Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Recent media comment regarding Bishop George Bell has focused on my recent contributions made in the House of Lords in response to a question on the Church’s actions in this matter.
On reflection I believe my words were not as clear as they could have been and I welcome this opportunity to provide further clarity.
Almost three years ago a civil claim was made, raising allegations of abuse by George Bell, the former Bishop of Chichester.
In response to the claim independent legal and medical reports were commissioned and duly considered. The evidence available was interrogated and evaluated. This led to a decision to settle the claim and to offer a formal apology to the survivor. This decision was taken on the balance of probabilities - the legal test applicable in civil claims.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted February 9, 2016 at 5:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Is-is he a man?" asked Lucy.
"Aslan a man!" said Mr Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tellyou he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion - the Lion, the great Lion."
"Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he - quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."
"That you will, dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs Beaver; "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."
"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.
"Safe?" said Mr Beaver; "don't you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."


--The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, also cited by yours truly in the morning sermon


Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildren* TheologyChristology

1 Comments
Posted February 7, 2016 at 11:54 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What’s striking — and crucial for understanding our populist moment — is the fact that the leadership cadres of both parties aren’t just unresponsive to this anxiety. They add to it.

The intelligentsia on the left rarely lets a moment pass without reminding us of the demographic eclipse of white middle-class voters. Sometimes, those voters are described as racists, or derided as dull suburbanites who lack the élan of the new urban “creative class.” The message: White middle-class Americans aren’t just irrelevant to America’s future, they’re in the way.

Conservatives are no less harsh. Pundits ominously predict that the “innovators” are about to be overwhelmed by a locust blight of “takers.” The message: If it weren’t for successful people like us, middle-class people like you would be doomed. And if you’re not an entrepreneurial “producer,” you’re in the way.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralOffice of the President* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted February 5, 2016 at 6:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Words of apology written in a letter can never be enough to express the Church's shame or our recognition of damage done. However, the apology that I made on behalf of the Diocese of Chichester is genuine and a sincere expression that lessons are being learnt about how we respond to accusations of abuse.

"In some responses to the George Bell case, and to the original statements from the Church nationally and locally in the diocese of Chichester, we have witnessed shocking ignorance of the suffering felt at many different levels by victims of abuse."

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology


Posted February 4, 2016 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Wednesday 3 February 2016]...for the first time, the victim of George Bell has spoken about the sexual abuse she suffered as a five-year-old child at the hands of the wartime Bishop of Chichester.

Speaking exclusively to The Argus, she described how he repeatedly molested her over a period of four years while telling her that God loved her.

Her testimony brings new clarity to a story which has changed the world’s perception of one of the most revered Anglicans of the 20th century since news of a church payout was announced last October.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology


Posted February 4, 2016 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is no precise diagnosis. There is no cure. There is no way to scientifically prove that a disorder allegedly affecting more than 6 million Americans even exists.

Joseph Helpern and his colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina have made significant progress studying attention deficit hyperactivity disorder through innovations in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Still, he’ll be the first to tell you that there’s so much they don’t know about ADHD.

He hopes that will change. Helpern believes MRI testing will one day be the tool for doctors to diagnose ADHD.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted February 2, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But a new NBER working paper from economists at Stanford and the University of Virginia suggests that, when done right, one kind of teacher turnover, at least, can be highly effective: programs for aggressively replacing bad teachers. The authors collected data from a unique Washington, D.C. program called IMPACT, which assesses teachers based on student outcomes and ratings from their peers, rewards those who perform well, and replaces those who persistently perform poorly. In a nutshell, it worked: The teachers pushed out for poor performance were consistently replaced with teachers who performed significantly better. “Under a robust system of performance assessment,” the authors write in their conclusion, “the turnover of teachers can generate meaningful gains in student outcomes, particularly for the most disadvantaged students.”

As we’ve written before, the idea that all teachers must be teachers for life needs to be questioned more often. That’s especially true when one is talking about replacing poorly performing teachers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 1, 2016 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The killer was at large when Anthony Thompson bolted back toward the white church, its spire rising high and proud in the darkness, its body surrounded by emergency vehicles. He darted for the church’s gate and a side door, the one a white man had entered before allegedly gunning down nine people at Myra’s Bible study.

Someone grabbed him.

“Where you going?” It was an FBI agent.

“I’m Reverend Thompson. My wife’s in that church. I need to go on in and get her.”

“No, no, son. You can’t go in there.”

“Oh yes I can. I’m going in there too. Now let me go!”

Instead, the agent pulled Thompson aside, speaking gently, “You don’t want to go in there.”

Read it all frpom the local paper.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 31, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Senior Anglican clergy shared a secret understanding of each other’s attraction to young boys, a royal commission has been told.

The inquiry into the Church of England Boys’ Society being held in Hobart heard evidence on Thursday from the convicted child sexual offender Louis Daniels, 68, a former archdeacon who was one of Tasmania’s top-four church leaders in the early 1990s.

Daniels has since been jailed for pleading guilty to abusing 12 boys.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesViolence* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ


Posted January 28, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You need to come up with your own list first then see what you make of the list at the link.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenEducation

3 Comments
Posted January 28, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now, on the surface this might sound like a modest gesture. Not a bit of it. The programme is certainly down to earth and extremely practical, and rightly so. Yet it aims at the heart of some of the deepest, most painful and most intractable problems that families can face, and seeks to help put people on a new footing – a footing that Jesus would recognise as healed and renewed.

When I prayed with the children during their assembly yesterday, I prayed especially for those whose households have serious money problems. Where there are such difficulties, it may lead to a whole range of other problems tightening their grip on a family: substance abuse, domestic violence and marital breakdown, among others.

So the way that money is dealt with is about human flourishing at its deepest level – and it is absolutely right that the church is helping to try and break this cycle before it affects another generation. Meanwhile, on a practical level it makes perfect sense for the Church of England, which is involved in the education of a million children around the country, to be using our particular platform to make this contribution.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 27, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The march itself was barely over before snow began accumulating quickly on every surface in the Washington, DC area. All of the “happy warriors” for Life this year went above and beyond the usual sacrifices they make to come and march because of Snowstorm Jonas, a blizzard of historic proportions.

Among the warriors were dozens of Anglican church members led by the Anglicans for Life ministry along with the Archbishop and a number of other bishops of the Anglican Church in North America.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 25, 2016 at 12:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The March for Life — an annual rally held for four decades to protest the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court that legalized abortion — has long been dominated by Roman Catholics.

But evangelical leaders expect that on Friday (Jan. 22), there will be more evangelicals walking beside them. That’s the result of Catholic and evangelical conservatives bridging the divide to work on issues of common concern, they said.

Several hundred evangelicals gathered on the eve of the rally at a hotel near the U.S. Capitol, pledging to join forces with Catholics in the anti-abortion effort.

“There’s no tension between evangelicals and Catholics on this issue,” said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in an interview. However, he added that Catholics have been “more intentional about communicating the march to their constituents and see the value.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 22, 2016 at 3:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number is stark: 57,762,169. That is through the end of last year—the number of legal abortions in America since the Roe v. Wade decision 43 years ago tomorrow on January 22, 1973. That was one of the darkest days in American history, and ever since then America has been at war over abortion. We’re now talking about four decades and more. When the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Roe v. Wade, the Court’s majority attempted to put an end to the abortion question. That’s actually what they thought they were doing. To the contrary, that decision has enlarged and revealed the great moral divide that runs through the center of our culture.

Most Americans actually are probably pretty much unaware of the actual contours of the abortion debate as it emerged in the early 1970s. Going back to 1973, the primary opposition to legal abortion came from the Roman Catholic Church; Evangelicals in the pro-life movement joined later. Until the late 1970s and the awakening of the evangelical conscience on abortion, most Evangelicals didn’t want to talk about the issue, considering it to be an issue for other people in other places. Roe v. Wade changed all of that legally in 1973 ruling that in all 50 states abortion on demand, as it has been called, must be considered a woman’s right. The decision was demanded by and later championed by feminists as one of the great feminist victories. The leaders of that movement claimed, and continue to claim, that the availability of abortion on demand is necessary in order for women to be equal with men with respect to the absence of pregnancy as an obstacle to career advancement.

Furthermore, the moral logic of Roe v. Wade was a thunderous affirmation of the idea of personal autonomy that had already taken ahold of the American mind. As the decision made all too clear, “rights talk” had displaced what had been seen as a higher concern for right versus wrong.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 22, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can read more about Jeff there and you can read about St Philip's there.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* South Carolina

2 Comments
Posted January 21, 2016 at 5:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Deaths from drug overdoses have jumped in nearly every county across the United States, driven largely by an explosion in addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin.

Some of the largest concentrations of overdose deaths were in Appalachia and the Southwest, according to new county-level estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of these deaths reached a new peak in 2014: 47,055 people, or the equivalent of about 125 Americans every day.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 20, 2016 at 11:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Standing in front of Madeleine's church are more than a dozen people who all look different. A heart is between each person.

Madeleine's currently working on another drawing, this one of a group of dogs sitting in a field of grass.

