click on a date to see all the day's entries
About TitusOneNineOld Titusonenine site (Jan04-May07)
Kendall's e-mail (replace -at- with @)
"Elves" e-mail (blog admin)
A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
Blog Tips & Info
Info to help you learn your way around the new blog, and posts where you can report problems or offer suggestionsMobile-friendly view (blog headlines): Click Here
Print-friendly view of all articles: Click Here
Recent Comments Page:
Registration & Login Help
Blog Tips Series
The above list is limited to "parent" categories. To see the entire category index and select specific sub-categories, click on "Full Category Index"
Full Category Index
Anglican / Episcopal RSS Feed
©2013 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.
TitusOneNine Links Page
I. Anglican / Episcopal Resources & Links
1. Important Documents
documents are in chronological order, most recent first
Also, don't miss:
2. Websites & Blogs
A. Official websites
B. Anglican / Episcopal News
C. Anglican / Episcopal Blogs
By no means exhaustive. Let us know what we've missed
Previous versions of Titusonenine:
NORTH AMERICAN ANGLICANS:
INTERNATIONAL ANGLICAN BLOGS & BLOGGERS
BLOGGING BISHOPS (US & Overseas)
II. General Resources & Links
YET more links coming soon...! including Non-Anglican links
Watch the whole episode and then read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
...all this elite pressure wouldn’t have worked even ten years ago, and certainly not twenty or thirty years ago. How could what then seemed a settled conviction about sexuality (or prejudice, if you wish) disappear so fast?
[ Brendan ] O’Neill has an answer, which seems to me correct. The non-elites proved susceptible to such pressures for a reason, he notes. “The fragility of society’s attachment to traditional marriage itself, to the virtue of commitment, has also been key to the formulation of the gay-marriage consensus. Indeed, it is the rubble upon which the gay-marriage edifice is built.”
Read it all.
Of the crises facing American troops today, suicide ranks among the most emotionally wrenching — and baffling. Over the course of nearly 12 years and two wars, suicide among active-duty troops has risen steadily, hitting a record of 350 in 2012. That total was twice as many as a decade before and surpassed not only the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan but also the number who died in transportation accidents last year.
Even with the withdrawal from Iraq and the pullback in Afghanistan, the rate of suicide within the military has continued to rise significantly faster than within the general population, where it is also rising. In 2002, the military’s suicide rate was 10.3 per 100,000 troops, well below the comparable civilian rate. But today the rates are nearly the same, above 18 per 100,000 people.
And according to some experts, the military may be undercounting the problem because of the way it calculates its suicide rate.
Read it all.
Five years after the financial crisis first hit Europe, citizens of European Union member states are growing increasingly wary of the body that was supposed to provide them with economic benefits. Public confidence in the E.U. has dropped to staggering new lows, according to an annual survey conducted by the nonpartisan, Washington-based Pew Research Center.
“The European Union is the new sick man of Europe,” according to Pew’s report of the survey results. “The effort over the past half century to create a more united Europe is now the principal casualty of the euro crisis. The European project now stands in disrepute across much of Europe.”
Support for the EU has taken a huge hit over the past year, falling in five of the eight E.U. countries surveyed by Pew.
Read it all.
Today 12% of websites are pornographic, and 40 million Americans are regular visitors—including 70% of 18- to 34-year-olds, who look at porn at least once a month, according to a recent survey by Cosmopolitan magazine (which, let's face it, is the authority here). Fully 94% of therapists in another survey reported seeing an increase in people addicted to porn. It has become a whole generation's sex education and could be the same for the next—they are fumbling around online, not in the back seat. One estimate now puts the average age of first viewing at 11. Imagine seeing "Last Tango in Paris" before your first kiss.
Countless studies connect porn with a new and negative attitude to intimate relationships, and neurological imaging confirms it. Susan Fiske, professor of psychology at Princeton University, used MRI scans in 2010 to analyze men watching porn. Afterward, brain activity revealed, they looked at women more as objects than as people. The new DSM-5 will add the diagnosis "Hypersexual Disorder," which includes compulsive pornography use.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Pornography Psychology Sexuality * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The former Archbishop of York stood accused last night of covering up allegations that a senior Church of England clergyman had abused choirboys and school pupils.
Lord Hope of Thornes was made aware of the accusations against the Very Rev Robert Waddington, a former Dean of Manchester Cathedral and once the cleric in overall charge of Church schools, in 1999 and again in 2003. Waddington was stripped of his right to conduct church services but the archbishop did not report concerns about alleged past abuse or a potential continuing threat to children to police or child protection agencies.
Read it all (subscription required).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Psychology Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, will present a bill to the House of Lords next week which would introduce a system similar to that in place in the US state of Oregon.
It would allow doctors to provide a fatal dose of drugs to patients judged to have less than six months to live....The bill, which will be tabled on May 15, is based on the conclusions of Lord Falconer’s Commission on Assisted Dying, a group of peers and academics which held hearings in the style of a royal commission.
The Commission was dismissed by critics, including the Church of England, as a “self appointed” group of euthanasia supporters.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Psychology Suicide Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Watch it all. It will brighten your day.
When the news broke that her father was about to be appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, Katharine Welby found herself in floods of tears.
“I ended up crying and crying,” she says, but not because she didn’t want her dad to get the job....
Her weeping was caused by depression. The illness is “a constant struggle” in her life and creates moments of crisis in which she wants to “run away and hide in a hole”. In the past, it has brought her to the brink of suicide.
Read it all.
We are becoming a society in which “choice” and self-defined identities trump once-common values and traditional beliefs. But contrary to the rhetoric of its defenders, this shift is not a simple advance for freedom. The privileging of “choice” above all else in fact requires re-engineering the human person and society as a whole, and this will inevitably involve a great deal of coercion.
Wesley J. SmithThis shift, if it didn’t begin with Roe v. Wade, could be said to have been dramatically accelerated by it. Despite continuing opposition by over 50 percent of the American people, abortion is now universally available, in some places through the ninth month. Two states have legalized assisted suicide for the terminally ill—once strictly prohibited by the Hippocratic Oath. Now, some doctors actively collaborate in lethally overdosing their patients.
Advocacy for legalizing “after birth” abortion—e.g., infanticide—as a natural extension of the abortion right is growing more prominent, and not just among acolytes of Princeton’s Peter Singer. A Florida Planned Parenthood representative, opposing a bill that would require medical treatment for an infant who survives abortion, said the choice to care for the child should be a private one made between a mother and her doctor.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children History Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Philosophy Psychology Religion & Culture Science & Technology Young Adults * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Secularism * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Research published as part of David Cameron’s plan to measure the nation’s “happiness” indicates that almost seven million members of the baby-boomer generation and above admit feeling lonely.
Among people over 80, the proportion rises to almost half, including a large minority who admit they feel lonely much of the time.
But campaign groups warned that the study suggests that the generation now approaching retirement will prove to be a “loneliness time bomb”.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Middle Age Psychology * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Its surprising how many people still marry. As everyone knows, it’s a risky proposition; the divorce rate, though down from its peak of one in two marriages in the early 1980s, remains substantial. Besides, you can have a perfectly respectable life these days without marrying.
When the Pew Research Center asked a sample of Americans in 2010 what they thought about the “growing variety in the types of family arrangements that people live in,” 34 percent responded that it was a good thing, and 32 percent said it made no difference. Having a child outside of marriage has also become common. According to a report by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, 47 percent of American women who give birth in their 20s are unmarried at the time.
And still, demographers project that at least 80 percent of Americans will marry at some point in their lives.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Middle Age Psychology Sociology Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Between the ages of 36 and 38, I spent nearly $50,000 to freeze 70 eggs in the hope that they would help me have a family in my mid-40s, when my natural fertility is gone. For this baby insurance, I obliterated my savings and used up the money my parents had set aside for a wedding. It was the best investment I ever made.
Egg freezing stopped the sadness that I was feeling at losing my chance to have the child I had dreamed about my entire life. It soothed my pangs of regret for frittering away my 20s with a man I didn't want to have children with, and for wasting more years in my 30s with a man who wasn't sure he even wanted children. It took away the punishing pressure to seek a new mate and helped me find love again at age 42.
I decided to freeze on the afternoon of my 36th birthday, when I did a fresh round of baby math on the back of a business card at Starbucks. Even if the man I was dating at the time agreed to start a family in the near future, I was cutting it close to have one baby, let alone a second. Several months later, after injecting myself for nearly two weeks with hormone shots, I was in surgery at a Manhattan fertility clinic as my doctor pierced my ovaries, suctioned out nine eggs and handed them to the embryologist to freeze until I was ready to use them. As soon as I woke up in the recovery room, I no longer felt as though I were watching my window to have a baby close by the month. My future seemed full of possibility again.
Read it all.
A new poll finds overwhelming support for assisted suicide for the terminally ill among Anglicans, Catholics, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews in Britain, with Baptists and Muslims the only groups that oppose changes to British law, which currently prohibits assisted suicide.
But Britons are debating the topic intensely.
