Posted by Kendall Harmon

A week after my admission to my friend, I was sitting at a wedding Mass listening to the reading of a prayer written by the bride and groom. It asked that “all called to the generosity of the single or celibate . . . might inspire [name of bride and groom] by their conformity to Christ, and always find in them fiercely devoted friends, and in their house a second home.”

The prayer moved me, in part because I’d been going through my own period of loneliness, but also because it reminded me that the movement for gay marriage is absolutely right to demand that the institution be made more inclusive. Where it goes wrong is in supposing this can be done by asserting a free-floating right to marriage, rather than by insisting on the duty of every marriage to become a place of welcome. We can’t and shouldn’t redesign marriage under the illusion that it can directly include everyone. We need more than one form of solidarity.

Despite my eccentric evolution on gay marriage, I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy a certain fugitive solidarity with those whose paths differ from my own. A strange portion of the intellectual discovery and growth in friendship I’ve enjoyed these past years has come about not despite, but because of, the vexations of the gay marriage debate. Those with whom I disagree have helped me see how the strands of the Christian sexual ethic combine to form a great tapestry, the patterns of which would be much more obscure had they not prompted me to think through how sex intersects with Scripture, nature, culture. For this, I owe them a great debt. I hope that in the years to come I can do something to repay it.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As you plan — or even go — on your summer vacation, think about this: More and more Americans are no longer taking a few weeks off to suntan and sight see abroad. Instead they're working in orphanages, building schools and teaching English.

It's called volunteer tourism or "volunteerism." And it's one of the fastest growing trends in travel today. More than 1.6 million volunteer tourists are spending about $2 billion each year.

But some people who work in the industry are skeptical of volunteerism's rising popularity. They question whether some trips help young adults pad their resumes or college applications more than they help those in need.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureTravel* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 31, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ricochet is a surfing superstar who helps teach the disabled to hang ten, too.

Watch it all from NBC.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* General InterestAnimals

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The subtitle deserves to be printed just as written: Polyamorous people still face plenty of stigmas, but some studies suggest they handle certain relationship challenges better than monogamous people do.

Terri Conley, a professor of psychology and women’s studies at the University of Michigan who studies polyamory, has analyzed a sample of 1,700 monogamous individuals, 150 swingers, 170 people in open relationships, and 300 polyamorous individuals for a forthcoming study. She said that while people in “open relationships” tend to have lower sexual satisfaction than their monogamous peers, people who described themselves as “polyamorous” tended to have equal or higher levels of sexual satisfaction.

What’s more, polyamorous people don’t seem to be plagued by monogamous-style romantic envy. Bjarne Holmes, a psychologist at Champlain College in Vermont has found that polyamorous people tend to experience less overall jealousy, even in situations that would drive monogamous couples to Othello-levels of suspicion. "It turns out that, hey, people are not reacting with jealousy when their partner is flirting with someone else," Holmes told LiveScience.

Sheff agreed. “I would say they have lower-than-average jealousy,” she said. “People who are very jealous generally don’t do polyamory at all.”

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologySexuality--PolyamoryWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.


Posted July 28, 2014 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Like many people, I trust Google to find me answers to everything from the mundane to the medical. Now, after a decade in which our increasing obsession with social media brought our computers out of the study and into the living-room, more of us are turning to the internet even when our question is emotional or irrational. The result: two decades after the birth of the web, our search histories have become a mirror to every aspect of our lives.

“Someone once said that what you look for is way more telling than information about yourself – this is something Google and other search engines understood a long time ago,” says Luciano Floridi, the Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the Oxford Internet Institute.

“Future generations will be able to trace our interests as a society just by looking at what we were looking for. Even if we don’t find the information, it doesn’t matter. Who we are, how we represent ourselves, how the world feeding back a mirror image of ourselves shapes our idea of ourselves – this is as old as philosophy, but today has a completely new twist. The online and offline are becoming more and more blurred, and that feeds back into our self-perception.” (If that sounds pseudy, then think of the example of a recruiter Googling someone who’s applied for a job: does the person on Twitter better represent who they really are, or the person on their best behaviour in the interview room?)

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHealth & MedicinePhilosophyPsychologyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted July 28, 2014 at 7:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I think that the boggle line also tells us something about belief. We each of us have what we could call a belief continuum, with taken-for-granted obvious truths at one end (in August, it does not snow in New York City) and whacked-out possibilities at the other (the tooth fairy, a Cubs triumph in the World Series). When we draw a line between the plausible and the ridiculous — our boggle line — I think we become more confident about the beliefs on the plausible side of the line. You are, the boggle line tells you, a sensible, reasonable person. You do not believe in that. So a belief in this — well, a sensible person would take that seriously.

We know already that asserting one kind of belief shapes one’s willingness to commit to another. Benoit Monin, a professor of organizational behavior and psychology at Stanford, and his colleagues have found that when people do something that affirms their lack of prejudice, like disagreeing with blatant racism or expressing willingness, in a laboratory experiment, to hire a black person instead of a white one, that reasonable moral action seems to license them later to express views that seem racist. Seeing yourself as morally reasonable might allow you to make morally risky choices.

So perhaps rejecting the extreme position (I don’t believe in that) might make a less extreme, but still uncertain, commitment seem more plausible. Indeed, you can make a case that this is why heresy is so important. “What people do not believe is often more clearly articulated than what they do believe,” the sociologist Lester R. Kurtz wrote in 1983, “and it is through battles with heresies and heretics that orthodoxy is most sharply delineated.” The sociologists would explain that if this is true, it is because people unite most profoundly in opposition to a common enemy.

Read it all from the NY Times Op-ed.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologyReligion & CultureScience & TechnologySociology* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The belief that your partner will be there for you when things go wrong lays a strong foundation for marital happiness. What creates this belief? Surprisingly, it’s not only how your spouse behaves during a crisis, but also how he or she responds when something great happens, according to Shelly Gable, Ph.D., a psychology professor at UC Santa Barbara

Got a promotion? Your spouse could respond actively or passively, constructively or destructively. The best would be active/constructive: “I know you’ve worked so hard for this! Let’s celebrate.” The worst would be active/destructive: “Wow, do you really think you can handle this extra responsibility?” Somewhere in between are a “[yawn] That’s nice, dear,” or worse, “Did you pick up my dry cleaning?”

Celebrating each other’s ­triumphs is a no-brainer for Atherton and Bert Drenth, a 58-year-old health care company owner and a 60-year-old service rep for hospital lab equipment in Guelph, ­Ontario. The couple agree that they have been “each other’s best cheerleaders,” throughout their marriage. When Bert gave Atherton the news, for example, that he’d landed a great new job, she told him, “All your hard work, integrity, reliability, and attention to detail really paid off. I am so proud of you.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 26, 2014 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Buried in the data [of the study] was the revelation that almost half of millennials (43 percent, and higher among the youngest subset) said they would support a marriage model that involved a two-year trial — at which point the union could be either formalized or dissolved, no divorce or paperwork required. Thirty three percent said they’d be open to trying what researchers dubbed the “real estate” approach – marriage licenses granted on a five, seven, 10 or 30-year arms, after which the terms must be renegotiated. And 21 percent said they’d give the “presidential” method a try, whereby marriage vows last for four years but after eight you can elect to choose a new partner.

In total, nearly half of all of those surveyed, ages 18 to 49 – and 53 percent percent of millennials — thought marriage vows should be renewed, and nearly 40 percent said they believed the “till death do us part” vow should be abolished. In other words: Beta marriages! Unions you can test and deglitch, work out kinks or simply abandon course without consequence. “This is a generation that is used to this idea that everything is in beta, that life is a work in progress, so the idea of a beta marriage makes sense,” the study’s author, Melissa Lavigne-Delville, told me. “It’s not that they’re entirely noncommittal, it’s just that they’re nimble and open to change.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPsychologySociologyYoung Adults

4 Comments
Posted July 25, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If ever a kitchen appliance captured the zeitgeist, this is it: you can now eat your own face, thanks to a selfie toaster.

The toasters are custom built to scorch a particular image into a piece of bread. They cost $75 (£45), and to order one you must send a picture of yourself to the manufacturer.

Read it all (subsciption required).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 25, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At no time in my life have I felt more palpable anxiety than at the beginning of my experience of clinical pastoral education in seminary. My first visit with a hospital patient went something like this: I said, “Hi. I’m the chaplain on the floor today. What’s your name?” The patient said: “Oh—well, nice to meet you. I hope you have a wonderful day.” And then I hightailed it out of the room.

Thanks to clinical pastoral education, I did get better at this ministry. I learned how to sit in silence when necessary, how to offer prayers, how to be part of difficult conversations in fruitful ways.

Core to my learning was writing up and discussing verbatims—written records of conversations in the clinical setting that approximated the verbal back and forth of visits with patients. In reviewing verbatims, pastoral interns learn how to share and invite people into more meaningful conversations.

The helpfulness of that experience has inspired the idea of another sort of clinical endeavor. The type of conversation that frequently terrifies me now is a little different, but I am no less awkward and no less in need of something like a verbatim to help me with it. Call the course I need CEE: clinical evangelistic education.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityPastoral Care* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted July 23, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

he divorce statistics for modern Western societies are catastrophic. They show that marriage is no longer regarded as a new, independent reality transcending the individuality of the spouses, a reality that, at the very least, cannot be dissolved by the will of one partner alone. But can it be dissolved by the consent of both parties, or by the will of a synod or a pope? The answer must be no, for as Jesus himself explicitly declares, man cannot put asunder what God himself has joined together. Such is the teaching of the Catholic Church.