"Being colorblind is awesome. You should give it a try," is written across the top of the page.

Melanie says her family is active in the community, adding that she and her husband try to teach their two children the importance of kindness.

"I was talking to them about love and forgiveness and hope," Melanie said. "And Madeleine said 'I love the world HOPE for our little project we are doing. What else could it stand for?'"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArtChildrenRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted January 18, 2016 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gov. Nikki Haley wants to spend $19 million to hire 144 prosecutors so that police officers no longer are the ones prosecuting domestic violence cases in South Carolina.

Haley unveiled a number of requests and executive orders in a press conference Thursday aimed at reducing instances of domestic violence in South Carolina, which has been ranked No. 1 in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men.

South Carolina is one of three states in the country where police officers — not lawyers — prosecute domestic violence crimes in the courtroom.

Read it all from the local paper.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexualityViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 8, 2016 at 2:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



McIntosh shielded her three sons from much of the domestic violence in their home. She hoped to keep her marriage intact until her youngest son graduated from high school.

"I kept thinking it would get better because I knew the good person in there," McIntosh said. "I knew I wanted to keep a home for my boys and wanted to keep us together."

Finally, Tracy Swinney told his mother she had to leave his father. They divorced, and the family's home was foreclosed. When Dabo learned his parents were divorcing, he cried in the field house at his high school.

Read it all and enjoy the video also.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcoholismChildrenMarriage & FamilyPovertySexualitySportsViolence* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 8, 2016 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You see, the researcher that they're filming, a guy named Harry Harlow [in 1960], was trying to prove-- and I know this is going to sound crazy. He was trying to prove that love is an important thing that happens between parents and children.

And the reason why he felt the need to prove this point was at the time-- and again, I know this is going to sound kind of out there. The psychological establishment, pediatricians, even the federal government were all saying exactly the opposite of that to parents.

Deborah Blum: It's actually one of those things that you say, how could they have thought that? But psychology just didn't believe in love. And if you go back and you pull any of the psychology textbooks, really almost pre-1950, you don't even find it in the index because it was not a word that was used.

Read it all or better listen to it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 4, 2016 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...there are three ways we can make Christmas Eve if not perfect then at least good. These come down to us from the pages of the Bible.

First, a good Christmas Eve is when God’s Savior is received. Hear the words of the Angelic messenger: “Do not be afraid.” Though sin, guilt and shame lurk in the closets and storage rooms of our lives, though insecurities and imperfections are at every turn, and debts and failures abound—“…unto you is born a Savior….” The One born in Bethlehem, who lived a perfect life in obedience to his Father dying a shameful death bearing the sins of the world, and rose from the tomb in the power of the Spirit, is alive today. He speaks a word to each of us: “Behold I stand at the door and knock and if anyone hears my voice I will come into him and sup with him and he with me.” When we open to him, accepting his forgiveness, his perfection is draped over us and our true dignity is restored. In the words of a famous carol, “When charity stands watching/and faith holds wide the door/the dark night wakes, the glory breaks/and Christmas comes once more.”....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* South Carolina* TheologyChristology

0 Comments
Posted January 4, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

GREENVILLE, S.C.--A sign in a classroom here at Berea High School, northwest of downtown in the largest urban district in the state, sends this powerful message: “Failure Is Not an Option. You Will Pass. You Will Learn. You Will Succeed.”

By one measure, Berea, with more than 1,000 pupils, is helping more students succeed than ever: The graduation rate, below 65 percent just four years ago, has jumped to more than 80 percent.

But that does not necessarily mean that all of Berea’s graduates, many of whom come from poor families, are ready for college — or even for the working world. According to college entrance exams administered to every 11th grader in the state last spring, only one in 10 Berea students were ready for college-level work in reading, and about one in 14 were ready for entry-level college math. And on a separate test of skills needed to succeed in most jobs, little more than half of the students demonstrated that they could handle the math they would need.

It is a pattern repeated in other school districts across the state and country....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 2, 2016 at 3:39 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We remember this day, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by the order of King Herod. Receive, we beseech thee, into the arms of thy mercy all innocent victims; and by thy great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish thy rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchChildren

0 Comments
Posted December 28, 2015 at 5:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

She was five,
sure of the facts,
and recited them
with slow solemnity
convinced every word
was revelation.

She said
they were so poor
they had only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
to eat
and they went a long way from home
without getting lost. The lady rode
a donkey, the man walked, and the baby
was inside the lady.
They had to stay in a stable
with an ox and an ass (hee-hee)
but the Three Rich Men found them
because a star lited the roof.
Shepherds came and you could
pet the sheep but not feed them.
Then the baby was borned.
And do you know who he was?
Her quarter eyes inflated
to silver dollars.
The baby was God.

And she jumped in the air
whirled around, dove into the sofa
and buried her head under the cushion
which is the only proper response
to the Good News of the Incarnation.

– John Shea, The Hour of the Unexpected

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchChildrenPoetry & Literature* TheologyChristology

0 Comments
Posted December 25, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So what happened? What did Linus van Pelt say?

I am referring, of course, to the controversy that unfolded this past week in Johnson County, Ken., where school officials – after receiving complaints from some in their community – removed the speech by Linus at the pivotal moment in an elementary school production of "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Click here for the previous GetReligion post focusing on the Lexington Herald-Leader coverage of this Christmas wars showdown.

Here was my main point in my previous post: If Linus could not recite the key lines from the Gospel of St. Luke – in response to Charlie Brown's anguished cry of "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?" – then what was Linus going to say? It appeared, in previous coverage, that no one asked that question.

Read it all and follow the links.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 24, 2015 at 6:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You may have heard about the Kentucky school district that ordered its administrators to scrub any religious references from its various Christmas productions. Most infamously, an elementary school in the Johnson County School District removed the lines from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” where Linus recites the Gospel of Luke’s account of the Nativity of Jesus Christ. This censorship was colossally silly—both because Linus’ speech is the dramatic center of the play, and because of the self-evident absurdity of staging a play with “Christmas” in its title and then deleting the key lines that explain what Christmas celebrates.

According to reports, the district’s attorneys had received a complaint about the planned production and, apparently fearing a lawsuit, they advised administrators to remove all “religious” (i.e., Christian) references from the Christmas-related productions being planned in their schools. According to the district’s website, “The U.S. Supreme Court and the 6th Circuit are very clear that public school staff may not endorse any religion when acting in their official capacities and during school activities.”

Hello! Staging a play about Christmas doesn’t “endorse” the Christian religion, any more than staging “Big River” (the musical version of the Huckleberry Finn story) constitutes an endorsement of slavery or a production of “Sweeney Todd” endorses cannibalism.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 24, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



"We’ve been praying for this little guy since October when we were matched with him for adoption from China. Since that time, the adoption process has been steamrolling along and we are now all set to travel and pick him up…on December 23!

It has been a blur these past few week, but we are ready and excited to make the trip across the globe and pick up the newest member of our family. And, yes, we are all going – Tyler, Lanier, and all the kids, along with Tyler’s parents – for the two week trek to China!..."

You can read the rest here and there.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyTravel* General InterestPhotos/Photography* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted December 23, 2015 at 2:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Warning--Hard content to confront--KSH).

I’m not writing this article for my father. I’m writing it for the people in the parking lot.

Yes, if you say something, you may ruin the relationship you have with that person. You may get embarrassed in front of the other hockey parents. You may have to go through the awkwardness of filing a police report.

I can understand why a lot of people worry, “But what if I’m wrong?”

If you are wrong, that’s the absolute best case scenario. The alternative is that child is a prisoner in his own home. What you’re seeing in the parking lot or outside the locker room — whether it’s a kid getting grabbed and screamed at, or shoved up against a car — could just be the tip of the iceberg.

Read it all (Hat tip:DR).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyPsychologySportsViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 21, 2015 at 12:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

According to a 2013 survey by the US Department of Education and National Institute of Literacy, 14 per cent of the adult population (or 32 million people) cannot read properly, while 21 per cent read below a level required in the fifth grade. And 19 per cent of high-school graduates cannot read. In the north-east, illiteracy is lower; in some southern states, such as Mississippi, it is higher. North Carolina is in the middle. This rate has been remarkably stable in recent decades, and it puts the US in 12th place among major industrialised countries (the UK fares only slightly better).

But what is truly startling — and tragic — is the degree to which “the link between academic failure and delinquency, violence and crime is welded to reading failure”, as a report from the Department of Justice states. Apparently 85 per cent of juvenile delinquents and 70 per cent of the prison population struggles to read. Indeed, the link is so well established that pro-literacy groups claim that some states can predict their need for future prison beds by looking at the literacy rates in schools. And, unsurprisingly, half of adults with poor literacy live in poverty, shut out of most 21st-century jobs. As Juli Willeman, head of the Pi Beta Phi group, which runs literacy campaigns, observes: “Reading proficiency predicts future success.” Or the lack of it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenEducationMiddle AgePovertyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 20, 2015 at 3:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here are some key findings from the report:
1A declining share of children live in two-parent households. Today, 69% of children younger than 18 are living with two parents, down from 87% in 1960. A record-low 62% of children live with two married parents, while 7% live with two cohabiting parents. Meanwhile, the share of children living in single-parent households has increased threefold, from 9% in 1960 to 26% in 2014.

