Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Isaac Holt Jr.

Senior Pastor, Royal Missionary Baptist Church

North Charleston

Forgiveness is done as soon as humanly possible by those who know the toxic consequences of not forgiving.

In forgiveness, the benefit is greater for the forgiver than for the forgiven. Forgiveness begins emotional healing. It releases you from the poisonous thoughts of personal revenge and the prison of hatred.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted July 5, 2015 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Before the bullets and bloodshed in the movie theater, Stefan Moton was a teenager who did push-ups and boxing exercises in his bedroom, his dreams fixed on becoming a mixed martial arts fighter. Now, his goals are humbler: Strengthen the sections of his upper body that he can still move. Maybe get a new tattoo. Feed himself again.

“I just try to push it aside and move on,” he said. “Focus on getting better.”

Mr. Moton, 21, who was shot through the spine and left paralyzed from the chest down, is among scores of survivors who have taken the witness stand in the murder trial of James E. Holmes, the former neuroscience graduate student charged with carrying out the midnight rampage at a multiplex here in July 2012. But testimony is narrowly focused on the scene inside Theater 9 and whether the gunman was legally sane or insane when he opened fire. Many stories of Aurora’s painful legacy, which families say remains as raw and urgent as ever, have gone untold in court.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted July 3, 2015 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Doctors in Belgium have granted a medically depressed woman the right to end her own life.

The 24-year-old woman, named only as ‘Laura’, told doctors she had suffered from depression since she was a child and wished to end her life, local newspaper De Morgen reported.

Laura, who entered a psychiatric facility when she was 21, told the publication: “life, that’s not for me.”

"Death feels to me not as a choice. If I had a choice, I would choose a bearable life, but I have done everything and that was unsuccessful," she told the newspaper.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeBelgium* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bishops agreed to allow clergy to begin offering same-sex marriages using the new rites after Nov. 1. However, no clergy could be compelled to perform a same-sex marriage, and a bishop had the authority to forbid his clergy from celebrating gay marriages.

The former bishop of Virginia, Peter Lee, explained to the bishops in Salt Lake City the accommodation meant that a conservative priest in a liberal diocese would incur no penalty if he refused to perform a same-sex marriage. The priest would, however, have to pass a couple seeking to be married on to another church or priest to perform the ceremony.

Priests in dioceses where the bishop forbid same-sex marriages may not solemnize gay marriages. A priest who did so would be liable for punishment for disobeying the bishop. A diocese that does not perform gay marriages must pass the couple on to another part of the church that permits gay marriage.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC BishopsTEC Polity & Canons* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted July 2, 2015 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So is polygamy passé? The next slide on our slippery slope to damnation? The next rung on our steep climb towards full civil rights and equality in America?

Whatever your take, there’s no denying that last week’s SCOTUS opinions broke our collective silence on poly rights. If Friday’s ruling was about dignity and equality, as Justice Kennedy made clear, we must continue this debate.

Read it all from Brian Pellot.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Polyamory--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralSupreme Court* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 1, 2015 at 3:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The BIS critique goes like this. Low interest rates have sustained the recovery, but the support is fragile. The economy relies too much on debt, which cannot build forever, and artificially high asset prices (stocks, homes, bonds) may someday tumble from unrealistic levels. A new crisis could be severe because governments have already deployed their standard anti-recession tools: cheap credit and big deficits.

The BIS’s most intriguing point is that a new recession or financial crisis might originate with emerging-market countries: China, Brazil, India, Turkey and the like. Although there has been debt repayment in the United States, the opposite has happened in some emerging-market countries, the BIS says. Private firms have assumed dollar loans worth $3 trillion, even though their “debt servicing capacity . . . has deteriorated.” Will defaults follow?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyEuropean Central BankThe U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 30, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The critiques of forgiveness in recent days are strikingly similar to the critiques against nonviolence during the civil rights movement. In both cases, some advocates for social justice misunderstood the allegiances of the black Christians they criticized. Dr. King and the Charleston families believed forgiveness and nonviolence are on the right side of history. They believed they would be served well on this earth by those tenets, but also that their reward is in heaven. And, clearly, they saw no conflict between forgiveness and full-throated, sacrificial advocacy for change. People so often underestimate the Christian conviction that the ends do not justify the means. The ultimate goal is not to achieve justice on this world, though we pursue that with all of our souls, but to be faithful to God. We believe, ultimately, that faithfulness is justice.

I do not think I could forgive Roof. Forgiveness is not a burden I would place on anyone in the situation of those families. We should reject all calls from those who wish to sweep under the rug the culture and systems of racism that infect people like Roof. We should reject all calls to make excuses for the evil Roof actively embraced and acted upon. He was no passive actor. He was more than simply a result of cultural, economic, or social circumstances. He had agency. And his actions were evil.

But we should also reject all calls to strip the agency and dignity from the mourning families as well. I am not mature enough in the faith to so quickly pass the burden of judgment to God. But I am inspired by those family members to grow in that direction. I am a Christian because of the black church and black faith. When I was far from God, it was the unashamedly Christian black culture, movies, and music of people like Lauryn Hill and Fred Hammond that introduced me to Jesus. It is the black church that so consistently embodies the confounding, radical love of Jesus. What other American community today displays less shame, less reservation, less self-awareness about proclaiming the Christian faith? I will not turn the Bride of the living Christ into a cultural artifact.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologyRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted June 29, 2015 at 5:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I do not forgive Dylann Roof, a racist terrorist whose name I hate saying or knowing. I have no immediate connection to what happened in Charleston, S.C., last week beyond my humanity and my blackness, but I do not foresee ever forgiving his crimes, and I am wholly at ease with that choice.

My unwillingness to forgive this man does not give him any kind of power. I am not filled with hate for this man because he is beneath my contempt. I do not believe in the death penalty so I don’t wish to see him dead. My lack of forgiveness serves as a reminder that there are some acts that are so terrible that we should recognize them as such. We should recognize them as beyond forgiving.

I struggle with faith but I was raised Catholic....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologyRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted June 29, 2015 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almost on cue, there were three different news stories about abortion and Down syndrome around the time of the encyclical’s release. New blood screening, for instance, has resulted in a 34 percent increase in such abortions in Britain. Just a few days later, a Washington Post guest columnist argued such routine and systematic screening — not least because between 67 percent and 92 percent end up aborting — constitutes the formal “elimination of a group of people quite happy being themselves” under “the false pretense of women’s rights.” And then there was the story of the truly despicable company stealing the image of a child with Down syndrome for their Orwellian-sounding test kit named “Tranquility.”

You couldn’t ask for a more revealing practice of the throwaway culture Pope Francis so strongly decries. It doesn’t matter that people with Down syndrome are happier than those who are “normal;” our consumer culture’s tendency is to turn everything into a mere object or tool of the market, and when the object or tool is no longer useful, we simply discard it. These children don’t meet the quality-control standards of the consumer, and so the product simply gets thrown out as so much trash.

But one of the central themes of Pope Francis’s encyclical is that all creation has value independent of its value within a consumer culture. In response to my sharing the three stories mentioned above on social media, an old friend sent me a touching e-mail (parts of which are shared here with permission) about her sister with Down syndrome. She remembers that her family was initially sad and worried — but now, looking back, “it truly made no sense....”

Read it all from Charles Camosy in the Washington Post.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 29, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...in one of the ironies in which the arc of history specializes, while the conservative case for same-sex marriage triumphed in politics, the liberationist case against marriage’s centrality to human flourishing was winning in the wider culture.

You would not know this from Kennedy’s opinion, which is relentlessly upbeat about how “new insights have strengthened, not weakened” marriage, bringing “new dimensions of freedom” to society.

But the central “new dimension of freedom” being claimed by straight America is a freedom from marriage — from the institution as traditionally understood, and from wedlock and family, period.

Read it all (emphasis and article title his).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 27, 2015 at 8:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“As usual, baby names are reflecting a larger cultural shift,” says BabyCenter’s Global Editor in Chief Linda Murray. “Millennials are an open-minded and accepting group, and they don’t want their children to feel pressured to conform to stereotypes that might be restrictive.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropology

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Posted June 26, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The work of the church is not merely to accept those of us who are transgender, asexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer, and intersex. The work of the church is to accept and celebrate that the church—the body—is itself queer. The body of Christ is queer because it isn’t defined or bound by human constructs or binaries. It transcends and subverts norms and boundaries. It contains multitudes. But the body is also queer simply because its queer members are a vital component of its identity. When I was dating a cisgender (i.e., identifying with the gender assigned at birth), heterosexual man last fall, we were in a queer relationship. My queer identity made the relationship itself queer, even though he was straight. The body of Christ is queer in this same way because it contains queer identities.

It is time for the church to sit down nervously at its own Table and confront its internalized queerphobia. It is time for the body of Christ to come out. Some of us who have come out ourselves are happy to be the friend that talks the church through it.

Coming out is not easy. It is not just about moving forward in celebration and inclusion. It is about accepting that in some ways you are just now becoming acquainted with who you really are. It means recognizing you have missed opportunities for relationship, happiness, and growth. It means grieving the years lost to fear and the heartbreak of relationships with loved ones who cannot understand. It means holding with grace the wounds you will always carry.

Read it all.

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


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Posted June 26, 2015 at 7:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How is it being used?

Last week, US government agency talks that were intended to create a code of conduct for the technology fell apart. Privacy campaigners walked out of the discussions, claiming that companies and government agencies were unwilling to accept that they must always seek permission before using facial recognition technology to identify someone.

Alvaro Bedoya, from Georgetwon University Law Centre in Washington DC, told New Scientist that “not a single company would support [the principle].”

Uses of the technology are becoming increasingly Orwellian. Tesco plans to install screens that scan customers’ faces, determine their age and gender, and show them a relevant advertisement.

In the United States, a company called Face First offers retailers the ability to "build a database of good customers, recognize them when they come through the door, and make them feel more welcome” (in other words, schmooze the big spenders). The product also sends alerts whenever “known litigious individuals enter any of your locations”. Another company, Churchix, uses facial recognition technology to track congregation church attendance.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 24, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Putnam, not first of all a complainer, this time reaches for extremes: “We” and “Our Kids” are not merely confused or apathetic or drifting. We are clearly in crisis. Or the book could get dismissed as one more complaint about social class and the economic debates connected with both, or all, sides of class division in America. Also, it could be ignored by those who tire of nostalgic reckonings about “the good old days;” Some celebrations of them do appear here.

