Posted by Kendall Harmon

How easily the world forgets. It has been only three months, but it feels like a lifetime since more than 200 Nigerian girls were snatched from their school in the dead of night by the brutal Boko Haram. Vigils and marches around the world marked the girls’ 100 days in captivity, and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan managed to emerge from his cocoon to finally meet the parents of the abducted girls. I guess we should thank God for his small mercies. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in his role as a UN global ambassador, tried to keep up hope for the girls’ return on the bleak anniversary, but his words had a hollow ring.

“The world has not forgotten these girls. Not in a 100 days. Not for one day,” Brown wrote.

Yes it has. The universal outrage that greeted the abduction, and the massive effort to mobilize the global community to confront the terrorists and rescue the girls, has dissipated. Western governments talked tough, promised big, but in the end, did precious little to help save the girls. A world-wide Bring Back Our Girls campaign led by politicians, religious leaders and celebrities swept across continents and energized people. There was hope, but it was only fleeting. Once the sad faces that tugged at our heartstrings disappeared from our TV screens, the outrage faded, and governments moved on to the next crisis in the headlines, promises forgotten. People returned to their busy lives, and the Bring Back Our Girls campaign fizzled. More than 200 girls are brazenly abducted, and what the world does is to shed a little tear, then shrug its shoulders and move on. It is hard to imagine the horror that confronts these girls every waking moment. The terror, the helplessness and the feeling of abandonment must be excruciating.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 29, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thirty years after federal legislation established 21 as a uniform minimum age to drink alcohol in all states, Americans are widely opposed to lowering the legal drinking age to 18. Seventy-four percent say they would oppose such legislation, while 25% would favor it. The level of opposition is similar to what Gallup has measured in the past....

Despite the progress made in reducing traffic deaths involving alcohol, drunk driving remains a factor in many automobile fatalities. Also, one of the major concerns with alcohol today is binge drinking among young adults, and it is not clear that having a higher drinking age helps in that regard. Rather, some experts suggest lowering the drinking age, and teaching teens and young adults to drink responsibly at a younger age, would help to reduce the allure of alcohol to those forbidden by law to possess it.

But Americans are either not aware of or not persuaded by such arguments, given that public support for a minimum drinking age of 21 seems pretty solid and consistent over the past three decades.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingLaw & Legal IssuesTeens / YouthYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 24, 2014 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Across the globe there are believed to be 125 million victims in 29 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East living with the consequences of FGM. In most instances the girl involved will be under 15 when cut, and the elders of the community will consider that FGM bestows on her the pure femininity conducive to proper sexual conduct within marriage. In a world in which people travel constantly between cultures and continents, FGM has also become a domestic question. It is estimated that 137,000 women and girls living in England and Wales could have undergone the procedure even though it has been illegal since 1985.

The law is an important rebuke to intolerable practices and it is welcome that the first prosecutions under the 1985 law began this year. The government has also established training for teachers, doctors and social workers to help them to identify girls at risk. The law alone, though, will not prevent the abuse of women.

The importance of set-piece events such as the Girl Summit [in London] is also a marker of the importance of the question and of a standard of conduct that is expected in a developed nation.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesSexualityTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 23, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[The] MOST Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the Archbishop of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), on Saturday in Abuja urged Anglican youths to build bridges of unity and shun tribalism and ethnic sentiments.

Okoh, who spoke during the investiture of 95 national patrons and patronesses by the Anglican Youth Fellowship (AYF), said that tribalism and ethnicity posed danger to spiritual growth.

"There are many ills afflicting our church today and principal amongst them is the emergence of tribalism amongst the leadership and members of the congregation.

"We must consciously build bridges to keep the church together, and we should imbibe the spirit of give and take because division is not the way to progress," Okoh advised.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted July 22, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the past ten years, the number of teenagers with depression has doubled, according to the mental health charity YoungMinds. If you listen to parents of teenagers, they all seem to have a story of someone they know – a family at a loss about how to deal with their child’s depression. The figures seem to back up the anecdotal evidence. One in ten children and young people aged between five and sixteen suffers from a diagnosable mental-health disorder – the easiest way to imagine this is around three children in every class in Britain. Around 7 per cent of British teenagers have tried to kill or harm themselves, yet only 6 per cent of the mental health budget is spent on under- eighteens. One of the most alarming statistics is the number of admissions to A&E departments for self-harm: over the past ten years, it has increased by 68 per cent. One expert tells me there is an “epidemic” of cutting.

Without help, the majority of children with mental-health problems go on to become mentally ill as adults. This is, Marjorie Wallace, the chief executive of the charity SANE, tells me, “the age of desperation”.

“If you really listen to what some of these young people are saying, there is a huge element of despair,” says Wallace. “Growing up has always been difficult, but the sense of desperation? That is new. There is a degree of alienation in this generation. There is no sense of belonging. They are much more isolated, partly due to social media. They are not connected to community, to families, to siblings, and that brings more disillusionment.” For Wallace, the dramatic rise in reports of self-harm is indicative of the amount of distress. “It is not a cry for help. It’s to stop themselves from doing something much worse.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyMental IllnessStressSuicideTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 19, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenMarriage & FamilyScience & TechnologyTeens / YouthViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 17, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Bryan Giemza] recommends her recently released Prayer Journal and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” as good starting points for students. Her journal allows him to “point out the various prayer traditions she canvasses and how she shared in the aspirations and worries of someone their age, albeit someone with an incredible depth of field, spiritually speaking. She commands respect that way.” I like Giemza’s method in teaching her popular story. He tells students “things tend towards their ends, that we are creatures of habit, and that virtue has to be practiced. I give them a series of statements to respond to, like ‘I’m basically a good person.’ A majority of my students agree with that position, and aren’t aware that it flies in the face of orthodoxy, and certainly goes against Flannery O’Connor’s belief. They’re usually stunned to learn that no less an authority than Christ said that no man is good. And those who condemn the grandmother have to be shown their own warts, just like those who despise the mother in ‘Everything That Rises Must Converge,’ (pdf) with her patronizing coin, need to be reminded of the story of the widow’s mite.”

O’Connor is one of the best at peeling back our public covers and showing those warts. Like so many writers chided for their disturbing content, criticisms of her work are often less about the texts themselves, and more about our refusals as readers, students, and teachers to examine our own lives. Perhaps even more than her odd characters, it is the “stark racism” of O’Connor’s world that pushes away some of Giemza’s students. But Giemza doesn’t want them to blink; “the danger . . . is that students who (think they) live in a post-racial age must still contend with the sins of the fathers, and I am surprised by how many can blithely accept that those sins have been expiated. Perhaps they don’t see its urgency, but here in the region that helped the nation understand its first fall (i.e. the legacies of our foundation in slavery), we have a duty to try to come to grips with it. It remains the essence of the fallen-ness in her work, and its insistence that God is no respecter of persons or the hierarchies of the temporal order, which can be inverted at a stroke.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryPoetry & LiteratureRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureTeens / YouthWomenYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted July 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Speak to sexually active teenage girls today, as I have been lately while researching a book, and it is evident that many feel the only means they have to beguile men is through sex. And even then, they feel a need to be overt with their flirt.

