Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the summer of 1825, young Ralph Waldo Emerson took a break from his theological studies to work on his Uncle Ladd’s farm near Newton, Mass. There he met a laborer known to history only as “a Methodist named Tarbox,” who told Emerson “that men were always praying, and that all prayers were granted.” The idea of constant prayer was not new to Emerson, writes his biographer, Robert D. Richardson Jr., but Emerson “first felt its force for real life” there in his uncle’s fields.

What is prayer? In its simplest form, prayer is an address to a deity. But in “Self-Reliance,” Emerson says that “prayer is in all action”: in the farmer kneeling to weed his field, for example. And clearly Emerson means mindful action: No farmer wakes at mid-morning and says, “Gee, I wonder what I should do today?”

Emerson’s sense of prayer as mindful action appeals to my students at Florida State University, especially as graduation nears and the world of work beckons. I teach English, and in this job market you can say of humanities classrooms what is said often of trenches: There are no atheists there. My students are prayerful, though in the Emersonian way, which is to say they pray by doing, because they know that before they find their place in the world, they have a journey ahead of them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Theology

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Posted April 29, 2016 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The leaders of tomorrow will be well versed in dead philosophers, according to a new database of college syllabi.

The Open Syllabus Project, a collection of over 1 million curricula from English-language colleges and universities over the past 15 years, released its data on Friday (Jan. 22). Plato, Hobbes, Machiavelli, and Aristotle overwhelmingly dominate lists in the US, particularly at the top schools.

The required readings skew toward the humanities—science and engineering classes tend to assign fewer titles—and not surprisingly, toward the Western canon.

Fascinating--see what you make of the lists.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksEducationYoung Adults

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Posted April 23, 2016 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When an intrepid IU student confronted the threat at a local frozen yogurt shop—that’s your first clue—he did not find a Klansman, complete with hood and whip. Instead, he found a Dominican friar, Father Jude McPeak, whose “hood” turned out to be his habit and whose “whip” was his rosary.

And far from looking for someone to assault, Father McPeak was on his way back from a meeting with students. It wasn’t the only time he had been on campus: He often walks around IU praying for students.

For his part, Father McPeak chuckled and said it wasn’t the first time his appearance had ruffled some feathers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* Theology

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Posted April 16, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Relatives of the girls marched in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Thursday.
The BBC's Martin Patience in Abuja says they blame the previous government for doing nothing when the abduction took place, as well as the current administration for failing to devote enough resources to the search.
Boko Haram militants attacked the government boarding school in Borno state on 14 April 2014, seizing the girls who had gone there to take exams.
As the months passed, about 57 students managed to escape but at least 219 are still missing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 14, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Courses in Christianity will remain compulsory for first-year theology undergraduates at the University of Oxford, a spokesman for the university said last week, responding to media reports that it was now possible to take a degree following only non-Christian religious, philosophical, and ethical options.

Two papers in Christianity are compulsory in the first year, and Christianity remains a significant component of second- and third-year studies, which most students would be unlikely to neglect, the spokesman said. The theology faculty, one of the oldest in England, added religious studies to its title two years ago, however, to reflect a wider range of options that were added after a course review. The University of Cambridge, where the title Faculty of Divinity has so far been retained, has also broadened its options.

The development at Oxford follows the trend among even the more traditional English universities....

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted April 8, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many atheist, agnostic, and non-religious kids and parents credit social media with helping them realize there are others like them. In nearly every place in the U.S. where there are homeschoolers, there are organized “park days” where kids get together weekly to play with other kids, go on field trips, or participate in sports. The California Homeschool Network, an extensive but incomplete compendium of resources in the state, lists 47 Christian homeschool-support and park-day groups, and seven that are secular. But across the state and country, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of secular homeschool Facebook groups where moms and dads post photos, hatch ideas for social gatherings, and discuss their struggles and successes with state laws.

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Lara Corbell has homeschooled her daughters, a seventh grader and a fifth grader, for two years. She left her job as a merchandiser for Hallmark to teach her kids because her younger daughter was performing poorly in public school. The family doesn’t attend church, although they celebrate a secular version of Christmas and Easter. The kids like the gifts and Easter baskets, Corbell said, but “we had issues with lying about Santa.” Corbell stopped attending church when she was five after she told her dad she “didn’t like it,” and services are largely foreign to her girls.

“I was thinking I’d just plug these words into Google and get some resources but every single thing I would delve into would have some religion in it. It was so frustrating,” Corbell, 45, said of her first foray into homeschooling. “It’s not about being anti-religion. It's just that you want to teach kids your own belief system. I just wanted unbiased resources.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheismSecularism* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 30, 2016 at 3:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anyone who calls women “pigs,” “ugly,” “fat” and “pieces of a–” is not on my side. Anyone who mocks the handicapped is not on my side. Anyone who has argued the merits of a government takeover of banks, student loans, the auto industry and healthcare is not on my side. Anyone who has been on the cover of Playboy and proud of it, who brags of his sexual history with multiple women and who owns strip clubs in his casinos is not on my side. Anyone who believes the government can wrest control of the definition of marriage from the church is not on my side. Anyone who ignores the separation of powers and boasts of making the executive branch even more imperial is not on my side.

I’m a conservative. I believe in conserving the dignity of life. I believe in conserving respect for women. I believe in conserving the Constitution. I believe in conserving private property, religious liberty and human freedom. I believe in morality more than I do in money. I hold to principles more than I yearn for power. I trust my Creator more than I do human character. I’d like to think that all this, and more, makes me an informed and thoughtful citizen and voter. I’ve read, I’ve listened and I’ve studied and there is NOTHING, absolutely nothing, in this man’s track record that makes Donald Trump “on my side.”

I refuse to let my desire to win “trump” my moral compass. I will not sell my soul or my university’s to a political process that values victory more than virtue.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture


Posted March 17, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rowan Wlliams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has urged the government to intervene to halt the rise of “poisonous” anti-semitism on British campuses.

In a letter to a student victim of anti-semitic comments, Lord Williams, now master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, disclosed that he had written to Jo Johnson, the universities minister, because of the “muted” official response so far to rising anti-semitic behaviour.

It follows complaints by Jewish students that they feel isolated or silenced after incidents at a growing number of universities that include Oxford, Cambridge, the London School of Economics and York.

In a letter to Zachary Confino, a Jewish law student at York University who received anonymous anti-semitic comments on social media — including the remark “Hitler was onto something” — Williams said he had been “very shocked” by what he had seen. “It is truly appalling stuff but sadly seems not to be that unusual at the moment,” he writes.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 13, 2016 at 6:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Union organizers now have their sights set on America’s largest Catholic university, DePaul University in Chicago. But the school’s president, Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, won’t let labor bureaucrats usurp his authority without a fight. Writing online for Inside Higher Ed in January, he noted that “whether or not a particular faculty member chooses to incorporate religion in his or her classroom overtly, the point is that it is up to the university, not the government, to decide what counts as religious perspective.” Ultimately, he wrote, “the freedom to determine what is or what is not religious activity inside our church is at stake.”

In recent years many faith-based schools have wrestled with questions about the religious and secular mix in their missions—and labor bureaucrats have noticed. Some schools have seemed to neglect their identity when hiring professors. “I’m not Catholic,” Alyson Paige Warren, a Loyola adjunct professor, told America Magazine in January, “and I don’t teach Jesuit spirituality.”