The Christian understanding of the good life claims to be valid for all human beings. Yet even Jesus’s disciples were shocked by their Master’s words: Wouldn’t it be better, then, they replied, not to marry at all? The astonishment of the disciples underscores the contrast between the Christian way of life and the way of life dominant in the world. Whe­ther it wants to or not, the Church in the West is on its way to becoming a counterculture, and its future now depends chiefly on whether it is able, as the salt of the earth, to keep its savor and not be trampled underfoot by men.

The beauty of the Church’s teaching can shine forth only when it’s not watered down. The temptation to dilute doctrine is reinforced nowadays by an unsettling fact: Catholics are divorcing almost as frequently as their secular counterparts. Something has clearly gone wrong. It’s against all reason to think that all civilly divorced and remarried Catholics began their first marriages firmly convinced of its indissolubility and then fundamentally reversed themselves along the way. It’s more reasonable to assume that they entered into matrimony without clearly realizing what they were doing in the first place: burning their bridges behind them for all time (which is to say until death), so that the very idea of a second marriage simply did not exist for them.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologyWomen* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySacramental Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 21, 2014 at 4:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The arguments against assisted suicide are strongly held. Many people object on moral or religious grounds, while some doctors say that it conflicts with their oath to “do no harm”. Opponents add that vulnerable people may feel pressure to spare their carers the burden—or, worse, may be bullied into choosing suicide. And there is a broader argument that allowing assisted suicide in some cases will create a slippery slope, with ever more people being allowed (or forced) to take their own lives, even for trivial reasons.

But the arguments in favour are more compelling. In a pluralistic society, the views of one religion should not be imposed on everybody. Those with a genuine moral objection to assisted suicide need not participate. What a doctor sees as harm a patient may see as relief; and anyway it is no longer standard for medical students to take the Hippocratic oath. The hardest argument concerns vulnerable people: they may indeed feel pressure, but that is simply a reason to set up a robust system of counselling and psychiatric assessment, requiring the agreement of several doctors that a patient is in their right mind and proceeding voluntarily.

It is also true that as some countries relax their restrictions on assisted suicide, the practice will become more common and there will probably be pressure for other restrictions to be removed. But there is nothing unusual in this. Moral absolutes are rare. When faced with dilemmas societies draw boundaries and carve out exceptions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UKEurope* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 21, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A woman in her late 20s came to see me recently because her back hurt. She works at a child care center in town where she picks up babies and small children all day long.

She felt a twinge in her lower back when hoisting a fussy kid. The pain was bad enough that she went home from work early and was laid out on the couch until she came to see me the next day.

In my office she told me she had "done some damage" to her back. She was worried. She didn't want to end up like her father, who'd left his factory job in his mid-50s on disability after suffering what she called permanent damage to his back.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetHealth & MedicinePsychologyScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Canada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.


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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Have you ever heard a sermon about body image?

Aside from the occasional side comment, I've never heard body image given substantial treatment from the pulpit or serious attention from leaders in the church, which is surprising since body image is not a marginal issue in our culture.

Statistics vary, but research shows that somewhere between 80 percent and 90 percent of women are dissatisfied with their bodies. Although the percentage of women with severe eating disorders is between 0.5 percent and 3.7 percent, roughly 3 out of 4 engage in some form of disordered eating.

And in 2013, women had more than 10.3 million surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures, signifying a 471 percent increase since 1997. The top procedures were breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tuck, breast lift, and eyelid surgery.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted July 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We live in intolerant times. A former Secretary of State is disinvited from speaking on campus. Corporate leaders are forced to resign because of their views on marriage. People are forced by the courts to violate their consciences. A prominent Senate leader calls Tea Party activists “anarchists” and, in a speech reminiscent of McCarthyism, brands the businessmen-philanthropist Koch brothers “un-American.” The Internal Revenue Service—harking back to the Johnson and Nixon eras—is accused of targeting individuals and groups for their political views. And government leaders routinely ignore laws they are sworn to uphold.

This is more than intolerant. It is illiberal. It is a willingness to use coercive methods, from government action to public shaming, to shut down debate and censor those who hold a different opinion as if they have no right to their views at all.

Read it all and read part two there also.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted July 18, 2014 at 11:56 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My Lords, this present Bill is not about relieving pain or suffering. It makes that quite clear in its definition of a terminally ill patient to include those whose progressive illness can be relieved but not reversed. This bill is about asserting a philosophy, which not only Christians, but also other thoughtful people of goodwill who have had experience in care for the dying must find incredible: that is, the ancient Stoic philosophy that ending one’s life in circumstances of distress is an assertion of human freedom. That it cannot be. Human freedom is won only by becoming reconciled with the need to die, and by affirming the human relations we have with other people. Accepting the approach of death is not the attitude of passivity that we may think it to be. Dying well is the positive achievement of a task that belongs with our humanity. It is unlike all other tasks given to us in life, but it expresses the value we set on life as no other approach to death can do.

We need time, human presence and sympathy in coming to terms with a terminal prognosis. To put the opportunity to end one’s life before a patient facing that task would be to invite him or her to act under their influence rather than dealing with them.

It is possible to think abstractly that one’s early death would be welcome to one’s nearest family and would spare them trouble. But in fact the best service one could do for them would be to accept their care, and to show appreciation of them at the end of one’s life.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many, including former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, argue that it would have been the “compassionate” and “caring” thing to do. How difficult it would have been for Denise to argue with me if she was made to feel that she was a “burden” to myself and others. Had assisted dying been legal, I daresay the medics might have agreed with me, and the pressure on her, though subtle, would have been unbearable.

That is one of the many reasons I believe Lord Carey’s arguments to be so profoundly misguided and dangerous. He quotes a dying woman parishioner of his who whispered in his ear before she died that, “It is quality of life that counts, not length of days”. Well, maybe – but who is to decide, when, and on what grounds?

Denise’s quality of life at the time of her prognosis and following it was poor by any standards. However, against the odds the chemo did have an effect and the tumour shrank for a while. Had assisted dying been legal, we might never have had the opportunity to enjoy the precious months together that we were given as the more debilitating effects of the treatment wore off. The despair of the moment would have determined our actions. What a tragedy that would have been.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One in three cases of Alzheimer's disease worldwide is preventable, according to research from the University of Cambridge.

The main risk factors for the disease are a lack of exercise, smoking, depression and poor education, it says.

Previous research from 2011 put the estimate at one in two cases, but this new study takes into account overlapping risk factors.

Alzheimer's Research UK said age was still the biggest risk factor.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicinePsychologyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Father Michael Lapsley is an Anglican priest who was sent to South Africa during the institutionalized racial segregation of apartheid. He became a chaplain to Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress and a target of the white supremacy government. One day Lapsley opened a package that turned out to be a bomb. He lost both hands and one eye in the attack on his life, but his faith survived. He now uses his wounds to connect with those who have experienced trauma and help them find healing.

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth AfricaAustralia / NZ* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 14, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"On a sunny day in September, 1972, a stern-faced, plainly dressed man could be seen standing still on a street corner in the busy Chicago Loop. As pedestrians hurried by on their way to lunch or business, he would solemnly lift his right arm, and pointing to the person nearest him, intone loudly the single word, ‘GUILTY!’"Then, without any change of expression, he would resume his stiff stance for a few moments before repeating the gesture. Then, again, the inexorable raising of his arm, the pointing, and the solemn pronouncing of the one word, ‘GUILTY!’

"The effect of this strange j’accuse pantomime on the passing strangers was extraordinary, almost eerie. They would stare at him, hesitate, look away, look at each other, and then at him again; then hurriedly continue on their ways.

"One man, turning to another who was my informant, exclaimed: ‘But how did he know?’ "No doubt many others had similar thoughts. How did he know, indeed?
--Karl Menninger, "Whatever Became of Sin?" which you may find in The Rotarian of January 1974 there, his emphasis (These are also the words at beginning of his famous book of the same title)

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

0 Comments
Posted July 14, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bad stats. When will we learn? Is anybody willing to own it?

Thankfully, at least one person is.

Tyler Charles. Charles is author of the original piece in RELEVANT magazine.

On Monday of this week, Tyler Charles wrote a helpful mea culpa over at High Calling. In it, he admitted what he called his own "amateur" journalism and confessed to being guilty of "hyping bad stats."

In the recent article, Charles confessed, "the statistics upon which my entire article hinged were, how should I say this, um...iffy. At best… the data had been extrapolated from a study designed to determine something completely different."

Charles explains, "after closer examination, the sample size was too small to legitimately make the claims I had clearly and consistently made." Charles stepped forward because "I couldn't justify the conclusions my article suggested."

Read it all from Christianity Today.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 11, 2014 at 9:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Sudanese court in May sentences a Christian woman married to an American to be hanged, after first being lashed 100 times, after she refuses to renounce her Christian faith.

Muslim extremists in Iraq demand that Christians pay a tax or face crucifixion, according to the Iraqi government.

In Malaysia, courts ban some non-Muslims from using the word “Allah.”

In country after country, Islamic fundamentalists are measuring their own religious devotion by the degree to which they suppress or assault those they see as heretics, creating a human rights catastrophe as people are punished or murdered for their religious beliefs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted July 10, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The sex into which we have been born (assuming that it is physiologically unambiguous) is given to us to be welcomed as a gift of God. The task of psychological maturity–for it is a moral task, and not merely an event which may or may not transpire–involves accepting this gift and learning to love it, even though we may have to acknowledge that it does not come to us without problems. Our task is to discern the possibilities for personal relationship which are given to us with this biological sex, and to seek to develop them in accordance with our individual vocations.