More than seven in 10 (72 percent) members of the established Church of England and 56 percent of Roman Catholics support assisted suicide for the terminally ill, the survey shows.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Life Ethics Psychology Suicide * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Perhaps the hardest part is that her son once was such a normal boy, a Mount Pleasant kid with loving parents, extended family and a life full of friends and dreams.
But at 17, Jack Youngs’ thoughts turned down a disturbing new path.
He began to rub his hands together anxiously. He hung his head at the table and avoided friends.
The boy who once swam on the neighborhood team and rode his scooter along its tree-lined streets now hid in the safety of his bedroom as he plunged deeper down that lonely turn in his mind.
Read it all.
In the real world, we have relationships with individuals, not statistical gender profiles (or, thank God, Woody Allen characters). An individual’s sex drive can’t be predicted to fall at any particular point on the gender spectrum—and those drives also fluctuate based on the cultures we live in, the relationships we form, the age we’re at, and the circumstances of the evening. And, as Dan Savage has repeatedly advised frustrated partners, the Mowers' model isn't the only one—other people might find success opening their relationship to other people, or going their separate ways. It’s as much of a mistake to assume that a man needs sex constantly as it is to assume that a woman doesn’t. Better to talk about (and test-run) each partner's respective sexual and emotional needs before getting hitched—or publishing a trend piece purporting to apply to all people.Read it all.
Mr. [Reed] Hastings said he realized that the company’s attempt to both raise prices and separate into two companies, one the legacy DVD-by-mail business and the other the up-and-coming broadband streaming business, was trying to do too much too fast. Angry subscribers abandoned the company in droves (800,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone), revenue missed estimates and the stock plunged.
“I messed up,” Mr. Hastings wrote in an unusually forthright September 2011 blog post. Citing the precedents of AOL and Borders Books, which struggled or failed to make the digital transition, “my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming.” But in the rush to accelerate the transition, he wrote, “In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success.” He also made a video apology.
Mr. Hastings said he didn’t expect the apology alone to “turn it around,” adding, “I wasn’t naïve enough to think most customers care if the C.E.O. apologizes, but I thought it was honest and appropriate.”
Read it all.
It’s hardly a new prediction—we’ve been hearing it for years. Gay marriage is a slippery slope! A gateway drug! If we legalize it, then what’s next? Legalized polygamy?
We can only hope.
Yes, really. While the Supreme Court and the rest of us are all focused on the human right of marriage equality, let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage. We need to legalize polygamy, too. Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice. More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families.
Read it all.
Pastor Greg Laurie knows a thing or two about prayer in tough times.
The honorary chairman of this year’s National Day of Prayer (May 2) says prayer was the only thing that got him through his son’s death five years ago. When fellow megachurch pastor Rick Warren lost his son Matthew to suicide, Laurie was the man he most wanted to hear from.
Laurie, 60, who leads the evangelical Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., talked about prayer, grief and what not to say when a friend’s loved one dies. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Psychology Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * Theology Pastoral Theology
The clergy's is one of the few professions to show a higher level of care at work than in their personal lives, the findings of a psychometric test completed online by more than 80,000 people worldwide suggests. The drive to be obedient, however, is even stronger than the drive to care.
The MoralDNA test asks people to what extent they agree with a series of statements describing how they make decisions. For example: "I won't take the easy option if it's the wrong thing to do." Some of these questions relate to the workplace. The answers are used to create a "Moral DNA profile" that reflects the user's "decision-making preferences": the ethics of obedience, care, and reason....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings that left three dead and more than 260 injured, perhaps none face more significant adjustments or a longer road ahead than the 14 amputees who lost a limb.
For these victims, the path forward involves relearning almost everything, from getting out of bed to getting in a car. Whether they go on to lead satisfying lives depends largely on how they handle the spiritual challenges at hand, according to amputees and researchers.
Losing a limb is like losing a family member: It involves grief and mourning, according to Jack Richmond, a Chattanooga, Tenn., amputee who leads education efforts for the Manassas, Va.-based Amputee Coalition. When one’s body and abilities are radically changed, questions of meaning are suddenly urgent: Why did this happen? Why am I here?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Psychology Sports Urban/City Life and Issues Violence Young Adults * Economics, Politics Terrorism * South Carolina * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theodicy
We have piles of evidence to show that people overtrust their judgment and overestimate their goodness. Also, there is no easy correlation between self-esteem and actual performance....
This leads to my final question: In society generally, are more problems caused by overconfidence or underconfidence? The financial crisis and the tenor of our political debates suggest that overconfidence and self-idolatry are by far the larger problems. If that’s true, how do you combine the self-critical ability to recognize your limitations with the majestic confidence required to struggle against them?
I guess I’m asking how to marry self-criticism and self-assertion, a blend our society is inarticulate about. I guess I’m wondering, as we make this blend, whether most of us need more of the stereotypically female trait of self-doubt or the stereotypically male trait of self-promotion.
Read it all.
The daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury has called on the church to do more to eradicate the stigma of mental illness, revealing that she sometimes suffers from “unbearable” depression.
Katharine Welby, the 26-year old daughter of Archbishop Justin Welby who took up his new post last month, says she sometimes feels “very low”, with a “black veil of nothing hanging in front of me”....
Read it all (requires subscription) and please take the time to read Katharine Welby's blog post also.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Psychology Mental Illness Women Young Adults * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Pastor Rick Warren will join Ed Stetzer on his webshow, "The Exchange," Tuesday afternoon to talk about his 27-year-old son's suicide earlier this month.
Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, will host The Exchange live from the Exponential church planting conference in Orlando, Fla., where Warren had been scheduled to lead two Bible studies.
Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif., agreed to an interview with Stetzer about what pastors need to know about grief in their congregations, how his son's death has changed him and what church leaders can do to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of mental illness.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Children Marriage & Family Psychology Suicide * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Anthropology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Imagine a world with machines that wash, press and dress you on the way to work and vacations via hologram visits to exotic beaches. In his new book, The New Digital Age, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt does just that — but it's no gee-whiz Jetsons fantasy.
Schmidt partners up with Jared Cohen, a foreign policy counterterrorist specialist poached from the State Department now working for Google Ideas. Together they forecast a raft of new innovations and corresponding threats that will arise for dictatorships, techno revolutionaries, terrorists and you.
Cohen and Schmidt chatted with NPR's Audie Cornish about negotiating the shifting balance between privacy and security in a rapidly changing technological landscape.
Read or listen to it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Books Law & Legal Issues Psychology Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
In March, 7.6 million Americans who want more hours were stuck in part-time jobs, about the same as a year earlier and three million more than there were when the recession began at the end of 2007.
These almost invisible underemployed workers do not count toward the standard jobless rate of 7.6 percent. A broader measure, which includes the involuntary part-timers as well as people who want to work but have stopped looking, stands at 13.8 percent.
“There’s nothing inherently wrong with people taking part-time jobs if they want them,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago. “The problem is that people are accepting part-time pay because they have no other choice.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--
One of the most striking scientific discoveries about religion in recent years is that going to church weekly is good for you. Religious attendance — at least, religiosity — boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. It may add as much as two to three years to your life. The reason for this is not entirely clear.
Social support is no doubt part of the story. At the evangelical churches I’ve studied as an anthropologist, people really did seem to look out for one another. They showed up with dinner when friends were sick and sat to talk with them when they were unhappy. The help was sometimes surprisingly concrete. Perhaps a third of the church members belonged to small groups that met weekly to talk about the Bible and their lives. One evening, a young woman in a group I joined began to cry. Her dentist had told her that she needed a $1,500 procedure, and she didn’t have the money. To my amazement, our small group — most of them students — simply covered the cost, by anonymous donation. A study conducted in North Carolina found that frequent churchgoers had larger social networks, with more contact with, more affection for, and more kinds of social support from those people than their unchurched counterparts. And we know that social support is directly tied to better health.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture Sociology * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Anthropology
Whatever struck you, provoked you, moved you; whatever part of it which you believe is most significant or worthy of further consideration. Remember the more specific you are, the more other blog reads can participate in what you say--KSH.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet History Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Psychology Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues Violence Young Adults * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Economy The U.S. Government Politics in General City Government State Government * International News & Commentary Europe Russia * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed suspected marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 at the request of the Russian government, but didn't find evidence of suspicious activity and closed the case, an FBI official said Friday.
The fact that the FBI spoke with Mr. Tsarnaev, who was killed Friday morning in a firefight with authorities, is likely to become a focal point of the post mortem into how the attack was able to be carried out at the Boston Marathon. It also speaks to the challenge faced by authorities as terrorism morphs to some extent from the complex international plots of a decade ago to small-scale attacks carried out by individuals located within U.S.