Putnam lovingly invokes the past as he begins with references to his own childhood years and to locales like the town in which he grew up. Winsomely and with clarity he writes about a time when the boundaries between classes were not as defined and drastic as now. But as he looks at the contemporary scene, he finds plenty of reason to describe the class gulf as “in crisis” and the “American dream” not merely fading for millions, but becoming almost irretrievably out of range for their young.

What’s missing, especially for the millions of “Their Kids” in America today? They lack agencies where “social capital”—an old Putnam phrase—is tended to. Voluntary organizations, support groups, clubs, neighborhood places, which encourage bonding and interaction are disappearing from the scene for the millions who cannot advance.

Read it all.

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

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Posted June 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

ADHD, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, isn’t just for kids anymore.

Adults in the U.S. have overtaken children in taking medication for the condition and accounted for 53 percent of the industrywide 63 million prescriptions for ADHD drugs last year, according to data compiled by Shire Plc, which makes the top-selling Vyvanse treatment. That compared with 39 percent in 2007, the Dublin-based drugmaker said.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionPsychology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 22, 2015 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This caption came across my Instagram notifications a few weeks back.

I was curious to see the photo this student had taken to commemorate his experience. I never would have expected a picture of a young man standing in front of a mirror in his bathroom with a bewildered smirk on his face.

Yet there he was, a duck-faced teenager staring at his bathroom mirror, smart phone in hand. What this had to do with how much he loved worshiping Jesus was a mystery to me.

This is the world in which we live, the world of the selfie.

Read it all

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingPsychologyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 22, 2015 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Internet is in danger of turning us all into addicts. Time spent online continues to rise among every segment of the world's population, and becomes more natural to each emerging generation. We're hyper-connected, playing our games, sharing our baby photos and watching TV together in collaborative ways that were unimaginable 30 years ago. Thanks to smartphones we check our social media accounts regularly – and in some cases constantly. Their use has become habitual, rewarding, and incredibly hard to give up (even for Lent).

Calling this 'Internet addiction' however is slightly misleading. It's not online media that's the problem, so much as the way that we engage with it. As we do, we're actually getting addicted to something else.

Dopamine is your brain's in-built reward system. It's a neurotransmitter released when you achieve something; when you complete a work task, submit an essay or complete a run. When it enters the right part of your brain, it makes you feel good; successful; purposeful. It can also be stimulated artificially, for instance through the consumption of nicotine or cocaine....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHealth & MedicinePsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 22, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hundreds of veterans gathered at Fort Stewart, Georgia, to be honored at a homecoming ceremony that eluded them for decades.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 21, 2015 at 2:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What is in Fed officials’ control is what they do today and tomorrow and in their policy meeting Sept. 16 and 17. So by deciding to raise rates then (or deciding not to), they are sending a more powerful signal than any speech or written statement that they believe it is time to start winding down the era of easy money.

The thing is, Ms. Yellen and her colleagues know this, and that comments like those she made Wednesday won’t do much to change it. The best they can do is try to manage expectations so that people don’t assume that a quarter-percentage point rise in the Fed’s interest rate target in September automatically translates to much higher rates in a year or two.

In other words, Ms. Yellen may be an economist, but she is well aware that her tools for managing the economy work via financial markets. So how bond traders interpret the Fed’s words and actions matter a great deal.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsThe U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 17, 2015 at 5:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here, roughly, is what we know so far about today’s middle-class children: They seldom walk or bike to school, as generations did before them; they rarely work steady after-school jobs (their new work is strictly of the academic and extracurricular variety, one that doesn’t involve a wage); their time is rigidly structured (play dates, cello lessons, summer internships); their mothers spend more time with them than mothers did with their children in the 1960s, even though most women in the 1960s didn’t work.

When confronted with these facts, it is therefore reasonable to ask: What effect does all this involvement and insulation and scrupulous (some might call it psychoneurotic) programming have on our kids? Is it compromising their resilience in some way, or the firmness of their convictions, or their self-efficacy? Are the very things we view as horizon-stretching in fact resulting in a more circumscribed life?

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologyScience & TechnologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 17, 2015 at 3:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For an hour or two on a foggy morning last December, some students at the University of Iowa (UI) mistook one of their professors, Serhat Tanyolacar, for a fan of the Ku Klux Klan. Mr Tanyolacar had placed a canvas effigy based on Klan robes, screen-printed with news cuttings about racial violence, on the Pentacrest, the university’s historic heart. The effigy had a camera in its hood to record public reactions.

The reaction among some black students was to fear for their safety, and that is not surprising. What is more of a puzzle—for anyone outside American academia, at least—is that students and UI bosses continued denouncing Mr Tanyolacar for threatening campus safety even after the misunderstanding was cleared up. In vain did the Turkish-born academic explain that he is a “social-political artist”, using Klan imagery to provoke debate about racism. Under pressure from angry students, university chiefs issued two separate apologies. The first expressed regret that students had been exposed to a “deeply offensive” artwork, adding that there is no room for “divisive” speech at UI. The second apologised for taking too long to remove a display which had “terrorised” black students and locals, thereby failing to ensure that all students, faculty, staff and visitors felt “respected and safe”. An unhappy Mr Tanyolacar feels abandoned by the university. He left Iowa earlier this month, when his visiting fellowship came to an end, and has suspended his teaching career.

A crucial word in this tale is “safe”. Campus activists have stretched the meaning of safety from an important but second-order concern—shielding students from serious harm—to a defining ambition for any well-run academy.

Read it all.

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

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Posted June 17, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Scottish Episcopal Church has taken a major step towards letting same-sex couples marry in church. However the process of change will take at least two years. If and when final approval is given, priests will be allowed – but not required – to celebrate weddings between same-sex partners.

The General Synod voted to ask the Faith and Order Board to look at revising the church’s rules on marriage. An overwhelming majority backed the resolution.

“That would also allow our clergy to enter into same-sex marriages,” said David Chillingworth, the Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, and Primus (chief bishop) of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesScottish Episcopal Church* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted June 15, 2015 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The decision by Apple, Walmart, Eli Lilly, Angie’s List, and so on was a business decision—even more, a marketing decision. Coming out in opposition to the Indiana RFRA law was one of the shrewdest marketing coups since E.T. followed a trail of Reese’s Pieces. The decision to #BoycottIndiana was not made because it was the politically courageous thing to do; it was made because it was the profitable thing to do. The establishment could express support for a fashionable social norm while exerting very little effort, incurring no actual cost, and making no sacrifice to secure the goal. It had the further advantage of distracting most people from the fact that corporations like Apple have no compunction doing business in places with outright oppression of gays, women, and Christians. Those real forms of repression and discrimination didn’t matter; Indiana’s purported oppression of gays did.

The public statements, often hyperbolic propaganda about the dire consequences of the Indiana law, were cost-free because gay rights activists have successfully argued that opposition to gay marriage is tantamount to racism. Through a powerful and concerted effort, gay activists have succeeded in convincing the establishment that gays are the equivalent of blacks in Selma, and that their opponents—particularly their Christian opponents—are Bull Connors. There can simply be no brooking bigotry! Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton conveniently forget their previous support for conjugal marriage, and none of their supporters seek to hold them to account. All that matters is that one now deny that there can be reasonable opposition to gay marriage, and affirm that those who maintain that view are rank bigots. Companies like Apple and Walmart eagerly joined the bandwagon once it was clear that the tactic had worked.

There is a deeper reason for corporate support, however. ­Today’s corporate ideology has a strong affinity with the lifestyles of those who are defined by mobility, ethical flexibility, liberalism (whether economic or social), a consumerist mentality in which choice is paramount, and a “progressive” outlook in which rapid change and “creative destruction” are the only certainties. The response to Indiana’s RFRA law shows very clearly that corporations have joined forces with Republicans on economic matters and Democrats on social ones. Corporate America is aligned with the ascendant ­libertarian portion of each party, ensuring a win for the political, economic, and ­social preferences of libertarianism. In effect, there is only one functional party in America today, seemingly parceled between the two notional parties but in reality unifying them in its backing by financial and cultural elites.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMarriage & FamilyMediaPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 14, 2015 at 4:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The saddest part of Campolo’s change of mind, however, is that it will not be enough, as early responses from the gay community already indicate. Even a moment’s reflection on the Bruce Jenner affair or a casual conversation with a teenager would reveal to him that the gay issue is, as far as the secular world is considered, done and dusted. All Campolo has done as an evangelical is modify his sexual ethics to conform to the comfortable, safe, middle-class tastes of modern America. He will shock no-one but evangelicals—and, I might add, only evangelicals unfamiliar with his other work.

As the ever lengthening DNA chain of the LGBTQQIAAP lobby indicates, Campolo is just the latest example of a perennial evangelical tendency on matters of culture: He is a day late and a dollar short. And the people whose community he now chooses to serve will not be satisfied with that. One wonders if even he will be satisfied with it in the long run.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted June 13, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

They worked fror 5 years on this movie--3 years on the the storytelling alone. Watch it all.

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

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Posted June 13, 2015 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The film's title alludes to the opening track of Wilson's 1988 debut solo album. The film delivers both in spades. Mercy is certainly shown to Wilson in the film, which skips the darkest period of his life, a fifteen-year-stretch between 1968 and the transformation that came after Melinda Ledbetter (his wife-to-be) met him. During those lost years, he was in and out of psychiatric hospitals, battling auditory hallucinations, spending much of his time in bed, using drugs, and grossly overeating (his weight soared to more than 300 pounds).

Melinda (played by Elizabeth Banks) is really the central character in the '80s narrative, and her perseverance and genuine concern for Brian's well-being ultimately get him out of his abusive relationship with Dr. Landy. Love & Mercy celebrates the gift of Wilson's music by focusing on his most fertile creative period and the light shining through after almost two decades of darkness. What makes the Wilson story so wonderful is its genuinely redemptive arc. With Melinda he has enjoyed a newfound stability (they've been happily married for 20 years) and a return to the music spotlight with 2004's Grammy-winning Brian Wilson Presents Smile and later with the long-awaited release of the masters for Smile in 2011.

