Posted by The_Elves

A powerful article at Christianity Today by Tish Harrison Warren. The subtitle: "I thought a winsome faith would win Christians a place at Vanderbilt’s table. I was wrong." It's an excellent read from one who was at the center of Vanderbilt University's decision to rescind recognition of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and other Christian groups.

Kendall posted several entries on the Vanderbilt situation in 2011-2012. Links here, here, and here.


Tish Harrison Warren/ August 22, 2014
The Wrong Kind of Christian
Image: KEVIN VANDIVIER / GENESIS

I thought I was an acceptable kind of evangelical.

I'm not a fundamentalist. My friends and I enjoy art, alcohol, and cultural engagement.
We avoid spiritual clichés and buzzwords. We value authenticity, study, racial reconciliation, and social and environmental justice.

Being a Christian made me somewhat weird in my urban, progressive context, but despite some clear differences, I held a lot in common with unbelieving friends. We could disagree about truth, spirituality, and morality, and remain on the best of terms. The failures of the church often made me more uncomfortable than those in the broader culture.

Then, two years ago, the student organization I worked for at Vanderbilt University got kicked off campus for being the wrong kind of Christians.

[...]

At first I thought this was all a misunderstanding that could be sorted out between reasonable parties. If I could explain to the administration that doctrinal statements are an important part of religious expression—an ancient, enduring practice that would be a given for respected thinkers like Thomas Aquinas—then surely they'd see that creedal communities are intellectually valid and permissible. If we could show that we weren't homophobic culture warriors but friendly, thoughtful evangelicals committed to a diverse, flourishing campus, then the administration and religious groups could find common ground.

But as I met with other administrators, the tone began to change. The word discrimination began to be used—a lot—specifically in regard to creedal requirements. It was lobbed like a grenade to end all argument. Administrators compared Christian students to 1960s segregationists. I once mustered courage to ask them if they truly thought it was fair to equate racial prejudice with asking Bible study leaders to affirm the Resurrection. The vice chancellor replied, "Creedal discrimination is still discrimination."

Feeling battered, I talked with my InterVarsity supervisor. He responded with a wry smile, "But we're moderates!" We thought we were nuanced and reasonable. The university seemed to think of us as a threat.

For me, it was revolutionary, a reorientation of my place in the university and in culture.

I began to realize that inside the church, the territory between Augustine of Hippo and Jerry Falwell seems vast, and miles lie between Ron Sider and Pat Robertson. But in the eyes of the university (and much of the press), subscribers to broad Christian orthodoxy occupy the same square foot of cultural space.

The line between good and evil was drawn by two issues: creedal belief and sexual expression. If religious groups required set truths or limited sexual autonomy, they were bad—not just wrong but evil, narrow-minded, and too dangerous to be tolerated on campus.

The whole article is highly recommended

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersMulticulturalism, pluralismReligion & Culture

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Posted August 27, 2014 at 7:56 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Kibera, Kenya (CNN) -- Heaps of trash pile up for miles in Kibera, a district of Nairobi that houses nearly 1 million people and is one of the poorest slums in the world. Aluminum shanties fill the horizon, and an odor of urine cuts through the air. A man trots through the narrow, unpaved streets on a camel. If you make your way through this crowded maze, however, you will find the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy, a free public school for girls and, recently, a few boys. Peek in through the windows, and you'll see a sight that seems incongruous next to the grimy chaos outside.

In this school, where there is no electricity and temperatures often top 90 degrees, dozens of students in neat wool uniforms are sliding their fingers across touch screens, reading a lesson on their Amazon Kindle e-reader. The students, who range in age from 14 to 20, are cheerful, welcoming and quick to share the genres of books they like to read in both Swahili and English. Their school is one of 28 participating in a program with Worldreader, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that provides modern technology -- usually Kindles -- to improve literacy in the most impoverished parts of the world.

By expanding access to education in areas where books are a scarce resource, the Worldreader team is trying to break the cycle of poverty, one electronic page at a time.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAfricaKenya

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Posted August 20, 2014 at 3:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jeff Bridges has been working on childhood hunger for longer than the children he champions today have been alive. In fact, it’s been a 30-year crusade. In the early 1980s, the Academy Award-winning actor founded the End Hunger Network, an organization focused on feeding children around the world. More recently, he’s focused on feeding kids here in the United States. Motivating the shift in Bridges’ attention is the reality that more than 16 million American kids live in households that are labelled “food insecure” – those that don’t know with certainty where their next meal will come from, or if it will come at all.

Watch the whole video.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsChildrenDieting/Food/NutritionEducationMarriage & FamilyMovies & Television

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Posted August 9, 2014 at 12:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nursery children are to be taught about “fundamental British values” to protect them from religious extremism. Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, is said to be planning the shift as her first important policy announcement since securing the job in the coalition reshuffle last month.

Under the plan, to be announced today, local authorities will be forced to strip nurseries of their funding if they promote extremist views. She will demand that children are taught “fundamental British values in an age-appropriate way”.

Nurseries found to be teaching creationism as scientific fact will also be barred from receiving funding from the taxpayer. It will bring nurseries into line with state-funded schools.

Read it all (subscription required).

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

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Posted August 8, 2014 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Expressing concern that his summer vacation is too quickly passing him by, local incoming seventh-grader Matthew Valentine told reporters Tuesday he now has just two weeks left in which to acquire a cool new identity before school starts.

The 13-year-old acknowledged that he must dedicate all his remaining free time to developing a socially acceptable persona he can display to his classmates, noting that he still has a lot of work to do if he is to assemble a recognizable combination of attitudes, style choices, interests, and favorite bands that will win his peers’ approval during the upcoming school year.

“The clock is ticking, and I still haven’t figured out who I’m going to be yet,” said Valentine, adding that he hopes to remake himself as a popular kid, a scenester, a rebel, a hip-hop head, or a member of some other respected social category prior to his first day of classes at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationTeens / Youth* General InterestHumor / Trivia* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted August 6, 2014 at 3:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Starting this September, every single K-12 student in Great Britain will start taking classes in computer programming. That is, kids at the age of five will take programming, and they won’t stop until they’re 16 at least. A majority of these children will be using the free online learning platform Codecademy, says co-founder Zach Sims. Ditto France, Estonia and Buenos Aires.

In China, Codecademy, which has programming lessons contributed by more than 100,000 people from around the world, has been cloned multiple times.

Meanwhile in the U.S., where education is controlled by the states, fewer than 20 even recognize computer science as a science; the rest consider it an elective.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationGlobalizationScience & Technology

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Posted August 5, 2014 at 3:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Students in the UK can now get graduate degrees in cyber-spying approved by the masters of the craft at the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters, the British counterpart of the US National Security Agency. Students at the University of Oxford and five other universities can get masters in cyber-security signed off by the best eavesdroppers in the country, the BBC reported.

While the NSA gets most of the headlines, Edward Snowden has accused the Government Communications Headquarters of being far worse than their American cousins. “Their respect for the privacy right, their respect for individual citizens, their ability to communicate and associate without monitoring and interference is not strongly encoded in law or policy,” Snowden told The Guardian. “They enjoy authorities that they really shouldn’t be entitled to.” Among the tactics that GCHQ is accused of is using sex to entrap people via “honey traps” and smearing hackers online.