U.S. counterterrorism policy has since 2001 focused largely on killing terrorists overseas or preventing them from getting into the U.S. But the Boston bombings show how the diffusion of terrorist tactics easily transcends borders. Countering small groups of individuals inside the U.S. can be a bedeviling assignment.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Psychology Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues Violence Young Adults * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Europe Russia * Theology Anthropology Theodicy
...I do love this city. I love its atrocious accent, its inferiority complex in terms of New York, its nut-job drivers, the insane logic of its street system. I get a perverse pleasure every time I take the T in the winter and the air-conditioning is on in the subway car, or when I take it in the summer and the heat is blasting. Bostonians don’t love easy things, they love hard things — blizzards, the bleachers in Fenway Park, a good brawl over a contested parking space. Two different friends texted me the identical message yesterday: They messed with the wrong city. This wasn’t a macho sentiment. It wasn’t “Bring it on” or a similarly insipid bit of posturing. The point wasn’t how we were going to mass in the coffee shops of the South End to figure out how to retaliate. Law enforcement will take care of that, thank you. No, what a Bostonian means when he or she says “They messed with the wrong city” is “You don’t think this changes anything, do you?”
Trust me, we won’t be giving up any civil liberties to keep ourselves safe because of this. We won’t cancel next year’s marathon. We won’t drive to New Hampshire and stockpile weapons. When the authorities find the weak and terminally maladjusted culprit or culprits, we’ll roll our eyes at whatever backward ideology they embrace and move on with our lives.
Read it all.
“Leading the conversation” is how you end up with the major Sunday shows somehow neglecting to invite a single anti-amnesty politician on a weekend dominated by the immigration debate. It’s how you end up with officially nonideological anchors and journalists lecturing social conservatives for being out of step with modern values. And it’s how you end up with a press corps that went all-in for the supposed “war on women” having to be shamed and harassed — by two writers in particular, Kirsten Powers in USA Today and Mollie Ziegler Hemingway of GetReligion — into paying attention to the grisly case of a Philadelphia doctor whose methods of late-term abortion included snipping the spines of neonates after they were delivered.
As the last example suggests, the problem here isn’t that American journalists are too quick to go on crusades. Rather, it’s that the press’s ideological blinders limit the kinds of crusades mainstream outlets are willing to entertain, and the formal commitment to neutrality encourages self-deception about what counts as crusading.
The core weakness of the mainstream media, in this sense, is less liberalism than parochialism....
Read it all.
Each suicide leaves behind on average six to ten survivors – husbands, wives, parents, children, siblings, other close friends or family members. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people, including many of our church members, will grieve the loss of a loved one to suicide.
I am one of those people. Some years ago, my father had a stroke that left him partially debilitated. Though he began rehabilitation, one of the side effects of the stroke was clinical depression. He lost all hope and eventually sank into despair. He couldn't see any reason to go on. Three months after the stroke, at age 58, he killed himself.
Though all deaths are tragic, suicide affects us differently than when someone dies in car accident or from a terminal illness. Counselors call death by suicide a "complicated grief" or "complicated bereavement," like death by murder or terrorist attack. Not only do family members grieve the loss of the loved one, they must also face the trauma of the suicide.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Psychology Suicide * Theology Anthropology Eschatology Pastoral Theology
A major new study that tracked more than 12,000 Canadians over a period of 14 years has found that regular attendance of religious service offers significant protection against depression.
In an article published in the April issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, researchers at the University of Saskatchewan write that incidence of clinical depression was 22% lower among those who attended religious services at least once a month compared with people who never attended.
“Significantly fewer monthly attenders reported having episodes or a diagnosis of depression,” the authors write. “This … suggests a protective effect of religious attendance.”
Read it all.
Among the statistics cited are theses:
One in every four young people will experience a mental disorder in any 12 month period (most commonly substance abuse or dependency, depression or anxiety, or a combination of these).Read it all.
Depression and anxiety are the most prevalent mental health issues experienced by young people, with around 30% of
adolescents experiencing a diagnosable depressive episode by the age of 18 years.
Mental disorders were the leading contributor to the burden of disease and injury (49%) among young Australians aged
15–24 years in 2003, with anxiety and depression being the leading specific cause for both males and females
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Culture-Watch Children Education Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
Army Pvt. John Jeffery stumbled into Kyle Boswell's barracks room at Ft. Bliss before dawn one day in February, his eyes glassy.
"I've done something," Jeffery mumbled to his buddy. "I can't tell anyone. It's going to happen."
He had just learned his girlfriend was cheating on him. The Army had decided to kick him out for using heroin. Now the 21-year-old veteran of Afghanistan had downed more than two bottles of Vicodin and Oxycodone, powerful prescription painkillers. Boswell rushed him to the emergency room, and he remains in the hospital psychiatric ward.
The case is a success of sorts — a soldier treated, a suicide prevented — and it reflects an encouraging shift at Ft. Bliss....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Psychology Stress Suicide * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The Mass was celebrated as if from centuries past: A bearded priest veiled in incense chanted for grace in a church along the Nile, near the spot where Christians believe Jesus and his mother sought refuge in an earlier age of bloodshed and uncertainty.
Marianne Samir knelt and prayed for the Coptic Christians killed in a spasm of sectarian violence that has further shaken a nation engulfed in economic and political anxieties.
"I feel unsafe," said Samir, a high school philosophy teacher with a cross tattooed on her wrist. "The Islamists want war. They want strife. But this is our land too. It is a country blessed by God, and there's no way we'll leave it to them."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary Middle East Egypt * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Coptic Church Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations
The reform of the Church already evident in the words and witness of Pope Francis may be starting, but it won’t be stopping at the revamping of the Vatican Curia and the renewal of the clergy.
It also will involve a thorough reform of the laity, since some of the cancers the cardinals elected him to confront in Rome have metastasized throughout Christ’s mystical body.
In his conclave-changing address to the cardinals four days before his election, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio identified what he believes is the Church’s fundamental illness: “ecclesiastical narcissism.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity * Culture-Watch Globalization Psychology Religion & Culture * Theology Ecclesiology
Why do so many guys with good doctrine have bad attitudes?
Can you be biblically orthodox and firm in your faith without being brittle or hard-hearted?
Can we be humble and orthodox?
My friend, Josh Harris, thinks so. His book Humble Orthodoxy: Holding the Truth High Without Putting People Down (Multnomah, 2013) is short and to the point, and it’s a point we need to be reminded of. I asked Josh to join me on the blog for a conversation about the importance of holding to the right beliefs the right way.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Religion News & Commentary Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths) * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Christians live in the tension of confidently proclaiming the Bible’s teaching while respectfully and lovingly pursuing relationships with those who identify as gay for the Glory of God.
I wholeheartedly affirm the third position on the gay marriage question and I commend it to Christians everywhere. I think it is the way forward, because it has historically been the way that Christians have approached these emerging issues. The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 4:15, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”
When it comes to the gay marriage question, I think Christians would be wise to follow Paul’s advice:
Make growing in the satisfying relationship with Christ your daily goal.
Know truth and boldly speak truth.
Make “lovingness” your method and the manner in which you do all things.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Apologetics Ethics / Moral Theology
Take the time to listen to it all (and note there is a live excerpt of the Kenyon Commencement address).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Poetry & Literature Psychology Mental Illness Suicide * Theology Anthropology
I too have had a son die, so I have a sense of the pain Rick and Kay are facing. But their circumstances are different and my heart goes out to them.
At times like these, there really are no words, but there is the Word.
There is no manual, but there is Emmanuel.
God is with us.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Psychology Suicide Young Adults * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Christology Pastoral Theology
Lin, the first Chinese-American to be play in NBA, and NBA commissioner David Stern said that Lin’s failure to get a major college basketball scholarship or a roster spot through the NBA draft had to do with his Asian ethnicity.
CBS’s 60 Minutes will do a report on Lin’s story Sunday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT, where the Houston Rocket’s point guard sits down and discusses his rags to riches story and his stellar performance that caused the “Linsanity” phenomenon, and the racial obstacles he’s had to overcome.
Read it all.
To my dear staff,
Over the past 33 years we’ve been together through every kind of crisis. Kay and I’ve been privileged to hold your hands as you faced a crisis or loss, stand with you at gravesides, and prayed for you when ill. Today, we need your prayer for us.
No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now. Our youngest son, Matthew, age 27, and a lifelong member of Saddleback, died today.
You who watched Matthew grow up knew he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man. He had a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room. He’d then make a bee-line to that person to engage and encourage them.
But only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.
Kay and I often marveled at his courage to keep moving in spite of relentless pain. I’ll never forget how, many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said “ Dad, I know I’m going to heaven. Why can’t I just die and end this pain?” but he kept going for another decade.
Thank you for your love and prayers. We love you back.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Psychology Suicide Religion & Culture Young Adults * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
Popular evangelical Pastor Rick Warren asked members of his Southern California church for prayers as he and his family coped with the apparent suicide of his 27-year-old son.
The church said on Saturday that Matthew Warren took his own life at his Mission Viejo home.
Matthew Warren struggled with mental illness, deep depression and suicidal thoughts throughout his life, Saddleback Valley Community Church said in a statement, after his body was found Friday night.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Psychology Suicide Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
Erica Brown, a prominent rabbi in Washington, recently wrote an article complaining about a "customer service" problem in the Jewish community. "We walk into synagogues and schools . . . and no one says hello. Few know our names (maybe for months or years). A friend in an interfaith marriage says that when he takes his wife to shul, no one talks to them. When he goes to his wife's church, everyone comes over to greet them."
