Posted by Kendall Harmon

The tears streamed down Alix Idrache's face. In the photograph, the streaks reach almost to the high collar of his gray dress uniform.

The moment, captured by a military photographer Saturday during commencement exercises at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., marked the culmination of a journey that began in 2009, when Idrache came to Maryland from his native Haiti, barely able to speak English.

Now 24, he graduated at the top of his class in physics, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army, and is headed to Alabama to train as a helicopter pilot.

Read it all and absolutely, positively do not miss the picture.

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

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Posted May 27, 2016 at 5:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New Yorkers strolling through Chinatown in downtown Manhattan last Sunday might have noticed an unusual flurry of activity: Jewish men and women, a rabbi in a clerical gown, and a color guard gathering in graveyard tucked away behind a wrought-iron fence. Members of the New York synagogue Shearith Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation in North America, were visiting their historic cemetery at Chatham Square.

In an annual ritual ahead of Memorial Day, they were there for a ceremony that few other synagogues in America could perform: honoring the members of their congregation who had fought in the Revolutionary War.

For Shearith Israel, where I am the rabbi, what is most striking is not that its history stretches back to the Colonial period, but rather that so many of its congregants sided with George Washington against England. New York was known as a Tory stronghold: When English forces expelled Washington’s troops from the city, King George III’s soldiers were greeted with a “Declaration of Dependence” signed by hundreds of New Yorkers, declaring their allegiance to Great Britain.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

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Posted May 27, 2016 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christian morality is being ushered out of American social structures and off the cultural main stage, leaving a vacuum in its place—and the broader culture is attempting to fill the void. New research from Barna reveals growing concern about the moral condition of the nation, even as many American adults admit they are uncertain about how to determine right from wrong. So what do Americans believe? Is truth relative or absolute? And do Christians see truth and morality in radically different ways from the broader public, or are they equally influenced by the growing tide of secularism and religious skepticism?

A majority of American adults across age group, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and political ideology expresses concern about the nation’s moral condition—eight in 10 overall (80%). The proportion is closer to nine in 10 among Elders (89%) and Boomers (87%), while about three-quarters of Gen-Xers (75%) and Millennials (74%) report concern. Similarly, practicing Christians (90%) are more likely than adults of no faith (67%) or those who identify with a religious faith other than Christianity (72%) to say they are concerned about the moral condition of the nation. Though measurable differences exist between population segments, moral concern is widespread across the demographic board.

Much less widespread, however, is consensus on morality itself. What is it based on? Where does it come from? How can someone know what to do when making moral decisions? According to a majority of American adults (57%), knowing what is right or wrong is a matter of personal experience. This view is much more prevalent among younger generations than among older adults.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsSecularism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 25, 2016 at 2:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA announces that Tom Lin has been selected by the InterVarsity Board of Trustees to become the next president of the campus ministry. He will start on August 10.

Tom has been vice president and director of missions for InterVarsity since February 2011, and also director of Urbana 12 and Urbana 15, InterVarsity’s triennial student missions conference. He succeeds Jim Lundgren, who has served as InterVarsity’s interim president for the past year.

In InterVarsity’s 75 years of campus ministry on U.S. college and university campuses, Tom becomes the first InterVarsity president who began his InterVarsity career working in campus ministry. After graduating from Harvard in 1994, he planted a chapter for Asian American students at Harvard, and another chapter at Boston University. He led numerous student missions projects in the U.S. and overseas, and helped design national training for InterVarsity staff.

Read it all.

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

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Posted May 25, 2016 at 1:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In an America riddled with anxieties, the worries that Mr. [Kody] Foster and his neighbors bring through the doors of the Tapering Vapor are common and potent: Fear that an honest, 40-hour working-class job can no longer pay the bills. Fear of a fraying social fabric. Fear that the country’s future might pale in comparison with its past.

Wilkes County, with a population of nearly 69,000, has felt those stings more than many other places. The textile and furniture industries have been struggling here for years, and the recession and the loss of the Lowe’s headquarters have helped drive down the median household income. That figure fell by more than 30 percent between 2000 and 2014 when adjusted for inflation, the second-steepest decrease in the nation, according to an analysis of census data by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Still, the regulars at the Tapering Vapor — overwhelmingly white, mostly working class and ranging from their 20s to middle age — provide a haze-shrouded snapshot of an anxious nation navigating an election year fueled by disquiet and malaise.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 25, 2016 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




The empty nests are filling up: For the first time in modern history, young adults ages 18 to 34 are more likely to live with a parent than with a romantic partner, according to a new census analysis by the Pew Research Center.

Millennials, who have been slower than previous generations to marry and set up their own households, reached that milestone in 2014, when 32.1 percent lived in a parent’s home, compared with 31.6 percent who lived with a spouse or a partner, the report found.

“The really seismic change is that we have so many fewer young adults partnering, either marrying or cohabiting,” said Richard Fry, the Pew economist who wrote the report. “In 1960, that silent generation left home earlier than any generation before or after, because they married so young.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted May 24, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Of all the evidence in recent years that white supremacy remains imprinted on American life, the shootings were the most indisputable. A white boy had come of age in the 21st century drinking from the same poisoned spring as lynch mobs across the country in the 20th. He had stepped through loopholes in gun laws broad enough to allow a 21-year-old with a criminal history to purchase a Glock, and carried it into the sanctuary of a church in hopes of avenging imagined wrongs and inciting a race war.

At the same time, in a way without any obvious parallel in recent decades, the offers of forgiveness, prayers, and mercy in the face of judgment were an extraordinary public reminder of the holy power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, its persistence even in an increasingly secular nation, and its capacity to change hearts, minds—and legislatures. Within three weeks of the shooting, the debate about the Confederate flag flying over South Carolina’s State Capitol, a debate that had been entrenched in stalemate in the South Carolina House of Representatives, was over. On July 10, 2015, the flag was removed. As South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley noted, the grace shown on June 19 helped to change the minds of wavering officials.

All this happened in a few terrible and memorable days. And it all deserves to be remembered and commemorated, lamented and honored, as CT seeks to do with the following story.

But none of it is over.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 23, 2016 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Choirs may be the ultimate training ground for hopeful boy bands and ensembles. Choristers—who in British and American cathedral choirs usually range from eight to 13, with continental choirs retaining their singers until the age of 19—typically rehearse together daily, making their decision to team up in ensembles of their own making less risky. They form an immediate talent pool of skilled musicians who enjoy making music together, and know one another’s musical likes and personalities. “[British cathedral] choirs are an ideal place for future bandmates to grow up in,” says Simon Kirk, director of music at St John’s College School, which educates the boy choristers of St John's College Chapel in Cambridge. “You work as part of a professional team that tours and records. From the age of nine to ten, the boys work as professional musicians.”

When Barnaby Smith graduated from Westminster Abbey Choir School at 13, he already knew that he wanted to keep singing with some of his fellow choristers. Several years later, four of them formed the acapella ensemble Voces8, which has since won numerous competitions and is now the singers’ full-time occupation. “A small ensemble is like a family,” Mr Smith explains. “Having sung in a boys’ choir was vital. Choir school is a very professional environment where boys depend on one another. It’s not something you do on your own.”

Though top-level choirs are fertile band-making territory, establishing an ensemble can be awkward if it takes place while the boys are still choir members. “You decide who you get along with,” explains Louis Weise, a 17-year-old member of the St Thomas Choir in Leipzig. “If you’re going to do additional rehearsals together and also try to make money together, you really have to get along.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchEducationMenMusicTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK

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Posted May 23, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our fundamental problems are the downsides of transitions we have made for good reasons: to enjoy more flexibility, creativity and individual choice. For example, we like buying cheap products from around the world. But the choices we make as consumers make life less stable for us as employees.

Levin says the answer is not to dwell in confusing, frustrating nostalgia. It’s through a big push toward subsidiarity, devolving choice and power down to the local face-to-face community level, and thus avoiding the excesses both of rigid centralization and alienating individualism. A society of empowered local neighborhood organizations is a learning society. Experiments happen and information about how to solve problems flows from the bottom up.

I’m acknowledged in the book, but I learned something new on every page. Nonetheless, I’d say Levin’s emphasis on subsidiarity and local community is important but insufficient. We live within a golden chain, connecting self, family, village, nation and world. The bonds of that chain have to be repaired at every point, not just the local one.

Read it all.

