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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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6. We affirm that the clear teaching of Jesus, and the Bible as a whole, is that marriage is an estate for all people, not just for believers. It is a holy institution, created by God for a man and a woman to live in a covenantal relationship of exclusive and mutual love for each other until they are parted by death. God designed marriage for the well-being of society, for sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife, and for procreation and the nurturing of children (Genesis 2:18-25).
7. We contend that sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex is contrary to God’s design, is offensive to him and reflects a disordering of God’s purposes for complementarity in sexual relations. Like all other morally wrong behaviour, same-sex unions alienate us from God and are liable to incur God’s judgment. We hold these convictions based on the clear teaching of Scripture. We hold them not in order to demean or victimise those who experience same-sex attractions, but in order to guard the sound doctrine of our faith, which also informs our pastoral approach for helping those who struggle with same-sex impulses, attractions and temptations.
8. In this respect, the Church cannot condone same-sex unions as a form of behaviour acceptable to God. To do so would be tampering with the foundation of our faith once for all laid down by the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2: 20-22; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11; Jude 3).
9. Any pastoral provision by a church for a same-sex couple (such as a liturgy or a service to bless their sexual union) that obviates the need for repentance and a commitment to pursue a change of conduct enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit, would contravene the orthodox and historic teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * International News & Commentary Middle East Egypt * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The sound of a ringing iPhone makes Omar Delgado sweat and freeze in place. His heart pounds. He closes his eyes to fight back the ghastly images that no one should ever have to see.
He hears the marimba-like tone and he is back at Pulse nightclub on June 12 as a police officer pinned down in an hourslong standoff surrounded by dead bodies, their phones ringing again and again with calls that would never be answered.
“I literally felt like I was standing there at the club, my feet hurting, my arm hurting from holding my weapon,” Officer Delgado recalled, thinking of the times just after the slaughter when the phone rang and the panic came back.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Psychology Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * Theology Anthropology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology
Ashers Baking is owned by the McArthur family. It offered to bake cakes iced with a graphic of the customer’s own design. Gareth Lee is gay; and to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, in May 2014 he ordered a cake from Ashers bearing the slogan “Support Gay Marriage” and a picture of the Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie. Ashers initially accepted his order but Mrs Karen McArthur subsequently telephoned him to say that his order could not be fulfilled because Ashers was a Christian business and that, with hindsight, she should not have taken the order in the first place. She apologised and refunded his money.
Before Belfast County Court, in Lee v Ashers Baking Co Ltd & Anor  NICty 2 Mr Lee had claimed that he had been discriminated against contrary to the provisions of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 and/or the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998. District Judge Brownlie found for Mr Lee, concluding that Ashers Baking was liable under the 2006 Regulations for the unlawful acts of its two directors, Mr and Mrs McArthur, and that they, in turn, were liable under Regulation 24 for aiding Ashers Baking to act unlawfully. As a result of their actions, the company had discriminated unlawfully against Mr Lee. They appealed and the matter came before the Court of Appeal in Belfast by way of case stated.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
By the end of the 20th century, however, the special role of adolescence in US culture began to fall apart. Global competition was making skills acquired in high school obsolete as higher levels of schooled certification became necessary in the workplace. The longtime educational advantage of the US and the competence of its students was challenged as other nations prospered and offered their children schooling that was often superior when measured by international scores. New immigrants, who began to arrive in the US in large numbers in the 1970s, were less well-integrated into high schools as schools re-segregated, leaving Latino immigrants, for example, in underperforming schools.
High schools, long a glory of US education and a product of democratic culture, had lost their central social role. Graduation, once the final step for most Americans on the road to work and steady relationships leading to marriage, no longer marked a significant end point on the way to maturity. It provided neither an effective transition to adulthood nor a valuable commodity for aspiring youth, and was an impediment to those who dropped out. Going to college became a necessary part of middle-class identity, and this complicated the completion of adolescence for everyone. Now that college was held up as essential to economic success, the failure to go to college portended an inadequate adulthood.
The extension of necessary schooling into the 20s (and sometimes even into the 30s) strongly attenuated the relationship between a stage of physical maturation (puberty) and the social experiences to which it had been attached in the concept of adolescence.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Children Education History Marriage & Family Psychology Sexuality Teens / Youth * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
A bid to reduce the size of the House of Lords has been backed by the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Rev David Urquhart.
Giving his support to Lord Elton’s Private Member’s Bill to reduce the size of the House of Lords, the bishop reiterated the ‘consistent’ support from the Lords Spiritual in support of the reform.
He welcomed the fact that reform proposals had come from inside the House of Lords and noted that ‘taking decisive responsibility for making delicate if radical constitutional improvements’ is a ‘good way forward’ for the House.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has admitted he deserves to be criticised over his support for a bishop convicted of sexual assault, as it emerged separately that his son, a priest, has been arrested for historic child sex abuse.
The retired Anglican Archbishop has been warned he can expect to face “explicit criticism” over claims the criminal activities of Peter Ball, the then Bishop of Gloucester, were covered up by the Church of England.
Lord Carey, who was a friend of Ball’s, has now been given his own lawyer, paid for by the Church of England, to represent him personally at the national child sex abuse inquiry.
Read it all from the Telegraph.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has been granted core-participant status at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) after Professor Alexis Jay, who chairs it, ruled that he “may be subject to explicit criticism by the Inquiry in due course”.
Core participants are entitled to legal representation at the Inquiry and to receive advance disclosure of evidence. They may also cross-examine witnesses when the public hearings begin, something that is expected to happen next year.
In his application for core participant status, lawyers for Lord Carey explained that, as a retired office-holder, he was led to be believe that he would be represented at the Inquiry by lawyers for the Archbishops’ Council, which also has core-participant status. “Once the Archbishops’ Council indicated to Lord Carey that there might be some conflict between their interests and those of Lord Carey, he made contact with alternative legal representatives,” Professor Jay said.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
My jaw dropped."
This was the instant reaction of a mother suffering from a terminal disease when she was told by her medical insurance company that they could not pay for her chemotherapy but would be willing to shoulder the cost of drugs that would put her to death. The drugs' price: $1.20.
Four years ago, 33-year-old California resident Stephanie Packer was diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes scar tissue to form in her lungs, the New York Post reported.
