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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What can we do now? We can, first of all, maintain a prophetic clarity that is willing to call to repentance everything that is unjust and anti-Christ, whether that is the abortion culture, the divorce culture, or the racism/nativism culture. We can be the people who tell the truth, whether it helps or hurts our so-called “allies” or our so-called “enemies.”

Moreover, no matter what the racial and ethnic divisions in America, we can be churches that demonstrate and embody the reconciliation of the kingdom of God. After all, we are not just part of a coalition but part of a Body — a Body that is white and black and Latino and Asian, male and female, rich and poor. We are party of a Body joined to a Head who is an Aramaic-speaking Middle Easterner.

What affects black and Hispanic and Asian Christians ought to affect white Christians. And the sorts of poverty and social unraveling among the white working class ought to affect black and Hispanic and Asian Christians. We belong to each other because we belong to Christ.

The most important lesson we should learn is that the church must stand against the way politics has become a religion, and religion has become politics.

Read it all.

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

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Posted November 9, 2016 at 5:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted November 9, 2016 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

African-Americans have long been among the country’s most fervent Christians, from the choir to the pulpit to the affirming voices from every “amen corner.”

Their deep faith saw them through the trials of slavery and then a century of Jim Crow repression. Finally, it emboldened them to leave the sanctuary of their churches and join the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a quest, his “dream,” for their full freedom and equality.

Just when and how their ancestors broke with traditional African spirit practices and adopted Christianity has never been fully resolved. Now archaeologists in Maryland have announced the discovery of an intact set of objects that they interpret as religious symbols — traditional ones from Africa, mixed with what they believe to be a biblical image: a representation of Ezekiel’s Wheel.

No one had found this combination of religious artifacts before, said Mark P. Leone, a University of Maryland archaeologist who led the discovery team. “Christianity had not erased traditional African spirit practices,” he concluded. ”It had merged with them to form a potent blend that still thrives today.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 8, 2016 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Father, we are an anxious and fearful people. For all of our bluster and bragging, we are so easily shaken. We are anxious about money, anxious about the future, anxious about the economy, anxious about the election, anxious about our enemies, anxious about food, anxious about health, anxious about safety, anxious about everything under the sun. We live in so much fear. And we confess that anxiety is fundamentally a form of pride. Our anxiety is our sinful and arrogant reaction to the truth that we are not ultimately in control.

This is a great evil.

Father, as your people, we too live in fear. We have baptized the worries and anxieties of the world. We have feared what they fear, and lived in dread of what they dread. And in our fear and anxiety, we have become reactionary and easily manipulated. And because our anxiety and fear feels so justified by the riskiness of life, we do not feel it to be really sinful. We do not feel the arrogance in our insecurities.

Forgive us, O God, in your great mercy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States...[and of my community[ in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenateState Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 8, 2016 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For over a century, the best response to Plato’s critique of democracy has been John Dewey’s claim that precious and fragile democratic experiments must put a premium on democratic statecraft (public accountability, protection of rights and liberties, as well as personal responsibility, embedded in a fair rule of law) and especially on democratic soulcraft (integrity, empathy, and a mature sense of history). For Plato, democratic regimes collapse owing to the slavish souls of citizens driven by hedonism and narcissism, mendacity and venality. Dewey replies that this kind of spiritual blackout can be overcome by robust democratic education and courageous exemplars grounded in the spread of critical intelligence, moral compassion, and historical humility. The 2016 election presents a dangerous question as to whether Dewey’s challenge to Plato’s critique can be met.

Yet Clinton is not a strong agent for Dewey’s response. There is no doubt that if she becomes the first woman president of the United States — though I prefer Jill Stein, of the Green Party — Clinton will be smart, even brilliant, in office. But like her predecessor, Barack Obama, she promotes the same neoliberal policies that increase inequality and racial polarization that will produce the next Trump. More important, she embraces Trump-like figures abroad, be they in Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Israel, or Syria — figures of ugly xenophobia and militaristic policies. The same self-righteous neoliberal soulcraft of smartness, dollars, and bombs lands us even deeper in our spiritual blackout. Instead we need a democratic soulcraft of wisdom, justice, and peace — the dreams of courageous freedom fighters like Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Joshua Heschel, Edward Said, and Dorothy Day. These dreams now lie dormant at this bleak moment, but spiritual and democratic awakenings are afoot among the ripe ones, especially those in the younger generation.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon




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

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Posted November 7, 2016 at 2:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First of all, Graham moved from biblical inerrancy and literalism to a more dynamic sense of biblical infallibility. The Bible was authoritative not because it was historically or scientifically accurate in every detail, but because it did what it promised to do: infallibly bring people to faith in Christ. Graham believed in the Bible’s factual accuracy, but that was not the main point. The Bible held authority because it worked.

The second change focused on the the new birth. In the early days Graham called for something like a “ready-set-go” conversion experience. Stand up, walk to the front, sign a decision card, join a church, and then witness to your new-found faith. But over time Graham saw that people could show their commitment in other ways. He allowed that many people, including his wife, Ruth, never experienced a single moment of decision. They just grew up “saved” and never saw themselves otherwise. And he knew too that many inquirers were coming back to Christ after their first love had grown cold.

Graham’s notion of the spiritual and moral results that should be the fruit of new birth also evolved. His primary emphasis always fell on individual conversion. But he also came to see the need for intentionally working for social reform, sometimes through legislation. Converted hearts did not automatically produce converted hands.