While love and mercy may have both landed in the title, justice is also central to the film. In the scene that generates the largest applause, Dr. [Eugene] Landy is served papers for the lawsuit that ultimately cost him his license to practice psychiatry. That may suggest why Love & Mercy is so compelling. It avoids the formulaic quality of so many recent biopics, but it's not ashamed to tug at our heartstrings. And above all, it captures the joy of creation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionMusicPsychology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...we were surprised when former CT editor David Neff on Facebook praised Campolo’s move. As he put it in an email to me clarifying his comment, “I think the ethically responsible thing for gay and lesbian Christians to do is to form lasting, covenanted partnerships. I also believe that the church should help them in those partnerships in the same way the church should fortify traditional marriages.”

At CT, we’re saddened that David has come to this conclusion. Saddened because we firmly believe that the Bible teaches that God intends the most intimate of covenant relationships to be enjoyed exclusively by a man and a woman. We’ve stated this view explicitly in many editorials, and it is implicit but clear in many of our feature stories.

Still, many of our readers become alarmed when a prominent evangelical leader says otherwise. Add the changes of mind to the legal juggernaut sweeping through the land to legitimize gay marriage, and the orthodox can become demoralized. They fear that history will sweep all of us into this view eventually.

But it’s not at all certain that the rapid cultural shift in America on gay marriage will be mirrored in the Christian church. North American and European Christians who believe in gay marriage are a small minority in these regions, and churches that ascribe to a more liberal sexual ethic continue to wither.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

3 Comments
Posted June 10, 2015 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Few commentators on either side of the ongoing marriage debate would deny that individuals possess a fundamental right to marry. To do so seems ridiculous today. Marital relationships are, as the Supreme Court first affirmed in Meyer v. Nebraska (1923)—albeit in obiter dictum, an aside unnecessary to the decision of the case—an important part of the happiness that individuals have a natural right to pursue.

It may be a surprise to modern Americans to realize that the Meyer case represents the first notable appearance of the “right to marry” language in the American political tradition or its antecedents in liberal political philosophy. It played almost no role in the Civil Rights Movement beyond its invocation by Chief Justice Earl Warren in the 1967 case of Loving v. Virginia (neither King nor Malcolm X made mention of such a right to my knowledge), it was entirely absent from the anti-slavery movement (Lincoln’s Republican Party was formed, in fact, with the twin policy goals of ending slavery and outlawing polygamy), and it was similarly absent from the revolutionary conflict with Great Britain.

The idea of a fundamental right to marry—not just someone of the same sex, but anyone at all—is a relatively new one. Among those who didn’t think anyone—not just homosexuals, but heterosexuals as well—possessed such a right are John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Abraham Lincoln, to name only a prominent few. Why not?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 5, 2015 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As one can see, Resolution 2015-A054 offers up a veritable smorgasbord of marriage services for all and sundry. If you are an atheist, the Episcopal Church (USA) is ready to meet you and marry you with its "Civil Marriage Rite"; if it is illegal to marry in your State, the Episcopal Church (USA) will still meet you and bless your union with its "Marriage-Lite Rite"; and if you want the full trappings for your same-sex ceremony, well, ECUSA offers it in modern ("Wedding Rite") and traditional ("Mystical Union") versions, according to your taste.

But the consequence is necessarily the dilution of Christian marriage into a virtually meaningless smear. The message that ECUSA is conveying with its cafeteria-style offerings is that it does not really stand behind any one of them; they all must be equally valid, liturgically speaking, and so "you pays yer money and you takes yer choice." Whether you are really married is between God and you; it is not for the Church to say.

Resolutions A036 and A054, as noted, work in tandem to accomplish this goal. The one would be meaningless without the other -- indeed, until A054 goes into formal effect and its marriage rites are authorized by diocesan bishops in their respective jurisdictions, the canonical violations described in the first Part of this post will continue unabated and unpunished.

In the next Part of this post, we will take a longer view of the Church's abandonment of traditional marriage, and the consequences of that abandonment for two Western institutions of paramount importance: the family, and the "one, true, catholic and apostolic church" itself.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention TEC Polity & Canons* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships

4 Comments
Posted June 5, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“There are just as many ways of being a nonparent as there are of being a parent,” Daum writes in the introduction. “You can be cool about it or you can be a jerk about it.” Unfortunately, almost all the contributors to Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed—with the notable exception of the English novelist Geoff Dyer, whose genuinely funny and self-aware essay correctly labels regret in life as “the jackpot you are guaranteed to win”—come off as jerks.

The contributors are professional writers, and many of them assume this means they are entitled to be moody, crankily eccentric, or even borderline insane. Being a “creative person,” we are told—please insert your own skeptical cough or two here—apparently excuses a multitude of sins, including regular breakdowns and grown-up tantrums. Being a “creative person” also apparently allows for Costco-sized carts filled with delusions of grandeur and hefty doses of drama. (The proverbial carts of parents, meanwhile, are filled with to-do lists, bulk diapers, and even bulkier cases of wine.)

“Writing had saved my life,” Sigrid Nunez writes in her chapter, “and if I could not write, I would die.” Children, apparently, often make a hash of the world of great art: Young humans, the novelist Lionel Shriver notes, “would have messed up my apartment. In the main, they are ungrateful. They would have siphoned too much time away from the writing of my precious books.” Attention, everyone: It is officially time to get off Lionel Shriver’s lawn. But first, should someone inform her that her cultural influence is likely dwarfed by people like, oh, I don’t know, the fertile founder of Chick-fil-A?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 4, 2015 at 5:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The husband and wife’s resolute commitment to the irreplaceability of each other with respect to their union—their fides—with all its joyous, self-imposed, exacting rigor establishes a moral environment wherein the child has the security of knowing that their identity and personhood has its foundation within the exclusive devotion between just two people. The child’s life and origin begins in the secret, hidden mystery of love between the man and the woman whose shape is made public in their vows of marriage.

To be clear, my point is a moral one and not about biology per se. But what’s true at the moral level is also true biologically: if either member of the union were replaced, the DNA of the child would obviously come from a different pool. To the extent that matters for the determination of a child’s life—and it clearly matters some—that would be enough to indicate that there is something about being begotten from just those two parents and no others that matters to the child’s future....

If my argument is right, gay marriage is not a revolution; it is simply the final stage of the erosion of eros....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted June 4, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Most Americans (72%) continue to believe the state of moral values in the U.S. is "getting worse," while 22% say it is "getting better." Large majorities have said the state of moral values in the U.S. is declining since Gallup started asking this question annually in 2002.

Americans were slightly less pessimistic about the direction of the country's morals in 2002 and 2003, when two-thirds (67%) said it was getting worse. Pessimism peaked between 2006 and 2008, when more than four in five Americans thought the state of moral values was declining.

Read it all.



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

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Posted June 4, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today, nonbelievers often seem inclined to describe atheism and secular humanism as an “identity” whose claimants should focus on winning cultural acceptance rather than intellectual debates. Here, they are taking their cues from the civil rights movement, particularly the rhetoric of gay liberation. Some organizations, for example, declared April 23 the first “Openly Secular Day,” “a celebration of secular people opening up about their secular worldview, and an opportunity for theistic allies to show their support for secular friends and family.”

“Many atheists are still in the closet,” said Nichelle Reed of Sunday Assembly. Nonbelievers like her hope that if they emphasize good works over grand argument, they can convince the bigots that atheists are decent human beings. Kelly Damerow, the interim executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, said that there is little discussion of moral philosophy among the activists she works with. “We get it. We know we’re good to each other,” she told me. “We would rather show people that we’re good.”

In the short term, this is a smart strategy. The language of tolerance and personal identity has particular appeal to millennials, who account for 40 percent of the atheist and agnostic population, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest study. August E. Brunsman IV, who directs the Secular Student Alliance, said that “nowadays you’re seeing a whole lot of people for whom it’s more important that they’re understood and valued by fellow citizens, not seen as being too weird.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheism

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Posted June 3, 2015 at 3:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An internationally renowned atheist activist has relocated from India to the U.S. after receiving death threats from an extremist group that has claimed responsibility for at least one of three machete killings of South Asian atheists this year.

Taslima Nasrin, a Bangladeshi gynecologist, novelist and poet, arrived in New York state last Wednesday (May 27). The move was orchestrated by the Center for Inquiry, an organization that promotes secularism and has been working with atheist activists in countries where atheism is unprotected by blasphemy laws.

“Extremist groups have been pretty public that they want Taslima killed,” said Michael de Dora, CFI’s director of public policy and president of the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief. “In the last couple of weeks this has been ramping up and that’s why we were so concerned.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologyReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaBangladesh* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsAtheism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 3, 2015 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The segment is the first one which may be found here. "Summer Ash found that after fighting for a healthy heart, her heart started fighting her in ways she hadn't expected." Really well done and amazing.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropology

2 Comments
Posted June 3, 2015 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the U.S. carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology - all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.

The planes' surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge's approval, and the FBI said the flights are used for specific, ongoing investigations. The FBI said it uses front companies to protect the safety of the pilots and aircraft. It also shields the identity of the aircraft so that suspects on the ground don't know they're being watched by the FBI.

In a recent 30-day period, the agency flew above more than 30 cities in 11 states across the country, an AP review found.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 3, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a series of public correspondence, two professors at Episcopal seminaries discuss what they see as problems with the approach taken by the Task Force on the Study of Marriage in evaluating what the Bible has to say about marriage and sexuality. Dr. Wesley Hill is Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity School for Ministry and Dr. Garwood P. Anderson is Professor of New Testament and Greek at Nashotah House Theological Seminary.

Read it all by following the links provided. Also this morning there is now this.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological EducationTheology: Scripture

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“My mom and dad didn’t tell us why they were putting us on the train. I thought they were coming with us,” said Clara Fergus, a Cree woman from northern Manitoba to a sharing circle on the morning of June 1, at the beginning of the final event of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). “They put us on the train, and then we noticed they didn’t come with us.”

The train took Fergus all the way to the United Church of Canada-run Brandon Indian Residential School, where she would spend the rest of her childhood having her language, culture and identity stripped from her while suffering “all forms of abuse” at the hands of teachers and staff.