The rising prevalence of divorce, remarriage and cohabitation has caused other changes in family living arrangements, even among those living in two-parent households. In 2014, fewer than half of children (46%) lived in a household with two married parents in their first marriage, down from 73% in 1960.
Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologySociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 18, 2015 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Six months have passed since Dylann Roof allegedly shot and killed nine parishioners at an Emanuel AME Church Bible study.

The funerals are over. The flowers and tributes have thinned out on the Calhoun Street church’s sidewalk. President Barack Obama and his press corps have long since left town.

Charleston is trying to move toward normal again, but Deborah Stewart still misses Myra Thompson.

“She wasn’t just my sister-in-law,” Stewart said. “She was my friend.”

Read it all (and note the headline used above is from the print edition).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted December 17, 2015 at 6:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Evidence suggesting senior clergy tried to cover up sex abuse by an Anglican bishop has been uncovered by the BBC.

Two priests raised concerns about Peter Ball but were urged to keep quiet or saw no action taken, it has emerged.

And a couple who worked for now-jailed Ball, former bishop of Lewes and Bishop of Gloucester, said they also tried to raise concerns but were ignored.

Ball's offending is the subject of an independent review and a national inquiry is looking at Church abuse.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology


Posted December 16, 2015 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The parallel is inexact, but peoples and cultures also have to deal with the power of hard memories. Painful traumas and experiences can be passed down generation to generation, whether it is exile, defeat or oppression. These memories affect both the victims’ and the victimizers’ cultures.

Many of the issues we have been dealing with in 2015 revolve around unhealed cultural memories: how to acknowledge past wrongs and move forward into the light.

The most obvious case involves American race relations. So much of the national conversation this year has concerned how to think about past racism and oppression, and the power of that past to shape present realities: the Confederate flag, Woodrow Wilson, the unmarked sights of the lynching grounds. Fortunately, many people have found the courage to tell the ugly truths about slavery, Jim Crow and current racism that were repressed by the wider culture.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryMarriage & FamilyPhilosophyPsychologyRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 16, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

According to a blogger in the ancient Iraqi city of Mosul, ISIS (also known as ISIL) leaders there have issued a "fatwa" against children with Down syndrome and other birth defects.

The only source for the story is the Mosul Eye, self-described as a "blog … set up to communicate what's happening in Mosul to the rest of the world , minute by minute from an independent historian." It has been repeated by dozens of mainstream and niche news sites, from the British Daily Mail through Fox News to Breitbart.

According to the Mosul Eye's December 14 Facebook entry, "the Shar'i Board of ISIL issued an 'Oral Fatwa' to its members authorizing them to – in the fatwa's words, 'kill newborn babies with Down's Syndrome and congenital disorders and disabled children.'"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 15, 2015 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I had expected to see a giant of a man. In fact, Howard reflected the humble Scottish roots of his home. Rather than a six-foot plus giant, Sally and I met a man who she could look at eye to eye, but his welcome and heart was the size of Texas. It was common to hear that he was meeting with students not just to review the current chapter dedicated to their thesis (what the British call a dissertation) but to pray with them. He opened his home to welcome those students and host them, making sure their arrival in Scotland and a foreign land had left them feeling at home.

He engaged in theological discussion and debate as a conservative of deep conviction who demanded that one’s work be thorough but also fair to the views being challenged. He spoke with a soft voice that communicated with clarity and gravity about the way one should regard the Scripture. That captured people’s attention. The depth of his awareness covering a sweep of topics was stunning. Despite all of that ability and knowledge, what struck one about Howard was his humility and devotion to God. His critique was delivered with a gentleness that not only made clear what might be misdirected but also that showed he cared about how that critique was received.

One incident after my time in Aberdeen is still clear to me. On a return visit to Aberdeen, we brought our family with us. Our two girls had been born in bonnie Scotland, but my son had not. It was the first and only time Howard met our son, who was a very young, playful, five-year-old boy at the time. The Marshalls had a tea warmer in the shape of penguin. Another aspect of Howard’s personality is that he had a classic Scottish wit. So Stephen spotted the warmer and was drawn to it. He offered Stephen to let him play with it and got down on the floor with him to share in the moment. Stephen took advantage of his new playmate and promptly placed the penguin on Howard’s head, leaving both of them laughing and my wife nothing short of horrified. But that was Howard, sensitive to where people were coming from with an eye to where they could go. When I remember Howard Marshall, it is this moment that most typifies him as a person.

Read it all from Darrell Bock.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

ESPN E:60 presents: Longshot: The Journey of Stephen Curry from Northern Lights Communications on Vimeo.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilySports* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted December 10, 2015 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Middle-class parents risk turning their children into alcoholics by offering them drinks at home, according to government research which showed that affluent teenagers were twice as likely as the poorest to be regular drinkers.

Young people from middle-class backgrounds are also more likely to have tried alcohol and to continue with the habit once they have started, said the survey of 120,000 15-year-olds.

Charities warned that many parents still mistakenly believe that introducing their children to alcohol at home, even a glass of wine with a family dinner, might protect them from becoming problem drinkers. Despite being legal, it is likely to have the opposite effect, campaigners said.

The study, the first of its kind published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, a body funded by the Department of Health, found that 70 per cent of boys and girls aged 15 in the least deprived areas had tried alcohol, compared to 50 per cent in the most deprived.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingAlcoholismChildrenMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 9, 2015 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The profiles of the suspects behind the Paris terrorist attacks reflect a pattern often seen among perpetrators of previous atrocities—a group of guys who turned from drugs and petty crime to terrorism. What’s new is the potency of the movement that mobilized them.

To many in the West, Islamic State represents a medieval-style death cult. To its sympathizers, estimated to number in the thousands or even tens of thousands in Europe, its radical message of reviving the Sunni Muslim caliphate is strengthened by the fact that it already rules over territory.

Scott Atran, a Franco-American academic who has interviewed hundreds of radical Islamists over years, likens the rise and allure of Islamic State to the ascendancy of the Bolsheviks in czarist Russia and the National Socialist Party in Weimar Germany.

Read it all.

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Posted December 4, 2015 at 5:51 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fine for teachers, but it can be tough on parents' schedules and wallets.

In fact, the district says the schedule is so unpopular with families that it expects to loose several hundred students to other school systems.

"My best friend, she and her family, her two brothers, they moved to a private school because of the four-day school week," says fifth-grader Chloe Florence. And that's bad news for Apache Junction Unified, which is funded on a per-student basis.

Jennifer Florence says it just doesn't add up, but her family has decided to stick it out.

"In a philosophical sense we believe very strongly in public education. So we are trying to support the system. Abandoning a ship, it will sink."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinancePolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 27, 2015 at 7:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Call it medicine. Call it Christian kindness. Call it a miracle, even.

On Tuesday, in a small, windowless office at the Medical University of South Carolina, 3-year-old Diana Maria Gutierrez-Guzman heard her mother’s voice for the first time in her short life.

It was a beautiful thing to watch. Diana, frightened by the noise, turned to her mother for comfort. Her mom started crying.

Read it all and please dont miss the video, all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & Family* South Carolina

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Posted November 26, 2015 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England is attempting to clarify its rights over church schools when the Education and Adoption Bill becomes law next year.

At present, there is uncertainty over the position of diocesan boards of education when, under a provision in the Bill, an inadequate school can be forcibly transferred to academy status under a different provider.

The Government has strongly resisted amendments to the Bill, which is intended to speed up the improvement of schools that are giving cause for concern. This will be achieved, the Government argues, by giving Ministers the right to force failing schools to become academies, and circumvent local consultation and objections that have hitherto delayed the process.

Instead of being secured in legislation, the Church’s position will be set out in a Memorandum of Understanding associated with the Bill.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 20, 2015 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We tried everything to help Matthew, from acceptance and enabling to tough love, but the trajectory was not a good one and its ending has scarred and devastated our lives forever. I cannot say with certainty that if we had been able to force treatment on Matthew, including anti-psychotic medications, that he would have survived. In addition to suffering from anosognosia, Matthew became very religious after his break, embracing his Judaism, keeping kosher, and he was convinced that taking medication was dishonorable and would offend God.

But I do know that for many, treatment saves lives. The true insanity is that our laws leave those who suffer to fend for themselves. But Congress is now ready to grapple with the issue in a bipartisan bill introduced by Tim Murphy, a Republican from Pennsylvania and the only clinical psychologist in the House, and Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Democrat from Texas who is a psychiatric nurse.