Read it all.

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

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Posted November 7, 2016 at 9:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This year’s presidential election may well be the most divisive in U.S. history, pitting liberals and conservatives against one another perhaps more bitterly than ever before, and the two major-party candidates seem in many ways to reflect cultural ills and political corruption that have been brewing for decades. On both the right and the left, countless citizens appear to believe that one candidate or the other will bring about the “end of America.” Conservatives argue that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton will, among other things, transform the Supreme Court into a progressive super-legislature to impose its anti-democratic will for a generation. Meanwhile, liberals maintain that Republican nominee Donald Trump will deport millions of minorities and exacerbate existing racial tension to the detriment of less-privileged Americans.

It is easy to allow the evident failures of our political system — culminating in the simultaneous nomination of perhaps the two most dishonest, corrupt presidential nominees in U.S. history — to consume our focus and destroy our confidence in the future of our country. But as these seemingly endless debates absorb our attention and ongoing rancor pollutes our national dialogue, millions of people around the world face genocide, and they fear for their lives and those of their children.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenateTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastEgyptIraqSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 7, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

LAWTON: Greg Smith is associate director of research at the Pew Research Center, which has been polling voters throughout the pre-election season.

SMITH: Many of them say they’re disgusted by it, that they’re disappointed. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not engaged, in fact many of them are engaged, but by and large, people tell us they’re very unhappy with the state of this campaign.

LAWTON: Smith says the high levels of negativity can been seen in the nature of the support for the candidates.

SMITH: On both sides we’re seeing people tell us that the support for their candidate is driven as much by opposition to the other side. That’s not just true of Trump supporters, many of whom say that they are supporting Trump primarily as a matter of opposing Clinton. The same thing is true on the other side. There are many Clinton supporters who say that they’re supporting Clinton for president mainly as a matter of opposing Trump.

LAWTON: The negativity among voters often takes on a moral dimension. Many people of faith are among those raising concerns about the rhetoric that has dominated the campaign.

Read it all.



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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Wow.

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Posted November 5, 2016 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Being childless has allowed me to invest in myself.

Right now, most 50-somethings are cashing out their savings to send their kids to college.

And a great deal more are paying for their kids’ weddings, embracing grandkids, or supporting Millennial children who are returning to the nest.

Me? Let’s just say my life doesn’t exactly fit into the typical mold.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 5, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here’s what the actual medical research you need to know about — from scientists, not lobbyists.

1. The research does not show that marijuana is harmless or OK.

2. Researchers at the University of Mississippi’s Natural Center for Natural Products Research have found that marijuana available today may be up to five times stronger than the stuff available back in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. Comparing “hippie pot” to today’s pot is like comparing beer to a bottle of vodka.

3. Medical researchers at Columbia University found that drivers who had used marijuana were more than twice as likely to have a car crash.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 5, 2016 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander, chairperson of the Health and Human Service Committee, and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau offered the only votes opposing the measure.

"The D.C. City Council has taken another step toward passing a fatally flawed bill that would legalize assisted suicide in Washington, D.C.," said Michael Scott, director of the D.C. Catholic Conference, which represents the public policy interests of the Catholic Church in the district. The conference joined a broad-based coalition of other groups in opposing the measure.

"This bill discriminates against our African-American and Hispanic neighbors, sick seniors, the disabled, the uninsured and all who are vulnerable in our community," Scott said in a statement after the vote. "Our coalition will continue to fight this bill, which has few safeguards to protect the vulnerable and does nothing to help the thousands of D.C. residents desperate for access to better health care and improved social services, such as counseling."

Read it all.

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

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Posted November 5, 2016 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Evangelist Billy Graham is “doing well” as he prepares to celebrate his 98th birthday with his family, his son said.

Franklin Graham told RNS Thursday (Nov. 3) they are planning to get him one of his favorite treats to mark the special day on Monday.

Read it all.

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

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Posted November 5, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even when they try to stake out a more ostensibly counter-cultural position, as Hatmaker did in 7, they often end up mimicking more mainstream trends in rich, suburban America.

To be fair, the BELONG Tour is not unique in this. Millennial evangelicals from this second-generation seeker-sensitive movement are doing this sort of thing en masse. The other obvious example of this is the Q Conference, which is an evangelical riff on TED talks.

Even so, this needs to be understood: The things that Hatmaker said last week are entirely consistent with a movement that cannot create culture but can only react to it and mimic it. Even where I think she is more right than wrong, as she is in her handling of race issues, for example, her response shows a kind of captivity to prevailing cultural norms that are typical of seeker-sensitive ministries. It is a movement driven by the same techniques used to grow businesses and which interprets the contemporary expression of Christian faith through the medium of current cultural norms and, particularly, common business norms and practices.

There is simply no foundation in the movement for someone like Hatmaker to resist the cultural momentum that has carried so many people toward a view of the human body and sexuality that is wildly out of step with historic Christian teachings.

To the extent that Hatmaker has helped promote and grow this sort of syncretist Christianity she should be criticized, but this problem is far older than Hatmaker and is something that Hatmaker inherited from other older Christians. So criticism that singles out Hatmaker is misguided; Hatmaker is one part of a much larger sub-culture of evangelicalism that is deeply broken and incapable of doing the very things it was designed to do, which is communicate the truths of the Gospel to a culture that finds those truths increasingly strange and alien. By adopting the norms of the bourgeois, the attractional Christians of the 1970s were setting themselves and their children up to become good syncretists and utterly incapable of mounting any kind of serious prophetic critique of their culture.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The past is never dead.”