David Polonsky, director of communications at Adas, tells me that when he moved to Washington a few years ago and called around to find out about high-holiday services, he was told they would cost him hundreds of dollars. "I'm a young person calling them and asking them for a Jewish experience," he recalls, yet no one asked for his name, let alone invited him to the synagogue. Shabbat-Hopping at least makes people feel welcome.
The conservative Adas Israel, the reform Washington Hebrew Congregation, and the nondenominational Sixth & I Historic Synagogue have all made a big deal of welcoming young professionals—even when there is no Shabbat-Hopping event.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Judaism
Unmarried couples who live together are staying together longer than in the past — and more of them are having children, according to the first federal data out Thursday that details just how cohabitation is transforming families across the USA.
For almost half of women ages 15-44, their "first union" was cohabitation rather than marriage, says the report from the National Center for Health Statistics. For less than one-quarter, the first union was marriage. The report was based on in-person interviews conducted between 2006 and 2010 with 12,279 women ages 15-44.
"Instead of marriage, people are moving into cohabitation as a first union," says demographer Casey Copen, the report's lead author. "It's kind of a ubiquitous phenomenon now."
Read it all.
[SCOTT] SIMON: Did you grow up thinking you'd be a writer?. Read or, better, listen to the whole piece.
[RON] RASH: I didn't, but I think I showed all the symptoms. I was very comfortable being by myself. I spent a lot of time alone and particularly out in the natural world. I think I had a particular moment when I was 15 years old. I read "Crime and Punishment," and that book just, I think, more than any other book made me want to be a writer, 'cause it was the first time that I hadn't just entered a book, but a book had entered me. I can remember exactly where I was. I was in a biology class. I was supposed to be listening to the teacher but I was on the back row. And I can just remember so vividly just never having that kind of feeling, that kind of intensity from a book. And, obviously, at 15 I didn't understand exactly what was going on with Raskolnikov. But there was a particular scene early in that book where the pawnbroker was murdered that I will never forget. It's one of the most vivid memories in my life - not just my reading life (my emphasis)
Read it all.
Nearly 70 years later, Chaney is among the dwindling number of South Carolinians who fought in World War II. And at 87, he may be among the oldest to receive post-traumatic stress disorder benefits for it.
After decades of nightmares and sessions with doctors, Chaney last year was approved based on his World War II experiences that, according to some of the paperwork involved, included much more than spanning Europe’s rivers and streams.
“My unit was involved in the release of prisoners of war at the Buchenwald concentration camp,” he said in one account his family provided to the Department of Veterans Affairs. “The prisoners looked like walking skeletons and some died while I was there. We used big earth moving machines to dig massive graves.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine Psychology * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Our news media suffer from a terrible supply-side problem. The number of people paid to offer opinions greatly outstrips the number of things worth having an opinion about. Even now, several weeks after the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, I don’t think the slaughter was the kind of event toward which one can profitably form an interesting point of view. Leaving church one morning, so the story goes, the great Coolidge was asked the subject of his pastor’s sermon. “Sin,” Coolidge replied. And what did the pastor say about sin? “He said he was ag’in it.” Some things don’t require much elaboration.--From the February 2013 issue of Commentary, pages 63-64
In an important sense—in the literal sense—what happened at Sandy Hook was unspeakable, which is why, I suppose, the public disputations that followed it were a towering jumble of non sequitur and irrelevance, a rodeo of hobby horses ridden by straw men. The disputations began even before the authorities had released a final count of victims. Indeed, at the time, good information was hard to come by. For as much as 10 hours after the first reporters arrived on the scene, print and TV journalists were misreporting the killer’s name, his place of residence, his relationship to the elementary school, his mother’s line of work, the types and source of the guns he used, the reaction of school officials in the immediate aftermath of the crime—the long string of mistakes we have come to expect when the compulsion to get it first overwhelms the need to get it right.
The slaughter at Sandy Hook wasn't merely a rebuke to politics or law enforcement or government regulation--it was a rebuke to our desperate hope that evil can be destroyed, or at least quarantined.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Education Media Psychology Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Theodicy
Many psychological tests have the so-called “lie-scale.” A small but sufficient number of questions that admit only one true answer, such as: “Do you always reply to letters immediately after reading them?” are
inserted among others that are central to the particular test. A wrong reply for such a question adds a point on the lie-scale, and when the lie-score is high, the over-all test results are discarded as unreliable. Perhaps, for a scientist the best candidate for such a lie-scale is the question: “Do you read all of the papers that you cite?”
Comparative studies of the popularity of scientific papers has been a subject of much recent interest [1–8], but the scope has been limited to citation distribution analysis. We have discovered a method of estimating
what percentage of people who cited the paper had actually read it.
The title of the paper is "Read Before You Cite!" No fair clicking the link until you have guessed, then check out their argument--KSH.
We're about to comment on yet another interminable sex-related piece from The Atlantic, so let's start with some comic relief. The article's co-authors, Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell, run a website called Onely.com. Its slogan is "Single and Happy...."
[The authors]...[are] aggrieved enough to resort to neology, denouncing what they term "institutionalized singlism, the discrimination of [sic] individuals based on marital status." What they mean is discrimination against individuals based on lack of marital status.
"More than 1,000 laws provide overt legal or financial benefits to married couples," they complain. "Marital privileging marginalizes the 50 percent of Americans who are single. . . . Marital privilege pervades nearly every facet of our lives." Income-tax liability is generally (though not always) higher for unmarried earners; married workers more or less automatically have access to spouses' health insurance; couples can share individual retirement accounts, and so forth.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Education Marriage & Family Psychology Teens / Youth Young Adults * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
1 Kings 18:21 describes a crucial moment of decision. It's the final showdown between the God of Israel and a false god called Baal. Elijah calls God's people to choose once and for all between the living God who delivered them, and this false god who has captured their affections: "'How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.' But the people said nothing."
They seem unable, or unwilling, to make a choice. They want to hedge their bets, sit on the fence, and keep their options open. How different are we Christians in the 21st century? Would you prefer to make an ironclad, no-turning-back choice, or one you could back out of if need be? Do you ever find that you're afraid to commit? Do you reply to party invitations with a "maybe" rather than a "yes" or "no"? Do you like to keep your smartphone switched on at all times, even in meetings, so that you are never fully present at any given moment? Will you focus on the person you're talking to after a church service, or will you look over her shoulder for a better conversation partner?
If so, you may be worshiping the god of open options.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Media Movies & Television Psychology Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
How has constant connection and endless distraction changed the church's task? How are we to advance our ministries without compounding the problem? How do we shepherd overwhelmed sheep?
Possibly the biggest transition since the onslaught of media-saturated culture is that the church's trajectory is being shaped less by where church leaders are trying to direct it and more by the responses of their followers. A leader's course matters less when those being led won't or can't follow due to an avalanche of distraction, competing messages, and overly stressed lives.
Most of the training we receive focuses on the ways of a leader. Allow me to suggest a more pertinent question: How do digital-age believers follow?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Psychology Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Arranged marriages can work “because they remove so much of the anxiety about ‘is this the right person?’ ” said Brian J. Willoughby, an assistant professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. “Arranged marriages start cold and heat up and boil over time as the couple grows. Nonarranged marriages are expected to start out boiling hot but many eventually find that this heat dissipates and we’re left with a relationship that’s cold.”
He also credited supportive parents.
“Whether it be financial support for weddings, schooling or housing, or emotional support for either partner, parents provide valuable resources for couples as they navigate the marital transition,” Dr. Willoughby said
Read it all.
...the Labor Department’s latest jobs snapshot and other recent data reports present a strong case for crowning baby boomers as the greatest victims of the recession and its grim aftermath.
These Americans in their 50s and early 60s — those near retirement age who do not yet have access to Medicare and Social Security — have lost the most earnings power of any age group, with their household incomes 10 percent below what they made when the recovery began three years ago, according to Sentier Research, a data analysis company.
Their retirement savings and home values fell sharply at the worst possible time: just before they needed to cash out. They are supporting both aged parents and unemployed young-adult children, earning them the inauspicious nickname “Generation Squeeze.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance Pensions The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- The U.S. Government Medicare Social Security * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, told the Most Rev Justin Welby, that he would lead the Church of England amid an age of seemingly unprecedented selfishness – in a society obsessed with individualism and rights.
The New Archbishop was also formally charged with the task of providing “a voice for faith” in the face of attempts to marginalise religion.