Those for whom this task has been comparatively unproblematic (though I suppose that no human being alive has been without some sexual problems) are in no position to pronounce any judgment on those for whom accepting their sex has been a task so difficult that they have fled from it into denial. No one can say with any confidence what factors have made these pressures so severe.

Nevertheless, we cannot and must not conceive of physical sexuality as a mere raw material with which we can construct a form of psychosexual self-expression which is determined only by the free impulse of our spirits. Responsibility in sexual development implies a responsibility to nature–to the ordered good of the bodily form which we have been given. And that implies that we must make the necessary distinction between the good of the bodily form as such and the various problems that it poses to us personally in our individual experience. This is a comment that applies not only to this very striking and unusually distressing problem, but to a whole range of other sexual problems too.
--Oliver O'Donovan Begotten or Made?: Human Procreation and Medical Technique (Oxford: Oxford University Pres, 1984) which was found here.


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchBooksPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted July 9, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

3. Encourage everyone to “take a step back”

There comes a point in most meetings where everyone is chiming in, except you. Opinions and data and milestones are being thrown around and you don’t know your CTA from your OTA. This is a great point to go, “Guys, guys, guys, can we take a step back here?” Everyone will turn their heads toward you, amazed at your ability to silence the fray. Follow it up with a quick, “What problem are we really trying to solve?” and, boom! You’ve bought yourself another hour of looking smart.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* General InterestHumor / Trivia* TheologyAnthropology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I don’t need to remind you of the widespread concern about the ill-treatment of the aged and those at the end of life in some of our care homes and hospitals - and this in spite of the many dedicated people working in these fields of care. It seems all the more incomprehensible, then, that we would be considering a change in the law to diminish the protection given to those most vulnerable.

Next month a Bill to legalize “assisted suicide” for those at the end of life will begin its passage through Parliament. This legislation will be presented as a “compassionate” measure, whose sole aim is to relieve the suffering of the sick and the aged. Yet, it is far from compassionate to remove the legal protections provided for some of the most vulnerable members of society. The proposed change to our laws will license doctors to supply lethal drugs to assist the deaths of those expected to live for six months or less. If Parliament allows exceptions to the laws which protect the very sanctity of human life, it would be impossible to predict where this will end. In 1967, the politicians who legalised the killing of unborn children in limited and exceptional circumstances did not foresee how violating the sanctity of human life would lead to the wanton destruction of millions of lives. It is not surprising that many vulnerable people, including those with disabilities, are today worried by Lord Falconer’s “assisted dying” Bill. It might sound reasonable to speak of “choicesat the end of life” - as the campaigners for euthanasia do - but what choice will be left for many?

Read it carefully and read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 7, 2014 at 6:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Of course choice is good. I aspire to more of it and so do people who have enjoyed much less of it than I have. Offer me more choice, at least in theory, and I'll say Yes. I'll answer your loaded opinion poll and tell you I am in favour of this choice and that choice because who, in this culture, can be against more choice without being a heretic? But talk about choice on that day in the future when I am wholly dependent on the people around me, when my life is almost over and I have far more chance of pleasing others by getting out of their way quietly than of making much difference to my own situation, and my choice won't be about me, it will be about them. And those last days of life, surely, are precisely the moment when choices ought to be about the one approaching the end - and no one else.

How many Parliamentarians who will shortly debate the Falconer Bill on assisted suicide are people with wide enough life experience to empathise with those who see more choice as a threat and not a blessing? How many subscribers to the BMJ put themselves, day by day, into the shoes of people for whom consumer choice is someone else's luxury, even if their editor chooses to use his journalistic position to make a ruling on behalf of ethicists everywhere?

Some of them, to be sure - maybe many of them. Will they encourage the rest to dig deep into their imaginations, to empathise with people who are not articulate, who are used to being done unto, and who have lived on the receiving end of other's choices all their lives?

They are in Parliament to govern on behalf of all citizens. The weak. The poor. The vulnerable. The dying. The ones who don't want to be a nuisance. The ones who do not regard choice as an unalloyed good, as well as the people who are used to choosing. And the medical profession too - despite the sweeping assertions of the BMJ about the nature of ethics, are also in business for those people.

Will the Parliamentarians and the medics empathise beyond their own kind? I hope so. I do hope so.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 7, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Justin, who has cerebral palsy and was born missing parts of his brain, also has a seizure disorder, which has gotten worse lately. He's often silent during his seizures, which means he has to sleep with his parents so they can tell when he needs help. Judy says caring for Justin is a lot like taking care of a newborn....Except Justin is not a baby. He just turned 16 and weighs 100 pounds. He can't talk, he can't walk and he'll always require around-the-clock care. Like the estimated 17 million people in the U.S. taking care of their special-needs kids, Judy's days largely consist of making sure Justin's needs are met....

The faith community is a major source of support for James and Judy Lee. Every Sunday the family attends Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Sacramento. James welcomes people's empathy, but he rejects their pity. He recalled a man at a support group once asking him if he hated God because of Justin's disability.

"I said, 'No, I'm actually thankful that He chose us to take care of Justin,' " he says.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted July 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The term LGBT, representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, has been in widespread use since the early 1990s. Recent additions - queer, "questioning" and intersex - have seen the term expand to LGBTQQI in many places. But do lesbians and gay men, let alone the others on the list, share the same issues, values and goals?

Anthony Lorenzo, a young gay journalist, says the list has become so long, "We've had to start using Sanskrit because we've run out of letters."

Bisexuals have argued that they are disliked and mistrusted by both straight and gay people. Trans people say they should be included because they experience hatred and discrimination, and thereby are campaigning along similar lines as the gay community for equality.

But what about those who wish to add asexual to the pot? Are asexual people facing the same category of discrimination. And "polyamorous"? Would it end at LGBTQQIAP?

Read it all.

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

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


Posted July 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you have a job, you know some people take their job titles way too seriously. Many of them just sit around and do the bare minimum all day long.

Whether you’re a sales associate taking on a retail position at a high-end store, or a director at a major corporation, there’s a high chance you should just be called a more simplified name rather than whatever your business card says you are.

In a recent photo series released by Someecards, we’re all exposed to the harsh reality of what our job titles actually entail.

These are really good and deserve a careful look--KSH.

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

0 Comments
Posted July 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Britons spend more than 130 million hours per week working from cafés, dubbed “coffices” by some, while more than one in four workers would choose to work there if they had the option, according to a survey by O2 Business.

New legislation, which takes effect today, will give workers the right to request more flexible working arrangements, but more than half of those surveyed by O2 were unaware of the changes.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 1, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How shocking: Facebook had the temerity to conduct an experiment on its users without telling them and now the results have been published in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Actually, no one should be surprised.

For a week in 2012, the social network's staff scientist Adam Kramer and two collaborators used algorithms to doctor the news feeds of 689,003 English-speaking Facebook users. They reduced the number of posts containing "positive" and "negative" words, tracked their lab rat users' own posts, and found that their mood was influenced by that of the news feed. The term, well-known to psychologists studying real-world communications, is "emotional contagion."

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Why are people dishonest? From Main Street to Wall Street, at home and at work, questionable behavior defies people’s best intentions. Now experts in the social sciences are examining why people so often behave contrary to their own ethical aims and what can be done about it, especially in the world of business. “What we find is that when people are thinking about honesty versus dishonesty,” says Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at the Duke University Fuqua School of Business, “it’s all about being able, at the moment, to rationalize something and make yourself think that this is actually okay.”

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeStock Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 29, 2014 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

French law now contains guidelines for palliative care, discontinuing life support and other matters. Yet the debate surrounding Mr Lambert’s case differs little from the debate over Humbert.

In urging patience, the European Court acted responsibly. Few of the desperately ill are truly incommunicado or lack any kind of “living will” or directive. And drawing up rules for securing the “dignity” of patients is a dangerous business in the best of cases. Death by natural causes, as we have always understood it, involves many things we consider undignified.

Assertions that the patient “wouldn’t have wanted to suffer” can offer too much leeway to doctors and relatives. The danger is that we will turn the “end of life” into an excuse for making exceptions to our medical and moral common sense.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeFrance* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 28, 2014 at 10:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ms. Ibrahim's story bears uncanny parallels to another Christian story involving young African mothers who did become Christian martyrs, during the early third century: the story of Felicitas and Perpetua, executed for their faith in the Roman port city of Carthage in today's Tunisia. Vibia Perpetua was a well-educated young woman, not unlike Ms. Ibrahim, who is trained as a doctor. Felicitas was a slave in an advanced state of pregnancy when she was thrown into prison along with Perpetua and other Christians to await their deaths by wild animals in the Carthage arena. Perpetua, like Ms. Ibrahim, went to prison along with a baby son. Felicitas, like Ms. Ibrahim, bore a baby daughter before her execution date.

The most dramatic parallel is the simple affirmation that Ms. Ibrahim gave in court that led to her death sentence: "I am a Christian." Those also were Perpetua's words, as they were of many martyrs in Roman times. Like Perpetua, Ms. Ibrahim, who was brought up in the Ethiopian Orthodox faith of her mother, also refused to recant.