William Faulkner’s incisive observation is invoked so frequently when talking about the American South that it now induces a groan. But Faulkner’s conjoined observation takes us past cliché closer to a reckoning, and elicits a nod: “It’s not even past.” Faulkner had a propensity to show how the debris of our lives are the casualties of the histories that shape them, and that spirit drives this conversation between W. Ralph Eubanks and Dave Tell, who’ve been working, respectively, on books focused on the Mississippi Delta and the way Emmett Till is remembered, and explore through their subjects the ties that bind us to each other, and that tether us to a past all too hard to escape or even come to terms with.

With recent news reports that bullet holes now riddle the marker of the site where Emmett Till’s mangled body was pulled from a river over 60 years ago, Ralph and Dave decided to look at that sign to see how its vandalism points to a neglect and brutality and unruliness that reaches far beyond the ground on which it stands. With an attention to irony that too often characterizes the story—“irony and the South have never been strangers,” Ralph, invoking historian C. Vann Woodward, declares at the outset—they unpack the symbolism of that damaged sign and the complicated relationships and history it stands for.

Read it all.

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

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Posted November 4, 2016 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hillary Clinton has picked an awful time to hit one of the rough patches that has plagued her throughout the campaign. Now with just days to go until Election Day, there’s added uncertainty about the outcome. But while she may not be on the brink of an Electoral College win the size of Barack Obama’s in 2008 or even 2012, her position as the clear frontrunner in this race endures.

We’re holding at 272 “hard” Safe or Likely electoral votes for Clinton, and an additional 21 electoral votes leaning to her (Nevada and North Carolina). Trump is now at 214, better than Romney’s 2012 total of 206, but also without a clear path to add the 56 additional electoral votes he needs to get to 270. Again, even adding Florida, the two Toss-up House districts, and Leans Democratic North Carolina and Nevada would only get him to 266.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted November 4, 2016 at 3:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the racism and anxiety that Mr Trump has exploited are, I believe, manifestations of an even deeper pathology — namely, the profound sense of unease that many Americans have about their lives. That unease often takes the form of resentment against elites, but, even more troublingly, it also funds the prejudice against minority groups and immigrants.

Resentment is another word for the unease that seems to grip good middle-class — mostly white — people who have worked hard all their lives and yet find that they are no better off than when they started. They deeply resent what they interpret as the special treatment that some receive in an effort to right the wrongs of the past.

All this is happening at the same time as the Church — at least, the mainstream Church — is struggling against a culture of consumption. Americans find that they have no good reason for going to church. The statistical decline of Christians has led some church leaders to think that our primary job is to find ways to increase church membership. At a time when Christians are seeking to say something confident and useful about “church growth”, what we communicate is superficial and simplistic. You do not need to come to church to be told that you need to be nice.

The Church has failed to help people to live in such a manner that they would want no other life than the life they have lived....

Read it all.

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

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Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMediaMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & PartnershipsWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture


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

Posted by Kendall Harmon




“I don’t want to hear any negativity!” a voice shouted in the crowd.

You know what happened next. The Cubs held off the Indians in the ninth, and then….it began raining in Cleveland. The crowd couldn’t help but laugh at the emotional torture of it. A rain delay?

A priest in the crowd—really, there was a priest, Father Bill Corcoran, of Saint Elizabeth Seton Church—pleaded for vigilance.

“You have to have courage! Corragio!” he said, using the Italian. “Never lose hope.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenPsychologySportsUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted November 3, 2016 at 1:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




At least it didn't take anything special to wipe out the longest title drought in the history of professional sports. Only the greatest World Series Game 7 ever played. That's all.

Move over, Jack Morris and Luis Gonzalez. Tell Ralph Terry and Madison Bumgarner they had a great run. And you, Bill Mazeroski fans, submit your case via your favorite form of social media.

But we would argue that none of those games can top the passion, the drama and the history of Game 7 in Cleveland, on a balmy Wednesday night turned stormy Thursday morning. It took 10 exhausting innings and 4 hours and 45 exhilarating minutes. But when it finally ended, at 12:47 a.m., on Nov. 3, 2016, the giant left-field scoreboard read: Cubs 8, Indians 7. And it was suddenly possible to type a sentence that no living human has ever typed:

The Chicago Cubs are the champions of baseball.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMenSportsUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted November 3, 2016 at 1:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




From 89.5 last week to the 57's this morning for a Hillary Clinton victory.

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

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Posted November 2, 2016 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

They are the comfortable and well-educated mainstay of our modern Democratic party. They are also the grandees of our national media; the architects of our software; the designers of our streets; the high officials of our banking system; the authors of just about every plan to fix social security or fine-tune the Middle East with precision droning. They are, they think, not a class at all but rather the enlightened ones, the people who must be answered to but who need never explain themselves.