Read it all from Christian Today.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
In order that every appearance of pantheism, naturalism or nihilism be avoided, it is not permitted to scatter the ashes of the faithful departed in the air, on land, at sea or in some other way, nor may they be preserved in mementos, pieces of jewelry or other objects. These courses of action cannot be legitimized by an appeal to the sanitary, social, or economic motives that may have occasioned the choice of cremation.
When the deceased notoriously has requested cremation and the scattering of their ashes for reasons contrary to the Christian faith, a Christian funeral must be denied to that person according to the norms of the law.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Francis Other Faiths * Theology Anthropology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
What can you do if you agree with this paper? The main argument has been:
that all sexual practice outside heterosexual marriage was reckoned as sinful in the eyes of Jesus and his apostles;
that homosexual practice was a part of this and that same-sex marriage, far from providing a legitimate context for this practice, would have been seen as a parody of God’s intention for marriage;
that such issues of sexual immorality were not a second-order issue for the apostles, but were consistently denounced by them, and certainly would never have been embraced by them in their quest for Christian unity;
that the role of a bishop was developed in the early Church precisely to safe-guard these apostolic norms pertaining to both doctrine and ethics and that bishops are therefore to be seen as ‘apostolic guardians’....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
In 1996, 19-year-old Jennifer Ringley turned on a webcam that sat on top of the computer in her college dorm room. In that simple act, writes Aleks Krotoski, she changed the modern world.
It would be, at first glance, a perfectly innocent thing to do. But rather than use the cam to speak to friends and family back home in Harrisburg, Pennyslvania, she used it to do a most unusual thing: to broadcast herself live, to a globe of strangers, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Psychology Science & Technology * General Interest Photos/Photography * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Jessica Foster, a curate at St Peter’s, Hall Green, Birmingham, writes about a day trip to the Calais ‘Jungle’ to deliver rucksacks and suitcases in advance of the operation to clear the camp.
Sitting in a meeting, planning what we, a group of friends from different faiths who live in south Birmingham could do to support people living in the Calais ‘jungle’ I glance at my phone. There is an appeal for suitcases and rucksacks as thousands of people prepare for an eviction.
I had no idea that two weeks later I would be sitting in a café on the camp, eating a delicious meal of Afghani eggs, spinach and chicken having delivered around 100 pieces of luggage, tents, sleeping bags and some winter clothes to a warehouse in Calais.
The aid was donated by two churches, one church where I am a curate and one free church where another member of the group, Fred, worships. The loaded minibus was lent to us by Birmingham’s Central mosque, where one of our friends, Abdullah, has many connections.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Pastoral Care * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe France * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Humility is strength born of prayer and devotion to God. That’s Warren Blakney Sr.’s Sunday morning message to the North Peoria Church of Christ.
He proclaims it, he shouts it, during the two-hour worship service. He even sings it, bursting into John P. Kee’s “Harvest” mid-sermon. The church joins in: “I read that Hebrews 11 and 1, the kind of faith to know my blessing will come."
“I come to tell you that humble people are strong people,” Blakney preaches. “Humility means I’ve got the ability to do you in, but I won’t do you in.”
'Humility is strength born of prayer and devotion to God.'
The 480-member church prays for justice and healing after police shootings of black men sparked protests and violence in cities across the nation, most recently in Charlotte, N.C. Here in Tulsa, white police officer Betty Shelby shot and killed an unarmed black man, Terence Crutcher.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
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-Watch Education Multiculturalism, pluralism Philosophy Poetry & Literature Psychology * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Ashers managing director Daniel McArthur said he and his family were “extremely disappointed” with the ruling .
“If equality law means people can be punished for politely refusing to support other people’s causes then equality law needs to change. This ruling undermines democratic freedom, it undermines religious freedom, and it undermines free speech,” he said.
Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell said the “verdict is a defeat for freedom of expression” and could set a “dangerous, authoritarian precedent”.
“Although I strongly disagree with Ashers’ opposition to marriage equality, in a free society neither they nor anyone else should be compelled to facilitate a political idea that they oppose,” he said.
Read it all from the Irish Times.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
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-Watch History * Economics, Politics Economy The U.S. Government Budget Medicare Social Security The National Deficit Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
A safeguarding issue was revealed on Monday to be at the centre of the row that blew up last week over bell-ringing in York Minster.
To furious protests by the nation’s bell-ringers, the entire band of ringers at York Minster had been summarily sacked on Tuesday of last week, for reasons that at first were unclear.
At the time, the Dean, the Very Revd Vivienne Faull, and the Chapter alluded only to “health and safety”, and the need to bring the ringers under the control of the Chapter, in line with its other volunteer teams.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Music Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his Answer. Gambling-related harm is not restricted to people with problem gambling—it affects family, it affects friends, it affects even people who work in gambling shops. I recently put in a freedom of information request to the Metropolitan Police which revealed that since 2010 there has been a 68% rise in violent crime associated with betting shops across the capital. In the light of that, will the Minister tell the House what assessment the Government have made of the link between this rapid rise in violent crime associated with betting shops and the increase in the number of fixed-odds betting terminals in those shops?
Lord Ashton of Hyde: Any rise in crime figures is of course concerning, and Ministers and the Gambling Commission will look at those figures closely. One of the three licensing objectives that all operators must comply with is to prevent gambling being a source of crime. On the right reverend Prelate’s specific question about the link between fixed-odds betting terminals and the rise in crime, I hesitate at the moment to draw a causal link between them in the absence of evidence on the specific means of betting. However, this is exactly the sort of evidence that should be provided to the forthcoming triennial review.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Gambling Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The headmaster of Downside School has spoken out against suggestions that pornography should be taught in schools.
Following comments by the broadcaster and journalist Dame Jenni Murray, in which she said teenagers should watch pornography together and analyse it as though it was a Jane Austen novel, Dr James Whitehead said that promoting pornography goes against the ethos of gender equality.
During an appearance at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, Murray suggested schools “put boys and girls together in a class and you show them a pornographic film and you analyse it in exactly the same way as you teach them to read all the other cultures around them”.
But in a blogpost for the Independent Schools Council, Dr Whitehead said Jane Austen would be “appalled”.
Read it all.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Entertainment Pornography Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
A recent HBR article presented researched that suggests that many employees spend up to 80% of their time in meetings, on the phone and responding to emails. That doesn’t leave much time to get their individually assigned work done.
