Posted by Kendall Harmon

His election is thus not merely one more event that happens in the complex world God once created and continues to maintain like a giant ecosystem in which God otherwise does not interfere. And it certainly is not as an event upon which God smiles as the realization of God’s dreams for human life in the USA and beyond.

No, the God of all nations has so supervised this important election to this important position such that the American people have selected the president that God wants to govern the USA at this time.

Just why God has done that, however, is the daunting question.

God plays a long game, and a complex one, full of dark episodes of judgment as well as bright portents of hope.

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 GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Theology


Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

KHALID LATIF: You know, I think a lot of Muslims are very scared, and I think they're valid in that fear. The reality, unfortunately, is such that even leading into the elections we saw a gross increase in anti-Muslim bias and incidents. In New York City, where I live, leading into the elections, just in a matter of weeks you had two imams - religious leaders of a Muslim community in Queens - who were shot in the back of their head and passed away subsequently. Following afternoon prayers, a 60-year-old woman of Bengali descent was walking home one evening in Queens as well with her husband who is asthmatic, and she had moved a few blocks ahead of him to get home quicker to get dinner ready. And he said later at a press conference that I was at that he heard her screaming and came upon her and found her stabbed and had eventually succumbed to the wounds just a couple of blocks away from their home. There was two mothers strolling their babies in Brooklyn who had been assaulted. A woman wearing a headscarf in Midtown Manhattan had been set on fire. These were all things that happened prior to the election.

Post the election, you know, I think what hit me hard, being at New York University, we have various prayer rooms that Muslim students use on our campus. And the day after the election in our school of engineering in Brooklyn, Muslim students walked into their prayer room to find the entrance with the word Trump written across it and an exclamation point. About a week later, there was Jewish students who on their dorm room door found swastikas, the words make America great again, white pride, make America white again on their doorways. And these were realities that I think evoked a lot of different emotions understandably.

Read it all.


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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* Theology


Posted January 22, 2017 at 11:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During the first week of January 2017, millions of Americans hit the gym, opened a savings account, enrolled in a class or started a new diet, vowing to keep their resolutions to make big lifestyle changes in the new year. Sadly, most of those December 31 aspirations have already started to gather dust, casualties of the stresses and demands of life. Undoubtedly, some chose to focus their resolutions on exercising their spiritual muscles through Bible reading. So what level of commitment do they show toward their Scripture-reading habits? In a study conducted in partnership with American Bible Society, Barna looks at the Bible reading desires and motivations of American adults. Do Americans wish they read the Bible more? Has their reading increased or decreased, and why?

Who Wants to Read the Bible?
In an era of significant change, when so many cultural touchstones are up for grabs, what compels people to read an ancient document, and what prevents them from reading it? A majority—and significant plurality—read the Bible because it draws them closer to God (57%). This means that for many Americans, Bible reading is a pillar of their faith. Most Americans though, are not satisfied with their current level of Scripture reading. A majority—about six in 10 American adults (61%)—express a desire to read the Bible more than they currently do, while a little more than one-third (36%) don’t. These numbers have remained relatively stable over the years since 2011 (see chart). The groups who desire more frequent Bible reading than their counterparts are females (68% compared to 54% of males), Boomers (68% compared to 55% of Millennials), non-white Americans (67% compared to 58% of white American) and those with no more than a high-school education (67% compared to 56% of college graduates). Seven out of 10 (70%) southerners want to read the Bible more, an especially high number compared to their western and northeastern neighbors (55% each), and perhaps unsurprisingly, born-again (85%) and practicing Christians (84%) are the most likely to desire more Bible-reading in their day-to-day lives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life* Culture-WatchBooksReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

And yet all admit that yes, we’re in uncharted waters.

The mood among Republicans in Washington is hopeful apprehension. Even Trump supporters, even his staff and advisers, feel it. No one knows what he’ll be like as president, how this will go. Including, probably, him.

Read it all (my emphasis).

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


Posted January 21, 2017 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Oblivious to the moment and the setting, the always remarkable Trump proved that something dystopian can be strangely exhilarating: In what should have been a civic liturgy serving national unity and confidence, he vindicated his severest critics by serving up reheated campaign rhetoric about “rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape” and an education system producing students “deprived of all knowledge.” Yes, all.

Read it all.

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


Posted January 21, 2017 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This Inauguration Day couldn’t seem more different from the first presidential inauguration, held nearly 228 years ago. America is now deeply divided, while George Washington was chosen by the Electoral College unanimously. Washington’s first inauguration was held in April, in New York. Today his successors take the oath of office in front of the U.S. Capitol.

But in truth, every presidential inauguration is a re-creation of Washington’s. The first president’s words and deeds that day helped set the stage for a civic ritual celebrating the democratic idea within a religious context. This arguably cannot be found in another polity today.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 20, 2017 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.[Update: watch here]

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


Posted January 20, 2017 at 12:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than two dozen Jewish community centers across the U.S. reported receiving false bomb threats on Wednesday. It's the second wave of bomb threats in two weeks: On Jan. 9, 16 community centers received threats in a single day.

No actual bombs have been found, according to the JCC Association of North America, and many centers have already reopened and resumed regular operations.

The FBI is investigating "possible civil rights violations in connection with threats," The Associated Press reports.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryUrban/City Life and Issues* General InterestPhotos/Photography* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted January 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

ove, therefore, becomes the hallmark of nonviolent resistance requiring that the resister not only refuse to shoot his opponent but also refuse to hate him. Nonviolent resistance is meant to bring an end to hate by being the very embodiment of agape. King seemed never to tire of an appeal to Anders Nygren's distinction between eros, phila and agape to make the point that the love that shapes nonviolent resistance is one that is disciplined by the refusal to distinguish between worthy and unworthy people. Rather agape begins by loving others for their own sake, which requires that we "have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution."

Such a love means that nonviolent resistance seeks not to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win a friend. The protests that may take the form of boycotts and other non-cooperative modes of behaviour are not ends in themselves, but rather attempts to awaken in the opponent a sense of shame and repentance. The end of nonviolent resistance is redemption and reconciliation with those who have been the oppressor. Love overwhelms hate, making possible the creation of a beloved community that would otherwise be impossible.

Accordingly, nonviolent resistance is not directed against people but against forces of evil. Those who happen to be doing evil are as victimized by the evil they do as those who are the object of their oppression. From the perspective of nonviolence King argued that the enemy is not the white people of Montgomery, but injustice itself. The object of the boycott of the buses was not to defeat white people, but to defeat the injustice that mars their lives.

Read it all from ABC Australia's Religion and Ethics site.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Michael] Gilbreath (a CT editor at large) hearkens back to the 1963 Birmingham civil rights campaign, to the world of Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Shuttlesworth, and other heroic Christian leaders. Today, we idolize these figures for leading a beleaguered people to the Promised Land. But as Birmingham Revolution makes clear, the civil rights movement was no slam dunk. Uncertainty, scarce resources, and outside hostility could have ground its progress to a halt.

The Birmingham campaign was pivotal. On the heels of defeat in Albany, Georgia, victory in Birmingham restored the movement's momentum. Failure could have crippled it, by drying up funding, discrediting the nonviolent method, and validating fears that the leaders were—take your pick—extremists, rabble-rousers, too Christian, not Christian enough, too Southern, or insufficiently urban.
How—amid the noise and ambiguity, the internal struggles and self-doubts, the bone-deep weariness and constant fear of death—did the Birmingham leaders maintain their focus? And how might their example instruct the church today? Gilbreath gives four answers.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPrison/Prison MinistryRace/Race Relations* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2017 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The National Mall is a seat of democracy, a site for protest, and the home of the Smithsonian Institution. These truths converged in 1968, when antipoverty demonstrators staged a six-week campaign on “America’s front yard.” The Smithsonian had a front seat to “Resurrection City, USA,” the protesters’ name for their encampment. Today, a salvaged mural from the often-forgotten event is back on the Mall, in the collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The slogans of solidarity inscribed on the mural inspired curators Aaron Bryant (NMAAHC) and Mireya Loza (NMAH) to reflect on the campaign’s multiethnic character, while Kendra Greendeer (NMAI) brings the legacy forward to recount how American Indians and allies traversed the same hallowed ground at a recent march across the Mall.

Check it all out.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2017 at 1:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As [Ralph] Abernathy tells it–and I believe he is right–he and King were first of all Christians, then Southerners, and then blacks living under an oppressive segregationist regime. King of course came from the black bourgeoisie of Atlanta in which his father, “Daddy King,” had succeeded in establishing himself as a king. Abernathy came from much more modest circumstances, but he was proud of his heritage and, as he writes, wanted nothing more than that whites would address his father as Mr. Abernathy. He and Martin loved the South, and envisioned its coming into its own once the sin of segregation had been expunged.

“Years later,” Abernathy writes that, “after the civil rights movement had peaked and I had taken over [after Martin’s death] as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,” he met with Governor George Wallace. “Governor Wallace, by then restricted to a wheel chair after having been paralyzed by a would-be assassin’s bullet, shook hands with me and welcomed me to the State of Alabama. I smiled, realizing that he had forgotten all about Montgomery and Birmingham, and particularly Selma. ‘This is not my first visit,’ I said. ‘I was born in Alabama–in Marengo County.’ ‘Good,’ said Governor Wallace, ‘then welcome back.’ I really believe he meant it. In his later years he had become one of the greatest friends the blacks had ever had in Montgomery. Where once he had stood in the doorway and barred federal marshals from entering, he now made certain that our people were first in line for jobs, new schools, and other benefits of state government.” Abernathy concludes, “It was a time for reconciliations.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2017 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Have not many of us, in the weary way of life, felt, in some hours, how far easier it were to die than to live?

The martyr, when faced even by a death of bodily anguish and horror, finds in the very terror of his doom a strong stimulant and tonic. There is a vivid excitement, a thrill and fervor, which may carry through any crisis of suffering that is the birth-hour of eternal glory and rest.