“Being away from your brothers and sisters, being away from your grandparents,” said Fergus. “It’s the love that we missed. The hugs. The nurturing…I can’t imagine…if I sent my kids there, and they had to go through that…”

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has spent the last six years documenting stories like Fergus’s, stories of how the Indian residential school system was set up to enact what Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin recently called “an attempt at cultural genocide.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 2, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After successfully lobbying provincial and federal governments to make it easier to amend sex designations on key identity documents, transgender Canadians are now pushing for another change: to abolish gender references altogether from birth certificates.

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has agreed to review complaints filed by the Trans Alliance Society and a handful of transgender and intersex individuals, who argue that doctors should stop assigning the sex of a baby based on a quick inspection of the baby’s genitals at birth when there’s a possibility they may identify under a different gender, or no gender, years later.

“Birth certificates (may) give false information about people and characterize them in a way that is actually wrong, that assumes to be right, and causes people … actual harm,” said Morgane Oger, a transgender woman in Vancouver and chair of the society.

“It’s considered true and infallible when it isn’t.”

Read it all from the National Post.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologyScience & TechnologySexualityWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted June 2, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lasch was not out to define the future, or to shape it either. He was not even, for some extraordinary reason, out to get rich. He had come to describe the cultural carbon clogging the national carburetor. We weren’t going to be made okay by dieting or jogging or protest-marching, or even by opening up our souls. We might, if we paid careful attention to Professor Lasch, become more fully aware of what was afoot in our culture, and what effects it was producing. Light might break through. The rest was up to us.

What was amiss? Much, it seemed. The Culture of Narcissism grew out of Lasch’s earlier study of the modern family, Haven in a Heartless World, in which he had pointed to an alarming decline in the family’s authority. It seemed, on the basis of the more extensive scrutiny supplied in The Culture of Narcissism, that the culture itself was approaching bankruptcy. “Bourgeois society seems everywhere to have used up its store of constructive ideas.”

Liberalism had nothing to offer, said this disillusioned liberal, weary as he was of cultural libertarianism. “Psychological man” had become “the final product of bourgeois individualism,” liberated from past superstitions but seeking the meaning of life. He lives “in a state of restless, perpetually unsatisfied desire.” All of which was congruent with Jimmy Carter’s presidential perceptions. But no White House speechwriter could afford to go where Lasch now led, which was toward arraignment of the “therapeutic” climate that caused Americans to seek “personal well-being, health, and psychic security.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyMediaMovies & TelevisionPsychologyReligion & CultureSociology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted June 1, 2015 at 2:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We too easily forget that every good service the government provides comes with a growth in its regulatory power. And that power can be used in ways nobody imagined in the past.

We also forget Tocqueville’s warning that democracy can become tyrannical precisely because it’s so sensitive to public opinion. If anyone needs proof, consider what a phrase like “marriage equality” has done to our public discourse in less than a decade. It’s dishonest. But it works.

That leads to the key point I want to make here. The biggest problem we face as a culture isn’t gay marriage or global warming. It’s not abortion funding or the federal debt. These are vital issues, clearly. But the deeper problem, the one that’s crippling us, is that we use words like justice, rights, freedom and dignity without any commonly shared meaning to their content.

We speak the same language, but the words don’t mean the same thing. Our public discourse never gets down to what’s true and what isn’t, because it can’t. Our most important debates boil out to who can deploy the best words in the best way to get power.
Words like “justice” have emotional throw-weight, so people use them as weapons. And it can’tbe otherwise, becausethe religious vision and convictions that once animated American life are no longer welcome at the table. After all, what can “human rights” mean if science sees nothing transcendent in the human species? Or if science imagines a trans-humanist future? Or if science doubts that a uniquely human “nature” even exists? If there’s no inherent human nature, there can be no inherent natural rights—and then the grounding of our whole political system is a group of empty syllables.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted June 1, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Those who helped design this network over subsequent decades focused on the technical challenges of moving information quickly and reliably. When they thought about security, they foresaw the need to protect the network against potential intruders or military threats, but they didn’t anticipate that the Internet’s own users would someday use the network to attack one another.

“We didn’t focus on how you could wreck this system intentionally,” said Vinton G. Cerf, a dapper, ebullient Google vice president who in the 1970s and ’80s designed key building blocks of the Internet. “You could argue with hindsight that we should have, but getting this thing to work at all was non-trivial.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 31, 2015 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The denial of the sex industry's role in perpetuating sexism and its rebranding as "feminist" is a serious impediment to tackling gender inequality. While there is vocal commentary around reducing domestic and sexual violence in Australia, those voices are conspicuously quiet when the violence depicted is in pornography. Too many women's advocates remain complicit in the sexual entitlement and unadorned violence that this industry is making normative.

While campaigns seek longer jail terms that will keep sex offenders out of society, this won't change the terrain that is funnelling more and more young men down this dangerous path. The police cannot arrest their way out of the problem, nor can a lesson on sexual health undo a lifetime of socialisation.

Marches and protests against domestic violence rage on, discussions continue to unpack male entitlement, yet the elephant in the room remains unacknowledged. One of the most omnipresent and unavoidable drivers of sexist violence is seemingly invisible. To address sexist violence, advocates must challenge the lie that pornography is progressive.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetMenMovies & TelevisionPornographyPsychologySexualityViolenceWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 30, 2015 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After a lifetime of abusing drugs, Horace Bush decided at age 62 that getting clean had become a matter of life or death. So Mr. Bush, a homeless man who still tucked in his T-shirts and ironed his jeans, moved to a flophouse in Brooklyn that was supposed to help people like him, cramming into a bedroom the size of a parking space with three other men.

Mr. Bush signed up for a drug-treatment program and emerged nine months later determined to stay sober. But the man who ran the house, Yury Baumblit, a longtime hustler and two-time felon, had other ideas.

Mr. Baumblit got kickbacks on the Medicaid fees paid to the outpatient treatment programs that he forced all his tenants to attend, residents and former employees said. So he gave Mr. Bush a choice: If he wanted to stay, he would have to relapse and enroll in another program. Otherwise, his bed would be given away.

“‘Do what you do’ — that’s what he told me,” Mr. Bush recalled.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicinePovertyPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the heart of the gospel is a narrative of creation, brokenness, redemption and reconciliation, and new creation. Kinghorn turns to this narrative for a rich language and set of practices through which each war veteran can understand “what it means to be claimed by a God who created a good world.” He points out that in Jesus Christ, we have a “paradigm of mental health and flourishing.” After all, Jesus was once rumored to suffer from mental illness (Mark 3:21) and endured physical and mental anguish. The church has language and practices to foster healing for veterans: lament, confession, and reconciliation. All of these allow us to “listen, reflect, bear, and grieve” with our veterans.

The church can acknowledge that while war may sometimes be justified, says Kinghorn, it is “always a tragic manifestation of human brokenness.” We also have the hope of the Resurrection, and “the peace that is not simply the attenuation of distress but, rather, the right and ordered alignment of desire toward God and to God’s good creation.” Finally, we have the “healing resources of the community,” which can be brought to bear as we create spaces where veterans can experience reconciliation.

Churches and faith-related organizations have launched programs in recent years to better care for veterans’ mental and spiritual health. The Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas, started the Soul Repair Center in 2012 with a focus on research and recovery methods for those suffering from moral injury. They serve as a resource to educators, caregivers, employers, and religious and nonprofit organizations in general. Partners in Care, initiated by a chaplain in the Maryland National Guard and later expanded by chaplains in the Missouri National Guard, connects soldiers to their local congregations. Wheat Ridge Ministries, a Lutheran organization committed to assisting local congregations’ healthcare ministries, gave a grant to a Lutheran pastor and former Minnesota National Guard chaplain to help widely distribute his book Welcome Them Home, Help Them Heal to congregations.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 30, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In most rich countries the supply of eligible blue-collar men does not match demand. Among black Americans, thanks to mass incarceration, it does not come close. For every 100 African-American women aged 25-54 who are not behind bars, there are only 83 men of the same age at liberty. In some American inner cities there are only 50 black men with jobs for every 100 black women, calculates William Julius Wilson of Harvard University. In theory black women could “marry out”, but few do: in 2010 only 9% of black female newly-weds married men of another race.

When men with jobs are in short supply, as they are in poor neighbourhoods throughout the rich world, any presentable male can get sex, but few women will trust him to stick around or behave decently. Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas, two sociologists, asked a sample of inner-city women of all races why they broke up with their most recent partner. Four in ten blamed his chronic, flagrant infidelity; half complained that he was violent.

Read it all from the Economist.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologyScience & TechnologyWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 30, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When I started researching the death penalty in 1995, roughly 80% of Americans favored its use. The death penalty was a rare point of consensus in American politics, crossing party affiliation and political ideology.

Times have changed. The unicameral legislature of a very conservative state, Nebraska, voted last week, 32-15, to repeal capital punishment. Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed the bill on Tuesday. But on Wednesday Nebraska became the 19th state to abolish the death penalty after legislators voted to override the governor’s veto.

Clearly, a tide is building against the death penalty in America. One of the most powerful factors is science. DNA evidence in the past 20 years was a strong reason for the exoneration of many of the 153 innocent people released from death row during that period. These people in earlier generations would have been wrongfully put to death. This realization has challenged the conscience of a fair-minded country that doesn’t want to kill innocent people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCapital PunishmentPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 29, 2015 at 11:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Tricia Salese called her local pharmacy for a price check on her next prescription refill, she was stunned when the pharmacist told her the cost of her generic-brand pain medication had gone up again.

Salese, 49, started talking fentanyl citrate, the generic version of Actiq, a powerful painkiller, in 2010, and she takes three doses per day. Back then, she said, the price per dose was 50 cents. Now, the pharmacist told her when she called, it was going to cost her $37.49 per dose.

“I thought $25 [per dose for generics] was a lot. $37 is just-- What is this stuff made of? I mean, this is ridiculous,” Salese said.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyStress* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted May 29, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A liturgy to "mark a person's gender transition" should be devised to help the Church welcome and affirm transgender people, a motion from the diocese of Blackburn suggests. The motion was sent for consideration to the General Synod last month, after being carried by the diocesan synod.