Let us turn the magnifying glass on them for a change, by sorting through the hacked personal emails of John Podesta, who has been a Washington power broker for decades. I admit that I feel uncomfortable digging through this hoard; stealing someone’s email is a crime, after all, and it is outrageous that people’s personal information has been exposed, since WikiLeaks doesn’t seem to have redacted the emails in any way. There is also the issue of authenticity to contend with: we don’t know absolutely and for sure that these emails were not tampered with by whoever stole them from John Podesta. The supposed authors of the messages are refusing to confirm or deny their authenticity, and though they seem to be real, there is a small possibility they aren’t.

With all that taken into consideration, I think the WikiLeaks releases furnish us with an opportunity to observe the upper reaches of the American status hierarchy in all its righteousness and majesty.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinancePolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted November 1, 2016 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




For two days, generations of Cubs fans have held their breath. If they couldn't see the team win its first championship since 1908 in Chicago, could the Cubs win at least one World Series game at Wrigley Field? Kris Bryant, Jon Lester and Aroldis Chapman obliged, and gave them reason to party on Sunday night.

Bryant ignited a three-run fourth inning with a leadoff home run, Lester provided the veteran moxy and Chapman worked overtime as the Cubs picked up a 3-2 victory over the Indians in Game 5 to avoid elimination and trim Cleveland's lead in the best-of-seven Series to three games to two. Game 6 will be Tuesday night at Progressive Field, which will get live baseball after hosting watch parties all weekend.

Teams have rallied from a 3-1 deficit before, most recently the 1985 Royals. The Cubs can look to the '79 Pirates, the '68 Tigers, the '58 Yankees and the '25 Pirates for inspiration, too.

Read it all.

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

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Posted October 31, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...rather astonishingly, almost a third of Democrats also said Mr Comey was wrong not to have indicted her first time around. That signals both the broader doubts many Democrats have about their nominee—and the acutely effective way in which this scandal has exacerbated them.

Case reports released by the FBI into its investigation suggest Mr Podesta is in fact right in his appraisal. They portray Mrs Clinton’s amateurish e-mail arrangements as largely a product of staggering naivety and extreme technophobia; they were designed to address her need to receive official and personal e-mails on a single Blackberry device, mainly because she did not know how to use a desktop computer. Nonetheless, the scandal, which first broke shortly after she launched her presidential campaign, has been deeply damaging to Mrs Clinton because of the way it seemed to chime with her pre-existing reputation for dishonesty.

That reputation appears to be substantially unwarranted—it is a product of decades of highly politicised scandals from which Mrs Clinton has emerged convicted of no crime. In the light of it, however, she needed to be far more candid about the nature of her e-mail errors than she appears to be capable of. For months Mrs Clinton denied having done anything wrong—before having a begrudging acknowledgement of her blunder, and more begrudging apology for it, wrung out of her by unrelenting negative coverage of the affair.

Absent some serious new evidence of wrongdoing from Mr Comey, Mrs Clinton’s e-mail error was in this sense mainly political. But it is nonetheless deadly serious.

Read it all.

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

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


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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Centers for Disease Control deaths and mortality report for that year [of 2014] shows 2,626,418 total mortalities in the United States, with heart disease and cancer, both at approximately 600,000, lead-ing the way. Within this tabulation, drug-induced deaths would stand ninth amongst "leading causes," just below influenza/pneumonia (55,227) and kidney disease (48,146), and just above suicide (42,773).

While all opioid overdose deaths for 2014 totaled nearly 29,000, heroin deaths contributed at least 10,500 to that total, almost exactly the same as the toll from gun murders. And while the number of drug overdoses is increasing, overdose deaths caused by diverted prescription opioids—the illegal activity the Post's investigative piece highlights—have been overtaken in raw numbers by deaths from heroin and illicit synthetic opioids like fentanyl. All signs indicate that it is the supply of these illicit opioids that has accelerated most steeply since 2010 and that has driven deaths sharply higher in the months since the last reported mortality data from 2014.

Read it all.

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

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Posted October 28, 2016 at 4:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

She didn’t like scary things.

The 22-year-old was walking her dog Tuesday night at her North Charleston apartment complex when she saw the figure. It was clad in dark clothing, wearing a hood and standing about 50 feet away.

It turned. That’s when she saw the “evil clown” mask and the knife.

Read it all.

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

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Posted October 27, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Don’t get me wrong. I agree with Ted Kooser, who argues in his excellent Poetry Home Repair Manual that it is far better to risk being sentimental than it is to accept a dry, emotionless kind of poetry. I sometimes think, in fact, that the closer one gets to sentimentality without actually giving in to it, the better. Or to put that in terms more in tune with what I have been arguing, it is a great accomplishment in a poem to take content that is very close to a common emotional experience that can easily be sentimentalized but render it with a depth of feeling and attention to the particular that is entirely unsentimental.

I can immediately think of two great poems that do just that. The first is Robert Hayden’s classic “Those Winter Sundays,” a portrait of an emotionally distant father, but which starts

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

It ends, “What did I know, what did I know / of love’s austere and lonely offices?” This poem could easily have focused on the coziness of the fire, or painted an unmixed and all-admiring portrait of the father. Alternately, it could have railed like a cardboard Sylvia Plath against the evils of patriarchy. But instead, Hayden took the tougher road of telling us about his particular father and their relationship, and in that particularity there is a power to impart universal truth about the complexity of family relationships, something no sentimental poem can achieve.

The other poem that springs to mind is Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “Spring and Fall.” The images are fresh and striking in their particularity: “Goldengrove unleaving” and “worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie.” (The fantastic sound certainly doesn’t hurt either.)