But to live,—to wear on, day after day, of mean, bitter, low, harassing servitude, every nerve dampened and depressed, every power of feeling gradually smothered,—this long and wasting heart-martyrdom, this slow, daily bleeding away of the inward life, drop by drop, hour after hour,—this is the true searching test of what there may be in man or woman.

When Tom stood face to face with his persecutor, and heard his threats, and thought in his very soul that his hour was come, his heart swelled bravely in him, and he thought he could bear torture and fire, bear anything, with the vision of Jesus and heaven but just a step beyond; but, when he was gone, and the present excitement passed off, came back the pain of his bruised and weary limbs,—came back the sense of his utterly degraded, hopeless, forlorn estate; and the day passed wearily enough.

Long before his wounds were healed, Legree insisted that he should be put to the regular field-work; and then came day after day of pain and weariness, aggravated by every kind of injustice and indignity that the ill-will of a mean and malicious mind could devise. Whoever, in our circumstances, has made trial of pain, even with all the alleviations which, for us, usually attend it, must know the irritation that comes with it. Tom no longer wondered at the habitual surliness of his associates; nay, he found the placid, sunny temper, which had been the habitude of his life, broken in on, and sorely strained, by the inroads of the same thing. He had flattered himself on leisure to read his Bible; but there was no such thing as leisure there. In the height of the season, Legree did not hesitate to press all his hands through, Sundays and week-days alike. Why shouldn't he?—he made more cotton by it, and gained his wager; and if it wore out a few more hands, he could buy better ones. At first, Tom used to read a verse or two of his Bible, by the flicker of the fire, after he had returned from his daily toil; but, after the cruel treatment he received, he used to come home so exhausted, that his head swam and his eyes failed when he tried to read; and he was fain to stretch himself down, with the others, in utter exhaustion.

Is it strange that the religious peace and trust, which had upborne him hitherto, should give way to tossings of soul and despondent darkness? The gloomiest problem of this mysterious life was constantly before his eyes,—souls crushed and ruined, evil triumphant, and God silent. It was weeks and months that Tom wrestled, in his own soul, in darkness and sorrow. He thought of Miss Ophelia's letter to his Kentucky friends, and would pray earnestly that God would send him deliverance. And then he would watch, day after day, in the vague hope of seeing somebody sent to redeem him; and, when nobody came, he would crush back to his soul bitter thoughts,—that it was vain to serve God, that God had forgotten him. He sometimes saw Cassy; and sometimes, when summoned to the house, caught a glimpse of the dejected form of Emmeline, but held very little communion with either; in fact, there was no time for him to commune with anybody.

--Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2017 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



You can find the full text here.

I find it always is really worth the time to read and ponder it all on this day--KSH.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2017 at 7:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who by the hand of Moses thy servant didst lead thy people out of slavery, and didst make them free at last: Grant that thy Church, following the example of thy prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of thy love, and may strive to secure for all thy children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2017 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In terms of religion, this inauguration exhibits the confluence of two major currents of indigenous American spirituality.

One stream is represented by Norman Vincent Peale’s longtime bestseller “The Power of Positive Thinking” (1952). The famous Manhattan pastor is Trump’s tenuous connection to Christianity, having heard the preacher frequently in his youth. For Peale and his protege, the late Robert Schuller of Crystal Cathedral fame, the gospel of Christ’s death for human sin and resurrection for justification and everlasting life was transformed into a “feel-good” therapy. Self-esteem was the true salvation.

Another stream is represented by the most famous TV preachers, especially those associated with the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, T. D. Jakes, Joel Osteen and Paula White are the stars of this movement, known as Word of Faith.

Read it all from Michael Horton in the Washington Post.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology


Posted January 14, 2017 at 1:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all--NYC's finest indeed.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 14, 2017 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

James B. Johnson V’s arrest exemplifies what his attorney says is a modern “American tragedy” — an injury leads to painkiller addiction which, in turn, leads to heroin use.

“Local kid gets injured, gets hooked on opioids and can’t get off of them,” attorney D. Scott Lautner said Thursday. “This clearly shows the drug epidemic problem in the United States right now, that it affects everybody of different ages, sexes, religions and occupations.”

In this case, the addict is a police officer.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 13, 2017 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




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

0 Comments
Posted January 12, 2017 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

LAWTON: Immigration is going to be a really interesting issue to watch this coming year, and the years ahead, not just legal and illegal immigration, but also refugees coming in, and how the Trump administration handles that. And again, if any refugees—I mean the Obama administration set a goal for fiscal year 2017 of 110,000 refugees to be brought into this country. What’s going to happen to that?

DIONNE: I think that all disappears under the Trump administration

LAWTON: And, again, you had a pretty broad faith coalition—evangelicals, Catholics, mainline Protestants, Jews and others really coming together to say we want to bring people in, we want to help resettle them, and so they’re not going to be on board with some of that policy, and some of them, especially in the mainline Protestant community, have said, we’re going to make our churches sanctuary churches, so that rather than being deported, immigrants can come here and receive some kind of protection. So that’ll be a very interesting issue.

ABERNETHY: Many bits of action, too, all over the place, by police chiefs, by mayors already.

Read it all from PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


(Amazon)

What are the principles for which America fights? This is a trick question. Countries can pursue principles to the point of sparking conflict. They can invoke principles to raise morale. They can follow principles in waging war. But few principles can be turned into a casus belli without driving a country headlong into fanaticism.

It is fanaticism, America’s fanaticism, that the Pulitzer Prize–winning University of Pennsylvania historian Walter McDougall blames when he considers the strategic advantages the United States has squandered since Osama bin Laden led an attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. George W. Bush, whom Americans had elected to the White House a year before the attacks, really did say in their aftermath, “Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.” His administration named its original Afghan invasion plan Operation Infinite Justice. And McDougall has a particularly bleak assessment of the Iraq invasion that followed the attack on Afghanistan. “To speak of draining the swamps of Islamo-fascism through democratization of the whole Muslim crescent,” he writes, “was mad.”

If so, it was a madness that has been a signature of American foreign policy at least since the end of the Cold War.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 11, 2017 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christians are determined by the conviction that a brown-skinned Jew—whose body was publically tortured to death on a cross by a consortium of government and religious officials, and whose crucified body was resurrected from the dead, opening up the realm of God to people of every color, including people who believe their skin is without color—is the truth about God.

The invention of whiteness is the sin of designating humanity by reference to physical characteristics for the purpose of one race (white) dominating nonwhite races. Race is humanly conceived, structurally maintained, deeply personal, and (from a specifically Christian standpoint) sin.

Because power is used to maintain and institutionalize racial privilege, racism is more insidious than disorganized, infrequent racist acts by disconnected individuals. Though a social construction, rooted in sinful misunderstandings of our humanity in Christ, race is a political reality that has far-reaching economic, social, and individual deleterious consequences.

While race is a fiction, a human construction, racism is a fact.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 10, 2017 at 3:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Really, a team coached by Dabo Swinney couldn't have won a national championship any other way.

The Clemson coach's life story could have been written by Horatio Alger, the guy who invented the classic American success story, if Alger had a drawl and ever said, "Bring your own guts."

Swinney, the former walk-on wide receiver, won his first national championship against his alma mater -- the team that denied him a year ago, the monolithic defending national champion Alabama -- with 1 second to play, on a throw to a former walk-on wide receiver.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSportsYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted January 10, 2017 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the surface, Hollywood is a land of loose morals, where materialism rules, sex and drugs are celebrated on screen (and off), and power players can have a distant relationship with the truth. But movie studios and their partners have quietly — very quietly, sometimes to the degree of a black ops endeavor — been building deep connections to Christian filmgoers who dwell elsewhere on the spectrum of politics and social values. In doing so, they have tapped churches, military groups, right-leaning bloggers and, particularly, a fraternity of marketing specialists who cut their teeth on overtly religious movies but now put their influence behind mainstream works like “Frozen,” “The Conjuring,” “Sully” and “Hidden Figures.”

The marketers are writing bullet points for sermons, providing footage for television screens mounted in sanctuaries and proposing Sunday school lesson plans. In some cases, studios are even flying actors, costume designers and producers to megachurch discussion groups.

Hollywood’s awareness of its need to pay better attention to flyover-state audiences has grown even more urgent of late, as ultraliberal movie executives, shocked to see a celebrity-encircled Hillary Clinton lose the presidential election to Donald J. Trump, have realized the degree to which they are out of touch with a vast pool of Americans. Tens of millions of voters did not care what stars had to say in support of Mrs. Clinton.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Abroad, the summer Olympic games open in Brazil amid dire warnings about Zika, riots, muggers, muggers with Zika and windsurfers being attacked by predatory oceangoing feces. But the games for the most part go smoothly, the biggest glitch being when one of the diving pools mysteriously turns a dark, murky green. The mystery is finally solved when the pool is drained, revealing a Russian nuclear submarine, which Russia insists is in international waters.

In the athletic competition, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt becomes the first athlete ever to win the men’s 100 meter final wearing flip-flops....

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/dave-barry/article123321019.html#storylink=cpy

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 3, 2017 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(It is very difficult to set the stage for this scene, but some background will be helpful. Rayber is one of the novel's central characters and is strongly anti-Christian. He is looking as hard as he can for his nephew, Francis Tarwater, who has run away. This has led him to a small church service, likely a revival meeting, and he is watching what is occurring through a window. Rayber is unable to hear in one ear and in the other he wears a hearing device which sometimes vexes him. The "old man" is a reference to another key character in the novel, Mason Tarwater, whose death and desired burial form an important early part of the book. There is also a mention of Bishop who is Rayber's son and who appears to have Down's syndrome).

. . . A little girl hobbled into the spotlight.

