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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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he divorce statistics for modern Western societies are catastrophic. They show that marriage is no longer regarded as a new, independent reality transcending the individuality of the spouses, a reality that, at the very least, cannot be dissolved by the will of one partner alone. But can it be dissolved by the consent of both parties, or by the will of a synod or a pope? The answer must be no, for as Jesus himself explicitly declares, man cannot put asunder what God himself has joined together. Such is the teaching of the Catholic Church.
The Christian understanding of the good life claims to be valid for all human beings. Yet even Jesus’s disciples were shocked by their Master’s words: Wouldn’t it be better, then, they replied, not to marry at all? The astonishment of the disciples underscores the contrast between the Christian way of life and the way of life dominant in the world. Whether it wants to or not, the Church in the West is on its way to becoming a counterculture, and its future now depends chiefly on whether it is able, as the salt of the earth, to keep its savor and not be trampled underfoot by men.
The beauty of the Church’s teaching can shine forth only when it’s not watered down. The temptation to dilute doctrine is reinforced nowadays by an unsettling fact: Catholics are divorcing almost as frequently as their secular counterparts. Something has clearly gone wrong. It’s against all reason to think that all civilly divorced and remarried Catholics began their first marriages firmly convinced of its indissolubility and then fundamentally reversed themselves along the way. It’s more reasonable to assume that they entered into matrimony without clearly realizing what they were doing in the first place: burning their bridges behind them for all time (which is to say until death), so that the very idea of a second marriage simply did not exist for them.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Men Psychology Women * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Sacramental Theology
A simplified baptism service could soon be rolled out across the Church of England, in a move away from the ‘wordy’ traditional liturgy. The Additional Texts for Holy Baptism was before Synod for First Consideration, having been changed since it was introduced by the Diocese of Liverpool, following criticisms of it ‘dumbing down’ the service. The Bishop of Sodor and Man moved the motion, explaining the need stemming from the ‘wordy and complex’ nature of the current provision. It is now to be considered by the Revision Committee. The new text shortens the service by omitting elements that are not obligatory. “When a child is brought for baptism he or she comes with empty hands,” Robert Paterson said, “Simply the most precious thing in God’s sight is a child of his creation.” Feedback from families who have taken part in baptism show they remember the symbols of the service more than words. “This is a specific request to draft liturgy to meet pastoral need,” he continued. The Group believed the word ‘submit’, seen in the current text, ‘seemed to some like bullying’. All of these texts in their authorised form would be additional, not to replace Common Worship texts, the Bishop promised, and is subject to yet more synodical processes. He alluded to the backlash over the absence of the devil in the new baptism service. “We all know that, for many people, the devil has been turned into a cartoon-like character of no particular malevolence. “We have no quarrel with standing up to the devil: the problem is helping people with little doctrinal appreciation to understand what we mean by affirming that the devil is a defeated power.” The press was heavily criticised by many speakers in the debate highlighting the omission of the devil and sin from the first trial draft. “Wherever possible, the final ‘Commission’ should be expressed simply and directly, eye-to-eye, and not read from a prepared text.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * Theology Sacramental Theology Baptism
GONZALEZ: It's a scene that captured the attention of the country and world. Anti-immigrant protestors blocking buses filled with undocumented Central American migrant children, some adults, from reaching a border patrol station in the southern California community of Murrieta.
The children aboard the buses were just some of the more than 52,000 minors, many of them unaccompanied by adults, who have been detained by immigration authorities since October. It's the largest influx of asylum seekers into the U.S. since 1980.
There are so many migrant children arriving, temporary immigration holding facilities along the border have been filled to capacity, and the children have been flown to other parts of the country, for shelter and care at military bases and other facilities. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of migrants, the government has turned to faith communities for help.
Read or watch and listen to it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Immigration Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Mexico * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
...there are forces at work here that we should recognize, name and resist.
First is the upper-class, competition-driven vision of childhood as a rigorously supervised period in which unattended play is abnormal, risky, weird. This perspective hasn’t just led to “the erosion of child culture,” to borrow a quote from Hanna Rosin’s depressing Atlantic essay on “The Overprotected Kid”; it has encouraged bystanders and public servants to regard a deviation from constant supervision as a sign of parental neglect.
Second is the disproportionate anxiety over child safety, fed by media coverage of every abduction, every murdered child, every tragic “hot car” death. Such horrors are real, of course, but the danger is wildly overstated: Crime rates are down, abductions and car deaths are both rare, and most of the parents leaving children (especially non-infants) in cars briefly or letting them roam a little are behaving perfectly responsibly.
Third is an erosion of community and social trust, which has made ordinary neighborliness seem somehow unnatural or archaic, and given us instead what Gracy Olmstead’s article in The American Conservative dubs the “bad Samaritan” phenomenon — the passer-by who passes the buck to law enforcement as expeditiously as possible.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
As long as that phone is acting as a kind of electronic umbilical cord, parents can tell themselves their children are safe.
But increasingly the smartphone itself is an instrument of harm. Such is the case with a 16-year-old Houston girl named Jada, who entered the spotlight as she publicly confronted the evidence that she had been raped at a party by at least one other teenager. She says she passed out after drinking a beverage that was spiked and only learned of the crime after her classmates began tweeting photos and videos taken of her unconscious, partly nude body. (Houston police are investigating; no one has been charged.)
What happened next is remarkable in ways that instill faith in the human spirit and at the same time provoke disgust at the depravity and lemming-like behavior that teenagers with smartphones are capable of.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Children Marriage & Family Science & Technology Teens / Youth Violence * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The conventional wisdom holds that, as societies become affluent, their fertility rate — the number of babies per woman — drops. Children are no longer needed to support their parents in old age, some conventionals say. Some also say that women, once affluent, liberated and armed with contraceptives, eschew pregnancies.
Such reasoning is ahistorical, thinly rationalized by statistics spanning decades rather than centuries. In fact, populations have waxed and waned throughout time, with periods of low population growth often spelling hardship, and those marked by high population growth often signifying good times.
Even the post-World War II baby boom, often explained as an anomaly caused by soldiers returning home from war, is more accurately seen as part of a post-Great Depression boom. U.S. fertility rates began rising in 1938, as the U.S. economy brightened and couples began to believe they would be able to support families. The fertility rates kept rising until the late 1950s, when the average number of children peaked at 3.7, up from 2.3 in 1933.
Read it all from the Financial Post.
Nigeria's president has accused activists of "playing politics" after his meeting with parents of the abducted schoolgirls was called off.
The #BringBackOurGirls group should be ashamed of manipulating "the victims of terrorism", he said.
Mr Jonathan had been due to hold his first meeting with some of the girls' parents on Tuesday.
Islamist group Boko Haram captured more than 200 girls during a raid on their boarding school in Chibok in April.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam
Concern is growing that access to abortion may be included in the 15-year UN development programme that will replace the Millennium Development Goals from the end of next year.
Cafod has said it will be unable to giving 100 per cent backing to the new goals, currently in draft form, which already contain a commitment to grant universal access to sexual and reproductive health.
The 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals will replace the eight existing goals, with the primary aim to end poverty by 2030, and contain for the first time a direct reference to women. The fifth goal currently reads: "Attain gender equality, empower women and girls everywhere."
The accompanying text, still in draft form, includes bringing an end to female genital mutilation, as well as a commitment to "ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights." Pro-choice groups such as Marie Stopes International – who received £41.5 million in Government funding this year – are campaigning for a dedicated target on sexual and reproductive health and rights under the current health goal.
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Tova, a self-identified witch who uses her first name only and created the website The Way Of The Witch, spoke with joined HuffPost Live's Ricky Camilleri for a discussion about witch hunts in the 21st century. During the conversation, she shared what life is like for herself and her children in Utah.
"I live in a pretty small community outside Salt Lake City, and we have some pretty tight-held belief systems here. Although [witches] are not really just out there trying to be different, certainly people know that we live in a different way, they know that we practice things they don't understand, and I think it promotes fear," Tova said.
During her kids' earlier years, the family faced social challenges because of Tova's beliefs, she said.
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“Anyone who can afford it chooses the United States,” said Lesa A. Slaughter, a fertility lawyer in Los Angeles.
Some lawyers who handle surrogacy tell of ethical problems with intended parents from abroad. Melissa Brisman, a New Jersey lawyer who handled Paulo and João’s surrogacy, had a prospective client from China who wanted to use five simultaneous gestational surrogates. She turned him down.