The 57-year-old former oil executive’s election as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury was confirmed in a ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch History Philosophy Psychology * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Many theologians and some scientists are now ready to proclaim that the nineteenth century "conflict between science and religion" is over and done with. But even if this is true, it is a truth known only to real theologians and real scientists-that is, to a few highly educated men. To the man in the street the conflict is still perfectly real, and in his mind it takes a form which the learned hardly dream of.--‘Horrid Red Things’ in God in the Dock (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), pp. 68-69 (originally from the Church of England Newspaper, October 6, 1944, pp.1-2) [emphasis mine]
The ordinary man is not thinking of particular dogmas and particular scientific discoveries. What troubles him is an all-pervading difference of atmosphere between what he believes Christianity to be and that general picture of the universe which he has picked up from living in a scientific age. He gathers from the Creed that God has a "Son" (just as if God were a god, like Odin or Jupiter): that this Son "came down" (like a parachutist) from "Heaven," first to earth and later to some land of the dead situated beneath the earth's surface: that, still later, He ascended into the sky and took His seat in a decorated chair placed a little to the right of His Father's throne. The whole thing seems to imply a local and material heaven-a palace in the stratosphere-a flat earth and all the rest of those archaic misconceptions.
The ordinary man is well aware that we should deny all the beliefs he attributes to us and interpret our creed in a different sense. But this by no means satisfies him. "No doubt," he thinks, "once those articles of belief are there, they can be allegorized or spiritualized away to any extent you please. But is it not plain that they would never have been there at all if the first generation of Christians had had any notion of what the real universe is like? A historian who has based his work on the misreading of a document may afterwards (when his mistake has been exposed) exercise great ingenuity in showing that his account of a certain battle can still be reconciled with what the document records. But the point is that none of these ingenious explanations would ever have come into existence if he had read his documents correctly at the outset. They are therefore really a waste of labor; it would be manlier of him to admit his mistake and begin all over again."
I think there are two things that Christians must do if they wish to convince this "ordinary" modern man. In the first place, they must make it quite clear that what will remain of the Creed after all their explanations and reinterpretations will still be something quite unambiguously supernatural, miraculous, and shocking. We may not believe in a flat earth and a sky palace. But we must insist from the beginning that we believe, as firmly as any savage or theosophist, in a spirit world which can, and does, invade the natural or phenomenal universe. For the plain man suspects that when we start explaining, we are going to explain away: that we have mythology for our ignorant hearers and are ready, when cornered by educated hearers, to reduce it to innocuous moral platitudes which no one ever dreamed of denying. And there are theologians who justify this suspicion. From them we must part company absolutely. If nothing remains except what could be equally well stated without Christian formulae, then the honest thing is to admit that Christianity is untrue and to begin over again without it.
...attentiveness has a complicated relationship with memory. While the brain can’t store all of the city’s potential information at the level of instant accessibility, we realize as we navigate neighbourhoods that we’ve held onto knowledge we didn’t realize we had – the location of a dry cleaner en route to work, the eerie feeling that a certain street is coming up on the right.
“There are arguments in cognitive literature that we encode sequence information virtually for free – that it’s almost automatic even if it’s of no immediate use to you,” says [University of Waterloo] Prof. [Colin] MacLeod.
In this sense, our brains are hungry for what a city provides. “Humans enjoy being engaged,” says Prof. Pratt. “We don’t like living in sparse environments.”
Read it all.
Q: Why did you write this book?
A: I’ve always been curious about why people believe one thing rather than another. In America you can believe anything you want, unlike in a lot of other countries where there’s only one religion. So why would people be drawn to Scientology, one of the most esoteric and stigmatized religions?
Q: And what did you find?
A: Oftentimes people who go into Scientology are dealing with a personal problem. If you enter a Church of Scientology building you’ll be asked, “What is your ruin?” That is, what is standing in the way of your financial, spiritual and emotional success? And they will talk through things with you and offer a menu of courses designed to help. And many people do feel that they are helped by the courses or therapy.
Read it all.
Thinking about Google over the last week, I have fallen into the typically procrastinatory habit of every so often typing the words "what is" or "what" or "wha" into the Google search box at the top right of my computer screen. Those prompts are all the omnipotent engine needs to inform me of the current instant top 10 of the virtual world's most urgent desires. At the time of typing, this list reads, in descending order:
What is the fiscal cliff
What is my ip
What is obamacare
What is love
What is gluten
What is instagram
What does yolo mean
What is the illuminati
What is a good credit score
What is lupus
It is a list that indicates anxieties, not least the ways in which we are restlessly fixated with our money, our bodies and our technology – and paranoid and confused in just about equal measure. A Prince Charles-like desire for the definition of love, in my repetitive experience of the last few days, always seems to come in at No 4 on this list of priorities, though the preoccupations above it and below it tend to shift slightly with the news.
Read it all.
The Holy Orthodox Christian Faith is unabashedly pro-life. The Lord Jesus Christ was recognized and worshipped in His mother’s womb while yet unborn by the Holy Forerunner who was also still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:44); St. Basil the Great (4th Century), one of the universal teachers of the faith, dared to call murderers those who terminate the life of the fetus. The Church has consistently held that children developing in the womb should be afforded every protection given to those outside the womb. There is no moral, religious or scientific rationale which can justify making a distinction between the humanity of the newly-conceived and that of the newly-born.
Abortion on demand not only ends the life of a child, but also injures the mother of that child, often resulting in spiritual, psychological and physical harm. Christians should bring the comfort of the Gospel to women who have had abortions, that our loving God may heal them. The Orthodox Church calls on her children, and indeed all of society, to provide help to pregnant mothers who need assistance brining their children safely into the world and providing these children loving homes.
On the occasion of this sorrowful anniversary, and as we mourn the violence we all too often visit upon one another, as exemplified by the recent mass killings in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut, we pray for an end to the violence of abortion. Surely the many ways in which we as a people diminish the reverence and respect for human life underlie much of this violence. The disrespect for human life in the womb is no small part of this. Let us offer to Almighty God our repentance for the evil of abortion on demand and extend our hearts and hands to embrace life.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Philosophy Psychology Religion & Culture Science & Technology Violence * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Orthodox Church * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
How closely does your Facebook profile resemble your actual life? If we only knew you from a Twitter feed, would you think we really understood your hopes and dreams, your joys and fears? Facebook may ask what you're feeling, but the rest of us don't really care. We can't even keep up with the drama in our families, among our closest friends. How can we handle the momentary peaks and valleys of hundreds, even thousands of friends? So we outline an online persona in black and white and only color in the parts we feel safe to expose. You only know I'm sick if I can find a witty way to tell you. You only find out I'm in despair if I can link the encouraging Bible verse God tossed me as a life raft.
You can fool anyone online for a while. Are you really surprised Te'o fell for the ruse? It's a small jump from crafting your online profile to inventing an entirely fake persona. Imagine the myth you could perpetuate when you're not even bound by the confines of all three dimensions.
Read it all.
Single and retired, with no family nearby, 64-year-old Lorna Grenadier knows she'll need a better support system if she wants to grow old in her apartment in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C., where she has lived for 40 years. So she's added community organizing to her list of interests and is helping create a service network she hopes will enable her and others like her to remain in their own homes as they age.
For the past 18 months, Grenadier has been working with other volunteers to research and launch the Foggy Bottom West End Village network. The group aims to provide paying members ($600 a year for singles; $900 for households) a range of services, including transportation and connections to vetted local businesses, as well as serve as a contact point for emergencies. Some of the annual fee will also cover social activities for members.
"It’s also about providing peace of mind," says Grenadier -- a sort of insurance policy should someone need help. In a survey of potential members in the her area, 75 percent said they were interested in the concept, though just 50 percent said they would need the services today.
Read it all.
The bottom line for many pastors, said Bales, is that they are afraid to level with their people — person to person.
"Let's face it. Your people can run you crazy. But that's really not where ministers get into deep trouble," he said. "Through the years, I have been especially interested in all the ways that ministers struggle with their own humanity. You see, they expect so much out of themselves, which can be hard since their people keep trying to hold them to standards higher than the saints and the angels."
Try to imagine, he said, a pastor speaking these words to the faithful: "Dear friends, I am undone. My marriage is in shambles and things aren't going great with my kids, either. My emotions are wracked. I'm stressed out. ... You see, I'm prepared to minister to you, but who is going to minister to me?"
Read it all.
The Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was a teacher of mathematics at Oxford and a deacon of the Anglican Church. Some colleagues knew him as a somewhat reclusive stammerer, but he was generally seen as a devout scholar; one dean said he was “pure in heart.” To readers all over the world, he became renowned as Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Alice was popular almost from the moment it was published, in 1865, and it has remained in print ever since, influencing such disparate artists as Walt Disney and Salvador Dali. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, just released in movie theaters nationwide, is only the latest of at least 20 films and TV shows to be made from the book. But if Alice has endured unscathed, its author has taken a pummeling....
In 1999, Karoline Leach published yet another Dodgson biography, In the Shadow of the Dreamchild, in which she quoted the summary of the missing diary information and argued that her predecessors, misunderstanding the society in which Dodgson lived, had created a “Carroll myth” around his sexuality. She concluded that he was attracted to adult women (including Mrs. Liddell) after all.