Yet the government has defended the agency to the hilt.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationScience & TechnologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You need to fill in all three blanks first:
At least ______ % [of] adolescent students in Canada have reported being bullied recently

Among adult Canadians, _____% of males and _____% of females reported having experienced occasional or frequent bullying during their school years

_____% of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis
Now, see how you did and read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenEducationHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilySociology* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 2, 2014 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Allegations in the so-called "Trojan horse" letter of an organised attempt by some governors and senior staff to impose a hardline, politicised Islamic agenda on a group of Birmingham schools were largely true, the report of a top-level investigation into the letter's claims, published on Tuesday, says.

Sent anonymously to Birmingham City Council last November, and leaked to the press earlier this year, the letter was originally dismissed by the council as a hoax designed to disturb community relations in the city. The allegations were comprehensively denied by those involved.

But, as further complaints surfaced, a former Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, commissioned Peter Clarke, a former head of counter-terrorism in the UK, to conduct an inquiry.

Read it all.


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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Merrick shares, “What I found helpful is to read those people who are being discussed and try and understand what they’re saying,” for two reasons:

You become a better thinker by honing your argument.
You become a more generous, thoughtful thinker.

Read it all.


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

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Posted July 20, 2014 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr. [ D. Michael ] Lindsay and Gordon College are unlikely magnets for the attention. A highly respected sociologist who made his reputation studying America's business and cultural leaders and running an institute at Rice University, Mr. Lindsay likely travels in some of the same circles as the president himself. In his three years as Gordon's president, Mr. Lindsay has steered clear of hot-button issues.

"In general practice," he wrote on Gordon's website after the controversy erupted, "Gordon tries to stay out of politically charged issues, and I sincerely regret that . . . Gordon has been put into the spotlight in this way. My sole intention in signing this letter was to affirm the College's support of the underlying issue of religious liberty."

An executive order that did not include a religious exemption might be upheld by the courts, since the government has broad powers when it comes to spending. But it would be a sharp break from political precedent. In 2002 President Bush signed an executive order decreeing that faith-based organizations be permitted to "participate fully in the social service programs supported with Federal financial assistance without impairing their independence, autonomy, expression, or religious character." The Employment Non-Discrimination Act itself, as passed in the Senate before stalling in the House, also included an explicit exemption for religion.

Read it all.


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

0 Comments
Posted July 18, 2014 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The U.S. Department of Education rejected a petition a transgender student filed against George Fox University, ending a three-month dispute.

The student, who goes by the name Jayce and identifies as a man, asked to live in male student housing at the university, but the school said he could live only in a single apartment. The case gained attention in April, when the student's mother started an online petition, which has garnered more than 21,000 signatures, asking George Fox to reverse its decision.

Inside Higher Education reports that the Department of Education in May granted the university a religious exemption to Title IX's requirements that recipients of federal funding not "offer different services or benefits related to housing" to students based on sex. On those grounds, the federal office denied Jayce's petition.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSexualityYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 17, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For many members of the class of 2014 who borrowed money to attend college, the clock is ticking on what is likely to be their biggest expense after graduation.

They'll have to start paying back their federal student loans in November or December—as the six-month grace period that lenders give new grads comes to an end. But depending on their income—or lack of income, if they're still looking for work—some borrowers may be eligible for much lower payments than they'd anticipated.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePolitics in General

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Posted July 9, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So who is missing from this alleged news report, as opposed to an advocacy piece, in the Globe? Apparently, it was only possible to reach Gordon students, alumni, faculty and staff through these new...networks [for individuals who favor the new sexual theology]. It appears that, literally, there are no members of the Gordon community — past or present — who actually accept the doctrines that define the work of the college, which is a voluntary association (the same as liberal private educational institutions).

Are there students who affirmed that covenant with their fingers crossed? Of course. Are there faculty and staff who do the same? For sure, to one degree or another.

But the Globe could find ZERO Gordon voices — other than the PR person — willing to affirm and defend centuries of basic Christian doctrines on marriage and sexuality? None? Zip? Nada? The Gordon community is united in opposition to Gordon College?

Or is this simply a matter of the Globe team concluding that there is no need to discuss the other side of this issue with people from Gordon, since there is only one side of this story worthy of coverage?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationMediaReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted July 9, 2014 at 3:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Pritchard, who as chair of the Church of England’s Board of Education is responsible for the teaching of around a million children in Anglican schools, as well as speaking for the Church on education in the Lords, said a change in the law could be “liberating” for schools and churches alike.

“I think in the 1940s when all of this was put together it was possible to say that collective worship represented the mood of the nation but I don’t think that is where we are now,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“There is a sense in which a compulsion about religion does a disservice to that which I think is most important which is keeping the good news of the Christian faith alive in our culture.”

Read it all.

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

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Posted July 8, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all (my emphasis).

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Graduates around the world gather at the end of spring for one final lesson: the commencement speech.

It’s a time when luminaries from business, politics and the arts deliver wisdom (and humor) to students eager for the next stage. Susan Wojcicki recalled watching the first item uploaded to Google Video—a purple, furry puppet, dancing and singing in Swedish—with no idea what to think. Until her children saw it—and cheered. Marc Benioff shared that time he did “what all lost thirty-somethings do: travel to India.”

We’ve pulled together memorable addresses from 2014 (with a splash from the speeches of yore). Did we miss any? Tell us what you think in the comments.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationScience & TechnologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted July 3, 2014 at 4:51 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Grammar teachers may need to amend their lesson plans after the Vancouver school board approved Monday a policy change that welcomes a brand-new string of pronouns into Vancouver public schools: “xe, xem, and xyr.”

The pronouns are touted as alternatives to he/she, him/her, and his/hers, and come as last-minute amendments to the board’s new policy aimed at better accommodating transgender students in schools.

The vote came after a brief debate that sparked unrest among opponents of the policy who shouted “dictator” and “liar” at trustees, as security guards and police officers watched from their posts at council doors. But supporters waved pink and blue-coloured flags and drowned out the detractors with their cheers once the policy passed. Three previous public meetings were similarly rowdy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationSexuality* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted June 27, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

NSW public schools should spend government funding on tackling obesity and promoting wellness and positive psychology rather than the untested chaplaincy program that are in hundreds of the state's schools, the head of Sydney's Anglican Education Commission has argued.

As the Federal Government considers the fate of its National School Chaplaincy Program after the High Court ruled the commonwealth could not fund it, the executive director of the commission, Bryan Cowling, said there was no evidence the chaplaincy program was effective.

Dr Cowling, a former head of curriculum in the NSW Department of Education, said a long-term goal of public schools should be to replace scripture classes with a mandatory "world view and ethics" class providing students with a "broad exposure" to many religions.

Read it all.



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

1 Comments
Posted June 25, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Stacey Irvine ate almost nothing but chicken nuggets for 15 years. She never tasted fruits or vegetables. She occasionally supplemented her diet with French fries. One day her tongue started to swell and she couldn’t catch her breath. She was rushed to the hospital, her airway was forced open, and they stuck an IV in her arm to start pumping in the nutrients she needed. After saving her life, the medical staff sent her home, but not before they warned her that she needed to change her diet or prepare herself for an early death.

I’ve heard people call it a famine. A famine of knowing the Bible. During a famine people waste away for lack of sustenance. Some people die. Those who remain need nourishment; they need to be revived. And if they have any hope of remaining alive over time, their life situation has to change in conspicuous ways.