This isn't just a matter of ancient and modern coincidences. More significantly, the Roman world of the third century was strikingly like today's secularized West in its contempt for Christians and indifference to their persecution.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPrison/Prison MinistryPsychologyReligion & CultureViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted June 27, 2014 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[The following are]... separate steps people [can] take to improve their own morale:
Invest in relationships with people who know you that you trust, who are heading towards the same goals. People who can cheer you on and vice versa. People who will celebrate your successes and stand with you in the inevitable failures, those who you can tell what is under the mask. A virtual team with mutual respect.
Set some life goals that reflect the most significant current spheres of life. Work, family, hobbies, studies, etc., and give them some measurable values. Not New Year resolutions, more intentional investments in the things that matter.
Take seriously personal and professional investment. The clearest positive trend in the ‘FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to work for 2013’ research document highlights employee development, with staff being given on average 66 hours per year of professional development.
Guard against compassion fatigue. Our emotional resources are not infinite and in a caring profession we cannot take on all the cares of the world despite the information superhighway telling us everything we need to know about things we can worry about. Respond well to a limited number of needs.Find people, publications or websites that have a ‘can do’ air about them. I was on a mission stand at an event recently where Jackie Pullinger was speaking. After the event I overheard a number of people saying things like, ‘she made me feel that mission was possible, that I could play a part’.
Be intentional about eating and sleeping well.
And finally, rely on God.
Read it all (subscription called for).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 27, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When I share these [sobering] statistics [on the discontent and discouragement among parish minsiters and their families] with pastors, they slowly, knowingly nod their heads.

Yet when I share these statistics with non-clergy, they are shocked: “How can this be? I had no idea!” A widespread Super Pastor mentality has led us to believe that pastors never struggle, never doubt, never get discouraged, and never wrestle with feelings of failure — just because they’re pastors.
Read more in Briggs' recent book Fail.Read more in J.R. Briggs’ latest book.

But pastors are people, too. Ministry is a significant calling and it is involves broken, sinful, and scandalously ordinary people God calls and uses to shepherd souls. These broken ordinaries are called pastors.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 27, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

They’re living at home in growing numbers. They're not buying homes, which creates ripple effects throughout the housing market. They’re having more babies out of wedlock than in it. Why can’t millennials get it together?

The first and most obvious answer is “jobs.” If you can’t find a stable job, it’s hard to move out of Mom’s basement. It’s hard to commit to a mortgage or a spouse. It's hard, in other words, to launch into the middle-class life that constitutes the American Dream.

Millennials are some of the biggest victims of the financial crisis. Those without a college degree face high rates of unemployment, while those who have a sheepskin are more and more likely to be underemployed in a job that doesn’t require their degree. Even if the student loan crisis has been overstated, the rising cost of college tuition certainly doesn’t help.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSociologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 26, 2014 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even we Christians seem to have sidelined joy in entertainment to explore the bleaker side of reality. We find ourselves praising sad standups for what they can teach us about our faith. We binge-watch shows like Breaking Bad, House of Cards, and Mad Men for the way their broken characters and their brutal worlds will reveal the dark side of human nature. Yes, we've seen how recent heavy dramas can show us the real weight of sin and the moral consequences of our decisions, but these kinds of programs can't become our only tv obsessions.

Just as we proclaim a God of grace and justice, of love and law, Christians need balance in our pop culture engagement. So do our neighbors. We need the light of the funny, silly, and joyful to glow in the dark. Shiny-happy shows don't tell the full truth, but neither do shows that punch us in the face. We've spent enough time embracing suffering and being skeptical of joy and happiness. All the more so if, as C.S. Lewis said, "Joy is the serious business of heaven."

Fallon's spirit is no shtick. His joy has been there all along. As a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1998 to 2004, he notoriously broke character, holding back laughter in the background of a sketch or cracking a smile in the middle of a punch line. His critics cite these incidents as weaknesses. I think they prove how much he likes his job.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & TelevisionPsychologyReligion & CultureYoung Adults* General InterestHumor / Trivia* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 26, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

RNS: In my experience, redemption for evangelicals means “work harder,” do more good stuff, and stave off bad behavior. But this isn’t your message, is it?

MC: No, because redemption isn’t you working harder. Redemption is you having been saved from your error by someone else. In fact, you don’t possess the ability to redeem yourself in any way. This is the great lie of moralistic deism, that you can be good enough. Men from the Bible–from the prophet Isaiah to Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount–teach that you cannot be righteous enough to save yourself. One of the more terrifying verses in the Bible is when Jesus said to a crowd, “Unless your righteousness supersedes the Pharisees, you have no part of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

The Pharisees were tithing their mint and dill and were more righteous, externally speaking, than anyone reading this has even tried to be. Jesus is exposing the truth that you and I will never be good enough, that all of our righteous deeds are worthless. So, this can’t be the message of redemption because the Scriptures are clear that redemption doesn’t work that way.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBooksDrugs/Drug AddictionPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 25, 2014 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Along with the Jaw III headline, former English referee Graham Poll, who is widely regarded as one of the best modern referees, argued that Suarez, "should not be allowed to kick another ball in this World Cup tournament".

"Referee Marco Rodriguez clearly missed the coming together of Suarez and Italian Giorgio Chiellini," Poll said. "And replays are clear enough to me for the Uruguayan to be charged by FIFA's disciplinary panel."

Adding to the discontent of the English press at the despicable behaviour of Suarez, Everton boss Roberto Martinez chimed into the conversation on ESPN and questioned whether the 2013-14 EPL player of the season is in the right state of mind to be playing football given his brain explosions of late.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & MedicineMenPsychologySports* International News & CommentarySouth AmericaBrazilUruguay* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 24, 2014 at 11:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Researchers took pains to document the rise and fall in social status, periodically interviewing the subjects as well as those who they felt knew them best, usually close friends. About 20 percent of the group fell into the “cool kid” category at the study’s outset.

A constellation of three popularity-seeking behaviors characterized pseudomaturity, Dr. Allen and his colleagues found. These young teenagers sought out friends who were physically attractive; their romances were more numerous, emotionally intense and sexually exploring than those of their peers; and they dabbled in minor delinquency — skipping school, sneaking into movies, vandalism.

As they turned 23, the study found that when compared to their socially slower-moving middle-school peers, they had a 45 percent greater rate of problems resulting from alcohol and marijuana use and a 40 percent higher level of actual use of those substances. They also had a 22 percent greater rate of adult criminal behavior, from theft to assaults.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In your first column for Christianity Today, you noted that George Herbert helped guide you into the Anglican tradition. How exactly did that happen?

I was raised Southern Baptist and have been a believing Christian since childhood. But for several years during college and afterward, I felt I was still looking for the right ecclesial home. My first exposure to the Anglican tradition was when I attended a Maundy Thursday service during my freshman year of college. I was simultaneously put off by what felt, at that time, like excessive formality, and attracted to what seemed like a form of worship with integrity, mystery, and depth. Eventually I was confirmed in the Church of England, by then-Bishop of Durham Justin Welby. By that time, I had developed theological reasons for becoming Anglican — reasons that had to do with Anglicanism’s identity as “catholic” and “reformed.” But initially, Anglicanism represented more of a sensibility than a theology. It nurtured in me something I didn’t initially have or want: a taste for beauty in liturgy and church art, and an inclination toward theological reticence and reverence.

What thinkers of the Church, present or past, are you most excited about?

I’m very interested in the work that a celibate lesbian Roman Catholic named Eve Tushnet is doing. Her first book is coming out this fall from Ave Maria Press (Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Finding Community, Living My Faith). I’ve been reading Eve’s blog for years, and I think she’s one of the sharpest cultural critics around, in addition to being one of our most provocative and helpful Christian voices on the theology of friendship.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological EducationTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[NEDA] ULABY: Shows [like many at present] where nearly everyone on the planet sickens and dies appeal to scholar Nancy Tomes.

NANCY TOMES: Oh, I couldn't be happier.

ULABY: Tomes studies the history of epidemics. She wrote a book called "The Gospel Of Germs." She says science-fiction and horror often reflect contemporary fears. So during the Cold War, for example, we saw movies about big, scary, nuclear-related monsters. Now she says we worry about our bodies turning against us. In an age of gluten allergies, genetically modified food and mad cow disease.

TOMES: From what you buy in the grocery store, to what you may be breathing when you walk down the street.

ULABY: Not to mention the viral spread of terror cells in viruses attacking our computers.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryMovies & TelevisionPsychologyScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Canadian surgeons are confident they could soon perform what has never before been attempted anywhere in the world — face transplants in children.

The highly complex surgeries, which have so far only been performed in adults, are now “technically feasible” in children and could be life transforming for those with devastating facial deformities and disfigurements for whom no other reconstructive alternatives exist, a team from Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children reports in the journal, Plastic Surgery.

But the risky surgeries are fraught with profound ethical and moral challenges, including issues surrounding personal identity, informed consent and the possibility of “future resentment,” the team writes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicinePsychologyScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 23, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The government and media alliance advancing the transgender cause has gone into overdrive in recent weeks. On May 30, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review board ruled that Medicare can pay for the "reassignment" surgery sought by the transgendered—those who say that they don't identify with their biological sex. Earlier last month Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that he was "open" to lifting a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. Time magazine, seeing the trend, ran a cover story for its June 9 issue called "The Transgender Tipping Point: America's next civil rights frontier."

Yet policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention. This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken—it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMediaPsychologySexuality* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The zeitgeist is a fickle master, because the zeitgeist is us.

It's no wonder that one of the first tasks of any prophet was to make himself shameful. John the Baptist wore camel hair and ate insects. Isaiah had to walk around naked for years. Ezekiel had to cook his food over dung. Elijah ate only food carried by ravens—nasty carrion birds. The first thing God told Hosea to do was to marry a whore.