Rayber cringed. Simply by the sight of her he could tell that she was not a fraud, that she was only exploited. She was eleven or twelve with a small delicate face and a head of black hair that looked too thick and heavy for a frail child to support. A cape like her mother's was turned back over one shoulder and her skirt was short as if better to reveal the thin legs twisted from the knees. She held her arms over her head for a moment. "I want to tell you people the story of the world," she said in a loud high child's voice. "I want to tell you why Jesus came and what happened to Him. I want to tell you how He'll come again. I want to tell you to be ready. Most of all," she said, "I want to tell you to be ready so that on the last day you'll rise in the glory of the Lord."

Rayber's fury encompassed the parents, the preacher, all the idiots he could not see who were sitting in front of the child, parties to her degradation. She believed it, she was locked tight in it, chained hand and foot, exactly as he had been, exactly as only a child could be. He felt the taste of his own childhood pain laid again on his tongue like a bitter wafer.

"Do you know who Jesus is?" she cried. "Jesus is the word of God and Jesus is love. The Word of God is love and do you know what love is, you people? If you don't know what love is you won't know Jesus when He comes. You won't be ready. I want to tell you people the story of the world, how it never known when love come, so when love comes again, you'll be ready."

She moved back and forth across the stage, frowning as if she were trying to see the people through the fierce circle of light that followed her. "Listen to me, you people," she said, "God was angry with the world because it always wanted more. It wanted as much as God had and it didn't know what God had but it wanted it and more. It wanted God's own breath, it wanted His very Word and God said, 'I'll make my Word Jesus, I'll give them my Word for a king, I'll give them my very breath for theirs.'

"Listen, you people," she said and flung her arms wide, "God told the world He was going to send it a king and the world waited. The world thought, a golden fleece will do for His bed. Silver and gold and peacock tails, a thousand suns in a peacock's tail will do for His sash. His mother will ride on a four-horned white beast and use the sunset for a cape. She'll trail it behind her over the ground and let the world pull it to pieces, a new one every evening."

To Rayber she was like one of those birds blinded to make it sing more sweetly. Her voice had the tone of a glass bell. His pity encompassed all exploited children--himself when he was a child, Tarwater exploited by the old man, this child exploited by parents, Bishop exploited by the very fact that he was alive.

"The world said, 'How long, Lord, do we have to wait for this?' And the Lord said, 'My Word is coming, my Word is coming from the house of David, the king.'" She paused and turned her head to the side, away from the fierce light. Her dark gaze moved slowly until it rested on Rayber's head in the window. He stared back at her. Her eyes remained on his face for a moment. A deep shock went through him. He was certain that the child had looked directly into his heart and seen his pity. He felt that some mysterious connection was established between them.

"'My Word is coming,'" she said, turning back to face the glare, "'my Word is coming from the house of David, the king.'"

She began again in a dirge-like tone. "Jesus came on cold straw. Jesus was warmed by the breath of an ox. 'Who is this?' the world said, 'who is this blue-cold child and this woman, plain as the winter? Is this the Word of God, this blue-cold child? Is this His will, this plain winter-woman?'

"Listen you people!" she cried, "the world knew in its heart, the same as you know in your hearts and I know in my heart. The world said, 'Love cuts like the cold wind and the will of God is plain as the winter. Where is the summer will of God? Where are the green seasons of God's will? Where is the spring and summer of God's will?'


"They had to flee into Egypt," she said in a low voice and turned her head again and this time her eyes moved directly to Rayber's face in the window and he knew they sought it. He felt himself caught up in her look, held there before the judgment seat of her eyes.

"You and I know," she said turning again, "what the world hoped then. The world hoped old Herod would slay the right child, the world hoped old Herod wouldn't waste those children, but he wasted them. He didn't get the right one. Jesus grew up and raised the dead."

Rayber felt his spirit borne aloft. But not those dead! he cried, not the innocent children, not you, not me when I was a child, not Bishop, not Frank! and he had a vision of himself moving like an avenging angel through the world, gathering up all the children that the Lord, not Herod, had slain.

"Jesus grew up and raised the dead," she cried, "and the world shouted, 'Leave the dead lie. The dead are dead and can stay that way. What do we want with the dead alive?' Oh you people!" she shouted, "they nailed Him to a cross and run a spear through His side and then they said, 'Now we can have some peace, now we can ease our minds.' And they hadn't but only said it when they wanted Him to come again. Their eyes were opened and they saw the glory they had killed.

"Listen world," she cried, flinging up her arms so that the cape flew out behind her, "Jesus is coming again! The mountains are going to lie down like hounds at His feet, the stars are going to perch on His shoulder and when He calls it, the sun is going to fall like a goose for His feast. Will you know the Lord Jesus then? The mountains will know Him and bound forward, the stars will light on His head, the sun will drop down at His feet, but will you know the Lord Jesus then?"

Rayber saw himself fleeing with the child to some enclosed garden where he would teach her the truth, where he would gather all the exploited children of the world and let the sunshine flood their minds.

"If you don't know Him now, you won't know Him then. Listen to me, world, listen to this warning. The Holy Word is in my mouth!

"The Holy Word is in my mouth!" she cried and turned her eyes again on his face in the window. This time there was a lowering concentration in her gaze. He had drawn her attention entirely away from the congregation.

Come away with me! he silently implored, and I'll teach you the truth, I'll save you, beautiful child!

Her eyes still fixed on him, she cried, "I've seen the Lord in a tree of fire! The Word of God is a burning Word to burn you clean!" She was moving in his direction, the people in front of her forgotten. Rayber's heart began to race. He felt some miraculous communication between them. The child alone in the world was meant to understand him. "Burns the whole world, man and child," she cried, her eye on him, "none can escape." She stopped a little distance from the end of the stage and stood silent, her whole attention directed across the small room to his face on the ledge. Her eyes were large and dark and fierce. He felt that in the space between them, their spirits had broken the bonds of age and ignorance and were mingling in some unheard of knowledge of each other. He was transfixed by the child's silence. Suddenly she raised her arm and pointed toward his face. "Listen you people," she shrieked, "I see a damned soul before my eyes! I see a dead man Jesus hasn't raised. His head is in the window but his ear is deaf to the Holy Word!"

Rayber's head, as if it had been struck by an invisible bolt, dropped from the ledge. He crouched on the ground, his furious spectacled eyes glittering behind the shrubbery. Inside she continued to shriek, "Are you deaf to the Lord's Word? The Word of God is a burning Word to burn you clean, burns man and child, man and child the same, you people! Be saved in the Lord's fire or perish in your own! Be saved in . . ."

He was groping fiercely about him, slapping at his coat pockets, his head, his chest, not able to find the switch that would cut off the voice. Then his hand touched the button and he snapped it. A silent dark relief enclosed him like shelter after a tormenting wind.

--The Violent Bear It Away (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1960), pp.129-132 [my emphasis]

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryPoetry & Literature* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted January 2, 2017 at 9:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Washington went on to express his gratitude for the support of "my countrymen" and the "army in general." This reference to his soldiers ignited feelings so intense, he had to grip the speech with both hands to keep it steady. He continued: "I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God and those who have the superintendence of them [Congress] to his holy keeping."

For a long moment, Washington could not say another word. Tears streamed down his cheeks. The words touched a vein of religious faith in his inmost soul, born of battlefield experiences that had convinced him of the existence of a caring God who had protected him and his country again and again during the war. Without this faith he might never have been able to endure the frustrations and rage he had experienced in the previous eight months.

Washington then drew from his coat a parchment copy of his appointment as commander in chief. "Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theater of action and bidding farewell to this august body under whom I have long acted, I here offer my commission and take leave of all the employments of public life." Stepping forward, he handed the document to Mifflin.

This was -- is -- the most important moment in American history.

The man who could have dispersed this feckless Congress and obtained for himself and his soldiers rewards worthy of their courage was renouncing absolute power. By this visible, incontrovertible act, Washington did more to affirm America's government of the people than a thousand declarations by legislatures and treatises by philosophers.

Thomas Jefferson, author of the greatest of these declarations, witnessed this drama as a delegate from Virginia. Intuitively, he understood its historic dimension. "The moderation. . . . of a single character," he later wrote, "probably prevented this revolution from being closed, as most others have been, by a subversion of that liberty it was intended to establish."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 28, 2016 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly here or download it there.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & Television* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted December 27, 2016 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Federal authorities warned Friday that ISIS sympathizers "continue aspirational calls for attacks on holiday gatherings, including targeting churches."

The bulletin was issued by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security and issued to law enforcement agencies and private security companies around the US.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 24, 2016 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The U.S. government quietly began requesting that select foreign visitors provide their Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts upon arriving in the country, a move designed to spot potential terrorist threats that drew months of opposition from tech giants and privacy hawks alike.

Since Tuesday, foreign travelers arriving in the United States on the visa waiver program have been presented with an “optional” request to “enter information associated with your online presence,” a government official confirmed Thursday. The prompt includes a drop-down menu that lists platforms including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, as well as a space for users to input their account names on those sites.

Read it all

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

0 Comments
Posted December 23, 2016 at 7:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The technology allows for an inexpensive and portable breathlyser-style device, which costs as little as £24 and is able to screen for various diseases in a non-invasive way.

Lead author Professor Hossam Haick, said: "We found that just as we each have a unique fingerprint, each of the diseases we studied has an unique breath print, a 'signature' of chemical components.

"We have a device which can discriminate between them, which is elegant and affordable."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 22, 2016 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a year when U.S. restaurant chains have bemoaned sluggish traffic, competition from supermarket food and even the chilling effect of the presidential election, one area has continued to thrive: pizza.

Shares of Domino’s Pizza Inc. are up 45 percent this year. And Papa John’s International Inc. is up more than 60 percent. Compare that with a 3.4 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Restaurants Index.

The reasons are pizza is cheap, fast and increasingly easy to get -- thanks to user-friendly mobile-ordering apps and technology that lets diners order from Facebook, Twitter and Apple TV. That’s helped insulate pizza chains from a shift away from eating out.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/Nutrition* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted December 22, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s also commonly asserted by our liberal critics that it is not the type of theology that matters for church growth but whether the theology is believed strongly and articulated clearly. However, we would suggest that different convictions, though equally strong and clear, produce different outcomes.