Pope Francis will have none of that ambivalence. In January 2014 remarks to a delegation from the University of Notre Dame, Francis insisted upon the “uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom.” He reminded his visitors from Notre Dame—and by extension administrators at other Catholic colleges—to protect their schools’ “identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness.”

If more religious educators prayed over that, labor bureaucrats wouldn’t stand a chance.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 11, 2016 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jewish students will turn their backs on leading universities en masse as they react to growing campus antisemitism, it has been claimed.

Jews disproportionately attend a small number of universities, which they have nicknamed “Jewnis”. The University of Manchester was once one of the most favoured but lost its place to Leeds, Birmingham and Nottingham after pro-Palestinian motions by its student union. These included twinning with An-Najah University in the West Bank.

Bristol has rapidly grown in popularity among Jews. Cambridge and Oxford also have significant numbers, as do University College London, King’s College London and LSE.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationGlobalizationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

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Posted March 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigerian police are hunting for three teenage girls abducted from their boarding school on the outskirts of Lagos city by heavily armed men.

Kidnappings for ransom occasionally occur in Nigeria's commercial capital, but this is the first time a school in the city has been attacked by gunmen....

Our reporter says the school, linked to the Anglican Church, is one of the best and most expensive in Lagos state and is mostly attended by children of politicians and wealthy individuals.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchEducationTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A growing number of Chinese students in American universities are discovering Christianity and Jesus.

According to Foreign Policy, more than 304,000 Chinese were enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities in 2015, many coming from Beijing and Shanghai.

While there are no definite numbers of Christian converts from mainland China, students who are immersed in campus spiritual life said the number is growing.

Gregory Jao, national director of campus engagement for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, said the organisation serves up to 1,800 overseas Chinese of the total 5,000 international students under it.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

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Posted March 1, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ultimately, Rafi’s life was transformed because his eldest brother, Akhtar, pinched pennies and sent Rafi to the best public school in the family’s home province, Balochistan. Rafi had an outstanding mind and rocketed to the top of his class. But he also fell under the spell of political Islam. A charismatic Islamic studies teacher turned Rafi into a Taliban sympathizer who despised the West.

“I subscribed to conspiracy theories that 9/11 was done by the Americans themselves, that there were 4,000 Jews who were absent from work that day,” Rafi recalls. “I thought the Taliban were freedom fighters.”

I’ve often written about education as an antidote to extremism. But in Pakistan, it was high school that radicalized Rafi. “Education can be a problem,” Rafi says dryly.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationGlobalizationMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Three Florida middle school students are facing felony charges for allegedly poisoning their teacher by spiking her soda with red pepper flakes, authorities said Friday.

Jayne Morgan, a language arts teacher at Deltona Middle School in Volusia County, was sickened by her soft drink on Tuesday, but the Volusia County Sheriff's Office wasn't privy to the incident until Thursday, at which point an investigation was launched, according to a sheriff's office statement.

Morgan, 52, had sent one of her 12-year-old students to the principal's office on Monday "for dumping glue into another student's backpack and for suspicion of stealing a laptop computer," the statement said.

Read it all.


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

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Posted February 27, 2016 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The United States has a dropout crisis. Sixty percent of people go to college these days, but just half of the college students graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Some people earn a shorter, two-year associate’s degree. But more than a quarter of those who start college drop out with no credential.

Despite the rising cost of education, a college degree is one of the best investments that a young person can make. In 2015, median earnings among workers aged 22 to 27 with a bachelor’s degree were $43,000, compared with $25,000 for those with just a high school diploma. Over a lifetime, a person with a bachelor’s degree typically earns $800,000 more than someone who has completed only high school, even after netting out tuition costs.

The financial prospects for college dropouts are poor, for two reasons. First, dropouts earn little more than people with no college education. Second, many dropouts have taken on student loans, and with their low wages, they have difficulty paying off even small balances. Dropouts account for much of the increase in financial distress among student borrowers since the Great Recession.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 26, 2016 at 8:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here’s a radical idea: What if we contained the mission of our universities to education? The story behind the story of student debt inflation is the inflation of the university into an expanding behemoth of goods and services that have little to do with education and more to do with expectations of coddled comfort. Rather than being an institution centered on education, the university now aspires to be a total institution that meets every felt need. The campus is now a sprawling complex of fitness centers and cineplexes, food courts and gargantuan coliseums. Students aren’t taking out loans to pay for an education; they’re effectively borrowing money to pay exorbitant, short-lived taxes for the privilege of living in a scripted, cocooned city.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 24, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Palo Alto, Calif., the shrill horn of incoming trains bring a constant reminder of young lives lost too soon. For the last seven years, Caltrains have been the suicide technique of choice among teenagers in the Silicon Valley town, where the adolescent suicide rate has soared to five times the national average.

It was in this way that a bright, popular, goofy kid named Cameron Lee ended his life in November 2014. By then, his classmates at Henry M. Gunn High School were all too accustomed to this sort of inexplicable tragedy. They hailed, after all, from a part of the country that had become known for its affluence, technical ingenuity and the number of kids that had been pushed to the brink.

“I am 15 years old and I just organized a memorial,” Isabelle Blanchard, the sister of one suicide victim, told The Atlantic.

It is an eerie refrain that has played out again and again.

Over the course of nine months in 2009 and 2010, six Palo Alto teenagers committed suicide.

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 17, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Please take special note in this story about Marty Burbank's gift the reason He did it was because of his pastors sermon.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / HomileticsStewardship* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 13, 2016 at 8:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than 300 eminent academics at Oxford and Cambridge have signed a joint statement calling on the institutions to pursue more “morally sound” investment policies that have no basis in fossil fuels.

The signatories, who include the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams and the Astronomer Royal Lord Rees, say that Oxford and Cambridge should put their multibillion-pound endowment funds to better use in the light of “looming social, environmental, and financial pressures”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams* Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock MarketEnergy, Natural ResourcesPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 2, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“...go-getters” also outperformed the “do-gooders” on the job, seeing the same number of patients in their health clinics while conducting 29 percent more home visits and twice as many community health meetings. (After being recruited, everyone was told about the opportunities for career advancement, so that no differences in performance could be attributed to differing incentives.)

More important, updated data show that communities served by the “go-getters” are doing better on key health benchmarks such as facility-based childbirth, breast-feeding, vaccinations and nutrition. Based on these findings, the Zambian government changed its recruitment advertising as it looks to expand its health-worker program.

These two insights — committing to cash savings, recruiting “go-getters” for community service jobs — are just the tip of the iceberg. We have found that pairing experts in behavioral science with “on the ground” teams of researchers and field workers has yielded many good ideas about how to address the problems of poverty. Hope and rhetoric are great for motivation, but not for figuring out what to do. There you need data.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaZambia* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 1, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“To see religion as the driver of extremism or division in society is a mistake,” the Rev Nigel Genders told a special meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Religious Education last week.

He told the meeting: “There is no evidence that any religion or ideology is a primary motivator of terrorism. That lies in anger at injustice, a sense of moral superiority, a promise of adventure and being a hero.”

He told the gathering of over 100 people that young people are searching for a sense of identity in a moral vacuum.

“Religion is not the problem and RE is not about countering these issues.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

2 Comments
Posted January 30, 2016 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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


Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenEducation

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Alabama saw the right look since the first quarter for a pooch kick opportunity. Alabama practiced the kick once a week all year. Alabama felt the game slipping away. And Alabama executed the play perfectly.