Prophets must be fearless, immune to the pressures of kings and crowds, aligned only with the breath of God.

We are in need of prophets now. Christians are scattered, but the world's wind is heavy and unified.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted June 22, 2014 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a country of crippling poverty, ethnic fault lines and decades of war, Islamic piety offers many Afghans a rare thread of national solidarity. To reject Islam is seen as tantamount to treason.

“Religious identity is the only thing that Afghans can claim,” said Daud Moradian, a professor at the American University in Afghanistan. “They do not have a national identity, they do not have an economic identity, and there is no middle or working class here.”

That leaves Josef almost nowhere to turn for protection. The police would be no help. Converts report being beaten and sexually abused while in custody. His family in Afghanistan is also a dead end: His uncles are hunting for him now, too.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaAfghanistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted June 22, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"...from wages and retirement plans to vacation policies and commutes—workers are less content with their jobs than they were in 1987, when the research group started tracking the topic. Back then, 61.1% of workers said they were satisfied with their work.

The decline suggests a steady erosion of trust and loyalty between employers and employees, said Rebecca Ray, leader of the organization’s human capital research unit.

“Certainly, the employer contract is dead for the most part,” she said, noting that benefits such as pension plans, 401(k) matches and robust healthcare coverage, which once glued employers and their employees together in a long-term relationship, are disappearing.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted June 21, 2014 at 11:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The top legislative body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted by large margins Thursday to recognize same-sex marriage as Christian in the church constitution, adding language that marriage can be the union of "two people," not just "a man and a woman."

The amendment approved by the Presbyterian General Assembly requires approval from a majority of the 172 regional presbyteries, which will vote on the change over the next year. But in a separate policy change that takes effect at the end of this week's meeting, delegates voted to allow ministers to preside at gay weddings in states where the unions are legal and local congregational leaders approve. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage.

The votes, during a national meeting in Detroit, were a sweeping victory for Presbyterian gay-rights advocates. The denomination in 2011 eliminated barriers to ordaining clergy with same-sex partners, but ministers were still barred from celebrating gay marriages and risked church penalties for doing so. Alex McNeill, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, a gay advocacy group, said the decisions Thursday were "an answer to many prayers."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

5 Comments
Posted June 20, 2014 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There’s a good element to this. Part of the atonement is the discovery that in wounding and lacerating Christ’s body on the cross, we matter to God. If we matter negatively, by hurting and killing, then we can matter at least as positively by giving joy and delight. And just as the risen Christ still has the wounds of the tree, so the ascended Lord takes with him the joy we evoke in his heart. The pastor who says, with care, y’all matter to me is showing that we all matter to God.

Of course we’re not up to it. We forget her husband was going in for a scan and we should have inquired how it went. We neglect to ask her to read at the carol service. We get talking to someone else after the worship service, and she drifts away disconsolate to her car. But all these things are forgiven. And we know that they’re healthy ways of indicating she shouldn’t overinvest in us, because it’s not really about us, it’s about Christ and Christ’s body, the church. In fact, we shouldn’t be standing between her and God in the first place. God can look after that part without our unique contribution. The pastor’s job is not so much in front of the people as behind them, ushering them like sheep into a place where they may encounter God together. It’s not about being more interesting than God. Cyprian never said, “Outside the pastor there is no salvation.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 19, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lindsay Graham grew up in the same church attended by her parents and grandparents, and she expected the same would be true for her children. That changed when her son, J.D., was diagnosed with autism at age 2.

There were outbursts and tantrums, calls in the middle of the church service from the Sunday school teacher that J.D. was being disruptive. There were disapproving looks from other members of the congregation. Even if they didn't say it, Graham knew what they were thinking: Can't you keep your child under control?

"I felt very ostracized because he was always misbehaving. We just didn't fit that perfect family mold," said Graham, 33.

It was time to find another church, one equipped to handle children with disabilities. They ended up at First Baptist Orlando, which has a special needs ministry for children.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychology* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dr. Yevgeniy Gelfand, a psychiatrist at Trident, knows Urena from working with him in the ER and says a growing body of evidence is showing that exercise can be a valuable tool in battling PTSD, which he describes as "complex disorder" that researchers are still learning about.

Gelfand says drugs often have been the first and foremost treatment for it and have generally proven not to work too well.

"In the West, everyone wants a pill. That's how we're conditioned," says Gelfand. "I think exercise is often overlooked (as a therapy)."

Besides endorphins, Gelfand says exercise provides a "sense of well-being" through improved sleep, providing a sense of control, and giving people goals and a sense of accomplishment.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologySports* Economics, PoliticsIraq War* TheologyAnthropology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

ost of us in the family studies business have had people look at us strangely when we tell them that divorce has declined over the past three decades. Forget about the anecdata, we tell them. Those friends, relatives, and perhaps even you yourself, who have been emptying their life savings into the laps of lawyers, can’t change the big picture: in the 1970s Americans got divorced like crazy, but after 1980, they calmed down. Since then, divorce rates have declined, pretty much steadily. On hearing this, most people shrug and move on. There’s no point in quarreling with the numbers.

Or is there? A new paper by Sheila Kennedy and Steven Ruggles appearing in the most recent issue of the journal Demography not only battles with the numbers, it kicks them and much of the accepted wisdom about divorce rates out of the house. Divorce has not gone down, they argue compellingly: it has risen to record highs.

Kennedy and Ruggles spend the first half of their paper, nicely titled “Breaking Up is Hard to Count,” explaining why demographers could have been so wrong about what may strike the uninitiated as a rather easily calculated figure. To oversimplify a complex story: the United States has been lousy at collecting data. Individual counties may keep pretty good track of finalized divorce cases, but someone else—meaning the states—has to collect and tabulate that information, and someone else—the Census Bureau—has to put it all together.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSociology* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 16, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ms. Alkon writes that in our transient society we no longer have the constraints that existed when we lived in smaller groups and those who misbehaved were ostracized. Today you can be as rude as you like and get away with it because you'll probably never see your victims again. This observation won't come as a surprise if you've ever endured a train journey next to a person who yakked nonstop on a cellphone or had a concert or play interrupted by jangling mambo tones. When a woman next to me one night finally retrieved her cellphone, she shouted into it: "I told you not to call me when I was in the theater!"

But technology can also act as a weapon against rude behavior. "Webslapping is typically the best solution when someone is egregiously rude . . . ," Ms. Alkon writes; "there's a new sheriff out there, and it's the YouTube video gone viral."

Ms. Alkon delivers sound advice on navigating social-networking sites (she calls them "giant parasites targeting your personal information like tapeworms waiting for a move-in special on your large intestine."), on observing email etiquette and on texting at the dinner table: "If you're going to invite somebody to dinner and ignore them, at least have the decency to get married first and build up years of bitterness and resentment."

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted June 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

War veterans return home from duty to the communities and families they left behind, but mental and emotional burdens often return with them. Decisions and experiences from the battlefield can lead to post traumatic stress and what is now being recognized as moral injury. The Department of Veterans Affairs is sharing its resources with faith groups to help those returning with deep moral wounds. “To rebuild a moral identity takes a community of support. It takes friends, and it takes a long time,” says Rita Nakashima Brock of the Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinty School. “There are no other institutions in our society that I know of except religious institutions that support people over their entire life course.”

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryIraq WarWar in Afghanistan* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

0 Comments
Posted June 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the Internet's impact on religion might not be entirely positive. A recent report in MIT Technology Review suggests a correlation between increased Internet use and the decline of religious affiliation. After analyzing data from the University of Chicago's General Social Survey, Olin College of Engineering professor Allen Downey found that the percentage of people in the U.S. population who claimed no religious affiliation increased to 18% in 2010 from 8% in 1990. That's a jump of 25 million people.

After examining education, socioeconomic status and religious upbringing, each of which contributed to the decline of affiliation, Mr. Downey was left with a great deal of the change unexplained. His hypothesis? The dramatic rise in Internet use. In the 1980s, almost no one used the Internet, but by 2010, according to the Social Survey, more than half of the population spent at least two hours online a week, and one quarter spent more than seven hours a week. Mr. Downey believes that as much as 25% of the decline in affiliation can be explained by this new habit.

Readers of the study should keep two things in mind: It measures "affiliation," that is, identification with a particular religious tradition, not belief in God. A strong majority of U.S. adults profess belief in God (although that number has also declined), but a smaller number are affiliating with institutions that promote those beliefs. Mr. Downey's study also measures correlation, not causation; he is not arguing that Internet use caused the decline, only that it occurred alongside it and might help explain it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHistoryPsychologyReligion & CultureTravel* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyThe Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

0 Comments
Posted June 13, 2014 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The most visible Episcopal church in the U.S. is hosting its first openly transgender priest this month.

The Rev. Cameron Partridge is set to give the June 22 sermon at the Washington National Cathedral in Northwest.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologySexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted June 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, urged his fellow Southern Baptist pastors to draw close to others when they are suffering. He said a small group of men were on the scene within half an hour to comfort him when Matthew died. They were the same people he met with in their times of crises.

“The more intense the pain, the fewer words you should use,” he said. “You need to show up and shut up.”

As Warren closed his sermon, he knelt before the crowd and invited pastors to come forward for prayer if they were suffering with someone who is mentally ill or if they were facing other problems.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyStressSuicideReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesBaptistsEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted June 10, 2014 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Clemens Fuest, from the Mannheim-based organization best known for its widely-watched economic sentiment index - told German business daily Handelsblatt that the euro zone region could be at a "turning point."

