the Catholic Christianity of my upbringing thanks to Pascal, Chesterton, and David Bentley Hart. But I still held to the consent-based or revisionist view of marriage, rather than the conjugal view defended by Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George. The turning point came when I read a paper by Scruton and Phillip Blond. They distinguished how a romantic union between two individuals of the same sex could have the same level of intensity as that between two individuals of the opposite sex. Yet they said that the conjugal view of marriage did not see exclusivity of romance as the telos of marriage. Rather, it “extends beyond the individuals who marry to the children they hope to create and the society they wish to shape.”
I came to realize the institution of marriage is not merely a private contract between two partners....
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One of the worst career moves a woman can make is to have children. Mothers are less likely to be hired for jobs, to be perceived as competent at work or to be paid as much as their male colleagues with the same qualifications.
For men, meanwhile, having a child is good for their careers. They are more likely to be hired than childless men, and tend to be paid more after they have children.
These differences persist even after controlling for factors like the hours people work, the types of jobs they choose and the salaries of their spouses. So the disparity is not because mothers actually become less productive employees and fathers work harder when they become parents — but because employers expect them to.
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Divorcing parents who try to maintain an amicable relationship for the sake of their children are doing nothing to help them, a major study suggests.
The impact of the split on youngsters is the same whether or not the mother and father keep cordial links, it found.
The findings undermine a Government-backed consensus that the harm caused to children by separating parents can be limited if the couple remain friends.
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New York state, Minnesota and Washington, D.C., all have pending legislation that would legalize the practice of commercial surrogacy—paying someone to have a baby on your behalf. Reproductive technology has made surrogacy possible since the 1980s, but it remained relatively rare until recent years as the technology improved and the legalization of same-sex marriage increased the number of childless couples eager to have children.
The Catholic Church has long opposed surrogacy, whether paid or unpaid. Nowadays, with increasing pressure for the legalization of paid surrogacy, the church has found itself with an unfamiliar ally: feminists.
The Catholic Church and women's rights groups are accustomed to clashing over policy matters involving contraception and abortion. But now the two camps can often be found working hand in hand when it comes to protecting both women and children from being exploited in the growing and largely unregulated fertility industry.
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When Janine Morna arrived in northern Nigeria in March to study child abductions by local militias, few outside the region had any idea of the scope of the problem.
That changed abruptly on the evening of April 14 - 15, when members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram stormed a secondary school in the northeastern town of Chibok and captured some 300 teenage girls.
Suddenly, child kidnappings in northern Nigeria — which had concerned human rights researchers like Ms. Morna for years — were global front-page news. Around the world, nations pledged aid and counterterrorism assistance, while #BringBackOurGirls floated to the top of trending topics on Twitter. It gave many who live and work in the region hope that change was imminent.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Religion & Culture Teens / Youth Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Decades ago, baby boomers and older Gen Xers pushed to create churches centered on the young, nuclear family. Sadly, this ministry model now excludes many of us. Having outgrown the local church’s core programs, we’re left to usher, teach fourth-grade Sunday school, or attend committee meetings. At times, I can’t help thinking: Been there, done that. Got the Christian T-shirt to prove it.
While local churches work to reach a younger generation, some of their graying members are stepping away. In our 50s, 60s, and beyond, we face a new set of challenges: relationship shifts, loneliness, health risks, divorce, and death. Boomers have begun attending church less frequently, according to Barna Research, while Gen Xers registered a significant uptick in those with no church affiliation.
I recently took an informal survey on my blog, and heard from nearly 500 believers about their church experiences as they’ve gotten older. Most stayed involved, using their extra empty-nester time to serve and continue their relationships with other congregants. But a little less than half said they’d scaled back their involvement from what it had been a decade ago. Those who had downshifted or left cited weariness with church politics, increased career demands, significant time devoted to caring for parents or grandchildren, health issues, and a sense that they’d somehow outgrown their church. “I’m tired of the same programs year after year,” one said. “I want deeper relationships with fewer people, more spiritual exercises like prayer and meditation than the canned studies offered.”
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"First day of school" photos have filled your Facebook and Instagram feeds. School crossing signs are popping up again on your daily commute. It's back-to-school time.
But not all kids are heading into comparable classrooms: There remains a raging debate over the quality—and equality—of public education in America.
In research conducted for the Barna FRAME, Schools in Crisis by Nicole Baker Fulgham, Barna Group asked Americans what they think about the country's public education: Only 7% of U.S. adults said the public education system in our nation is "very effective." Nearly half (46%) maintain that public schools have further declined in the last five years. A mere one-third of parents of school-age children (34%) say public schools are their first choice for their children.
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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered a curfew Saturday in the city of Ferguson and declared a state of emergency after fresh violence erupted overnight amid public anger over the shooting death of an unarmed young black man by a white police officer.
The curfew will run from midnight to 5 a.m., starting Saturday night.
“This is a test,” Nixon said at a news conference, saying “the eyes of the world” are watching to see how the city handles the aftermath of the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown, 18.
The announcement comes after community activists had taken to the streets and social media Saturday in hopes of preventing another night of looting and violence in Ferguson after at least three businesses fell victim to a predawn rampage by young men who targeted local stores as others tried desperately to stop them.
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[...] Remember how we read a million library books together? I’ll never regret every page we chose over screens.
We ate three meals a day together at a table (and don’t think that doesn’t change the shape of a soul and the world). And we never pushed back our chairs until we’d had our dessert of Scripture. Life is about one thing: Coming to His table and inviting as many as you can to come with you and feast on the only Living Food. We gave you this.
And for better or worse, your Dad and I taught you how to work hard. Make it for the world’s better, son. [...]
And never forget that happiness is when His Word and your walk are in harmony. Never stop keeping company with Christ– and all the sinners, tax-collectors and cast-offs. Be an evangelist and use your words with your hands because your part of a Body and never stop loving God with all your heart, mind and soul, and loving others as yourself. Make that your creed.
It’s true, son: Be different and know everything you do matters. It’s what the Christ followers know: One man with God can change a culture. God didn’t put people in your path mostly for your convenience; He put you there for theirs. Loving the poor will make you rich, I promise.
The only life worth living is the one lost.
And no matter how loud and crazy and broken the world is, child? Let joy live loud in your soul.
Believe that you are His beloved – it’s only when you trust that He loves you that you really begin to live. Really, count a thousand blessings more – why wouldn’t you want joy? Sing to no one and everyone on the front porch in the rain and laugh so much they question your sanity. Pet the dog long.
Because really, none of us knows how long we have. Remember that a pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted… in the small moments missed. None of this here is forever grace. That’s why it’s amazing grace.
Do it often: grab a lifeline by stepping offline. You’ll see your true self when you look for your reflection in the eyes of souls not the glare of screens.
This is what you always need to know: You have nothing to prove to anyone – if you’re in Him, you are already approved.
Read the full entry here.
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