The reaction among Dodgson scholars was seismic. “Improbable, feebly documented...tendentious,” thundered Donald Rackin in Victorian Studies. Geoffrey Heptonstall, in Contemporary Review, responded that the book provided “the whole truth.”
Which is where Dodgson’s image currently stands—in contention—among scholars if not yet in popular culture. His image as a man of suspect sexuality “says more about our society and its hang-ups than it does about Dodgson himself,” Will Brooker says.
Read it all (in honor of his birthday this past weekend, and, yes, the emphasis is mine).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Books Children Education History Psychology Sexuality * Theology Anthropology
As Kelly McGuire points out in Dying To Be English: Suicide narratives and national identity, 1721–1814, the word has a vexed history. Deploying a pronoun as a prefix in order to describe both an action and a person (a person who is at once victim and perpetrator), it is something of a botched job. The convolutions and impenetrability of the term seem appropriate to a deed which many understand as the consummate rejection – of life, family and community, as of social and religious obligations – although one lesson of all the books under review is that suicides themselves, actual and imagined, tend not to see it that way. Many of the ballads reproduced in The History of Suicide in England, 1650–1850 depict lovers killing themselves in the confident hope of forgiveness and a place in heaven, as of avoiding shame and misery on earth. And even the most hard-line of religious commentators will hesitate to condemn all suicides to hell: as the Calvinist preacher Thomas Beard wrote in 1631, “the mercie of God is incomprehensible”. Overall, there is much evidence of what John Donne called “a perplexitie and flexibilitie in the doctrine” of suicide.
Gradually replacing more overtly judgemental epithets such as “self-murder”, “suicide” became a familiar word in England in the later eighteenth century. Perhaps the availability of a neutral form of language influenced how people thought about voluntary death; there is a relic of the older way of describing it in current references to “self-harm”. It is sometimes argued that apparently more tolerant and sympathetic attitudes to suicide, as to other infractions of the moral law, developed in the eighteenth century as the result of a progressive secularization. But religious as well as civil sanctions against the act persisted, in Britain and in the American colonies – only in Pennsylvania was voluntary death not criminalized – and those official sanctions are not incompatible with sympathy.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Books History Psychology Suicide * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. England / UK
Each year, 2.5 million Americans die. For the majority, about 70 percent, deaths happen in a hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility. What happens afterwards is nearly always the same, with few exceptions for religious traditions: A doctor or nurse will sign a death certificate and the body will be whisked to the funeral home, where it's washed, embalmed, dressed, and prepared for a viewing and burial. A family usually sees the dead only a few times: when they die, if there's an open-casket viewing and in the rare case when a casket is opened during burial.
But a small and growing group of Americans are returning to a more hands-on, no-frills experience of death. In the world of "do it yourself" funerals, freezer packs are used in lieu of embalming, unvarnished wooden boxes replace ornate caskets, viewings are in living rooms and, in some cases, burials happen in backyards.
Nobody keeps track of the number of home funerals and advocacy groups, but home funeral organizations have won battles in recent years in states such as Minnesota and Utah that have attempted to ban the practice. Most states have nearly eliminated any requirements that professionals play a role in funerals. It's now legal in all but eight states to care for one's own after death. And the growth of community-based, nonprofit home funeral groups and burial grounds that are friendly to the cause point to an increasing demand.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
For the past two decades, in a small town in southern Italy, a pianist and music teacher has been hunting for and resurrecting the music of the dead.
Francesco Lotoro has found thousands of songs, symphonies and operas written in concentration, labor and POW camps in Germany and elsewhere before and during World War II.
By rescuing compositions written in imprisonment, Lotoro wants to fill the hole left in Europe's musical history and show how even the horrors of the Holocaust could not suppress artistic inspiration.
You can read it but it is a must-listen-to it all entry. Stunningly powerful.
Americans seem to be falling in love with stocks again.
Millions of people all but abandoned the market after the 2008 financial crisis, but now individual investors are pouring more money than they have in years into stock mutual funds. The flood, prompted by fading economic threats and better news on housing and jobs, has helped propel the broad market to within striking distance of its highest nominal level ever.
“You’ve got a real sea change in investor outlook,” said Andrew Wilkinson, the chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak Associates.
Read it all.
...for much of adulthood, I formed aspirational crushes. It wasn't ever deliberate, yet somehow I usually fell for men whose esteem or rejection came to influence my self-worth. In a phrase Tim Keller often uses (probably quoting Lewis or Tolkien), I longed for "the praise of the praiseworthy."
With this mindset, even little tastes of intimacy or access to a crush acquired a disproportionate sense of value, and every exchange mattered far more than it should have. Yet in the end, any intimacy I found in via Google search … or even electronic communication with the crush proved largely false.
It took me a long time to figure out why. Then one Sunday morning in a church class on dating, I heard this formula: Intimacy = talk + time + togetherness. As John Van Epp explains in his book How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk (on which the class was based), Internet-based relationships are often rich in talk, but can transpire very rapidly and may develop across great distance.
Read it all.
Maybe it was because they had met on OkCupid. But when the dark-eyed musician with artfully disheveled hair asked Shani Silver, a social media and blog manager in Philadelphia, out on a “date” Friday night, she was expecting at least a drink, one on one.
“At 10 p.m., I hadn’t heard from him,” said Ms. Silver, 30, who wore her favorite skinny black jeans. Finally, at 10:30, he sent a text message. “Hey, I’m at Pub & Kitchen, want to meet up for a drink or whatever?” he wrote, before adding, “I’m here with a bunch of friends from college.”
Turned off, she fired back a text message, politely declining. But in retrospect, she might have adjusted her expectations. “The word ‘date’ should almost be stricken from the dictionary,” Ms. Silver said. “Dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret.”
Read it all.
On Christmas Eve, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny paid a graveside tribute to an ally who helped bring him to power amid the worst economic crisis in Ireland’s modern history.
Shane McEntee was a “true friend and confidante, who listened to other people’s problems and made them his own,” Kenny said in his speech, after 3,000 people attended the funeral of the food minister. Three days earlier, McEntee had taken his own life. He was 56 with four children.
While financial hardship has led to a spate of suicides in parts of austerity-hit Europe, the deaths of McEntee and the son of well-known restaurant owners less than a week later have turned the national spotlight onto the issue in Ireland.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Psychology Suicide * Economics, Politics Economy The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland
In their 10 years of marriage, there had been warning signs, but nothing to prepare her for this bloody struggle. The verbal abuse had finally led to their separation in December. Still, he had never hit her.
Not long after, though, things took a troubling, sinister turn when he told her something that made her afraid.
“He was going to kill himself and take somebody with him,” she said.
He said it looking straight at her. She feared she was the someone he meant.
(Please note: the full content here may not be suitable for all blog readers). Read it all.
As I’ve wandered Kosovo’s countryside, I’ve witnessed firsthand the results of unchecked religious hatred — the ruined buildings and the graveyards and the barbed wire. And while visiting the city of Prizren, an infamous place of atrocity and deadly reprisal in which businesses and churches and lives have been rebuilt, I’m amazed that things ever got this far. Rebuilding should not be necessary, as the widespread destruction of Kosovo should never have occurred.
The path toward religious cruelty begins, it seems to me, when folks identify their own political agendas as the clear will of God. And that’s easy to do, since arrogance is a major part of our fallen nature. Rare is the person, however, who derives political views from direct divine revelation. Most of us bring our agendas to our faith, where we have them blessed and sanctified.
Political beliefs made holy can easily entice people to move to another level: denegrating and even dehumanizing those who disagree with them. I recently heard a priest claim in a homily that the prophet Muhammad might have been the Antichrist. I’ve heard Episcopal Church leaders vilify their political opponents as somehow being agents of evil. And while demonizing others does not necessarily end in violence, the experience of Kosovo suggests that it’s certainly a step in getting there.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Psychology Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Europe --Bosnia and Herzegovina * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Public debt as a percentage of gross domestic product was around 38 percent in 1965. It is around 74 percent now. Debt could approach a ruinous 90 percent of G.D.P. in a decade and a cataclysmic 247 percent of G.D.P. 30 years from now, according to the Congressional Budget Office and JPMorgan.
By 2025, entitlement spending and debt payments are projected to suck up all federal revenue. Obligations to the elderly are already squeezing programs for the young and the needy. Those obligations will lead to gigantic living standard declines for future generations. According to the International Monetary Fund, meeting America’s long-term obligations will require an immediate and permanent 35 percent increase in all taxes and a 35 percent cut in all benefits....
[The final 'solution didn't] involve a single hard decision. It did little to control spending. It abandoned all of the entitlement reform ideas that have been thrown around.
Whom should we blame for this? Again, we should not blame Obama and Boehner. In their different ways, they and a number of other people in the Congress are trying to find a politically palatable way to deal with these hard issues. They got what conditions allowed.