"I've got a bad feeling about this...I am concerned by the danger that the ECB is producing new bubbles with its policy of cheap money," he told the newspaper.

"We have all the ingredients of a bubble: The prices of real estate and stock markets continue to rise, and on the bond markets, yields are falling despite high risks."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuropean Central BankStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 10, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For Mr. Goines and others with similar ideas about where they want to be when they die, it is a different kind of hero worship, and puts a new twist on the real estate cliché “location, location, location.” It could be the ultimate form of devotion, putting yourself closer to someone you admired than you ever were in life — especially if the only words you ever spoke to a favorite celebrity were “Can I have your autograph?” or “Can I take a selfie with you?” — or it could be the ultimate way to elevate oneself. You may not be famous, but proximity to someone who was could bestow some prestige.

For Mr. Goines and others with similar ideas about where they want to be when they die, it is a different kind of hero worship, and puts a new twist on the real estate cliché “location, location, location.” It could be the ultimate form of devotion, putting yourself closer to someone you admired than you ever were in life — especially if the only words you ever spoke to a favorite celebrity were “Can I have your autograph?” or “Can I take a selfie with you?” — or it could be the ultimate way to elevate oneself. You may not be famous, but proximity to someone who was could bestow some prestige.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMusicPsychologyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism

0 Comments
Posted June 9, 2014 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The longer that Americans are unemployed, the more likely they are to report signs of poor psychological well-being. About one in five Americans who have been unemployed for a year or more say they currently have or are being treated for depression -- almost double the rate among those who have been unemployed for five weeks or less.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 9, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is difficult to imagine a more brutal way for a teenager to be confronted by the reality of life and death.

But as an 18-year-old gap year student, the future Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, found himself having to cut down the body of a fellow teenager who had hanged himself.

A new biography of the Archbishop singles out the moment in the early summer of 1974, while he was volunteering as a teacher at a boys’ school in Kenya, as marking the beginning of an unlikely journey to becoming one of the world’s most influential spiritual leaders.

Within days of the tragedy, about which he is not believed to have spoken previously in public, the future leader of the 80 million-strong worldwide Anglican Church told a close friend how he had begun to find faith in God.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologySuicideReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAfricaKenya* TheologyChristologyEschatologySoteriology

0 Comments
Posted June 8, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a psychiatrist I have spent my working life helping people to find a reason for living and to make sense of disability - not a reason to hasten their death. So imagine my concern to find yet another attempt to legalise what is euphemistically called 'assisted dying' planned for the new session of Parliament starting this week.

In practice, assisted dying means licensing doctors to supply lethal drugs to terminally ill patients to enable them to commit suicide. This is quite different from pain relief or sedation,which are of course perfectly legal, although sometimes under-used for fear of litigation. Make no mistake, this is no mere amendment of the law that is being proposed but a major change to it - as well as to the principles that underpin medical practice. It's all very well to say there would be safeguards but there are no possible safeguards that would protect vulnerable, sick and elderly people.

Let's look at two of the so-called safeguards in Lord Falconer's Bill, tabled in the last session but not taken forward....

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Georgia’s new comprehensive gun laws go into effect July 1, many churches will opt out of allowing weapons into worship halls.

The Safe Carry Protection Act, sometimes called the “Guns Everywhere” law by opponents, goes into effect July 1. The language of the bill actually prohibits guns inside churches, unless the “governing body or authority of the place of worship permits the carrying of weapons or long guns by license holders.”

But it’s not even a concern for many Christian denominations, including in Catholic, Methodist and Episcopal churches. Leaders in all three organizations have pointed to no-weapons policies, and advised individual churches to follow the rules already in place.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & CultureViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodistRoman Catholic

1 Comments
Posted June 4, 2014 at 5:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Despite local married couple Jim and Nancy McFadden’s recent decision to seek new romantic partners while still staying together, sources reported Monday that the rest of the world’s population is not exactly jumping at the chance to partake in the open relationship. “No thanks, we’re good,” 7.1 billion global inhabitants of every age, race, and sexual orientation reportedly said "no thanks, we're good"...

Heh--Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted June 3, 2014 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The courts have judged that she was born a Muslim (because her absent father was one) and therefore that her claim to be a Christian, following marriage to a Christian man, meets the criteria under Sudan’s version of Sharia for the death penalty. The hanging will not, however, be carried out if she renounces her faith and embraces Islam. This she refuses to do. The sentence of 100 lashes for adultery remains to be carried out some time before her execution.

Pinch yourself. This is 2014 not 1014. Meriam’s imprisonment is an offence against basic human rights. Under any civilised code her crime would be no crime at all, but her murder by the Sudanese state most certainly would be a terrible one. A campaign by Amnesty International for Meriam’s release has already received the support of 147,000 people and we hope that many more will sign up.

But such private pressure, while admirable and necessary, is not enough. It is clear that in many countries of the world archaic religious laws or cultural practices are increasingly becoming a major threat to women and religious minorities.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Sudanese woman sentenced to death for marrying a Christian was forced to give birth with her legs chained, it has been revealed today.

Meriam Ibrahim was shackled as her baby daughter was born in jail in Sudan where she is awaiting execution for marrying a Christian U.S. citizen.

Amid the joy of seeing his child for the first time, her husband Daniel Wani has spoken of his anger at the treatment she received during labour.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 30, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 29, 2014 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[The split off of ISIS]... was the first time in the history of the world’s most notorious terrorist organization that one of the affiliates had publicly broken with the international leadership, and the news sent shock waves through the online forums where jihadists meet. In no uncertain terms, ISIS had gone rogue.

That split, in June, was a watershed moment in the vast decentralization of Al Qaeda and its ideology since 9/11. As the power of the central leadership created by Osama bin Laden has declined, the vanguard of violent jihad has been taken up by an array of groups in a dozen countries across Africa and the Middle East, attacking Western interests in Algeria and Libya, training bombers in Yemen, seizing territory in Syria and Iraq, and gunning down shoppers in Kenya.

What links these groups, experts say, is no longer a centralized organization but a loose ideology that any group can appropriate and apply as it sees fit while gaining the mystique of a recognized brand name. In short, Al Qaeda today is less a corporation than a vision driving a diverse spread of militant groups.

Read it all and there is more on this today there.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationPsychologyScience & TechnologySociology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 29, 2014 at 9:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So what can leaders do to improve their chances of successfully implementing organizational change? They should use an intentional, structured approach to determine where they are now, where they want to be in the future, and how they will bridge the gap.

--Assess the current state to understand where the organization is starting from as it begins the change process. What are the organization's strengths? What are its barriers to change? Are employees ready and willing to embrace the change and adopt new behaviors?
--Paint a clear, compelling picture of the future state and explain why change is necessary. Employees are more motivated to change if leaders can give them hope and inspiration. Workers need to envision the change and understand how their efforts will contribute to achieving it.
--Create a plan of action to bridge the gap between the current and future state. This plan serves as a road map for the journey and identifies the specific steps required to achieve the desired change.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted May 28, 2014 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In today's society, marriage happens when two people (usually a man and a woman) fall in love and decide to spend the rest of their lives together in monogamy. But did you know that wasn't always the case? In fact, the modern version of marriage emerged a mere couple of hundred years ago. In the past, marriage rarely involved love (most marriages were arranged based on income and social status), and the majority of societies allowed and expected plural marriages, with either multiple wives or multiple husbands.

Clearly the concept of marriage has changed greatly over the years. And with today's rate of divorce between 40 and 50 percent, coupled with the prevalence of adultery in many marriages, perhaps it's time for the concept of marriage to continue to evolve. According to Associated Press, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 41 percent of spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional. This leads me to ask, "Are we really supposed to be with just one person our whole life? And if not, must we get re-married five times? Are there alternative ways to perceive and participate in a marriage that will guarantee its success?..."

Don't get me wrong... I'm not condoning adultery as we know it, because I'm not strictly talking about sex. But because it is so taboo, when you consider the historical context of marriage, isn't being shocked by adultery a bit of an overreaction?

Read it all.

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

8 Comments
Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The divine love is a costly love. It could not stand idly by while human creatures destroyed themselves. It had to get involved. As the French philosopher Alain Badiou says of love: "Love without risk is an impossibility, like war without death." This makes sense of the passage that brides love so much: Paul's hymn to love in 1 Corithians 13. It is not an ode to an abstract principle. It is a description of love as the divine being expresses it within the broken world of our experience - and thus it has to be patient, and kind, and keep no record of wrongs, since this is a world in which there wrongs, and irritations, and cruelties. It demands not disinterested objectivity, but deep involvement in the world. It cannot help but draw you in.

The pattern of the divine love then teaches us that the way to the good is neither through pure self-expression, nor through a complete and rational disinterest. Love demands costly action for the sake of the other, but its demands cannot be calculated by some formula. Love may involve not pleasure but suffering - not a suffering imposed on others in conformity to some principle, but a suffering for the sake of others. To act out of love can never be to act out of complete selflessness, because the acts that love forms result in joy for those who do them. But this joy does not corrupt the act and make it less good in some way.

Could we then ask, not what brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number, nor what universal law does my action fulfil, nor what freedom to express my inner self does it allow, but rather what is an expression of the ethics of love? Could that form the basis for an extraordinary social, moral and political vision?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Culture-WatchPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyThe Trinity: Father, Son and Holy SpiritTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted May 27, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A painful but important cartoon.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologySuicide* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

0 Comments
Posted May 26, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Contemporary American Christians are faced with their own creation. Their individualistic and democratic views idealize the religious entrepreneur. Moreover, their distrust of hierarchy and institutions combines with a lack of commitment to organic unity (this is a newer development).