Let me be clear. I’m not bashing teamwork and collaboration. We all know that input and insight from several knowledgeable sources can add value to the organization. But are executives confusing the concept of collaboration with consensus? Or worse, perhaps they are using this popular management style as a way to hedge responsibility should something go wrong. As in, “Hey, it’s not my problem! We all signed-off thinking she would make a great hire.” Or, “Hey, it’s not my fault! Everyone agreed that the new product would sell like hotcakes!”
At the risk of being labeled a non-collaborator, I believe the pendulum needs to swing back to the middle.
Read it all (my emphasis).
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
I was at a professional meeting, having dinner at a convivial restaurant to honor a senior scholar. There was one man at the table I wanted to avoid. He had been backhandedly undermining my work for years. Using the buddy system, I asked a good friend to sit next to me. But when I came back from the restroom, everyone had shifted chairs, to facilitate more conversation. The only empty chair was next to this man.
I wish I had left the restaurant then. I should have risked the considerable awkwardness and come up with some excuse to leave. Instead I sat down, trying to appear composed.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Men Psychology Sexuality Violence Women * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
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-Watch Globalization History Law & Legal Issues Psychology Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The number of illicit drug deaths in British Columbia surpassed last year’s death toll after just nine months.
The Ministry of Public Safety says in the first nine months of this year there were 555 deaths because of illicit drug overdoses, compared with 508 for all of 2015.
The ministry says fentanyl remains the major contributor to the high number of deaths and in more than 60 per cent of them, the drug was detected.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Drugs/Drug Addiction Health & Medicine * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Eleven clergy of the Diocese of West Ankole have brought a lawsuit in the Kampala High Court against the Primate of the Church of Uganda.
They allege that the Most Rev Stanley Ntagali had violated church canons and slandered the leaders of the diocese when he appointed his own commission to select candidates to replace the Rt Rev Yona Katoneene.
The lawsuit alleges that when Archbishop Ntagali created an eight-member committee on 2 October 2015 to oversee the selection process, he usurped the authority of the local committee, violated canon law and slandered West Ankole was a “failed” diocese.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa Uganda * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Britain’s shallow, celebrity-obsessed culture could leave as toxic a legacy for future generations as the pollution of the planet, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams of Oystermouth has warned.
Today’s children are growing up in a culture with few if any real “heroes”, he said, while ideas of “nobility” and even “honour” are quietly disappearing.
The result could be as damaging to the nation’s “moral and imaginative ecology” as the destruction of the environment, he argued.
Britain is in danger of become a more “boring” and “mean-minded” place as a result, he added.
Read it all (another from the long line of should have already been posted material).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Media Movies & Television Religion & Culture Science & Technology * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
But if there is a growing gap between the beliefs of the elites and the laws of the nation on one hand, and the Christian Church on the other, then the Bible and church history give clear guidance: the Church’s responsibility is to do precisely the opposite of what Mr Archer suggests, and stick to its principles courageously, compassionately and prophetically, as for example the Anglican Church did in South Africa, otherwise it becomes a puppet of the State and a religious cipher in society.
Mr Archer goes on to predict, with approval, that Parliament will in time act to “urge” the Church of England to change its official teaching and practice regarding sexual ethics and marriage. He may be right, and readers should not be surprised in the coming months to see influential leaders such as Mr Archer siding with Government and media to put pressure on the Church in this way.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch History Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
The questions to be posed are what a national Church should do when it is out of step with the law of the land and the people it serves, and whether this conundrum strikes at the root of Establishment. The fact is that the Canons of the Church of England define marriage, in accordance with the traditional understanding of Christ’s teaching and the doctrine of the Church, as being between a man and a woman, and would render it in conflict with statute law, but for the so-called quadruple lock.
Increasingly that teaching is being tested and challenged, both for reasons of moral logic and for reasons of different contextual interpretations of the relevant scriptures. Overall, the Church of England is being tested in relation to a doctrinal position that has as one of its consequences an apparently irreconcilable pastoral position.
The long and at times complicated relationship between Parliament and the Established Church of England is likely to be tested further in the months and years ahead. Commentators have noted the extraordinary lengths MPs and Peers went to in engaging with the debates on women priests and bishops and there is no reason to believe that there will not be a repeat of this over the question of same-sex marriage, in all its aspects. Traditionalists will resile at attempts by Parliament, which can be anticipated, to urge the General Synod to change its teaching, if only permissively, to allow clergy to bless same-sex marriages, to remove the restrictions on celibacy for clergy in same-sex relationships and, ultimately, to permit clergy to conduct same-sex marriages. There will be renewed claims of Erastianism. But the Church cannot have privileges associated with being the Established Church and not be aware of the potential for disestablishment over this issue, with all that that might imply for the mission and ministry of the Church of England.
Read it all.
Read it all.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
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-Watch Sociology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Housing/Real Estate Market Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance Politics in General Office of the President * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
He says he expects chaos and violent retribution if ISIS is pushed out of Mosul. He fears that families who lost loved ones to the militants will take revenge not just on those who worked with ISIS, but on their whole families.
"There is no law, in the years to come," he says. "The government is weak. I don't trust these guys."
He regards his life in Mosul as over. He never plans to go back, and says when he sits with his friends from Mosul in the nearby city of Irbil, they do not speak of home.
None of them will return, so reminiscence is painful.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Urban/City Life and Issues * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Terrorism * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Much could be said about the Redirect Method, but two things stand out to me. First, as a philosopher of religion, I find [Yasmin] Green’s point fascinating. Regardless how one mixes the faith-and-reason cocktail, a theopolitical agenda like ISIS’s is undeniably still dependent upon information. People enlist in groups like ISIS not simply out of blind hate or misdirected zeal, but because they find ISIS’s description of the world reasonable and compelling. Green’s wording is suggestive: in “arming individuals with more and better information,” Google is acting on the assumption that facts may be as fatal to ISIS’s success as bullets. Google’s experiment rests on a perspective shared by many professors of religion; in Kofi Annan’s words, “Education is peace-building by another name.”
Second, this program raises the question of precedent. Though I doubt many net neutrality advocates will rally in support of ISIS, there is reason to be leery of Google’s self-appointed mission to steer users away from certain ideological stances. Given that the dream of the Internet is a pure democracy of information and opinion, do we trust Google to be the gatekeeper of theopolitical correctness? It’s one thing if I search for “crayons” and Google—after receiving a payment from Crayola—directs me to Crayola’s website. But what about topics far more controversial than my coloring hobby? How comfortable are we with the leading search engine employing “targeted advertising campaigns” on disputed religious and political matters?