Ultimately, we should blame the American voters. The average Medicare couple pays $109,000 into the program and gets $343,000 in benefits out, according to the Urban Institute. This is $234,000 in free money. Many voters have decided they like spending a lot on themselves and pushing costs onto their children and grandchildren. They have decided they like borrowing up to $1 trillion a year for tax credits, disability payments, defense contracts and the rest. They have found that the original Keynesian rationale for these deficits provides a perfect cover for permanent deficit-living. They have made it clear that they will destroy any politician who tries to stop them from cost-shifting in this way.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine History Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Taxes The U.S. Government Medicare Social Security Politics in General House of Representatives Office of the President President Barack Obama Senate * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
It’s a baby boomer’s nightmare. One moment you’re 40-ish and moving up, the next you’re 50-plus and suddenly, shockingly, moving out — jobless in a tough economy.
Too young to retire, too old to start over. Or at least that’s the line. Comfortable jobs with comfortable salaries are scarce, after all. Almost overnight, skills honed over a lifetime seem tired, passé. Twenty- and thirty-somethings will gladly do the work you used to do, and probably for less money. Yes, businesses are hiring again, but not nearly fast enough. Many people are so disheartened that they’ve simply stopped looking for work.
For millions of Americans over 50, this isn’t a bad dream — it’s grim reality....[and] though there is no single path, there are success stories that offer hope....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Children Marriage & Family Middle Age Psychology Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market
The personal and the pastoral...both inform Ms. [Rita] Brock’s work. She writes about her father in her recent book “Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War.” Her co-author, Gabriella Lettini, is a theologian whose extended family includes veterans emotionally damaged by wartime experience. In the Soul Repair Center, Ms. Brock collaborates with the Rev. Herman Keizer Jr., who was an Army chaplain for 40 years.
Over the past three years, Ms. Brock and Ms. Lettini have spoken about moral injury and soul repair at the American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting and at denominational gatherings of Presbyterians and Unitarian Universalists.
Now, with a $650,000 two-year grant from the Lilly Endowment and the formal support of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Soul Repair Center is beginning to teach congregational leaders how to address moral injury in veterans. The first such training session will take place in early February.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Books Children Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Psychology Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Nancy Kehoe, a Sacred Heart sister and clinical psychologist, is the author of Wrestling With our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness, and the Journey to Wholeness. When she began working with people with mental illness 30 years ago, faith issues were ignored because mental health professionals were not trained to respond adequately when a patient spoke about spirituality, she said.
“It was really unheard of in 1981 to have anyone suggest that it would be worthwhile to have a conversation with people with serious mental illness about religion because up until then, it was really just seen as part of their symptoms or a defense,” she said. “Either people pathologized [faith] or they ignored it.”
Contrary to the prevailing belief that faith was a part of a patient’s mental illness, Sister Nancy soon discovered that it was often part of an individual’s inner strength.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Psychology Mental Illness Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Anthropology Pastoral Theology
Back in October I explained why I think it is that same-sex “marriage” (SSM) makes so much sense to so many people. It's because so many—not just SSM advocates—have bought into a distorted definition of marriage that goes something like this:
Marriage is the legally-recognized faithful, uniquely committed, loving, social, economic, and sexual union of two non-blood-related consenting adults of opposite sex….Marriage carries with it certain legal, economic, and social benefits, not least of which is the social approval accorded to the partners’ sexual relationship.Does that sound about right to you? I've done informal surveys among Christians, and I've found that even many SSM opponents see marriage that way. They had better look out. It's a view that's centered entirely in the couple: their feelings, their benefits, their satisfaction. It's all about the romantically loving pair.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Philosophy Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
The pastor offers the congregation’s laments and doxology to God and proclaims God’s holy word to the congregation. Friendships have little to do with this. Should God call the pastor to go to another place, it’s asking too much of the congregation to expect them to discern this with the pastor.
Ordination costs pastors, and one of the greatest costs is maintaining the lonely status of being surrounded by everyone in the church while always being the odd person in the room. [Layman] Jack Anderson will never understand this, but it is critical for his sake that I did.
As a physician, Jack had a similar challenge when he diagnosed me with a condition that required minor surgery. He didn’t ask me to help him discern the best course of action, and he knew that the truly loving act was to say necessary things that I didn’t want to hear. That’s because his ethical responsibility was to treat me not as a friend but as a patient. That makes perfect sense to him and to me. But he’s confused when I treat him as a parishioner.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
About nine million young people have filled out the American Freshman Survey, since it began in 1966.
It asks students to rate how they measure up to their peers in a number of basic skills areas - and over the past four decades, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of students who describe themselves as being "above average" for academic ability, drive to achieve, mathematical ability and self-confidence.
This was revealed in a new analysis of the survey data, by US psychologist Jean Twenge and colleagues.
Read it all from the BBC Magazine.
Follow up: An interesting ZDnet article on this is there.
Most adolescents who plan or attempt suicide have already received at least some mental health treatment, raising questions about the effectiveness of current approaches to helping troubled youths, according to the largest in-depth analysis to date of suicidal behaviors in American teenagers.
The study, in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, found that 55 percent of suicidal teenagers had received some therapy before they thought about suicide, planned it or tried to kill themselves, contradicting the widely held belief that suicide is due in part to a lack of access to treatment.
The findings, based on interviews with a nationwide sample of more than 6,000 teenagers and at least one parent of each, linked suicidal behavior to complex combinations of mood disorders like depression and behavior problems like attention-deficit and eating disorders, as well as alcohol and drug abuse.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Drugs/Drug Addiction Health & Medicine History Psychology Suicide Science & Technology Teens / Youth * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The book’s religious sensibility is thoroughly Gnostic, in a number of ways. It is, for one thing, simply saturated in imagery and concepts drawn from the Gnostic systems of late antiquity, and its narrative form—its incontinent mythopoeia, its rococo excesses, its figural syzygies and archons and aeons (or whatever one might call them)—has all the occult grotesquerie of authentic Gnostic myth. More to the point, its entire spiritual logic is one of “gnosis”: a saving wisdom vouchsafed through an entirely private revelation; a direct communication from a mysterious source that is also one’s own deepest ground, but from which one has become estranged; a truth attained not through the mediation of nature or culture, and certainly not through the moral “law,” but solely in the apocalyptic secrecy of the illuminated soul.
And yet, it is also almost wholly devoid of the special pathos that is the most enchanting, sympathetic, and human aspect of ancient Gnosticism: the desperate longing for escape, for final liberation, for a return to the God beyond. Jung’s scripture is, in the end, a gospel not of salvation, but of therapy—not of deliverance, but of conciliation—and in this sense it truly is a liber novus, a newer new testament, a “sacred” book of a kind that only our age could have produced.
Read it all.
Ken Myers grew up in a conservative Christian household in Beltsville, Maryland, during the 1960s. When he was in tenth grade, two important things happened to him.
His high school music teacher introduced him to the music of Bach, taking eight months to teach Myers and the rest of the boys’ choir how to sing the motet Jesu, meine Freunde. And he fell upon a copy of the Saturday Review.
Saturday Review is pretty much forgotten today. (A number of people still remember Bach.) The magazine began in the 1920s and flourished in the postwar years. Its writers ranged widely over the arts, from music and literature to painting and drama, cultivating a readership of strivers—professional and college educated, if not brainy by nature—who were eager for self-improvement and a kind of intellectual diversion that was sophisticated and accessible. The magazine was edited by a windy polymath named Norman Cousins, a model of the kind of well-meaning and high-minded public intellectual they don’t seem to make anymore.
“Everyone else in high school was discovering recreational drugs,” Myers told me not long ago. “I was discovering Norman Cousins.”
Read it all.
Check it out (Hat tip: KK).
Aside from all the formal invention and satirical energy of Saunders’s fiction, the main thing about it, which tends not to get its due, is how much it makes you feel. I’ve loved Saunders’s work for years and spent a lot of hours with him over the past few months trying to understand how he’s able to do what he does, but it has been a real struggle to find an accurate way to express my emotional response to his stories. One thing is that you read them and you feel known, if that makes any sense. Or, possibly even woollier, you feel as if he understands humanity in a way that no one else quite does, and you’re comforted by it. Even if that comfort often comes in very strange packages, like say, a story in which a once-chaste aunt comes back from the dead to encourage her nephew, who works at a male-stripper restaurant (sort of like Hooters, except with guys, and sleazier), to start unzipping and showing his wares to the patrons, so he can make extra tips and help his family avert a tragic future that she has foretold.
Junot Díaz described the Saunders’s effect to me this way: “There’s no one who has a better eye for the absurd and dehumanizing parameters of our current culture of capital. But then the other side is how the cool rigor of his fiction is counterbalanced by this enormous compassion. Just how capacious his moral vision is sometimes gets lost, because few people cut as hard or deep as Saunders does.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Books Philosophy Psychology Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Buddhism * Theology Eschatology
A year ago, Lloyd Hale drove past the four-story building once called the S.C. Lunatic Asylum, now a hulking souvenir to a bygone day when thousands of the state’s most severely mentally ill were locked up on this campus in Columbia.
He passed a string of ghostly vacant buildings and slowed. He stopped at the final building, the one in whose wards he spent 18 months of his young life, the months when the real Lloyd Hale surfaced from delusions that had claimed his reality, his family, his freedom — and another man’s life.