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

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Posted May 22, 2016 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In this booth, the choice is between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Period.

"That's the scenario people I know are talking about and arguing about," said Stephen P. White of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., author of the book "Red, White, Blue and Catholic."

Many religious conservatives believe they "face a choice between two morally repugnant candidates," he added. "The reality of that choice is starting to drive some people into despair. ... I understand that, but I think it would be wrong for people to think that they need to abandon politics simply because they are disgusted with this election."

Read it all.

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


Posted May 21, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mo, who attended one of the nation's top colleges, is one of a small group of American citizens and residents whose names were found in ISIS personnel files obtained by NBC News and verified by the West Point Combating Terrorism Center.

In the interview, he recounts his trip to Turkey and then Syria, his ISIS indoctrination, the violence he witnessed and the growing disillusionment that triggered his dangerous escape.

"The Islamic State is not bringing Islam to the world, and people need to know that. And I'll say that…till the day I die," he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 19, 2016 at 3:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Every day, tributes are placed at the memorial in Washington, D.C., and while they are left behind, they are not lost.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaVietnam* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted May 18, 2016 at 4:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The nuns, who are members of the Dominican order, care for those of all religions and backgrounds — Laub’s mother-­in-­law was Jewish — and live by the prescient words of its founder, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, a daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne: “We cannot cure our patients, but we can assure the dignity and value of their final days, and keep them comfortable and free of pain.” (The Hawthorne Dominicans also operate similar homes in Atlanta and Philadelphia.)

As the nuns cared for their guests, Laub followed them with her camera — it’s her way. Then, even after her mother-­in-­law died in late September, she found herself returning to Rosary again and again, still wanting to capture something of the kindness that her family had found there. She asked the nuns to sit for portraits, in which she stripped away the background to show their eyes and faces in clear focus. “I wanted them to be quiet,” she said, “so their power could come through.”

The nuns in particular had moved her. She was struck by their tenderness with the dying, how they painted women’s fingernails and combed their hair, changed them into fresh nightgowns and arranged flowers in their rooms. “This is how dying should be,” Laub says. “It doesn’t feel like a place of death. It feels like a place of living.”

Read it all and do not miss the pictures.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral CareSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted May 18, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The culture wars are over; they lost, we won. Remember, they were the ones who characterized constitutional disputes as culture wars (see Justice Scalia in Romer v. Evans, and the Wikipedia entry for culture wars, which describes conservative activists, not liberals, using the term.) And they had opportunities to reach a cease fire, but rejected them in favor of a scorched earth policy. The earth that was scorched, though, was their own. (No conservatives demonstrated any interest in trading off recognition of LGBT rights for “religious liberty” protections. Only now that they’ve lost the battle over LGBT rights, have they made those protections central – seeing them, I suppose, as a new front in the culture wars. But, again, they’ve already lost the war.). For liberals, the question now is how to deal with the losers in the culture wars. That’s mostly a question of tactics. My own judgment is that taking a hard line (“You lost, live with it”) is better than trying to accommodate the losers, who – remember – defended, and are defending, positions that liberals regard as having no normative pull at all. Trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War, nor after Brown. (And taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.) I should note that LGBT activists in particular seem to have settled on the hard-line approach, while some liberal academics defend more accommodating approaches. When specific battles in the culture wars were being fought, it might have made sense to try to be accommodating after a local victory, because other related fights were going on, and a hard line might have stiffened the opposition in those fights. But the war’s over, and we won.

Read it all.

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

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Posted May 13, 2016 at 3:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When his son fell prey to America’s latest drug scourge, Joel Murphy, a funeral-home worker, knew his family had plenty of company.

He could see it in the faces of the dead.

Many of the corpses he picked up on the job were men in their 20s, with close-cropped hair, baseball caps and gaunt frames. They made him think of his youngest son, Joseph.

“I see him sometimes, I see him in a lot of them,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 13, 2016 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In reality, however, many working Americans simply can't afford to retire. Fewer workers today than in the past say a pension will be a major income source in retirement, and many have been unable to save sufficiently during the economic slowdown of the past decade. Seven in 10 employed adults told Gallup in April that they are worried about not having enough savings for retirement. As a result, they now need to work as long as possible to build up their retirement nest eggs.

At the moment, most workers are forgoing any thought of retiring before 62, the minimum age to receive partial Social Security retirement benefits, while nearly a third are planning to hold off until after age 67.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePensionsThe U.S. GovernmentSocial Security* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 13, 2016 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

INTERVIEWER

Where does the dialogue come from?

WELTY

Familiarity. Memory of the way things get said. Once you have heard certain expressions, sentences, you almost never forget them. It’s like sending a bucket down the well and it always comes up full. You don’t know you’ve remembered, but you have. And you listen for the right word, in the present, and you hear it. Once you’re into a story everything seems to apply—what you overhear on a city bus is exactly what your character would say on the page you’re writing. Wherever you go, you meet part of your story. I guess you’re tuned in for it, and the right things are sort of magnetized—if you can think of your ears as magnets.

Read it all.

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

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Posted May 13, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fewer Americans are traveling to fight alongside the Islamic State and the power of the extremist group's brand has significantly diminished in the United States, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday.

The FBI encountered "6, 8, 10" Americans a month in 2014 and the first half of 2015 who traveled to the Middle East or tried to go there to join the Islamic State, but that number has averaged about one a month since last summer in a sustaining downward trend, Comey said.

"There's no doubt that something has happened that is lasting, in terms of the attractiveness of the nightmare which is the Islamic State to people from the United States," he told reporters during a wide-ranging round-table discussion Wednesday.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 12, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The great shrinking of the middle class that has captured the attention of the nation is not only playing out in troubled regions like Rust Belt metros, Appalachia and the Deep South, but in just about every metropolitan area in America, according to a major new analysis by the Pew Research Center.

Pew reported in December that a clear majority of American adults no longer live in the middle class, a demographic reality shaped by decades of widening inequality, declining industry and the erosion of financial stability and family-wage jobs. But while much of the attention has focused on communities hardest hit by economic declines, the new Pew data, based on metro-level income data since 2000, show that middle-class stagnation is a far broader phenomenon.

The share of adults living in middle-income households has also dwindled in Washington, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Denver. It's fallen in smaller Midwestern metros where the middle class has long made up an overwhelming majority of the population. It's withering in coastal tech hubs, in military towns, in college communities, in Sun Belt cities.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted May 11, 2016 at 4:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For nearly two and a half centuries, Americans have enjoyed the enormous privilege and responsibility of forming our own government—a privilege rarely experienced throughout most of human history. For most of history, humanity has struggled with the question of how to respond to a government that was essentially forced upon them. But Americans have often struggled with a very different reality; how do we rightly respond to the government that we choose?

To put all of this in historical perspective, the Framers of the American experiment understood that a representative democracy built on the principle of limited government would require certain virtues of its citizens. These would include a restraint of passions and an upholding of traditional moral virtues, without which democracy would not be possible. As the idea of limited government implies, the citizenry would be required to carry out the social responsibilities of the community without the intrusion of government and, thus, citizens would be expected to have the moral integrity necessary for such an arrangement. The Framers of the American Republic also agreed that it would be impossible to have a representative democracy and a limited government if the people did not elect leaders who embodied the virtues of the citizenry while also respecting and protecting society’s pre-political institutions: marriage and family, the church, and the local community.

Thus, the idea of a limited government requires that society uphold and pursue the health of its most basic institutions. When a civil society is weak, government becomes strong. When the family breaks down, government grows stronger. When the essential institutions of society are no longer respected, government demands that respect for itself. That is a recipe for tyranny.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 11, 2016 at 1:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I saw a friend a few weeks ago who said he was looking for love, commitment and a “monogamish” relationship with a woman.

“Do you need to clear your throat?” joked another friend. “You mean 'monogamy', right?”

He didn't and he's not alone. The term "monogamish" was first coined a few years ago by relationship and sex columnist Dan Savage, who shared that the arrangement he has with his long-term partner, in which they're committed to each other but can have sex with others, is not just a phenomenon for gay men. Savage asserted that these kind of relationships are happening more and more with straight couples across the country, though many will never talk openly about it.

Today, the idea is becoming even more mainstream as we delay marriage and design our lives according to our needs, wants and values—not just the expectations we follow based on what society or our parents would think.

Read it all.