The state of the divinity school doesn’t help matters, either. The seminary, in its classical form, is where one engages in deep, orthodox theological study under the authority and spiritual formation of the Church. Obviously, this classic ideal is increasingly rare in the United States these days. As history has shown, seminaries have abandoned orthodoxy, become hyper-academic without thought to spiritual formation, have been reduced to degree factories, or have removed the Church in favor of the parachurch or nondenominationalism.

Many American seminaries languish. Thus, the streams which should feed and guide the theologically curious are insufficient. Making matter worse, social norms encourage more trust in the internet than in the Bride of Christ. Instead, seekers look to ecclesiastically untethered and academically undisciplined smooth talkers for spiritual guidance and insight. Welcome to the Anti-Seminary.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingPsychologyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted May 22, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Twenty percent of Americans name unemployment or jobs as the most important problem facing the country in May, up from 14% who mentioned these issues in April. Dysfunctional government (19%) and the economy in general (17%) also rank among the top problems.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

0 Comments
Posted May 19, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is no doubt that the Bible teaches that faithful people who are wealthy have an important role in God’s plan. Some exemplary people in the Bible, like Abraham (Gen 13:2), Barzillai (2 Sam. 19:32), the Shunemite woman who helped Elisha (2 Kings 4:8), and Joseph of Arimathea (Matt. 27:57), were specifically described as being wealthy. After saying that the rich must not be haughty, Paul says that “God . . . richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). Enjoying the things that money can buy is not necessarily wrong. At the same time it is significant that each of these four godly wealthy people mentioned were commended for their generosity.

Wealthy Christians can honor Christ especially by being humble, generous, and godly while being wealthy. Poor Christians can honor him especially by being contented, full of faith, generous, and godly while being poor. It is clear that in the Bible wealth is far less important than contentment, joy, peace, holiness, love, and generosity. People with these characteristics are, according to the Bible, truly prosperous whether they are economically rich or poor.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted May 19, 2014 at 8:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A mode of uncivic or even barbaric engagement was born around 100 years ago, and it persists to this day. This engagement is not about modernity, but about the instrumentality or mechanics of achieving modernization through force and coercion. The instrumentalities of this coercive process is made of a tri-part alliance:

A Westernized intelligentsia that deconstructs tradition in the name of originality and innovation, but that is entirely imitative and dependent on the social and political thought of their former colonizers. This intelligentsia condemns the past in the name of progress, but is thoroughly unoriginal and uncreative in dealing with its own native memory.
A nationalistic military that takes great pride in the idea of being the guardians of independence and self-determination, but that is fundamentally unproductive and thoroughly dependent. Although the military creed of these national armies is rooted in the idea of the protectors of independence, there is nothing remotely independent about these militaries. Their armaments, structures and strategic training are derivative and imitative.
A legal system that is culturally rooted in the adopted memories of the colonizer, and that is largely divorced from its own native customs of negotiating justice. For the most part, these legal systems are wholesale transplants that function within a sociology and anthropology of law that is not their own.

This unholy trinity, consisting of the military in alliance with a Westernized intelligentsia and a transplanted legal system, repeatedly closes ranks to maintain dominance over a native population in the name of independence and progress.

Read it all from ABC Aus..

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologyViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt

1 Comments
Posted May 19, 2014 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ali Husain is a prosperous young Indian Muslim businessman. He recently bought a Mercedes and lives in a suburban-style gated community that itself sits inside a ghetto.

In Gujarat, it is so difficult for Muslims to buy property in areas dominated by Hindus even the community's fast-growing urban middle class is confined to cramped and decrepit corners of cities.

Husain embodies the paradox of Gujarat: the state's pro-business leadership has created opportunities for entrepreneurs of all creeds; yet religious prejudice and segregation are deeply, and even legally, engrained.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndia* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsHinduismIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 18, 2014 at 5:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans made more progress in repairing their postrecession finances and have increased their overall borrowing, yet they are also showing an aversion to credit cards and new mortgages that could hinder the economic recovery.

Household debt—including mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and student loans—rose $129 billion between January and March to $11.65 trillion, new figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed Tuesday. That was the third consecutive quarterly increase.

Behind the uptick: Mortgage balances—which make up the bulk of U.S. household debt—rose $116 billion to $8.2 trillion, thanks in part to fewer people going into foreclosure, which drags down mortgage debt. Auto-loan balances grew $12 billion to $875 billion. Student-loan balances increased $31 billion to $1.1 trillion, maintaining its place as the fastest-growing debt category.

Read it all and the picture of the incredible graph on student loan explosion is there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyStress* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 14, 2014 at 8:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After three deployments to Iraq and three to Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Dennis Swols is agitated, prone to bouts of anger and unable to really talk about his time on the battlefield.

But as Swols sits in a small office in the Robinson Health Clinic at Fort Bragg, his hand drops to the furry head beside him and his mood brightens. Settled at his feet, Lexy, a 5-year-old German shepherd, gives Swols a few moments of distraction.

It's her job. And, according to Swols, she's good at it.

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted May 14, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Across the world there is a precise fit between social unfairness and the power of the priesthood,” Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London, has said. “In countries whose governments are fair and effective the influence of the clergy fades.

“The most devout nations have more crime, more infant deaths, more mental illness and less social mobility. Chaos and credulity go together.” Professor Jones, who will speak on science in the Bible at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival next month, said that his intention was not to engage in an atheist attack on religion, but instead to discuss its origins — and what, if anything, that can tell us about why and how it developed.

“There is lots of consistency,” he said. “Look at hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists. Hunter gatherers often have a god, but generally it is god up there who makes rains come and plants grow. He is not an interfering god, he doesn’t deal with individuals and say, ‘You’ve sinned, go to Hell’. As soon as you get farming, there is a complete swing. He becomes an interfering god, and says you must follow these rules and if not you are in trouble.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted May 14, 2014 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You may never find a better example of the sprawling sameness of suburbia than Southern California. From San Diego to Santa Clarita and beyond, middle class hamlets of homogeny epitomize the master-planned neighborhoods that first sprang up in the 1950s.

These suburbs, like others across the globe, impose their will on the natural environments. Endless stretches of green lawns and golf courses defy the area’s arid climate, and perfectly uniform rows of houses transform any hillside or empty canyon into a ready-made community.

Living in LA during the housing boom of the late ’90s, photographer Robert Harding Pittman was troubled by the loss of nature to these environments. An expanding creep of paved valleys, leveled hillsides, and cloned homes with thirsty lawns were a cookie-cutter contagion. He decided to document its spread on a global scale.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 14, 2014 at 5:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Underage male college students who report using marijuana in the month before they were surveyed had a high prevalence of driving under its influence and of riding with a marijuana-using driver, at a rate more than double that of driving or riding after alcohol use, say researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences and University of Washington pediatrics department.

Among other things, this study found that among marijuana-using students, 44 percent of males and 9 percent of females drove after using the drug, and 51 percent of males and 35 percent of females rode as a passenger with a marijuana-using driver.

Lead author Jennifer Whitehill at UMass Amherst and colleagues say their findings probably reflect the widespread myth that driving after marijuana use is safe. The researchers suggest that developing strategies to combat this belief could help to change social norms and encourage using a designated driver not only after alcohol use, but after a driver has used any risky substance. Study findings are in the current issue of the JAMA Pediatrics.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineMenPsychologyTravelYoung Adults* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 13, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It turns out that Hollywood has grief and loss all wrong. The waves and spikes don’t arrive predictably in time or severity. It’s not an anniversary that brings the loss to mind, or someone else’s reminiscences, nor being in a restaurant where you once were together. It’s in the grocery aisle passing the romaine lettuce and recalling how your spouse learned to make Caesar salad, with garlic-soaked croutons, because it was the only salad you’d agree to eat. Or when you glance at a rerun in an airport departure lounge and it’s one of the episodes that aired in the midst of a winter afternoon years earlier, an afternoon that you two had passed together. Or on the rise of a full moon, because your wife, from the day you met her, used to quote from The Sheltering Sky about how few you actually see in your entire life. It’s not sobbing, collapsing, moaning grief. It’s phantom-limb pain. It aches, it throbs, there’s nothing there, and yet you never want it to go away.

Read it all from New York Magazine.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 11, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The whole stands or falls, of course, on the definition of "love." If "love" means sexual arousal, well then, okey doke sport, I guess if you say so. Or if it means fondness, affection, attraction, or a hundred other emotional and even volitional states... well, how would we even have the discussion? If it's all about emotion, the "discussion" is really beside the point, isn't it? Feelings are thought...well, felt... to be self-validating. After all, you've got to follow your heart, right? And your heart is all about what you feel. Right?

Unless you start with the fear of God (Prov. 1:7) instead of the lordship of Ego. Then, everything changes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionPsychologySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted May 10, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The idea that there ought to be "nothing but Beauty" is, I think, part of the modern myth of parenting. Our expectations for our kids and for ourselves get higher and higher. (Writer Micha Boyett recently said that if she hears about another toddler taking Mandarin lessons, she'll heave.) We want our children to be perfect, and we want to be perfect parents. Yet we don't even know what that means. In her recent book All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting, Jennifer Senior notes that "happiness" is a vague concept, and perhaps the wrong goal for parenting.