The dilemma is this: everyone is pro-information, but we tend to see only the information that supports our particular worldview.
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How do we think about the value of our work?
There is a trend in recent theology to locate the meaning of our work in eternity. If we, as God’s people do good things, these things will remain forever. So, they argue, do whatever you are doing with great heart because –ultimately – what you do will be a part of God’s kingdom and the new creation.
Others argue that the only thing that matters in our lives is how we use our vocation to advance the kingdom through gospel proclamation. In other words, our jobs and lives only matter so much as we can tell people about Jesus; everything else is just details.
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Is the human genome sacred? Does editing it violate the idea that we’re made in God’s image or, perhaps worse, allow us to “play God”?
It’s hard to imagine weightier questions. And so to address them, Ting Wu is starting small.
Last month, the geneticist was here in a conference room outside Baltimore, its pale green walls lined with mirrors, asking pastors from area black churches to consider helping her.
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York Minster dismissed 30 volunteer bellringers because one member of the group was regarded as a safeguarding risk, according to a statement delivered by the archbishop of York, John Sentamu.
Other members of the group “consistently challenged” the minster’s governing body, the Chapter of York, on this and other matters, the statement from York Minster said.
The volunteers were told at a special meeting last Tuesday that bellringing activity at the minster would cease with immediate effect for “health and safety” reasons and that they were dismissed.
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If you could live out your deepest, darkest fantasies, what would you do? Who would you become?
That’s a question explored in Westworld, a TV reincarnation of Michael Crichton’s 1973 movie, in which rich customers visit a Western-styled theme park filled with humanoid androids. In the original film, Yul Brynner starred as a malfunctioning robot whose relentless pursuit of his victims made for compelling viewing. The TV show, which debuted this month, is equally enthralling and not simply because the updated CGI is breath-taking. The storyline has also been described as ‘sinister and spectacular’.
Against astonishingly beautiful backdrops, rich ‘guests’ fulfil their fantasies as they interact with androids, known as ‘hosts’. The producers’ take on this is that when humans are given this kind of freedom, they will stoop to the lowest forms of depravity. Not just sex, but rape. Not just murder, but torture.
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The Anglican Diocese of Calabar on Monday pointed out that the practice of true federalism in Nigeria is the only panacea to Nigeria’s multifaceted problems.
Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Tunde Adeleye, who stated this at a press briefing to mark the 2nd session of 9th Synod of the Diocese in Calabar, averred that states should be given more powers to manage some pressing local affairs, while the Federal Government should maintain its roles on national security and diplomatic matters.
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The human tragedy that is the Calais ‘jungle’ camp has been a constant cause for concern and prayer in the Diocese. Being but a few miles from our own coastline, its devastating impact on those that live and volunteer there, the local French community, lorry drivers and port workers, holiday-makers and security staff, has been impossible to ignore.
Although clearly an intolerable situation, news of its imminent dismantling does little to dispel concern for everyone involved. Our prayer now is that the clearance process be carried out with humanity and in the recognition of the human dignity of each person present. We acknowledge too the need for swift and urgent protection for the many unaccompanied young people and children present in the camp who are now faced with increased danger.
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The appeal to pastoral accommodation as a way forward has now been analysed both in principle and in relation to three examples. This has shown there are major problems with appealing to pastoral accommodation to justify commonly proposed developments affirming of sexual same-sex unions without either changing the church’s teaching or demonstrating and getting agreement that the developments are in principle consistent with that teaching. This does not rule out such developments as clergy in same-sex sexual unions (including marriages) or the liturgical recognition of such unions. It does though mean that if they are to be proposed (by the bishops or anyone else) then some other justifications than simply an appeal to pastoral accommodation are needed and these other rationales will need to be developed and weighed by the church. An appeal to pastoral accommodation properly understood and as we have used it in the past simply will not work.
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In the Shubra al-Kheima neighborhood of Cairo, Sharouk, 20, has had two engagements broken off by her prospective grooms' families. The reason: She couldn't afford to buy kitchen appliances.
In Sharouk's working-class community, the groom is responsible for the apartment and furniture, while the bride provides a refrigerator, stove and washing machine. The engagement is sealed with a gift of gold jewelry from the groom to the bride.
The soft-spoken young woman has worked in a nearby factory since she was 12. But Sharouk's earnings of about $50 a month are buying less and less. And she is still helping her widowed mother, Samiha, pay off debts from money they borrowed for the marriages of her sister and brother.
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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.
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."
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Regardless of what you might choose for yourself, why should you deny others the right to make this choice? For those suffering unbearably and coming to the end of their lives, merely knowing that an assisted death is open to them can provide immeasurable comfort.
I welcome anyone who has the courage to say, as a Christian, that we should give dying people the right to leave this world with dignity. My friend Lord Carey, the former archbishop of Canterbury, has passionately argued for an assisted-dying law in Britain. His initiative has my blessing and support — as do similar initiatives in my home country, South Africa, throughout the United States and across the globe.
In refusing dying people the right to die with dignity, we fail to demonstrate the compassion that lies at the heart of Christian values. I pray that politicians, lawmakers and religious leaders have the courage to support the choices terminally ill citizens make in departing Mother Earth. The time to act is now.
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The common wisdom, as research verifies, is that most men want sons. That’s starting to shift. Some men, like me, fear becoming fathers to sons.
At the website for the NPR radio show “On Being,” the writer Courtney E. Martin observes of many younger middle- and upper-middle-class fathers-to-be, “I’ve noticed a fascinating trend: They seem to disproportionately desire having a girl instead of a boy.” An informal Facebook survey she took yielded these results: “I wanted a girl mainly because I felt it was harder to be a boy in today’s society. If I have a boy I will embrace the challenge of raising a boy…who can learn the power of vulnerability even as male culture tries to make him see it as weakness. But, frankly, I hope that when I have a second child, it’ll be another girl.’” This was emblematic of a lot of the responses, which revealed that men felt more confident, or “better equipped,” co-parenting “a strong, confident daughter.”
Ms. Martin says that her own husband was relieved to have daughters instead of sons. He says: “‘I haven’t felt like I fit into a lot of the social norms around masculinity…. I’m much more interested in the challenge of helping a girl or young woman transcend sexist conditions. It feels more possible and more important, in some ways.”
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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.”
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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
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Leaders of the Global South have attacked “the inability of existing Communion instruments to discern truth and error and take binding ecclesiastical action”.