Mr. Vorzimer, in California, had an international client who wanted six embryos implanted.
“He wanted to keep two babies, and put the rest up for adoption,” Mr. Vorzimer said. “I said, ‘What, like the pick of the litter?’ and he said, ‘That’s right.’ I told him I wouldn’t work with him.”
Read it all from Sunday's New York Times.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Globalization Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Bishop Pritchard, who as chair of the Church of England’s Board of Education is responsible for the teaching of around a million children in Anglican schools, as well as speaking for the Church on education in the Lords, said a change in the law could be “liberating” for schools and churches alike.
“I think in the 1940s when all of this was put together it was possible to say that collective worship represented the mood of the nation but I don’t think that is where we are now,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“There is a sense in which a compulsion about religion does a disservice to that which I think is most important which is keeping the good news of the Christian faith alive in our culture.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Children Education Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
Of course choice is good. I aspire to more of it and so do people who have enjoyed much less of it than I have. Offer me more choice, at least in theory, and I'll say Yes. I'll answer your loaded opinion poll and tell you I am in favour of this choice and that choice because who, in this culture, can be against more choice without being a heretic? But talk about choice on that day in the future when I am wholly dependent on the people around me, when my life is almost over and I have far more chance of pleasing others by getting out of their way quietly than of making much difference to my own situation, and my choice won't be about me, it will be about them. And those last days of life, surely, are precisely the moment when choices ought to be about the one approaching the end - and no one else.
How many Parliamentarians who will shortly debate the Falconer Bill on assisted suicide are people with wide enough life experience to empathise with those who see more choice as a threat and not a blessing? How many subscribers to the BMJ put themselves, day by day, into the shoes of people for whom consumer choice is someone else's luxury, even if their editor chooses to use his journalistic position to make a ruling on behalf of ethicists everywhere?
Some of them, to be sure - maybe many of them. Will they encourage the rest to dig deep into their imaginations, to empathise with people who are not articulate, who are used to being done unto, and who have lived on the receiving end of other's choices all their lives?
They are in Parliament to govern on behalf of all citizens. The weak. The poor. The vulnerable. The dying. The ones who don't want to be a nuisance. The ones who do not regard choice as an unalloyed good, as well as the people who are used to choosing. And the medical profession too - despite the sweeping assertions of the BMJ about the nature of ethics, are also in business for those people.
Will the Parliamentarians and the medics empathise beyond their own kind? I hope so. I do hope so.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Philosophy Psychology Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Justin, who has cerebral palsy and was born missing parts of his brain, also has a seizure disorder, which has gotten worse lately. He's often silent during his seizures, which means he has to sleep with his parents so they can tell when he needs help. Judy says caring for Justin is a lot like taking care of a newborn....Except Justin is not a baby. He just turned 16 and weighs 100 pounds. He can't talk, he can't walk and he'll always require around-the-clock care. Like the estimated 17 million people in the U.S. taking care of their special-needs kids, Judy's days largely consist of making sure Justin's needs are met....
The faith community is a major source of support for James and Judy Lee. Every Sunday the family attends Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Sacramento. James welcomes people's empathy, but he rejects their pity. He recalled a man at a support group once asking him if he hated God because of Justin's disability.
"I said, 'No, I'm actually thankful that He chose us to take care of Justin,' " he says.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
Watch it all, and be forewarned, you are not likely going to make it through the whole thing without Kleenex--KSH.
The Sudanese woman who gave birth in a Khartoum prison with her legs in chains has said that her baby daughter is disabled as a result of her treatment.
Meriam Ibrahim, 27, was sentenced to hang for apostasy on May 15, when she was heavily pregnant with her second child. Less than a fortnight later she gave birth to Maya – but the prison authorities refused to remove the shackles on her legs.
"I gave birth chained," she said, in her first description of the May 27 birth.
Read it all.
Traci Butler and her husband cut out vacations after the U.S. recession five years ago. This week, the couple is taking their two boys on a weeklong trip that includes a July 4th visit to the nation’s capital, just a few weeks after touring Italy on their own.
In the aftermath of the recession, “things were much tighter,” said Butler, a special education teacher from Washington, Illinois, whose husband works for construction machinery maker Caterpillar Inc. “We didn’t have bonuses for a while. The last two years have been better.”
About 34.8 million people plan to drive 50 miles or more from home during the five days ending July 6, up from 34.1 million last year and the most since 2007, AAA, the biggest U.S. motoring organization, said June 26. The travel recovery is boosting sales for hotels and attractions, a sign that consumer confidence and consumer spending are on the mend, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Travel * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Housing/Real Estate Market Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
In his address, Cardinal Baldisseri revealed that the outline for the bishops’ October discussion is divided into three parts, the first focusing on the communication of the Gospel in today’s world, while the second part addresses the pastoral program for the family in light of new challenges.
The instrumentum concludes with the third part, which centers on an openness to life and parental responsibility in the upbringing of children.
“Dedicated to the Gospel of the family,” the first part of the outline “relates to God’s plan, biblical and magisterial knowledge and their reception, natural law and the vocation of the person in Christ,” the cardinal explained.
“The difficulties that arise in relation to natural law can be overcome through more attentive reference to the biblical world, to its language and narrative forms and to the proposal to thematize and deepen the biblically inspired concept of the ‘order of creation,’” he explained.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Adult Education Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The day a premature baby is born is the most dangerous of its life. That's when the risk of death and disability is greatest. But doctors around the world are working to help more babies survive that day.
Of the 15m premature babies born every year around the world, one million will die.
Babies born too soon are vulnerable to infection and breathing can be difficult because of their underdeveloped lungs.
It's not always fully understood why babies are born early - but things which increase the likelihood include the age of the mother, some infections and if the woman has already had a premature baby.
Read it all.
When the doctor holds your child up to the harsh light of the delivery room, looks between its legs, and declares his opinion: It's a boy or a girl, based on nothing more than a cursory assessment of your offspring's genitals.
We tell our children, “You can be anything you want to be.” We say, “A girl can be a doctor, a boy can be a nurse,” but why in the first place must this person be a boy and that person be a girl? Your infant is an infant. Your baby knows nothing of dresses and ties, of makeup and aftershave, of the contemporary social implications of pink and blue. As a newborn, your child's potential is limitless. The world is full of possibilities that every person deserves to be able to explore freely, receiving equal respect and human dignity while maximizing happiness through individual expression.
With infant gender assignment, in a single moment your baby's life is instantly and brutally reduced from such infinite potentials down to one concrete set of expectations and stereotypes, and any behavioral deviation from that will be severely punished—both intentionally through bigotry, and unintentionally through ignorance. That doctor (and the power structure behind him) plays a pivotal role in imposing those limits on helpless infants, without their consent, and without your informed consent as a parent. This issue deserves serious consideration by every parent, because no matter what gender identity your child ultimately adopts, infant gender assignment has effects that will last through their whole life.
Read it all from Slate.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Grammar teachers may need to amend their lesson plans after the Vancouver school board approved Monday a policy change that welcomes a brand-new string of pronouns into Vancouver public schools: “xe, xem, and xyr.”
The pronouns are touted as alternatives to he/she, him/her, and his/hers, and come as last-minute amendments to the board’s new policy aimed at better accommodating transgender students in schools.
The vote came after a brief debate that sparked unrest among opponents of the policy who shouted “dictator” and “liar” at trustees, as security guards and police officers watched from their posts at council doors. But supporters waved pink and blue-coloured flags and drowned out the detractors with their cheers once the policy passed. Three previous public meetings were similarly rowdy.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Sexuality * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
They’re living at home in growing numbers. They're not buying homes, which creates ripple effects throughout the housing market. They’re having more babies out of wedlock than in it. Why can’t millennials get it together?
The first and most obvious answer is “jobs.” If you can’t find a stable job, it’s hard to move out of Mom’s basement. It’s hard to commit to a mortgage or a spouse. It's hard, in other words, to launch into the middle-class life that constitutes the American Dream.
Millennials are some of the biggest victims of the financial crisis. Those without a college degree face high rates of unemployment, while those who have a sheepskin are more and more likely to be underemployed in a job that doesn’t require their degree. Even if the student loan crisis has been overstated, the rising cost of college tuition certainly doesn’t help.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sociology Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Researchers took pains to document the rise and fall in social status, periodically interviewing the subjects as well as those who they felt knew them best, usually close friends. About 20 percent of the group fell into the “cool kid” category at the study’s outset.