During normal famines people don’t have access to the food they need. But Stacey Irvine could have eaten anything she wanted. She had resources, opportunity and presumably all the encouragement she needed to eat well. Can you imagine what would happen if all of us decided to follow her example and discontinued eating all but non-nutritious foodstuff? If we happened to beat the odds and live, we undoubtedly would suffer in the long run from nutrition-related chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

Like Stacey Irvine, we’re killing ourselves. It’s surely not for lack of resources; nevertheless, we are in fact starving ourselves to death.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchBooksEducationHistoryReligion & Culture* Theology

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Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Speaking after the release of the report, the Church of England's Chief Education Officer, Revd Jan Ainsworth said...""We are particularly pleased that the committee has highlighted the complexity of issues associated with White Working Class underperformance. Excellent schools can clearly make the world of difference to disadvantaged young people, but the committee also recognises that we need a greater understanding of associated social factors...."

Read it all.

Update: For more on the report itself please see the Yorkshire Post article there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The European Court of Human Rights has just handed down a verdict (PDF) which some people have hailed as a victory for "religious freedom". Actually it would be more accurate to describe the decision as a victory for the freedom of religious organisations—as opposed to that of individuals making religious or ethical choices. And the outcome will be disturbing to many people, even including some who broadly agree that religions should be able to determine their own doctrines, rules and even disciplinary procedures without interference from the state.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeSpain

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Posted June 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Recent college grads, take note: Mentioning a campus religion group on your resume — particularly a Muslim club — may lead to significantly fewer job opportunities.

Two new sociology studies find new graduates who included a religious mention on a resume were much less likely to hear back from potential employers.

The studies used fictitious resumes — with bland names that signaled no particular race or ethnicity. These were sent to employers who posted on the CareerBuilder website to fill entry-level job openings in sales, information technology and other fields suitable for first jobs out of college.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted June 17, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In east London, Tower Hamlets has become an enclave of corruption, intimidation and the village politics of Bangladesh. Its mayor, Lutfur Rahman, was thrown out of the Labour party after reported links to the Islamic Forum of Europe, which aims to turn Britain and Europe into an Islamic state.

At last month’s local elections, claims of corruption and intimidation meant that the Tower Hamlets results were only announced five days after the polls closed. An adviser to the mayor threatened that the “civil war” of the borough’s politics would “spill out onto the streets” if Rahman’s election wasn’t accepted. Government inspectors, Scotland Yard and the Electoral Commission are now investigating Tower Hamlets.

But Islamic extremism and political chicanery in the borough have been ignored for years. There have been attacks on gay people, women who are deemed immodestly dressed and businesses selling alcohol. Last week, the East End Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick warned of a “Trojan Horse”-style Islamist plot to infiltrate Tower Hamlets politics.

Read it all (subscription required).

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

0 Comments
Posted June 16, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Márcio is eager to be part of a football team, the sport that his paternal grandmother keeps him from practicing. “My grandmother does not let me play, and then I’m indoors. I do not like being alone at home,” he says, dejected.

Now, thanks to World Vision, he will spend his afternoons doing different activities that will help his social and physical development. “I’m not alone anymore in the house,” Márcio says, celebrating. He strongly believes that he will learn many things in the new community and adds, “I believe in that with faith in God.”

Though he goes to school, Márcio can’t read or write, but he doesn’t hide his desire to learn and has revealed that his teacher only teaches those students who learn fast. Those with learning difficulties, like him, are left behind.

His cousin, Manuela, 26, believes that Márcio’s learning difficulties may be the result of problems during his mother’s pregnancy. “She used a lot of drugs, I believe that it had serious effects on his learning [abilities],” she says. But Manuela emphasizes that he will be a great man, because he has a big desire to be someone in life.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsChildrenEducationGlobalizationMarriage & Family* International News & CommentarySouth AmericaBrazil* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 12, 2014 at 5:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A report released on Monday concluded that pressure from fundamentalist Islamic school board governors had created a culture of “fear and intimidation” among senior staff members in a number of British schools said to have been the targets of a campaign to impose Islamist views on parts of the educational system.

The report, compiled by Britain’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, or Ofsted, stopped short of concluding that such a campaign amounted to a conspiracy, as alleged by an anonymous letter that first raised the alarm. But the results of the inquiry gave weight to concerns in Britain that schools have become the latest battleground in the effort to head off radicalization of young Muslims, an issue that has grown increasingly prominent as more young Britons and Europeans have chosen to fight with Islamic groups in Syria.

Muslim groups disputed the findings and suggested that the report fed stereotypes about Islam. In any event, the report seemed to stoke the fierce debate over the place of Muslims in British society and the extent to which the government should take pre-emptive action to curb extremism.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted June 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Under Government rules, new faith-based schools opened as part of the free schools or academies programmes can only allocate half of places along religious lines.

But...[the Rev Nigel Genders] suggested many would go further by declaring that no Anglicans would be given priority in the admissions process.

“In practice, most of the new schools that the Church of England has provided over recent years have all been entirely open admissions policies so that they would serve their local community," he said. "They have been built for that particular purpose.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture

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Posted June 12, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For 40 years, evangelicals at Bowdoin College have gathered periodically to study the Bible together, to pray and to worship. They are a tiny minority on the liberal arts college campus, but they have been a part of the school’s community, gathering in the chapel, the dining center, the dorms.

After this summer, the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship will no longer be recognized by the college. Already, the college has disabled the electronic key cards of the group’s longtime volunteer advisers.

In a collision between religious freedom and antidiscrimination policies, the student group, and its advisers, have refused to agree to the college’s demand that any student, regardless of his or her religious beliefs, should be able to run for election as a leader of any group, including the Christian association....“It’s absurd,” said Alec Hill, the president of InterVarsity, a national association of evangelical student groups, including the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship. “The genius of American culture is that we allow voluntary, self-identified organizations to form, and that’s what our student groups are.”

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & PartnershipsYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted June 10, 2014 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A spokeswoman from the cathedral said:...“Patterns of ministry and worship have changed enormously and the Church of England is now trying to resolve disputes about women bishops and sexuality. Recently, a former Archbishop of Canterbury raised the possibility that the Church of England might be ‘one generation away from extinction’. Nobody, or course, knows what future holds – but in this lecture Dr Andrew Chandler will explore and discuss this period of ‘decline’ and suggest ways in which the church at large might assess its prospects now.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationHistory* TheologyEcclesiology

1 Comments
Posted June 10, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Students' understanding of the arts, different cultures and other beliefs are limited." That's one of the complaints about Birmingham schools made by Ofsted in their leaked report. It sounds like a relatively mild criticism.

Not so. What the Trojan Horse scandal has revealed is that leaders of the Muslim community in Birmingham have been creating a Wahhabi-inspired counterculture in secular, not faith, schools.

Put simply, the interpretation of Islam that's sweeping through the Muslim world, thanks to Saudi money, seeks to deprive children of any exposure to the arts, which it condemns as idolatrous. Even listening to music is haram, forbidden. The underlying teaching is that the arts, by seeking to create beauty, blaspheme by detracting attention from the only source of true beauty, Allah, which can be appreciated only in the natural world he created.

Read it all.

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

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Posted June 8, 2014 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Militants in Iraq have stormed a university campus in the western city of Ramadi, taking dozens of students and staff hostage.

One student at the Anbar University campus said "everybody is in panic".

One report said some guards had died and that the militants were from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

The western province of Anbar is a focal point of Iraq's rising sectarian violence, with a number of areas controlled by Sunni militants.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationUrban/City Life and IssuesViolenceYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Nigeria is an uneasy federation of the two.