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

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


Posted May 10, 2016 at 4:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What is “fair” for one group of Americans—“I get to keep what I earn”—is not only different from what the other group means, it can often be totally contrary to it: “No, because you didn’t build that.” If I get to keep what I earn, then we are not spreading out the benefits of society equally; this would be deemed “unfair” by those who accept any version of egalitarian fairness. And if we were to take what people have earned through their hard work and spread it out equally among the entire population, some of whom may not have worked hard, then this would be deemed “unfair” by those who accept a merit-based view of fairness.

Often enough, this confusing bifurcation about what is “fair” is not only between two opposing camps, but within one and the same person. In some moods, we favor the egalitarian tendencies of fairness, while in other moods, we insist on the merit-based approach. We want “the poor” to be “taken care of” and to “get a fair shake.” But when someone proposes to raise our taxes to bring about a more equal distribution, we’re suddenly less excited about the prospect. This is why we respond positively to appeals to “tax the rich,” as long as the meaning of the term “rich” remains vague enough that it doesn’t include us.

Making the system “fairer,” therefore, has become another one of those slogans that can mean anything to anyone.

Read it all.


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

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Posted May 9, 2016 at 3:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The drugmaker Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin two decades ago with a bold marketing claim: One dose relieves pain for 12 hours, more than twice as long as generic medications.

On the strength of that promise, OxyContin became America’s bestselling painkiller, and Purdue reaped $31 billion in revenue.

But OxyContin’s stunning success masked a fundamental problem: The drug wears off hours early in many people, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin, and when it doesn’t last, patients can experience excruciating symptoms of withdrawal, including an intense craving for the drug.

The problem offers new insight into why so many people have become addicted to OxyContin, one of the most abused pharmaceuticals in U.S. history.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 9, 2016 at 5:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The center of gravity for both orthodoxy and evangelism is not among Anglo suburban evangelicals but among African Anglicans and Asian Calvinists and Latin American Pentecostals. The vital core of American evangelicalism today can be found in churches that are multiethnic and increasingly dominated by immigrant communities.

The next Billy Graham probably will speak only Spanish or Arabic or Persian or Mandarin. American evangelicals often use the language of “revival” — a word that is sometimes co-opted by politicians to mean a resurgence of a politically useful but watered-down civil religion. A congregation that ignores the global church can deprive itself of revival by overlooking those places where the Spirit is working.

The thriving churches of American Christianity are multigenerational, theologically robust, ethnically diverse and connected to the global church. If Jesus is alive — and I believe that he is — he will keep his promise and build his church. But he never promises to do that solely with white, suburban institutional evangelicalism.

The question is whether evangelicals will be on the right side of Jesus.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 7, 2016 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hallie W. is very down-to-earth and genuinely inspiring. She never phones it in, delivering with sincerity "soulful" messages such as "The dream is free. The hustle's sold separately!" Even though I know various factors—music, mood lighting, adrenaline—conspired to move me that day, I probably was really into it, in that way that exercising—and especially, I've found, exercising in near darkness—engenders a feeling of invincibility and a surge of fiery ambition coupled with the satisfaction of no longer spinning one's wheels.

I can't say how long I'll remain part of this "church." I haven't signed up for a class in weeks for lack of disposable income, and this summer I'm more likely to jog outside to my own playlist, featuring way fewer bass drops. But another SoulCycle location opened in February on Southport, so I'll probably go make an offering of $30, plus shoe rental, just to re-experience it all.

I have my own rules: Wear what you want. Never, ever evangelize about it. And let yourself get lost in the transcendent moment sometimes, however contrived. Who am I to judge anyone's soul journey?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineReligion & CultureSportsUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths

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Posted May 7, 2016 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Pentagon said Friday that it sent a small number of U.S. special operations forces back to Yemen to provide training and assistance to an Arab coalition to fight al Qaeda militants in the fractured country.

Defense officials said about a dozen or so special operations forces are on the ground to assist United Arab Emirates special forces battle militants associated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, in Yemen. They said the deployment of forces, which began about two weeks ago, had helped Arab forces retake the port city of Mukalla, along the southern coast of Yemen.

Since April 23, the Pentagon has conducted four counterterrorism strikes against AQAP, killing a total of 10 AQAP operatives and injuring one more, said Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaYemen* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 7, 2016 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China has lodged a diplomatic protest with the United States after a U.S. government commission said Chinese violations of religious freedom last year remained “severe,” the Foreign Ministry said.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan U.S. federal government body, said in a report this week that there were “systematic, egregious and ongoing abuses” in China against Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and others.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday (May 5) that China fully respected religious freedom but that year in, year out, the United States attacked China on religion, ignoring the facts and distorting the situation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted May 6, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ah, the journey to and from work. Last week’s train strikes, keeping many of us in the UK at home, served as a reminder that the commute is not capitalism’s greatest gift to humanity.

The longer the trip, the less worthwhile life feels, data from the Office for National Statistics tell us. Surveys have found that people with a taxing journey sleep poorly, while research by US academics links tough commutes to health problems, such as high cholesterol, hypertension and depression.

The commute is a post-industrial invention. For most of history almost everyone worked at, or near, home. But industrialisation created a separation between people’s living arrangements and their working ones....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyTravel* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almost half of all Americans personally know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers — and most people feel the federal government isn't doing enough to stem a growing epidemic of opioid addiction, a new survey shows.

The survey released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation also found that a large majority of Americans believe that lack of access to care for people suffering from substance abuse is a problem in the United States.

The findings come as abuse of opioids — including prescription painkillers and the illegal drug heroin — has significantly increased in recent years.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 3, 2016 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A bookkeeper named Roy Torcaso, who happened to be an atheist, refused to declare that he believed in God in order to serve as a notary public in Maryland. His case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and in 1961 the court ruled unanimously for Mr. Torcaso, saying states could not have a “religious test” for public office.

But 53 years later, Maryland and six other states still have articles in their constitutions saying people who do not believe in God are not eligible to hold public office. Maryland’s Constitution still says belief in God is a requirement even for jurors and witnesses.

Now a coalition of nonbelievers says it is time to get rid of the atheist bans because they are discriminatory, offensive and unconstitutional. The bans are unenforceable dead letters, legal experts say, and state and local governments have rarely invoked them in recent years. But for some secular Americans, who are increasingly visible and organized, removing the bans is not only a just cause, but a test of their growing movement’s political clout.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsAtheism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 2, 2016 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can find out a lot more by at their website.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted May 1, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Ted] Landsmark has spent a lifetime moving forward, while studying and learning from the past. He calls the attack at Boston City Hall “the transformative moment in my life,” but he never had any intention of allowing it to define his life. Having grown up in the projects of Harlem, having recovered from childhood polio, Landsmark has gone on to have a remarkable life. He has been an educator, lawyer, designer, social activist and worked in government. He has three degrees from Yale and a doctorate from Boston University, was at the March on Washington and Selma, and been a college president, among other things. And since January, academic vice president at the American College of the Building Arts in Charleston.

“Charleston is a terrific city,” he says, and he is talking not just about the architecture and the food, but as a place for both blacks and whites to live together.

Landsmark started coming to Charleston in the early 1990s, doing research in the Carolinas and Georgia into early African American craftsmen. “In the course of driving around, I fell in love with the place,” he says. He bought a house on Wadmalaw Island more than a decade ago.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 1, 2016 at 11:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"..Looking for something he couldn't find."

Yep--long, haunting, and worth the effort

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted May 1, 2016 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The leader of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, is looking to stop the publication of a new tell-all memoir written by his father Ron Miscavige.

In a document first published by Tony Ortega, noted Scientology reporter, lawyers from Johnsons Solicitors, working on behalf of David Miscavige, contacted Silvertail Books, the publisher responsible for “Ruthless” in the U.K. and Ireland asking them to halt release of the book, scheduled to debut May 3.

Asserting that they were “putting them on notice,” the letter claimed the material contained in the memoir was “highly defamatory” and that “in the event that you proceed with the release of this book, in total disregard for the truth, our client will be left with no alternative but to seek the protection of UK/Irish defamation and other laws.”

The letter sent by David Miscavige’s counsel also suggests that a similar missive had been sent to St. Martin’s Press, the publisher in charge of the book’s U.S. release.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths

0 Comments
Posted April 28, 2016 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The last two decades have seen an explosion of church planting and multiplication ministries and networks. Most church startups are planted by leaders in urban core or inner suburban neighborhoods—and this trend, among others, has financial implications for church planters and their families. But what other factors shape their financial reality?