In a closing communiqué following the meeting in Egypt, they lamented the failure “to discipline those leaders who have abandoned the biblical and historic faith, to check the marginalisation of Anglicans in heterodox Provinces who are faithful, and in some cases have even sanctioned or deposed them.”
The statement also expressed their grief that some Churches had given “authorisation of liturgies and making pastoral provisions for blessing of civil unions of same-sex couples and blessing or solemnising of same-sex marriage… and ordination those who live in same-sex union…
“Churches that condone these practices are severing themselves from their own spiritual roots… they also undermine their moral witness to their own societies, and cause huge confusion among the Anglican faithful in our Churches in this globalising world.”
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William Wilberforce convinced his generation that slavery was a sin – a sin that was a curse of the country in which he lived. That belief has not changed. Yet slavery still demeans more than 30 million in our world. This is the reality for thousands, possible tens of thousands, in our own country, not because we think it is acceptable, but because our sin lies in blindness and ignorance.
I have had to learn that myself. Change that and the problem will be transformed. At the heart of that slightly demanding and complex reading a few moments ago, is freedom.
Paul is writing in a world where 30 per cent of the population were slaves and slavery was visible all around, absolutely unchallenged.And he tells the Galatian Christians that in Christ there was no difference between the slave and the free.
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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?
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In this worrisome and wearisome election year, Yuval Levin offers a gracefully written, big-picture analysis of American society and politics. Levin, editor of National Affairs and a conservative of the David Brooks type, challenges both Democrats and Republicans, whom he views as snared in nostalgia for bygone (and not to be recovered) eras.
Progressives long for the post–World War II era of relative income equality, powerful national institutions, and a highly regulated economy. Conservatives yearn for the cultural conformity of the immediate postwar years and look to the 1980s as the political and economic model. “Our polarized parties are now exceptionally backward-looking,” writes Levin. “They are offering the public a choice of competing nostalgias, neither of which is well-suited to contending with contemporary American challenges.”
Levin’s essay is a work of political philosophy, but there is an implicit theological and moral critique in his analysis. Nostalgia-driven parties and the nation they would lead face the future with more fear than hope, more despair than faith. Levin implicates the Boomer generation, whose “self-image casts a giant shadow over our politics, and . . . means we are inclined to look backward to find our prime.” (Both presidential candidates, one might note, are Boomers.)
Read it all from Christian Century.
....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.
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Just months after London researchers found the two major chemicals in marijuana serve dueling roles towards mental health -- one good and one bad -- another group of scientists say their work paints a darker finding.
Those who use marijuana when they are young may be at risk of abnormal brain function and lower IQ, they say.
That's the finding of a team that included Dr. Elizabeth Osuch, a scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute and medical director of the First Episode Mood and Anxiety Program in London
“Many youth in our program use marijuana heavily and, despite past research, believe it improves their psychiatric conditions because it makes them feel better momentarily,” said Osuch.
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Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Coptic Orthdox Church (pictured) also extended his welcome to the delegates of the Anglican Global South. Through Metropolitan Bishoy he expressed his delight in the Christological agreement signed between the Anglican and Oriental Orthodox Churches in 2014, as well as the 2015 agreement on the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father.
“[We] back you in your defense of the commandments of the Holy Scriptures,” said Pope Tawadros to the Global South delegates, through Metropolitan Bishoy, while noting serious disagreements that exist between the Coptic Orthodox and the Anglican Church as a whole.
“Yet we carry on our dialogue with the Anglican Communion in order to encourage the Anglican conservatives to continue abiding to the true and genuine Biblical principles.”
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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.”
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As a doctor and as a theologian, the ethical dimensions of this bill must be considered in light of medical practice, as well as more foundational beliefs about the nature and value of human dignity.
The most vocal proponents of the bill include the patients’ rights advocacy group Compassion and Choices. The group has called for a formal structuring of an aid-in-dying practice guideline as part of a program they see as nationally desirable and inevitable, despite the medical establishment’s long-standing opposition to the practice.
The group’s agenda centers on the patient’s right of autonomy as the sole determinant of action and on the assumption that dying patients have inadequate choices available to them as they prepare for death.
But the proposed legislation is fundamentally flawed and out of touch with normative ethical medical and public-policy decisions.
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CO: You have said that you don't believe that there is enough evidence that non-binary gender identities even exist?
JP: No. I didn't say that actually. If I'm going to be accused of saying things I have to be accused of exactly what I said. There's not enough evidence to make the case that gender identity and biological sexuality are independently varying constructs. In fact, all the evidence suggests that they're not independently varying constructs. I can tell you that transgender people make the same argument. They make the argument that a man can be born in a woman's body and that's actually an argument that specifies a biological linkage between gender identity and biological sex. I'm also not objecting to transgender people. I'm objecting to poorly written legislation and the foisting of ideological motivated legislation on a population that's not ready for it.
CO: Well, transgender people are ready for it and they have been feeling a great deal of discrimination and that's why they were seeking this type of redress in the law. Do you appreciate that?
JP: I don't believe that the redress that they're seeking in the law is going to actually improve their status materially. I think, in fact, it will have the opposite effect. I believe that the principles on which the legislation is predicated are sufficiently incoherent and vague to cause endless legal trouble in a matter that will not benefit transgender people.
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Policy-making elites converge on Washington this week for meetings that epitomize a faith in globalization that’s at odds with the growing backlash against the inequities it creates.
From Britain’s vote to leave the European Union to Donald Trump’s championing of “America First,” pressures are mounting to roll back the economic integration that has been a hallmark of gatherings of the IMF and World Bank for more than 70 years.
Fed by stagnant wages and diminishing job security, the populist uprising threatens to depress a world economy that International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde says is already “weak and fragile.”
Read it all from Bloomberg.
The scene still haunts me: It was perhaps the most awful moment of the past year. Against the pale blue sky on a crystal clear Florida day, the space shuttle challenger exploded before our very eyes. Seven brave astronauts, who just a few hours before were chatting with the press, schmoozing with proud relatives and friends, were suddenly gone.
I bring this to your attention because life and death is a major theme of Yom Kippur. We read in our Mahzor
Who shall live, and who shall die?On Rosh Hashanah, it is inscribed and on Yom Kippur, it is sealed.
Who shall attain the measure of man’s days and who shall not?