Read it all (requires subscription).

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“I perform the way that I do in the classroom because I have everything to lose. I make the grades I do because I was once lost and had nothing.”

Furlong’s mother died of leukemia when he was just 6 years old.

Soon afterward, Furlong, his father, and older brother lost their home and ended up in homeless shelters.

Furlong said he often went to bed hungry and there were times when he wanted to give up.

“I never had a full childhood. I felt like I wasn’t even human anymore. And I would just think to myself at night, 'Do I continue to do this or do I make something of myself?'"

Read it all (Video highly recommended).

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This year’s college graduates will have to be more creative to land a job they want.

The unemployment rate for college graduates ages 22 to 27 fell to 5.6 percent in 2013 from 6.4 percent at the recession’s peak in 2009. Among 22-year-old degree holders who found jobs in the past three years, more than half were in roles not requiring a college diploma, said John Schmitt, a labor economist for the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

Many graduates have traveled nontraditional pathways to find employment in their desired fields. Rory Molleda, 22, started an unpaid internship at Washington’s D.C. United soccer team a week after finishing Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, a year ago.

Forty job applications later, he networked his way to a paid position at another company that wasn’t exactly what he wanted. In January, he landed his “dream job” as a team operations coordinator for D.C. United and said he feels lucky.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted June 5, 2014 at 11:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A bill that would have established the Lowcountry's first comprehensive research university may have lost its best chance of passing Wednesday when some of the S.C. Senate's most powerful voices put up a significant roadblock to the measure.

The lengthy Senate debate also featured an emotional plea from Sen. Harvey Peeler, R-Gaffney, the Senate majority leader, who lamented the aggressive, often personal politics that he said Charleston legislators employed to see the bill passed.

While the bill is not entirely dead, Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Charleston, who has fought for the measure, worries that a failure to get a vote on the bill with just one full day left in this year's legislative session means the Senate may have lost its best chance to pass it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationUrban/City Life and IssuesYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 5, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We're told the primary role of a chaplain is to provide pastoral support to pupils. But the striking thing about the Church's report, The Public Face of God, is that young people hardly get a look in. The emphasis is almost entirely on how chaplains serve the mission of the Church.

Surely pastoral support should exist to create a nurturing and supportive setting for students during their time at school. The focus should be care and concern for young people and their needs; not the needs of the Church.

Those providing pastoral work in schools need the necessary knowledge and skills to offer effective learning-support and the knowhow to develop pupils' ability to become good citizens. It goes without saying that those carrying out pastoral roles can be motivated by their religious faith, but it shouldn't be a requirement of the job.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted June 3, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nick Schott is used to his father missing milestone events.

"My father has never seen me wrestle, never seen me play football or run track," said Nick, the son of Army Staff Sgt. Jamie Schott. "Because of the job he does, it's fine. He's serving our country."

But one event Schott did not miss was seeing his son walk across the stage Friday at Goose Creek High School's graduation ceremony.

Read it all from the local paper and do not miss the pictures.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyMilitary / Armed Forces* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted May 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The varied and vital role of chaplains in Church of England state secondary schools and academies is outlined in "The Public Face of God", showing that chaplaincy is no longer the preserve of the independent sector.

The research showed that of the 72 schools which responded 58 have chaplains or a chaplaincy team with the majority ordained but with a growing number of lay chaplains. Almost all are directly funded from the school's own budget. The Church of England has 220 secondary schools and 80 sponsored academies.

The Revd Garry Neave, the Church of England's National Further Education and Post-16 Adviser and co-author of the report said: "This research clearly shows that schools greatly value the contribution which chaplains can make to pastoral care of students and staff - and to the whole school community - to encouraging the spiritual development of students and to serving people of all faiths and beliefs."

Read it all and note the link to the full study.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our school has a very tolerant atmosphere, and it even has a depression awareness group, so this response seemed uncharacteristic. We were surprised that the administration and the adults who advocated for mental health awareness were the ones standing in the way of it. By telling us that students could not talk openly about their struggles, they reinforced the very stigma we were trying to eliminate.

The feeling of being alone is closely linked to depression. This can be exacerbated if there is no one to reach out to. Though there are professionals to talk to, we feel it doesn’t compare to sharing your experiences with a peer who has faced similar struggles. And, most important to us, no one afflicted with a mental illness should have to believe that it’s something he should feel obliged to hide in the first place. If someone has an illness such as diabetes, she is not discouraged from speaking about it. Depression does not indicate mental weakness. It is a disorder, often a flaw of biology, not one of character.

By interviewing these teenagers for our newspaper, we tried — and failed — to start small in the fight against stigma. Unfortunately, we’ve learned this won’t be easy. It seems that those who are charged with advocating for our well-being aren’t ready yet to let us have an open and honest dialogue about depression.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If it isn’t one thing it’s another. Education is always throwing up news stories.

Recently we have seen a playground fight between Coalition partners over the funding of free schools and free school meals. Eventually everyone made up and went back into the classroom.

We have had more leaks about the Trojan Horse enquiry and the threat of "extremist takeovers" in some Birmingham schools. The exact nature of the Horse is still unclear.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted May 22, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Any student who demands—and gets—emotional pampering from his university needs to pay a commensurate price in intellectual derision. College was once about preparing boys and girls to become men and women, not least through a process of desensitization to discomfiting ideas. Now it's just a $240,000 extension of kindergarten. Maybe Oberlin can start offering courses in Sharing Is Caring. Students can read "The Gruffalo" with trigger warnings that it potentially stigmatizes people with hairy backs.

This is the bind you find yourselves in, Class of 2014: No society, not even one that cossets the young as much as ours does, can treat you as children forever. A central teaching of Genesis is that knowledge is purchased at the expense of innocence. A core teaching of the ancients is that personal dignity is obtained through habituation to virtue. And at least one basic teaching of true liberalism is that the essential right of free people is the right to offend, and an essential responsibility of free people is to learn how to cope with being offended.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationYoung Adults* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 21, 2014 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury tucked into a school dinner with pupils from St Luke’s School during his visit to Stratford and Canning Town.

He said that his trip, which was organised to show off the regeneneration in the borough, showed that the area faced both “huge opportunity and huge challenge”.

“I think it’s enormously exciting,” Justin Welby said. “I think there are huge challenges because you’ve got all this new building coming in, which is brilliant, you’ve got this extraordinary Olympic legacy and that gives a massive challenge of creating community and the community developing rather than becoming fractured as numbers grow and new people move in.”

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This means that we must be crystal-clear about the difference between training people to perform publicly useful tasks, and educating people who will ask constructively critical questions in public life, who will understand the forces that shape it and know how seriously (or not) to take the confused mass of propaganda and fashion that swirls around in the overpopulated information culture of our age. The most important bit of “impact” any university course can have is to help people to become intelligent citizens – and that means helping them to see what a critical argument looks like, and to see what genuine thinking is. Part of the function of a university that works really well is to bring different kinds of thinking together, and bring them into conversation so that we learn to recognise the same rigour and high expectations in other fields of study and skill.

Learning to appreciate that good thinking is both diverse and convergent, and that it works in many different ways but is always characterised by rigorous self-awareness and self-challenge, is essential to a healthy public life. Citizens who have never thought about what good argument looks like, or who have never been challenged to recognise the solidity and quality of a different sort of skill from their own, are at the mercy of those who know how to press buttons for emotional responses, self-defensive responses, that just reinforce what makes us feel safer and better. All good education should be teaching us how to be free from that kind of slavery.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 16, 2014 at 6:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

State schools are creating amoral children because they spend more time on academic studies than learning right from wrong, a leading independent school headmaster will say today.