All those too-tight, too-short and too-low dresses aren’t, as I once thought, what girls wear to be appear fashionable to their female peers. They wear them, I’m informed, to look sexy to men.

‘‘I don’t really care what my friends wear out,’’ one young lady told me, ‘‘unless it makes them look hotter than I do.’’

‘‘You have to be hot to attract a guy,’’ another 16-year-old girl asserted. ‘‘If you don’t look sexy, then they won’t think you are interested in them.’’

And once you attract said guy? ‘‘You need to have sex with them. If you don’t, they’ll just go with someone who will.’’

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSexualityTeens / YouthWomen* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 29, 2014 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Suspected Boko Haram militants have abducted more than 60 women and girls, some as young as three, in the latest kidnappings in northeast Nigeria and over two months since more than 200 schoolgirls were seized.

Analysts said the kidnapping, which happened during a raid on Kummabza village in the Damboa district of Borno state, could be an attempt by the Islamist group to refocus attention on its demands for the release of militant fighters.

Boko Haram has indicated that it would be willing to release the 219 schoolgirls that it has held hostage since April 14 in exchange for the freedom of its brothers in arms currently held in Nigerian jails.

Read it all.

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Posted June 25, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted June 24, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The leader of a Nigerian ministry supported by Christian Aid recently shared this update on their work. Along with providing necessities for refugees, they share the Gospel with Islamic militants who are curious about Christ.

“We were able to give out 45 of ‘The Treasure’ audio Bibles to Muslims who were ready to hear. Some of them assured us we shall hear from them when we come back,” the leader shares in his report. “Pray for one new convert who accepted Christ after listening to the Gospel of John.

“This is a great tool for reaching Muslims.”

However, these indigenous missionaries are not immune to danger. The ministry leader says Boko Haram attacks continue daily.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

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Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Diana Navarro loves to code, and she's not afraid to admit it. But the 18-year-old Rutgers University computer science major knows she's an anomaly: Writing software to run computer programs in 2014 is - more than ever - a man's world.

"We live in a culture where we're dissuaded to do things that are technical," Navarro said. "Younger girls see men, not women, doing all the techie stuff, programming and computer science."

Less than 1 percent of high school girls think of computer science as part of their future, even though it's one of the fastest-growing fields in the U.S. today with a projected 4.2 million jobs by 2020, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationScience & TechnologyTeens / YouthWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted June 22, 2014 at 11:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Rev. Enoch Mark heard American drones were flying into Nigeria to find his two kidnapped daughters—among the 223 schoolgirls held hostage by Boko Haram—he thought his prayers for a speedy rescue might be answered. Two months later, he has lost faith.

As U.S. officials stitch together preliminary intelligence gleaned from the skies, the insurgency on the ground is rapidly seizing territory and eliminating Christians and Muslims who oppose it.

On Sunday, Boko Haram burned down a village called Kwaraglum near Chibok, the town where girls were abducted from their boarding school in April, said a local vigilante stationed nearby. That same day, they also struck another nearby town, Ndagu, said Simon Jasini, whose older brother was among 10 people killed in the raid. The group is suspected of a bombing on Tuesday that killed 14 people watching the World Cup in the city of Damaturu, said a resident who accompanied state officials to the hospital.

Back in Chibok, Rev. Mark and what family he has left head up a mountain each night so they can sleep hidden behind rocks.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 19, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 11, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hundreds more Nigerian schoolgirls may be living in jungle slavery after being captured by Boko Haram militants, according to a mediator.

Stephen Davis, a friend of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said that the number of captives could be twice as many as the 300 students taken from a school in the restless north of the country in April.

He suggested that senior figures in Nigeria were supporting the extremists and cautioned that any rescue attempt would simply result in many of the girls being killed. The kidnappers would then seize more students in the following days, according to Mr Davis, a former Canon Emeritus at Coventry Cathedral, who has been in Nigeria for the past month.

He said that the only way to resolve the hostage crisis would be for a peace deal to be reached with members of the Boko Haram leadership, who appeared to be open to talks.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 9, 2014 at 6:42 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian Christian schoolgirls focused the world’s attention, at last, on the outrages committed by Boko Haram (“No western education”) in Nigeria. Scores of churches have been destroyed and many Christians killed by Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria, but the world kept quiet. Now more people realize that there is a serious problem in Nigeria. But what is the problem? Prime Minister David Cameron correctly identified it recently, according to the Rt Rev Dr Ben Kwashi, the Anglican Archbishop of the area where the girls were kidnapped and where most of the atrocities have taken place. Mr Cameron said: “This is not just a problem in Nigeria. We’re seeing this really violent extreme Islamism. We see problems in Pakistan, we see problems in other parts of Africa, problems in the Middle East. Also, let’s be frank, here in the UK there is still too much support for extremism that we have to tackle, whether it’s in schools or colleges or universities or wherever,” (Quoted in The Times, 12 May 2014). Archbishop Kwashi, on a recent visit to the UK, insists that the violence of Boko Haram does not arise out of their poverty or alienation. They have enough funding to arm themselves with weapons that can take on modern armies. There are many poor and alienated groups in Nigeria who do not resort to violence. And if they are representing the poor and alienated then why did they blow up a major fish market which is a centre for food, income and the export of fish many times over? Those fighting on behalf of the poor do not kill the poor or their children. This is a civilizational conflict that roots itself in religious justification. Islam is of the view that it should be supreme in political and economic power. The North of Nigeria is by and large Muslim. The south is by and large Christian.

Nigeria is an uneasy federation of the two.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 6, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“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).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyPovertyTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 5, 2014 at 3:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Despite disappointment that word of his involvement in the negotiations for the release of the Chibok schoolgirls was leaked to media last week, the Australian cleric appointed as the Nigerian President’s envoy in the negotiations with Boko Haram remains hopeful that they will succeed in getting the girls released.

Dr. Stephen Davis, an Anglican cleric, told media the fact that his name was leaked is not helping the negotiations, but he remains confident nonetheless that they will succeed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 5, 2014 at 7:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigerian police have banned public protests in the capital Abuja for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls seized by Islamist militants in April.

Abuja police commissioner Joseph Mbu said the rallies were "now posing a serious security threat".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthUrban/City Life and IssuesViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 2, 2014 at 3:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So often, when faced with their own limits, the young people I meet turn to music. They turn to the artists who can articulate (perhaps more clearly than they can) precisely what they’re feeling. So how do we engage?

It all starts with listening. It always starts with listening. Listening to young people, listening to their music and listening to the struggles and joys of their daily lives.

What comes next is the hard part: accompanying young people in the midst of the pains and struggles of everyday life, and welcoming them into the story we call our own: the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

I said earlier that this is hard. But it shouldn’t be. In fact, in my experience, it isn’t hard at all. Looking for companions when forced to confront the limits of human existence, young people constantly blow me away with their deep desire for some good news. We’re good-news people. We’ve got plenty to share.

And yet we need to start by listening.

Read it all from the Anglican Journal.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchMusicReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologySoteriology

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Posted May 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Heroin was once the scourge of the urban poor, but today the typical user is a young, white suburbanite, a study finds. And the path to addiction usually starts with prescription painkillers.

A survey of 9,000 patients at treatment centers around the country found that 90 percent of heroin users were white men and women. Most were relatively young — their average age was 23. And three-quarters said they first started not with heroin but with prescription opioids like OxyContin.