For example, all the growing church clergy in our study, because of their theological outlook, held the conviction that it is “very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians.” As theological conservatives, these pastors believe Jesus is the only way to salvation and that they must “Go and make disciples everywhere.”

Conversely, half the clergy at the declining churches held the opposite conviction, believing it is not desirable to convert non-Christians. As theological liberals, these pastors believe there are many paths to salvation and that it’s culturally insensitive to peddle your beliefs on those outside your religious community. Comparing the two theological outlooks, which do you think is more likely to generate church growth?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Canada* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

0 Comments
Posted December 21, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

No one knew what was in the baggie. It was just a few tablespoons of crystalline powder seized back in April, clumped like snow that had partially melted and frozen again.

Emily Dye, a 27-year-old forensic chemist at the Drug Enforcement Administration's Special Testing and Research Laboratory, did not know if anyone had died from taking this powder, or how much it would take to kill you.

What she did know was this: New drugs were appearing in the lab every other week, things never before seen in this unmarked gray building in Sterling, Virginia. Increasingly, these new compounds were synthetic opioids designed to mimic fentanyl, a prescription painkiller up to 50 times stronger than heroin.

This, Dye realized, could be one of them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 21, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This [Will] Herberg challenge radically affected Oden's work in the 1970s, as he evolved from backing an edgy liberalism to spreading an ecumenical approach to orthodoxy in shelves of books. Oden kept publishing into the final years of his life, until his Dec. 8 death at the age of 85. "Here was a guy who -- until his mid-40s -- had been a success on that career track in the contemporary academy," said Seamands. Oden had a Yale University doctorate and thrived in an era "built on the idea that new is better and that you looked down on anything old. You were supposed to idealize whatever people called the latest thing. That's how you got ahead."

In the 1950s, Oden embraced Marxism, existentialism and the demythologization of Scripture. He was an early leader among Christians supporting abortion rights. In the 1960s he plunged into transactional analysis, Gestalt therapy, parapsychology and what, in one of my first encounters with him, he called "mild forms of the occult."

As he dug into early church writings from the ancient East and West, Oden came to the conclusion that "I had been in love with heresy." In a 2012 interview with Good News magazine, Oden explained: "My basic question early on in the 1970s was, is the Resurrection really just an idea or is it a fact of history? ... Did this Jesus rise from the dead? Not symbolically, not just as a fragile memory of the earliest Christian rememberers, not just as an ever-questionable matter of fallible human remembering, but did Jesus actually rise from the dead. And finally, I did believe. And that changed my life."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted December 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s an auctioneer’s jackpot dream. A man walks in off the street, opens a portfolio of drawings, and there, mixed in with the jumble of routine low-value items, is a long-lost work by Leonardo da Vinci.

And that, more or less, is what happened to Thaddée Prate, director of old master pictures at the Tajan auction house here, which is to announce on Monday the discovery of a drawing that a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art says is by Leonardo, the Renaissance genius and master draftsman. Tajan values the work at 15 million euros, or about $15.8 million. On Thursday, this reporter was ushered into Tajan’s private viewing room, where the drawing, of the martyred St. Sebastian, about 7½ inches by 5 inches, stood resplendent in an Italian Renaissance gold frame on an old wooden easel.

In March, Mr. Prate recalled being “in a bit of a rush” when a retired doctor visited Tajan with 14 unframed drawings that had been collected by his bibliophile father. (The owner’s name and residence somewhere in “central France” remain a closely guarded secret, at his request.) Mr. Prate spotted a vigorous pen-and-ink study of St. Sebastian tied to a tree, inscribed on the mount “Michelange” (Michelangelo).

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted December 17, 2016 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


[Denmark] Vesey planned an audacious insurrection involving thousands of black people in the Charleston area, free and enslaved, whom he had quietly recruited. They would raid the city's arsenals and burn the city to the ground. It was to be the largest, bloodiest slave revolt on American soil.

But another member of the African Church told his master about the plot, and Vesey and his fellow conspirators were rounded up, tried, convicted and hanged. The African Church was burned to the ground. The thwarted rebellion terrified Charleston's white leaders and slave owners, who moved to outlaw black churches and forced the African Church's congregation to worship for decades in secret. After Emancipation in 1865, the congregation formally reassembled. Vesey's son was said to be among the people who helped build their new house of worship that the congregants called "Emanuel," which means, "God with us."

But to the folks in Charleston's black community, it was known affectionately as Mother Emanuel.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted December 17, 2016 at 8:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Late Thursday, [Jennifer] Pinckney drove home after a jury found Dylann Roof guilty of all 33 charges against him, including hate crimes and religious obstruction. She prepared to speak with her girls again. This time, she could tell them that a jury had found the man who killed their father guilty. At the least, he would spend his life in prison.

"The first step is over," Pinckney said. "It gave us at least a little bit of closure before the holidays and before we get going again in January."

She hopes the penalty phase of Roof's trial, set to start Jan. 3, goes as quickly as the first.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventChristmasLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 16, 2016 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Seth and his girlfriend of many years were already engaged when he discovered she had cheated on him. It was only once, with a co-worker, but the betrayal stung. “I had jealousy, insecurity, anger, fear,” he recalls. “It was really hard to talk about it.” He wondered whether his fiancée’s infidelity meant there was something fundamentally wrong with their otherwise loving relationship. He worried it was a sign that their marriage would be doomed. He also still felt guilty about an indiscretion of his own years earlier, when he’d had a one-night stand with an acquaintance. “I knew that what I had done meant nothing,” said Seth, a New York-based entrepreneur in his early 30s. “It felt like a bit of an adventure, and I went for it.” But anxiety about these dalliances gnawed at his conscience. How could he and his fiancée promise to be monogamous for a lifetime if they were already struggling to stay loyal to each other? Did their momentary lapses of judgment spell bigger problems for their union?

For help answering these questions, Seth and his partner went to Esther Perel, a Belgian-born psychotherapist who is renowned for her work with couples. Her two TED talks – about the challenge of maintaining passion in long-term relationships and the temptations of infidelity – have been viewed over 15m times. Her bestselling 2006 book “Mating in Captivity”, translated into 26 languages, skilfully examined our conflicting needs for domestic security and erotic novelty. Recently she has taken her work further, into more controversial terrain. Her forthcoming book “The State of Affairs”, expected in late 2017, addresses the thorny matter of why people stray and how we should handle it when they do. When Perel is not seeing clients in New York, she is travelling the world speaking to packed conferences and ideas festivals about the elusiveness of desire in otherwise contented relationships. After Seth saw Perel speak at one such conference, he sought her out for guidance with his fiancée.

“Esther helped us understand that perfection is not possible in relationships,” he explains to me. With Perel’s help, Seth and his fiancée have come to embrace a relationship they are calling “monogamish” – that is, they will aspire to be faithful to each other, but also tolerate the occasional fling. “It just never occurred to us that this is something we could strive for,” he says. “But why should everything we built be destroyed by a minor infidelity?”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologyWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Europe* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 16, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For many NPR fans, Billy Collins needs no introduction. The former Poet Laureate is widely acknowledged as America's most popular poet, regularly popping up on national best-seller lists (terra incognita for most poets, even beloved ones).

Public radio fans might know him best from his frequent appearances on A Prairie Home Companion ... or may remember his lack of Phil Collins know-how, as displayed on Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me.

So when Collins sat down with NPR for a reading on Facebook Live, we didn't have to do much work to drum up an audience. The comments were quickly filled with his longtime fans.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted December 14, 2016 at 2:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He once described his theological pilgrimage to me as a series of twists and turns that carried him through liberalism, the social gospel, psychotherapy, and neo-orthodoxy, before eventually bringing him back home to classical Christianity, or what he preferred to call “paleo-orthodoxy.” Oden’s earlier years as leftward-leaning theologian can be traced through his publications, engagement, and interaction with Rudolph Bultmann (1964), Karl Barth (1969), and Soren Kierkegaard (1978). Each of these publications seemed to move him closer to historical orthodoxy, even as he explored the relationship of theology to psychotherapy in various works along the way (1967.1969, 1972,1974), always with an eye on pastoral ministry and the relationship of theology to the church.

In 1979, he sent a wake-up call to others, inviting them to join in his return to convictional and classical orthodoxy with the volume, Agenda for Theology. This publication served as the forerunner for his carefully-conceived, comprehensively-designed, and thoughtfully-written, three-volume systematic theology (1987, 1989, 1992), which drew deeply on the writings of the church fathers. The heartbeat and message of these three volumes were summarized in one of my favorite works, The Rebirth of Orthodoxy (2003). Oden, the Wesleyan theologian, joined with his Calvinist friend J. I. Packer to co-author an important resource on the confessional consensus of believers through the ages, the faith once for all delivered to the saints, which was called, One Faith: The Evangelical Consensus.

Oden’s massive theological project recognized that modernity did not satisfy and that the curiosity for the new, the novel, and the creative did not in itself serve the church well.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksRace/Race Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted December 14, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Every Thanksgiving for the past 10 years, George Dimopoulos has done something amazing.

It's not that he shuts down his Northville, Michigan restaurant, called George's Senate Coney Island. It's that he opens it up even more than usual.

If you are homeless or even just alone for Thanksgiving (or Easter!), you can get a free meal at George's.

"I'm a very good cook," he told TODAY.com. "I cook a lot of good food, and I give a lot of food to people. I don't tell people that I do this; I do this because I believe in God and believe that there are people who need a little help."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 12, 2016 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How might Williams go about “contextualizing” the Haystack Monument?

The monument’s bicentennial celebration in 2006 provides clues. The weekend events included twilight vespers, panel discussions on the meaning of mission work today, and Sunday worship services. But the event also featured a critical reflection in which Prof. Denise Buell argued that Christian missionary work is “a justification” for violent forms of cultural imperialism.