The pressure to get excellent results is distracting teachers from imparting good values to pupils, according to Richard Walden, chairman of the Independent Schools Association.

Private schools, by contrast, turn out young people with emotional intelligence and moral understanding, he is due to tell the association’s annual conference in Warwickshire .

Read it all (requires subscription).

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

0 Comments
Posted May 16, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has today launched a report from the Education Division of the Church of England "Valuing All God's Children: Guidance for Church of England Schools on Challenging Homophobic Bullying."

The guidance, which is being sent to all Church of England schools, provides 10 key recommendations which should be adopted by schools in combating homophobic bullying as well as sample policies for primary and secondary Church schools. Published by the Church Of England Archbishop's Council Education Division, the guidance involved consultation and involvement with a number of Church of England schools with existing good practice.

Speaking at a Church of England Secondary School, at Trinity Lewisham, The Right Reverend Justin Welby said that the publication of the guidance fulfilled a pledge he made last July when addressing the Church of England's General Synod.

"Less than a year ago I set out my concerns about the terrible impact of homophobic bullying on the lives of young people and I made a public commitment to support our schools in eradicating homophobic stereotyping and bullying....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchChildrenEducation

3 Comments
Posted May 12, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During the past school year, several leading American universities, including Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth and Carnegie-Mellon, welcomed new presidents. These men were leading scholars, and they were experienced administrators; in some cases, they held degrees from the universities they now lead. And none of them — not one — inherited the job from his father or mother.

That goes without saying, right? Nonprofit, tax-exempt universities are not typically family dynasties. People would think it queer if Drew Gilpin Faust’s daughter succeeded her mother as president of Harvard. But at evangelical Christian colleges, including some of the most prominent, there are different expectations.

Since 2007, the world’s largest Christian university, Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Va., has been led by Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of the famous founder. The presidency of Oral Roberts University, in Tulsa, Okla., passed from father to son (although it has since passed out of the family). Until Friday, when Stephen Jones stepped down as president of Bob Jones University, in Greenville, S.C., the college had been led only by Bob Jones and three generations of his direct descendants.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The morning after Mkeki Ntakai learned of the mass kidnapping by Boko Haram, he fired up his rickety motor scooter and sped down a dirt road in northern Nigeria to find his 16-year-old daughter.

Mr. Ntakai was joined by more than 100 fathers, uncles and big brothers, all seeking several hundred girls taken by force from a boarding school in the remote hamlet of Chibok. The men followed a trail of hair ties and scraps of clothing the girls dropped to lead rescuers. One found his daughter's flip-flop; another retrieved a remnant of a school uniform.

But the kidnappers had too big a head start. Three weeks later, the trail has gone cold for the 223 girls still missing. More than 50 managed to escape in the first few hours, jumping out of the beds of pickup trucks or slipping away while they were supposed to be washing dishes.

The rest are presumed held by the jihadi group, whose leader Abubakar Shekau said he would sell the girls as slaves.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

1. Pray

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

2. Spread The Word & Educate

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bishops — two Episcopal, one Roman Catholic, one Lutheran and one United Methodist — hope their collective gravitas, backed by the support of their 450,000 parishioners, will persuade citizens and state legislators to reform and fund a system they believe is failing too many children.

“Crumbling buildings, inadequate funding, and low expectations mark too many districts at a time when a 21st century economy demands more of our people. How can the next generation rise to the challenge of this day and age when they are not given the superior education they deserve?” the bishops wrote in the letter.

“Even in the most successful of school districts, too many students underachieve, or worse, fall through the cracks and do not achieve success. All too easily they can become caught in the grip of poverty.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationPovertyReligion & Culture* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted May 5, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury's view that the UK is "a deeply Christian country" is a "self-serving claim" and his church is "banging the religious drum" , according to a secular campaign group.

The comments come after the Most Rev Justin Welby defended faith schools, pointing out they are often in the poorest parts of the country.

But the National Secular Society (NSS) said Church of England schools "prioritise evangelisation over serving the population who are steadily abandoning his pews".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 4, 2014 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has defended faith schools, saying they provide education for some of the poorest children in the UK.

Archbishop Welby acknowledged the potential danger of fundamentalists attempting to take control of schools.

However, in a BBC interview he said Church of England schools continued to "love and serve", as they "have done for hundreds of years"

The archbishop repeated his view that the UK is "a deeply Christian country".

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted May 4, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Consider Monica (not her real name), the African American mother of two daughters. An immigrant from Cote d’Ivoire, she is an American success story, gaining her citizenship and raising two daughters on her own. One is a college junior, the other a high school senior trying to decide between colleges.

Before getting married in July, Monica’s income made her eligible for financial aid which brought her yearly tuition liability to $15,000. If she had not got married, her per-student tuition liability would have likely remained the same, so she would have been responsible for $30,000 a year for both of her daughters combined.

Instead, her daughter’s university wants her to contribute $25,000 for each child because of her new husband’s income. This increase happened even though Monica’s new husband is not the biological or legal father of her daughters, and he has children of his own to support.

Cohabitation without marriage pays.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinanceTaxesPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...last week the story began to crumble faster than an ancient papyrus exposed in the windy Sudan. Mr. Askeland found, among the online links that Harvard used as part of its publicity push, images of another fragment, of the Gospel of John, that turned out to share many similarities—including the handwriting, ink and writing instrument used—with the "wife" fragment. The Gospel of John text, he discovered, had been directly copied from a 1924 publication.

"Two factors immediately indicated that this was a forgery," Mr. Askeland tells me. "First, the fragment shared the same line breaks as the 1924 publication. Second, the fragment contained a peculiar dialect of Coptic called Lycopolitan, which fell out of use during or before the sixth century." Ms. King had done two radiometric tests, he noted, and "concluded that the papyrus plants used for this fragment had been harvested in the seventh to ninth centuries." In other words, the fragment that came from the same material as the "Jesus' wife" fragment was written in a dialect that didn't exist when the papyrus it appears on was made.

Mark Goodacre, a New Testament professor and Coptic expert at Duke University, wrote on his NT Blog on April 25 about the Gospel of John discovery: "It is beyond reasonable doubt that this is a fake, and this conclusion means that the Jesus' Wife Fragment is a fake too." Alin Suciu, a research associate at the University of Hamburg and a Coptic manuscript specialist, wrote online on April 26: "Given that the evidence of the forgery is now overwhelming, I consider the polemic surrounding the Gospel of Jesus' Wife papyrus over."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchEducationHistory* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral Theology

6 Comments
Posted May 2, 2014 at 6:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The National Council of Churches USA has joined in “urgent solidarity” with Christians and other faith groups around the world to call for the release of 234 Nigerian school girls kidnapped April 14 by the Boko Haram extremist sect.

Speaking out with special urgency is the Church of the Brethren, one of the NCC’s member communions. Leadership of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria—EYN) has reported that most of the girls are EYN.

“This act of cruel violence tears at the hearts of Brethren who are called as witnesses of God’s call to live in love and peace with our neighbors,” said Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren in the U.S.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther Churches

0 Comments
Posted May 1, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Listen to it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly three quarters of Danwon [High School]’s 11th graders died two weeks ago in the sinking of a ferry that ranks as one of the country’s deadliest disasters in recent decades.