In contrast, when heroin first became popular in the '60s and '70s, most users were young minority men who lived in cities. "Heroin is not an inner-city problem anymore," says , a psychiatrist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who led the study.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionPsychologyTeens / YouthYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 30, 2014 at 12:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria's president said on Thursday he had ordered "a full-scale operation" against Boko Haram Islamist militants and sought to reassure the parents of 219 schoolgirls being held by the group that their children would be freed.

Speaking on Nigeria's Democracy Day, Goodluck Jonathan said he had authorised security forces to use any means necessary under the law to ensure that Boko Haram, which operates in the country's northeast is defeated.

"I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism," Jonathan said in a TV speech.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 29, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Nigerian government knows where nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls are being held by Islamic extremists but is incapable of using force to rescue them, the country's defense chief said Monday.

Air Marshal Alex Barde made the comment in remarks to demonstrators supporting the military in Abuja on Monday, the state-run Nigerian News Agency reported.

He said the government cannot disclose the whereabouts of the girls, who were taken from a remote area of northeastern Nigeria by the extremist group Boko Haram.

"We want our girls back. I can tell you that our military can and will do it, but where they are held, can we go there with force?'' Barde said, the agency reported.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Intelligence agents from all over the globe have poured into this city, Nigeria’s capital, to help find the nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram more than a month ago — but there has been little or no progress in bringing the young women home.

The problem, many involved in the rescue effort say, is the failings of the Nigerian military.

There is a view among diplomats here and with their governments at home that the military is so poorly trained and armed, and so riddled with corruption, that not only is it incapable of finding the girls, it is also losing the broader fight against Boko Haram. The group has effective control of much of the northeast of the country, as troops withdraw from vulnerable targets to avoid a fight and stay out of the group’s way, even as the militants slaughter civilians.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 24, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Boko Haram, the insurgent terrorist group bearing down on Nigeria, has attacked again. This time, officials say, the militant Islamist group hit three villages Wednesday, not far from where they took hundreds of schoolgirl’s hostage.

It’s not even 24 hours after a twin bombing in Jos, which killed 118 Tuesday. On Sunday, a suicide bombing rattled nerves in Sabon Gari, Kano State.

The tactics point to a new terror technique by the insurgent group: the use of random attacks and explosives in a deadly sequence. It means they’re no longer a small insurgency. The United Nations has linked them to another menace.

Jerry Dykstra, a spokesman for Open Doors USA, echoes those concerns. “They’re being empowered by other terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. [sic] It’s disturbing, and we as Christians need to pay attention because [Nigeria is] the most...[populous] Christian country in all of Africa.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted May 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyTeens / Youth* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) will strike on Thursday to demand the prompt release of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram militants last month and compensation for teachers killed in the restive northeast region so far.

“All schools nationwide shall be closed as Thursday will be our day of protest against the abduction of the Chibok female students and the heartless murder of the 173 teachers,” NUT President Michael Olukoya said in a statement.

The union has directed members to hold processions across the capitals of Nigeria’s states and federal capital Abuja.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 22, 2014 at 7:13 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

African leaders meeting in Paris have agreed to wage "war" on Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamic militants.

President Hollande of France, who hosted the summit, said regional powers had pledged to share intelligence and co-ordinate action against the group.

Last month it abducted 223 schoolgirls in north-eastern Nigeria, where it is based. Fresh attacks were reported in Nigeria and Cameroon overnight.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The whereabouts of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted in northern Nigeria remain unknown a month after their kidnapping. Never the less, the Archbishop of Canterbury has cautioned against military intervention by Western nations to find them.

Writing in the Church Times (below), Archbishop Welby says that defeating Boko Haram, the Islamist militants who snatched the teenagers from their school in Chibok, would take a combination of local police work, winning the hearts and minds of Muslims inthe region, and economic development.

He also writes: "External intervention is always difficult. In the first place, our history as the colonial power, and the role of the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan, makes both countries (and indeed much of the 'Christian West') suspicious for many Muslims."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 16, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was like a scene from a movie, except there was no Iron Man swooping to the rescue. More than a hundred girls sitting in a clearing, chanting the Koran. Their eyes downcast, the girls were swathed in ghostly grey and black hijabs. Their captors said this was evidence that they had “converted to Islam”, but their fear was palpable. They held themselves unnaturally still, as though to move would mean death.

Many of the girls were abducted on April 14 from a school in northern Nigeria, which means they have had less than a month to memorise those Koranic verses, or at least to have the chants beaten into them. More than half of the 276 stolen girls were missing from the terrorists’ video. Among them were Rebeccas and Esthers and Ruths – lovely, strong Biblical names. One girl was led to the front and told to give a Muslim name, not her Christian one. You wondered about her missing sisters and whether they had displeased their captors by refusing to surrender either their name or their faith.

“These girls you occupy yourselves with… we have indeed liberated them. These girls have become Muslims,” jeered Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram. He addresses the camera as if he were straight out of Evil Villain school.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 15, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Primate of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has advised the Federal Government not to yield to the demands of Boko Haram for the release of the abducted schoolgirls.

Boko Haram is reportedly demanding the release of some of its captured members in exchange for the abducted schoolgirls.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 13, 2014 at 6:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Justin gave an interview to Radio 4's The World This Weekend on Sunday about the kidnap of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria.

Follow the link provided and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria is ready to talk to Islamist militants to negotiate the release of more than 200 abducted girls, cabinet minister Tanimu Turaki has said.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said on Monday that captured girls who had not converted to Islam could be swapped for jailed fighters.

Mr Turaki said that if Shekau was sincere, he should send representatives for talks.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 13, 2014 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The BBC's Mark Doyle, in the capital, Abuja, says it appears some sort of negotiations will take place because of the large presence of international advisers in the country, including hostage negotiators.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is forbidden", had previously said the girls should not have been at school and should get married instead.

The militants have been engaged in a violent campaign against the Nigerian government since 2009.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted May 13, 2014 at 6:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria has immediately rejected a proposed deal to free the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls after the captives were paraded on a video released by the terror group Boko Haram.

Abubakar Shekau, the group’s leader, claimed in a 17-minute tirade that the girls have converted to Islam and said that they will not be released until all Boko Haram prisoners have been freed from Nigerian jails.

But President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria swiftly ruled out the possibility of a prisoner swap or of paying a ransom.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New video claiming to show a number of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls has been released by the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 12, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby warned on Sunday of the difficulties of negotiating with an "utterly merciless" group like Boko Haram, but called for active contact with the Nigerian Islamists over their abduction of scores of schoolgirls.

Welby has experience of negotiating with violent groups in the Niger Delta in southern Nigeria, and with a predecessor to Boko Haram around Maiduguri, the capital of northeastern Borno state where the group started out.

In an interview with BBC radio about the fate of more than 200 schoolgirls seized by the Islamist group last month, the archbishop said the girls faced a "colossal" risk.

"They're in the hands of a very disparate group which is extremely irrational and difficult to deal with and utterly merciless in the example it's shown in the past, and it must be a huge concern," he said.