Once the Christian reader has dined on poetic fare as rich as this, how could he be satisfied with the thin gruel of sentimentality or with the hard biscuit of the cynical? Once we have known the sacred touch of real love, two made one flesh, both gift from God and image of his love for us, how could we ever again be content with poetic pornography?

Read it all.

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

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Posted October 24, 2016 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Russia and the West have entered a new Cold War that could lead to growing confrontations across the globe, as Vladimir Putin challenges American international hegemony.

That is the consensus among military and foreign policy experts in Moscow, who have warned that Russia and the West are headed for a standoff as dangerous as the Cuban missile crisis.

Read it all.

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

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Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Religious leaders are joining a pilgrimage to rural South Carolina to mark the centennial of the lynching of a successful black farmer, hoping to draw attention to the history of killings of African-Americans and begin healing of racial divisions.

Black faith leaders and social justice advocates are commemorating the lynching of Anthony Crawford, a man who owned 427 acres in Abbeville, S.C., when he was killed on Oct. 21, 1916.

He had been jailed after a dispute with a white store owner over the price of cottonseed. He was released but was abducted by a large mob of white men and lynched, his body riddled with bullets.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Anthony Rizzo threw his glove, pumped his fist and leaped into the arms of Travis Wood.

Aroldis Chapman waved a "W" flag. David Ross cried. Cubs players formed a blue mound of joy on the pitcher's mound Saturday night at Wrigley Field after their 5-0 victory over the Dodgers clinched the National League pennant for the first time since 1945.

Next year really is here, North Siders. It's really gonna happen. The Cubs have won the pennant. Yes, the Cubs have won the pennant.

"Four more and we can really have a party," manager Joe Maddon said during the postgame ceremony.

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted October 23, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Except for the understandable reluctance of White Sox fans to enjoy what's happening, the Cubs' success carries a universal appeal that connects people from all generations and walks of life, all of them united by a red "C" or a white "W" flag. They may have nothing more in common than an appreciation for Jake Arrieta's beard or an antipathy for the Cardinals, but that's enough for good conversation and a smile.

Everybody knows somebody who claims to be the best Cubs fan ever. Everybody knows of a parent or grandparent, aunt or uncle who seriously fears dying before their beloved Cubs win it all. Everybody talks about the Cubs validating President Theo Epstein's plan, but nobody can deny how this season also possibly can fulfill a purpose for many Cubs fans who have been waiting for this for so long, for too long. To some families, the Cubs always will be about more than baseball.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had said before Game 5 that the noticeable presence of Cubs fans at Chavez Ravine was good for the game. So would the Cubs finally winning a pennant and playing in a World Series, the type of thing that transcends sports.

Read it all.

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

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Posted October 22, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yes, this country can handle the nearly $600 billion federal deficit estimated for 2016. But the deficit has grown sharply this year, and will keep the national debt at about 75 percent of the gross domestic product, a ratio not seen since 1950, after the budget ballooned during World War II.

Long-term, that continued growth, driven by our tax and spending policies, will create the most significant fiscal challenge facing our country. The widely respected Congressional Budget Office has estimated that by midcentury our debt will rise to 140 percent of G.D.P., far above that in any previous era, even in times of war.

Unfortunately, despite a brief discussion during the final presidential debate, neither candidate has put forward a convincing plan to restrain the growth of the national debt in the decades to come.

Read it all. For a very important background on this, please see this 2011 post and the comments thereon, in which Boston University's Laurence J. Kotlikoff makes clear that the true figure of our actual indebtedness is in excess of 200 Trillion dollars--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 22, 2016 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has repeatedly warned of the dangers posed by out-of-control artificial intelligence (AI). But on Wednesday, as the professor opened the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI) at the University of Cambridge, he remarked on its potential to bring positive change – if developed correctly.

"Success in creating AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation. But it could also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks," Dr. Hawking said at the launch, according to a University of Cambridge press release.

Representing a collaboration between the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, and the University of California, Berkeley, the CFI will bring together a multidisciplinary team of researchers, as well as tech leaders and policy makers, to ensure that societies can "make the best of the opportunities of artificial intelligence," as its website states.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 21, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

B&C co-chair Mark Noll helped start the publication in 1994, the same year his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind was released.

“I’m quite depressed about the state of the world as is reflected in its closing,” said Noll, a history professor at Notre Dame University, who believes the magazine thrived because of Wilson’s vision and expertise.

“John’s singular ability in an age of polemics and partisanship and gotcha-journalism was to emphasis the long-term, to be thoughtful rather than reactive, to try to bring insight rather than onslaught,” Noll said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingBooksEducationMediaReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

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Posted October 20, 2016 at 4:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With the presidential election looming, more Americans cite the economy (17%) than any other issue as the most important U.S. problem in October, followed by dissatisfaction with the government (12%). Americans' concerns about the major problems facing the country are largely consistent with what they have been throughout 2016.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchSociology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 19, 2016 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Though often the subject of much debate—both theologically and scientifically—the majority of American adults (66%) believe people can be physically healed supernaturally by God. This majority is made up equally between those who either strongly (33%) or somewhat (33%) agree that it’s possible to be physically healed supernaturally by God. The remaining one-third (34%) are skeptical, comprised of those who either strongly (19%) or somewhat (15%) disagree.