The Process worked. In the process, Saban brought his own guts and smiled at the result.

“I thought we had it in the game any time we wanted to do it,” Saban said. “I made the decision to do it because the score was (24-24) and we were tired on defense and weren't doing a great job of getting them stopped, and I felt like if we didn't do something or take a chance to change the momentum of the game that we wouldn't have a chance to win.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationMenSports* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted January 13, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So what happened? What did Linus van Pelt say?

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

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

Read it all and follow the links.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now poetry should be read slowly; meditated upon; dissected. Perhaps - good reader - we should together chew over what the Dean of Christ Church has said about the Archbishop? He has, in effect, charged Archbishop Welby as being incapable of transcending his background. He has ignored the widely-known stories of genuine suffering recounted in his biography (including an alcoholic father and child bereavement). He suggests that Archbishop Welby’s skills are ‘arguably not the right fit for the church.’ He leaves hanging with his final phrase the possibility that the Archbishop is not equipped for ‘any ordained ministry.’

Prof. Percy’s article throughout has a rather hectoring tone - directed in the main at the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is noticeable that the British media have refrained from such negative comment on Archbishop Welby’s personal background - finding his relational skill and leadership appealing. Thus Prof. Percy feels free to speak in negative and personal ways about the Archbishop. Regarding the polity of the Church of England more generally, he dismisses it as ‘an inherently homophobic polity.’ None of this has the mark of empathic understanding essential to good poetry.

Might it be that Prof. Percy’s willingness to be so negative and insulting towards the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Polity of the Church of England, ill-equips him to discern that orthodox Anglicans have in recent years been deepening their respect and appreciation for traditional polity? Prof. Percy’s views are so rigidly held to that he seems to find it difficult to be charitable towards either Archbishop, Anglican polity or traditionalists.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

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Posted December 23, 2015 at 11:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Wheaton administrators insisted it was Hawkins' comments — not her decision to wear a hijab — that was at the root of the problem. She was asked to provide a theological response to several other statements as well, though the college did not provide details.

Denny Burk, a professor of biblical studies at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said his greatest concern about Hawkins' explanation was the lack of clarity about the particulars of Christianity. Without further explaining the nuances of her argument, she implicitly denied Christian teachings, he said.

"We're people of the book, but our books are very different," he said. "They're witnessing to two different ways of salvation. The Bible is witnessing to Jesus Christ, the son of God. That's unique of all the world religions, and that uniqueness was what I thought was missing from what she said."

But Miroslav Volf, a theology professor at Yale Divinity School and founding director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, praised Hawkins' gesture as extraordinary and an apt Advent devotion. He said her comments about Christians and Muslims worshipping the same God speak to the common ground the two religions share.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyChristologyThe Trinity: Father, Son and Holy SpiritTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 17, 2015 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Wheaton College, a prominent evangelical school in Illinois, has placed a professor on administrative leave after she posted on Facebook that Muslims and Christians “worship the same God.”

The official school statement Tuesday about associate professor of political science Larycia Hawkins’s suspension said Wheaton professors should “engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the College’s evangelical Statement of Faith.”

Following a protest and sit-in of about 100 people Wednesday afternoon on campus, President Philip Ryken and later Provost Stanton Jones said they would not be lifting the suspension. It wasn’t clear how long Hawkins was suspended for, but some of the student leaders who had been involved in talks with administrators said it was through the spring semester.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesEvangelicalsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyChristologyThe Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

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Posted December 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Across the world, higher education is linked to higher levels of employment and life evaluation, making it the proverbial ticket to a great job and a great life. But the most recent evidence suggests that the link between higher education and graduates' readiness for today's rapidly changing workplace may be broken, says Brandon Busteed, Gallup's executive director of education and workforce development.

Read it all and you can watch the address also.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducation* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 15, 2015 at 2:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Several states amended their constitutions to preserve the non-denominationally Protestant nature of the public schools, while barring any public funding of so-called “sectarian,” or Catholic, schools. Though Rep. Blaine’s attempt to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution ultimately failed, many states succeeded.

So it is that engines of animus toward Catholics have been transmuted into engines of animus against all religion. Those today who rely on these sordid provisions disclaim any anti-Catholic animus or hostility toward religion. They insist they are merely trying to maintain a “strict separation” between church and state.

That makes no sense. The Douglas County scholarship program does not provide aid to religious schools or any schools. It provides aid to Douglas County students. Not a penny of that money can flow to any school—religious or not—without the private choice of parents. That independent choice breaks any link between church and state.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 11, 2015 at 4:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Imams and rabbis in the House of Lords; non-Anglican representation at the next coronation ceremony; the abolition of the requirement for schools to hold an act of worship; less selection of pupils by religion for faith schools; and humanists on Thought for the Day are among the recommendations in a new report on religion in public life, published on Monday.

The 104-page document Living With Difference: Community, diversity and the common good makes dozens of recommendations, and suggests an overhaul of British institutions and culture, from the BBC to counter-terrorism strategy, to ensure that the diversity of religious belief in the UK is properly represented.

The report is the result of two years’ work by the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, which was set up by the interfaith Woolf Institute. It has heard more than 200 submissions since summer last year

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchEducationMulticulturalism, pluralismReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 11, 2015 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New Hampshire Episcopalians just reported a banner year. After a decade of consistent losses under now-retired Bishop Gene Robinson, the small diocese reported a nearly 23 percent jump in attendance.

What is the secret to New Hampshire’s sudden reversal of fortune? The diocese, which Bishop Robert Hirschfeld assumed leadership of in 2013, changed whom it is counting in a practice that has been advocated by some in the dwindling denomination.

A sudden influx of worshipers would seem counter-intuitive: ever since Robinson was consecrated the denomination’s first openly-partnered homosexual bishop in 2003, diocesan membership declined nearly 16 percent, marriages down 37 percent, receptions down 51 percent, children’s baptisms down 57 percent, and adult baptisms down 75 percent. In short, it’s been a tough decade, not only in New Hampshire, but in all New England Episcopal dioceses....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Data* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

6 Comments
Posted December 11, 2015 at 5:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For me the money paragraph is this one:
Perhaps inevitably, the report seems largely concerned with institutions rather than with individuals: how, for example, do you encourage “more structured dialogue between those who are religious and those who are not”? [6.35]. Such an encounter would not be between the Joe Bloggs in the pew and the Joanna Bloggs who wouldn’t be seen dead in one – it would almost certainly be between senior members of faith communities and senior members of organisations such as the BHA and the NSS. That is not to belittle any of those organisations: merely to query the degree to which “faith leaders” necessarily represent the people whom they claim to lead. Part of the problem with the current situation, it seems to me, is that what faith and community leaders (of all faiths and none) decide on moral and ethical issues sometimes fails to trickle down to their wider communities.
Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 10, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lorenzo Vidino knows violent radicals — personally. The 38-year-old Italian academic has “longstanding” relationships with some jihadists, he said, as part of his 15 years in the study of radicalization and violent Islamism in the West.

“I think it’s crucially important,” he said in an interview with The Hill last week, which took place in his office on George Washington University’s (GWU) campus overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue. “How do you study a certain phenomenon if you don’t talk to the people inside it, whether they are former or whether they are still radicals?

“I think it’s the right thing to do. It gives you good perspective.”

Read it all from The Hill.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* Theology

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Posted December 8, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of two organisations at the centre of a royal commission into horrific sexual abuse across two decades in two Brisbane schools has pledged to proactively seek out confirmed victims and refund their school fees.