Its origins lie in a service led last year by the Vicar of St Mary's, Lancaster, the Revd Chris Newlands, after a young man had asked to be "rebaptised", explaining that he had been baptised as a girl.

"He said: 'I don't think God knows me; so I would like to be introduced to God as a man,'" Mr Newlands recalled on Tuesday. A liturgy was devised, drawing on the initiation service, which enabled the man to reaffirm his baptismal vows.

"It was just a very simple pastoral response to something which came out of the blue," Mr Newlands said. "It was really moving, as he felt he was in a proper relationship with God. He just wanted God to know his new name."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologySexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted May 29, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Come graduation day, I know I won’t be the only parent with invisible armor who worried that a diploma might be knocked out of reach or rendered irrelevant by bigger issues. There is an epidemic of depression and anxiety in our schools–and I suspect we’re only documenting a fraction of the problem. So while there will be tall young women, cool and confident in their caps and gowns, some will have spent eight weeks at grueling wilderness camps foraging for food because they stopped eating at home. There will be brilliant boys who cut themselves, a tangible reflection of wounds they get in the social-media Thunderdome. There will be kids who don’t have safe homes, or homes at all, and others who have everything but a purpose.

And the school auditorium will be filled with the parents who’ve soldiered on, mortgaged houses to pay for substance rehab, spent more time in emergency sessions with teachers than on vacation, who turned the city upside down to get their son a place at that last-chance school. They know about the impossible choices and disappointments that aren’t in any parenting book. And they include some of the people you think have done everything right. Sometimes what looks like indulgent, competitive helicopter parenting is really a desperate fight to be ordinary. For all of them, this rite of passage is anything but ordinary, but you wouldn’t know it.

Sometimes it feels like a secret society. Kid trouble is the last taboo, after all. We confess to infidelity or Botox or grownup mental-health battles, but we cover up or downplay our most visceral fears about our children even when we’re talking to our oldest friends. It’s the topic that makes us most vulnerable. Which is all the more reason to celebrate a diploma.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 28, 2015 at 5:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In England and Wales, the Suicide Act 1961 makes it an offence to encourage or assist a suicide or a suicide attempt.

Former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer said he would attempt to reintroduce a bill that would allow assisted dying in the UK.

He said it was "completely wrong" that terminally ill people did not have the option to end their life.

"Whatever your take on the subject, it should be debated," Lord Falconer told the BBC.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeSwitzerland* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted May 28, 2015 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lying liars lie. That’s clear. But does everyone else lie too? Are we all liars? A new documentary called “(Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies” rounds up the research and lays out what we know. Little lies, white lies, big lies, whoppers. What we condemn and what we roll with. It’s quite a smorgasbord. You may think you’re above all that. But are you? And what about the power-brokers who frame our world? What happens when they lie? This hour On Point: the truth about lies.

– Tom Ashbrook
Guests

Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. Founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight. Author of “Predictably Irrational,” “Irrationally Yours” and “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.” Featured in the new documentary film, “(Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies.” (@danariely)

Dallas Denery, professor of history and chair of the history department at Bowdoin College. Author of the book, “The Devil Wins.”

Listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 28, 2015 at 2:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Federal Reserve's report on the economic well-being of U.S. households is out, and it contains one very interesting finding: A decent share of Americans want to work longer hours even without a raise.

The Fed asked non-self-employed workers whether they'd prefer to work more, less, or the same amount that they now work if their hourly wage was unchanged. The goal of the question was to help gauge the amount of underemployment in the economy, according to the report.

Thirty-six percent of respondents said they'd prefer to work more hours at their current wage. Among those who work part time, the share is even higher at 49 percent. The results might help Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her colleagues connect the dots in a labor market that's still flashing mixed signals.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One morning recently, a dozen college students stepped out of the bright sunshine into a dimly lit room at the counseling center here at the University of Central Florida. They appeared to have little in common: undergraduates in flip-flops and nose rings, graduate students in interview-ready attire.

But all were drawn to this drop-in workshop: “Anxiety 101.”

As they sat in a circle, a therapist, Nicole Archer, asked: “When you’re anxious, how does it feel?”

“I have a faster heart rate,” whispered one young woman. “I feel panicky,” said another. Sweating. Ragged breathing. Insomnia....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionEducationHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Key trends in Americans' views of the moral acceptability of certain issues and behaviors include the following:
--The substantial increase in Americans' views that gay and lesbian relations are morally acceptable coincide with a record-high level of support for same-sex marriage and views that being gay or lesbian is something a person is born with, rather than due to one's upbringing or environment.
--The public is now more accepting of sexual relations outside of marriage in general than at any point in the history of tracking these measures, including a 16-percentage-point increase in those saying that having a baby outside of marriage is morally acceptable, and a 15-point increase in the acceptability of sex between an unmarried man and woman. Clear majorities of Americans now say both are acceptable.
--Acceptance of divorce and human embryo medical research are also up 12 points each since 2001 and 2002, respectively.
--Polygamy and cloning humans have also seen significant upshifts in moral acceptability -- but even with these increases, the public largely perceives them as morally wrong, with only 16% and 15% of Americans, respectively, considering them morally acceptable.
Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & PartnershipsSociology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 28, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just over a year ago Lichfield diocese agreed to pilot a fresh approach. 60 people, lay and ordained, gathered one morning in Stafford to think about how to get people talking about death, dying and funerals. They went away to try out a new concept: GraveTalk, with 35 parishes setting up café-style events. Each event involves setting up a space to look like a café, where refreshments are served. People gather in small groups at tables. Conversations are started through a pack of 52 specially written questions covering a wide range of topics, ranging from attitudes to death to personal experiences.

There are no answers, just a space to talk. Facilitators, lay or ordained, make sure the event is running smoothly – and there is always ‘tea and cake’. The trial was researched in partnership with the University of Staffordshire, and the results were overwhelmingly positive: when we make the time and the space, people will talk.

One vicar who piloted GraveTalk said:

“I gave it to them and I went and made coffee while they started discussing it. And I just couldn’t shut them up. When I came to draw them to a conclusion, they wanted to carry on. They thought it was absolutely brilliant. I was really surprised.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEschatology

1 Comments
Posted May 27, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The American public estimates on average that 23% of Americans are gay or lesbian, little changed from Americans' 25% estimate in 2011, and only slightly higher than separate 2002 estimates of the gay and lesbian population. These estimates are many times higher than the 3.8% of the adult population who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in Gallup Daily tracking in the first four months of this year.

The stability of these estimates over time contrasts with the major shifts in Americans' attitudes about the morality and legality of gay and lesbian relations in the past two decades. Whereas 38% of Americans said gay and lesbian relations were morally acceptable in 2002, that number has risen to 63% today. And while 35% of Americans favored legalized same-sex marriage in 1999, 60% favor it today.

Read it all.

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

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


Posted May 26, 2015 at 1:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans have major doubts about the financial health of Social Security.

A new survey by Pew Research Center finds that 41 percent of Americans think there will be no Social Security benefits for them when they retire and nearly a third expect reduced levels of benefits. (Tweet This)

Some of those fears may be overblown. "People who think they will get zero benefits from Social Security are wrong and they should look at the facts," said Andy Landis, a former claims representative for the Social Security Administration (SSA) and author of "Social Security: The Inside Story."

There are concerns that benefits may be reduced, however.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetSocial SecurityPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I can write in the midst of—not very conveniently—but I can make progress in the midst of the usual family clamor. But it has to be said, perhaps with some regret, that the first thing that distinguishes a writer is that he is most alive when alone, most fully alive when alone. A tolerance for solitude isn’t anywhere near the full description of what really goes on. The most interesting things happen to you when you are alone....

When I worked on my first book at home, my bedroom was above my father’s study, and I would often hear, not crazy scientist’s laughter, but the sort of laughter where the shoulders are shaking, coming from below. And I continue that tradition. I do find that not only the comic scenes make you laugh but anything that works well. Really, laughter is the successful serendipity of the whole business.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPoetry & LiteraturePsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 22, 2015 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Readers know of the phenomenon at college campuses regarding charges of “microaggressions” and “triggers.” It’s been going on for a while and is part of a growing censorship movement in which professors, administrators and others are accused of racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, gender bias and ethnocentric thinking, among other things. Connected is the rejection or harassment of commencement and other campus speakers who are not politically correct. I hate that phrase, but it just won’t stop being current.

Kirsten Powers goes into much of this in her book, “The Silencing.” Anyway, quite a bunch of little Marats and Robespierres we’re bringing up.

But I was taken aback by a piece a few weeks ago in the Spectator, the student newspaper of Columbia University. I can’t shake it, though believe me I’ve tried. I won’t name the four undergraduate authors, because 30 years from now their children will be on Google, and because everyone in their 20s has the right to be an idiot.

Yet theirs is a significant and growing form of idiocy that deserves greater response.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 22, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a world of driverless cars, U.S. auto sales would plummet, vehicle ownership falls 50% and opportunities in fleet management, tech and mapping arise.

In a society dominated by self-driving cars, U.S. auto sales might fall 40% and vehicle ownership could drop 50%, forcing entrenched automakers such as Ford Motor Co. and General Motors to adapt or die, according to a Barclays analyst report.

This shift will also create opportunities for tech startups and rental car companies.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologyScience & TechnologyTravel* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal Finance* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 21, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While some cohabiting adults seem happy enough to live together without marriage, what about their children? It is an important question considering that about one in four American children today are born to cohabiting parents. According to Child Trends, the number of cohabiting couples with children under 18 has nearly tripled since the late 1990s—increasing from 1.2 million in 1996 to 3.1 million in 2014. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that the majority of recent non-marital births (58 percent) are to unmarried women living with their child’s father.

On the surface, the trend away from divorced or unwed mothers raising kids on their own, toward more children living with both of their parents, seems like a positive one for children raised outside of marriage. However, when it comes to child well-being, cohabiting unions more closely resemble single motherhood than marriage. As eighteen noted family scholars stated in a 2011 report from the National Marriage Project, “cohabitation is not the functional equivalent of marriage,” and it is “the largely unrecognized threat to the quality and stability of children’s lives today.”