Though there is consensus across the generational groups among those who strongly agree about supernatural healing, when it comes to those who strongly disagree, Millennials are more likely to be skeptical—one-quarter (25%) strongly disagree, twice the amount of Elders (13%). The other two groups fit into a sliding scale based on age (Gen-Xers: 21% and Boomers: 14%).

Read it all.

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

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Posted October 18, 2016 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Charleston has been named as the nation’s top small city for the sixth time in a row.

Condé Nast Traveler announced its annual Readers’ Choice Awards Tuesday.

“The readers of Condé Nast Traveler are lauded as some of the world’s most discerning, and the hospitality scene in Charleston continues to charm,” Linn Lesesne, board chair of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be recognized once again for our friendly people, historic ambiance and culture, award-winning restaurants, one-of-a-kind shopping and renowned accommodations.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTravelUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina

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Posted October 18, 2016 at 1:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the historic Parish Church of St. Helena Sunday morning, clergy delivered a message of gratitude in the calm following Hurricane Matthew’s storm.

“The question for us today is ‘are you thankful?’” Rev. Shay Gaillard asked during his sermon taken from the New Testament book of Luke.

Residents who stayed in town to ride out the storm might have felt alone, Gaillard said, and those who evacuated might have felt vulnerable without their normal support system.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedPastoral CarePreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* General InterestNatural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.Weather* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 17, 2016 at 11:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Occasionally, I would try to get off the drug. Each attempt began the same way. Step 1: the rounding up of all the pills in my possession, including those secret stashes hidden away in drawers and closets. Debating for hours whether to keep just one, “for emergencies.” Then the leap of faith and the flushing of the pills down the toilet. Step 2: a day or two of feeling all right, as if I could manage this after all. Step 3: a bleak slab of time when the effort needed to get through even the simple tasks of a single day felt stupendous, where the future stretched out before me like a grim series of obligations I was far too tired to carry out. All work on my book would stop. Panic would set in. Then, suddenly, an internal Adderall voice would take over, and I would jump up from my desk and scurry out to refill my prescription — almost always a simple thing to achieve — or borrow pills from a friend, if need be. And the cycle would begin again. Those moments were all shrouded in secrecy and shame. Very few people in my life knew the extent to which the drug had come to define me.

Over the years, I’ve been told by various experts on the subject that it should not have been so hard to get off Adderall. The drug is supposed to be relatively quick and painless to relinquish. I’ve often wondered whether my inability to give it up was my deepest failing. I’ve found some comfort in seeing my own experience mirrored back to me in the dozens and dozens of disembodied voices on the internet, filling the message boards of the websites devoted to giving up this drug. One post, in particular, has stayed with me, a mother writing on QuittingAdderall.com:
I started taking Adderall in OCT 2010. And my story isn’t much different than most. ... The honeymoon period, then all downhill. I feel like I cannot remember who I was, or how it felt, to go one minute of the day not on Adderall. I look back at pictures of myself from before this began and I wonder how I was ever “happy” without it because now I am a nervous wreck if I even come close to not having my pills for the day. There have been nights I have cried laying my daughter down to sleep because I was so ashamed that the time she spent with her mommy that day wasn’t real.
Read it all.

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

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Posted October 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the tug of war between religious freedom and nondiscrimination rights, the weight seems to be pulling toward the latter.

At least that's the view of 17 religious leaders — including LDS Church Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé — who addressed their concerns with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' recent report in an Oct. 7 letter to President Barack Obama, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch.

The report, titled "Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles With Civil Liberties," comes down squarely on the side of civil liberties for individuals, the letter says, and "stigmatizes tens of millions of religious Americans, their communities, and their faith-based institutions, and threatens the religious freedom of all our citizens."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsMormons* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted October 15, 2016 at 1:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




I could go on and on. Dylan's work is immense, and his lyrics are deeply dense, packed with references, allusions, and multiple layers of meaning. Books can and have been written about them.

What is clear is that Dylan's work is deeply shaped by the Bible, and by the Biblical worldview. Not just in the superficial sense that it keeps referring to it and echoing its themes, but also in the more profound sense that Dylan's own worldview is deeply Biblical. It is spiritual, first and foremost, viewing the spiritual world "first" as the bridge through which we live in the material world, which itself only sends us back to the spiritual world. And it is deeply Biblical in its longing for God, whether it is encountered as art or as the Spirit or as Jesus Christ himself, as the answer to our existential quandaries, as our companion — and as our Savior. If you're going to be faithful to Bob Dylan as an artist, you can't miss that dimension of his work which — for those who have ears to ear — is everywhere.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bigotry on display in the emails is that of people who claim to perceive bigotry everywhere, even where it does not exist. Some on the left have perfected the technique of smearing their political opponents by dismissing dissent from the dogmas of secular progressive ideology—on, say, abortion or marriage—as bigotry. This tactic has only bred more hatred toward traditions of faith that uphold traditional moral values, such as Catholicism, evangelical Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Mormonism and Orthodox Judaism.

Neither presidential candidate has an admirable record of respect for religion. Mr. Trump has been rightly called out for whom he associates with, and Mrs. Clinton should be held to the same standard.

She vowed in the second presidential debate “to be the president for all Americans,” regardless of politics or religion. Given her closest advisers’ animus toward faithful Catholics and evangelicals, millions of Americans ought to be skeptical—especially if they’re unwilling to put politics before faith and common decency.