The bill is not perfect. But it does many things to improve the financing, treatment and delivery of services across the range of mental illnesses, and in particular it has provisions aimed directly at helping those like my son.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyMental IllnessYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 17, 2015 at 3:52 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Xavier Nogueras, a defense lawyer in Paris, represents twenty French citizens accused of jihadism. A few of his clients are violent and dangerous, he said, but many went to Syria out of idealism, wanting to defend other Muslims against the Assad regime and build an Islamic state. He argued that such people pose no threat to France and that the state shouldn’t permanently embitter them with years of detention. Nogueras resisted tracing his clients’ motives to social conditions in the banlieues. Few have criminal backgrounds; some had well-paid jobs in large French companies. “The most surprising thing to me is their immense humanity,” Nogueras said. He finds jihadists more interesting than the drug dealers and robbers he’s represented. “They have more to say—many more ideas. Their sacred book demands the application of Sharia, which tells them to cover their wives, not to live in secularism. And we are in a country that inevitably stigmatizes them, because it’s secular. They don’t feel at home here.”


I found the lawyer’s distinction between jihadism at home and abroad less than reassuring. Coulibaly’s faith could have led him to kill people in Paris or in Syria; violence driven by ideology could happen anywhere. The “idealism” of clients motivated to make Sharia universal law is, in some ways, more worrying than simple thuggery: even if France dedicates itself urgently to making its Muslims full-fledged children of the republic, a small minority of them will remain, on principle, irreconcilable.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 17, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This one is a complete wipeout--get the Kleenex and watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilySports* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 11, 2015 at 5:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From her dining room in suburban Atlanta, [Elaine] Riddick, 61, points to a half-inch scar above her right eye as she remembers the afternoon in 1967 when her life irrevocably changed. At age 13, Riddick was walking home in rural eastern North Carolina when a grown man from her small town attacked her: Riddick says he raped her and threatened to kill her if she told anyone. She stayed quiet.

A few weeks later, while she was picking cotton, Riddick vomited. She thought she had a virus, but when she started gaining weight, her grandmother took her to the county health department. The young girl was pregnant.

Instead of launching an investigation, welfare officials recommended doctors sterilize Riddick after she delivered her baby. They deemed her promiscuous and “feeble-minded.” Without benefit of a review or accountability process, the government declared Riddick at age 13 unfit ever to reproduce again.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyScience & TechnologySexualityViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 9, 2015 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At least 100 students at a high school in Cañon City traded naked pictures of themselves, the authorities said Friday, part of a large sexting ring.
Stories from Our Advertisers

The revelation has left parents outraged, administrators searching for missed clues, and the police and the district attorney’s office debating whether to file child pornography charges — including felony charges — against some of the participants.

George Welsh, the superintendent of the Cañon City school system, said students at Cañon City High School had been circulating 300 to 400 nude photographs, including images of “certainly over 100 different kids,” on their cellphones. “This is a lot of kids involved,” he said, adding that the children in the pictures were believed to be students at the high school as well as eighth graders from the middle school.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted November 9, 2015 at 5:36 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Heroin is no longer only an inner-city problem.

Users are young, educated and often fighting an uphill battle to stay clean while deep in the clutches of a disease that is far from free of stigma.

And the highly addictive drug’s increased use and potency have led to overdose deaths rising dramatically in the nation, state and Lowcountry.

Reported opioid deaths across the state jumped 118 percent from 237 in 2013 to 516 in 2014, a trend mirrored in the tri-county area, according to data from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 8, 2015 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q:Your article on homesickness was very thought-provoking. Many of my peers and I relocated in our sixties. Although we volunteer, attend houses of worship, have friends and travel, many of us are still lonely for home and sometimes depressed because of it. Has anyone studied this?

— E.M.

A:People of all ages can feel homesick, and longing for the security and comfort of a past home can increase with age, according to a few studies that have included healthy elderly participants.

People often look for new sources of identity as their relationship with career and past colleagues fade. A 2004 study by Norwegian researchers found that elderly Danes and Pakistanis who had settled in Norway decades earlier identified more strongly with their native countries as they grew older, bringing a feeling of homesickness. Connecting to their cultural heritage by decorating their homes with related artwork or talking about their memories supported self-esteem and helped make up for age-related losses in other areas, researchers found.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 6, 2015 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Children and adults are being harmed by the widespread availability and use of pornography in society, the Bishop of Chester has warned.

The Rt Revd Peter Forster, leading a debate in the House of Lords on the impact of pornography on society, called for action in the face of evidence showing the damaging impact of pornograhy on adults as well as children and young people.

Speaking to peers, Bishop Peter highlighted the exposure of children to harmful sexualised content online.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetChildrenMarriage & FamilyPornographyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 6, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the student at the center of the federal complaint and all other transgender students at the district's five high schools, the staff changes their names, genders and pronouns on school records. Transgender students also are allowed to use the bathrooms of their identified gender and play on the sports team of that gender, school officials said.

But officials drew the line at the locker room, citing the privacy rights of the other 12,000-plus students in the district. As a compromise, the district installed four privacy curtains in unused areas of the locker room and another one around the shower, but because the district would compel the student to use them, federal officials deemed the solution insufficient.

The dispute highlights a controversy that a growing number of school districts face as they struggle with an issue that few parents of today's teens encountered. The Department of Education has settled two similar allegations of discrimination of transgender students in California, with both districts eventually agreeing to allow the students to use female-designated facilities.

Read it allfrom the Chicago Tribune.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySports* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted November 3, 2015 at 3:51 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Allegations of sexual abuse by a former Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Revd George Bell, have resulted in compensation and a formal apology from the current Bishop, Dr Martin Warner, 20 years after the complaint was first made.

A statement issued by Church House, Westminster, on Thursday of last week confirmed “a legal civil claim regarding sexual abuse against the Right Reverend George Bell”. The complaint concerns the abuse of a young child in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Tracey Emmott, the solicitor for the survivor, said that her client remained “bitter” that the original complaint, made in 1995, was “not properly listened to or dealt with until my client made contact with Archbishop Justin Welby’s office in 2013”. This failure had been “very damaging, and combined with the abuse that was suffered has had a profound effect on my client’s life”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedStewardship* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted October 30, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionSportsTravelYoung Adults* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 28, 2015 at 10:33 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[The] Reverend David West said it was the first lecture the church had banned and admitted the timing was “unfortunate”, saying he only became aware of the content of the talk on Monday....

“We use church property for all sorts of groups, but the content of any group can’t be offensive to the Anglican Church and assisted dying is something the Anglican and mainstream Christian churches object to.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 27, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Julie Lythcott-Haims noticed a disturbing trend during her decade as a dean of freshmen at Stanford University. Incoming students were brilliant and accomplished and virtually flawless, on paper. But with each year, more of them seemed incapable of taking care of themselves.

At the same time, parents were becoming more and more involved in their children’s lives. They talked to their children multiple times a day and swooped in to personally intervene anytime something difficult happened.

From her position at one of the world’s most prestigious schools, Lythcott-Haims came to believe that mothers and fathers in affluent communities have been hobbling their children by trying so hard to make sure they succeed, and by working so diligently to protect them from disappointment and failure and hardship.

Read it all from the Washington Post.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 18, 2015 at 3:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A former bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton has been stripped of any standing within the church over his handling of allegations of abuse at the North Coast Children's Home.

Keith Slater was Bishop of Grafton for 10 years until his resignation in May of 2013.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 18, 2015 at 12:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...ever-resilient Syrians strive to maintain some shreds of social cohesion amid an overriding sense of insecurity and uncertainty about the future.

Daily conversations on Skype, WhatsApp and other social media applications help people stay in touch with those scattered around the world. One exile has developed a cellphone app to show where his friends are, lights on the screen indicating far-flung locales.

"Every night we spend at least an hour on WhatsApp trying to catch up," says Elia Samman, who runs a waste management business in Damascus, the capital, but is a native of Homs, once the country's third-largest city.

Of nine Homs families his family was close to, he says, only three remain in Syria. The rest have left for Sweden, Germany, Egypt, Persian Gulf nations or other destinations.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenMarriage & FamilyViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria

0 Comments
Posted October 18, 2015 at 7:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Richland County jury on Friday afternoon socked a local bar with a $3.85 million negligence verdict in connection with the bar’s role in serving liquor to a drunk man who several hours later rammed his Jeep into a car, killing 6-year-old Emma Longstreet.

The jury, which began deliberations Thursday afternoon and broke for the night, deliberated more than eight hours in the civil case before reaching a verdict sometime before 4 p.m. Friday.

“Justice was served,” said Emma’s father, David Longstreet, who with his wife, Karen, their three children, and Kenny Sinchak, a motorist in another car, brought the lawsuit against the Loose Cockaboose Sports Bar.

The jury found the bar was serving liquor after a state-mandated closing time, and that it had served an obviously intoxicated Billy Patrick Hutto.

Several hours later, Hutto, a repeat DUI offender, ran a red light going 60 mph and slammed into the Longstreets’ car in Lexington County while they were on their way to church. Emma died later in a local hospital.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyTravel* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 18, 2015 at 6:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the United States today, thousands of children under 18 have recently taken marital vows — mostly girls married to adult men, often with approval from local judges. In at least one case, a 10-year-old boy was legally married.

How is this possible? The minimum marriage age in most states is 18, but every state allows exceptions under which children under age 18 can wed.