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Thirty years ago, amid the somber prayers of Judaism’s holiest day, Rabbi Kenneth Berger rose to deliver the Yom Kippur sermon. He spoke to his congregants about a tragedy many of them, including his daughter, had witnessed eight months earlier in the Florida sky: the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.
Rabbi Berger focused on one particular detail, the revelation that Challenger’s seven astronauts had remained alive for the 65,000-foot fall to the ocean. He called the homily “Five Minutes to Live,” and he likened the crew members to Jews, who are called during the High Holy Days to engage in the process of “heshbon ha-nefesh,” Hebrew for taking stock of one’s soul.
“Can you imagine knowing that in a few moments death was imminent?” Rabbi Berger said at the Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Tampa, Fla. “What would we think of if, God forbid, you and I were in such circumstances? What would go through our mind...?”
He touched on the ordinary ways that people forget to express love for their families, blithely assuming there will always be another day. He recounted the story of a Jewish father, facing imminent death during the Holocaust, who bestowed a final kiss on the young son he was sending away to safety.
“That scene still haunts me,” Rabbi Berger said as the sermon closed, returning to the Challenger. “The explosion and then five minutes. If only I… If only I… And then the capsule hits the water, it’s all over. Then you realize it’s all the same — five minutes, five days, 50 years. It’s all the same, for it’s over before we realize.
“‘If only I knew’ — yes, my friends, it may be the last time. ‘If only I realized’ — yes, stop, appreciate the blessings you have. ‘If only I could’ — you still can, you’ve got today.”
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Vaughan then views the issues through the biblical framework of creation, fall and redemption. True freedom is found not through radical independence, but through being who we are. The result of being left to invent our identities is a deep insecurity and fluidity. But in reality our identity is given to us in creation. We are made embodied and sexual. As a result of the fall, however, we are now all disordered. Some people have disordered bodies which, in the case of gender, includes a small minority with intersex conditions. More common are disordered minds. This includes phenomena like depression and anxiety. But it can also include gender dysphoria. These are not necessarily a direct result of an individual’s own sin. But they are the result of humanity’s rebellion against sin. We are now all in some way or other broken people in a broken world. Vaughan draws on his own experience of same-sex attraction to illustrate this point. The gospel is the good news of redemption through Christ in a new creation. Before the day when our bodies will be redeemed, we are to resist desires contrary to God’s will. ‘That means that those who experience gender dysphoria should resist feelings that encourage them to see themselves as anything other than the sex of their birth.’ (61) Though this may be difficult, this will lead to a greater experience of freedom and a secure identity. Vaughan ends with a chapter entitled ‘Wisdom’ where he address a series of ‘What if …?’ scenarios including advice to parents, friends and churches.
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[The] Rev. Dr Keith Mascord appears to be the first Anglican casualty of the same-sex marriage debate.
The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Dr Glenn Davies has decided not to renew Rev. Mascord's ministry licence.
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The Hebrew Bible was revolutionary in its understanding not only of God but also of humanity. Finding God, singular and alone, the first monotheists discovered the infinite value of the human person. It is this insight—that every human is in God’s image regardless of color, culture or class—that must take precedence in human economies, societies and states.
Messrs. Barrat, Ford and Harari are paraphrasing for the 21st century what the book of Psalms had to say, millennia ago, about people who worship the work of their hands: “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human’s hands.” When technology becomes idolatry it ceases to be life-enhancing and becomes soul-destroying. The moment humans value things, however intelligent, over people, they embark on the road to ruin.
The two dangers of the 21st century could not be less alike: super-intelligent computers and highly barbaric radical Islamists. They will be defeated only by an insistence on the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life. That is the message of Rosh Hashana—not only to Jews but to the world.
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Parents must also teach their children right from wrong. No child is born knowing right from wrong. Children have to be taught the difference, which means (in this context) accepting instruction as authoritative truth. And authoritative teaching requires authority.
When parents abdicate their authority, they set their children adrift. Kids need firm guidance. When their parents don’t provide it, they look to peers or social media or the Internet. What they find is Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Akon, Eminem, Nicki Minaj, Kim Kardashian, and Lady Gaga. It’s a confusing mélange of sex, selfies, and the endless striving for popularity and attention. What really counts in that world is who’s sexy and who has the most followers on Twitter and the best photos on Instagram.
Legitimate authority establishes a stable moral universe for children. It provides an alternative to the popular culture that has become a culture of disrespect: disrespect for parents, for teachers, for one another. This culture of disrespect leads young people even to disrespect themselves: hence the growing propensity of American teens to post photos on social media of themselves in various states of undress. This new norm—the casual obscenity of sexting—would have been unthinkable even twenty years ago. “Everybody does it” is what kids tell me, with a shrug. “It’s no big deal.” Without clear adult authority to guide them, they live in an unstable moral universe in which everything is relative, in which self-worth is contingent on the opinions of same-age peers.
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In other words, what Francis emphasizes is that the “memory of a people” is never an abstraction - it’s composed of specific memories and experiences lodged in individual, flesh-and-blood people, and thus “keeping alive the past” is in large part about hearing their stories and paying respect to their wisdom.
As he often does at this stage in his improv sessions, Francis emphasized the importance of the elderly, issuing a call on young people to cultivate strong ties with their grandparents, and also stressed the importance of “mothers and grandmothers” as the carriers of both memory and culture.
“A plant without roots doesn’t grow, the pope said. “In the same way, a faith without roots in a mom and grandma doesn’t grow.”
Read it all from Crux.
The world watched in amazement as, on the day of their son’s funeral, nearly 30 Amish men and women, some the parents of the victims, came to the cemetery and formed a wall to block out media cameras. Parents, whose daughters had died at the hand of their son, approached the couple after the burial and offered condolences for their loss.
Then, just four weeks after the shooting, the couple was invited to meet with all the families in a local fire hall. One mother held Roberts’s gaze as both women’s eyes blurred with tears, she said. They were all grieving; they were all struggling to make sense of the senseless.
But the Amish did more than forgive the couple. They embraced them as part of their community. When Roberts underwent treatment for Stage 4 breast cancer in December, one of the girls who survived the massacre helped clean her home before she returned from the hospital. A large yellow bus arrived at her home around Christmas, and Amish children piled inside to sing her Christmas carols.
“The forgiveness is there; there’s no doubt they forgive,” Roberts said.
Read it all from the Washington Post.
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Watch it all below.