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, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic


Posted October 14, 2016 at 12:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There’s good news for Americans who find themselves waking up in a cold sweat at 3 a.m. to check the latest polls: You are not alone.

More than half of you—on both sides of the aisle—say the 2016 election is a major source of stress, according to a new survey from the American Psychological Association. “Historically, work, money, and the economy are the top three,” said clinical psychologist Lynn Bufka, part of the APA’s Stress in America team, which has been conducting surveys of what freaks us out the most for 10 years. “Now it’s right up there.”

Read it all.

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

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


Posted October 14, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Third, Eric writes, “It’s a fact that if Hillary Clinton is elected, the country’s chance to have a Supreme Court that values the Constitution — and the genuine liberty and self-government for which millions have died — is gone. Not for four years, or eight, but forever.” Essentially, this is to say that Hillary is Sauron, and the Presidency the One Ring. “If [she gains] it, your valour is vain, and [her] victory will be swift and complete: so complete that none can foresee the end of it while this world lasts.” But is there any evidence whatsoever that this prophecy — Eric’s about Hillary, I mean, not Gandalf’s about Sauron — is true? It’s the same claim that Decius makes with his “Flight 93” analogy, but as far as I can tell, none of the people who prophesy so boldly have ever defended it. They just assert it. Saying “it’s a fact” doesn’t making it a fact. The prophecy of ultimate and endless doom is just a guess.

And a despairing guess — which is the element of all this that isn’t poor judgment, but rather a sin. If Hillary Clinton is elected, that will not foreclose the possibility of Christian revival in America. And if there ever is Christian revival in America, then surely Eric Metaxas believes that that would be good news for the cause of “genuine liberty and self-government.” Hillary is not mightier than Sauron, and American democracy is not quite that fragile, even if it is profoundly flawed, and the possibility of spiritual renewal is always at hand.

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


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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the forerunners of the Ordinariate is the remarkable parish of Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, Texas.

As a young Anglican seminarian, Christopher Phillips trained for the ministry at Salisbury in England. On his return to the United States he and his wife Joanne, living at that time in Rhode Island, felt the call to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church.

It was 1981 and Pope John Paul II had just given permission for married Anglican priests who become Catholic to be granted a dispensation from the vow of celibacy, thereby allowing them to be ordained as Catholic priests. Permission was also granted for groups of Anglicans to set up “personal parishes” using an Anglican-style liturgy under the supervision of their Catholic bishop.

At the same time Christopher and Joanne were discerning the way forward, a small group of Episcopalians in San Antonio had decided to leave the Episcopal church and seek re-union with Rome. They asked Christopher if he would move to Texas to be their pastor.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted October 13, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The piece is essentially an op-ed commentary on a survey conducted by Lifeway Research and funded by Ligonier ministries. The defining feature of the survey, at least to me, was an inability for those surveyed to think consistently about their faith. For example, 60% of respondents believed that Heaven is a place where “all people will ultimately be reunited with their loved ones” however 54% percent of respondents said that “only those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior” will go to heaven. Adding to the confusion, 64% believe that “God accepts all forms of religion.” It doesn’t take a seminary degree to see the incompatibility of the above viewpoints. The only way I could reconcile the above viewpoints would be with the theologically liberal solution of a Universalist Cosmic Christ, which is probably not what the respondents intended!

And while logical inconsistency might be the defining feature of the survey, it is by no means the most interesting. Apparently, for this survey LifeWay used “stringent criteria” in order to separate “Evangelicals” from Christians in general. Those respondents who identified as “Evangelical” must indicate the Bible as “their highest authority,” that personal evangelism was important and that “trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross is the only way to salvation.” The expectation was that the Evangelicals would perform better on the more theological/biblical portions of the survey than the more generic “Christian” respondents. But as Morris points out in his article for The Federalist, Evangelicals actually performed worse. And the points they scored worse on were not Bible trivia such as “who was the first Apostle called by Jesus,” but rather the Evangelicals struck out on fundamental articles of the Christian faith.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

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

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Posted October 12, 2016 at 3:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ms. Weber had to get a medical marijuana card to buy products for her dog Emmett. That led her to an awkward conversation with a physician who solely prescribes medical marijuana for people.

“I went to the weed doctor and said, ‘I need a card so I can get it for my dog who had cancer,’” said Ms. Weber, who said she doesn’t smoke pot or drink. “He said, ‘I don’t have a solution for that.’ So I told him I had insomnia.”

Maureen McCormick, 54, lives in Newport Beach, Calif., and was persuaded of marijuana’s benefits after relatives used cannabis products for their own aches and pains. She thought they would benefit her 14-year-old cat, Bart, who has arthritis in his front legs. “I told the doctor I had a knee that aches, and my shoulder, too,” she said. “I also said I want to use it for my cat.” She got the card in July.

Ms. McCormick is using a tincture by Treatwell, a California company that also makes edibles for humans.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* General InterestAnimals* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted October 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Platform Intentionally

In Divided By Faith esteemed sociologists Emerson and Smith make the following assertion: Racial practices that reproduce racial division are invisible to most whites. If this is true, then our churches need people at the table who help make the invisible visible.