Read it all. The [London] Times also has Archbishop calls for talks with Boko Haram for those who have subscriber access.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted May 12, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But little attention has been paid to the group's formal Arabic name: Jam'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-da'wa wal-Jihad. That roughly translates as "The Fellowship of the People of the Tradition for Preaching and Holy War." That's a lot less catchy than Boko Haram but significantly more revealing about the group and its mission. Far from being an aberration among Islamist terror groups, as some observers suggest, Boko Haram in its goals and methods is in fact all too representative.

The kidnapping of the schoolgirls throws into bold relief a central part of what the jihadists are about: the oppression of women. Boko Haram sincerely believes that girls are better off enslaved than educated. The terrorists' mission is no different from that of the Taliban assassin who shot and nearly killed 15-year-old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai—as she rode a school bus home in 2012—because she advocated girls' education. As I know from experience, nothing is more anathema to the jihadists than equal and educated women.

How to explain this phenomenon to baffled Westerners, who these days seem more eager to smear the critics of jihadism as "Islamophobes" than to stand up for women's most basic rights? Where are the Muslim college-student organizations denouncing Boko Haram? Where is the outrage during Friday prayers? These girls' lives deserve more than a Twitter hashtag protest.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 10, 2014 at 9:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The "Bring Back Our Girls" hashtag—retweeted nearly two million times so far by Twitter users including the Vatican, the first lady and celebrities including singers Mary J. Blige and Chris Brown —wasn't created by Ms. Mosley but by Nigerian Ibrahim Musa Abdullahi, a 35-year-old attorney in the capital Abuja who adapted a chant he heard on television there. This week, Twitter users began calling attention to that fact in a storm of angry tweets to Ms. Mosley.

Ms. Mosley said in an interview on Thursday that she didn't take credit for the hashtag: "The idea that people are so upset has been a complete shock.…I felt compelled to help spread the word."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted May 9, 2014 at 10:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Barring a rescue of the abducted women, Jonathan’s standing will deteriorate,” Philippe de Pontet, Africa analyst at Eurasia Group, said in an e-mailed note yesterday. “The political implications are damaging for the Jonathan administration, which has been seen as ineffective in its response.”

Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, which means “western education is a sin” in the Hausa language, has claimed responsibility for the April 14 abduction of 276 girls from their dormitories in Borno state in the northeast. He has threatened to sell the girls in “markets” and marry them off, helping galvanize a global campaign to free them joined by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 9, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...here’s a challenge.


Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and, by all means, let’s use it to celebrate the moms in our lives with flowers and brunches. But let’s also use the occasion to honor the girls still missing in Nigeria.

One way is a donation to support girls going to school around Africa through the Campaign for Female Education, Camfed.org; a $40 gift pays for a girl’s school uniform.

Another way to empower women is to support Edna Adan, an extraordinary Somali woman who has started her own maternity hospital, midwife training program and private university, saving lives, providing family planning and fighting female genital mutilation. At EdnaHospital.org, a $50 donation pays for a safe hospital delivery.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationMediaTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 8, 2014 at 11:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 8, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly 300 girls are still missing after being abducted by a terror group in Nigeria three weeks ago....


ABC US News | ABC Business News

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town today called for "all of Africa, and especially South Africa" to rise up and demand the release of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted from their school three weeks ago.

The Anglican archbishop was preaching at the 150th anniversary celebrations of St John's Church, Bellville in Cape Town.

During his sermon, he called on the congregation to "voice your outrage at the killings in northern Nigeria, and at the recent abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls there."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Southern Africa* Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

American military and law-enforcement personnel will coordinate with Nigerian officials in a stepped-up effort to find nearly 300 schoolgirls who were abducted by Islamic terrorists in the country last month, President Obama and John Kerry said Tuesday.

The United States first publicly announced an offer for help last week, but on Tuesday Kerry spoke with Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and a plan was put in action.

“So what we've done is — we have offered, and it's been accepted — help from our military and our law enforcement officials,” Obama told NBC News’ Al Roker on Tuesday. "We're going to do everything we can to provide assistance to them."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 6, 2014 at 4:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Leaders of the International Anglican Women's Network have called on women around the Anglican Communion to do what they can to help the 200+ girls kidnapped in Nigeria by terrorist group Boko Haram.

IAWN Steering Group convener Ann Skamp has written to members encouraging them not to forget the girls some of whom, the media is reporting, have been forced to marry by their captors.

"Three weeks ago now, over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in the northern Nigerian city of Borno. As we continue to keep the girls, their families and communities in our prayers please consider what we can do to support them," she said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 6, 2014 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A public affairs analyst, Mr Sola Ojewusi, has blamed the federal and state governments over the kidnap of over two hundred school girls in Chibok, Borno State.

Speaking as a guest on Sunrise Daily, Channels Television’s breakfast programme on Monday, Ojewusi blamed the lack of synergy between the governments and the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

Reacting to a comment credited to the Head of WAEC’s National Office in Nigeria, Charles Eguridu, Ojewusi said “there seems to be a disconnect right from all forces that should have given the security needed to this kind of people involved.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 6, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria’s government faced mounting pressure to locate school girls seized three weeks ago in an abduction claimed by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which in a video has threatened to sell them in “markets.”

Gunmen on April 14 raided dormitories in an all-girls secondary school in remote Chibok in northeastern Borno state and drove off in trucks with more than 200 students. About 275,000 people have signed a petition posted on Change.org demanding the government do more to rescue the girls amid demonstrations in the capital, Abuja, commercial hub, Lagos, and cities including New York, London, Atlanta and Washington.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 6, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As these girls are held hostage, it is vital that we act on their behalf. Here are the top 3 things you can do to help these young women:

1. Pray

The number one thing that persecuted Christians ask for is our prayers. And though to some it might seem like a passive reaction, we believers know that prayer has changed the course of history. God has changed the hearts of leaders, fellow-countrymen and even persecutors because of the faithful prayers of Christians around the world. Here are some specific ways in which you can pray for them.

2. Spread The Word & Educate

Some prominent leaders, artist and other influencers are shedding light on this important story by using the hashtag #bringbackourgirls.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchEducationTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

0 Comments
Posted May 5, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has released a list of names of the girls Boko Haram terrorists abducted at the Government Girls College, Chibok, in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, northeastern Nigeria, on April 15.

The full list of names may be viewed at the end of the article.

According to CAN, among the girls abducted were 165 Christian girls and 15 Muslim girls.

The Punch reports that figures it obtained from Evangelist Mathew Owojaiye, President of Old Time Revival Hour, and former chairman of Northern States Christian and Elders Forum (NOSCEF), also estimated the number of the abducted girls at about 180.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan met through the night with security, school and state officials and issued a new directive that "everything must be done" to free the 276 girls held captive by Islamic extremists, one of his advisers said Sunday.

It was the first time the president met with all stakeholders, including the principal of the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in northeastern Nigeria where the girls and young women were kidnapped in a pre-dawn raid April 15, presidential adviser Reuben Abati told reporters.

Nigerians' outrage at the failure to rescue the students and protest marches last week in major Nigerian cities as well as New York City have spurred to action Jonathan's government, which many see as uncaring of the girls' plight.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted May 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number of kidnapped schoolgirls missing in Nigeria has risen to 276, up by more than 30 from a previous estimate, police said, adding that the actual number abducted by Islamic extremists on April 14 was more than 300.