In a study of 769 planters from across the nation, Barna assessed the general financial condition of church startups and their leaders; how different funding models hamper or facilitate various facets of ministry and family life; and what resources leaders need to effectively manage their personal and church finances. The findings from the full study release today in a new Barna report produced in partnership with Thrivent Financial, Church Startups and Money: The Myths and Realities of Church Planters and Finances.

Here are a few of the standout findings.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 26, 2016 at 3:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to population estimates released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau. Millennials, whom we define as those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69). And Generation X (ages 35-50 in 2015) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028.

The Millennial generation continues to grow as young immigrants expand its ranks. Boomers – whose generation was defined by the boom in U.S. births following World War II – are older and their numbers shrinking as the number of deaths among them exceeds the number of older immigrants arriving in the country.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted April 25, 2016 at 2:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For those grappling with these issues, religious institutions have a rigidity that just isn’t jibing with the increasing diversity of America. And so they’re leaving the institutions, although they still want to be on a spiritual journey with others.

These people see faith not as being about rituals and doctrine, but as about individuals coming together and enjoying an honest exchange of views.

As tens of millions leave the “Sunday morning experience,” “many of them are getting together and finding other ways to do life and community together, and they are not so hung up on, do you believe what I believe?” says Josh Packard, a sociologist of religion at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Read it all. (another from the long line of should have already been posted material).

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

0 Comments
Posted April 24, 2016 at 12:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The United States is in a cultural crisis. There are gaping fissures between the rich and poor, growing tensions between races, disunity among faith groups, increasing resentment between genders, and a vast and expanding gap between liberals and conservatives. Generation, gender, socioeconomics, ethnicity, faith, and politics massively divide the American population.

And the Christian community has not been immune. Just look at the current election cycle. Candidates like Donald Trump have fiercely divided faith “tribes,” especially evangelicals. In recent research on the presidential race, Barna found that the five unique personal faith segments in America—evangelicals, non-evangelical born again Christians, notional Christians, people associated with non-Christian faiths, and religious skeptics—hold substantially different attitudes and candidate preferences, causing deep tensions and divides.

This splintering and polarization of American culture has made it more difficult than ever to have a good conversation. In research conducted for David Kinnaman’s new book Good Faith, Barna discovered just how difficult it is for most people to reach across these cultural divides. Most Americans indicate that they think it would be difficult to have a natural and normal conversation with minority groups who are different than them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingHistoryPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 23, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Laura] Turner’s article shows Lewis decrying the dangers of patriotism becoming a demon when it becomes a god. But Lewis has even more pointed wisdom to offer. His devil Screwtape urges the making of “an extreme patriot or an extreme pacifist,” exhorting us that “[a]ll extremes except extreme devotion to [God], are to be encouraged.” We turn blind eyes to this crisis of the extreme to our own peril.

From a life devoted to literature spanning centuries, Lewis offers an alternative to the trap of extremity. “The man who is contented to be only himself, and therefore less a self, is in prison,” Lewis says. “My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others.” He claims that generous exposure to other voices “heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality.”

Inspired by her long study of Lewis’s circle of friends, Diana Pavlac Glyer calls for such selfless exploration in her talk “Intellectual Hospitality.” Drawing from the Inklings’ practices, Glyer argues that “the impulse to gather, and the impulse to maintain a healthy space” suggest a discourse of distinction wherein we speak with grace even while maintaining very deliberate differences. We must hear voices other than our own.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted April 21, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I know what it is like to have to juggle creditors to make it through a week. I know what it is like to have to swallow my pride and constantly dun people to pay me so that I can pay others. I know what it is like to have liens slapped on me and to have my bank account levied by creditors. I know what it is like to be down to my last $5—literally—while I wait for a paycheck to arrive, and I know what it is like to subsist for days on a diet of eggs. I know what it is like to dread going to the mailbox, because there will always be new bills to pay but seldom a check with which to pay them. I know what it is like to have to tell my daughter that I didn’t know if I would be able to pay for her wedding; it all depended on whether something good happened. And I know what it is like to have to borrow money from my adult daughters because my wife and I ran out of heating oil.

You wouldn’t know any of that to look at me. I like to think I appear reasonably prosperous. Nor would you know it to look at my résumé. I have had a passably good career as a writer—five books, hundreds of articles published, a number of awards and fellowships, and a small (very small) but respectable reputation. You wouldn’t even know it to look at my tax return. I am nowhere near rich, but I have typically made a solid middle- or even, at times, upper-middle-class income, which is about all a writer can expect, even a writer who also teaches and lectures and writes television scripts, as I do. And you certainly wouldn’t know it to talk to me, because the last thing I would ever do—until now—is admit to financial insecurity or, as I think of it, “financial impotence,” because it has many of the characteristics of sexual impotence, not least of which is the desperate need to mask it and pretend everything is going swimmingly. In truth, it may be more embarrassing than sexual impotence. “You are more likely to hear from your buddy that he is on Viagra than that he has credit-card problems,” says Brad Klontz, a financial psychologist who teaches at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and ministers to individuals with financial issues. “Much more likely.” America is a country, as Donald Trump has reminded us, of winners and losers, alphas and weaklings. To struggle financially is a source of shame, a daily humiliation—even a form of social suicide. Silence is the only protection...

Financial impotence goes by other names: financial fragility, financial insecurity, financial distress. But whatever you call it, the evidence strongly indicates that either a sizable minority or a slim majority of Americans are on thin ice financially. How thin? A 2014 Bankrate survey, echoing the Fed’s data, found that only 38 percent of Americans would cover a $1,000 emergency-room visit or $500 car repair with money they’d saved. Two reports published last year by the Pew Charitable Trusts found, respectively, that 55 percent of households didn’t have enough liquid savings to replace a month’s worth of lost income, and that of the 56 percent of people who said they’d worried about their finances in the previous year, 71 percent were concerned about having enough money to cover everyday expenses.

Read it all.

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

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Posted April 20, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The present state of affairs, however, is that the theological and ethical diversity of United Methodism has reached a breaking point. I attribute this to what Jonathan Merritt has called America’s “new moral code.” Whereas conservatives have long bemoaned the rise of moral relativism, before our eyes there is occurring a sea change. Relativism is becoming a thing of the past. Absolutism is coming quickly upon us, and it is no less fraught with problems than the relativism it is replacing. From the perspective of our diverse denomination, the arrival of the new moral code presents the greatest danger to unity we have yet faced. Moral absolutism has exposed the holes in our polity that have allowed for an unauthorized regionalization of ethical decision making in the UMC.

Our denomination’s way of ordering its life assumes disagreement, a push and pull worked out through political processes, such as the legislative sessions of our various conferences. This is, as David Brooks has written, the very essence of politics, and our system is inherently political. No one gets everything they want, but the result is that we are able to live, worship, and work together. We resist the old Protestant impulse to part ways when we disagree, and we thereby avoid further fracturing the body of Christ. While the system is not perfect, it does in theory compel us to recognize the perspectives and interests of others. For diversity of thought to inhere within one community, the various factions of that community must abide by the recognized processes for dealing with disagreement.

In recent years, however, the rejection of the church’s way of ordering its life, and hence the theological diversity protected by that order, has undermined our unity with devastating effectiveness. Note that while conservative groups in the UMC have called for division before, they have never had as realistic a chance of accomplishing this as they do today. This desire for division itself was perhaps an early indicator of the trend toward moral absolutism. We might say the same thing about churches that for one reason or another refused to pay apportionments. Yet the primary rationale for division is not now, as it once was, rooted in a call for a more doctrinally and ethically conservative church. It is based on the breakdown of denominational governance that has become increasingly prevalent since 2013.

Read it all and follow the links.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodistSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted April 19, 2016 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For decades, the cultural gap between Southern cities and cities on the East and West Coasts has been narrowing to the point where the cultural riches of a place like Oxford, Miss. — with its literary scene and high end regional cuisine — are almost taken for granted.

But commerce and the Internet have pushed global sophistication into new frontiers. In Starkville, Miss., an unassuming college town that Oxford sophisticates deride with the ironic nickname “StarkVegas,” a coffee bar called Nine-twentynine serves an affogato prepared with espresso from Intelligentsia, the vaunted artisanal coffee brand.