“I’ve seen these kids grow up. I know each of their faces,” said Mr. Kim[In-jea], 57, who lives nearby and said seven of his neighbors lost their children. “To say that this neighborhood feels empty would be an understatement. This neighborhood feels like a morgue.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenEducation* International News & CommentaryAsiaSouth Korea* TheologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 1, 2014 at 4:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At least 18 people, including 10 children, have been killed in a Syrian government air strike in the northern city of Aleppo, activist groups say.

A missile struck Ain Jalout school in the Ansari district, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Images showed blood on corridor walls and debris in classrooms.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria

0 Comments
Posted April 30, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By kindergarten, girls are substantially more attentive, better behaved, more sensitive, more persistent, more flexible and more independent than boys, according to a new paper from Third Way, a Washington research group. The gap grows over the course of elementary school and feeds into academic gaps between the sexes. By eighth grade, 48 percent of girls receive a mix of A’s and B’s or better. Only 31 percent of boys do.

And in an economy that rewards knowledge, the academic struggles of boys turn into economic struggles. Men’s wages are stagnating. Men are much more likely to be idle — neither working, looking for work nor caring for family — than they once were and much more likely to be idle than women.

We reported last week that the United States had lost its once-enormous global lead in middle-class pay, based on international income surveys over the last three decades. After-tax median income in Canada appears to have been higher last year than the same measure in this country. The poor in Canada and much of western Europe earn more than the poor here.

These depressing trends have many causes, but the social struggles of men and boys are an important one.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted April 29, 2014 at 4:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Family scholars, from sociologist Sara McLanahan to psychologist Ross Parke, have long observed that fathers typically play an important role in advancing the welfare of their children. Focusing on the impact of family structure, McLanahan has found that, compared to children from single-parent homes, children who live with their fathers in an intact family have significantly lower rates of incarceration and teenage pregnancy and higher rates of high school and college graduation. Examining the extent and style of paternal involvement, Parke notes, for instance, that engaged fathers play an important role in “helping sons and daughters achieve independent and distinct identities” and that this independence often translates into educational and occupational success.

Likewise, a U.S. Department of Education study found that among children living with both biological parents, those with highly involved fathers were 42 percent more likely to earn A grades and 33 percent less likely to be held back a year in school than children whose dads had low levels of involvement. But little research has examined the association between paternal involvement per se and college graduation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilySociology

0 Comments
Posted April 28, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they believe that the Bible holds the answer to all or most of life’s basic questions. Yet only one-third know that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and 10 percent think that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.

Many Americans know even less about other faiths, from Islam to Hinduism. Several days after 9/11, a vigilante shot and killed an Indian-American Sikh because of the assumption that a turban must mean a Muslim: Ignorance and murderous bigotry joined in one.

All this goes to the larger question of the relevance of the humanities. Literature, philosophy and the arts have come to be seen as effete and irrelevant, but if we want to understand the world around us and think deeply about it, it helps to have exposure to Shakespeare and Kant, Mozart and Confucius — and, yes, Jesus, Moses and the Prophet Muhammad.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted April 28, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Maybe RoboCop is closer to becoming a reality than you think.

Engineers at Clemson University are trying to get research moving to create a robot capable of responding to a violent attack at a school, such as what happened at Sandy Hook or Columbine.

"This will save lives," said Dr. Juan Gilbert, presidential endowed professor and chairman of the Human-Centered Computing Division at Clemson.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationScience & TechnologyViolence* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You spend anytime around the 44-year-old [Clemson Coach] and you are going to hear about Jesus, Scripture, and the power of it all. It isn't necessarily, or at least not always, done to proselytize. It's part of how he talks, how he lives. Faith, Family, Football – that's about it with him.

There is no delineation.

For the people at the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a non-profit out of Madison, Wis., there needs to be or he shouldn't have his job.

In what is, if nothing else, an absolutely fascinating subject, the FFRF sent a letter of complaint to Clemson this week about "several serious constitutional concerns" over how "Christian worship seems interwoven into the Clemson football program."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSportsYoung Adults* South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted April 17, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Mustang, Okla., school board voted Monday (April 14) to adopt a Bible course developed by Steve Green, clearing the way for the Hobby Lobby president, whose suit against the Affordable Care Act is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, to enter another charged arena at the borderline of church and state.

The board, whose district is practically in Hobby Lobby’s Oklahoma City backyard, agreed to beta-test the first year of the Museum of the Bible Curriculum, an ambitious four-year public school elective on the narrative, history and impact of the Good Book.

For at least the first semester of the 2014-15 year, Mustang alone will employ the program, said Jerry Pattengale, head of the Green Scholars Initiative, which is overseeing its development. In September 2016, he hopes to place it in at least 100 high schools; by the following year, “thousands.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenEducationReligion & Culture* TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

CareerCast is out with their annual ranking of the 10 best and 10 worst jobs for 2014, and let's just say that math and science guys everywhere are about to high-five.

Nine out of 10 of the best jobs fell into the STEM career category (science, technology, engineering and math), with the "numbers guys," in particular, locking in 3 of the top 4 spots.

"This absolutely verifies the importance of STEM careers," said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com and JobsRated.com.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationScience & TechnologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 15, 2014 at 4:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Around 100 girls are thought to have been abducted in an attack on a school in north-east Nigeria, officials say.

Gunmen reportedly arrived at the school in Chibok, Borno state, late last night, and ordered the hostel's teenage residents on to lorries.

The attackers are believed to be from the Islamist group, Boko Haram, whose militants frequently target schools.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted April 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I am (or try to be) a partisan of pluralism....But this respect is difficult to maintain when these institutions will not admit that this is what is going on. Instead, we have the pretense of universality — the insistence that the post-Eich Mozilla is open to all ideas, the invocations of the “spirit of free expression” from a school that’s kicking a controversial speaker off the stage.

And with the pretense, increasingly, comes a dismissive attitude toward those institutions — mostly religious — that do acknowledge their own dogmas and commitments, and ask for the freedom to embody them and live them out.

It would be a far, far better thing if Harvard and Brandeis and Mozilla would simply say, explicitly, that they are as ideologically progressive as Notre Dame is Catholic or B. Y.U. is Mormon or Chick-fil-A is evangelical, and that they intend to run their institution according to those lights.

I can live with the progressivism. It’s the lying that gets toxic.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted April 12, 2014 at 2:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all from the Washington Post.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The thing about the wife issue is that it's near sexual ethics. There's no hotter topic in our culture right now than sexual ethics. If you can turn it around and say, "You [Christians] have been thinking for 2,000 years that Jesus was celibate, and you held that forth as an ideal. It turns out that he was married and very much interested in sex. Therefore, he didn't really care about sexual ethics they way modern-day Christians do."

Is there any reason Christians should be unsettled by documents like these?

The Wife of Jesus fragment should not at all be unsettling for the Christian faith. It reflects the belief of someone who was writing between the fifth and ninth century. That belief might go earlier, but when we know that there were all kinds of heretical beliefs cropping up around end of the first century, we also know this is nothing new.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality* TheologyChristology

6 Comments
Posted April 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Weighing in at more than $1 trillion, student loan debt is now larger than total credit card debt. Morning Edition recently asked young adults about their biggest concerns, and more than two-thirds of respondents mentioned college debt. Many say they have put off marriage or buying a home because of the financial burden they took on as students.