Police Commissioner Tanko Lawan said the number of girls and young women who have escaped also has risen, to 53.

He told a news conference Thursday night in Maiduguri, the northeastern capital of Borno state, that the figures keep increasing because students from other schools were brought into one school for final exams last month after all schools in Borno state were shut because of attacks by Islamic extremists.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2014 at 6:53 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Suspected members of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram are believed to be holding 187 girls hostage in north-eastern Nigeria, after kidnapping them from their boarding school in Chibok at night.

Several girls managed to escape and get back to their families during the kidnapping on 14 April, but most are still being held. The Christian Association of Nigeria has called for prayer and fasting for the girls' safe release.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2014 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The BBC's Will Ross speaks to Abba Moro, the Nigerian Interior Minister...

Listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMediaTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 1, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Demonstrators are to march through the Nigerian capital Abuja to press for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by militants two weeks ago.

They say they will march to the National Assembly and demand more action from the government, which has been criticised for not doing enough.

The Islamist group Boko Haram has been blamed for abducting the girls from their school in Chibok, Borno state.

Boko Haram has not yet made any response to the accusation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

1 Comments
Posted April 30, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The nonpartisan interfaith ministry unites about two dozen diverse local faith-based entities to identify serious social justice problems and then develop and promote specific solutions.

At Tuesday's rally, ministry members noted that despite local unemployment rates below the national average, and construction projects obvious around the area, young adults ages 16 to 24 here face far higher rates of unemployment.

They asked local municipalities for hiring policies that mandate 25 percent of all entry level jobs in publicly funded construction projects go to unemployed young adults who have undergone job training.

Read it all (on the front page of the paper edition).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 30, 2014 at 5:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to ensure the release of 230 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, who were abducted by members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Professor Soyinka made the call on a day a coalition of women's rights in Borno expressed their readiness to mobilise thousands of women to embark on a voluntary search and rescue mission into the notorious Sambisa forest, to ensure the release of the abducted students.

Senate President, David Mark, on his part described the abduction of the girls as sacrilegious.

Meanwhile, members of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, have threatened to kill the abducted students, should the search to recover them continue.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted April 24, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(The title of the video by ABC is "Miracle in Hell"--KSH).

A New Zealand pastor and his wife have made it their mission to take on India’s billion-dollar sex industry by rescuing young prostitutes from one of the largest "red light" districts on Earth.

The streets of Sonagacchi in Kolkata, India, are home to more than 10,000 prostitutes, many of whom are teenage girls. Most are sold into the sex trade by their families.

Pastor Kerry Hilton and his wife, Annie, who have lived in Sonagacchi for about 15 years, said they were shocked when they first moved to India and stumbled upon them. They had no idea their apartment overlooked the largest sex bazaar in India -- until the sun went down.

"We felt that these women straight away were our neighbors," Kerry Hilton said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & CultureSexualityTeens / YouthUrban/City Life and IssuesYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndiaAustralia / NZ

0 Comments
Posted April 24, 2014 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The final evening of Jack Chen’s life was indistinguishable from many others. The sophomore returned home from school, ate dinner with his mother and retired to his room. His mother asked him to turn out his light at midnight.

Inside his bedroom, anguish gnawed at him, a darkness invisible to friends and family: He maintained a 4.3 grade-point average at one of the area’s top high schools, was a captain of the junior varsity football team and had never tried drugs or alcohol.

But that hidden pain drove Jack from his Fairfax Station home early the next morning — Wednesday, Feb. 26. The 15-year-old, who pestered his father to quit smoking and wear his safety belt, walked to nearby tracks and stepped between the rails as a commuter train approached.

His death is one of six apparent suicides at Fairfax’s W.T. Woodson High School during the past three years, including another student found dead the next day. The toll has left the school community reeling and prompted an urgent question: Why would so many teens from a single suburban school take their lives?

Read it all from the Washington Post.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHealth & MedicinePsychologySuicideTeens / YouthViolence* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Twenty-four people were injured — at least one of them critically — when a teenager wielding two 8-inch kitchen knives this morning attacked students at Franklin Regional Senior High School in Murrysville.

Emergency medical officials said 21 students and one security guard were stabbed and two students were injured in the aftermath.

The suspect, Alex Hribal, a 16-year-old sophomore, was taken into custody after being wrestled to the floor of a school hallway and disarmed by a security guard and a school administrator. The youth was taken to the Murrysville police station, where he was questioned by officers and Westmoreland County detectives before being taken to Westmoreland Hospital for minor injuries to his hands.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationTeens / YouthViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted April 9, 2014 at 4:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Barbara Ehrenreich is known for her books and essays about politics, social welfare, class, women's health and other women's issues. Her best-seller Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, explored the difficulties faced by low-wage workers. So fans of Ehrenreich's writing may be surprised at the subject of her new memoir — the mystical visions she had as a teenager.

To make her new book an even more unlikely subject, Ehrenreich describes herself as a rationalist, a scientist by training, and an atheist who is the daughter of atheists. Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth About Everything draws on her journals from 1956-'66, and on the extensive reading she's done in the past decade about the history of religion. She never discussed these mystical experiences before writing the book — and she suspects she's not the only one keeping such things to herself.

"People have these unaccountable mystic experiences," Ehrenreich tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Generally they say nothing or they label it as 'God' and get on with their lives. I'm saying, 'Hey, no, let's figure out what's going on here.' "

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheism

0 Comments
Posted April 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jilly Dos Santos really did try to get to school on time. She set three successive alarms on her phone. Skipped breakfast. Hastily applied makeup while her fuming father drove. But last year she rarely made it into the frantic scrum at the doors of Rock Bridge High School here by the first bell, at 7:50 a.m.

Then she heard that the school board was about to make the day start even earlier, at 7:20 a.m.

“I thought, if that happens, I will die,” recalled Jilly, 17. “I will drop out of school!”

That was when the sleep-deprived teenager turned into a sleep activist....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHealth & MedicineTeens / Youth

0 Comments
Posted March 14, 2014 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The National Assessment of Educational Progress tests student knowledge in various subjects every few years. In 2010, only 20 percent of fourth-graders, 17 percent of eighth graders and 12 percent of high school seniors were considered grade-level proficient in American history.
--Andrea Neal (for more read the whole thing).


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryTeens / YouthYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

5 Comments
Posted March 13, 2014 at 11:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[A recent study]...has found one in three girls and a quarter of boys are depressed, with many turning to violence, alcohol and unwanted sex to cope with problems.

The study of almost 4500 year 7 to 12 students, also revealed that 34 per cent of girls and 30 per cent of boys felt constantly under strain and unable to overcome difficulties.

More than half had low levels of resilience and of those, 43 per cent felt violence was an appropriate way to solve relationship issues.

A third were drinking at dangerous levels, and one in four lacked the confidence to say no to unwanted sexual experiences, while 16 per cent feel it necessary to carry a weapon.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHealth & MedicinePsychologyTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

0 Comments
Posted March 9, 2014 at 4:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Welcome Richard Giersch! As our new Director of Student Ministries, Rich will focus on transforming the hearts of our 6th-12 graders. Rich joins us with a wealth of experience and spiritual depth. Since 1988, Rich has been ministering to teenagers working with such organizations as Young Life and St. Andrews Church, Mount Pleasant. Rich was also ordained as an Anglican Priest and served as the interim Rector of Resurrection Fellowship Anglican Church in Greenville, SC.