The other is yet to indicate whether it will follow suit.

The Anglican Diocese of Brisbane is responsible for St Paul's School, which employed a paedophile music teacher for four years in the 1980s and a sexually abusive student counsellor a few years later.

Last month the diocese adopted a policy to refund the tuition and boarding fees of what's believed to be dozens of students from the Bald Hills school and any other confirmed cases of abuse under the diocese's control.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted December 7, 2015 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A secular campaigner has told how she was heckled and shouted down by members of a student Islamic society who said that she was violating their “safe space”.

Maryam Namazie claimed that the Islamic society at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she was addressing the institution’s atheist group, tried to stop her talk going ahead by invoking a “no platform policy”.

When that failed, she said that Islamic students disrupted her speech and tried to intimidate her. One switched off the power to her computer as she showed a PowerPoint slide of a “Jesus and Mo” cartoon.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationRural/Town LifeYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 4, 2015 at 6:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetChildrenEducationGlobalizationMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We have seen a number of silly episodes on college campuses this fall, and I appreciate that people have grown exasperated. But even a broken clock is right twice a day. In this case, it seems to me, the students who object to the University of Ottawa’s yoga class have a point—though perhaps not the one they think.

The problem is not that a yoga class wrongly appropriates a foreign culture. As critics of the university’s decision rightly point out, there’s nothing necessarily offensive in that. And there’s no indication that the teacher or students in this particular class did anything to mock Indian culture. I imagine most of the students didn’t think about yoga’s cultural roots at all. Probably some of them assumed yoga was a Western invention. American tourists in Italy frequently tell Italians that we invented pizza.

The problem is that yoga, in its essence, is a religious exercise.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanada

1 Comments
Posted December 1, 2015 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At first the rise of charter schools—to 7,000 today from 1,900 in 2000—was thought to be the nail in the coffin for Catholic education, which had been in decline for decades. Charters offer many of the same strengths as Catholic schools: order, kindness, discipline, high expectations (ideas initially borrowed from parochial institutions). But because charters are publicly funded, families don’t have to pay tuition. How could Catholic schools possibly compete with that?

Within the past few years, however, the borrowing has begun to go in the other direction, as Catholic schools poach staff from charter networks, draw from the same donors, and model their operations on charter successes. America’s usual miracle-workers—competition, civil society, entrepreneurial wealth and philanthropy—have come to the rescue of religious education.

Consider the Partnership for Inner-city Education, a nonprofit formed in 2010 to take responsibility for six Catholic schools serving disadvantaged children in Harlem and the South Bronx. The chairman of the Partnership’s board is Russ Carson, an equity-capital pioneer who also helped build KIPP charter schools in New York. Mr. Carson and fellow donors put millions of dollars into upgrading the campuses of these six Catholic schools.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 27, 2015 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The American student loan crisis is often seen as a problem of profligacy and predation. Wasteful colleges raise tuition every year, we are told, even as middle-class wages stagnate and unscrupulous for-profit colleges bilk the unwary. The result is mounting unmanageable debt.
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There is much truth in this diagnosis. But it does not explain the plight of Liz Kelley, a Missouri high school teacher and mother of four who made a series of unremarkable decisions about college and borrowing. She now owes the federal government $410,000, and counting.

This is a staggering and unusual sum. The average undergraduate who borrows leaves school with about $30,000 in debt. But Ms. Kelley’s circumstances are not unique. Of the 43.3 million borrowers with outstanding federal student loans, 1.8 percent, or 779,000 people, owe $150,000 or more. And 346,000 owe more than $200,000.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducation* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe U.S. Government* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 27, 2015 at 3:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My favorite resource--read it all.

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

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Posted November 11, 2015 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Too few people know about René Girard, who passed away on Nov. 4 at 91. He was undoubtedly one of the most important men of the 20th century.

A longtime professor in the U.S., Girard was perhaps destined to leave France, the country of his birth. He had not come up through the ranks of its factory for intellectuals, the tiny and elite École Normale Supérieure. He was of no trendy intellectual school of thought; he was no post-modernist or post-structuralist — until, that is, he ended up quite involuntarily hailed as the founder of one. And he was a Christian.

In the end, his country recognized him, giving him perhaps its highest honor for intellectuals of the humanities, a seat at the Académie Française.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchBooksEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeFrance

1 Comments
Posted November 10, 2015 at 6:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At least 100 students at a high school in Cañon City traded naked pictures of themselves, the authorities said Friday, part of a large sexting ring.
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The revelation has left parents outraged, administrators searching for missed clues, and the police and the district attorney’s office debating whether to file child pornography charges — including felony charges — against some of the participants.

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

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenEducationLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexualityTeens / Youth* General InterestPhotos/Photography* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it allfrom the Chicago Tribune.

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

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


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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Choking back tears, Kill, 54, announced Wednesday morning that he was retiring immediately, shocking fans across the state as he explained that he could no longer coach the way he wants because of his health issues.

With his wife, Rebecca, tearfully watching near the side of a university stage, Kill told a stunned audience that his seizures had returned, he hadn’t slept more than three hours a night in weeks, he had quit taking some of his medication and that he doesn’t “have any more energy.”

“This is not the way I wanted to go out,” Kill said. “But you all know about the struggles, and I did my best to change. But some of those struggles have returned, and I don’t want to cheat the game.”

Read it all from the Star-Tribune.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilySportsYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 30, 2015 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all from the Washington Post.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Church said it is doing enough to ensure the survival of the kura it runs, contrary to criticisms made by the Minister of Maori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell.
Mr Flavell said that the churches running Māori boarding schools were not fulfilling their obligations by upgrading them and making a bigger financial contribution.
He was responding to the Minister of Education's interim decision to close Turakina Māori Girls' College.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 16, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Who was Jesus really?

For the past few weeks I’ve been discussing this question with my high school theology class. Although most of my students have been brought up in the church, I know they’re going to face challenges to their faith when they go off to college. Many will hear jarring claims from classmates and professors about the “real” Jesus—claims contradictory to the church’s confession of Jesus as the risen Son of God.

So I want my students to be prepared. I want them to know these claims have been around for a long time, as have Christian responses. Despite what many critical scholars claim, there is no contradiction between the “Jesus of history” and the “Christ of faith.” In fact, studying Jesus as a historical figure can often strengthen faith. But that requires honestly engaging the critics and evaluating their claims.

Here I will briefly examine five popular alternative theories about Jesus, concluding with some general guidelines for how Christians can respond to them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* TheologyApologeticsChristology

1 Comments
Posted October 12, 2015 at 9:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The crimes and misdemeanors of science used to be handled mostly in-house, with a private word at the faculty club, barbed questions at a conference, maybe a quiet dismissal. On the rare occasion when a journal publicly retracted a study, it typically did so in a cryptic footnote. Few were the wiser; many retracted studies have been cited as legitimate evidence by others years after the fact.

But that gentlemen’s world has all but evaporated, as a remarkable series of events last month demonstrated. In mid-May, after two graduate students raised questions about a widely reported study on how political canvassing affects opinions of same-sex marriage, editors at the journal Science, where the study was published, began to investigate. What followed was a frenzy of second-guessing, accusations and commentary from all corners of the Internet: “Retraction” as serial drama, rather than footnote. Science officially pulled the paper, by Michael LaCour of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Donald Green of Columbia, on May 28, because of concerns about Mr. LaCour’s data.