The first common exception is for children marrying with “parental consent.” Most states allow children age 16 or 17 to marry if their parents sign the marriage license application.

Of course, one person’s “parental consent” can be another’s “parental coercion,” but state laws typically do not call for anyone to investigate whether a child is marrying willingly. Even in the case of a girl’s sobbing openly while her parents sign the application and force her into marriage, the clerk usually has no authority to intervene. In fact, in most states there are no laws that specifically forbid forced marriage.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyTeens / Youth* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 16, 2015 at 5:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The grim reaper is feeling bullish.

Following success in California — the fifth state where doctors are now free to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally-ill or dying patients — so-called “right-to-die” activists have turned their eyes to Maryland, New York and beyond.

“I think that this is a national wave,” Maryland Del. Shane E. Pendergrass, D-Howard, told The Washington Post. Pendergrass plans to sponsor “right-to-die” legislation in January.

It’s a wave with the potential to sweep some of society’s most vulnerable — the elderly, the terminally ill and disabled — prematurely into the hereafter.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 13, 2015 at 5:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Reconciliation has been on the hearts and in the minds of our church for decades. In 2015, the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, the #22Days project, and eighth national Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle among others further highlighted the issue of reconciliation with Indigenous people, putting it front and centre for and within the Anglican Church of Canada.

Reflecting on survivor testimony and an examination of the Indian residential school system in policy and practice, the TRC was able to determine that history to be nothing short of cultural genocide. The TRC brought to light the traumatic effect of the schools on generations of survivors and their families, as well as the negative social repercussions in Indigenous communities.

“For those who have ears to hear, a conscience to stir, and a heart to move, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has humbled this nation to confess its sin, and to pray for guidance in walking in a new and different way with the First Peoples of this land,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said in his opening sermon at this year’s Sacred Circle.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHistoryMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 13, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A college degree practically stamped Andres Aguirre’s ticket to the middle class. Yet at age 40, he’s still paying the price of admission.

After a decade of repayments, Aguirre still diverts $512 a month to loans and owes $20,000.

The expense requires his family to rent an apartment in Campbell, Calif., because buying a home in a decent school district would cost too much. His daughter has excelled in high school, but Aguirre has urged her to attend community college to avoid the debt that ensnared him.

“I didn’t get the warmest reception on that,” he said. “But she understands the choice.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal Finance* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 12, 2015 at 12:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My parents announced their divorce calmly during our first and only family meeting. I was 14 and felt as if I had been punched in the face. There had been none of the clues leading up to it that my friends had described before their parents’ divorces. No screaming or dishes being thrown. Everything was quiet.

My parents said they loved my sister and me very much, that this wasn’t our fault. Later, when I grilled them separately, asking why, they each told me they never gave enough time to their relationship, that it was always all about the family.

“So it is our fault,” I said.

“No, no,” they assured me. They loved my sister and me and loved being parents.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 11, 2015 at 8:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first challenge is leadership. A whole-of-community approach requires leadership that embraces the community. Is there an identifiable leader, whether an individual or a coalition, who is broadly accepted as such and capable of bringing together a range of stakeholders? Do they have a clear vision of the change to which they are leading the community?

The second challenge to overcome is inertia. A whole-of-community approach may require changes in how we work together, how we communicate, how we allocate finite resources - and change is rarely easy. Bureaucratic processes, political turf wars, over stretched personnel, and the time worn "that's not how we've done things in the past" can all contribute to a fairly difficult barrier of inertia. Asking the right questions and having a strong leader can ease some of these strains, but at the core of the implementation, things will have to change in order to address the challenges facing our communities.

The third challenge to successful implementation is turning competitors into partners. Government ministries compete for influence and slices of a finite budget pie. Community organisations compete for funding and recognition in the community and by opinion leaders. Service providers may compete for clients and contracts. Once potential allies are identified, having a clear strategy in place on how to build partnerships is key to a sustainable, effective whole-of-community policy initiative  -  facilitated by good leadership and a rich understanding of the community brought out through asking the right questions.

Countering violent extremism in Australia is challenging. In order to succeed, we have to overcome existing community tensions and divisions. The Countering Community Division policy framework is presented as a way to gather community insights and resources, facilitate in-depth analysis and understanding of the current situation, and coordinate efforts across stakeholders so that we can begin to reunite the divided and strengthen our communities to counteract further radicalisation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 11, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Perhaps it's not surprising that the best arguments against assisted suicide — especially advanced by such liberal icons as E.J. Dionne and Victoria Kennedy — are progressive. Liberals are generally happy for government to restrict individual freedoms to prevent violence and killing. They are also generally skeptical of the idea that choice leads to genuine freedom, especially for those without power on the margins of our culture.

Indeed, liberal states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and, until this week, California had all recently rejected such legislation. Britain's attempt to pass an assisted-suicide bill also went down to overwhelming defeat.

To get a victory in California, its supporters were forced to bypass the regular legislative process (which defeated the bill) and instead consider the bill in a healthcare special session, and under unusual rules. This context is as telling as it is disturbing.

Read it all from the LA Times.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 9, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My parish is a short drive from the house. Every Sunday I see the same people at 8:30 a.m.: the older couples whose children are grown, the many young families with their children, the teenagers who came with their parents but who would rather be in bed. This is the Mass I almost always attend alone. There are a few others who are also alone, though not many.

I serve as an acolyte twice a month, and on these Sundays I sit up at the front beside the priest. On other Sundays, I sit near the front of the church with a family I know. Apart from them, I know the director of music and worship, the deacons and the priests. Others in the parish are mainly just familiar faces, although they are the people with whom I take Communion each and every week.

At the end of Mass, I drive home to pick up my wife, Kim, and our three boys for the 10 a.m. liturgy at the Episcopal parish we attend as a family. Like my Catholic parish, this church is thriving, filled with young and old from a variety of backgrounds. There are cradle Episcopalians, ex-evangelicals who found life in the beauty of Episcopal liturgy and disaffected Roman Catholics. Because this is my family’s parish, I know these parishioners more deeply than the ones at my Catholic parish. My children play with their children, and our families regularly hang out together. During the liturgy I sit with Kim and my oldest son while his two brothers are downstairs for Sunday school. When it comes time for the Communion, we process to the altar rail where my wife and my son take Communion together. I cross my arms and am blessed by the priest. Apart from a few children, I’m the only person who does this.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

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Posted October 8, 2015 at 12:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Mommy, can I get some candy?”

“Yes,” I replied, undaunted in my attempt to preach the Word. My almost four year-old daughter had recently discovered two things: 1)There is a bowl of hard candy in the church office and 2) Mommy isn’t really interested in teaching a lesson about nutrition or risking a meltdown in the middle of a sermon.

This was not the first time I received such a request, but when I saw a usually placid face on the front row contort with shock and fear, I knew something was terribly wrong.

I whipped around to find my little girl balancing on tip-toe at the communion table. One hand gripped the table cloth laden with lit votives, while her brown curls and pudgy fingers trembled as she attempted to set her own candle aflame.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family

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Posted October 8, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Tiffany Wilson]..and her family had to be rescued from their home near Swan Lake Sunday. Her woke up to her dog wimpering in the back yard, where she say he was under water.

"I panicked because I have a six week old baby, and I have an eight-year-old son. Plus, I have a disabled Dad. So, my thought was to get everybody out."

Walking back into her new reality, Wilson says it was tough to see.

"I cried," stated Wilson.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* General InterestNatural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.Weather* South Carolina

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Posted October 8, 2015 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The killers involved in this and many other shootings haunt us. But lately there is some evidence of another pattern: a young man, good-natured and military-trained, who acts instantaneously in the moment of crisis to save the lives of others. This was the case with the Paris train affair a few weeks ago. This was the case again in Oregon. Those of us who bemoan the declension of the American man, historically a force for good in numerous ways, have found our hearts strangely warmed by ordinary heroes as we scan news reports of death and destruction.

I say “strangely warmed” because there is indeed much reason to shake your head at many modern men. As just one example from pop culture, I sometimes watch the television show “House Hunters” on HGTV. Almost invariably on this harmless show about would-be homebuyers, we encounter a man whose demands for the would-be home outpace his wife’s. As the realtor asks the couple what they want, the man spits out an extensive list of his desired accouterments, and they’re usually of the predictable sort. His wife stands uncomfortably beside him as he prattles on. The boy-man speaketh.

This common scene crystallized for me how many men today think about life: they think it’s about them. They believe that they should get what they want, and that everyone else can fend for themselves. The instinct to lead in their marriage by putting their wife’s interests before their own has gone missing. Chivalry, it seems, lies sprawled on the couch in the man cave, snoring loudly while a huge flat screen TV broadcasts endless replays of men playing the games of children.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologyViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 7, 2015 at 1:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the Harvest Hope Food Bank, each volunteer has a reason to serve, including Kassy Alia. Tuesday afternoon, Alia was dubbed the "Fun Food Lady" as she sorted cart-loads of cakes, pies, and pizzas.