Rich is married to Holly and they have two sons, Griffin and Oliver. Rich graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and has produced two Christian C-D’s of original songs.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted March 9, 2014 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ryan Orbuch, 16 years old, rolled a suitcase to the front door of his family’s house in Boulder, Colo., on a Friday morning a year ago. He was headed for the bus stop, then the airport, then Texas.

“I’m going,” he told his mother. “You can’t stop me.”

Stacey Stern, his mother, wondered if he was right. “I briefly thought: Do I have him arrested at the gate?”

But the truth was, she felt conflicted. Should she stop her son from going on his first business trip?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & TechnologyTeens / Youth* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life

0 Comments
Posted March 8, 2014 at 10:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In many ways, [Kayla] Montgomery’s life resembles that of an ordinary high school track athlete. Before every race, she puts on the same lucky green sports bra and size 5 ½ racing flats that carry her 5-foot-1 frame. She is deeply involved with her Methodist church, along with her younger sister and her parents, a nursing student and a pesticide salesman. She carries a 4.70 grade-point average and logs 50 miles a week.

Though examples of elite athletes with M.S. are scarce, some have speculated that Montgomery’s racing-induced numbness lends a competitive edge, especially given the improvement in her times since the diagnosis.

“The disease has no potential to make her physically more competitive,” said her neurologist, Lucie Lauve, who also said she did not know precisely why Montgomery collapsed after races. “If M.S. has made her a better athlete, I believe it is a mental edge.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & CultureSportsTeens / Youth* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist

0 Comments
Posted March 7, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The prominent SAT college entrance exam will return to its previous 1,600-point scoring system and the essay portion will be optional starting in 2016, the group that creates the test said Wednesday, the biggest makeover in almost a decade for an exam familiar to any high school student with an eye on college.

The group that makes the test, the College Board, also announced a unprecedented test-preparation partnership with the online Kahn Academy that could cut deep into the lucrative business of the existing test-prep industry. Under the new test format, which last underwent an overhaul in 2005, no points will be deducted for wrong answers, encouraging students to take a chance if they’re unsure of the answer. Students will be able to choose whether or not they complete the essay portion of the test, and for those who don’t, the top score will go from 2,400 back to the older 1,600. And vocabulary words will be more practical words like “synthesis,” instead of the archaic SAT vocabulary words that have long pained cramming high school students, but rarely occur in normal conversation. Students will also be able to take the test on a computer.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted March 5, 2014 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Who do you like?" asked recent ads on Facebook...featuring young women in alluring poses.

Some of the ads were configured to reach young teens, who were invited to join an app called Ilikeq that let others rate their attractiveness, comment on their photos and say if they would like to date them.

That's how 14-year-old Erica Lowder's picture ended up on display to adult men online. Users of Ilikeq, one of Facebook's fastest-growing "lifestyle" apps, were able to click through to the Indianapolis girl's Facebook page.

"How can Facebook say here's how we're going to protect your kids, then sell all these ads to weird apps and sites that open kids up to terrible things?" asked Erica's mother, Dawn Lowder.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaPsychologyScience & TechnologyTeens / Youth* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 28, 2014 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After herding the female students into a classroom, Islamist militants from the group Boko Haram fatally burned or shot dozens of male students in an attack late Monday on a state college in northeastern Nigeria, officials said on Tuesday. It was the fourth school assault attributed to the group in less than a year.

The assailants, who have vilified public education as blasphemous, then burned down dormitories and other buildings and shot at anyone trying to escape. None of the women were reported to have been harmed.

Abdulla Bego, a spokesman for the governor of Yobe State, where the attacks took place, said the killers had traveled in nine pickup trucks to the attack site, the Federal Government College Buni Yadi, about 45 miles from the state capital, Damaturu. They staged the ambush when soldiers in a military garrison assigned to protect the school were absent.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the cafeteria, through the door on the left, a 17-year-old boy who went by the inititals “TJ” was shooting to kill. He’d put 10 rounds in his gun and six letters across his shirt. “Killer,” it said.

Frank Hall: I saw a young man firing into a crowd. I just stood up, shoved my table out of the way and started after him.

It’s tough even now for Frank Hall to speak of it. But with the support of his wife, he told us what happened when he charged at the boy with the gun.

Frank Hall: He raises his weapon at me, I jumped behind a Pepsi machine, I hear another fire.

That bullet missed Hall, so he kept chasing the student down the corridor.

Yes, I know, you are busy--but this is a must not miss. Really. Read (or better watch) it all--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilySportsTeens / YouthViolence* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted February 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Julian Henderson, said the event was a different way of engaging young people.

Read and watch it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted February 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I think there is a perception that human trafficking is something that happens in large, urban centers or on the coast," said Elizabeth Miller, chief of adolescent medicine at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

But she often sees girls and women with mental health issues, like post-traumatic stress disorder, along with those who need treatment for physical issues like sexually transmitted diseases, malnutrition and other health consequences of trafficking. "This is really uncomfortable stuff, to think that there are young people in our community where adults who should be taking care of them are exploiting them -- using them sexually."

Dr. Miller and other local experts will be discussing the issue in depth tomorrow at an open house, sponsored by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Trafficking Coalition at the Andy Warhol Museum. The event comes just weeks after a federal grand jury indicted a man and a woman for sex trafficking of a 16-year-old, and a month after Moon police plucked the 17-year-old girl from the multistate group of four adults who now face charges of promoting prostitution.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyMental IllnessSexualityTeens / YouthViolenceWomenYoung Adults

0 Comments
Posted February 9, 2014 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is with a great sense of sadness that the Anglican Archbishops of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia ask for prayer after the death of a Fijian teenager on holiday in New Zealand.

Deepika Kumar had been in Wellington since December and she was due to return to Fiji this week. The 18 year old was attending the Parachute Festival. She was in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital after being found in the pool of a motel in Hamilton on Saturday.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchTeens / Youth

0 Comments
Posted January 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tallulah, an aspiring dancer from West Hampstead in London, threw herself under a train at St Pancras Station on October 14, 2012. Her mother said she had been unable to prevent the troubled teenager from becoming increasingly withdrawn at home and at school, as she developed a fantasy cocaine-taking persona online.

Ms Wilson said: “Like any parent I sought to protect my daughter, seeking help from professionals at her school, the NHS and the Tavistock Clinic. Her sisters and I did everything we could to keep her safe, but she had fallen into a world of nightmares. She was in the c lutches of a toxic digital world where in the final few weeks we could no longer reach her.

“I was shocked by the ease with which Tallulah and other children can access online self-harm and suicide blogs. Tallulah entered a world where the lines between fantasy and reality became blurred. It is every parent’s worst nightmare.”

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenEducationHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologySuicideScience & TechnologyTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 23, 2014 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England must stop losing teenagers and those in their early twenties, if it is to reverse the decline that threatens its existence.

This warning was delivered by one of the authors of a new report on church growth, based on research commissioned by the Archbishops and published yesterday. The three teams behind the research, based at the University of Essex; Cranmer Hall, Durham; and Ripon College, Cuddesdon, were asked to investigate the factors that might deliver church growth, in the light of a nine-per-cent decline in church attendance over the past decade.