The two proposals before the Synod which drew most public attention were:
Firstly, that bishops should be allowed to license clergy who identify as LGBTI, and are in legal same-sex civil unions under South African law, to minister in parishes. The proposers of the motion before Synod withdrew this proposal before debate began.
Secondly, it was proposed that a Bishop may “provide for prayers of blessing to be offered for those in same sex civil unions.” The motion before the Synod did not propose that clergy should be able actually to marry same-sex couples under Church law.
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In The Irish Times, expatriates described how the liberal abortion laws of their adopted homes made Ireland appear regressive in comparison, motivating them to hold their own demonstrations calling for repeal.
One woman, a television producer based in Vancouver, described how living in such a “progressive and liberal society as Canada has made it apparent to me how far Ireland has to go in terms of women’s rights and politics in general”.What was left unsaid – as has become routine in these discussions – is just how extreme the abortion laws are in some of the supposedly more civilised countries we are being asked to look up to.
In Canada, there are no legal restrictions on abortion whatsoever, allowing terminations up until birth for any reason that doctors are comfortable with.
Contrary to its liberal image, the country is apparently uninterested in transparency when it comes to this legal regime, refusing to collect statistics on the number of late-term abortions....
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Bryant has seen many familiar faces on the embalming table. He embalmed his mother, honoring one of her more difficult requests. “She didn’t want anybody else but me to do it. So my mother can say at least I minded her one time,” he says. He’s embalmed his father, brother, aunts, uncles, nephews, and classmates from grade school. When one heavy-drinking friend turned up at the funeral home, Bryant tsk-tsked at the body. “I told him, ‘Man, I tried to tell you this was going to catch up with you.’ ”
Bryant is a trim man who wears a Fitbit and works out at Life Time Fitness three or four times a week. It’s one way he copes with the challenges of the job: embalming a child, or someone who’s committed suicide. Once, he worked on a man who’d been shot 54 times. “Dealing with death every day is not for everybody,” he says. “It can be overwhelming.” He takes time off to visit Spain or Morocco with a group of funeral directors (his wife of 33 years is not keen on traveling; his four adult children are out of the house), but he always misses his work.
“I was born to be an embalmer,” Bryant says. “I’ve never been afraid of this. I never struggled with it in school. I picked it up”—he snaps his fingers—“like that. I don’t know what it’s like to have a job; I just get up every day and do something I love to do.”
Read it all (Hat tip:AJ).
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This past summer, three elderly members of my summer parish in rural Québec received a diagnosis of cancer at the local hospital, a small-town facility an hour’s drive from cosmopolitan Ottawa and even farther from hyper-secular Montréal. Yet after the diagnosis had been delivered, the first question each of these people was asked was “Do you wish to be euthanized?” That is what the new Canadian euthanasia regime has accomplished in just a few months: It has put euthanasia at the top of the menu of options proposed to the gravely ill.
Then there is Belgium, where, as reported in NR’s October 10 print issue, a minor was recently euthanized by lethal injection. You might think that, with the suburbs of Brussels having become the de facto capital of the ISIS caliphate (Euro-subdivision) and a birth rate so far below replacement level that native Belgians will soon be a rare anthropological specimen, the good burghers of Flanders and Wallonia would have something better to do than hasten the deaths of teenagers, even when the teenagers in their distress request just that. But if you thought that, then, as Richard Nixon famously said, “That would be wrong.”
The more apt mot about all of this lethality masquerading as compassion, however, is from the quotable quotes of another Richard, Richard John Neuhaus, who famously said of the morally egregious and its relationship to law, “What is permitted will eventually become obligatory.” Canada isn’t quite there yet, nor is Belgium; but they’re well on their way, not least because their single-payer health-care systems will increasingly find euthanasia cost-effective — and because the arts of pain relief combined with human support will atrophy in those countries as the “easy way out” becomes, well, easier and easier.
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The U.S. health-care system remains among the least-efficient in the world.
America was 50th out of 55 countries in 2014, according to a Bloomberg index that assesses life expectancy, health-care spending per capita and relative spending as a share of gross domestic product. Expenditures averaged $9,403 per person, about 17.1 percent of GDP, that year — the most recent for which data are available — and life expectancy was 78.9. Only Jordan, Colombia, Azerbaijan, Brazil and Russia ranked lower.
The U.S. has lagged near the bottom of the Bloomberg Health-Care Efficiency Index since it was created in 2012. Hong Kong and Singapore — consistently at the top — are smaller countries with less diverse populations. Their governments also play a stronger role in regulating and providing care, with spending per capita averaging $2,386 and longevity averaging about 83 years.
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After writing Heaven, I heard many stories about the losses of loved ones. People were asking, “How can I be happy”—they probably wouldn’t use that word because it sounds so unspiritual—“when my seven-year-old has just died of leukemia?”
I began to think more and more of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, when he describes himself as “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10). He doesn’t say “rejoicing, yet always sorrowful.” It’s rejoicing that’s the constant, even as this leaves plenty of room for sorrow and struggle.
Something would be terribly wrong if we weren’t grieving for this world and those who suffer. But is it okay to be happy when we live in a world of hurt? And beyond that, is it actually God’s calling? Because if God commands us to rejoice, he must empower us to rejoice. He must want us to be happy. That’s what got me interested in God’s happiness. Is God happy? Can he be happy when he sees so much sin in the world, when he knows what his Son endured on his behalf, when he sees the persecution of his people? Can we?
Clearly, the answer is yes.
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With a long history of presidents who were members of Protestant denominations in America, everyone of my age may remember the panic over electing the “papist” John F. Kennedy. But with so many other issues dominating this presidential election, there has been little discussion of the role of the personal religious views of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Ms. Clinton was raised as a Methodist and Mr. Trump as a Presbyterian. (As for their running mates, Tim Kaine is Roman Catholic and Mike Pence is an ex-Catholic turned evangelical Protestant).
What role, if any, will each candidate’s religious views play if she or he must carry out the duties of commander in chief? What role, if any, will religion play in the November election? Or will this become a back-burner issue in the face of unemployment, immigration and the war against terrorism? For many Americans, the separation of church and state, a tenet of our democracy, means religion is of little relevance at the ballot box.
In the ancient world, there was absolutely no distinction between religion and government.