All of this reflects what Glenn Shuck, a scholar who taught courses on the history of Christianity at Williams for over a decade, calls the college’s “ironic relationship” with the monument: It is a memorial to something important that happened on campus—but not something of which the college’s faculty is necessarily proud. According to Mr. Shuck, many Williams faculty members regard efforts to translate the Bible into other languages to spread Christianity as inherently racist and imperialist, a view he does not share.

Despite the recent media tempest about the Haystack Monument, the statue seems relatively uncontroversial among students. I spoke with about 15 students walking by the monument this week, and none knew what it represented. Once told, not one took offense.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissions* Culture-WatchEducationHistoryReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 9, 2016 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


(Amazon)

Michael Lewis’s brilliant book celebrates Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, Israeli-American psychologists who are our age’s apostles of doubt about human reason. The timing is fortunate, given that overconfident experts may have caused and then failed to predict such momentous events as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.

Mr. Kahneman and Tversky (who died in 1996) first started working together in 1969. They were well-matched. The Holocaust survivor Mr. Kahneman chronically doubted even himself. The brash Tversky targeted his doubts toward others, especially (as one acquaintance noted) “people who don’t know the difference between knowing and not knowing.” Testing people with quizzes in their laboratory, they found a host of “cognitive biases” afflicting rational thinking.

One bias they found is that we underestimate uncertainty. In hindsight bias, for example, test subjects misremembered their own predictions as being correct. As Tversky explained, “we find ourselves unable to predict what will happen; yet, after the fact we explain what did happen with a great deal of confidence. . . . It leads us to believe that there is a less uncertain world than there actually is.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryPsychologyScience & TechnologySports* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsrael* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 9, 2016 at 5:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Theologian Thomas C. Oden, one of Methodism’s and American Christianity’s most esteemed theologians, passed away at his home in Oklahoma last night.

An emeritus board member who chaired the board of the Institute on Religion & Democracy in Washington, D.C. for six years, Oden was also professor emeritus at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

Oden remained a prolific writer in his final years. A scholar of the Early Church Fathers, he edited the nearly two dozen volume Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. His most recent books are on early African Christianity and on the social ethics of John Wesley, including Systematic Theology and most recently Turning Around the Mainline and How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind.

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 ChurchesMethodist* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

1 Comments
Posted December 8, 2016 at 4:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In just five hours on Feb. 20, 1962, Mr. Glenn joined a select roster of Americans whose feats have seized the country’s imagination and come to embody a moment in its history, figures like Lewis and Clark, the Wright brothers and Charles Lindbergh.

To the America of the 1960s, Mr. Glenn was a clean-cut, good-natured, well-grounded Midwesterner, raised in Presbyterian rectitude, nurtured in patriotism and tested in war, who stepped forward to risk the unknown and succeeded spectacularly, lifting his country’s morale and restoring its self-confidence.

It was an anxious nation that watched and listened that February morning, as Mr. Glenn, 40 years old, a Marine Corps test pilot and one of the seven original American astronauts, climbed into Friendship 7, the tiny Mercury capsule atop an Atlas rocket rising from the concrete flats of Cape Canaveral in Florida.

Read it all from the NYT.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2016 at 3:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The dead appeared in court today, staring out from video monitors at their families and friends, their congregation’s pastor, a federal judge, a jury and Dylann Storm Roof, the man charged with firing more than 60 bullets into the nine of them in an effort to start a race war in America.

U.S. attorney Jay Richardson, prosecuting Roof on 33 counts of federal hate crimes, used his opening statement to introduce jurors to the men and women he said Roof killed during a church basement Bible study on June 17, 2015.

As their pictures appeared, Richardson sketched them in words: the Rev. Clementa Pinckney: pastor, husband, father; the Rev. Daniel Simmons: spiritual guide; the Rev. Sharonda Singleton: ray of sunshine, loving mother, track coach; the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor: singer, whose four young daughters always carried milkshakes to church; Cynthia Hurd: wife, sister, librarian; Ethel Lance: grandmother, church usher; Susie Jackson: called Aunt Susie by everyone, proud matriarch of the sprawling Jackson family; Tywanza Sanders, 26, a man just beginning to see the promise of an extraordinarily bright future; and Myra Thompson, leading her first Bible study.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2016 at 11:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I am speaking to you tonight at a very serious moment in our history. The Cabinet is convening and the leaders in Congress are meeting with the President. The State Department and Army and Navy officials have been with the President all afternoon. In fact, the Japanese ambassador was talking to the president at the very time that Japan's airships were bombing our citizens in Hawaii and the Phillippines and sinking one of our transports loaded with lumber on its way to Hawaii.

By tomorrow morning the members of Congress will have a full report and be ready for action.

In the meantime, we the people are already prepared for action. For months now the knowledge that something of this kind might happen has been hanging over our heads and yet it seemed impossible to believe, impossible to drop the everyday things of life and feel that there was only one thing which was important - preparation to meet an enemy no matter where he struck. That is all over now and there is no more uncertainty.

We know what we have to face and we know that we are ready to face it.

Read it all.

Update: Through the onders of the internet you hear it live there.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon




The word "survivor" seems especially fitting when describing Ray Chavez — a 104-year-old gym rat who defies his age. Chavez first became a survivor on Dec. 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor.

"I can't forget it. I never will," he says of the attack.

Chavez was stationed at the U.S. naval base when the bombing started.

"I got very emotional that day. There were so many, many innocent people that were lost," he said.

Read it all (and the video is highly recommended).

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

0 Comments
Posted December 7, 2016 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




It is worth the time to look at them all.

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

0 Comments
Posted December 7, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* General InterestPhotos/Photography* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaJapan

2 Comments
Posted December 7, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By all appearances, we’re in a golden age of innovation. Every month sees new advances in artificial intelligence, gene therapy, robotics and software apps. Research and development as a share of gross domestic product is near an all-time high. There are more scientists and engineers in the U.S. than ever before.

None of this has translated into meaningful advances in Americans’ standard of living.

Economies grow by equipping an expanding workforce with more capital such as equipment, software and buildings, then combining capital and labor more creatively. This last element, called “total factor productivity,” captures the contribution of innovation. Its growth peaked in the 1950s at 3.4% a year as prior breakthroughs such as electricity, aviation and antibiotics reached their maximum impact. It has steadily slowed since and averaged a pathetic 0.5% for the current decade.

Outside of personal technology, improvements in everyday life have been incremental, not revolutionary.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you went to Sunday school, you heard the story of Jonah and chances are you remember that he was swallowed by a whale. But what often gets forgotten is the story’s larger theme. Jonah is given a divine message and is instructed to deliver it to a people on the verge of calamity but, for some specific reasons, he’s reluctant.

Minus hearing the voice of God, for the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt a little like Jonah.

The information I’m delivering relates to a study some colleagues and I conducted that explored mainline Protestant churches. Since the 1960s, churches in the Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and United denominations have been steadily losing members and we wanted to determine why.

Through statistical analysis of survey data from a near-even mix of growing and declining church attendees and their clergy, we found that conservative religious doctrine, known for emphasizing a more literal interpretation of scripture, is a key driver for church growth in mainline Protestant congregations. Liberal doctrine, which emphasizes a metaphorical interpretation, leads to decline.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Canada* Theology

2 Comments
Posted December 5, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It's 8 a.m. Sunday at St. Hilda's in Catonsville, and the priest in the pulpit wears a white robe and green chasuble to celebrate the Episcopal Mass — a formal liturgy with roots that date to the 16th century.

Two hours later, he has exchanged the alb and chasuble for a black Joe Flacco jersey to lead an evangelical service — his language now part Billy Graham, part Rodney Dangerfield.

Read it all from the Baltimore Sun.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...before we shout, we need to pay proper attention to the voices of those whose votes have caused this revolution, whether or not we like what we hear.

On both sides of the Atlantic, there has been an almighty cry of anger from a dispossessed and mar­­­­­­­­ginalised working class — the s­o-called “victims of globalisation”. Such people feel frozen out of the post-crash economy, their wages shrinking in real terms while the rich get ever richer. They are routinely accused of xenophobia, or worse, when they express concerns about changes imposed on their com­munities by those who live far away. In the UK, they feel abandoned by the institutions that were formed to represent them: austerity-stricken local government, the Labour Party, and the demutualised building soc­i­eties.

If the C of E was still adequately present in areas of deprivation, it would not have been surprised at the revolution in popular politics that this anger caused (Comment, 1 July). But it has become so discon­nected from many of these communities that it no longer hears what they are saying, let alone amplifies their voices to the nation. And, until the Church re-invests in urban ministry, places the best leaders in the most deprived parishes, and returns to the estates it has abandoned, these voices will continue to go un­­heard.

The Church’s agenda is being set not by the poor, but by academia, the moneyed elites, and certain sections of the secular media.

Read it all from the Church Times.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 3, 2016 at 9:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The House is scheduled to vote Friday on the National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation is passed annually to set the military’s budget and settle other policy issues. A significant hangup had been Democratic opposition to a provision known as the “Russell amendment,” which would have clarified conscience protections for religious groups that receive federal contracts. The amendment is named after Rep. Steve Russell (R., Okla.), who offered the amendment at the House Armed Services Committee.

Forty-two Democratic senators signed an Oct. 25 letter opposing the Russell amendment. They claim it would have authorized bigotry by allowing religiously affiliated contractors to “engage in discriminatory hiring practices” or even to fire employees for using birth control or in vitro fertilization. These accusations are grossly inaccurate, but they led to the amendment’s removal from the final bill. The U.S. now risks losing the crucial work religious service providers do for communities with the support of federal contracts.

Every day, stories of grace and mercy are being written as people of faith help those in need. Catholic Charities has helped single moms fill their basic needs. The Mormon Church, through LDS Charities, has donated wheelchairs to hundreds of thousands of people. The University Muslim Medical Association Community Clinic in Los Angeles provides care for thousands of people in a desperate part of town. The Jewish Social Service Agency supports families of children with autism. Samaritans Purse provides disaster relief across the world.