A constellation of three popularity-seeking behaviors characterized pseudomaturity, Dr. Allen and his colleagues found. These young teenagers sought out friends who were physically attractive; their romances were more numerous, emotionally intense and sexually exploring than those of their peers; and they dabbled in minor delinquency — skipping school, sneaking into movies, vandalism.
As they turned 23, the study found that when compared to their socially slower-moving middle-school peers, they had a 45 percent greater rate of problems resulting from alcohol and marijuana use and a 40 percent higher level of actual use of those substances. They also had a 22 percent greater rate of adult criminal behavior, from theft to assaults.
Read it all.
Canadian surgeons are confident they could soon perform what has never before been attempted anywhere in the world — face transplants in children.
The highly complex surgeries, which have so far only been performed in adults, are now “technically feasible” in children and could be life transforming for those with devastating facial deformities and disfigurements for whom no other reconstructive alternatives exist, a team from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children reports in the journal, Plastic Surgery.
But the risky surgeries are fraught with profound ethical and moral challenges, including issues surrounding personal identity, informed consent and the possibility of “future resentment,” the team writes.
Read it all.
One in five people in their 20s and early 30s is currently living with his or her parents. And 60 percent of all young adults receive financial support from them. That’s a significant increase from a generation ago, when only one in 10 young adults moved back home and few received financial support. The common explanation for the shift is that people born in the late 1980s and early 1990s came of age amid several unfortunate and overlapping economic trends. Those who graduated college as the housing market and financial system were imploding faced the highest debt burden of any graduating class in history. Nearly 45 percent of 25-year-olds, for instance, have outstanding loans, with an average debt above $20,000. (Kasinecz still has about $60,000 to go.) And more than half of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, meaning they make substandard wages in jobs that don’t require a college degree. According to Lisa B. Kahn, an economist at Yale University, the negative impact of graduating into a recession never fully disappears. Even 20 years later, the people who graduated into the recession of the early ’80s were making substantially less money than people lucky enough to have graduated a few years afterward, when the economy was booming.
Some may hope that the boomerang generation represents an unfortunate but temporary blip — that the class of 2015 will be able to land great jobs out of college, and that they’ll reach financial independence soon after reaching the drinking age. But the latest recession was only part of the boomerang generation’s problem. In reality, it simply amplified a trend that had been growing stealthily for more than 30 years. Since 1980, the U.S. economy has been destabilized by a series of systemic changes — the growth of foreign trade, rapid advances in technology, changes to the tax code, among others — that have affected all workers but particularly those just embarking on their careers. In 1968, for instance, a vast majority of 20-somethings were living independent lives; more than half were married. But over the past 30 years, the onset of sustainable economic independence has been steadily receding. By 2007, before the recession even began, fewer than one in four young adults were married, and 34 percent relied on their parents for rent.
These boomerang kids are not a temporary phenomenon. They appear to be part of a new and permanent life stage.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Speaking after the release of the report, the Church of England's Chief Education Officer, Revd Jan Ainsworth said...""We are particularly pleased that the committee has highlighted the complexity of issues associated with White Working Class underperformance. Excellent schools can clearly make the world of difference to disadvantaged young people, but the committee also recognises that we need a greater understanding of associated social factors...."
Read it all.
Update: For more on the report itself please see the Yorkshire Post article there.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy * International News & Commentary England / UK
Lindsay Graham grew up in the same church attended by her parents and grandparents, and she expected the same would be true for her children. That changed when her son, J.D., was diagnosed with autism at age 2.
There were outbursts and tantrums, calls in the middle of the church service from the Sunday school teacher that J.D. was being disruptive. There were disapproving looks from other members of the congregation. Even if they didn't say it, Graham knew what they were thinking: Can't you keep your child under control?
"I felt very ostracized because he was always misbehaving. We just didn't fit that perfect family mold," said Graham, 33.
It was time to find another church, one equipped to handle children with disabilities. They ended up at First Baptist Orlando, which has a special needs ministry for children.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Psychology * Theology Pastoral Theology
Despite the anxiety society still feels about single mothers, most American women aged 26 to 31 who have children are not married. And the number of these millennial single mothers is increasing. In fact, in a study just released by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, only about a third of all mothers in their late twenties were married.
The less education the young women have the higher the probability that they became a mom before they got married. Conversely, the married moms of that generation probably have a college degree. “It is now unusual for non-college graduates who have children in their teens and 20s to have all of them within marriage,” says Andrew Cherlin, one of the authors of the study “Changing Fertility Regimes and the Transition to Adulthood: Evidence from a Recent Cohort.”
Sociologists such as Cherlin have been tracking the decline of marriage as one of the milestones or goals of an individual’s life—the whole “first comes love, the comes marriage, then comes the baby with the baby carriage” paradigm. And it’s clear that an increasing number of young people are just not putting a ring on it. “The lofty place that marriage once held among the markers of adulthood is in serious question,” says Cherlin.
Read it all.
In east London, Tower Hamlets has become an enclave of corruption, intimidation and the village politics of Bangladesh. Its mayor, Lutfur Rahman, was thrown out of the Labour party after reported links to the Islamic Forum of Europe, which aims to turn Britain and Europe into an Islamic state.
At last month’s local elections, claims of corruption and intimidation meant that the Tower Hamlets results were only announced five days after the polls closed. An adviser to the mayor threatened that the “civil war” of the borough’s politics would “spill out onto the streets” if Rahman’s election wasn’t accepted. Government inspectors, Scotland Yard and the Electoral Commission are now investigating Tower Hamlets.
But Islamic extremism and political chicanery in the borough have been ignored for years. There have been attacks on gay people, women who are deemed immodestly dressed and businesses selling alcohol. Last week, the East End Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick warned of a “Trojan Horse”-style Islamist plot to infiltrate Tower Hamlets politics.
Read it all (subscription required).
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
ost of us in the family studies business have had people look at us strangely when we tell them that divorce has declined over the past three decades. Forget about the anecdata, we tell them. Those friends, relatives, and perhaps even you yourself, who have been emptying their life savings into the laps of lawyers, can’t change the big picture: in the 1970s Americans got divorced like crazy, but after 1980, they calmed down. Since then, divorce rates have declined, pretty much steadily. On hearing this, most people shrug and move on. There’s no point in quarreling with the numbers.
Or is there? A new paper by Sheila Kennedy and Steven Ruggles appearing in the most recent issue of the journal Demography not only battles with the numbers, it kicks them and much of the accepted wisdom about divorce rates out of the house. Divorce has not gone down, they argue compellingly: it has risen to record highs.
Kennedy and Ruggles spend the first half of their paper, nicely titled “Breaking Up is Hard to Count,” explaining why demographers could have been so wrong about what may strike the uninitiated as a rather easily calculated figure. To oversimplify a complex story: the United States has been lousy at collecting data. Individual counties may keep pretty good track of finalized divorce cases, but someone else—meaning the states—has to collect and tabulate that information, and someone else—the Census Bureau—has to put it all together.
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[Gerald] Ford’s early circumstances made him an unlikely future president. He was born July 14, 1913, in Omaha to Leslie Lynch King and Dorothy Ayer King. Not for 17 years was he to learn that he had been christened Leslie Lynch King Jr.
When he was 2 years old, his mother divorced Mr. King and moved to Grand Rapids, Mich. She remarried, and her husband, Gerald Rudolph Ford, a paint salesman with an eighth-grade education, gave the boy his name in formally adopting him.
Gerald considered his mother “a human dynamo in a womanly way” and said she “probably had more friends than any woman I ever knew.” He revered his stepfather. Later in life, even in the White House, he would confront difficulty by wondering, “Now, how would he have done this?” It was perhaps the ultimate symptom of Mr. Ford’s uncommon commonness that he would try to approach the presidency after the fashion of a Grand Rapids merchant. What he respected in his stepfather’s manner was common sense.
His closeness to his stepfather was deepened, if anything, by the discovery that he was adopted and in particular by a brief encounter with his father.....
From the 2006 obituary for Gerald Ford in the New York Times--read it all.
...one out of three children in the United States—more than 15 million—live without the certainty of their father's presence. Among industrialized countries, the United States is a world leader of fatherless homes, surpassed only by Belgium, Estonia, and the United Kingdom, with single mothers heading up a quarter of all U.S. households. Since the 1960s, the number of single-parent homes have more than tripled, and the bulk of those households (76%) are fatherless homes. Tragically, this number doesn't include circumstances in which the father technically lives with the family, but is emotionally or physically absent.