With these cultural markers have come expressions of unblushing liberalism that would have been unthinkable a decade ago. In January, Bernie Sanders drew thousands to a rally in Birmingham, Ala. Last June, after the Supreme Court affirmed the right to same-sex marriage, the city government in Knoxville, Tenn., lit up a bridge in rainbow colors.

The result has been a kind of overlapping series of secessions, with states trying to safeguard themselves from national cultural trends and federal mandates, and cities increasingly trying to carve out their own places within the states.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationHistoryPsychologyReligion & CultureRural/Town LifeUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 18, 2016 at 3:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the ’90s we millennials heard stories about a time when kids performed plays at home and families gathered around their pianos, but we consumed our entertainment from TVs that kept growing in size and programming.

In following our individual channels, choices, and pursuits, we became more isolated. We became anxious, de­pressed, and exhausted and began to wonder if bigger was really better. Now something new is happening. Farmer’s markets are springing up. People are turning off their televisions and creating their own stories on social media through status updates, blogs, and vlogs. People upcycle, knit, and quilt.

Those who grew up with big-box stores and mega­churches are longing for small, deep, and creative communities. These worshipers reject a worship service where paid professionals entertain those attending and instead are committed to making liturgy, art, music, and relationships.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEcclesiologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 15, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Don Hamilton remembers the day well. This was back in 1966. He was 12 when a classmate asked him the question: “Does your father think that God is dead?” Hamilton had to admit that the answer was yes.

Before long, another friend’s grandmother had started lobbying to have his father, William Hamilton, who was then a professor at Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, N.Y, fired. Rather than going to church, the family started doing Bible reading at home, on their own. Eventually, they left Rochester. There was no way to hide Hamilton’s radical view after the April 8, 1966, cover of TIME Magazine asked the same question as young Don’s friend.

The story by TIME religion editor John Elson—and the gut-punch question on the cover, the magazine’s first to include only text—inspired countless angry sermons and 3,421 letters from readers. (For example: “Your ugly cover is a blasphemous outrage.”) The National Review responded by asking whether TIME were, in fact, the dead one. Bob Dylan even criticized it in a 1978 interview with Playboy: “If you were God, how would you like to see that written about yourself?” Fifty years later, it remains one of the most iconic TIME covers ever produced.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted April 7, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The first attempt to replicate the United States’s diplomatic advocacy for beleaguered believers worldwide has come to an end.
Five years ago, Canada’s Conservative party campaigned for a new office to champion the cause of international religious freedom (IRF). The office opened in 2013, looking to complement the strengths of the US State Department’s IRF office that it was modeled after.
But six months after the Conservatives lost national elections to the Liberal party, the four-person, $5 million Office of Religious Freedom (ORF) has been shut down.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted April 7, 2016 at 9:42 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Helga Kissel was 16, she fled Berlin as Soviets marched in. She met a U.S. soldier in Bavaria, who sent her care packages, and now, she does the same for a 16-year old Syrian girl.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchHistoryMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeGermanyRussiaMiddle EastSyria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 1, 2016 at 3:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A recent San Diego State University poll led by psychology professor Jean Twenge shows that Americans are five times less likely to pray as compared to the early 1980’s, and twice as many said they do not believe in God. The biggest decline is among 18-29 year olds, the so-called millennials. The study also shows that despite the decline in religious affiliation or practice, belief in the afterlife has increased. How does Professor Twenge explain this?

“It was interesting that fewer people participated in religion or prayed but more believed in an afterlife,” Twenge said. “It might be part of a growing entitlement mentality – thinking you can get something for nothing.”

Read it all and you can find the full paper there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSociologyYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEschatology

0 Comments
Posted March 30, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchHistory* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2016 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The only path to the hope of Easter is through the struggle of Holy Week. Like the assurance offered in the 23rd Psalm, we’re not given a shortcut around the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

The only way out is through.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 24, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even Svante L. Myrick, the mayor of this city, thought the proposal sounded a little crazy, though it was put forth by a committee he had appointed. The plan called for establishing a site where people could legally shoot heroin — something that does not exist anywhere in the United States.

“Heroin is bad, and injecting heroin is bad, so how could supervised heroin injection be a good thing?” Mr. Myrick, a Democrat, said.

But he also knew he had to do something drastic to confront the scourge of heroin in his city in central New York. So he was willing to take a chance and embrace the radical notion, knowing well that it would provoke a backlash.

And it has.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 23, 2016 at 3:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It's normal for millennials to still live at home these days. But what if you're a millennial who doesn't have a home to go back to?

Growing up, Alkeisha Porter, 23, says she didn't like her mom's husband and her dad had a drug problem. So at 16, she moved out and became homeless.

"I was basically just house-hopping from friends to some family members. Hey, it was comfortable to me. It wasn't cold. I wasn't sleeping outside," she says.

Young people — 18- to 24-year-olds — make up one of the fastest-growing homeless populations in the country. In many big cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, where housing is at a premium, finding affordable housing is especially hard.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPovertyUrban/City Life and IssuesYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 21, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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


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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The groundswell of residents who opposed opening the Lowcountry’s offshore waters to drilling for oil and natural gas had help from an unlikely white knight: the Navy.

Federal regulators Tuesday removed the Southeast coast from a proposed final ruling on leasing new areas for the work.

The ruling did open more of the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean. It now goes to a 90-day public comment period and must be approved by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.

The decision does not end the leasing process for seismic testing and exploratory drilling, but profit for that work is in fees paid by oil industry companies for the results, and the lease applications are widely expected to be dropped.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMilitary / Armed Forces* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural ResourcesPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 15, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The ultimate sin today, [Andy] Crouch argues, is to criticize a group, especially on moral grounds. Talk of good and bad has to defer to talk about respect and recognition. Crouch writes, “Talk of right and wrong is troubling when it is accompanied by seeming indifference to the experience of shame that accompanies judgments of ‘immorality.’”

He notes that this shame culture is different from the traditional shame cultures, the ones in Asia, for example. In traditional shame cultures the opposite of shame was honor or “face” — being known as a dignified and upstanding citizen. In the new shame culture, the opposite of shame is celebrity — to be attention-grabbing and aggressively unique on some media platform.

On the positive side, this new shame culture might rebind the social and communal fabric. It might reverse, a bit, the individualistic, atomizing thrust of the past 50 years.

On the other hand, everybody is perpetually insecure in a moral system based on inclusion and exclusion. There are no permanent standards, just the shifting judgment of the crowd. It is a culture of oversensitivity, overreaction and frequent moral panics, during which everybody feels compelled to go along.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationHistoryPsychology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 15, 2016 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a prosperous New Jersey suburb about an hour west of Manhattan, a retired AT&T executive decided with some friends to open a mosque in the town where he has lived for nearly 40 years, been on the board of education, led a task force to create the town’s community center and even served as mayor.
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About 65 people attended the congregation’s Friday prayer services, which were held in rented halls or sometimes in parks.

On the surface, the process seemed straightforward: In November 2011, the group, the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, led by the former mayor, Mohammad Ali Chaudry, bought a four-acre plot in an area of Basking Ridge where zoning permitted houses of worship. The group’s architects and engineers argued that the plan complied by a wide margin with every conceivable building requirement.

Read it all.

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

2 Comments
Posted March 11, 2016 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The economy and dissatisfaction with the government, two issues regularly at the top of Gallup's monthly most important problem list, rank as Americans' top issues in March. Mentions of unemployment are in the double digits for a second consecutive month after hitting a seven-year low in January.

The results are based on Gallup's March 2-6 poll. Beyond the top three problems, at least 5% of Americans mention several other issues. These include immigration, healthcare, race relations, terrorism, the election and the federal budget deficit.

Mentions of the election, at 5%, are not high in an absolute sense, but they are the highest since Gallup began tracking the category in 2001. The prior high was 2% on several occasions, usually shortly after an election took place. Many of the responses in the current survey specifically mention Donald Trump and his role in the election. Those citing the election as the most important problem are primarily independents and Democrats.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologySociology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 10, 2016 at 7:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You never know what you’ll discover when you don protective gloves and pore over documents dating back to the 1800s.

A future U.S. president who had a hand in destroying St. John’s Anglican Church in an 1813 fire set by invading American soldiers.

An early figure in the historic Sandwich church who fathered a son through an extramarital affair with a former nun.