The truth is that parenthood is not always fun. In the church, where we rightly acknowledge that children are gifts from God, perhaps we are especially afraid to say this. There's so much pain and heartache. The way of the parent is often the way of the Cross: the glory and grace and joy in it come at significant cost. We relinquish our time, energy, money, and personal desires for our children.

English novelist John Lancaster recently called for "a revival of the concept of duty." It's the moral obligation to fulfill a responsibility to another, regardless of whether it makes us happy. By God's grace, duty often yields not to happiness but to something better: joy. As the early church in Acts teaches us, joy can coincide with suffering and struggle.

"Gift love longs to serve or even to suffer" for the beloved, wrote C. S. Lewis.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted May 10, 2014 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In this regard, I cannot fail to express concern about the Assisted Dying Bill which will be discussed in the next few months in the House of Lords. This is a very sensitive issue, which required a serious commitment from us to protect and defend human life as a gift from God. As Pope Francis said in His Message to Catholics in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales on the occasion of the Day for Life celebrated last year: “Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect”.

More recently, in the Pope’s Message to the participants in the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, last February, the Holy Father used even stronger words denouncing the “tyrannical dominion of an economic logic that excludes and sometimes kills, and of which so many today are victims, beginning with our elderly”, typical of the societies that Francis calls -in His Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium- “‘thrown away’ culture” in which the “excluded are not the ‘exploited’ but the outcast, the ’leftovers’” (n. 53). In this context, -continues the Pope in His Message to the Pontifical Academy for Life- we “clearly” find in our societies the “exclusion of the elderly, especially when he or she is ill, disabled or vulnerable for any reason”. Against this kind of exclusion, the Holy Father affirms that “poor health and disability are never a good reason for excluding or, worse, for eliminating a person”.

Dear brothers, I am glad to see the work that the Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship is doing in this regard trying to clarify the “Sense and nonsense on ‘Assisted Dying’”. I thank Archbishop Peter Smith in a special way. May I encourage them but also each one of you to announce the Gospel of Life among our People, as well as in Society in general, presenting the reality which hides behind the “nice”, “politically correct” and “compassionate” expression “assisted dying”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 8, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A spokeswoman for Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori referred requests for comment to the Diocese of New Hampshire. A spokeswoman for current New Hampshire Bishop Rob Hirschfeld cited an email he sent to local clergy and wardens urging prayer for Robinson and Andrew.

Robert Lundy, a spokesman for the American Anglican Council, a fellowship for theological conservatives, said the argument against gay marriage is based on the Bible and will not be helped or hurt by the dissolution of any one marriage.

"The teaching of the Bible and the Anglican Communion is very clear that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life," Lundy said in a phone interview.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted May 5, 2014 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What often passes for public discourse in contemporary society is really just a simulacrum, an imitation, of real “discourse” in the sense of a “reasoned exchange of ideas.” One realizes before long how much we are suffering from the current lack of that key ingredient within all older forms of liberal arts education: namely, logic.

Some people think of logic as the sort of things computers do—cold, calculating, and unemotional—and reject it for that reason. But computers in and of themselves aren’t “logical” at all any more than a train switching station is “logical” in and of itself. Computers (when they’re at their best) do what they’re told to do, no more, no less. Someone has to build whatever “logic” they have into them. Usually the sort of thing you can get into a computer is essentially mathematical—which is to say, if you can’t reduce the thing in question to some sort of mathematical equation, you can’t get it into the computer at all—and math, as we all know, is cold and calculating. Printed circuits are not “cold,” but they can under the right circumstances “calculate,” and they are absolutely unemotional.

Logic, on the other hand, is the glue that holds human discourse together. Logic is what keeps us “on track” in a conversation and helps us to keep checking back to make sure both of us are talking about the same thing in the same respect.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Naomi Long, MP for Belfast East and deputy Alliance Party leader, has told the Commons that religious persecution is on the rise.

She opened a backbench business debate on 1 May 2014 by saying that the freedom to subscribe to any religion or none is not offered enough protection by the UN.

She referred to it as a "residual right" and warned that "within the family of human rights it remains on the margins".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaAsiaPakistanEngland / UKMiddle EastEgyptSyria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“My own view is that what is needed in the Church at present is gracious restraint. We need a cool and calm period in which to explore the issues. To those among clergy and ordinands contemplating entering a same-sex marriage I would say, “Might you hold back while the Church reflects?” Gracious restraint. To those who might make a complaint against a priest who, despite that, does enter such a marriage I would say, “Might you hold back while the Church reflects?” Gracious restraint. To those who contemplate leaving the Church of England because of its perceived position I would say, “Might you hold back while the Church reflects?” Gracious restraint. To those who condemn the Church of England from other parts of the Anglican Communion I would say, “Might you hold back while the Church of England reflects?” Gracious restraint to give us space.

“The next steps for the Church of England are to have facilitated conversations at a national and diocesan level. This should involve profound reflection on the interpretation and application of Scripture. The outcomes that are hoped for, certainly what I will pray for are of two sorts.

“One sort is that we seek to listen together with sufficient commitment that we lift the issue out of its present situation where people of entrenched views fail to hear one another or respect one another’s integrity. We need to listen very carefully to the beliefs and opinions that come out of a profound change of attitudes in our society to gender, sexuality and marriage. We need to listen very carefully to the experience of gay and lesbian people, both those who are celibate and those who are in sexual relationships, including gay and lesbian clergy. We need to listen, in some cases, to their pain, and we need also to listen to their sense of joy, love and blessing in a faithful partnership. We need to listen very carefully to what the world and medicine and science can tell us about homosexuality. We need to listen very carefully to those who believe we are sitting light to the teaching of Jesus and the authority of the scriptures. We need to listen to one another and we need to listen to what the Spirit may be saying to the churches. And each and every one of us needs to participate in that listening with a humility that recognises that we have things to learn and may be some opinions to revise and that the Church’s teaching in this area of life may need to be expressed in a new language. I say “may”, for we must also allow for the possibility that what emerges, at the end of profound reflection, is a clear restatement of a traditional view.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

14 Comments
Posted May 2, 2014 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Full-time U.S. employees are upbeat about using their computers and mobile devices to stay connected to the workplace outside of their normal working hours. Nearly eight in 10 (79%) workers view this as a somewhat or strongly positive development.

These findings are from Gallup Daily tracking interviews, conducted March 24-April 8, 2014, with 3,865 U.S. workers employed full-time by an employer.

While a strong majority of working Americans view the ability to work off-hours remotely in a positive light, far fewer say they regularly connect with work online after hours. Slightly more than one-third (36%) say they frequently do so, compared with 64% who say they occasionally, rarely, or never do. The relatively low percentage who check in frequently outside of working hours nearly matches the 33% of full-time workers who say their employer expects them to check email and stay in touch remotely after the business day ends.

Read it all from Gallup.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Dean of York, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull, said the Church had a habit of waiting until something was “blindingly obvious” to the rest of society before it changed its own mind.

“The blessing of a gay relationship is not theologically a problem for me personally, but I’m under the discipline of the Church and I keep the rules,” she told Radio Times. She has never formally blessed a gay partnership but has found ways of meeting the need for celebration within the Church’s rules.

“When people have come to me in the past and said, ‘We’re looking for a way of celebrating our civil partnership, how shall we do it?’, we’ve found ways of doing it.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

4 Comments
Posted April 29, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A day seldom goes by when we don’t read about the ouster of a chief executive officer, owing to a failure to produce promised results, a merger that falls apart, a product launch that does not to live up to its hype or a technology meltdown.

Companies like Hewlett-Packard, J.C. Penney, United Airlines’ no-frills carrier Ted, Gap Inc., and many others come to mind. The single most common reason for being turfed? A failure to execute, of which there are several causes....

3. Unproductive meetings

Too often, meetings occur where attendees either discuss mundane, pointless subjects that don’t affect the overall success of the project and waste everyone’s time, or where consultant firms present findings yet participants leave the meeting without a precise commitment to implement the agreed-upon game plan. Meetings need to have an adhered-to agenda, as well as start and finish times with which everyone complies. If someone is late, shut him or her out, and it won’t likely happen again.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted April 29, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...historian Todd M. Brenneman wonders if the beating heart of evangelical identity lies elsewhere, perhaps most centrally along the aisles of the local LifeWay Christian Store. In Homespun Gospel: The Triumph of Sentimentality in Contemporary American Evangelicalism (Oxford University Press), Brenneman shifts the conversation away from beliefs and actions toward feelings. He shows how popular forms of evangelical expression traffic in familial and tender imagery: God as father, people as "little children," and nostalgic longings for home and the traditional middle-class nuclear family.

Brenneman draws compelling links between the worlds of religious consumer goods—from Christian CDs, DVDs, and books to toys, home decor, and devotional art—and the "core evangelical message" of God's love. These products, he argues, "construct religiosity as a practice of sentimentality instead of one of intellectual discovery." This is why, in our search for spiritual resources at LifeWay, we're likelier to encounter the works of tobyMac or Bob the Tomato than Abraham Kuyper or Alister McGrath.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A few months ago, a Twitter friend deleted her account in favour of Facebook, then signed on again because she missed the interaction with her Twitter friends. Another friend signed up for Twitter, but soon dropped out because it seemed too noisy and busy, and the short form was just too short for what he wanted to say.

I agree that Twitter can be overwhelming, but mainly I’ve found it fun and a great way to connect with people who I might not otherwise have gotten to know. Here are my best tips on how I’ve managed to make the most of Twitter without getting lost in an endless stream of tweets....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 27, 2014 at 12:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)