These groups are being marginalized by the federal government. What happened?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.


Posted December 3, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Perhaps progressives hope and expect that, under the heavy weight of the law, traditionalists will abandon their religious conviction that sexual relations should be confined to marriage between a man and a woman. If that is the expectation, then the project would appear to be one in suppression or elimination: disagreements about marriage and sexuality should be eliminated by using law to make one side disappear.

More commonly, though, what we hear from the progressive side is that the Christian florist and photographer and marriage counselor are still free to retain their private religious convictions about marriage. They simply cannot act on those convictions while carrying on the business of florist or photographer or counselor. Such religious commitments should be left behind when the believer enters the public square. If a believer is unwilling or unable to make that sacrifice, then she should stay at home or find some other line of work.

This position is overtly segregationist in its strategy for dealing with religious diversity. Those who take this view are analogous to the 1960s segregationist who said, “Of course there’s a place for you: it just isn’t here (in this school, or this section of the bus, or this end of the lunch counter).” In that respect, it is the contemporary progressive, not the Christian florist or photographer, who is the faithful heir of Jim Crow.

Read it all from Professor Steven Smith at PD.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMulticulturalism, pluralismRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted December 2, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New video, obtained by ABC News, shows Farook two days before the attack practicing at a local firing range with a pistol and an assault rifle that a friend bought for him

The video shows Farook adjusting the sights on his rifle and then firing at paper torso silhouette targets, one of which was later recovered in the shooters’ vehicle and led authorities to the range.

“They had high-powered weaponry. They had lots of ammunition. They had bombs at their disposal,” said Burguan.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 2, 2016 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The election of Donald Trump has lifted fringe ideologies, such as the alt-right, and little-known political figures, such as Trump’s immigration adviser Kris Kobach, to new levels of national prominence.

It has also elevated a group of evangelical Christian leaders and traditions that are often treated as marginal. Specifically, Trump’s victory has been an unlikely triumph for the prosperity gospel, as well as for a handful of prosperity-oriented preachers from the world of African American televangelism.

The president-elect identifies as a Presbyterian. But his rhetoric during the campaign often reflected the language of the prosperity gospel, a diffuse American Christian movement that links faith, positive thinking and material wealth into “the American religion of winning,” as journalist Jeff Sharlet described it this year.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology


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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It has never been easy to put a Muslim character on American screens.

Even in this TV renaissance, most characters are on shows that rely on terrorism — or at least, terrorist-adjacent — story lines. Other kinds of Muslim characters are woefully absent across the dial. Could that change now, after a divisive presidential campaign that included vows by Donald J. Trump to stop Islamic immigration? Or will it be more difficult than ever?

Less than two weeks after Election Day, five showrunners gathered in New York to discuss the representation of Muslims on TV. Howard Gordon, a creator of “24” and “Homeland,” has faced these issues the longest; after “24” emerged as a lightning rod for its stereotyped depictions, he engaged with Islamic community groups to broaden his understanding. (Mr. Gordon is an executive producer of the rebooted “24: Legacy,” debuting in February.) Joshua Safran is the creator of “Quantico,” an ABC series about F.B.I. operatives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted December 1, 2016 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Former NFL player Jason Brown was earning millions of dollars on the gridiron but, at the height of his career, he left it all behind to pursue a wildly-different life on the farm focused on giving.

Watch it all from NBC. For those interested, there is more there.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionPovertyReligion & CultureSports* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 29, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The problem is deeper. Trump’s campaign succeeded in spite of the cast-iron demonstrations of his total indifference to truth (not to mention decency). It has offered not a connected strategy for national reconstruction, but an incoherent series of crowd-pleasing postures; as if Trump’s real aim was not to do anything as president but simply to be president, to be the most important man in the Western world. This election represents a divorce between the electoral process and the business of political decision-making. It is the ersatz politics of mass theatre, in which what matters most is the declaration of victory.

As such, it is the most cynical betrayal of those who are disenfranchised. It confirms that they have no part in real political processes; they can only choose their monarch. They have become detached from the work of politics by the erosion of liberties and economic opportunities – one reason why there is such pressure to displace this on to a feverish defence of archaic “freedoms” such as gun ownership, and on to whatever scapegoated minority can be held responsible for unemployment or general insecurity.

The politics of mass democracy has failed. It has been narrowed down to a mechanism for managing large-scale interests in response to explicit and implicit lobbying by fabulously well-resourced commercial and financial concerns (ironically, one of the things that Trump has undertaken to change). The 2008 financial crisis sent a tremor through that world but failed to change its workings. The effect has been a growing assumption that what goes on in public political debate does not represent any voices other than the privileged and self-interested. And so, for significant parts of a population, “theatrical” politics comes to look like the only option: a dramatic articulation of the problems of powerlessness, for which the exact details of economic or social reality are irrelevant. This delivers people into the hands of another kind of dishonest politics: the fact-free manipulation of emotion by populist adventurers.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted November 29, 2016 at 6:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Following a bruising presidential election, some Americans are afraid of the future. Others feel that the tumult of the campaign was necessary to disrupt business as usual. Multitudes feel that the country has lost its way, while just as many believe that the nation has finally found its footing. No doubt millions of people have witnessed these divisions at their own Thanksgiving feasts.

Many of us in the religious world wonder: How can we bridge this chasm and unify our body politic? How does the country close the fault line that divides the U.S. in half? Is it possible to stand for what we believe is right while still being civil toward the friends, family and neighbors who supported the “wrong” candidate? The way forward lies not in politics, but in something that binds us together as human beings: the simple act of giving to others.

Giving has long been invoked as a healing counterpoint to the darker sides of human nature. Tzedakah—the Jewish concept of donating at least 10% of one’s income to charity—comes from the Hebrew word for justice, or righteousness. Generosity is also at the heart of Christianity, and it is one of the five pillars of Islam.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted November 27, 2016 at 11:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the summer of 2015, armed American drones over eastern Syria stalked Junaid Hussain, an influential hacker and recruiter for the Islamic State.

For weeks, Mr. Hussain was careful to keep his young stepson by his side, and the drones held their fire. But late one night, Mr. Hussain left an internet cafe alone, and minutes later a Hellfire missile killed him as he walked between two buildings in Raqqa, Syria, the Islamic State’s de facto capital.

Mr. Hussain, a 21-year-old from Birmingham, England, was a leader of a band of English-speaking computer specialists who had given a far-reaching megaphone to Islamic State propaganda and exhorted online followers to carry out attacks in the West. One by one, American and allied forces have killed the most important of roughly a dozen members of the cell, which the F.B.I. calls “the Legion,” as part of a secretive campaign that has largely silenced a powerful voice that led to a surge of counterterrorism activity across the United States in 2015 as young men and women came under the influence of its propaganda.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingReligion & CultureScience & TechnologyViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is hard to imagine America's favorite holiday as a source of political controversy. But that was the case in 1789, the year of our first Thanksgiving as a nation.

The controversy began on Sept. 25 in New York City, then the seat of government. The inaugural session of the first Congress was about to recess when Rep. Elias Boudinot of New Jersey rose to introduce a resolution. He asked the House to create a joint committee with the Senate to "wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God."

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 24, 2016 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


(Alexander Gardner)

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

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

0 Comments
Posted November 24, 2016 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


(Gilbert Stuart)

[New York, 3 October 1789]

By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor–and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be–That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions–to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

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

0 Comments
Posted November 24, 2016 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seventy-seven percent of Americans, a new high, believe the nation is divided on the most important values, while 21% believe it is united and in agreement. Over the past 20+ years, the public has tended to perceive the nation as being more divided than united, apart from two surveys conducted shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The latest poll was conducted Nov. 9-13 after a contentious presidential campaign involving the two of the least popular candidates in postwar U.S. history, and as protests erupted nationwide in response to Donald Trump's victory.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologySociology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 21, 2016 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sarah-Jane Cunningham knew that her Facebook posts about the election were rubbing her family the wrong way, but she didn’t realize the posts would get her uninvited from Thanksgiving dinner.

The 19-year-old said her mother called a week before Thanksgiving and confronted her about the Facebook posts regarding President-elect Donald Trump.

“She asked me if I was going to be disrespectful to my family, and I told her that it could work either way, Cunningham said. "If the things I am saying are disrespectful to Trump supporters, the things they are saying are also disrespectful to me."

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 21, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The US city of Bloomington in Indiana has renamed Good Friday and Columbus Day as "Spring Holiday" and "Fall Holiday" to be more "inclusive".
Mayor John Hamilton said the move would "better reflect cultural sensitivity in the workplace", local media said.
Bloomington is a traditionally liberal city. Its county gave Hillary Clinton 58.6% in the presidential election.
But the move sparked a backlash on social media, with opponents condemning it as an act of political correctness.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMulticulturalism, pluralismPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 21, 2016 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I mean, is it the case that liberals believe that artistic performances — theater, music, and so forth — must be limited only to people who share their moral and political views? If I were worried that the Trump administration was going to be hostile to minorities and gays, I would have gone out of my way to make Mike Pence feel welcome at Hamilton, and hoped and prayed that the power of art moved his heart and changed his mind. But that’s not how the audience saw it. They wanted to show Pence that he is not part of their community, and the cast took it upon itself to attempt to catechize Pence at the end of the show. (And people say Evangelical movies are bad because they can’t let the art speak for itself, they have to underline the moral and put an altar call at the end!).

Let’s think about it in religious terms. If you were a pastor or member of a church congregation, and a Notorious Sinner came to services one Sunday, would you boo him as he took his seat in a pew? Do you think that would make him more or less likely to value the congregation and accept the message from the sermon? And if you were the pastor, would you think it helpful to single the Notorious Sinner out among the congregation, and tell him, in a bless-your-heart way, that you hope he got the point of the sermon (him being a bad man and all)? You should not be surprised if the Notorious Sinner left with his heart hardened to the religion and that congregation. Any good that might have been done toward converting him to the congregation’s and the pastor’s way of belief would almost certainly not come to fruition.