For the first time at the University of Windsor, the history department offered a course called public history designed to help connect a community to its past. A handful of students in the course who delved into the records of St. John’s Anglican Church in Sandwich made some interesting discoveries as they researched and created an online exhibit at Public History 497.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHistoryHunger/MalnutritionReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Canada

1 Comments
Posted March 10, 2016 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the great legacies of Jerry Bridges is that he combined—to borrow some titles from his books—the pursuit of holiness and godliness with an emphasis on transforming grace. He believed that trusting God not only involved believing what he had done for us in the past, but that the gospel empowers daily faith and is transformative for all of life.

In 2009 he explained to interviewer Becky Grosenbach the need for this emphasis within the culture of the ministry he had given his life to:

When I came on staff almost all the leaders had come out of the military and we had pretty much a military culture. We were pretty hard core. We were duty driven. The WWII generation. We believed in hard work. We were motivated by saying “this is what you ought to do.” That’s okay, but it doesn’t serve you over the long haul. And so 30 years ago there was the beginning of a change to emphasize transforming grace, a grace-motivated discipleship.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

1 Comments
Posted March 7, 2016 at 2:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr Trump does not draw on traditions of European totalitarianism or even appear to know anything about them. He is not consumed with historical grievances; he is not an anti-Semite; he has not tried to build a mass party; and he does not demand the restoration of tradition or an old moral order. Indeed, as a reality television star and cyber-bully on his third trophy wife, he is a good illustration of the breakdown of any moral order possibly remaining.

Rather, Mr Trump represents what autocratic attitudes look like in a modern American context. He is unfriendly towards the free market, the free press, and the free exercise of religion while paying lip service to these values. He is xenophobic, conspiratorial in his worldview, admiring of violence and torture, contemptuous of the weak and unwilling to tolerate criticism or peaceful dissent — but all in the name of correcting excesses of tolerance. Various global and historical comparisons shed light on his style and thinking: Juan Perón, Charles de Gaulle, Silvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Putin. But Mr Trump isn’t importing Latin caudillismo or Russian despotism. He bullies those who resist him in the contemporary vernacular of American celebrity culture.

This is why those arguing that Mr Trump’s policies are more moderate than those of his rivals Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio miss the point. Mr Trump’s authoritarianism is an amalgam not of left and right but of wacko left and wacko right: he thinks that George W Bush was to blame for 9/11 and that Muslims should be barred from the US. Believing both of those things does not make Mr Trump a centrist; it makes him an eclectic extremist. When it comes to policies, he has none in the conventional sense.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Europe* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Chick-fil-A is offering free ice cream to families who silence their phones and place them inside a box known as a “cell phone coop” for the entire meal.

The so-called challenge is available at more than 150 of the chain’s locations.

“We really want our restaurant to provide a sense of community for our customers, where family and friends can come together and share quality time with one another,” Brad Williams, a Chick-fil-A operator in Suwanee, Georgia, said in a statement. Williams is responsible for the coop.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenDieting/Food/NutritionMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 4, 2016 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s the rest of it that is so deeply troubling. I have spoken with parents who have told me they don’t let their kids watch the debates because they don’t want them to think that that is an acceptable way for adults to behave. I’ve spoken with high school principals who have told me that their students see little use for politics except as a punchline. I myself wondered whether a single young person watching this spectacle would be moved to enter public service. Would any one of them think that this is a noble calling that is worthy of the best in ourselves?

Over this last weekend, after Donald Trump called Ted Cruz “a liar” and Marco Rubio “a choke artist,” Mr. Rubio pushed back by mocking Mr. Trump’s appearance, the size of his fingers and even the size of his genitalia. Mr. Rubio’s crowds cheered him on, much like first-century Romans at a gladiatorial contest. The media, meanwhile, who share a hefty size of the blame for our descent into gutter politics, sat back in faux-shock, pretending not to know how all this came to be.

When the major candidates for president of the United States are saying and doing such things and are then rewarded for it in poll after poll, then I no longer recognize my own country. Like my father, I don’t know whom I’ll vote for. A pro-life, pro-immigration, economic liberal who is no fan of guns but still a constitutional originalist has no natural home in either party. My father, I suspect, is now similarly homeless. But he would likely say that he didn’t leave the Republican party. The party left him.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted March 3, 2016 at 5:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A police officer who was fatally shot on her first day on the job was remembered Tuesday as someone who helped in soup kitchens, at suicide prevention programs and at mortuary services for Marines killed overseas.
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Thousands of people came to the Hylton Memorial Chapel here to honor the officer, Ashley Guindon, 28. Officer Guindon died Saturday when she and two other Prince William County police officers were investigating a domestic disturbance at a home in Woodbridge, about 20 miles south of Washington.

As the officers approached the front door of the house, a gunman opened fire, hitting all three, the police said. Officer Guindon later died at a hospital; the other two officers were treated for their wounds. The suspect, Ronald W. Hamilton, 32, who the police said also fatally shot his wife before they arrived, was arrested on murder charges.

Read it all from the New York Times.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted March 2, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Donald Trump rode a powerful tide of voter fury to victories across the country on Tuesday, ending the campaign season’s most momentous day of balloting as the unrivaled favorite for the Republican presidential nomination.

The billionaire mogul’s Super Tuesday rout extended from New England to the Deep South, but he resoundingly lost the night’s crown jewel, Texas, to home-state Sen. Ted Cruz, who also defeated Trump in Alaska and Oklahoma.

Tuesday’s results exposed some vulnerabilities for Trump: He lost late­-deciding voters in many states by wide margins to rival Marco Rubio, a sign that the senator from Florida may have had some impact with his withering assault on Trump’s character. Ohio Gov. John Kasich also came close to beating Trump in Vermont.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 2, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all from Christian Today.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mlitary commanders have mounted a cyberoffensive against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in recent weeks by deploying hackers to penetrate the extremist group’s computer and cellphone networks, according to the Pentagon.

The cyberassault, which Defense Secretary Ashton Carter authorized last month, marks the first time teams from U.S. Cyber Command have been integrated into an active battlefield since the command was established in 2009.

“These are strikes that are conducted in the war zone using cyber, essentially as a weapon of war,” Carter said in a National Public Radio interview. “Just as we drop bombs, we’re dropping cyberbombs.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 29, 2016 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jim Sides listened to the NPR story in his car in Jacksonville, N.C.

"When I heard he carried a burden of guilt for 30 years, it broke my heart," Sides, an engineer, says. "And I just sat there in the car in the parking lot and cried."

Like many engineers who responded to Ebeling's story, Sides knows what it's like to present data and face resistance. He's also certain about who bears responsibility for the decisions that result.

"He and his colleagues stated it very plainly. It was a dangerous day for the launch," Sides says. "But [Ebeling] was not the decision-maker. He did his job as an engineer. He should not have to carry any guilt."

Read (or listen to) it all NPR.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted February 28, 2016 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We live in a big, diverse society. There are essentially two ways to maintain order and get things done in such a society — politics or some form of dictatorship. Either through compromise or brute force. Our founding fathers chose politics.

Politics is an activity in which you recognize the simultaneous existence of different groups, interests and opinions. You try to find some way to balance or reconcile or compromise those interests, or at least a majority of them. You follow a set of rules, enshrined in a constitution or in custom, to help you reach these compromises in a way everybody considers legitimate.

The downside of politics is that people never really get everything they want. It’s messy, limited and no issue is ever really settled. Politics is a muddled activity in which people have to recognize restraints and settle for less than they want.
But that’s sort of the beauty of politics, too....

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted February 28, 2016 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As snow began to fall outside, Deb Button snuggled up on her couch, fired up a joint and spoke of the nature of Christ.

"Even if Jesus didn't smoke weed, he'd still be a stoner," she said, exhaling a white cloud.

Her kitten sniffed the air curiously.

"Jesus was peaceful and loving. He went from house to house and was always accepted," she explained. "Only a stoner could do that."

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted February 27, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I keep thinking of how Donald Trump got to be the very likely Republican nominee. There are many answers and reasons, but my thoughts keep revolving around the idea of protection. It is a theme that has been something of a preoccupation in this space over the years, but I think I am seeing it now grow into an overall political dynamic throughout the West.

There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

I want to call them the elite to load the rhetorical dice, but let’s stick with the protected.

They are figures in government, politics and media....

Read it all.