"Something that's brought me a lot of peace over the past few days is I know I told my husband everyday how much I loved him, and he did the same for me. I'm confident, and I know that he would be so proud of me,” she said.

Kassy's late husband, Forest Acres police officer Greg Alia, was shot and killed in the line of duty last week while responding to a suspicious vehicle call at Richland Mall. He was a new father, just 32 years old, and a star at the small department. Alia was laid to rest on Saturday as the rain rolled in.

Read it all and watch the whole video.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsChildrenDieting/Food/NutritionLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & Family* General InterestNatural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.Weather* South Carolina

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Posted October 7, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q: What do critics say?

Many doctors continue to object to it, as do many religious leaders and activists for the disabled who fear that the disabled could be put under duress to end their lives prematurely.

The California Catholic Conference, the Medical Oncology Assn. of Southern California and the California Disability Alliance note that similar bills have failed recently in Connecticut, Delaware and Colorado.

"This bill is simply about protecting doctors and HMOs from liability," Marilyn Golden, a senior policy analyst for the Berkeley-based Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund told The Times earlier this year, "and tells people with disabilities who face a terminal diagnosis that may well prove inaccurate that there is no dignity in our lives."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 6, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Growing numbers of Church of England schools are failing to appoint heads of the same faith, according to a study.

A new Church of England report into the training needs of its schools reveals “a significant shortage of leaders [nationally] which is felt even more acutely” by church schools.

“There was clear consensus across school leaders and diocesan officials that recruitment of school leaders with the necessary understanding and commitment is proving increasingly difficult and sometimes impossible,” says the report.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted October 2, 2015 at 12:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The gunman who opened fire at Oregon's Umpqua Community College singled out Christians, according to the father of a wounded student.

Before going into spinal surgery, Anastasia Boylan told her father the gunman entered her classroom firing.

"I've been waiting to do this for years," the gunman told the professor teaching the class. He shot him point blank, Boylan recounted.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureViolenceYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted October 2, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was an emotional and heartfelt reunion 38 years in the making inspired by a photo of a severely burned baby being cradled by her nurse.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenHealth & MedicineHistory* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 1, 2015 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Doctors have been granted approval to carry out the UK's first 10 womb transplants, following the success of the procedure in Sweden.
The go-ahead has been given by the Health Research Authority - as part of a clinical trial - which launches in the spring.
Around one in 7,000 women are born without a womb, while others lose their womb to cancer.
If the trial is successful, the first UK baby could arrive in early 2018.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineScience & TechnologyWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 1, 2015 at 12:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Virgin mothers having IVF, three-parent babies, transgender gold medallists . . . the new sexual politics is changing so rapidly that few can keep up. Facebook now has more than 71 terms for gender identity including gender fluid, hermaphrodite, polygender, asexual and two-spirit person. Google has increased its coverage of transgender healthcare for employees to include genital surgery, facial feminisation and pectoral implants.

In America they are increasingly clued up about these new sexual identities. Caitlyn Jenner — formerly known as Bruce — the Olympic decathlete and reality TV star, came out in July as transgender and said she was tired at 65 of telling lies. The arguments have now moved on to whether you have to be biologically female for the ladies’ loos. Campaigns have been launched, #weneedtopee and #occupotty, as states such as Florida and Kentucky struggle to work out what is appropriate in schools, hospitals and prisons.

The acronym LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) doesn’t trip off the tongue so easily here, but slowly the discussions are reaching Britain. The comedian Eddie Izzard, whom I interviewed, explained that he now sees being a transvestite as a gift, “because women talk to me in a different way”. Grayson Perry’s art transcends what he wears. Gender is increasingly no longer about men v women, Mars v Venus, but where you are on the spectrum.

The young are much more likely to challenge their sexuality. The number of children under ten being seen for transgender treatment on the NHS has quadrupled in the past five years.

Read it all (requires subscription).

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologySexualityWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 30, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bill Nye is supposed to be “the science guy.” Recently he published a video on YouTube purporting to inform viewers of what science tells us about abortion. Nye claims that laws against abortion reflect “a deep scientific lack of understanding.” But it turns out that it is Nye himself who doesn’t understand the science. “I really encourage you to look at the facts,” he says. But then he misrepresents the facts from top to bottom in an embarrassingly transparent effort to hijack science in the cause of pro-abortion ideology.

Nye’s video is so breathtakingly arrogant and incompetently argued that it is hard to know where to begin. He opens by saying: “Many, many, many, many more hundreds of eggs are fertilized than become humans. Eggs get fertilized, and by that I mean sperm get accepted by ova — a lot.” The fact he is pointing to here — the high rate of pre-implantation spontaneous abortions (estimates range from 45 percent to as high as 70 percent) — is the only bit of science Nye ever mentions in the video. But he thinks one can infer from it that a human being does not come to be until the embryo implants on the uterine wall: “[The sperm’s joining the ovum] is not all you need. You have to attach to the uterine wall, the inside of a womb, a woman’s womb.”

But that is easily exposed as a non sequitur — a logical fallacy, the conclusion does not follow from the premise. The fact that many human embryos die at an early stage of development (pre-implantation) provides no evidence whatsoever for the proposition that they are not embryonic human beings — no more than comparable high rates of infant mortality in most places before the 20th century showed that infants were not human beings.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyApologeticsEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 29, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...research suggests that while it’s true that lawmakers passed a lot of measures calling for long prison sentences, if you look at how much time inmates actually served, not much has changed over the past few decades. Roughly half of all prisoners have prison terms in the range of two to three years, and only 10 percent serve more than seven years. The laws look punitive, but the time served hasn’t increased, and so harsh laws are not the main driver behind mass incarceration, either.

So what does explain it? Pfaff’s theory is that it’s the prosecutors. District attorneys and their assistants have gotten a lot more aggressive in bringing felony charges. Twenty years ago they brought felony charges against about one in three arrestees. Now it’s something like two in three. That produces a lot more plea bargains and a lot more prison terms.

I asked Pfaff why prosecutors are more aggressive. He’s heard theories. Maybe they are more political and they want to show toughness to raise their profile to impress voters if they run for future office. Maybe the police are bringing stronger cases. Additionally, prosecutors are usually paid by the county but prisons by the state, so prosecutors tend not to have to worry about the financial costs of what they do.

Read it all from the New York Times Op-ed page.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPrison/Prison MinistryPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 29, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Women are having children after undergoing IVF - despite never having had sex, according to doctors.

25 young women in the UK who are hetereosexual and in their twenties have opted for IVF in the past five years because they feel ready to be a parent, doctors told the Mail on Sunday.

Some who have had the "virgin borths" said they are still waiting for the right partner - and a few may be afraid of sex owing to psychosexual complications, experts have said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyScience & TechnologyWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 28, 2015 at 5:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There has always been a fierce debate about the relationship between cohabitation and divorce risks. Some argue that cohabitation lessens people’s commitment to partnership and thus increases their risk of divorce, while others believe that a cohabitation phase before marriage (as a trial marriage) would strengthen marital stability. In the United States, data suggest that the effect of cohabitation on marriage is at best neutral; however, in European countries, the effect of cohabitation on marital stability varies markedly, according to a study covering the last decade of the twentieth century (Liefbroer and Dourleijn, 2006).

Read it all.

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Posted September 28, 2015 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
"Church schools continue to be oversubscribed and popular with parents and pupils, opting for a Christian based education whatever their own faith. Both community and church schools increasingly testify to difficulties in recruiting headteachers and our recent consultation has shown a strong desire for more support in training new leaders. Heads and teachers have told us that they want more help and better training to enable them to promote the Church of England's vision for education. To this end we are consulting about plans to better equip and support leaders and teachers across the country in a fast-moving educational environment."


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

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Posted September 28, 2015 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Religious Education is not a soft option, it is a vital subject for promoting understanding. But there will be no option to choose the subject of Religious Studies as one of the humanities in the proposed compulsory English Baccalaureate (EBacc). Having worked so positively with government for the reform of RS GCSE and A-levels to ensure the new qualifications are rigorous and have much greater theological depth, this is hugely disappointing.

In fact today, the head of Osted, Sir Michael Wilshaw has also challenged the Government over the Ebacc.

The numbers of students opting to take RS as a GCSE has been steadily rising, because they recognise the important role the subject plays in equipping them for life in today’s world. But by not including RS in the EBacc options, the government is limiting choice. Schools will obviously be swayed by which measures are used to hold them accountable. For example, the fact that the RS GCSE short course is no longer included in those measures has resulted in a 67% fall in the numbers of students taking the qualification. Many have switched to the full course RS GCSE, which is obviously a good thing, but the move to make the EBacc compulsory (for those taking GCSEs in 2020) will then have a dramatic impact on the courses students are able to choose.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHistoryMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 25, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

These feelings and convictions—that study is as sweet as honey, that reading is as intimate and mysterious as prayer, that we long for a glimpse of God’s presence and will wake up early to seek it—are not easy to communicate, even in church. It’s hard to find the right words to express them. But these early fall days, when our communities feel the most porous, are an opportunity to try. What matters most is our willingness to speak with each other about the things that matter most to us.