Whether through abandonment, incarceration, death, or workaholism, fatherlessness is a root of many of our contemporary social ills. According to a widely cited report from the U.S. Department of Justice, children from fatherless home are 5 times more likely to commit suicide, 32 times more likely to run away, 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders, 14 times more likely to commit rape, 9 times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison than children from homes with a mother and father present.
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Márcio is eager to be part of a football team, the sport that his paternal grandmother keeps him from practicing. “My grandmother does not let me play, and then I’m indoors. I do not like being alone at home,” he says, dejected.
Now, thanks to World Vision, he will spend his afternoons doing different activities that will help his social and physical development. “I’m not alone anymore in the house,” Márcio says, celebrating. He strongly believes that he will learn many things in the new community and adds, “I believe in that with faith in God.”
Though he goes to school, Márcio can’t read or write, but he doesn’t hide his desire to learn and has revealed that his teacher only teaches those students who learn fast. Those with learning difficulties, like him, are left behind.
His cousin, Manuela, 26, believes that Márcio’s learning difficulties may be the result of problems during his mother’s pregnancy. “She used a lot of drugs, I believe that it had serious effects on his learning [abilities],” she says. But Manuela emphasizes that he will be a great man, because he has a big desire to be someone in life.
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A report released on Monday concluded that pressure from fundamentalist Islamic school board governors had created a culture of “fear and intimidation” among senior staff members in a number of British schools said to have been the targets of a campaign to impose Islamist views on parts of the educational system.
The report, compiled by Britain’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, or Ofsted, stopped short of concluding that such a campaign amounted to a conspiracy, as alleged by an anonymous letter that first raised the alarm. But the results of the inquiry gave weight to concerns in Britain that schools have become the latest battleground in the effort to head off radicalization of young Muslims, an issue that has grown increasingly prominent as more young Britons and Europeans have chosen to fight with Islamic groups in Syria.
Muslim groups disputed the findings and suggested that the report fed stereotypes about Islam. In any event, the report seemed to stoke the fierce debate over the place of Muslims in British society and the extent to which the government should take pre-emptive action to curb extremism.
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A Christian woman condemned to be hanged for apostasy in Sudan is being kept in comfortable conditions in prison and will have her appeal verdict next month, according to her lawyers, amid indications that the international campaign to free her is having an effect.
Meriam Ibrahim gave birth in chains, in Omdurman women’s prison, after she had been sentenced to 100 lashes and condemned to death last month for renouncing Islam. She was jailed after a judge ruled that she was a Muslim because of her absentee father’s religion. Her marriage to Daniel Wani, an American-Sudanese Christian, was annulled by the court.
After an international outcry, there are indications that the Sudanese government of President al-Bashir is beginning to take heed of her case.
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“I sincerely hope,” he continued, “that the international community can offer social protection to minors to defeat this plague.” The Holy Father went on to say, “Let us all renew our commitment, especially families, to ensure the tutelage of every boy’s and girl’s dignity and the chance to grow up healthy.”
“A serene childhood,” he concluded, “allows children to look with confidence to the life and future.”
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Four armed men ransacked Antony Akatakpo’s home in front of his wife and two children in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt, shot him in the leg and bundled him into the trunk of his Mitsubishi Endeavor.
Akatakpo, the 34-year-old breakfast show presenter at Wazobia FM who’s known as Diplomatic Akas Baba, was driven to a forest hideout and held blindfolded for a week, fed on plain bread and threatened with death unless his family paid a 10 million naira ($61,289) ransom. He said he was dumped on a city highway on March 20 after the gunmen received less than half the sum they demanded.
“I was praying and calling on God to help me, rescue me,” he said by phone from Port Harcourt, the hub of Africa’s biggest oil industry in southeastern Nigeria. “They wanted to collect their own share of the money I was making for my family.”
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Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, urged his fellow Southern Baptist pastors to draw close to others when they are suffering. He said a small group of men were on the scene within half an hour to comfort him when Matthew died. They were the same people he met with in their times of crises.
“The more intense the pain, the fewer words you should use,” he said. “You need to show up and shut up.”
As Warren closed his sermon, he knelt before the crowd and invited pastors to come forward for prayer if they were suffering with someone who is mentally ill or if they were facing other problems.
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Patients who document their end-of-life wishes using a special medical form get the specific care they want in their final days, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The study by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University looked at the growing use of the voluntary form, called Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, or Polst. The document lets patients request or refuse certain medical treatments such as CPR or intensive care. The study is the largest on the topic so far and the first to look at preferences stated in the form and where people actually die.
Polst programs have been adopted or are in development in 43 states. Proponents say that in addition to giving patients a voice in the face of advanced illness, they can help trim the nation's bill for costly interventions that don't extend life for patients who don't want them. However, the programs remain controversial with some groups in the often-fraught national debate about end-of-life care.
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Friends and acquaintances of Jon Meis say they’re not surprised the 22-year-old electrical-engineering student acted bravely to halt Thursday’s shooting at Seattle Pacific University (SPU) — or that a day later he was shunning the media spotlight and asking for prayers for the victims.
When the gunman paused to reload his shotgun in Otto Miller Hall, Meis, who had been working as a building monitor in the lobby, fired pepper spray in the man’s face and tackled him. Others moved in to help pin down the shooter until police arrived.
“Any of us would have expected him to act the way he did. He was the right guy to be working there,” said Ryan Salgado, who has been roommates with Meis for four years, first in a dorm and later in a town house near campus.
Meis carried pepper spray out of habit. “He is very prepared, thank God,” said Dan Keimig, another friend and former roommate.
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It is difficult to imagine a more brutal way for a teenager to be confronted by the reality of life and death.
But as an 18-year-old gap year student, the future Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, found himself having to cut down the body of a fellow teenager who had hanged himself.
A new biography of the Archbishop singles out the moment in the early summer of 1974, while he was volunteering as a teacher at a boys’ school in Kenya, as marking the beginning of an unlikely journey to becoming one of the world’s most influential spiritual leaders.
Within days of the tragedy, about which he is not believed to have spoken previously in public, the future leader of the 80 million-strong worldwide Anglican Church told a close friend how he had begun to find faith in God.
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There was a moment while Bishop Mark Lawrence was ordaining his younger son recently when Joseph kneeled as the bishop stood above him in prayer, just before the laying on of hands.
"My arms lifted above him invoking the Holy Spirit, and it seemed the spirit - like the murmuring of a dove's wings - hovered there above and between us," recalls the bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina.
The moment felt more like a father with a son than a bishop with an upcoming priest, although he was there as both.
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From an early RNS story--The Roman Catholic archbishop of Dublin, regarded as among the most influential church leaders in England and Ireland, has added his voice to those calling for an urgent inquiry into the discovery of nearly 800 babies and children buried in a septic tank at Tuam, a home for unwed mothers in western Ireland.
The scandal is just the latest among many to come to light involving the suffering of children in Ireland’s history, and it may be among the factors that have contributed to a big fall in church attendance in recent years.
“If a public or state inquiry is not established into outstanding issues of concern surrounding the mother-and-baby homes, then it is important that a social history project be undertaken to get an accurate picture of these homes in our country’s history,” said Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
Read it all. But please see this important article which came out later: Tuam mother and baby home: the trouble with the septic tank story.
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June 6, 1944, was Lee Hunt's birthday.
"I spent my 18th birthday shooting up the French coast," the James Island resident recalled, describing his time sealed in a gun turret aboard the destroyer Laffey.
Future Summerville Mayor Berlin G. Myers also was part of the Normandy invasion, coming ashore to help off-load supplies needed to get the GIs advancing.
"It was killed people, dead people, tanks tore up," he said of his experience. "Everything you could think about, destroyed."
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“I perform the way that I do in the classroom because I have everything to lose. I make the grades I do because I was once lost and had nothing.”
Furlong’s mother died of leukemia when he was just 6 years old.
Soon afterward, Furlong, his father, and older brother lost their home and ended up in homeless shelters.
Furlong said he often went to bed hungry and there were times when he wanted to give up.
“I never had a full childhood. I felt like I wasn’t even human anymore. And I would just think to myself at night, 'Do I continue to do this or do I make something of myself?'"
Read it all (Video highly recommended).
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We're told the primary role of a chaplain is to provide pastoral support to pupils. But the striking thing about the Church's report, The Public Face of God, is that young people hardly get a look in. The emphasis is almost entirely on how chaplains serve the mission of the Church.