For children, the differences between cohabiting and married parents extend far beyond the lack of a marriage license. Compared to children of married parents, those with cohabiting parents are more likely to experience the breakup of their families, be exposed to “complex” family forms, live in poverty, suffer abuse, and have negative psychological and educational outcomes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologySociology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 16, 2015 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Their ideals were lofty but simple: They would live off the land, farming with Colonial-era tools, along with a band of like-minded men dressed in homespun robes wielding scythes and pickaxes. They would sleep in atmospheric log cabins and other 18th-century structures that they had rescued from the area and that they began to reconstruct, painstakingly, brick by crumbling brick and log by log.

But what if you built a commune, and no one came?

It turns out it’s not so easy to cook up a utopia from scratch. There are 1,775 so-called intentional communities listed in the Fellowship for Intentional Community’s United States directory: eco-villages, pagan co-ops, faith-based retreats and everything in between. But how do you advertise, organize and thrive? “Don’t ask us,” Johannes said. “We failed that class.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths

0 Comments
Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The average human's attention span is... oh look, a bird!

According to scientists, the age of smartphones has left humans with such a short attention span even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer.

Researchers surveyed 2,000 participants in Canada and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms.

The results showed the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds. ''

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingPsychologyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted May 15, 2015 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As teams take turns to attack the others goal line they use their own set of balls, so by gently under-inflating theirs New England made it easier to both grip and throw especially in cold rain which was falling that day.

What makes it more astonishing is that New England were favourites, and would surely have won anyways. They did and went on to take the prestigious Superbowl a month later.

So why risk it all with underhand tactics?

Listen to it all (just under 5 minutes).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologySports* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 14, 2015 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So I am going to talk about what I know – depression and anxiety. I find it hard to fully describe what happens in my brain because honestly, I don’t know what is normal and what is not, but I will give it a go.

Getting up in the morning is the hardest part of any day, not because I am lazy, but because waking up hurts. I am so tired every minute of every day, that there is always a need for more sleep, but, I have to get up so I do. This is the first battle I face each day.

Then all I need to do is survive the day. From the moment I am up, I battle negative thoughts. For my whole adult life, I have been unable to look myself in the mirror as me. I always pretend to be someone else, it’s been easier that way. However, recently I have started to be me and it is very hard not to look at myself and hate what I see. This is not about my image so much as just seeing the face of someone you really don’t like so close. Learning to look myself in the eye and seek out something about myself that I actually like takes enormous energy and effort. This is the next big battle of my day.

You can read the rest of her blog post here and an article about it there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 13, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Brandon Wade thinks monogamy can be monotonous. "The majority of people are not swingers," he said, "but they probably are monogamish." What does that mean? "You get a hall pass to date others."

...And now, for his next act, Wade has created OpenMinded.com, "a safe and stigma-free environment that brings the ease and flexibility of online dating to the currently underserved world of open relationships"

"The traditional model of marriage and monogamy isn't working out for everyone," Wade told CNBC. "In my own case, after three or four years, things get monotonous. ...I think a lot of people suffer from that, especially men."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexualityYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 11, 2015 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The prevalence of sexting and cyber-bullying among today’s youngsters will lead to an epidemic of depression and anxiety when they grow up, a leading psychiatrist has warned.

Dr Natasha Bijlani, consultant psychiatrist at the Priory Hospital Roehampton, said that teenagers and young adults were already suffering low self-esteem, body image issues and self-harming tendencies because their childhood had been scarred by online and digital abuse.

Some were seeking help while they were still young but they were the “tip of an iceberg”, with many more simply soldiering on, thinking that was how life is nowadays. However, these untreated problems left them vulnerable to serious depression later on.

“Episodes in childhood are often repressed. Children often fear reporting abuse, and only later in life do these issues surface in the form of depression, stress and anxiety and other serious psychological conditions,” Dr Bijlani said. “This relatively new phenomenon of sexting, where explicit texts and ­pictures are sent between smartphone devices, seems to have become endemic, and we are not sure of the long-term consequences.”

Read it all (subsciption required).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHealth & MedicinePsychologySexualityTeens / Youth* General InterestPhotos/Photography

0 Comments
Posted May 11, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christians who have so far avoided controversial “culture war” issues will likely be pulled into those battles as their religious freedom becomes threatened due to...[same-sex] "marriage," Dr. John Inazu warned Monday.

Theologically conservative Christian non-profit organizations, including churches, could face losing their tax exempt status or being shut down, and Christian doctors, lawyers, counselors and other professionals could be forced out of their professions, he explained.

Inazu, associate professor of law and political science at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, was delivering a presentation, “Religious Liberty and the American Culture Wars,” at the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s “Faith Angle Forum.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Theology

2 Comments
Posted May 9, 2015 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ever since the “big bang” deregulation of Britain’s financial markets enacted by Margaret Thatcher in 1986, the UK has followed a liberalising trajectory that was accompanied by a public enthusiasm for wealth more commonly associated with the US.

During that time, London grew into a global financial centre that has become the favoured residence of the world’s super rich. By a wide margin, it now boasts more billionaires per head than any city in the world. But this election has raised the question of whether British attitudes towards wealth and the wealthy are now shifting.

The campaign has aired popular frustration over inequality and affordable housing, the bashing of bankers and growing resentment towards a London that other Brits regard as a distant haven of rapacious hedge funds. The common thread seems to be a suspicion that what is good for the rich may not be so good for everyone else.

“There is no doubt the political rhetoric has changed — above all from the Labour leadership,” said Ben Rogers, director of the Centre for London think-tank.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During medical school, I spent countless evenings in a library, half-asleep, poring over textbooks and talking through cases with other medical students. What I did not do, ever, was take a class with anyone studying to be a nurse, physician assistant, pharmacist or social worker. Nor did I collaborate with any of these health professionals to complete a project, participate in a simulation or design a treatment plan. It wasn’t until residency that I first began to understand just how many professions come together to take care of a single patient — what exactly they do, how they do it, and how what I do makes their jobs easier or harder.

As a first-year resident, you finally learn to put into practice the theory of medicine you have been nurturing since fumbling around with organic chemistry models in college. You learn in a safe and hierarchical environment — with senior residents, fellows, consultants and attending physicians each demonstrating, with increasing degrees of nuance and sophistication, how much clinical medicine you have yet to learn and how far you have left to go.

But, in all that time, there is surprisingly little education on what it means to be a leader of a medical team, with its nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, dieticians and case managers. There is even less discussion of how to understand one another’s roles, perspectives, frustrations and limitations....

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted May 6, 2015 at 11:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

wouldn’t have understood the full scope of what this young woman is saying in her essay without the interview, which is short. In the segment, Narin says that men and women in her generation don’t have actual romantic relationships anymore. It’s all casual, non-committal sex. “Nobody knows whether their own feelings are real,” she says.

Our generation doesn’t have relationships anymore. Nobody to call their own. Just casual. Nobody knows whether their own feelings are real.

She tells the interviewer that there’s lots of making out and sex, but nobody wants to be emotionally vulnerable to anybody else. The interviewer says that none of this is new, that men and women forever have had a hard time being emotionally confident as they’re trying to work their way through romance. Now, however, it’s possible to “live in your fear,” he says. What has changed?

“Technology,” she said. She explained that you can avoid direct, sustained talking to real people by using technology.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMenPsychologyScience & TechnologySexualityYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted May 3, 2015 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

That the Great Recession of 2007-09 made Americans have fewer kids is no surprise, but a new study shows how big the toll was.

Birth rates for U.S. women in their 20s dropped more than 15% between 2007 and 2012, just before and after the recession, the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan policy research group, said in a new analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention released Tuesday.

Among Hispanic 20-somethings, the birth rate dropped 26%. Non-Hispanic blacks? 14%. By contrast, non-Hispanic white 20-somethings saw an 11% decline.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologySociologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our progressive sensibilities have not, alas, resulted in a genuinely compassionate culture. We no longer have the kind cruel civic Christianity that The Scarlet Letter depicted, yet we still have the shaming scaffolds (they’re called social media now) and we still have ineffable moral codes that must not be trespassed. These codes may not be Levitical but they are indeed legalistic: laws about privilege, sexual autonomy, “trigger warnings,” and much, much more. Violation of these laws can and do result not only in public shame but legal prosecution.

It surely must befuddle those on the inside track of our transforming culture—just as we seem to be learning what true progress is, we rebuild the shaming scaffolds of our Puritan forefathers. Can we not have a culture that embraces the moral equivalence of all forms of sexual expression, the existential (read: non-transcendent) nature of love, and the casting off of ancient beliefs about God and the universe, while simultaneously widening the margins of civic life to include all kinds of beliefs, even those that discomfort us? Cannot we live out the promises of the Sexual Revolution while saving a place in our midst for those who opt out?

No, we cannot. The reason is simple: A broken American conscience cannot be trusted. Compassion is a class that secularism doesn’t offer. Exchanging the Puritanism of Arthur Dimmesdale for the Puritanism of Alfred Kinsey is not progress. Cultural elites may say we are becoming a better people because we break with human history on the meaning of marriage or the dignity of human life, but a glance outside suggests otherwise.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2015 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Investment in women’s services could double or even triple, but Australia would still require a major attitude shift in order to stem the increasing rate of domestic violence, say anti-domestic violence advocates.

Speaking at a forum hosted by Archbishop Philip Freier on 22 April, Paul Linossier, CEO of Our Watch, formerly the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children, said the community needed to tackle the two key drivers of domestic violence, gender inequality and cultural circumstances, for any lasting gains to be made.

“In a sense we’re all perpetrators because we’re transmitting from one generation to another this continuing position of inequality between men and women. We do that through a million interactions every day.”

He said even after his decades in the sector he has been guilty of it, recently realising that he had referred to fixing his fence and setting a new path down as “a blokey weekend”.

Read it all.





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

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2015 at 12:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Irish people resent being bullied by either Church or State. Yet, ordinary citizens are being intimidated into voting “Yes”. For over a year, the campaign waged by the Government urged on by the media has been relentless. In the final weeks, reason may triumph over emotion. As they prepare to vote, people will ask, reasonably: what are we being asked to change? The simple answer is: human nature.