The Christian calendar gives us a saint for this work: St. Jerome, the fourth-century scholar whose translations of the Old and New Testaments formed the basis of the Latin Vulgate. September 30 is the feast day of this patron saint of translators who stands at the threshold of our rich religious inheritance and beckons us to enter. Jerome devoted his life to making scriptures first written in Hebrew and Greek available in a different language. His work of translation is our work too.

As Jerome knew, our attempts to cross the boundaries of language draw us into relationship with others—in Jerome’s case, with the rabbis who taught him to read the Hebrew text and with the women who supported his work and shared his devotion to prayer and study. His translations opened the Bible to the people of his time and place and far beyond it. And his work of translation opened him to others’ lives. This fall we have an opportunity to translate and to be translated, to find words for what matters most to us, and to be changed by the encounter with what matters to others.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture* Theology

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Posted September 24, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Could the next Billy Graham be a married lesbian? In the year 2045, will Focus on the Family be “Focus on the Families,” broadcasting counsel to Evangelicals about how to manage jealousy in their polyamorous relationships? That’s the assumption among many—on the celebratory left as well as the nervous right. Now that the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case has nationalized same-sex marriage, America’s last hold-outs, conservative Evangelical Protestants, will eventually, we’re told, stop worrying and learn to love, or at least accept, the sexual revolution. As Americans grow more accustomed to redefined concepts of marriage and family, Evangelicals will convert to the new understanding and update their theologies to suit. This is not going to happen. The revolution will not be televangelized.

In any given week, I’m asked by multiple reporters about the “sea change” among Evangelicals in support of same-sex marriage. I reply by asking for evidence of this shift. The first piece of evidence is always polling data about Millennial support for such. I respond with data on Millennial Evangelicals who actually attend church, which show no such shift away from orthodoxy. The journalist then typically points to “all the Evangelical megachurches that are shifting their positions on marriage.” I request the names of these megachurches.

The first one mentioned is almost always a church in Franklin, Tennessee—a congregation with considerably less than a thousand attendees on any given Sunday. That may be a “megachurch” by Episcopalian standards, but it is not by Evangelical standards, and certainly not by Nashville Evangelical standards. The church is the fifth-largest, not in the country, not in the region, not even in the city; it is the fifth-largest congregation on its street within a mile radius. I’ll usually grant that church, though, and ask for others. So far, no journalist has named more churches shifting on marriage than there are points of Calvinism. They just take the Evangelical shift as a given fact.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 24, 2015 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Archbishop Fred Hiltz writes) Dear Friends in Christ,

Today the Council of General Synod received The Report of The Commission on The Marriage Canon. The report is very comprehensive and reflects the commitment of the members to address General Synod 2013’s Resolution C003 in its fullness.

You will recall that the resolution requested consideration as to whether the proposal for amending The Marriage Canon would contravene The Solemn Declaration of 1893; and called for a theological and biblical rationale for the blessing of same sex marriages. The Commissioners take us into a deep exploration of the theology of marriage and present several models for understanding same sex marriage. In accord with the request in Resolution C003 for broad consultation throughout the Church the report includes a succinct summary of feedback received from Anglican Communion and ecumenical partners.

Read it all and yes you need to look at the whole report (64 page download).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted September 23, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Ashley Madison hack has spurred a national debate on data privacy as well as the state of marriage in society. Pundits like Fredrik deBoer, Dan Savage, and Glenn Greenwald wasted no time commenting on the controversy by pushing several familiar narratives:

1. Adultery is a victimless and harmless act and therefore within the bounds of morality. If two (or more) people consent to sexual activity, that is their prerogative, and society must be accepting of that choice or at the very least respectful and understanding.

2. The fact that many conservative people do not accept adultery is a function of their religious prudery. That is the only reason anyone could possibly have for opposing consensual sex, which, in the final analysis, is a private matter that ought to remain beyond the scrutiny of others.

3. By insisting that adultery is immoral, religious groups are imposing their puritanical beliefs on others, stigmatizing the innocent lifestyles of certain people, and dehumanizing those who engage in otherwise harmless intimate relationships in pursuit of love and happiness.

We know these arguments so well because they are endlessly rehashed to defend the morality of homosexual acts and the push to redefine marriage. Simply replace every instance of the word “adultery” in the above with “homosexual act” or “same-sex relationships” and the parallels become undeniable.

Read it all.

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Posted September 23, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon





For decades, the never-ending abortion debate has been summarized by the dueling sound bites of pro-choice and pro-life. Very slowly, but lately more steadily, the fundamental premise of pro-life advocacy—that abortion not only stills a beating heart, but takes a human life—has resonated with the American public. Indeed, the New York Times itself reports that “one of the most enduring labels of modern politics—pro choice—has fallen from favor” as a means of furthering abortion rights policies.

That’s a notable shift. But pro-lifers should not unduly celebrate. Rather than moderating, activists have embraced an advocacy model they once eschewed—being explicitly pro-abortion. In this new approach, Roe v. Wade is no longer a moment to celebrate. Rather, it must be overturned because it is too restrictive of what they believe should be an absolute right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, at any time, for any reason.

Why did “pro-choice” lose its efficacy? Mendacity has its costs. Understanding the public’s sentimentality about babies, pro-choice apologists often falsely claimed their goal was simply to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” That worked for a time. But conceding that abortion should be “rare” implicitly accepted the pro-life movement’s fundamental premise—that the entity terminated in an abortion is far more than an inflamed appendix. Eventually, the sheer force of logic and fact helped push the country in a more pro-life direction.

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Posted September 22, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My dad was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1970, the same year that he married my mother and began doctoral studies in theology at Oxford. But Catholicism always pulled at him. In Providence, he argued with the Episcopal bishop over the Assumption of Mary — the belief that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven immediately upon death, part of Catholic dogma but not accepted by all Anglicans.

At Oxford, he devoured the writings of one of England’s most famous Catholic converts, Cardinal John Henry Newman. Even his children weren’t immune. My parents named me Mary Benedicta, a name that evokes images of a wimple-bedecked nun. (They gave my brother the middle name of “Becket” after Thomas Becket, venerated by both Catholics and Anglicans as a saint.) So when Pope John Paul II issued a pastoral provision in 1980 allowing qualified married Episcopal priests to convert to Catholicism and retain their ministry, my father applied. In 1984, after two years of preparation, he was one of the first priests ordained under this process in the United States.

As Pope Francis prepares for his United States visit this week, priestly celibacy is up for discussion for the first time in decades. In February, in response to a question about married priests during a meeting with the Roman clergy, the pontiff stated that the issue was on his agenda. His secretary of state has reaffirmed that celibacy can be discussed because it’s a matter of church tradition, not core tenets.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

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Posted September 20, 2015 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The denial of God -- or the blithe bracketing of the question of God -- is not a harmless parlor game. Rather, it carries with it the gravest implications. If there is no God, then our lives do indeed belong to us, and we can do with them what we want. If there is no God, our lives have no ultimate meaning or transcendent purpose, and they become simply artifacts of our own designing. Accordingly, when they become too painful or too shallow or just too boring, we ought to have the prerogative to end them. We can argue the legalities and even the morality of assisted suicide until the cows come home, but the real issue that has to be engaged is that of God's existence.

The incoming freshman class at Harvard is a disturbing omen indeed, for the more our society drifts into atheism, the more human life is under threat. The less we are willing even to wrestle with God, the more de-humanized we become.

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Posted September 20, 2015 at 1:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dr. Mimi C. Lee and Stephen E. Findley had not been married long when he began to have doubts about the relationship. Now divorced, he is fighting to prevent her from having a child with their frozen embryos, made after Lee was diagnosed with cancer.

The case, to be decided in the next several weeks, is likely to lead to the first legal rules in California for resolving embryo disputes. If Lee prevails, Findley could be forced to become a parent against his will. If Findley wins, it is extremely unlikely that Lee, now 46, will ever have a genetically related child.

"It is compelling and dramatic how these issues play out," said Dr. Mark Sauer, a reproductive endocrinologist and professor of medicine at Columbia University. "These are embryos that will potentially live lives. It is not like you are bartering over the furniture in your house."

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Posted September 19, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number of children forced to flee Boko Haram’s Islamic insurgency in Nigeria and neighboring countries has reached 1.4 million, UN children agency, Unicef, said on friday.

The radical Islamist group has used children as targets and recruits in its war on the Nigerian state, with the aim of establishing its own Islamic caliphate in the country’s northern regions.

In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped more than 270 schoolchildren from the village of Chibok, the majority of whom have still not been found.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildren* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaCameroonChadNigeria

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Posted September 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After the sixth suicide in his old battalion, Manny Bojorquez sank onto his bed. With a half-empty bottle of Jim Beam beside him and a pistol in his hand, he began to cry.

He had gone to Afghanistan at 19 as a machine-gunner in the Marine Corps. In the 18 months since leaving the military, he had grown long hair and a bushy mustache. It was 2012. He was working part time in a store selling baseball caps and going to community college while living with his parents in the suburbs of Phoenix. He rarely mentioned the war to friends and family, and he never mentioned his nightmares.