Surely pastoral support should exist to create a nurturing and supportive setting for students during their time at school. The focus should be care and concern for young people and their needs; not the needs of the Church.
Those providing pastoral work in schools need the necessary knowledge and skills to offer effective learning-support and the knowhow to develop pupils' ability to become good citizens. It goes without saying that those carrying out pastoral roles can be motivated by their religious faith, but it shouldn't be a requirement of the job.
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Just for a moment, do your best to imagine this scenario:
You’ve been brought up as a Christian in a Christian home and have accepted this faith as your own. This is not a nominal faith; you have chosen to follow Jesus and give your life fully to him. Now as an adult you are married to a fellow Christian, have a son who is nearly two years old and are pregnant with your second child. Your husband is a citizen of another country and you are planning to emigrate. Life where you live is not always easy and you are looking forward to a new start in a place where your children will have far more opportunities available to them as they grow up than will ever be the case if you stay where you are.
One day out of nowhere the police arrive at your door, arrest you and throw you into prison. Apparently your half-brother is furious that you have gone your own way, choosing your own husband and are now intending to move abroad. For him this is simply not acceptable behaviour for a woman in his family. He publicly cries “apostasy” and accuses you of converting to Christianity from Islam. The sole justification for this is that your father had been a Muslim, even though he abandoned your mother while you were still young. In law as a woman your faith is legally determined by your father’s. Up until this point such a technicality has had no bearing on your life, but now that a relative has a grudge against you, everything that you have counts for nothing.
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For decades, women with multiple sclerosis have noticed that they tend to do better while they are pregnant. That has led to an experimental drug for the disease that's based on a hormone associated with pregnancy.
The hormone is a form of estrogen called estriol. It's abundant in a woman's body only when she is pregnant. Adding estriol to treatment with an existing MS drug cut relapses by 47 percent in a of 158 women presented at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in April.
The result is "quite remarkable," says , an author of the study and a neurologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. It suggests that estriol could greatly enhance the effectiveness of current MS drugs, Voskuhl says. Those drugs, which are designed to modulate the immune system, can cost up to $60,000 a year.
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Clergy members from several Valley churches and church groups say marriage equality is a basic tenet of their beliefs, contradicting the vocal opposition to same-sex marriage by numerous religious groups.
They met Tuesday in Phoenix to illustrate that numerous religious leaders support marriage equality, as opposed to vocal opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and others.
The gathering, put together by Why Marriage Matters Arizona, a group attempting to promote marriage equality in the state, took place at the office of the United Church of Christ, the first Christian denomination to permit gay clergy and marriages in states where it is allowed.
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Nick Schott is used to his father missing milestone events.
"My father has never seen me wrestle, never seen me play football or run track," said Nick, the son of Army Staff Sgt. Jamie Schott. "Because of the job he does, it's fine. He's serving our country."
But one event Schott did not miss was seeing his son walk across the stage Friday at Goose Creek High School's graduation ceremony.
Read it all from the local paper and do not miss the pictures.
Mr Wani, 27, said his wife was “frustrated” by her situation but was committed to maintaining that she was Christian.
He told CNN: “There is pressure on her from Muslim religious leaders that she should return to the faith. She said, ‘How can I return when I never was a Muslim? Yes my father was a Muslim, but I was brought up by my mother.’
” I know my wife. She’s committed. Even last week, they brought in sheikhs and she told them, ‘I’m pretty sure I’m not going to change my mind’....I’m standing by her to the end. Whatever she wants, I’ll stand by her.”
Read it all (requires subscription) and a picture is there.
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We respect and love Greg dearly. We recognize all too well the emotions and felt needs that led him to seek peace for his family, and a stable church situation. Those of us with children recognize the need to avoid non-Christian expressions of false gospels, as are found among so many leaders of The Episcopal Church; we also recognize the desire to find a sane and functional entity to join, and grant that currently Roman Catholicism provides structures that are sane and functional even as Anglican entities in the US do not. Those of us in Episcopal dioceses led by bishops who do not share the same faith also recognize the deep division that exists between layperson and clergy or bishop when the two do not share the same faith or preach the same gospel; it is a very challenging place to be as an Anglican.
Greg’s heartfelt statement of explanation as to how he came to make such a decision is a devastating indictment both on his former Episcopal bishop, Duncan Gray, as well as on conservative Anglicans throughout the US....
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A Sudanese woman sentenced to death for marrying a Christian was forced to give birth with her legs chained, it has been revealed today.
Meriam Ibrahim was shackled as her baby daughter was born in jail in Sudan where she is awaiting execution for marrying a Christian U.S. citizen.
Amid the joy of seeing his child for the first time, her husband Daniel Wani has spoken of his anger at the treatment she received during labour.
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In today's society, marriage happens when two people (usually a man and a woman) fall in love and decide to spend the rest of their lives together in monogamy. But did you know that wasn't always the case? In fact, the modern version of marriage emerged a mere couple of hundred years ago. In the past, marriage rarely involved love (most marriages were arranged based on income and social status), and the majority of societies allowed and expected plural marriages, with either multiple wives or multiple husbands.
Clearly the concept of marriage has changed greatly over the years. And with today's rate of divorce between 40 and 50 percent, coupled with the prevalence of adultery in many marriages, perhaps it's time for the concept of marriage to continue to evolve. According to Associated Press, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 41 percent of spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional. This leads me to ask, "Are we really supposed to be with just one person our whole life? And if not, must we get re-married five times? Are there alternative ways to perceive and participate in a marriage that will guarantee its success?..."
Don't get me wrong... I'm not condoning adultery as we know it, because I'm not strictly talking about sex. But because it is so taboo, when you consider the historical context of marriage, isn't being shocked by adultery a bit of an overreaction?
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Churches in Sudan, including the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference, have condemned the death sentence handed to a Christian woman who refused to renounce her faith.
Meriam Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but whose mother was an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia, was convicted of apostasy by a court in Khartoum in mid-May for marrying a Christian.
In a joint statement, the Sudanese churches said the charges against Ibrahim are false. They appealed to the Sudanese government to free her from prison, according to the social communications department of AMECEA, the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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He’s grateful for the support of his family, friends and congregation. So it’s appropriate that his farewell service at St Mary’s on May 25 will involve him baptising his latest grandchild, Drew. And after a lifetime of serving God, Paul is grateful for the chance to make another contribution to society in retirement.
“It’s a cliché, but you do realise what matters in life – not what you’ve got, but the people around you,” he said. “I’ve been prayed for around the world, by people of virtually every denomination. I wouldn’t be here without the combination of modern medicine, the love of God and the support of others.
“Each time I’ve had the treatment and recovered, I think I’ve become a different person. I’ll be continuing to explore my discipleship in retirement, and I hope I can be useful in this new era of my life.”
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...for me, a move to Rome is not about a revolution in my theology, and certainly not about a rejection of Anglicanism. It is about a very painful choice between two dilemmas:
On the one hand there is Anglicanism, an expression of faith that in the abstract - its doctrines and theology - is as nearly perfect as I believe man has ever succeeded in achieving, but which in practice has unraveled into a chaotic mess. There is of course the heresy and false teaching that infects all but a handful of Episcopal parishes in this diocese - including its bishop, its cathedral, its dean, almost all of its clergy, and a distressing number of the few laypeople who have made the effort to pay attention and learn what’s happening - but the promise of the orthodox Anglican movement outside of The Episcopal Church never materialized either. Populated as that movement is by many good people, it has the institutional feeling of something held together by duct tape and baling wire. It is beset by infighting and consecration fever, and in several of its highest leadership positions are people of atrocious judgement and character.
On the other hand there is Roman Catholicism, some of whose doctrines give me serious pause, but which in practice has shown itself to be steadfast in its opposition to the caprices of the world. Even the horrific pedophile priest scandal forces one to concede that Pope Benedict’s purging of the ranks, while not complete, was at the very least spirited, and based on a firm rejection of the “everything is good” sexual sickness that’s all but killed the Episcopal Church.
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“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”
-- On many memorials to the dead in war worldwide, as for example that for the British 2nd Division at Kohima, India; there is a debate about its precise origins in terms of who first penned the lines
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None of them knew what they were practicing for. Then, on June 5th, [Edward] Gorman got the news. “They just said, ‘You’re in the first units,’” he recalled. “That’s all they said to us.”