“Until recently it was unusual for us to report on studies that were not yet retracted,” said Dr. Ivan Oransky, an editor of the blog Retraction Watch, the first news media outlet to report that the study had been challenged. But new technology and a push for transparency from younger scientists have changed that, he said. “We have more tips than we can handle.”

The case has played out against an increase in retractions that has alarmed many journal editors and authors. Scientists in fields as diverse as neurobiology, anesthesia and economics are debating how to reduce misconduct, without creating a police-state mentality that undermines creativity and collaboration.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetEducationHistoryMediaScience & Technology* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted October 12, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Mark] Juergensmeyer, professor of sociology and global studies, and affiliate professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was scheduled to speak at the conference Wednesday (October 7) but withdrew for reasons of conscience.

On Saturday, he received an email from the Free BYU organization, which has for some time now been attempting to change the university’s policy toward students who enter the school as Mormons but then either lose or change their religion during their time there.

Free BYU contacted all of the speakers for the conference to make them aware of what the organization has called “BYU’s policy of terminating, evicting, and expelling LDS students who change their faith.”

Under the policy, students who enter the university as Mormons but then undergo a faith transition can be expelled, evicted from student housing, and fired from on-campus jobs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsMormons* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 10, 2015 at 11:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Their church, Turning Point Adventist, was located in an old Moose Lodge a few miles from Umpqua Community College, where a gunman had allegedly asked victims about their religion and then targeted Christians during a massacre Thursday that left nine dead. Now the sidewalk on the road between the church and the college had become one long memorial, chalked with Bible verses and visited by prayer groups who sang hymns into the night.

It seemed to Wibberding and many others here that the target of America’s latest mass shooting had been not just a classroom or a college or a town, but also a religion. Now, in a church near the shooting, it was left to Christians to ask hard questions about their faith and decide how to respond.

“If he had been pointing that gun at you, asking if you were Christian, what would you have said?” Wibberding asked. “How much does this mean to you? Imagine you were there.”

Read it all from the Washington Post.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureViolenceYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted October 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Under the sponsorship of the YMCA, Wilder spent the following academic year touring college campuses. He told the story of the "Mount Hermon One Hundred" and urged students to pledge themselves to become missionaries. Some 2,000 did so. To avoid allowing the bright light of this new movement to flicker out, in 1888 YMCA leaders organized the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions (known simply as the SVM). They placed the recent Cornell graduate, John R. Mott, at its head. The SVM formed organizations on college, university and seminary campuses across the nation. Students signed pledge cards stating their intention to become missionaries and joined weekly meetings to study missions. The watchword of the movement illustrates the boldness and optimism of the Christian youth of that era: "The Evangelization of the World in this Generation."

The SVM became one of the most successful missionary-recruiting organizations of all time. Prior to its formation, American Protestants supported less than a thousand missionaries throughout the world. Between 1886 and 1920, the SVM recruited 8,742 missionaries in the U.S. Around twice that number were actually sent out as missionaries in this period, many of them influenced by the SVM though never members. SVM leaders also formed college groups around the world in countries where missionaries had established mission colleges during the previous century. Their goal was to create a missionary force large enough to evangelize every nation. They thought in military terms. Missionaries were soldiers in God's army. The SVM sought to recruit, to support, and to place these soldiers strategically around the world. If done shrewdly, they thought they would surely conquer the world.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissions* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults

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Posted October 3, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Forget the 26-year-old zero who murdered 10 innocents at Umpqua Community College on Thursday morning.

The one to remember is 30-year-old Chris Mintz, the student and Army vet who was shot at least five times while charging straight at the gunman in an effort to save others.

Mintz did so on the sixth birthday of his son, Tyrik.

“It’s my son’s birthday, it’s my son’s birthday,” he was heard saying as he lay wounded.

When word of Mintz’s heroism reached his kin in his native North Carolina, his cousin Derek Bourgeois was hardly surprised.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireViolenceYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 2, 2015 at 2:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I did know that the whole student body had been summoned to the auditorium—and I was one of a few people who knew why. All morning long I’d known what was coming, much as I would have liked to stay in the dark. I got a tip the day before that Sweet Briar’s board had determined the college’s financial challenges to be insurmountable. I knew the board had voted to close the school, effective at the end of the semester. I knew that the students and staff whose names I was just learning were on the brink of having their world torn apart. And I knew that I was the chaplain, and that I was going to have to watch it happen.

During lunchtime, while the president delivered the fatal news to the faculty and staff, I attended the regular meeting of students working for the Office of Spiritual Life. My secret charge was to gather as many as possible into the auditorium for the chance to hear the news directly from the president, before it hit Twitter with explosive force. But as we walked up the hill to the auditorium, my phone was already lighting up. A friend at a nearby college forwarded her own faculty announcement: “Is this for real? What’s going on out there?” I responded with brevity bordering on hostility, typing as I walked: “Students don’t know yet. We need ten minutes. Stay off Facebook.”

The assembly was brutal. I sat with a few friendly students but could hardly engage, knowing what I knew and they didn’t. I stared at my phone, waiting for social media to beat the president to his own job. The sound system wasn’t working, and we waited for an eternity of troubleshooting. And then there was no more time, and the president came out and spoke without a mic, projecting his voice. He said he wanted to get right to the point. He said it broke his heart to be there. Then he said Sweet Briar would close its doors. The class of 2015 would be the last graduating class.

And then the whole auditorium burst into tears.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchEducationPsychologyReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 2, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A shooter described as a 20-year-old man opened fire on a rural community college campus in Oregon on Thursday morning, killing multiple people and injuring even more.

Ellen F. Rosenblum, the Oregon attorney general, said her office believed that 13 people were killed in the shooting and another 20 people were injured.

“We are just heartbroken here in Oregon that an act of this magnitude has occurred in our state,” Rosenblum said in an interview on MSNBC. She said the figures were from the Oregon Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice division. She cautioned that the situation was still developing, and other officials confirmed few details.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationViolenceYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 1, 2015 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Richard Dawkins and the other prophets of atheism love to tell us that in the fabricated battle between religious belief and rationalism, there can be only one winner, and that their side is finally gaining the upper hand; the days of superstitious belief in sky pixies and the like are numbered – at least in the enlightened West. The tide is turning, and it is their hope that, in time, all religious belief, including Christianity, will be seen as little more than a dwindling remnant of the age of ignorance. This is the dawning of the Age of the Nones, where science and technology are the new gods to be worshipped and revered.

Certainly Christianity, though still the dominant faith in the United Kingdom, is in a bad way. Those who never progressed beyond the linear graphs of GCSE Maths will look at the decline in the number of professing Christians and calculate that, based on Census numbers going down from 72 per cent of the population in 2001 to 59 per cent in 2011, Christians will be about as common as chicken teeth by about 2060. If you happen to be a Methodist, things are even worse: your obituary is being readied for 2035.

But once you start digging deeper, the picture tells a set of more intricate stories. Even within the United Kingdom there are significant regional differences. A recent poll for the Theos think-tank found that Scotland is far more irreligious than the rest of the country, with 50 per cent of respondents having no religious faith compared to 35 per cent nationally. A quarter of the Welsh still attend a weekly service, almost double that of England and Scotland, and only 27 per cent of 18-24-year-olds actually describe themselves as Christian, compared to 79 per cent of the over 65s.