Offer platforms to the issues. Offer platforms to minorities who might feel marginalized. Years ago, I appreciated events like "A Time to Speak" held at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis to discuss race relations in America. These types of events confront racism head-on.

But platforms aren't reserved for conferences and moderated national panels. The local church has an underused platform. Think about your church's sermon series over the past nine months. Was racial tension in America addressed? Was any time set aside during service for prayer after tragedies occurred around our nation?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted October 12, 2016 at 12:57 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




The Cubs expressed understandable joy and jubilation after their 6-5 comeback victory over the Giants in Game 4 to win the National League Division Series, but mostly they felt rewarded for keeping the faith when everybody but them had lost it. Admit it, you did too.

Just when you concluded the Cubs were done, they reminded everyone how they won 103 regular-season games. Just when you thought their bats had died, they came back to life. Just when Chicago doubted the Cubs the most, they gave everyone reason to believe again.

Just when you started to wonder if this really was the year, the Cubs left the impression the 108-year wait might be ending soon.

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted October 12, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....something changed for Moore after Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president of the United States, was caught on tape bragging about his ability to sexual assault women. When Trump said, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the #####. You can do anything,” Moore had had enough.

“I’m one among many women sexually abused, misused, stared down, heckled, talked naughty to. Like we liked it. We didn’t. We’re tired of it,” Moore said. She also had a word about evangelical leaders still supporting Trump: “Try to absorb how acceptable the disesteem and objectifying of women has been when some Christian leaders don’t think it’s that big a deal.”

Moore’s broken silence about the 2016 race—rooted in her own experience with sexual assault—signals a widening gender divide between evangelicals. Increasingly, moderate and conservative Christian women are speaking out about Trump’s brand of misogyny and divisiveness, and condemning support for the nominee or silence about him from male evangelicals.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 11, 2016 at 2:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Before we get to the Sarah Pulliam Bailey round-up for today, it is significant that the Associated Press has produced a feature with the headline, "Why Do Evangelicals Prefer Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton?"

Of course, this headline should have included the word "some," as in "some evangelicals." Down in the body of the feature, AP made it rather clear that many – perhaps even most – religious conservatives are not planning to vote for Trump, but against you know who. This is not news to people who follow religion trends, but it will be surprising to some editors at daily newspapers:

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 Theology

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Posted October 11, 2016 at 1:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Relations between Moscow and Washington -- already at their lowest since the Cold War over the Ukraine conflict -- have soured further in recent days as the United States pulled the plug on Syria talks and accused Russia of hacking attacks.

The Kremlin has suspended a series of nuclear pacts, including a symbolic cooperation deal to cut stocks of weapons-grade plutonium.

"I think the world has reached a dangerous point," Gorbachev, 85, told state news agency RIA Novosti.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This past week, the latest (though surely not last) revelations from Trump’s past have caused many evangelical leaders to reconsider. This is heartening, but it comes awfully late. What Trump is, everyone has known and has been able to see for decades, let alone the last few months. The revelations of the past week of his vile and crude boasting about sexual conquest—indeed, sexual assault—might have been shocking, but they should have surprised no one.

Indeed, there is hardly any public person in America today who has more exemplified the “earthly nature” (“flesh” in the King James and the literal Greek) that Paul urges the Colossians to shed: “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry” (3:5). This is an incredibly apt summary of Trump’s life to date. Idolatry, greed, and sexual immorality are intertwined in individual lives and whole societies. Sexuality is designed to be properly ordered within marriage, a relationship marked by covenant faithfulness and profound self-giving and sacrifice. To indulge in sexual immorality is to make oneself and one’s desires an idol. That Trump has been, his whole adult life, an idolater of this sort, and a singularly unrepentant one, should have been clear to everyone.

And therefore it is completely consistent that Trump is an idolater in many other ways. He has given no evidence of humility or dependence on others, let alone on God his Maker and Judge. He wantonly celebrates strongmen and takes every opportunity to humiliate and demean the vulnerable. He shows no curiosity or capacity to learn. He is, in short, the very embodiment of what the Bible calls a fool.

Read it all from Andy Crouch.

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

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


Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How can one billion people be doing something without the world standing up to take notice?

More specifically, how can one billion people be doing something within a very narrowly defined niche, and the leaders in that niche not value it?

But that’s what has happened in the church world.

Over one billion people choose to worship Jesus in small churches. Yet virtually every book on how to do church implies that this is a problem to be fixed, rather than an opportunity to take advantage of.

Read it all.

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

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Posted October 6, 2016 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Times have changed, Ms. Sandys said on Monday as the statue arrived at the cathedral, swaddled in the kind of dark gray blankets that movers wrap around furniture.

“It was startling then,” said Ms. Sandys, who is a granddaughter of Winston Churchill and whose name is pronounced “sands.” “Now? Well, we have women bishops now.”

The current dean of the cathedral, the Very Rev. James A. Kowalski, saw the return of the statue as “an opportunity to reframe the conversation and, frankly, do a better job than the first time.”

And this time, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, Andrew M. L. Dietsche, wrote an article for the cathedral’s booklet — an approving article. “In an evolving, growing, learning church,” he wrote, “we may be ready to see ‘Christa’ not only as a work of art but as an object of devotion, over our altar, with all of the challenges that may come with that for many visitors to the cathedral, or indeed, perhaps for all of us.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchArtReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyChristology

1 Comments
Posted October 5, 2016 at 8:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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