Look, I’m not saying that churches should downplay or throw aside their sacred beliefs to be seeker-friendly. Sure, congregations should treat visitors with respect, but the church exists to fulfill a particular purpose, to carry out a specific mission. Its behavior must be consonant with that mission. Nevertheless, a church that repudiates hospitality to guests, and thereby chooses to be a museum of the holy, violates its purpose, and diminishes its power to change the world.

So, do liberals want theaters (and campuses) to be museums of the holy, where the already converted commune with each other? Does one have to be baptized into the mystery cult of liberalism before one is allowed in the door? Because that’s the message from last night’s display at the Richard Rodgers Theater. And if this kind of thing keeps up — Trump will do nothing to stop it, because it benefits him and his tribe — America will lose one more gathering place for all of its people.

This is by no means only the fault of the left.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryPsychologyReligion & CultureTheatre/Drama/Plays* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted November 21, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is when the world could end—about three
in the afternoon on a blacktop in Mississippi,
the sky darkening as if conjuring night, black thoughts
flying from the woods like crows or rattlesnakes in the grass,
and in that dark cathedral of clouds a purple god strikes
at the aimless world....

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 19, 2016 at 8:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



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

0 Comments
Posted November 19, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The U.S. divorce rate dropped for the third year in a row, reaching its lowest point in nearly 40 years, according to data released Thursday.

Marriage rates, on the other hand, increased last year. In 2015, there were 32.2 marriages for every 1,000 unmarried women age 15 or older, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University. This represents a jump from 31.9 in 2014 and is the highest number of marriages since 2009, which suggests that marriage rates may be stabilizing after decades of decline.

On the divorce side, the 2015 rate was 16.9 divorces per 1,000 married women age 15 or older, which is down from 17.6 in 2014 and a peak of almost 23 divorces in 1980.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 18, 2016 at 6:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The United States is one of the richest countries in the world, but it would look dramatically different if its 50 states were organized according to income instead of geography.

If that were the case, residents of the poorest state in the union would have a median household income that’s just above the federal poverty line for a family of four. They would also expect to live shorter lives than people in more than half of the world's countries.

It's not a pretty picture, according to the researchers who carried out this thought experiment.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 17, 2016 at 6:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When David Uth, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Orlando, heard of the shooting, he contacted several local pastors, telling them, “We have to minister to this community. This is a broken place now.”

For First Baptist, that meant serving the Hispanic community. The church’s Spanish-ministry pastor, , assessed needs and looked for ways to demonstrate the love of Christ. The church became aware of two young men critically wounded in the attack who were in intensive care and would soon lose their condo because they could not work.

“We contacted them and told them not to worry,” said Uth. “We told them we were going to cover their rent until they were able to get back on their feet.”

First Baptist also offered their facilities free of charge to victims’ families who wanted to hold funerals for their loved ones.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 17, 2016 at 11:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just when it looked as if Donald Trump might be mellowing came the unsettling symbolism of his weekend meeting with Nigel Farage, a seasoned pro of nativist politics. The leader of Britain’s pro-Brexit forces and the U.S. president-elect, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager explained, chatted “about freedom and winning and what this all means for the world.”

Just what does it mean? Kindred spirits or co-conspirators, Mr. Trump and Mr. Farage owe their respective victories – Mr. Farage’s came in June’s British referendum on leaving the European Union – to the popular backlash against globalization that they fomented with their fearful claims about the negative impacts of trade agreements and immigration. Closing their borders, they told voters left behind by technological change and ill at ease with the new demography, was the only way to recover what, in truth, is lost forever.

There is no understating the significance of the anti-globalization backlash in U.S. and British politics. These aren’t just any two countries. The United States and Britain have been the guarantors of the international order since the Second World War. Their “special relationship” led to the end of the Cold War and the growth in world trade and investment flows that lifted living standards almost everywhere and ensured the global peace.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 17, 2016 at 6:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

..you may wonder why this group [some white evangelicals] voted in historic numbers for a man like Trump. Perhaps, as some have suggested, they are hypocrites. Perhaps they are merely partisans. But I will make a further suggestion: They are scared.

Consider that over the course of the past few years, Democrats and liberals have: booed the inclusion of God in their platform at the 2012 convention (this is disputed, but it is the perception); endorsed a regulation that would allow transgendered students to use the bathroom and locker room corresponding to their identity; attempted to force small businesses to cover drugs they believe induce abortions; attempted to force nuns to provide contraceptive coverage; forced Brendan Eich to step down as chief executive officer of Mozilla due to his opposition to marriage equality; fined a small Christian bakery over $140,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding; vigorously opposed a law in Indiana that would provide protections against similar regulations – despite having overwhelmingly supported similar laws when they protected Native American religious rights – and then scoured the Indiana countryside trying to find a business that would be affected by the law before settling upon a small pizza place in the middle of nowhere and harassing the owners. In 2015, the United States solicitor general suggested that churches might lose their tax exempt status if they refused to perform same-sex marriages. In 2016, the Democratic nominee endorsed repealing the Hyde Amendment, thereby endorsing federal funding for elective abortions. Democrats seemingly took up the position endorsed by critical legal theorist Mark Tushnet [quoted on T19 this past May]:
The culture wars are over; they lost, we won. . . . 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.

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

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


Posted November 16, 2016 at 5:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some evangelical leaders around the globe worry that the recent US presidential election has damaged Christian moral witness, and will fuel discord abroad.

In a conference call Tuesday, a week after Donald Trump’s win, more than 70 ministry presidents, pastors, and scholars spoke with concern as they discussed the ramifications of the American election on the global church.

The call was organized by Doug Birdsall, a former top leader of the Lausanne Movement and the American Bible Society, as part of his new Civilitas Group. Participants included evangelical representatives from Asia, Europe, and South America, as well as a diverse span of US church leaders.

“One of the things that America was stood for in the past was moral leadership and character. Over the past few decades, it has slowly dissipated,” said Hwa Yung, longtime bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia. “In this election you have produced two candidates, both of whom are deeply flawed in character. The question people around the world are asking is, ‘Is this what America is today?’ The election has done great damage to your moral standing in the eyes of the world.”

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 16, 2016 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“You now have billions of people on the internet, and most of them are not that happy with the status quo,” said Ian Bremmer, the president of the Eurasia Group, a research firm that forecasts global risks. “They think their local government is authoritarian. They think they’re on the wrong side of the establishment. They’re aggrieved by identity politics and a hollowed-out middle class.”

Many factors accounted for Mr. Trump’s win: middle-class economic anxiety in the industrial Midwest; an inchoate desire for some kind of change in the national direction; and some mix of latent racism, xenophobia and sexism across the electorate. But as even Mr. Trump acknowledged in an interview with “60 Minutes” aired Sunday, social media played a determining role in the race.

In the past, Mr. Bremmer said, the concerns of Mr. Trump’s supporters might have been ignored, and his candidacy would almost certainly have foundered. After all, he was universally written off by just about every mainstream pundit, and he faced disadvantages in money, organization and access to traditional political expertise. Yet by putting out a message that resonated with people online, Mr. Trump hacked through every established political order.

“Through this new technology, people are now empowered to express their grievances and to follow people they see as echoing their grievances,” Mr. Bremmer said. “If it wasn’t for social media, I don’t see Trump winning.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationHistoryScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted November 16, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During the 2016 presidential campaign, the label “evangelical” became an especially blurred category both because of the media and because of some evangelical voices. Over the course of the campaign, the press increasingly referred to evangelicals as politically conservative, and predominantly white Christians. For some evangelicals, abortion and future Supreme Court appointments were of primary concern, placed over and against concerns for women, people of color, Muslims, and LGBT persons. This polarization, even among evangelicals, led some to conclude that evangelicals on both sides were increasingly and inextricably bound to and complicit with scandalizing words and actions that degrade people and contradict and betray the gospel of Jesus Christ. At times, these associations have not just been attributed by the press, but clearly and repeatedly captured through evangelicals’ own witness. The reported influence of the evangelical vote in the post-election surveys only intensified this view.

For some who have identified themselves as evangelical, these distorted entanglements now compel them to abandon the term, to adamantly reject further identification with evangelical and with groups associated with it. Only by distancing themselves from the now pervasive and destructive associations with evangelical do they feel they can reclaim or maintain their identity and integrity as followers of Jesus. For these, anything less than this seems like a meaningless and impossible semantic position.

As President and President Emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary, we lament and reject the disgrace that hateful words and actions by some evangelicals have heaped specifically upon people of color, immigrants, women, Muslims, and LGBT persons in our nation, as we uphold the dignity of all persons made in the image of God. We grieve and condemn the racism and fear, rejection and hatred that have been expressed and associated with our Lord. Such realities do not in any way reflect the fruit of God’s Spirit and instead evoke the sorrow of God’s heart and of our own.

To whatever degree and in whatever ways Fuller Theological Seminary has contributed or currently contributes to the shame and abuse now associated with the word evangelical, we call ourselves, our board of trustees, our faculty, our staff, our students, our alumni, and our friends to repentance and transformation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted November 15, 2016 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Up through the 1960s, members and institutions of the Protestant mainline dominated American public life. To be sure, this dominance was not without serious issues—most notably, the exclusion of “Catholics, Jews, blacks, and atheists from nearly every position of influence in American life.” The significant demographic changes brought about by post-war immigration did nothing but exacerbate this problem.

Through these developments, influential mainline thinkers such as Harvey Cox and Paul Tillich responded by abandoning Christian particularism. Gleason writes:

They focused on the church’s social obligations, which they emphasized at the expense of the exclusivity and particularity of traditional doctrinal claims. In one famous formulation, Tillich argued that Christianity was just one of many ways to touch “the ground of being.” Symbols, religious and otherwise, all inadequately represented their ineffable subjects, but they also pointed beyond themselves to this ground of being, which Tillich called God. If Tillich was right, then mainline Protestants had no reason to distrust people of other faiths. Perhaps their beliefs were not so different after all.