Read it all from the Archbishop Cranmer Blog.

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

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Posted September 29, 2015 at 4:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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


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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A panel of six different faiths found commonality during a religious conference that tasked its speakers to discuss God as myth or reality.

"I don't think it's possible to prove or disprove the existence of God in any rational way," said Anglican priest Peter Zimmer, who presented before an audience of about 80 people Sunday evening at the University of Northern B.C.'s Canfor Theatre for the World Religions Conference.

The question, to him, is the difference faith can make in a person's life.

Zimmer suggested all major religions attempt to answer three questions: where do we come from, where are we going, and what must we do on our way.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther Faiths* Theology

1 Comments
Posted September 28, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The problems that trouble Graham are violence, the fraying of the family, poverty and the lack of safety for children. Raising children differently, too early, he says. He sees it everywhere, in the community and the school.

“It makes it hard sometimes to have high expectations,” he says.

Yet, in each of his professions he weaves the mantra of his church, from Proverbs 4:7: “With all your getting get understanding,” which means to learn something, to take away something that betters you, he says.

And the spiritual essence that girds his teachings crystallizes in a few firm principles: Integrity, work ethic and good character.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchEducationSports* South Carolina* TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 26, 2015 at 11:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture* Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"People are against my theory, because it is at the same time an avant-garde and a Christian theory," he says. "The avant-garde people are anti-Christian, and many of the Christians are anti-avant-garde. Even the Christians have been very distrustful of me."

During a meeting last year of an informal philosophical reading group, Girard recounted the Old Testament story of Joseph, son of Jacob, bound and sold into slavery by his "mob" of 10 half-brothers. At first, "they all get together and try to kill him. The Bible knows that scapegoating is a mob affair." Joseph establishes himself as one of the leaders of Egypt and then tearfully forgives his brothers in a dramatic reconciliation. It is, Girard said, a story "much more mature, spiritually, than the beginning of Genesis." Moreover, the story has no precedent in archaic literature.

"Like many biblical stories, it is a counter-mythical story," he said, "because in myth, the lynchers are always satisfied with their lynching."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksEducationHistoryPhilosophyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeFrance* TheologyAnthropologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 19, 2015 at 6:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last fall at Oberlin College, a talk held as part of Latino Heritage Month was scheduled on the same evening that intramural soccer games were held. As a result, soccer players communicated by email about their respective plans. “Hey, that talk looks pretty great,” a white student wrote to a Hispanic student, “but on the off chance you aren’t going or would rather play futbol instead the club team wants to go!!”

Unbeknownst to the white student, the Hispanic student was offended by the email. And her response signals the rise of a new moral culture America....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationMenPsychologyWomenYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 17, 2015 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When I read this story on the University of Tennessee Office for Diversity and Inclusion asking students and teachers to stop imposing gendered pronouns on one another, I didn’t think about the silliness of trying to create linguistic change by bureaucratic fiat. Or about one more exercise in social engineering by identity politicians. Or about the ironies of the self-proclaimed “tolerant ones” proscribing not only vile insults such as the n-word, but also some of the most common words in the language.

Instead, I was carried back to 1981 to my first readings in literary theory and of the works of Jacques Derrida. The trigger was in the words of the author of the proposal, the head of Tennessee’s Pride Center, Donna Braquet, who asked that teachers begin the semester by asking each student in the class which pronoun he or she prefers. If neither “he” nor “she” fits, the Office suggests the non-gendered “ze”.

Here is how Braquet justifies the request:
Transgender people and people who do not identify within the gender binary may use a different name than their legal name and pronouns of their gender identity, rather than the pronouns of the sex they were assigned at birth.
Read it all from First Things.

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

1 Comments
Posted September 15, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Will Campbell was fired in 1956 as the University of Mississippi’s director of religious life for speaking against the segregationist standards common to the time.

On Friday, the University honored him posthumously by naming a gathering space near Paris-Yates Chapel “the Rev. Will Davis Campbell Plaza.” The dedication, which attracted leaders such as former Gov. William Winter and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, was part of the university’s Racial Reconciliation Week.

“No one has had more influence on me as a person and as a leader,” said Dr. Dan Jones, whose “very personal remarks” about his late friend marked his last official duty as the university’s chancellor. He noted the inscription, “For Dan, my friend, my chancellor,” on his copy of Campbell’s book “Brother to a Dragonfly,” which he called “my favorite commentary on scripture.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 14, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Part III of The Crimson’s survey of the Class of 2019 looks at the beliefs and lifestyles of the incoming freshmen. Almost two-thirds of the surveyed students are virgins, but respondents who took a gap year between high school and college were more likely to report having had sexual intercourse before arriving in Cambridge. Most have minimal experience with drugs and alcohol. A majority identify politically as at least somewhat liberal, but a plurality—45 percent—reported feeling unsure about whether their new school should divest its endowment from the fossil fuel industry, a raging debate on campus. Forty-one percent said they are “not confident at all” that the police treat white people and black people equally.

Read it all from the Crimson.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Theology

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Posted September 10, 2015 at 12:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While New York City’s principals, assistant principals and district supervisors rinse off the sand and sunblock to get their schools student-ready this week, the head of their union, Ernest A. Logan, is on call. A former Brooklyn principal, Mr. Logan, 64, has led the 6,500-member Council of School Supervisors and Administrators for the past 10 years. He lives in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights North Historic District with his wife, Beatrice Logan, 68, a retired guidance counselor. For them, Sunday is all about church, a daylong event filled with prayer, song and service. “I encounter a lot of crazy stuff on this job,” Mr. Logan said. “I have to stop and pause.”

Predawn Prayer--I’m up almost every morning at 5:30, even on Sunday. I basically have time to pray before I start the day. I do this every day. I grew up on public assistance, one of 13 kids. I was the first one in my family to complete college, so I know the struggle my mother had raising us. The first time my mother went to the principal’s office, I was the principal. We understood that we’d succeed if we prayed and followed the rules. That’s why every day is centered on prayer.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted September 6, 2015 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a reader, I expected that Putnam would exhort me to tutor, attend a diverse church, babysit for a single mom, move to a poorer neighborhood—to take action. After all, his fond memories of Port Clinton emphasize its warm social cohesion. Perhaps Putnam assumed the exhortation to personal action was obvious, and omitted it. If so, he missed an opportunity to turn theoretical discussions of inequality into a non-political social movement toward renewed community.

Putnam’s proposals for government transfers, better-paid teachers, and free sports teams may represent helpful stepping stones to children who are socially secure and were raised in a stable, disciplined home, as his poor classmates were. But the children of Our Kids demonstrate painfully that outside influences are too little, too late for those from broken homes.

In 1959, eight out of eight poor parents in Our Kids had been present throughout their children's lives.* In 2015, that was true of two out of twelve. Putnam does not have a plan that will help the kids whose parents have fled.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHistoryMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 1, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number of US university students who smoke cannabis on a near-daily basis is at its greatest for 35 years – and has even surpassed daily cigarette use, according to a recent study.

As part of the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, a series of national surveys showed use of the drug has been growing slowly on the nation’s campuses since 2006, with 5.9 per cent saying they smoke it almost every day – the highest number since 1980.