William Elliott, director of the Assets and Education Initiative at the University of Kansas, says the burden of student loans isn't just a personal, short-term problem for individuals. Loans now make up too large a part of financial aid packages, he tells NPR's David Greene, "and they're too big of a part of how we finance college."

As a result, Elliott says, too many young people are spending years on loan repayment, instead of growing personal wealth through investments like real estate and retirement accounts. In the long-term, he adds, that can be a drag on the economy — and create a wealth divide between people who have student debt and those who don't.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 11, 2014 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.


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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When LaTisha Styles graduated from Kennesaw State University in Georgia in 2006 she had $35,000 of student debt. This obligation would have been easy to discharge if her Spanish degree had helped her land a well-paid job. But there is no shortage of Spanish-speakers in a nation that borders Latin America. So Ms Styles found herself working in a clothes shop and a fast-food restaurant for no more than $11 an hour.

Frustrated, she took the gutsy decision to go back to the same college and study something more pragmatic. She majored in finance, and now has a good job at an investment consulting firm. Her debt has swollen to $65,000, but she will have little trouble paying it off.

As Ms Styles’s story shows, there is no simple answer to the question “Is college worth it?” Some degrees pay for themselves; others don’t. American schoolkids pondering whether to take on huge student loans are constantly told that college is the gateway to the middle class. The truth is more nuanced, as Barack Obama hinted when he said in January that “folks can make a lot more” by learning a trade “than they might with an art history degree”. An angry art history professor forced him to apologise, but he was right.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 9, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Whether a lesson be mastered in obedience to conscience, or from a dread of punishment, from filial affection, or determination to beat a rival, is a question of little moment, I grant, in reference to the stock of knowledge acquired, but of incalculable consequence when asked in reference to the bearing upon moral character. The zeal to make scholars, should, in the minds of Christians at least, be tempered by the knowledge that it may repress a zeal for better things. The head should not be furnished at the expense of the heart. Surely, at most, it is exchanging fine gold for silver, when the culture of gracious affections and holy principle is neglected for any attainments of intellect, however brilliant or varied. What Christian parent, would wish his son to be a linguist or a mathematician, of the richest acquirements or the deepest science, if he must become so by a process, in which the improvement of his religious capabilities would be surrendered, or his mind accustomed to motives not recognised in the pure and self-denying discipline of the Gospel. Not that such discipline is unfriendly to intellectual superiority; on the contrary, the incentives to attain it, will be enduring, and consequently efficient, in proportion to their purity. The highest allurements to the cultivation of our rational nature, are peculiar to Christianity. Hence, literature and science have won their highest honors in the productions of minds most deeply imbued with its spirit. The effect, however, of exclusively Christian discipline in a seminary of learning, when fairly stated, is not so much to produce one or two prodigies, as to increase the average quantum of industry; to raise the standard of proficiency among the many of moderate abilities, rather than to multiply the opportunities of distinction for the gifted few.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryAdult Education* Culture-WatchChildrenEducation* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted April 8, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Love of learning is the guide to life, Φιλοσοφία Βίου Κυβερνήτης, is the motto of Phi Beta Kappa and a part of history too often forgotten. It makes me think immediately of The Love of Learning and the Desire for God by Jean Leclercq, O.S.B., a wonderful book about the Cistercians. It also brings to mind the whole book of Proverbs--KSH.



Filed under: * By Kendall* Culture-WatchEducationPhilosophy* TheologyAnthropologyThe Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

0 Comments
Posted April 5, 2014 at 4:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Diocese of the Central Province of Central Africa has revealed plans to build a US$120 million university in Chitungwiza, about 35km south-east of Harare.

Anglican Diocese of Harare Bishop Chad Gandiya said the church was looking beyond secondary education; “Anglican Diocese of Harare has its intention to build an integral university in Chitungwiza. It makes sense for the university to be placed in Chitungwiza, a city that is growing and a home to many institutions providing secondary school education”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Central Africa* Culture-WatchEducation* International News & CommentaryAfricaZimbabwe

0 Comments
Posted April 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A little boy, "Jesus", is walking carefully in his plimsolls across a sea of tables to save his diminutive disciples, who are grouped together in the prayer corner and unable to suppress their giggles at the re-enactment of the Biblical miracle. This is the surprising, if entertaining, religious scene I am met with when I stick my head around the corner of a classroom at St Matthew's Primary in Blackburn.

But the surprise is not so much the sight of a child walking on makeshift water. St Matthew's is, after all, a Church of England school, where the walls are adorned with crosses and religious drawings, and which regularly organises Christian activities, readings, prayers and songs. No, the surprise is that almost every child in the class is Muslim.

In fact, 97 per cent of the 265 pupils schooled in the 1980s-style building that is perched on a hill overlooking the Lancastrian city are from Muslim families. The head teacher, Julian Rogers, believes that the word of God should be spoken and Christian values and morals upheld at the school no matter what background the children are from. Indeed, during assemblies, his biblical stories hold his audience – of excited, intrigued and sometimes confused-looking pupils – captive.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted April 4, 2014 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New Zealand came first in a global index published on Thursday that ranks countries by social and environmental performance rather than economic output in a drive to make social progress a priority for politicians and businesses.

The Social Progress Index (SPI) rates 132 countries on more than 50 indicators, including health, sanitation, shelter, personal safety, access to information, sustainability, tolerance and inclusion and access to education.

The SPI asks questions such as whether a country can satisfy its people's basic needs and whether it has the infrastructure and capacity to allow its citizens to improve the quality of their lives and reach their full potential.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationGlobalizationScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural ResourcesForeign RelationsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 3, 2014 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The cherished idea of the Twitter universe as a gloriously turbulent and fluid place for debate has taken a major hit, thanks to new research from China.

At the same time, findings from the United States have demolished another plank of common wisdom about digital communications. There is, it turns out, no relationship at all between the number of times an online article is shared and the number of times it is actually read.

In a paper published in March, two Chinese social scientists, Fei Xiong and Yun Liu, of Jiaotong University in Beijing, revealed unexpected results from an in-depth study into how opinions form on social media.

The pair analysed 6 million posts from almost 2.5 million Twitter users during a six-month period. In looking at how Twitter users are influenced by the thoughts of other micro-bloggers, the researchers came to what they termed a ''non-trivial'' conclusion, meaning, pretty much, they aren't.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingEducationGlobalizationPsychologyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 3, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bob Kuhn, Trinity Western University’s newly-named president, says the degree of outright opposition to its new law school could mark the beginning of “a new era of persecution” against the Church in Canada.

“It’s sudden and swift and very powerful,” says Kuhn. “Having practiced law for close to 34 years, I have never seen anything quite like it in terms of the sea-change, a tsunami of societal offence against Christians and Christian views.”

In December, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada gave the school the green light. Now, three of its member-societies (British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia) are in the process of debating whether to allow TWU law school grads to article in their provinces. At issue is the university’s community covenant, which upholds biblical values on sexual relations. Many in the legal community interpret that as “anti-gay.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:56 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Catholic primary school is to become a Church of England school because of falling numbers of Catholic pupils.

Sacred Heart RC Primary School in Lynwood Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, will become an Anglican academy, a spokesman for Blackburn Diocese said.