By the next morning, Gorman had boarded the flat boat, called a Rhino ferry, and was on his way to the invasion. As the ferry neared the shore, the mine exploded, damaging the unloading ramp. The soldiers were stuck, and German planes were dropping bombs all around. "How they missed us, we don't know," Gorman said.
The scene as he and his compatriots reached the shore was horrific and still shakes Gorman to his core.
"When they talk about a pool of red, I mean, you see the whole -- hundreds of yards of shoreline," he said, crying.
Read it all (and the video is highly recommended).
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Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.
There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.
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Almighty God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead: We give thee thanks for all thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence; and give us such a lively sense of thy righteous will, that the work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.
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... was my first really jarring experience with an increasingly common reaction to my war stories: pity. I never thought anyone would pity me because of my time in the Marine Corps. I'd grown up in the era of the Persian Gulf War, when the U.S. military shook off its post-Vietnam malaise with a startlingly decisive victory and Americans eagerly consumed stories about the Greatest Generation and the Good War through books like "Citizen Soldiers" by Stephen Ambrose and movies like "Saving Private Ryan." Joining the military was an admirable decision that earned you respect.
Early on in the Iraq war, after I accepted my commission in 2005, most people did at the very least seem impressed—You ever fire those huge machine guns? Think you could kick those dudes' asses? Did you kill anyone? I'd find myself in a bar back home on leave listening to some guy a few years out of college explaining apologetically that, "I was totally gonna join the military, you know, but…" The usual stereotype projected onto me was that of a battle-hardened hero, which I'm not.
But as the Iraq war's approval levels sunk from 76% and ticker-tape parades to 40% and quiet forgetfulness, that flattering but inaccurate assumption has shifted to the notion that I'm damaged. Occasionally, someone will even inform me that I have post-traumatic stress disorder. They're never medical professionals, just strangers who've learned that I served.
One man told me that Iraq veterans "are all gonna snap in 10 years" and so, since I'd been back for three years, I had seven left....
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Dear young people, I ask you to join me in praying for peace. You can do this by offering your daily efforts and struggles to God; in this way your prayer will become particularly precious and effective. I also encourage you to assist, through your generosity and sensitivity, in building a society which is respectful of the vulnerable, the sick, children and the elderly. Despite your difficulties in life, you are a sign of hope. You have a place in God’s heart and in my prayers. I am grateful that so many of you are here, and for your warmth and enthusiasm.
As our meeting concludes, I pray once more that reason and restraint will prevail and that, with the help of the international community, Syria will rediscover the path of peace. May God change the hearts of the violent and those who seek war. And may he strengthen the hearts and minds of peacemakers and grant them every blessing.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children * International News & Commentary Middle East Jordan * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Francis * Theology Christology
As the Co-Chairs of the Christian Muslim Forum we call for compassion in this situation and for the death sentence against Mariam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag to be dropped.
Our religions tell us that human interactions should be shaped by compassion and humanity, not by death sentences. It is vital that all people should enjoy freedom of conscience and be able to follow their own religion, as we have already highlighted in our Ethical Witness Guidelines. Christians and Muslims should be able to coexist alongside each other, we emphasise that force and compulsion are not characteristics of either faith.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Sudan --South Sudan * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology
Jeremy Hunt is to issue new guidance making it clear to doctors that sex-selective abortion is "unacceptable and illegal".
The health secretary and GMC will close what MPs have described as an "utterly preposterous" loophole used by prosecutors to avoid bringing charges.
The guidance is expected to say that doctors who carry out abortions based on the sex of an unborn baby and pre-sign abortion forms are breaking the law.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Science & Technology * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Our school has a very tolerant atmosphere, and it even has a depression awareness group, so this response seemed uncharacteristic. We were surprised that the administration and the adults who advocated for mental health awareness were the ones standing in the way of it. By telling us that students could not talk openly about their struggles, they reinforced the very stigma we were trying to eliminate.
The feeling of being alone is closely linked to depression. This can be exacerbated if there is no one to reach out to. Though there are professionals to talk to, we feel it doesn’t compare to sharing your experiences with a peer who has faced similar struggles. And, most important to us, no one afflicted with a mental illness should have to believe that it’s something he should feel obliged to hide in the first place. If someone has an illness such as diabetes, she is not discouraged from speaking about it. Depression does not indicate mental weakness. It is a disorder, often a flaw of biology, not one of character.
By interviewing these teenagers for our newspaper, we tried — and failed — to start small in the fight against stigma. Unfortunately, we’ve learned this won’t be easy. It seems that those who are charged with advocating for our well-being aren’t ready yet to let us have an open and honest dialogue about depression.
Read it all.
If it isn’t one thing it’s another. Education is always throwing up news stories.
Recently we have seen a playground fight between Coalition partners over the funding of free schools and free school meals. Eventually everyone made up and went back into the classroom.
We have had more leaks about the Trojan Horse enquiry and the threat of "extremist takeovers" in some Birmingham schools. The exact nature of the Horse is still unclear.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Children Education Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
South Sudan's problems...are far from over. Relief experts said famine and disease pose great risk. The rainy season has begun, making delivery of food more difficult in this France-sized nation with few paved roads. Families in some cases have survived by eating leaves. Malnourished children will die of starvation before the end of the year unless relief aid arrives now. Health officials say nine people have died from cholera so far in May.
"We are now in a race against time to prevent the deaths of 50,000 children under the age of five who are already suffering high levels of malnutrition," said Perry Mansfield, South Sudan National Director, World Vision.
"The numbers of very hungry is staggering. Almost 5 million people are desperately in need of humanitarian assistance. People have fled their homes and so cannot plant their crops. Almost a quarter of a million children will be severely malnourished by the end of the year. But the costs of air dropping and flying in food is more expensive than trucking it in, but delivery options and time are running out."
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Dieting/Food/Nutrition Poverty Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Sudan --South Sudan
The Catholic Church teaches that all people are made in the image of God and that everyone has inherent dignity. No one should face unjust discrimination. But human experience, considerable social data, as well as our religious convictions, lead us to see clearly that children thrive best in a stable family grounded on the marital union of one man and one woman. Catholic opposition to same-sex marriage is not a statement about the worth of human beings who experience same-sex attraction, but a statement about the nature of marriage itself.
Pope Francis recently said, “The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman; not only the man, not only the woman, but both of them together. This is the image of God: love, God’s covenant with us is represented in that covenant between man and woman. And this is very beautiful!” Marriage is beautiful indeed, and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference does not support this judge’s redefinition of this fundamental human institution. The PCC will further study the judge’s decision and is hopeful that an appeal will promptly be made.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General State Government * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
I know that if she could, my mother would grab that pail and toss it out the window. She would forgive me; in fact, I believe she has forgiven me. But in a way, that makes it harder. Knowing of her unfailing love and grace makes me feel worse about my own failure. Of course, I am envisioning her at her very best, now in heaven knowing as she is known and seeing me with the eyes of God, and I am remembering myself at one of my lowest moments. What about God’s forgiveness? God is always in a best moment and ever aware of our worst. Does that divine forgiveness erase our regret or increase it?
Jesus’ first word to the disciples on the other side of the locked doors is peace. I imagine myself in that room, staring at his wounds and accepting the resurrection miracle. I imagine embracing the improbable, exciting mission commended to me in the words that follow. But peace? Peace is another story.
After Jesus called Peter to feed his sheep, did Peter ever think back on that day around the charcoal fire when he denied the one he dearly loved? Did Peter remember when Jesus yelled at him and called him a terrible name? When Peter stood to preach on Pentecost and 3,000 were baptized in one day, did he go home and lie awake wishing he could take back his actions on another day? According to the psalm, our transgressions are removed “as far as the east is from the west.” If we accept that as true, then it seems that regret should not linger. But in my experience, forgiveness has not erased regret. Not yet anyway.
These post-Easter days, I am thinking that if my mind and heart are not yet in sync with what should be—with sin removed to a distance beyond my reach—perhaps mere inches matter.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Easter Parish Ministry Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Health & Medicine * Theology Anthropology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Soteriology Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)
The Archbishop of Canterbury tucked into a school dinner with pupils from St Luke’s School during his visit to Stratford and Canning Town.
He said that his trip, which was organised to show off the regeneneration in the borough, showed that the area faced both “huge opportunity and huge challenge”.