This referendum touches the very source of our humanity. Human rights are at the heart of the Constitution. Article 41 recognises the family, based on marriage, as the fundamental unit group in Society. As such it has rights which are intrinsic to it, which the State is obliged to recognise and protect. In other words, the family, which existed before either Church or State existed, not only has a real autonomy within society: it is the ultimate source of society. Past and future converge in the family. Through marriage, future generations come into being. A nation’s culture is passed on primarily through the family. Since the dawn of time, the union of man and woman was simply assumed to be the origin of the family. This is what we are being asked to change.

This is not only Church teaching. It is in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, art. 16.3: “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” That Declaration was drawn up against the background of two totalitarian regimes: Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union in particular, Marxist socialism tried to eliminate the family. This trend in Marxism — condemned by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 — was radicalised in Communist China in their “one family, one child” policy. The family has to be destroyed in order to exercise complete control over the people. The autonomy of the family is one of the bulwarks against every State’s innate tendency to become totalitarian, our own State included.

Read it all from the Irish Times..

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Natalie Bennett has said her party is “open to consultation” on the possibility of legalising polygamy and civil partnerships involving three or more people.

The Green Party leader was responding to a question from a man living with his two boyfriends in a polyamorous relationship in London on Friday.

Dr Redfern Jon Barrett, taking part in an event organised by Pink News, said people like himself in three-way relationships faced a “considerable amount of legal discrimination”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologySexuality* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Self-esteem, the kind that comes from finding the sweet spot between a healthy fondness for yourself and healthy self-skepticism, tends to get harder to come by the older we get. For a kid, self-esteem can be as close at hand as a sports victory or a sense of belonging in a peer group. It's a much more complicated and elusive proposition for adults, subject to the responsibilities and vicissitudes of grown-up life.

For college students, caught in that muddy crossing between childhood and independence, going through a phase in which they can't tell the difference between caring for themselves and declaring their own importance at every turn may actually be something of a rite of passage, albeit one as ridiculous as returning from a semester abroad with a foreign accent.

But if, in fact, this confusion is more than just a phase, if what we're dealing with is a generation — and, increasingly, an entire culture — for whom self-righteousness and self-esteem are essentially interchangeable, we're in trouble. Because self-righteousness, when you think about it, is a contra-indicator of self-esteem. It's what sets in when genuine righteousness eludes us. And if we spend our lives inside safe spaces writing love letters to ourselves, just about everything else will elude us too.

Read it all.

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

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Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In “The Consuming Vision,” an essay about novelist Henry James, of all things, Jean-Christophe Agnew argues that the consumerist culture emerging in James’s time was a “world constructed by and for a consuming vision,” an “imagined world … in which imagination itself strives to gild, glaze, and ultimately commodify its objects.” This consuming vision becomes hegemonic in a world that comes to be seen as made entirely of commodities. “What modern consumer culture produces,” Agnew argues, “is not so much a way of being as a way of seeing — a way best characterized as visually acquisitive. In short, modern consumer culture holds up the cognitive appetite as the model and engine of its reproductive process.”

Agnew points out that the churn of markets assures that these sorts of characteristics are never stable in any given commodity or experience. Consumerism posits such meanings as free-floating, redeployable, highly contingent and not intrinsic to a good’s use value. (Soap might make me objectively clean, but will it make me feel clean, which is ultimately more important?)

Thus those meanings are always socially determined to a degree, and always require further labor to affix them to goods. Advertising has traditionally served the purpose of attaching the affective associations with products; social media now enlists the members of one’s social networks to assist in this process. We aid in the building of such ad hoc associations between feelings and goods (we are “prosuming,” making our consumption productive of symbolic meaning by broadcasting it), but this serves also to reinforce that the overall sense that the meanings are applied and withdrawn at social whim.

Pinterest is geared toward stimulating this acquisitive appetite for images without sating it.

Read it all (Hat tip: The Browser).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHistoryPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* General InterestPhotos/Photography

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Posted April 30, 2015 at 6:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Several widely-watched gauges of US inflation expectations have climbed to their highest levels this year, as oil prices regain their footing and some investors bet that the Federal Reserve will be slow in quelling any price pressures.

The US 10-year “breakeven” rate measures the market’s expectations of average inflation over that time by comparing the yields of conventional US Treasuries maturing in 10 years and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, or Tips.

The 10-year breakeven has shot up from a low of 1.53 per cent in mid-January to 1.92 per cent on Monday, the highest since November 2014. The five-year breakeven rate has risen to 1.71 per cent, the highest since September, while the two-year is at its highest since July 2014.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Only a few dozen worshippers attend Boston’s Tremont Temple Baptist Church on a typical Sunday, but preacher Dwight L. Moody once called the historic church “America’s pulpit.”

Last week, Tremont’s massive auditorium played host to influence once again when 1,300 Christian leaders gathered for the Q conference to discuss the most pressing issues facing their faith. There was no official theme, but one strand wove its way through multiple presentations and conversations: America’s—and many Christians’—debate over sexuality.

While at least three other Christian conferences during the past year focused on same-sex debates, this is the only one to bring together both pro-gay speakers and those who oppose gay marriage and same-sex relationships.

“The aim of Q is to create space for learning and conversation, and we think the best way to do that is exposure,” said Q founder Gabe Lyons. “These are conversations that most of America is having, and they are not going away.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One thing going on is that the major lifestyle and utility improvements of the past generation–really cheap access to communication, information, and entertainment–are overwhelmingly available to pretty much everyone. On the one hand, this means that recent economic growth assessed in terms of individual utility and well-being is much more equal then when assessed in terms of income. On the other hand, it means that access these benefits seems much more like simply the air we breathe then as a marker of class status, or achievement.

Thus a loss of the ability to securely attain enough of economic security to firmly hold the indicators of what past generations saw as middle-class life shows itself as a loss. And those who focus on security rather than on utility do not see these as offset buy the information revolution.

Read it all and please note it is a follow up to this article previously posted.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 27, 2015 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fundraising site GoFundMe has closed the account that was set up to raise money for Aaron and Melissa Klein, Christians and former owners of a bakery in Gresham, Oregon, who were ordered by a judge Friday to pay a fine of $135,000 for declining to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian marriage ceremony.

"After careful review by our team, we have found the 'Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa' campaign to be in violation of our Terms and Conditions," Oregon Live quoted the site as saying in a statement.

"The money raised thus far will still be made available for withdrawal. While a different campaign was recently permitted for a pizzeria in Indiana, no laws were violated and the campaign remained live. However, the subjects of the 'Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa' campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled," it added.

The account had received $109,000 when the site blocked it.

Read it all from the Christian Post.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted April 27, 2015 at 1:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



A British couple with a combined aged of 194 will be getting married in the summer - making them the oldest newlyweds in the world.

George Kirby, who will be 103 when they tie the knot in June, and his bride-to-be Doreen Luckie, 91, got engaged on Valentine’s Day this year after being together for 27 years.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineMenPsychologyWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted April 27, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Czech man Vit Jedlicka has claimed a 7km2 stretch of land on the west bank of the Danube river as the Free Republic of Liberland, after disputes between Serbia and Croatia rendered it technically no man's land.

It's no half-assed attempted at nation formation either – Liberland already has a constitution, flag, coat of arms, official website, Facebook page and a motto: "To live and let live".

Read it all from the Independent.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPhilosophyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 26, 2015 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The global economy is awash as never before in commodities like oil, cotton and iron ore, but also with capital and labor—a glut that presents several challenges as policy makers struggle to stoke demand.

“What we’re looking at is a low-growth, low-inflation, low-rate environment,” said Megan Greene, chief economist of John Hancock Asset Management, who added that the global economy could spend the next decade “working this off.”

The current state of plenty is confounding on many fronts. The surfeit of commodities depresses prices and stokes concerns of deflation. Global wealth—estimated by Credit Suisse at around $263 trillion, more than double the $117 trillion in 2000—represents a vast supply of savings and capital, helping to hold down interest rates, undermining the power of monetary policy. And the surplus of workers depresses wages.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 26, 2015 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Not that it asked me and not that it needs me and not that I expect it to do anything but mock me for my efforts, but I’m going to defend the Internet.

Lately, humanity has been flattering itself that it was better and kinder before the Internet – as though we never slipped anonymous notes through locker doors in high-school hallways that were echo chambers in themselves, as if we never wrote on actual walls.

To hear us now, you’d think no one ever ever crank-called late at night, dialled up even before dial-up to offer abuse, stared into other people’s windows through our own twitching curtains.

Read it all from the Globa and Mail.

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

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Posted April 25, 2015 at 10:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

That need to connect—to bridge the divide between reader and writer, between me and you, between me and everyone—is there from the first. In Wallace's first novel, The Broom of the System (which also started life as an undergraduate thesis: he was double major, in philosophy and English), one man is so scared of loneliness that he intends to eat until his body fills the entire world, so he won't be alone anymore. The novel betrays a clever author very pleased with his own cleverness, but you can forgive a 21-year-old the narcissism when you realize the question at the book's core—can we ever really connect with other people?—was an obsession for Wallace, even as his style matured from a theory-based sophomoric snickering to an empathetic, impassioned searching.

"In dark times," Wallace told McCaffrey, "the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it."

I guess you can't properly call David Foster Wallace a religious writer, at least not with the definitions of religion we usually employ. Then again, when I first read him, I sensed a presence beyond the words on the page, a writer who was desperate to connect with the reader but also said what needed to be said. His questions are what I struggle with, too. Who am I? How do I connect with other people? What or who are we headed for, together? How do we get there? What is the best life?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryPoetry & LiteraturePsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropology

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Posted April 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When my mother tells me – as she is wont to, at every available juncture – that ‘nothing has changed since I was your age’ she is half right. In a way, it hasn’t – the base level stuff, the mechanics of life. But the culture has.

Partly, this is prompted by Apple, Samsung and Google. Look around a tube carriage at rush hour (as I did when I was writing this), and people are engrossed in technology. Life is as technology centred for teens as it is for adults.

That culture feeds into anxiety and pressure for teenagers in 2015.