This figure is up considerably from 2007 when 3.5 per cent admitted to the same, meaning one in every 17 university students is now smoking marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionEducationHealth & MedicineYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Terrorism is a multifaceted problem, so the solutions should address the political, economic, social and religious layers. Approaches that reduce the problem to religion do a disservice to at-risk youth and the world at large. The international community would do well to realize that Muslims are the primary victims of terrorism—both literally and symbolically—and they can help marginalize terrorists and prevent recruitment. That’s why governments should avoid statements and actions that result in the alienation of Muslims.

Violent extremism has no religion; there will always be people who manipulate faith texts. Just as Christians do not endorse Quran burnings or the actions of the Ku Klux Klan, and Buddhists do not endorse atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, mainstream Muslims do not endorse violence.

Muslims have historically added much to the flourishing of human civilization. Our greatest contributions were made in eras when the faith cherished mutual respect, freedom and justice. It may be immensely difficult to restore the blotted image of Islam, but Muslims can be beacons of peace and tranquility in their societies.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted August 31, 2015 at 7:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Religious freedom in America is under threat, and the battle is already in progress. For the most part, the burden of the struggle has been borne by Christians. America’s Jews, living safely behind the front lines, have paid little heed. But that safety is likely to be ephemeral. If freedom falls for those now fighting for their religious rights, it can fall for all, prominently including a community characterized by its attachment to an ancient and traditional moral code and defining ritual practices.

The threat emanates from a classic question: what is the proper relationship between church and state? The tension is as old as recorded history. It appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh and throughout Greek mythology. Some societies, from the pharaohs of ancient Egypt to Japan’s chrysanthemum throne, imbued their rulers with divinity. In Christendom, western kings answered to the pope while eastern churches supported the emperor. In Islam, the caliph held titles of both temporal and spiritual authority. England maintains an established church still today, while France severed its formal ties to Catholicism more than a century ago. In Jewish tradition, the Second Temple period was replete with conflicts between royals and priests—hence the rabbinic reluctance to embrace the Hasmoneans, priestly usurpers to the throne whose victories are celebrated annually by today’s Jews at Ḥanukkah. In modern-day Israel, selected areas of civil governance have been relegated entirely to religious authorities.

The U.S. Constitution, steeped in classical liberalism, attempted a novel—and ingenious—resolution. It combined the absence of an official, “established” religion with the individual’s freedom to choose and follow his faith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism

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Posted August 25, 2015 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

No looking, networking, googling or anything else--guess first before you look.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

11 Comments
Posted August 19, 2015 at 12:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now a story about a professor in Oregon who says when she told her employer she was pregnant, she got a pink slip instead of congratulations. That's because she worked at a Christian school and because she's not married. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Coty Richardson spent four years teaching exercise science at Northwest Christian University. She says she loved in the small classes at the school in Eugene, Ore., and she loved its values and caring environment.

COTY RICHARDSON: Christ-centered community that's based on, you know, loving one another, loving yourself, kindness, tolerance of other individuals.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & CultureSexualityWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 13, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The current crop of homeschoolers has one major advantage over the movement’s pioneers: modern technology has put all of history’s collected knowledge at their fingertips. No homeschooling parent need become an expert on differential equations or Newton’s Third Law of Motion. He or she can simply visit YouTube’s Khan Academy channel and find thousands of video lectures on these topics. Rosetta Stone, the well-known foreign-language software company, offers a specially tailored homeschool reading curriculum for just $99 per year. Wade’s children use a free website called Duolingo to practice Spanish. And many popular curriculum packages and distance-learning education programs provide Skype-based tutorials, online courses, and other learning supports.

Cities offer homeschoolers rich educational opportunities. The Fredettes of Philadelphia have used their storied city to supplement American history lessons. Their travels have brought them to the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall, of course, but they’ve also visited a glassblower’s studio, taken archery classes, and toured the facility where the Inquirer, the nation’s third-oldest daily newspaper, is printed. “We even went to the Herr’s potato-chip factory and watched the chips coming out of the machine,” recalls Fredette. The children’s favorite trip was to the studios of FOX 29 News, where, as part of a unit on meteorology, they watched a live broadcast of the midday weather report, complete with green screen.

Boston is known as a college town. Kerry McDonald lives across the Charles River in Cambridge—“between M.I.T. and Harvard,” she says. On her City Kids Homeschooling blog, McDonald writes: “We use the city as our primary learning tool, taking advantage of all its offerings, including classes, museums, libraries, cultural events, and fascinating neighbors”—including a Tufts University biology professor who brings home snails and mollusks for the kids.

Read it all (Hat Tip: AI).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 12, 2015 at 5:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion on Tuesday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to order the closure of schools opened without compliance to due process in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

This was contained in an open letter signed by the Bishop, Diocese of Kubwa, Anglican Communion, Abuja, Rt. Rev. Duke T. Akamisoko, and addressed to President Buhari, a copy of which was obtained by this reporter in Abuja.

The clergyman, who is also an educationist, noted the arbitrary opening and running of private schools within the Federal Capital Territory‎ without following standard guidelines and regulations.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 12, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Understanding the religious life of early America is an important business, and not just for scholars. That is because all sides in today's religious and constitutional arguments appeal to the past when they lay out their ideas for how things should work in the 21st century.

Conservatives generally want churches and church-affiliated organisations to enjoy wide sovereignty; they cite the First Amendment's guarantee of the free exercise of faith, and also its bar on the establishment of any religion, the so-called "non-establishment" clause. At least since the 20th century, non-establishment has often been taken to mean that the government and judiciary should avoid delving much into the internal affairs of a church, because to take any position could imply state backing for one religious line. Liberals, meanwhile, tend to have an idealised image of the absolute separation of church and state, as laid down by the founding fathers; they use that picture as an argument for keeping religious ideas and taboos out of policymaking. For both camps, Thomas Jefferson's statement of belief in a "wall of separation" between church and state is another important text. Liberals see the wall as protecting politics from religion, while conservatives see it more as protecting religion and its followers from political interference.

But what if both camps are wrong, because in the young American republic, state and religion were never fully separated? Sarah Barringer Gordon, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, says 20 years of research have convinced her that during the early decades of American life, state authorities interfered heavily in the affairs of churches and in doing so, helped to remould the American religious scene. The story she tells is nuanced and intriguing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 12, 2015 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

--1812: Archibald Alexander becomes the first professor of Princeton, filling its theology chair. Like many of America’s premiere colleges and universities, Princeton had been founded to train ministers.
Authority for the date: Kerr, Hugh Thomas. Sons of the Prophets: Leaders in Protestantism from Princeton Seminary. Princeton University Press

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted August 12, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Liberal arts has not been killed by parental or student philistinism, or the cupidity of today’s educational institutions whose excessive costs have made the liberal arts into an unattainable luxury. In too many ways the liberal arts have died not by murder but by suicide.

To restore the liberal arts, those of us who teach should begin by thinking about students. Almost all of them have serious questions about major issues, and all of them are looking for answers. What is right? What is love? What do I owe others? What do others owe me? In too many places these are not questions for examination but issues for indoctrination. Instead of guiding young men and women by encouraging them to read history, biography, philosophy and literature, we’d rather debunk the past, deconstruct the authors and dethrone our finest minds and statesmen.