“I think it’s enormously exciting,” Justin Welby said. “I think there are huge challenges because you’ve got all this new building coming in, which is brilliant, you’ve got this extraordinary Olympic legacy and that gives a massive challenge of creating community and the community developing rather than becoming fractured as numbers grow and new people move in.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Children Education Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
Danielle Wagasky, a stay-at-home wife and mother of two, has managed to stretch $14,000 a year to cover her family’s needs for the past five years. That’s less than a third of the $50,000 median household income in the U.S.
And, perhaps a little surprisingly, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Wagasky, 29, lives with her husband Jason, 32, and their two young children ages 9 and 7, in a three-bedroom family home in Henderson, Nevada. While Jason, a member of the U.S. Army, has been completing his undergraduate studies, the family’s only source of income is the $14,000 annual cost of living allowance he receives under the G.I. Bill.
Despite all odds, the family has barely any credit debt, no car payment, and no mortgage to speak of.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Children Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Economy Personal Finance
If you’re like me and you have young kids, you may have first discovered the band Rascal Flatts when they were featured in the kid-classic movie “Cars.” Their song, “Life is a Highway” played on an endless loop in our house as my son watched that movie over… and over… and over again.
The kids at Children’s Hospital know that song, too. So when Rascal Flatts comes to visit, they sing along to the words. Zoey is too little to mouth the words, but she danced in her mom Tori’s lap.
And, the thing is, Rascal Flatts comes by often. They give impromptu concerts for the children not because they have to, but because they want to. Read it all and please take the time to see the [short] video also.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Charities/Non-Profit Organizations Children Health & Medicine Music Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology
[Robert] Putnam has spent much of his academic life as America’s chief chronicler of declining social institutions — a dour task, cheerfully performed. In the 1990s, he began drawing together the disparate evidence of declining attendance at bowling leagues, church services and Moose lodges. His data points included the falloff in yearly picnic attendance and a rise in the incidence of drivers giving each other the finger.
It was the composite image of one of the most powerful forces of modernity: a rising individualism that “liberates” people from social commitments that make their lives orderly and pleasant.
Even worse, the extent of this trend is not distributed equally in society. Putnam’s recent work — to be summarized in a forthcoming book called “Our Kids” — focuses on how the consequences of institutional decline are felt disproportionately among the working class, leaving vast numbers of youths disconnected from the promise of American life.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sociology * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
State schools are creating amoral children because they spend more time on academic studies than learning right from wrong, a leading independent school headmaster will say today.
The pressure to get excellent results is distracting teachers from imparting good values to pupils, according to Richard Walden, chairman of the Independent Schools Association.
Private schools, by contrast, turn out young people with emotional intelligence and moral understanding, he is due to tell the association’s annual conference in Warwickshire .
Read it all (requires subscription).
Americans made more progress in repairing their postrecession finances and have increased their overall borrowing, yet they are also showing an aversion to credit cards and new mortgages that could hinder the economic recovery.
Household debt—including mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and student loans—rose $129 billion between January and March to $11.65 trillion, new figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed Tuesday. That was the third consecutive quarterly increase.
Behind the uptick: Mortgage balances—which make up the bulk of U.S. household debt—rose $116 billion to $8.2 trillion, thanks in part to fewer people going into foreclosure, which drags down mortgage debt. Auto-loan balances grew $12 billion to $875 billion. Student-loan balances increased $31 billion to $1.1 trillion, maintaining its place as the fastest-growing debt category.
Read it all and the picture of the incredible graph on student loan explosion is there.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Psychology Stress * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Housing/Real Estate Market Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
In honor of Mother's Day, we salute servicewomen who face the dilemma of leaving their children to serve their country, and we rejoice in their emotional returns....
Watch it all--Kleenex likely necessary; KSH.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has today launched a report from the Education Division of the Church of England "Valuing All God's Children: Guidance for Church of England Schools on Challenging Homophobic Bullying."
The guidance, which is being sent to all Church of England schools, provides 10 key recommendations which should be adopted by schools in combating homophobic bullying as well as sample policies for primary and secondary Church schools. Published by the Church Of England Archbishop's Council Education Division, the guidance involved consultation and involvement with a number of Church of England schools with existing good practice.
Speaking at a Church of England Secondary School, at Trinity Lewisham, The Right Reverend Justin Welby said that the publication of the guidance fulfilled a pledge he made last July when addressing the Church of England's General Synod.
"Less than a year ago I set out my concerns about the terrible impact of homophobic bullying on the lives of young people and I made a public commitment to support our schools in eradicating homophobic stereotyping and bullying....
Read it all.
During the past school year, several leading American universities, including Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth and Carnegie-Mellon, welcomed new presidents. These men were leading scholars, and they were experienced administrators; in some cases, they held degrees from the universities they now lead. And none of them — not one — inherited the job from his father or mother.
That goes without saying, right? Nonprofit, tax-exempt universities are not typically family dynasties. People would think it queer if Drew Gilpin Faust’s daughter succeeded her mother as president of Harvard. But at evangelical Christian colleges, including some of the most prominent, there are different expectations.
Since 2007, the world’s largest Christian university, Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Va., has been led by Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of the famous founder. The presidency of Oral Roberts University, in Tulsa, Okla., passed from father to son (although it has since passed out of the family). Until Friday, when Stephen Jones stepped down as president of Bob Jones University, in Greenville, S.C., the college had been led only by Bob Jones and three generations of his direct descendants.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The idea that there ought to be "nothing but Beauty" is, I think, part of the modern myth of parenting. Our expectations for our kids and for ourselves get higher and higher. (Writer Micha Boyett recently said that if she hears about another toddler taking Mandarin lessons, she'll heave.) We want our children to be perfect, and we want to be perfect parents. Yet we don't even know what that means. In her recent book All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting, Jennifer Senior notes that "happiness" is a vague concept, and perhaps the wrong goal for parenting.
The truth is that parenthood is not always fun. In the church, where we rightly acknowledge that children are gifts from God, perhaps we are especially afraid to say this. There's so much pain and heartache. The way of the parent is often the way of the Cross: the glory and grace and joy in it come at significant cost. We relinquish our time, energy, money, and personal desires for our children.
English novelist John Lancaster recently called for "a revival of the concept of duty." It's the moral obligation to fulfill a responsibility to another, regardless of whether it makes us happy. By God's grace, duty often yields not to happiness but to something better: joy. As the early church in Acts teaches us, joy can coincide with suffering and struggle.
"Gift love longs to serve or even to suffer" for the beloved, wrote C. S. Lewis.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Psychology * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The morning after Mkeki Ntakai learned of the mass kidnapping by Boko Haram, he fired up his rickety motor scooter and sped down a dirt road in northern Nigeria to find his 16-year-old daughter.
Mr. Ntakai was joined by more than 100 fathers, uncles and big brothers, all seeking several hundred girls taken by force from a boarding school in the remote hamlet of Chibok. The men followed a trail of hair ties and scraps of clothing the girls dropped to lead rescuers. One found his daughter's flip-flop; another retrieved a remnant of a school uniform.
But the kidnappers had too big a head start. Three weeks later, the trail has gone cold for the 223 girls still missing. More than 50 managed to escape in the first few hours, jumping out of the beds of pickup trucks or slipping away while they were supposed to be washing dishes.
The rest are presumed held by the jihadi group, whose leader Abubakar Shekau said he would sell the girls as slaves.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Marriage & Family Teens / Youth Violence Women * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
American mothers today look far different from mothers celebrated 100 years ago when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a day of reverence for mothers. Here’s what we know about today’s American moms and how they’ve changed over time....
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Sociology Women * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
“Pound for pound, year for year, few greater heroes if any,” says a wooden sign surrounded by toys and flowers at a memorial outside Marty’s house. Bob Barnett, a Richmond retiree who never met the boy, spent most of Saturday carving it.
On the front are the words: “Martin, a real hero, lived, fought, and died here.”
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Nearly 2.5 million children are living in families struggling with "problem debt", according to a report.
The Children's Society and StepChange debt charity say many families are in an "extremely precarious" position and taking out loans to pay for the basics.
The stress of keeping up with repayments leads to arguments, emotional distress for children and even bullying, the charities say.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Poverty * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance * International News & Commentary England / UK
Breakthroughs in IVF could ‘threaten our humanity’ by prompting parents to demand designer babies, Robert Winston has warned.
The fertility pioneer said that he feared a time when the rich could alter the appearance and ability of children by tinkering with their genes.
And he claimed a ‘toxic’ climate had been created by the desperation of childless couples and the pace of scientific developments in the booming IVF industry.