Now, if they like, teenagers can date on their phones, talk on their phones, and arrange to sneak out of the house on their phones. They can do their homework using their phones; indeed, some schools are increasingly making use of them as teaching tools.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologyScience & TechnologyTeens / Youth* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted April 23, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Take the case of former Charlotte, North Carolina, mayor Patrick Cannon. Cannon came from nothing. He overcame poverty and the violent loss of his father at the age of 5. He earned a degree from North Carolina A&T State University and entered public service at the age of 26 — becoming the youngest council member in Charlotte history. He was known for being completely committed to serving the public, and generous with the time he spent as a role model for young people.

But last year, Cannon, 47, pleaded guilty to accepting $50,000 in bribes while in office. As he entered the city’s federal courthouse last June, he tripped and fell. The media was there to capture the fall, which was symbolic of the much bigger fall of an elected leader and small business owner who once embodied the very essence of personal achievement against staggering odds. Cannon now has the distinction of being the first mayor in the city’s history to be sent to prison. Insiders say he was a good man, but all too human, and seemed vulnerable as he became isolated in his decision-making. And while a local minister argued that Cannon’s one lapse in judgment should not define the man and his career of exceptional public service, he is now judged only by his weakness — his dramatic move from humility and generosity to corruption. And that image of Cannon tripping on his way into court is now the image that people associate with him.

What can leaders do if they fear that they might be toeing the line where power turns to abuse of power? First, you must invite other people in. You must be willing to risk vulnerability and ask for feedback. A good executive coach can help you return to a state of empathy and value-driven decisions. However, be sure to ask for feedback from a wide variety of people. Dispense with the softball questions (How am I doing?) and ask the tough ones (How does my style and focus affect my employees?).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted April 22, 2015 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Type 'introvert' into a search engine and you are offered 10.5 million web pages in just over half a second. That is mind-boggling, but it is just one example of the rapid rise of interest in introversion that there has been over the last few years. In 2003 Jonathan Rauch wrote an article in 'The Atlantic' which sparked wide debate. Susan Cain published 'Quiet' in 2012 and it rapidly became a best-seller. People have begun to recognise that not everyone is energised by being in company all the time, and this is healthy. Insights about introversion are precious to some, irritate others, and challenge society at many levels. They raise questions in businesses, education, families and leadership theory, to name but a few examples. We love shared space, and often veer towards the kind of group-work which is disabling for introverts. Most communities are challenged by hearing 'the introvert voice' from within.

What, though, do such insights about 'personality type' have to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church? Jesus died 'once for all' and both introvert and extrovert need salvation just as much as each other. The world is crying out for the hope that Jesus brings, and doubtless some would argue that this gospel priority means we should not be distracted by supposed insights into the human personality. Be careful, though! People differ. Variety is part of the created order. We each engage with others and with God uniquely, and the Church responds to this. A foreign evangelist in France learns to speak French. A youth worker dresses and behaves differently to a bishop. In just the same way, we need to take account of introverts (and extroverts) in the church if we are to grow healthy community.

Introverts are ordinary people. They are not necessarily shy or awkward or self-obsessed. They are often socially able, popular people who are alert, responsive, energetic and creative members of teams.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

3 Comments
Posted April 22, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Reliable data to quantify how many American workers misuse stimulants does not exist, several experts said.

But in interviews, dozens of people in a wide spectrum of professions said they and co-workers misused stimulants like Adderall, Vyvanse and Concerta to improve work performance. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs or access to the medication.

Doctors and medical ethicists expressed concern for misusers’ health, as stimulants can cause anxiety, addiction and hallucinations when taken in high doses. But they also worried about added pressure in the workplace — where the use by some pressures more to join the trend.

“You’d see addiction in students, but it was pretty rare to see it in an adult,” said Dr. Kimberly Dennis, the medical director of Timberline Knolls, a substance-abuse treatment facility for women outside Chicago.

“We are definitely seeing more than one year ago, more than two years ago, especially in the age range of 25 to 45,” she said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Books on how to get the most out of your employees almost always follow the same formula. They start by noting that the secret of business success is employee-engagement: an engaged worker is more productive as well as happier. They go on to point out that most employees are the opposite of engaged (a 2013 Gallup Survey that claims that 70% of American workers are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” gets a lot of play). They blame this dismal state of affairs on the legacy of Frederick Winslow Taylor, a Philadelphia-born Quaker who became one of America’s first management consultants and in 1911 wrote a book called “The Principles of Scientific Management”. And finally they reveal the secret of making your employees more engaged: treat them like human beings rather than parts in an industrial machine.

The first two books under review are cases in point. They both rely on over-familiar examples of high-performance companies, such as “funky, funny” Zappos and CNN. They come from the same school of poor writing—sloppy sentences, ugly management jargon and pseudo-folksy style. Stan Slap is particularly slapdash. “The Power of Thanks”, by Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine, claims that a “Positivity-Dominated Workplace creates and maintains competitive advantage”. The best way to do this is to thank people regularly. Mr Slap’s “Under the Hood” claims that the best way to maximise business performance is to look under the bonnet of your company, discover the employee culture that lies inside, and then fine-tune it. Fine-tuning involves things like praising good workers and sacking bad ones (“one of the biggest opportunities to create a legend is when the hammer falls right on the culture and someone has to go”).

Laszlo Bock’s “Work Rules!” is much better. Mr Bock has been head of “people operations” at Google since 2006 and has seen the company grow from 6,000 to almost 60,000 people....

Read it all.

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

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Posted April 21, 2015 at 4:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nestled within our own times, it is easy to think the trajectory of history will lead to an inevitable change within the global Christian church. But history’s lesson is the opposite. A century ago, the modernists believed that the triumph of naturalism would lead to the total transformation of Christianity.

It must have seemed thrilling for these leaders to think they were at the vanguard of reformation, that they were the pivot point of Christianity’s inevitable future. But such was not the case. Traditional stalwarts like Machen and G.K. Chesterton (who were criticized as hopelessly “backward” back then) still have books in print. The names of most of their once-fashionable opponents are largely unrecognizable.

It’s commonplace to assume that contemporary society’s redefinition of marriage, gender, and the purpose for sexuality will eventually persuade the church to follow along. But if we were to jump forward into the 22nd century, I wonder what we would see.

Most likely, we would see a world in which the explosive growth of Christians in South America, China and Africa has dwarfed the churches of North America and Europe. And the lesson we learn from a century ago will probably still be true: The churches that thrived were those that offered their world something more than the echo of the times.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted April 20, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I am all for more language to describe love and the varieties of innovative ways to do relationships and chosen family. "Ethical non-monogamy" is a great term that encompasses all the ways that you can consciously, with agreement and consent from all involved, explore love and sex with multiple people.

So here's a simple list to categorize the many flavors of ethical non-monogamy:

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologyWomenYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology


Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I turned to historian Bruce Hindmarsh. In studying the life and theology of John Newton, I depended on his groundbreaking research, captured in the book John Newton and the English Evangelical Tradition.

As a professor of spiritual formation at Regent College in Vancouver and a historian of the eighteenth century, Hindmarsh keeps an eye on the cultural influences on Christians today, which certainly includes digital communications technology. His thoughtful perspective brings wisdom and balance to the mobile milieu.

We live in an age of technological advance, with all its glory, conveniences, and consequences. How does this culture harm or hinder the spiritual life of the Christian?

Hindmarsh is concerned with form (the platforms and devices that shape our habits) as much as he is concerned with content (the gossip, slander, and porn that spread through the devices). The medium is part of the message. Our phones are “not just another envelope to throw the same content inside,” he said.

Our unchallenged social-media habits pose one of the most pressing discipleship challenges in the church today, according to Hindmarsh. In our three-part interview series, he offered five concerns and then followed with five practical responses.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHealth & MedicinePsychologyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Because of the work I do in the area of third-party assisted reproductive medicine, I have Google alerts set for “egg donation,” “sperm donation,” and “surrogacy.” Often the daily digest reads like the lineup for a week of reality-TV programming. Stories break with headlines that boggle the mind: “Mother tells of giving birth to her gay son’s baby,” or the recent court decision that a “dead reservist’s parents may use his [frozen] sperm, against widow’s wishes” so they can have grandchildren. Or this dreadful decision from Australia’s foreign minister, who said “Department of Foreign Affairs correct to allow couple to abandon unwanted Indian surrogacy twin” because the couple claims they cannot afford to keep both of the babies.

More recently, news broke of 65-year-old Annegret Raunigk, who lives in Berlin and is pregnant with quadruplets via egg and sperm donation. Because egg donation is illegal in Germany, Raunigk left the country to conceive the babies. If the pregnancy is successful — that is, if it results in live births — she will be the oldest woman to give birth to quadruplets. The current holder of this claim to fame is Merryl Fudel of San Diego, who was a five-time divorcee and 55 years old at the time she gave birth to quadruplets in 1998....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 18, 2015 at 3:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

South African President Jacob Zuma has visited a refugee camp in the port of Durban after a fresh outbreak of anti-foreigner violence.

Mr Zuma told those who had fled the violence that it went against South African values and he would bring it to an end.

But he was jeered by some in the crowd who accused him of acting too slowly.

At least six people have died in xenophobic attacks in Durban, with violence spreading to other areas.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth Africa* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 18, 2015 at 1:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christian ministers should establish relationships with law enforcement, seek ways to become moral authorities in their communities and listen.

Those were the top recommendations from experts at a panel sponsored by The Gospel Coalition on Tuesday (April 14) titled “Seeking Justice and Mercy From Ferguson to New York.”

The popular ministry offered an alternative approach to that of evangelist Franklin Graham, who was widely criticized for his recent “Obey the police, or else” comments on Facebook. The comments followed the spate of police killings of unarmed black men.

Read it all from RNS.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FirePsychologyRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 16, 2015 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is no question that Donna Lou Rayhons had severe Alzheimer’s.

In the days before being placed in a nursing home in Garner, Iowa, last year, Mrs. Rayhons, 78, could not recall her daughters’ names or how to eat a hamburger. One day, she tried to wash her hands in the toilet of a restaurant bathroom.

But another question has become the crux of an extraordinary criminal case unfolding this week in an Iowa courtroom: Was Mrs. Rayhons able to consent to sex with her husband?

Henry Rayhons, 78, has been charged with third-degree felony sexual abuse, accused of having sex with his wife in a nursing home on May 23, 2014, eight days after staff members there told him they believed she was mentally unable to agree to sex.

Read it all from the New York Times.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted April 16, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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