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

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


Posted February 27, 2016 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In an era when the average American now spends the majority of his or her life unmarried, it is time to stop glorifying and privileging marriage to the total exclusion of all other patterns of family formation, caregiving relationship, living arrangement and property ownership. Despite its ubiquity, marriage is exactly “one size does not fit all.” Yet at the same time, the high price of being single in the United States is a well-known fact of life. What’s a thinking person to do?

For the majority of children now born outside of marriage, (estimated at roughly half of births today), the ramifications of growing up in an unmarried household are generally immediate and negative: Increased poverty is all but guaranteed. At the same time, promoting marriage at taxpayer expense to solve this problem has been a colossal boondoggle. For starters, there was little demand from its target audience, not to mention that marriage has a nearly 50 percent failure rate. (The fact that marriage doubles as an ex post facto welfare program for much of today’s middle class and is nothing short of a luxury good for the upper crust reflects growing income inequality.) Rather than reinforcing these economic divides, family law and social welfare policy would do well to adapt to the rise of nontraditional family forms in which the spousal pair is no longer the core of family life.

Read it all.

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

3 Comments
Posted February 25, 2016 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Thursday I saw the news on my Twitter timeline that McClanen had died.

A historian is supposed to keep a critical distance from his or her subjects of study, and I like to think that I follow that standard. Yet when I saw the news, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of loss for a man I never met, a man I know only through dusty letters written long ago.

When I first began my research on the early history of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, I had no affinity for McClanen—I barely knew who he was. At first he seemed too earnest, too persistent. In his letters he badgered, he pestered, he shared too much information too soon. Yet the more that I encountered McClanen in the archives, the more I grew intrigued by his combination of intensity, sincerity, and humility. There is a trace of irony in the latter, for McClanen’s fame today (such as it is) rests on the fact that he founded an organization explicitly built around the idea of celebrity, salesmanship, and publicity.

“If athletes can endorse shaving cream, razor blades, and cigarettes,” he said. “Surely they can endorse the Lord.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureSports* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 25, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




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

0 Comments
Posted February 24, 2016 at 9:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To be blunt: The last thing this funeral Mass was about was "spirituality." So search the [New York] Times story and look for the role that terms such as "Christian" and "Catholic" played in its contents. What about "Jesus," you ask? Forget about it.

The strongest religious language in the [New York] Times piece linked a kind of vague, Americanized faith with a nod to current fights over religious liberty.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMediaReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyChristologyEschatologySoteriology

0 Comments
Posted February 23, 2016 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Friday, I drove from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, Texas, to visit my parents. Somewhere along Interstate 35 south of the Red River, I flipped the FM dial to a Dallas sports talk station.

I hoped to hear discussion of my favorite team, the Texas Rangers, arriving at spring training and the outlook for the upcoming season.

Instead, I found myself mesmerized by two sports talk hosts focused on faith and forgiveness — and the rousing eulogy that Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams gave for his wife, Ingrid, on Thursday.

"I'm jealous of someone with that kind of faith," said one of the hosts, as questions of life and death suddenly trumped draft picks, trade deadlines and even the Dallas Cowboys.

Read it all; the main thing to do is to watch the video which was have posted earlier.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologySports* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

0 Comments
Posted February 22, 2016 at 5:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump rolled to victory on Saturday in South Carolina in a contest that saw former Florida Governor Jeb Bush drop out, while Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton beat back a strong challenge from Bernie Sanders in Nevada.

The victories by Trump, who is running as an anti-establishment outsider, and Clinton, a preeminent political insider, solidified their positions as the front-runners to win their parties' respective nominations ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.

The night's most prominent casualty, Bush suffered a distant fourth place finish in the Republican contest and announced he had suspended his campaign, ending his dream of becoming a third Bush president after his father and brother.

Read it all

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


Posted February 21, 2016 at 2:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In all honesty, I find myself wanting to hit someone, if only to awaken him. This primary season is revealing an astounding blindness in the members of our ruling class, both Right and Left, as well as a remarkable lack of self-criticism. Donald Trump should be no surprise. He’s made in their image.

Read it all.

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

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


Posted February 20, 2016 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new Gallup survey shows more concern among Americans about the strength of the military.

When asked if the U.S. is No. 1 in the world militarily, survey respondents were evenly split, with 49 percent saying yes.

This is the first time in 23 years that fewer than half of Americans responded this way. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, 56 percent said the U.S. was the world’s top military, the start of an upward trend that peaked in 2010 at 64 percent.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted February 20, 2016 at 8:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Voters headed to the polls Saturday in the Republican primary contest here, the first in the South, as front-runner Donald Trump looked to hold off rivals in a still-crowded GOP field.

The final days of campaigning in state featured allegations and counterclaims of dirty tricks, long a tradition in the state. At the same time, Mr. Trump continued to dominate headlines and flirt with fresh controversy, calling for a boycott of Apple Inc. on Friday over phone encryption, just after he appeared to make peace following a spat with the Vatican and softened his attacks over the runup to the Iraq War.

In South Carolina, Mr. Trump was the top pick of 28% of likely Republican primary voters, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll held in the final days before Saturday’s election.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 20, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Antonin Scalia attended the traditional Latin Mass nearly every Sunday, at St. John the Beloved church near his home in McLean, Va., or at St. Mary Mother of God church in the Chinatown section of Washington, D.C. When he went to the latter location, it was usually followed by a day of reading in his nearby Supreme Court office, which he did for decades on certain Sundays during the court’s term.

In the 20 years I saw him at Mass, not once was he protected by Supreme Court police or by U.S. Marshals. The associate justice with his home number still listed in the telephone book was surprisingly down to earth, true to his New Jersey roots. It was not uncommon to see him park his BMW on G Street in the District before Mass and put on his necktie using the car’s mirror. He would walk into St. Mary’s with his pre-Vatican II handmissal, always sitting in the same general area, near Patrick Buchanan, about halfway up the aisle on the far left side of the nave.

Justice Scalia loved music, especially opera. So when I was the director of an amateur choir at St. Mary’s in the late 1990s (in a Verizon Center-less neighborhood far different from today), we were under increased pressure during the Sundays when he attended High Mass. Our choir was admittedly awful, and even though we rehearsed every Thursday night and Sunday morning, it didn’t seem to help much....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

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Posted February 19, 2016 at 4:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Correctly, we suspect that the system is rigged, our government has become coin-operated and that we’ve been sidelined,” Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman write in their eye-opening new book about money in politics, “Nation on the Take.” They call for a “profound course correction,” like those the United States has periodically undertaken before.

So it’s healthy for American voters to be demanding change. But when societies face economic pain, they sometimes turn to reforms, and other times to scapegoats (like refugees this year). So the historic question for 2016 is which direction the popular revolt among American voters will ultimately take.

Read it all.

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

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


Posted February 18, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Georgia House of Representatives [last] Thursday passed, in a 161-0 vote, a bill known as the “Pastor Protection Act,” to reassure clergy they will not be forced to perform same-sex weddings. The vote is unlikely to end debate over as many as nine other bills meant to expand religious freedom that are currently pending in the Georgia legislature.

In a rare speech before the chamber, House Speaker David Ralston called for lawmakers to come together.

“It is my hope on an issue of this importance, and charged with such deep emotion, that this bill can be the first productive discussion,” he said.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted February 17, 2016 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sue Klebold, the mother of Columbine killer Dylan Klebold, told ABC News' Diane Sawyer that when the Columbine tragedy happened, she couldn’t stop thinking about the victims and their families.

“I just remember sitting there and reading about them, all these kids and the teacher,” Klebold said in an exclusive interview that will air in a special edition of “20/20” Friday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

“And I keep thinking-- constantly thought how I would feel if it were the other way around and one of their children had shot mine,” she continued. “I would feel exactly the way they did. I know I would. I know I would.”

Read it all and the full 20/20 videos are worthwhile if you are ready for the INCREDIBLY difficult subject matter.

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

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Posted February 16, 2016 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Why is the Middle East in flames and Russia on the rampage? In both Europe and the Middle East, it is common to hear the blame placed on Barack Obama. The US president, it is charged, is a weak and disengaged leader who has allowed international events to get out of control. Many Americans — both liberals and conservatives — make the same accusation. Sarah Palin, darling of the American right, has called Mr Obama “capitulator-in-chief”. Roger Cohen, a New York Times columnist, has blamed Syria’s agony on the “fecklessness and purposelessness” of the Obama administration.