Hale parked his state-issued work vehicle at the building.
In the silence and privacy of his car, he cried, sobbing for his younger self, the one so nearly lost to the delusional grip of schizophrenia. And he cried for the real Lloyd Hale, the one who was rescued, the one who now helps others tangled in mental illness.
Read it all.
Whether or not there is a deal, the weeks since the election have produced a stark display of political gridlock. "The government is not working," said Steve Bell, senior director of the Bipartisan Policy Center, who was a senior budget adviser to Senate Republicans for many years. "There is no doubt that the policy-making apparatus in this town has collapsed."
Following the tea-party wave in the 2010 election, the 112th Congress looks set to be the least productive in recent history. By the end of November, the House had passed 146 bills over the previous two years, by far the smallest number for any Congress since 1948. The Senate passed fewer bills in 2012 than in any year since at least 1992.
Rather than smoothing over differences, the November election appears to have hardened them. "We came out of the election with both sides thinking they won and had an equal mandate," said Ross Baker, a professor at Rutgers University who is now interviewing lawmakers on Capitol Hill for a book on bipartisanship. "One problem is we don't have a common narrative to guide us."
Read it all.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Taxes The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- The U.S. Government Budget Medicare Social Security The National Deficit Politics in General House of Representatives Office of the President President Barack Obama Senate * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Ellen Wright Clayton, a specialist in law and genetics at Vanderbilt University, says there aren't many possibilities. "The only thing they can be looking for here is to see whether the killer had certain genetic variants that may predispose to mental illness or to violence," she says.
Scientists have spent decades studying these genetic variants. But can a person's genes reveal why they commit mass murder?
"Absolutely not," Clayton says. "Genetic variants do not explain criminal behavior."
Read it all.
For young people exposed to gun trauma — like the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — the road to recovery can be long and torturous, marked by anxiety, nightmares, school trouble and even substance abuse. Witnessing lethal violence ruptures a child’s sense of security, psychiatrists say, leaving behind an array of emotional and social challenges that are not easily resolved.
But the good news is that most of these children will probably heal.
“Most kids, even of this age, are resilient,” said Dr. Glenn Saxe, chairman of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center. “The data shows that the majority of people after a trauma, including a school assault, will end up doing O.K.”
Read it all.
It is time, instead, to address one aspect of American exceptionalism of which I am not proud. We are the only advanced nation where medical bankruptcies are routine - as are deaths due to lack of access to proper health care.
And the worst part of the latter is the fact that mental health care is particularly unavailable to anyone who is not wealthy, or lucky enough to have mental health coverage through her or his insurance.
Persons with mental health problems need to be identified and helped....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance The U.S. Government * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
An anniversary slipped by this year that cannot - and must not - go unremarked. It is a decade since Virginia Haussegger's pivotal ''The sins of our feminist mothers'' was published on this page. Haussegger's opinion piece articulated the anger and frustration of a generation of women left childless as a result of their feminist mothers promoting the myth of ''having it all'': the career, the husband and the babies. The article hit a collective nerve. A book followed recording Haussegger's personal account of feminism, career, relationships, health, and, ultimately biological childlessness.
The messages resonated with women of Haussegger's generation and with mine. Wonder Woman: The Myth of Having It All was the talk of every woman in town.
Thanks to brave women like Haussegger, my generation received the message loud and clear to look after their reproductive health; to not delay pregnancy too long. We have been successfully reprogrammed to hear the biological clock ticking. Unfortunately, this is not a gentle while-away-the-hours-type ticking. Rather, it is a nuclear-bomb-is-about-to-explode-so-PANIC-NOW-style ticking. I sometimes wonder if this has done more harm than good; if, in fact, it would be better not to know.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Psychology Women * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
Like many women these days, Aran Hissam, 35, of Melbourne, Fla., posted the news that she was pregnant on Facebook. On the morning of an ultrasound last year, she debated on the site whether to learn the baby’s sex, musing “to peek or not to peek?”
When she failed to post an update later that day, friends started to contact her. Ms. Hissam decided to return to Facebook to share the news that her unborn baby, a girl, had been found to have fetal hydrops and given no chance of survival.
“I wanted to communicate the news to get people off my back,” Ms. Hissam said in a telephone interview recently. Although her husband was at first surprised that she would share such emotional news publicly, she said, Facebook seemed like one of the least difficult ways to get the word out.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Children Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Psychology * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
There were four of them growing up in Atlanta, four girls close in age, the daughters of an Episcopal priest and his wife....
...today Sarah Ball Damewood and one sister are all who remain with their father in a family robbed of its pieces by physical and mental illness. In 2009, they lost their mother to complications from a stroke.
In 2010, they lost the oldest of the four sisters to breast cancer. She was just 54.
And this year, they lost Caroline, the youngest daughter. They lost Caroline to herself, to the emptiness she had yet to fill.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Psychology Mental Illness Religion & Culture * Theology Pastoral Theology Theodicy
The “Global Trends 2030” report is generally upbeat about the future. It foresees more individual empowerment, a growing middle class, better health care, and a world order in which the United States learns to better share power (assuming China plays along). It sees Islamic terrorism fading away.
Like many forecasts of global trends, it focuses strongly on material conditions more than the advance of ideas. It sees worrisome urbanization, with nearly 60 percent of the world’s population living in cities by 2030. Demand for “food, water, and energy will grow by approximately 35, 40, and 50 percent respectively,” the report states with presumed precision. “Many countries probably won’t have the wherewithal to avoid food and water shortages without massive help from outside.” At least 15 countries are “at high risk of state failure” by 2030.
These quadrennial reports are useful, up to a point, if they are constantly revised with new information. Most of all, they rely too heavily on experts without also tapping into the wider wisdom within society.
Read it all.
Financial adviser Jeffrey Smith recently watched a once-confident client scrawl his fears across a legal pad during a discussion of stock investments: "Congressional stalemate," "unemployment," "European crisis," "corruption."
The client, retiree Nicholas Zerebny, later recalled how his thoughts strayed to Edvard Munch's "Scream" paintings. In the middle of the page, Mr. Zerebny drew a crude version of the iconic screaming face.
"That's how I feel right now," he told Mr. Smith.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Personal Finance Stock Market The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--
This is not a good time to be starting out in life. Jobs are scarce, and those that exist often pay unexpectedly low wages. Beginning a family — always stressful and uncertain — is increasingly a stretch. The weak economy begets weak family formation. We instinctively know this; several new studies now deepen our understanding.
When the labor market operates smoothly, it creates an economic escalator. Just out of high school or college, young workers typically switch jobs frequently until they find something that fits their talent and temperament. Job changes often mean higher pay; people move to advance themselves. The more they succeed, the more confident they feel in marrying and having children.
The most startling evidence of the broken escalator is the collapse in marriages and births....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Psychology Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Housing/Real Estate Market Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--
More than 200 school districts across California are taking a second look at the high price of the debt they've taken on using risky financial arrangements. Collectively, the districts have borrowed billions in loans that defer payments for years — leaving many districts owing far more than they borrowed.
In 2010, officials at the West Contra Costa School District, just east of San Francisco, were in a bind. The district needed $2.5 million to help secure a federally subsidized $25 million loan to build a badly needed elementary school.
Charles Ramsey, president of the school board, says he needed that $2.5 million upfront, but the district didn't have it.
Read or listen to it all.
Since exploding onto the global stage in 2002 with his phenomenally successful book The Purpose Driven Life, Warren has been the warm and friendly face of evangelicalism—a welcoming, avuncular alternative to hellfire-and-brimstone finger waggers such as Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell. With his goatee and dressed-down aesthetic (for our meeting he’s sporting jeans, a bright blue and robin’s-egg plaid oxford, and black slip-ons), 58-year-old “Pastor Rick” cultivates the casual, cool-dad aura of the boomer generation to which he belongs. (He has the Korean rap phenomenon “Gangnam Style” as his ringtone and, in classic SoCal fashion, shuns socks unless visiting wintery climes such as New York in late November). Warren’s ministry, similarly, presents Christianity in a relatable, user-friendly package, much in keeping with his book’s uplifting promise that every one of our lives has meaning.
These days, however, the aggressively upbeat Warren is increasingly disheartened by what he sees as a “malaise” afoot in the land. “I feel America is in the emotional doldrums,” he says sadly. The economy is sluggish, the political system is a disaster, and citizens are at each other’s throats. He observes, “I think America is more divided today—and it’s sad—than at any time since the Civil War.”
Warren voices special concern for younger generations. “There’s a lot of people in their 20s and even early 30s still waiting for their lives to start,” he observes. They can’t find jobs. They’re moving back in with their parents. “They’re like, where’s the American Dream for me?”
Bottom line, says Warren: “This nation is in desperate need of some direction and purpose and meaning. Somebody’s got to speak up now. And I thought, OK. If nobody else volunteers, I’ll step up.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
Return to blog homepage
Return to Mobile view (headlines)