This liberal thought was disseminated to millions of congregants by mainline Protestant clergy. They taught the values of “individualism, tolerance, pluralism, and emancipation from tradition”—and, in so doing, played a pivotal role in creating the culture in which we now live.

By virtue of their very “success,” however, mainline churches became a “vanishing mediator.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranMethodistPresbyterianUnited Church of Christ* Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 15, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




As of 2014, there were roughly 245 million adults in the United States, including 173 million Christians and 56 million people without a religious affiliation. These are big numbers that, along with many others in the religious demographic pie, can at times make it difficult to fully understand the American religious landscape.

But what if we looked at this big picture a little differently? What if we imagined the United States as a small town, population 100, instead of a continent-spanning nation with hundreds of millions of people? Doing so presents an interesting thought experiment because it allows us to see basic data about the U.S. and its people in a fresh, simple and illuminating way.

The following five charts use data from the 2014 Religious Landscape Study to create a religious demographic profile of the U.S. if the country were made up of exactly 100 adults.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 15, 2016 at 6:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Paul reminded the Christians in Philippi, “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” So, what difference does having an ultimate transcendent citizenship make for our lives as earthly citizens of the United States of America?

Having a heavenly citizenship allows us to avoid the polar postures of triumphalism on the one hand, and nihilism on the other. It allows us to unequivocally pray for President-elect Trump in his victory and pray for Secretary Clinton in her defeat. Just as we have prayed for President Obama throughout his time in office, we will, without hesitation, pray for President Trump after his inauguration just as we would have prayed for Secretary Clinton had she won the election. We must pray for and meaningfully aid President-elect Trump in “binding the wounds of division” as he put it in his conciliatory victory speech. As citizens of heaven we can have the eyes of our hearts opened to the very real pain and fear that people are feeling in many parts of our country. I received a message this morning from a friend who is a teacher asking for my prayers as she had genuinely frightened African American and Muslim children weeping in her arms today at school. Our call as citizens of heaven is to have open arms of love and compassion like my friend and to work tirelessly on our knees and in the civic square to make sure that their fears are not realized. As citizens of heaven, we are free to celebrate and magnify that which is good, and to rebuke and stand against that which is evil, regardless of which political party or politician is before us. As citizens of heaven, we know full well that all authority on earth comes under the sovereign authority of Almighty God. As citizens of heaven, we are rooted in a great and glorious truth that Christ Jesus our redeemer lives and his Spirit is within us, bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted November 14, 2016 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Chris Hart confronted his own mortality in Fallujah.

It was April 2004. He was a year out of high school and one month into his deployment. He was barely a man. This was his first tour of duty as a Marine in Iraq. Boot camp at Parris Island tested his limits, transforming him into a warrior.

He felt invincible — until he wasn't.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMilitary / Armed Forces* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryMilitary / Armed Forces* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK

0 Comments
Posted November 11, 2016 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a world tormented by tension and the possibilities of conflict, we meet in a quiet commemoration of an historic day of peace. In an age that threatens the survival of freedom, we join together to honor those who made our freedom possible. The resolution of the Congress which first proclaimed Armistice Day, described November 11, 1918, as the end of "the most destructive, sanguinary and far-reaching war in the history of human annals." That resolution expressed the hope that the First World War would be, in truth, the war to end all wars. It suggested that those men who had died had therefore not given their lives in vain.

It is a tragic fact that these hopes have not been fulfilled, that wars still more destructive and still more sanguinary followed, that man's capacity to devise new ways of killing his fellow men have far outstripped his capacity to live in peace with his fellow men.Some might say, therefore, that this day has lost its meaning, that the shadow of the new and deadly weapons have robbed this day of its great value, that whatever name we now give this day, whatever flags we fly or prayers we utter, it is too late to honor those who died before, and too soon to promise the living an end to organized death.

But let us not forget that November 11, 1918, signified a beginning, as well as an end. "The purpose of all war," said Augustine, "is peace." The First World War produced man's first great effort in recent times to solve by international cooperation the problems of war. That experiment continues in our present day -- still imperfect, still short of its responsibilities, but it does offer a hope that some day nations can live in harmony.

For our part, we shall achieve that peace only with patience and perseverance and courage -- the patience and perseverance necessary to work with allies of diverse interests but common goals, the courage necessary over a long period of time to overcome...[a skilled adversary].

Do please take a guess as to who it is and when it was, then click and read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can find a page of 4 graphs there. There is also a research summary here. An excellent short summary of the history of Veterans Day may be found at this link. Finally, a link for the Veterans History Project is well worth your time exploring today. The VA's National Cemetery Administration currently maintains 135 national cemeteries in 40 states (and Puerto Rico) as well as 33 soldier's lots and monument sites.




Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryMilitary / Armed Forces* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 11, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Governor of Nations, our Strength and Shield:
we give you thanks for the devotion and courage
of all those who have offered military service for this country:

For those who have fought for freedom; for those who laid down their lives for others;
for those who have borne suffering of mind or of body;
for those who have brought their best gifts to times of need.

On our behalf they have entered into danger,
endured separation from those they love,
labored long hours, and borne hardship in war and in peacetime.

Lift up by your mighty Presence those who are now at war;
encourage and heal those in hospitals
or mending their wounds at home;
guard those in any need or trouble;
hold safely in your hands all military families;
and bring the returning troops to joyful reunion
and tranquil life at home;

Give to us, your people, grateful hearts
and a united will to honor these men and women
and hold them always in our love and our prayers;
until your world is perfected in peace
through Jesus Christ our Savior.

--The Rev. Jennifer Phillips

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchMilitary / Armed Forces* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 11, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

–Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve–KSH.

P.S. The circumstances which led to this remarkable poem are well worth remembering:

It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done." The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: "The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene." Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryPoetry & Literature* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK

0 Comments
Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Amid protests on and off campus and a wider sense of unease among students, University of Pittsburgh leaders today sought to settle nerves frayed by an extraordinarily divisive national election that propelled Donald J. Trump to the presidency.

In an email to campus, Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said electing a president and transitioning power are Constitutional hallmarks of a Democracy. He said the process has been repeated dozens of times in the nation's history.

"However, this election feels different,'' he wrote. "While fierce debate and profound differences are part of all campaigns, this one was more negative, personal and polarizing than any in recent memory.

"And many of us have experienced post-election reactions that were powerfully personal and emotional."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 10, 2016 at 2:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Three South Carolinians who put their political fortunes on the line backing Donald Trump early in his campaign could be rewarded with jobs in the president-elect's administration.

Those working closely with the Trump transition team say Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster, state Rep. Jim Merrill and Columbia real estate developer Bill Stern are in the best position among Trump's many Palmetto State backers to be offered to work for him in Washington, D.C.

"One thing I learned is, Mr. Trump is extremely loyal," said Ed McMullen, Trump's South Carolina campaign chairman. "Every one of the people who worked on the campaign from start to finish will be in a position to be a part of this administration because Mr. Trump directed that to be the case."

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted November 10, 2016 at 2:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

They may not have gone to Harvard or Yale (though surely some did), but, like Ripepi, they were tired of their values and principles being the butt of everyone’s jokes — including the president’s.

In the end, their support for Trump was non-ideological and not solely a revolt by poorer whites left behind by globalization. These voters turned out for Trump, too, but it was the Ripepis of the world who put this race over the top for Trump.

Voters keep sending Washington a message, and Washington — and the reporters who cover it — keep missing the signal. On Wednesday, pundits kept trying to calculate why progressivism was rejected, and they kept looking past what was right in front of them.

Voters are rejecting big government, big banks, big corporations and big technology. They said no to establishment Republican primary candidates and Wall Street, and they hid from the political statheads trying to track their mood.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMedia* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted November 10, 2016 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The most important divide in this election was not between whites and non-whites. It was between those who are often referred to as “educated” voters and those who are described as “working class” voters.

The reality is that six in 10 Americans do not have a college degree, and they elected Donald Trump . College-educated people didn’t just fail to see this coming — they have struggled to display even a rudimentary understanding of the worldviews of those who voted for Trump. This is an indictment of the monolithic, insulated political culture in the vast majority our colleges and universities.

As a college professor, I know that there are many ways in which college graduates simply know more about the world than those who do not have such degrees. This is especially true — with some exceptions, of course — when it comes to “hard facts” learned in science, history and sociology courses....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

3 Comments
Posted November 10, 2016 at 7:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Certainly, The Times isn’t the only news organization bewildered and perhaps a bit sheepish about its predictions coverage. The rest of media missed it too, as did the pollsters, the analysts, the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign itself.

But as The Times begins a period of self-reflection, I hope its editors will think hard about the half of America the paper too seldom covers.

The red state America campaign coverage that rang the loudest in news coverage grew out of Trump rallies, and it often amplified the voices of the most hateful. One especially compelling video produced with footage collected over months on the campaign trail, captured the ugly vitriol like few others. That’s important coverage. But it and pieces like it drowned out the kind of agenda-free, deep narratives that could have taken Times readers deeper into the lives and values of the people who just elected the next president.

In other words, The Times would serve readers well with fewer brief interviews, fewer snatched slogans that inevitably render a narrow caricature of those who spoke them.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 10, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Did you notice something about the quotes? The Trump supporters spoke in less strident, more conciliatory terms. The opponents still seem to be working out the bile of the rhetoric from the campaign.

This reveals a weakness of the pure aggregation approach. Some of the more extreme reactions fairly cried out for follow-up questions.

For Harris, one might ask if one party did all the demonization. It was Hillary, not Trump, who said half of the other side was a "basket of deplorables" … "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic." Sure, she walked back from that, but only after a backlash of criticism.

For Campolo, Hatmaker and the Muslim Advocates, it would be interesting to ask: "What do you fear? What could Trump do that would pass scrutiny by Congress and the courts?"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted November 9, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)