Those who yearn for a more muscular US foreign policy often assume that Mr Obama will prove to be an aberration — and that the next president will “put America back in the game”. But that could well be a misreading of the underlying direction of US politics and foreign policy. The current frontrunners in the presidential election campaign — Donald Trump on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders for the Democrats — have embraced ideas that are isolationist, in all but name. If those ideas prevail, they would make Mr Obama look like a super-engaged internationalist.

Even if Mr Trump and Mr Sanders never get close to the White House, the popularity of their campaigns, and their influence on the more mainstream candidates, suggests that there is now a strong constituency in the US for a retreat from globalism: repudiating international military and economic commitments.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 16, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It started about three years ago with briefs about vigils for people who died from heroin overdoses. Terry DeMio saw them now and then. One day, a coworker at The Cincinnati Enquirer mentioned that someone in her neighborhood had a heroin addiction.

"I just remember thinking there was something to this," said DeMio, who was then a general assignment reporter.

So she called a hospital system in Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, and told the spokesperson about what she was seeing. He connected DeMio with a physician. On one particular day, that doctor told her, about a third of his patients were addicted to heroin or linked to someone who was. It was the first time DeMio heard the term "heroin epidemic."

She started writing about heroin for both the Enquirer and its northern Kentucky edition, unsure at the beginning if the term epidemic even applied.

Three years later, she's quite sure.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted February 15, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all and see how you do.

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

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Posted February 15, 2016 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all and see how you do.

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

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Posted February 15, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

I embrace with great satisfaction the opportunity which now presents itself of congratulating you on the present favorable prospects of our public affairs. The recent accession of the important state of North Carolina to the Constitution of the United States (of which official information has been received), the rising credit and respectability of our country, the general and increasing good will toward the government of the Union, and the concord, peace, and plenty with which we are blessed are circumstances auspicious in an eminent degree to our national prosperity.

In resuming your consultations for the general good you can not but derive encouragement from the reflection that the measures of the last session have been as satisfactory to your constituents as the novelty and difficulty of the work allowed you to hope. Still further to realize their expectations and to secure the blessings which a gracious Providence has placed within our reach will in the course of the present important session call for the cool and deliberate exertion of your patriotism, firmness, and wisdom.

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When is Presidents Day 2014? The correct answer to that question is “never.” When it comes to federal holidays, there is no such thing as Presidents Day. We’ve been saying this for years, but shockingly, the charade continues.

The official name for the holiday celebrated Feb. 17, 2014, is Washington’s Birthday. If you don’t believe us, look at the Office of Personnel Management’s list of 2014 holidays for federal workers.

There it is, Washington’s Birthday, right between Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and Memorial Day. There are an asterisk and a helpful note at the bottom of the page, which says that the holiday in question is specified as Washington’s Birthday under Section 6103(a) of Title 5 of the United States Code.

Read it all and note well the earlier article also.

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

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Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


By the article establishing the executive department it is made the duty of the President "to recommend to your consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." The circumstances under which I now meet you will acquit me from entering into that subject further than to refer to the great constitutional charter under which you are assembled, and which, in defining your powers, designates the objects to which your attention is to be given. It will be more consistent with those circumstances, and far more congenial with the feelings which actuate me, to substitute, in place of a recommendation of particular measures, the tribute that is due to the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism which adorn the characters selected to devise and adopt them. In these honorable qualifications I behold the surest pledges that as on one side no local prejudices or attachments, no separate views nor party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests, so, on another, that the foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the preeminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens and command the respect of the world. I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire, since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted February 15, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On a Thursday morning a few months ago, I got a call from my doctor’s assistant telling me that I have Stage 4 cancer. The stomach cramps I was suffering from were not caused by a faulty gallbladder, but by a massive tumor.

I am 35. I did the things you might expect of someone whose world has suddenly become very small. I sank to my knees and cried. I called my husband at our home nearby. I waited until he arrived so we could wrap our arms around each other and say the things that must be said. I have loved you forever. I am so grateful for our life together. Please take care of our son. Then he walked me from my office to the hospital to start what was left of my new life.

But one of my first thoughts was also Oh, God, this is ironic. I recently wrote a book called “Blessed.”

I am a historian of the American prosperity gospel....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted February 14, 2016 at 1:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Quite aside from his legal views, what came through that night four years ago was just how keenly interested Scalia was in Church affairs, and how central reflection on his faith was to his life and his worldview.

There are, of course, Catholics who don’t believe Scalia drew the correct conclusions from his religious convictions, seeing his “originalist” view of the Constitution as more about conservative political ideology than genuinely Catholic sensibilities.

What can’t be denied is that Antonin Scalia was a serious Catholic, someone whose faith was a defining element of his life. His passing is a reminder that Catholicism’s contribution to public life in the United States may not always be ideologically coherent or predictable, but it’s profound, and he was a lifelong embodiment of that truth.

Read it all frp, John Allen in Crux.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

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Posted February 14, 2016 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...this goes hand in hand with the general decline of America’s faith in its institutions. We feel less respect for almost all of them—the church, the professions, the presidency, the Supreme Court. The only formal national institution that continues to score high in terms of public respect (72% in the most recent Gallup poll) is the military.

A few years ago I gave a lecture to a class at West Point, the text of which was: You are entering the only U.S. institution left standing. Your prime responsibility throughout your careers will be to keep it respected. I then told them about the Dreyfus case. They had not heard of it. I explained how that scandal rocked public faith in a previously exalted institution, the French army, doing it and France lasting damage. And so your personal integrity is of the utmost importance, I said, as day by day that integrity creates the integrity of the military. The cadets actually listened to that part.

I mention this to say we are in a precarious position in the U.S. with so many of our institutions going down. Many of those pushing against the system have no idea how precarious it is or what they will be destroying. Those defending it don’t know how precarious its position is or even what they’re defending, or why. But people lose respect for a reason.

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 13, 2016 at 4:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The world has entered a “new cold war,” Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday, as he held out an olive branch to western powers, urging conciliation.

“Sometimes I think, are we in 2016 or 1962?” Mr Medvedev asked, in a speech that reeled off the long list of familiar Russian grievances — from Nato expansion to western regime change projects — but also included some of the firmest calls for rapprochement with Europe and the US since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea two years ago.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UKEuropeRussia* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 13, 2016 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Watch it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I'd thought about the families that were bombed. There was one in which the package arrived to the man's home and his little 2-year-old daughter was there. She was almost in the room when he opened the package. Luckily she left, and his wife left. And then he died," Patrik told ABC News' Byron Pitts. "And there were others. And so I spent those days thinking about those people."

Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski placed or mailed 16 bombs that killed three people and injured 23 others, according to authorities.

In 1995, before he was identified as the Unabomber, he demanded newspapers to publish a long manuscript he had written, saying the killings would continue otherwise. Both the New York Times and Washington Post published the 35,000-word manifesto later that year at the recommendation of the Attorney General and the Director of the FBI.

A professor of philosophy, Patrik recognized familiar sounding ideas in the manuscript from letters her husband David Kaczynski had received from his older brother Ted, including a 23-page essay in which he raged against the modern world. In the essay, Ted wrote phrases such as, "Technology has already made it impossible for us to live as physically independent beings."

Read it all (or watch the video which is recommended).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyMental Illness* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyTheodicy

1 Comments
Posted February 11, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The US establishment’s worst nightmare is coming true. Forget whether they happen to be Democratic or Republican. With record turnouts and by margins few could have imagined possible a few weeks ago, New Hampshire’s voters repudiated America’s elites.

The victors were an ageing socialist who had almost zero name recognition a year ago and America’s most famous reality television host. The scale of Bernie Sanders’ and Donald Trump’s victories were breathtaking.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 10, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Presbyterian Church (USA) is expecting to see a loss of over 400,000 members between 2015 and 2020, according to a reported internal document.

“The slide [from the meeting] also showed that COGA is predicting membership losses of 100,000 for both 2015 and 2016,” reported The Layman.

PCUSA’s Office of the General Assembly and Presbyterian Mission Agency Board Executive Committee held a meeting last Wednesday when projected losses were discussed, according to a recent account by the conservative Presbyterian publication The Layman.

Read it all from the Christian Post.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian* Theology

1 Comments
Posted February 9, 2016 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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