On Wednesday, Dr David Voas, Professor of Population Studies at the University of Essex, who carried out some of the research, said: "A lot of people think of decline in terms of people stopping attending. The major factor underlying numerical change is that people never start attending in the first place.Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted January 17, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Restaurateur Michael De Beyer wants to sell his fine-dining German restaurant, but at the right price, and all for a good cause.

A 19-year-old employee of De Beyer’s has been diagnosed with a ping-pong size tumor in her brain, he said. And in December, when doctors first made their diagnosis, De Beyer’s jack-of-all-trades hostess, waitress, bus-girl and kitchen aide didn’t have health insurance, he said.

De Beyer said he is willing to help any way he can, even if that includes selling the only German restaurant owned by an actual German in the Houston region, as he describes his Montgomery restaurant of 15 years, the Kaiserhof Restaurant and Wunderbar.

“I’m not able to just sit by and let it happen,” De Beyer said. “I couldn’t live with myself; I would never be happy just earning money from my restaurant knowing that she needs help.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineTeens / Youth* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 8, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Answers from Justin Welby, Joan Bakewell, Giles Coren, Jonathan Sumption, James Rhodes and many more...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchMediaPsychologyReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted January 2, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

@pastorbrady: God's peace and healing to the family of Claire Davis. #arapahoehigh Our hearts are broken at news of her death.” Lord, help.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyTeens / YouthViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEschatologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 22, 2013 at 7:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new federal report shows that the percentage of American high school students who smoke marijuana is slowly rising, while the use of alcohol and almost every other drug is falling.

The report raises concerns that the relaxation of restrictions on marijuana, which can now be sold legally in 20 states and the District of Columbia, has been influencing use of the drug among teenagers. Health officials are concerned by the steady increase and point to what they say is a growing body of evidence that adolescent brains, which are still developing, are susceptible to subtle changes caused by marijuana.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionEducationLaw & Legal IssuesTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The demonstration necropsy at the Charleston Animal Society was one element of a comprehensive program that is attracting attention nationally. The society’s education team developed the Veterinary Science Initiative, which is offered throughout Lowcountry classrooms in an effort to expose students to veterinary science and the shelter’s work.

“There aren’t a lot of resources in shelters, so if you’re going to invest time and money, you better make sure it’s effective and it hits multiple goals,” Tisa said. “The primary focus is getting kids interested in science.”

Read it all from the front page of yesterday's local paper.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHealth & MedicineScience & TechnologyTeens / Youth* General InterestAnimals* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted December 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. 15-year-olds made no progress on recent international achievement exams and fell further in the rankings, reviving a debate about America's ability to compete in a global economy.

The results from the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which are being released on Tuesday, show that teenagers in the U.S. slipped from 25th to 31st in math since 2009; from 20th to 24th in science; and from 11th to 21st in reading, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which gathers and analyzes the data in the U.S.

The PISA is administered every three years by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. A representative sample of about 510,000 students took the exam in 65 countries and locales, representing 80% of the world economy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationGlobalizationTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted December 3, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Designed to inspire a passion for academic theology and encourage students towards studying theology at university, the event was attended by 150 A-level students from Church of England secondary schools and was opened by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres.

The Bishop of London kicked off the event by speaking of his personal journey into theology and towards God as a result of his own family's experience.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchTeens / Youth* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted December 2, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Do you know what it is? Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / Youth

0 Comments
Posted December 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In less than three years, 13-year-old Quin Etnyre learned to programme electronics, created his own company, and began teaching MIT graduates in his spare time.

Read it all and watch the video report.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationScience & TechnologyTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted November 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Empowered21 Next Gen Youth Leaders Network (NGYN21) hosted a summit comprised of youth leaders from around the globe. The youth leaders discussed topics such as Spirit-empowered living in the 21st century, the impact of the Holy Spirit on discipleship and developing young Spirit-empowered disciples in the ministry.

“We seem to think there is a different method used in other countries,” said Christ for All Nations President Daniel Kolenda. “The gospel works with humanity and all cultures. We were created to receive it. Just preach its simplicity and let the Holy Spirit do the drawing. God is going to give our generation a message that is so old, they think it is new. The hub is the gospel of salvation; the other spokes will align.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults

0 Comments
Posted November 18, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q: When did the concept of sexy Halloween costumes for teen and tween girls become cool?

[Annalisa] Castaldo [of Widener University]: Sexy adult costumes have been around for years, but costumes designed for teens and tweens have more recently begun displaying a sexualized edge....

Q: Isn't this simply about playing pretend and seeking attention?

Castaldo: What's most disturbing is that girls have much less choice when they go to the costume store to be seen as anything other than a physical object. The only way they can dress up for Halloween is as something that reveals their body. A boy can be a pirate with baggy pants, an eye patch, a sword and a parrot on his shoulder, The costume matches the character. With the girl, the pirate is wearing a short skirt. As a superhero, she's wearing a short skirt. And my favorite is Cookie Monster with a short skirt. Every costume becomes about the physicality of the body it reveals, not about the characteristics of the character being impersonated.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilySexualityTeens / YouthWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For years, a school principal’s job was to make sure students were not creating a ruckus in the hallways or smoking in the bathroom. Vigilance ended at the schoolhouse gates.

Now, as students complain, taunt and sometimes cry out for help on social media, educators have more opportunities to monitor students around the clock. And some schools are turning to technology to help them. Several companies offer services to filter and glean what students do on school networks; a few now offer automated tools to comb through off-campus postings for signs of danger. For school officials, this raises new questions about whether they should — or legally can — discipline children for their online outbursts.

The problem has taken on new urgency with the case of a 12-year-old Florida girl who committed suicide after classmates relentlessly bullied her online and offline.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyScience & TechnologyTeens / Youth* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 29, 2013 at 2:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Early Thursday morning at a Jewish high school here, Elan Kainen donned the prayer shawl that had been a gift from his maternal grandfather and recited the prayers of the Shacharit service. Nine hours later, he went through another ritual, one involving pads, cleats and a helmet, as he suited up for what might be the final game of his high school football career.

The Hurricanes of Scheck Hillel Community School were going up against a conference rival, the Berean Christian School Bulldogs, with a spot in the postseason playoffs hanging in the balance. For Elan and his teammates, who attend one of the only Jewish religious schools in the nation to play varsity football, Friday evening is for Shabbat dinner. Their gridiron action takes place under Thursday night lights.

For Scheck Hillel’s team, the fall football schedule bends in deference to the string of holidays that run from Rosh Hashana to Simchat Torah. Before getting the usual locker-room exhortation from their coach, players hear a d’var Torah, a sermon about the week’s Torah portion, from a rabbi. At home games, the Israeli national anthem, “Hatikvah,” is played over the stadium loudspeaker.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureSportsTeens / Youth* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

0 Comments
Posted October 20, 2013 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A group of firefighters is making sure the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy are never forgotten by building playgrounds – 26 of them – each honoring a student or teacher who lost their life.
As they help Newtown families heal, they’re also helping communities rebuild -- because each will be in an area ravaged by Superstorm Sandy.
The idea of a playground "was more than just a structure or a place for kids to play on,” said New Jersey firefighter Capt. Bill Lavin and founder of The Sandy Ground: Where Angels Play. “It was a symbol of hope.”