Warning of a resurgence in eugenics, the broadcaster and Labour peer said there was a ‘real risk that we could see that kind of attitude in our humanity occurring again’.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Personal Finance * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
KW: Unexpected learning? How much depressed believers have to teach us. many feel ashamed because the message they get is ‘pray more, confess sin’. Some of them are the most courageous people just to put one foot in front of another. Some people LIVE in the valley, they never walk out of it like the rest of us. We can learn form them what to do when the darkness doesn’t lift. When it doesn’t ever feel good, walking with God anyway.
RW: 1/3 of the psalms are laments. ‘Life sucks, but where else can I go?’ I observed my life and observed the 6 stages of grief.
1) Shock – purely human emotion. Keep waiting for Matthew to walk through the door.
2) Sorrow – it’s a godly emotion, you can
3) Struggle – why?? see it in Job, in Abraham, Jacob – wrestling is a contact sport and that’s fine. But you’re NOT going to get an explanation. It’s like an ant trying to understand the internet. Explanations never comfort. You need the comfort of the Holy Spirit
4) Surrender – I’d rather walk with God and not have all the answers. ‘thy will be done’
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology
The Archbishop of Canterbury's view that the UK is "a deeply Christian country" is a "self-serving claim" and his church is "banging the religious drum" , according to a secular campaign group.
The comments come after the Most Rev Justin Welby defended faith schools, pointing out they are often in the poorest parts of the country.
But the National Secular Society (NSS) said Church of England schools "prioritise evangelisation over serving the population who are steadily abandoning his pews".
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Children Education Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Secularism * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has defended faith schools, saying they provide education for some of the poorest children in the UK.
Archbishop Welby acknowledged the potential danger of fundamentalists attempting to take control of schools.
However, in a BBC interview he said Church of England schools continued to "love and serve", as they "have done for hundreds of years"
The archbishop repeated his view that the UK is "a deeply Christian country".
Read it all.
Five is a magic number.
When a child is born, the first thing the parents do is check: 5 fingers on each hand. 5 toes on each foot. For some reason there is such perfection within the number 5.
Unfortunately, every day 18,000 children around the world will die before seeing their fifth birthday and 800 women will loose their life in childbirth daily. This bond between mother and child is something that can only be divinely created. But like all things that grow, it must be nourished and sustained.
Read it all.
This past week was 25th National Infertility Awareness Week, an effort by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association to raise awareness of the condition experienced by one in eight U.S. couples of childbearing age. Since they began this campaign much has changed in the way we discuss fertility, and more men and women now feel free to speak openly about their reproductive challenges and know how to find help. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been matched by more affordable treatment options or more supportive public policies.
Something very similar has occurred in the Jewish community. Men and women have begun to address infertility, sharing their own stories and those of their congregants, stripping the stigma away from infertility and making what was once a very private ache a communal one. And yet no large donor or organization has risen up and offered this growing chorus support.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Life Ethics Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Judaism * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
He is a movie star who shot to fame on a motorcycle in “The Lost Boys.” She is a California massage therapist from a prominent East Coast family. Four years ago, with his sperm, her eggs and the wonder of in vitro fertilization, they produced a child.
From there, the tale gets very, very messy.
For the last two years, Jason Patric and Danielle Schreiber have been waging what has become one of the highest-profile custody fights in the country — one that scrambles a gender stereotype, raises the question of who should be considered a legal parent and challenges state laws that try to bring order to the Wild West of nonanonymous sperm donations.
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Consider Monica (not her real name), the African American mother of two daughters. An immigrant from Cote d’Ivoire, she is an American success story, gaining her citizenship and raising two daughters on her own. One is a college junior, the other a high school senior trying to decide between colleges.
Before getting married in July, Monica’s income made her eligible for financial aid which brought her yearly tuition liability to $15,000. If she had not got married, her per-student tuition liability would have likely remained the same, so she would have been responsible for $30,000 a year for both of her daughters combined.
Instead, her daughter’s university wants her to contribute $25,000 for each child because of her new husband’s income. This increase happened even though Monica’s new husband is not the biological or legal father of her daughters, and he has children of his own to support.
Cohabitation without marriage pays.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Personal Finance Taxes Politics in General * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Nearly three quarters of Danwon [High School]’s 11th graders died two weeks ago in the sinking of a ferry that ranks as one of the country’s deadliest disasters in recent decades.
“I’ve seen these kids grow up. I know each of their faces,” said Mr. Kim[In-jea], 57, who lives nearby and said seven of his neighbors lost their children. “To say that this neighborhood feels empty would be an understatement. This neighborhood feels like a morgue.”
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Education * International News & Commentary Asia South Korea * Theology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
At least 18 people, including 10 children, have been killed in a Syrian government air strike in the northern city of Aleppo, activist groups say.
A missile struck Ain Jalout school in the Ansari district, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
Images showed blood on corridor walls and debris in classrooms.
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Watch it all from ESPN's E-60.
By kindergarten, girls are substantially more attentive, better behaved, more sensitive, more persistent, more flexible and more independent than boys, according to a new paper from Third Way, a Washington research group. The gap grows over the course of elementary school and feeds into academic gaps between the sexes. By eighth grade, 48 percent of girls receive a mix of A’s and B’s or better. Only 31 percent of boys do.
And in an economy that rewards knowledge, the academic struggles of boys turn into economic struggles. Men’s wages are stagnating. Men are much more likely to be idle — neither working, looking for work nor caring for family — than they once were and much more likely to be idle than women.
We reported last week that the United States had lost its once-enormous global lead in middle-class pay, based on international income surveys over the last three decades. After-tax median income in Canada appears to have been higher last year than the same measure in this country. The poor in Canada and much of western Europe earn more than the poor here.
These depressing trends have many causes, but the social struggles of men and boys are an important one.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family Men * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
A pregnancy scare between the couple had been part of the early storyline in the "Southern Charm" show. It turned out to be negative.
Ravenel told The Post and Courier the couple soon began discussing having "a baby for real," afterward. "We were both in agreement, so we got what we wanted."
They are living at his Edisto Island plantation. The couple has no immediate plans to marry, he said.
"Right now we're doing what works for us," he said.
Read it all from the local paper (emphasis mine).
The Good Wife's Grace Florrick (Makenzie Vega) has been slowly growing more devout since season two and was baptized in season three. Her atheist mother Alicia (Julianna Margulies) has been generally accepting of the conversion, but tension has developed in the wake of a death close to Alicia, due to Grace's repeated insistence that the deceased is in heaven. Meanwhile, The Americans' Elizabeth and Philip Jennings (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys), being undercover Soviet spies, have no faith, and are furious when their daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) joins a church.
It makes for decent enough drama, but is this actually common? Do kids raised without religion actively seek it out and convert all that often? As it turns out, yes. The most recent data on this that I've come across comes from Pew's 2008 Religious Landscape Survey, which finds that only 46 percent of people who are raised religiously unaffiliated (which includes atheists, agnostics, and those who say they're "nothing in particular") remain unaffiliated as adults. By contrast, 68 percent of Catholics and 52 percent of Protestant stay with their childhood religion, and only 14 percent and 13 percent (respectively) stop subscribing to any religion at all....
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Family scholars, from sociologist Sara McLanahan to psychologist Ross Parke, have long observed that fathers typically play an important role in advancing the welfare of their children. Focusing on the impact of family structure, McLanahan has found that, compared to children from single-parent homes, children who live with their fathers in an intact family have significantly lower rates of incarceration and teenage pregnancy and higher rates of high school and college graduation. Examining the extent and style of paternal involvement, Parke notes, for instance, that engaged fathers play an important role in “helping sons and daughters achieve independent and distinct identities” and that this independence often translates into educational and occupational success.
Likewise, a U.S. Department of Education study found that among children living with both biological parents, those with highly involved fathers were 42 percent more likely to earn A grades and 33 percent less likely to be held back a year in school than children whose dads had low levels of involvement. But little research has examined the association between paternal involvement per se and college graduation.
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The Johnsons both work, earning $90,000 between them, not a princely sum but one that places the couple squarely in the middle of household incomes for the Washington region. But for the Johnsons and many other American families, being middle class means living paycheck to paycheck.
The couple’s retirement savings are meager. The college fund? Nonexistent.
The Johnsons, whose blended family includes three children under 18, are part of a drawn-out, disquieting shift that is recasting what it means to be middle class in America.
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