But why would any student spend tens of thousands of dollars and, rather than see the world in all its aspects, instead spend his time being indoctrinated and immersed in the prejudices of the current culture and the opinions of his tendentious professors? The job of teachers is to liberate minds, not capture them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksEducationHistoryYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 9, 2015 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




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

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Posted August 5, 2015 at 8:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I wrote about this fear on my blog, and while the response was mostly positive, some liberals called me paranoid, or expressed doubt about why any teacher would nix the particular texts I listed. I guarantee you that these people do not work in higher education, or if they do they are at least two decades removed from the job search. The academic job market is brutal. Teachers who are not tenured or tenure-track faculty members have no right to due process before being dismissed, and there's a mile-long line of applicants eager to take their place. And as writer and academic Freddie DeBoer writes, they don't even have to be formally fired — they can just not get rehired. In this type of environment, boat-rocking isn't just dangerous, it's suicidal, and so teachers limit their lessons to things they know won't upset anybody.

This shift in student-teacher dynamic placed many of the traditional goals of higher education — such as having students challenge their beliefs — off limits. While I used to pride myself on getting students to question themselves and engage with difficult concepts and texts, I now hesitate. What if this hurts my evaluations and I don't get tenure? How many complaints will it take before chairs and administrators begin to worry that I'm not giving our customers — er, students, pardon me — the positive experience they're paying for? Ten? Half a dozen? Two or three?

This phenomenon has been widely discussed as of late, mostly as a means of deriding political, economic, or cultural forces writers don't much care for. Commentators on the left and right have recently criticized the sensitivity and paranoia of today's college students. They worry about the stifling of free speech, the implementation of unenforceable conduct codes, and a general hostility against opinions and viewpoints that could cause students so much as a hint of discomfort.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryPsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 25, 2015 at 11:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The religious historian Owen Chadwick, who has died aged 99, was one of the most remarkable men of letters of the 20th century. He held two Cambridge University chairs over a period of 25 years, was its vice-chancellor during the student unrest of the late 1960s, chaired a commission that transformed the structures of the Church of England, and declined major bishoprics.

His range of publication was exceptional: he was a master of the large canvas – The Secularisation of the European Mind in the Nineteenth Century (1976) or The Popes and European Revolution (1981); of the full-scale biography such as those of Hensley Henson (1983), the stormy petrel of church politics, and of Michael Ramsey (1990); and of the cameo, as in Victorian Miniature (1960), his study of the fraught relationship between a 19th-century squire and parson, drawing on the papers of each, or as in Mackenzie’s Grave (1959), his wonderful story of the bishop sent to lead a mission up the Zambesi and whose disappearance brought out the best and the worst in Victorian Christianity and public life.

In addition to his one textbook – The Pelican History of the Church: The Reformation (1964), the first book on many reading lists for a quarter of a century – he produced several books for a wider readership, including A History of Christianity (1995) and a short biography of John Henry Newman (1983), but few articles or reviews.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchBooksEducationYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

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Posted July 20, 2015 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In recent years, traditional Islamic seminaries, or madrasas, have come under scrutiny and criticism as incubators of terrorism and extremist interpretations of Islam. Correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro has a report on one school, the Jamia Islamia Clifton madrasa founded 40 years ago in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, that is trying to change that image and broaden the scope of what students are taught.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted July 18, 2015 at 2:54 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The narratives that help illustrate the lack of professional ethics at American universities occur with greater and greater frequency, though most often we fail to note them as such.

If we put our minds to it, we can remember quite a number of unethical stories at American universities in recent years: the sex abuse case that prompted the firing of the president and football coach at Penn State; the pepper-spraying of students at the University of California at Davis; the tragic hazing death of marching band member Robert Champion at Florida A and M University.

These are stories that happened at universities, and their settings, I believe, are not incidental to the narratives. As an author of University Ethics: How Colleges Can Build and Benefit from a Culture of Ethics, I believe our universities are breeding these scandals and ethical compromise. But rarely, even when the press exposes something shameful about a university, do we identify the issue as a lack of ethics.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryPsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 17, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Around 1,000 apprentices from across Liverpool are set to take part in the UK’s largest graduation ceremony at the end of the month.

Organisers are keen to make sure attendance is as high as possible and have put out a call to make sure apprentices who are eligible should get signed up in time.

The ceremony will take place at the Anglican Cathedral on July 30 but Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Hub, who are in charge of the event, say apprentices need to register by July 21 to guarantee their places.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropology

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Posted July 13, 2015 at 4:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has approved the law program of TWU as meeting academic and professional standards. The LSUC admits there is nothing wrong with TWU’s law program; its graduates will be fully competent to practise law. But the LSUC claims that TWU’s code of conduct discriminates against the LGBTQ community. The code prohibits numerous legal activities, such as vulgar or obscene language, drunkenness, viewing pornography, gossip and sex outside of the marriage of one man and one woman. Nobody is required to submit to TWU’s standards. Students voluntarily decide to study law (or teaching, nursing, etc.) at TWU rather than at another university.

The LSUC is correct in observing that a married same-sex couple could not study law at TWU. But the same holds true for any unmarried people who do not wish to practise celibacy, not to mention marijuana smokers, heavy drinkers, pornography-viewers and the foul-mouthed.

The court’s “discrimination” mantra is a half-truth, which, as Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock once said, is like half a brick: It will carry further. TWU “discriminates” against anyone who disagrees with a traditional religious moral code. Every charity, political party and ethnic association discriminates against those who disagree with its select beliefs or practices. Forcing majority beliefs on organizations destroys the distinct characteristics of each one, and attacks the authentic diversity that is the hallmark of a free society like Canada.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & PartnershipsYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 10, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the OrdainedStewardship* Culture-WatchEducationRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolenceYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina

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Posted July 3, 2015 at 2:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One year ago I wrote in these pages about how the InterVarsity ministry at Bowdoin College, with a forty year history of ministering the Christian Gospel, was formally refused access to meet with students on campus facilities. Christian students in the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship were denied access to the funds and facilities for student activities and other benefits enjoyed generally by students participating in voluntary activities on the campus....

One year later, the ministry continues with these important changes to report.

The venue has changed. This Christian ministry, through the help of committed friends, acquired a building on the edge of campus and became a member of the Consortium of Christian Study Centers. The meetings that once took place in the college chapel, the college dining halls, and in buildings reserved for Christians to practice religious faith now take place in a converted living room at the Joseph and Alice McKeen Christian Study Center, named after the first President of Bowdoin College and his first lady.

The challenge to incarnational and invitational ministry has changed. The InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Bowdoin College previously operated primarily from a base on campus and only secondarily retreated to points beyond. Those priorities have been reversed by force of circumstance, and the ministry now operates primarily from its newly acquired space on the edge of campus.

Read it all from First Things.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 1, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Dan] Price dropped his salary from about $1 million to $70,000 in order to increase pay for many of his employees.

In the weeks that have followed, Price has received hundreds of messages — some from CEOs who followed suit with similar moves and others from critics who feel the decision will destroy Price's company.

Of all the notes that he has received, the most striking to Price was a stack of 33 letters — delivered by mail — from a class of sixth graders at Woodbury Elementary School in Irvine, California.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducation* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 28, 2015 at 7:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Update (June 22): InterVarsity has given CT more details about its reinstatement at 19 California campuses.
"Cal State has not changed the language of their 'all comers' policy," said Greg Jao, vice president of campus engagement. "They have clarified that the policy only requires that (a) we allow all students to become members, which we have always done, and (b) we allow all students to apply for leadership positions.
"We have been assured that we can have a rigorous selection process which reflects InterVarsity’s mission and message as a Christian ministry," he told CT. "We’re confident in our ability to choose leaders who reflect our mission and message."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted June 27, 2015 at 5:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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