Watch the whole video report.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationTeens / YouthViolenceYoung Adults* General InterestNatural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

0 Comments
Posted October 11, 2013 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The drama program — at Harry S. Truman High School — opened this year with one more deficit: its galvanizing teacher, Lou Volpe, retired in June after more than 40 years showing students in an economically slumped, culturally narrow community how to strive for excellence, grapple with challenging ideas, empathize with people different from themselves and enlarge their notions of who they might become. And he brought their theatrical achievements glowing national attention. Under Volpe’s direction, Truman students presented pilot high school versions of “Les Misérables,” “Rent” and “Spring Awakening” — premieres that would determine whether these shows would become available to high schools generally. (All three triumphed.)

Being available, however, hasn’t made all the plays Volpe directed popular ­choices at other schools. Part of his success — pedagogical and theatrical — Sokolove suggests, comes from his “edgy” repertory. Not for the sake of sensation, but to engage kids in urgent contemporary social debate, he often selects works that raise the eyebrows, and even occasional ire, of local conservatives who object to frank representations of adolescent sexuality (hetero and homo), addiction, rebellion — the usual flash points in the old culture wars. Of the 25,000-plus high school theater programs in the country, fewer than 150 have produced “Rent.” At Truman, 300 kids — about one in five students there — auditioned for it. As one student tells Sokolove, confronting issues that make people uncomfortable is “one of the big reasons to do theater, right?...”

Sokolove, [once a Harry S. Truman High School student himself] landed in a literature class Volpe taught at the time. “Everyone in life needs to have had at least one brilliant, inspiring teacher,” he states. In Volpe, he found one. Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHistoryMarriage & FamilyTeens / YouthTheatre/Drama/Plays* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted October 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Having young Anglicans arrange and run their own camps could be the answer to an ageing Church population, according to a Japanese bishop.

Bishop of Kobe The Rt Revd Andrew Yatuka Nakamura, told ACNS that his diocese is seeing more young people going on to ordained ministry, which goes against the general trend in Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Anglican Communion in Japan).

“We’re likely facing the same problem as other provinces of the Anglican Communion; an age problem,” he said, “and a lack of young people and children in the church. The congregation is generally 60 to 70 years of age.”

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAsiaJapan

0 Comments
Posted October 3, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all, and note the participation of Cameron Cole, director of student ministries at Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults

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Posted September 26, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

France has now joined a global struggle against the sexualization of women, especially girls, in public. On Wednesday [last week], the French upper house of Parliament voted to end beauty pageants for girls younger than 16.

The bill, which must still be approved by the lower house, was introduced to fend off a growing popularity of such pageants but also in response to public outrage over a French Vogue photo spread showing child models in tight dresses, lipstick, and high heels. Many in France were also upset that the company Jours Après Lunes came out with a line of “loungerie” – a mix of loungewear and lingerie – for girls as young as 4.

“Let us not allow our girls to think from a young age that their worth is judged only by their appearance,” said Sen. Chantal Jouanno, a champion of the pageant ban.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMediaTeens / YouthWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 23, 2013 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At some point in their lives, one of every three Americans will leave Christianity, according to a 2011 study in the Journal of Religion and Society. Called "leavers," "deconverts," or "ex-Christians," they are targets of fresh concern among church denominations watching their numbers shrink. Pollsters and bloggers tick off reasons why so many are leaving, such as intellectual hurdles to belief, immoral or intolerant church leaders, and profound suffering. But the leavers phenomenon is nothing new. It goes back at least to the parable of the Prodigal Son, told by Jesus and recorded in Luke 15:11–32.

What about the people whom the prodigals leave behind? The ones who love the leavers? The ones left to hold down the forts of remaining families and faith communities? Few theological and practical resources exist for the two out of every three Christians who remain with the Father while they watch their "younger brother" leave.

The biblical parable centers on the relationship between a father and his two sons. But the essence of the story remains the same, whether the prodigal is a child, sibling, spouse, parent, or friend. This is why P. C. Ennis Jr. argues in the Journal for Preachers that "it is crucial that periodically we preach on the Prodigal Son. . . . Like the Easter story and the Christmas story, it bears repeating, for the story of the Prodigal Son is the gospel in capsule."

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

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Posted September 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The Church has been too slow in terms of putting structures in place," said Youth Co-ordinator for the Church of the Province of Central Africa, Fr Robert Sihubwa. "While we acknowledge the verbal commitment, the lack of funding commitments indicates slow movement."

Tony Lawrence is the Provincial Youth Co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. He told ACNS, "Changing our approaches and actively focusing on the ministry to children and young people is critical for the growth and survival of the Church."

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Southern Africa* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth Africa

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Posted September 14, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In jumping, Rebecca [Ann Sedwick] became one of the youngest members of a growing list of children and teenagers apparently driven to suicide, at least in part, after being maligned, threatened and taunted online, mostly through a new collection of texting and photo-sharing cellphone applications. Her suicide raises new questions about the proliferation and popularity of these applications and Web sites among children and the ability of parents to keep up with their children’s online relationships.

For more than a year, Rebecca, pretty and smart, was cyberbullied by a coterie of 15 middle-school children who urged her to kill herself, her mother said. The Polk County sheriff’s office is investigating the role of cyberbullying in the suicide and considering filing charges against the middle-school students who apparently barraged Rebecca with hostile text messages. Florida passed a law this year making it easier to bring felony charges in online bullying cases.

Rebecca was “absolutely terrorized on social media,” Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County said at a news conference this week.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingPsychologySuicideScience & TechnologyTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 14, 2013 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The American bar mitzvah, facing derision for Las Vegas style excess, is about to get a full makeover, but for an entirely different reason.

Families have been treating this rite of passage not as an entry to Jewish life, but as a graduation ceremony: turn 13, read from the Torah, have a party and it’s over. Many leave synagogue until they have children of their own, and many never return at all — a cycle that Jewish leaders say has been undermining organized Judaism for generations.

As Jews celebrate the new year Wednesday night, leaders in the largest branch of Judaism, the Reform movement, are starting an initiative to stop the attrition by reinventing the entire bar and bat mitzvah process.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

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Posted September 5, 2013 at 11:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I began my sabbatical by taking three online courses through a Johns Hopkins University distance-learning program for high school students: honors pre-calculus, honors chemistry and a writing class. It was amazing to learn on my laptop at my own pace. For example, in the math class, I would watch a seven-minute video on how to solve equations using logarithms, then tackle a few problems. After typing in each answer, I immediately found out whether it was correct. If it was wrong, I could try again or read how to solve the problem. If I was totally stumped, I could call or e-mail the instructor to get a more thorough explanation.

Instead of sitting in a specific seat at a specific time, listening to the same long lecture as everyone else, I could tailor the classes to my strengths and weaknesses. I could move through some material quickly but take as much time as I needed to absorb the difficult stuff. Not only did these courses free up time to shoot a movie, but their structure helped me learn the material as well as I would have in a classroom. In four months, I covered a year of math.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetEducationScience & TechnologyTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted August 30, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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