It will no longer come under the control of the council, and will be sponsored by the Cidari Trust, set up by the diocese to run academies.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted April 3, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“There’s such a status thing here: ‘I went Georgetown. I want my kid to go to Georgetown or better.’ It’s such a rat race,” says Bowers, who has lived in McLean for 24 years. “Nobody is taking a step back and asking, ‘Is going to Princeton going to make me happier in the long run? Is this even right for my child?’ Because there are real consequences to living this way.”

Bowers knows it’s a high-stakes parenting arms race in McLean and communities like it. The obsession with grades and college résumés can overwhelm everything. She wants people to back off — and is trying to get them to, with film screenings, workshops, lectures and meetings with clergy and mental health professionals.

Many fellow parents think that disarming sounds good, in theory. The problem is, they’re reluctant to try it with their own kid.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & Family

1 Comments
Posted March 23, 2014 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[My friend] Joseph also pushed me on the origins of the universe. I had always believed in the Big Bang. But I was blissfully unaware that the man who first proposed it, Georges Lemaître, was a Catholic priest. And I'd happily ignored the rabbit trail of a problem of what caused the Big Bang, and what caused that cause, and so on.

By Valentine's Day, I began to believe in God. There was no intellectual shame in being a deist, after all, as I joined the respectable ranks of Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers.

I wouldn't stay a deist for long. A Catholic friend gave me J. Budziszewski's book Ask Me Anything, which included the Christian teaching that "love is a commitment of the will to the true good of the other person." This theme—of love as sacrifice for true good—struck me. The Cross no longer seemed a grotesque symbol of divine sadism, but a remarkable act of love. And Christianity began to look less strangely mythical and more cosmically beautiful.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheism* TheologyApologetics

1 Comments
Posted March 22, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Scientists say they have extraordinary new evidence to support a Big Bang Theory for the origin of the Universe.

Researchers believe they have found the signal left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space that must have occurred just fractions of a second after everything came into being.

It takes the form of a distinctive twist in the oldest light detectable with telescopes.

Read it all and you may also enjoy BBC explains Big Bang discovery using a sock (a video of about 2 1/2 minutes, watch it all).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryScience & Technology

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Posted March 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There are many varieties of fame. Jesus Christ was the first person to achieve it globally, Clive James wrote, “without conquering the world by violence.” The best kind for a poet to earn, W. H. Auden said, is like some valley cheese — “local, but prized elsewhere.” Yet if all fame, like all politics, is to some degree local, how thoroughly it has been transmitted across the planet and through the centuries has been difficult, if not impossible, to quantify.

Pantheon, a new project from the Macro Connections group in M.I.T.’s Media Lab, is giving that a stab. It has collected and analyzed data on cultural production from 4,000 B.C. to 2010. With a few clicks on its website, which just went live, you can swing through time and geography, making plain the output of, say, Brazil (largely soccer players) or Belarus (politicians). It also ranks professions from chemists to jurists to porn stars (No. 1 is Jenna Jameson; No. 2 is the Czech Republic’s Silvia Saint).

For now, you are legitimately famous, the M.I.T. team has decided, if a Wikipedia page under your name exists in more than 25 languages.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetEducationGlobalizationHistoryMediaScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 17, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Britain’s failure to treat religious education seriously is storing up social problems, religious leaders have warned.

Jonathan Romain, a senior rabbi, warned that failure to make RE a core part of the school curriculum could prove not only an academic mistake, but also one that was detrimental to the health of society.

He was speaking as a report due to be published today by the all-party parliamentary group on Religious Education argues that the teaching of RE can be crucial in reducing tension in multifaith communities.

Read it all (subscription required).

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

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Posted March 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A devoted Chinese father who carries his disabled son 18 miles to school every day will be provided with government-funded accommodation nearby.

Yu Xukang walks the huge distance with his son, Xiao Qiang, strapped to his back in a specially constructed basket.

The 40-year-old, from Fengyi township in Yibin county in southwest China’s Sichuan province - 2,000 miles west of Shanghai - refused to give up on the boy now aged 12, despite the fact that both his arms and legs are twisted and his back is hunched.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyTravel* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

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Posted March 16, 2014 at 1:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishops of Newcastle and Winchester have championed the importance of excellent teachers for pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. They were involved in a debate in the House of Lords about the role of schools in improving social mobility on the 13th March.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture

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Posted March 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Professors on University of Wisconsin System campuses occasionally get into trouble for what they say in class, on social media or on the Internet.

Rachel Slocum, a UW-La Crosse assistant professor of geography, urged 18 students in an online course last October to do whatever they could, despite limited access to data for an assignment, because the federal government had partially shut down as a result of a budget impasse.

The message didn't get her into trouble. The way she said it did.

"Hi everyone," she emailed the students "Some of the data gathering assignment will be impossible to complete until the Republican/Tea Party controlled House of Representatives agrees to fund the government."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingEducationGlobalizationMediaScience & TechnologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 16, 2014 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducation

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Posted March 15, 2014 at 7:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHealth & MedicineTeens / Youth

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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


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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jeanina Jenkins, a 20-year-old high-school graduate from St. Louis, is stuck in a $7.82-an-hour part-time job at McDonald’s Corp. that she calls a “last resort” because nobody would offer her anything better.

Stephen O’Malley, 26, a West Virginia University graduate, wants to put his history degree to use teaching high school. What he’s found instead is a bartender’s job in his home town of Manasquan, New Jersey.

Jenkins and O’Malley are at opposite ends of a dynamic that is pushing those with college degrees down into competition with high-school graduates for low-wage jobs that don’t require college. As this competition has intensified during and after the recession, it’s meant relatively higher unemployment, declining labor market participation and lower wages for those with less education.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General

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Posted March 13, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Legal definitions of insanity still focus on psychosis, the delusions of which are held to diminish responsibility. Medical conceptions include many additional bizarre behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. The legal definition has historically encompassed both questions of agency (he didn’t know what he was doing) and morality (he didn’t know that what he was doing was wrong). The psychiatric profession doesn’t consider mass killers to be necessarily insane, which distresses Peter. For him, the crime defines the illness—as he said, soon after we met, you’d have to be crazy to do such a thing. He found the idea of Adam’s not being insane much more devastating than the thought of his being insane. Peter has searched the psychiatric literature on mass killers, trying to understand what happened to his son. He came across the work of Park Dietz, a psychiatrist who, in 1986, coined the term “pseudocommando.” Dietz says that for pseudocommandos a preoccupation with weapons and war regalia makes up for a sense of impotence and failure. He wrote that we insist that mass killers are insane only to reassure ourselves that normal people are incapable of such evil.

Crimes of passion are relational, whereas plotted crimes such as Adam’s are unsocial. But the dichotomy isn’t clear-cut; most crimes lie along a spectrum. So Sandy Hook was a culmination—neither sudden nor entirely calculated, at least until the very end. James Knoll, a forensic psychiatrist at suny, has written that Adam’s act conveyed a message: “I carry profound hurt—I’ll go ballistic and transfer it onto you.” That’s as much motive as we’re likely to find.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyPsychologyViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheodicy

1 Comments
Posted March 13, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[The] Revd Duncan Myers has been appointed as the Church of England's Higher Education Advisor. His extensive and varied experience of university life includes serving as a Chaplain in four Higher Education institutions, most recently at London South Bank University. He has also held a number of management positions including International Student Co-ordinator at the University of Durham, Tutor for Postgraduate Students at Hatfield College, and Senior Pastoral Advisor at Nottingham Trent University.

Read it all.

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

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Posted March 12, 2014 at 10:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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