He thought he was getting used to suicides in his old infantry unit, but the latest one had hit him like a brick: Joshua Markel, a mentor from his fire team, who had seemed unshakable. In Afghanistan, Corporal Markel volunteered for extra patrols and joked during firefights. Back home Mr. Markel appeared solid: a job with a sheriff’s office, a new truck, a wife and time to hunt deer with his father. But that week, while watching football on TV with friends, he had wordlessly gone into his room, picked up a pistol and killed himself. He was 25.

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Posted September 19, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Emmanuel] Thomason discovered that South Carolina is one of at least 25 states that have what’s called a “responsible father registry” where unwed fathers can sign up to be notified if their child is put up for adoption, and urged Emanuel to look into it. Thirty-thousand children were born out of wedlock in South Carolina according to the 2014 census, yet less than 300 men signed up for the registry.

But at the time, Emanuel said he didn’t think signing up was necessary. To him, it seemed like a lack of trust for Skylar’s mother. Instead, he and his family focused on organizing a family baby shower. But when Skylar’s mother never showed up, Emanuel got nervous and signed up for the registry.

A few days later, a messenger showed up at Emanuel’s house to hand him papers showing that his daughter Skylar had been born over a week earlier, that she had been given up for adoption and had already been placed with an adoptive family in another state.

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Posted September 18, 2015 at 4:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tiny living (a gentle, left-leaning alternative to hard-edged right-wing survivalism) is a way for people who are already slim to go on dieting. In both its real and imaginary versions, but especially in the latter, it’s invigorating and clarifying. Lack of closet space concentrates the mind, challenging us to reflect on our priorities, or develop some if we don’t have any. In my own life, I’ve noticed in recent years that the pleasures of divestiture — of carting stuff off to the thrift store or the dump — far exceed the pleasures of acquisition. When I see a photo of a clever loft space perched above a compact, TV-free living room with a cool kitchenette in the corner and views of pine trees, I drift off into an alternate existence where smartphones and antacids have no hold over me.

Is any of this new? Of course not. Back in the 1930s, during the Depression, the businessman and tinkerer Wally Byam founded a company called Airstream. Its signature product, a streamlined RV, was a miracle of miniaturization promising freedom and self-reliance. ‘‘I’m here today and gone tomorrow/ I drive away from care and sorrow,’’ reads a vintage postcard from the era that depicts a grumpy bill collector gazing after a departing trailer hitched to a car whose driver wears a huge grin. But Byam’s goals for his homes on wheels weren’t merely escapist; he truly believed that his trailers could save the world, or at least substantially improve it. He organized caravans of the vehicles with the intention, similar to Zach Klein’s, of fostering understanding and togetherness and building, what we now call ‘‘community.’’ Humble spaces, smiling faces — that was the general notion. And it endures. The American Dream is like that. You think it has receded, that it has died, but really, it’s only downsized.

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Posted September 17, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Feb. 6, 2016 – one year after the historic Supreme Court ruling in the case of Kathleen Carter and Gloria Taylor – physician-assisted death will be legal in Canada. The Canadian Medical Association last week debated what life would be like for physicians and patients in this brave new world. One thing was clear: We are woefully unprepared for Feb. 7.

The Court said the Criminal Code’s prohibitions on assisted suicide will no longer apply “to the extent that they prohibit physician-assisted death for a competent adult person who (1) clearly consents to the termination of life and (2) has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.” It also stated that physicians cannot be compelled to hasten a person’s death.

In the yawning gap between this straightforward theory and the complexities of everyday practice lie many questions:

• When a patient asks for a hastened death, who will they ask?

• What do the terms “grievous and irremediable” and “enduring suffering that is intolerable” mean?

• Who will determine a patient’s capacity to consent?

• If a physician can’t be compelled to perform the act, does he or she have an obligation to refer to a doctor who will?

• How long will the “cooling off” period be between a request and administration of a lethal drug?

Read it all.

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Posted September 16, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you are wondering what the next social debate in the United States will be, NPR host Diane Rehm spelled it out recently in a public campaign: assisted suicide.

Those like Rehm who believe terminally ill patients should be to able to end their lives with help from physicians typically avoid the words suicide and mercy killing. The bald truth of those words would not win support for the movement. Still, Rehm declared that Jack Kevorkian, who went to jail for killing terminally ill patients, “was before his time” and that “the country wasn’t ready.”

But it’s apparently ready now. The agenda is set. Death will not be defeated.

Assisted suicide—defined as a physician providing a patient the means to take his or her own life, usually through medicine—is now legal in five states, with several more currently considering end-of-life legislation.

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Posted September 16, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Long before there was a debate about same-sex anything, far too many heterosexuals bought into a bad liberal ideology about sexuality that came out of the sexual revolution. It was heterosexuals in the ’60s and ’70s who began to live as if marriage should last only as long as the romantic feelings last, replacing “as long as we both shall live” with “as long as we both shall love.” If what makes a marriage is merely consenting adult romance, then there is no reason why marriage has to be permanent or limited to two persons, much less sexually exclusive.

As a result, cohabitation, no-fault divorce, extramarital sex, non-marital childbearing, pornography, and the hook-up culture became normalized, and each contributed to the breakdown of the marriage culture. Same-sex marriage didn’t cause any of these problems. Ashley Madison didn’t cause these problems. The redefinition and the website are, rather, the logical conclusion of these problems. The problem is that these conclusions follow a train of logic that begins from utterly false premises.

And it is on these “love = love” false premises that Justice Kennedy based his Supreme Court opinion redefining marriage throughout our nation. After all, the legal redefinition of marriage could take place only after 50 years of a cultural redefinition—with all of the broken hearts and broken homes that it has left in its wake.

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Posted September 15, 2015 at 5:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new exodus of Syrians is fueling the extraordinary flow of migrants and refugees to Europe, as Syria’s four-year-old war becomes the driving force behind the greatest migration of people to the continent since the Second World War.

Syrians account for half of the 381,000 refugees and migrants who have sought asylum in Europe so far this year, which is in turn almost a doubling of the number in 2014 — making Syrians the main component of the influx.

The continued surge through Europe prompted Hungary, Austria and Slovakia to tighten border controls Monday, a day after Germany projected that in excess of a million people could arrive by year’s end and began to impose restrictions on those entering the country.

How many more Syrians could be on the way is impossible to know, but as the flow continues, their number is rising.

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Posted September 15, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s so obviously reasonable – and kind. You wouldn’t let your dog suffer if there was no hope, would you? “It’s quite wrong that only people who can afford it and have the emotional wherewithal and the support to do it have this choice (to go to Switzerland and end their own lives),” as Lord Falconer said on ITV News.

I was diagnosed with a ‘motor neurone disorder’ 13 years ago. It turned out to be Primary Lateral Sclerosis, the slowest and rarest form of MND. Over time my life has become progressively more restricted. No more walking in Snowdonia and the Lake District; no more camping with the family in France; no more squash, or cycling, or gardening. I stopped working. We had to move to a smaller house with a lift and a small garden. My wife who had now become my sole carer didn’t have time to spend mowing lawns and growing beans. She is occupied getting me dressed and undressed, meeting my needs from toilet to teatime, from breakfast to bedtime.

We might well be expected to support the Marris Bill to legalise assisted dying. After all, what quality of life do we have ahead of us? Wouldn’t it be something to hold on to – the possibility that when we’d both had enough we could call time? But it’s not all about me. Society is a network of relationships, of interdependence. Our actions are never without effects. That is why life is in fact so rich. My life, when I open my eyes to look, has not been impoverished by my disabling disease; it is deeper and fuller in a way I could not have foreseen. I’m not saying it’s easier. It’s frustrating and painful; it can be depressing. But life is still good.

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Posted September 14, 2015 at 4:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The compelling religious opposition to Dignity in Dying’s aims has been a constant thorn in their side and, as their own polling has shown, opposition to assisted suicide is strongest among those who most frequently attend worship: support is highest amongst infrequent attendees; those who might be described as culturally or more loosely affiliated to a religion.

What is surprising is not that Dignity in Dying has sought to apply PR solutions to their problematic lack of support among churches and other religious bodies, but that they have taken a more combative position against those with a religious faith more generally; those who tend to believe that assisted suicide is mistaken, regardless of whether the primary objection is on religious or non-religious grounds. This has, as we saw last weekend, extended so far as to question the sincerity of those advancing pragmatic arguments about concern for the vulnerable, because they might also happen to have a faith, or because they may be associated with others that do.

In June, Catherine Bennett wrote in the Guardian ‘When politicians do God, no wonder we have doubts‘. She focused negatively on Liberal Democrat leadership contender Tim Farron’s Christian beliefs. Wootton tweeted that she “couldn’t agree more” with Bennett, who had concluded that “everyone agrees that, when it might affect their objectivity, MPs must declare an interest. It seems only fair to ask that, when ethics are debated, they disclose which supernatural affiliation has dictated their response, along with any penalties for disobedience”.

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Posted September 14, 2015 at 8:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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