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In response to the news that an agreement has been reached in North Belfast in relation to contested parades, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, joined with the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Richard Clarke, to express their support for this significant initiative:
"We have been aware that various people and groups have been working hard to reach an agreement which would bring to an end the parading stand-off in North Belfast, a part of the city which has borne economic hardship and carries a heavy legacy from the Troubles. The news of this agreement is to be warmly welcomed and we commend all who have taken risks and found a way to serve the common good in the journey towards a peaceful and reconciled future. Our prayers and continued support are with those who now carry responsibility for making it work."
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The world’s first child created using a controversial “three-parent” baby technique has been born in Mexico, it has been announced.
Limited details about the birth were revealed ahead of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine's scientific congress in Salt Lake City next month, where it will be discussed more fully.
According to critics, the procedure is tantamount to genetic modification of humans or even “playing God”. But supporters say it allows women with a particular type of genetic disease to have healthy children who are related to them.
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People whose parents divorced when they were children are significantly more likely to grow up not to be religious as adults, the study found. Thirty-five percent of the children of divorced parents told pollsters they are now nonreligious, compared with 23 percent of people whose parents were married when they were children.
Other studies on the rise of the “nones” — those who say they have no religion — have focused on millennials’ changing preferences. This study found that 29 percent of adults who were raised religious and left their faith say they left because of their religion’s negative teachings about gay and lesbian people. Nineteen percent say they left because of clergy sexual-abuse scandals. Sixty percent say they simply do not believe what the religion teaches.
“A lot of the narrative around the rise of the nones, or the rise of the non-affiliated, has focused on how there’s changing cultural preferences, that people are choosing to move away from religion,” said Daniel Cox, one of the researchers on the new study. “I think there’s also a structural part of the story that has not gotten as much attention. We wanted to focus on the way millennials were raised, which is different from any previous generation. And part of that is they’re more likely to have grown up with parents who are divorced.”
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My country’s parliament recently passed the first national assisted-suicide legislation in our history. Prompted by the Supreme Court of Canada’s unanimous decision last year to strike down the previous law as unconstitutionally restricting individual rights to life, liberty, and security, Parliament is now arguing over how widely or narrowly to involve Canadian citizens—both patients and health care providers—in assisted suicide.
In Culture of Death, first published in 2000, American lawyer and activist Wesley J. Smith warned that this debate was upon us. A new, updated revision of the book sharpens this warning, drawing on a wide range of cases in Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, and the bellwether states of Oregon and Washington.
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“Lewis was committed to classical liberalism in the tradition of John Locke and John Stuart Mill,” according to Professors Dyer and Watson, meaning he believed in the wisdom of limited government, equality under the law, and a robust private sphere. Lewis also presciently warned that Christians were tempted to abuse political power in ways that were bad for both Christianity and the state. He believed that theocracy was the worst form of government and detested the idea of a “Christian party,” which risked blaspheming the name of Christ.
“The danger of mistaking our merely natural, though perhaps legitimate, enthusiasms for holy zeal, is always great,” Lewis wrote. “The demon inherent in every party is at all times ready enough to disguise himself as the Holy Ghost; the formation of a Christian Party means handing over to him the most efficient makeup we can find.”
Lewis knew that a faith-informed conscience could advance justice and that Christianity played an enormous part in establishing the concept of natural rights and the dignity of the human person. But he also believed that legislation is not an exact science; that a Christian citizen does not, in the words of Professors Dyer and Watson, “have the authority to represent his or her prudential judgment as required by Christianity”; and that no political party can come close to approximating God’s ideal. Christianity is about ends, not means, according to Lewis, and so he spent a good deal of his life articulating what he believed was the telos, the ultimate purpose, of human beings. Lewis was convinced that partisan political engagement often undermined that effort.
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After the 9/11 attacks, Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda had approximately 300 militants. ISIS alone now has, at a low estimate, 31,000 fighters across Syria and Iraq. Understanding how ideology has driven this phenomenon is essential to containing and defeating violent extremism.
But violent ideologies do not operate in a vacuum. A fire requires oxygen to grow. A broader political culture overlaps significantly with some of the assumptions of the jihadi ideology, without necessarily being extreme or agreeing with its violence.
The jihadi ideology preys upon those who are sympathetic to some of its aims. Unless we understand how the ideology relates to wider beliefs, we cannot uproot it.
Read it all (and note the link to download the full report).
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The final issue I want to mention is religiously-motivated violence. For the first time for any of us, and in fact for our predecessors, for many, many years – since long before there was national education – the issue of conflict and of religion is generating a powerful and, indeed, at times uncontrollable and destructive influence in our society and around the world, to an extent that has put it at the top of the political agenda, and which affects the life of our own nation as well as abroad. No one before you in the last 10 years as secondary heads has had to face the kinds of issues with religiously-motivated violence since the 17th century to this extent.
It has come back, and that means religious literacy is essential to building the kind of society that we need in the future, whether you believe in the faith of a particular group or of no particular group. Religious literacy has become essential to understanding people’s motivation and ideas. That’s a new experience for all of us, and for our politicians, and for our education system.
There was a study published recently on jihadi violence and the underlying drivers of it, called Inside the Jihadi Mind. One of the things that comes out most importantly is that the heart of their theology – which is the heart of their propaganda, so this is the driving force – is an apocalyptic understanding of human history, not as a loose term but in its strictest technical terms: they believe that the world is about to end, that the Prophet will return with Jesus, and will defeat the western powers.
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Audiences recoil from Macbeth, but he recoils from himself too. After Macbeth murders King Duncan, a knocking at the gate startles him, and Macbeth wonders, “How is’t with me, when every noise appals me?” He stares at his bloody hands as if they belonged to someone else’s body: “What hands are here?” He knows that the “multitudinous seas” can’t wash away the stain of Duncan’s blood, and later he is haunted by the ghost of Banquo. Macbeth “murder[s] sleep” and so deprives himself of that nightly “balm of hurt minds.” Almost no one hears “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” and thinks, “Well, Macbeth, you deserve it.” He does deserve it, but Shakespeare has shown us enough of Macbeth’s shocked soul and tortured conscience to convince us that he’s human.
Shakespeare is no liberal sentimentalist. He knows that evil is evil, and knows that Macbeth chooses evil. A. C. Bradley saw the play as evidence of Shakespeare’s feel for the “incalculability of evil—that in meddling with it human beings do they know not what.” We don’t know where evil will lead; we can only be sure that the result “will not be what you expected.” Macbeth dramatizes what Colin McGinn has described as the surprising character of evil.
Shakespeare humanizes Macbeth to hold him up as a mirror to nature, our nature. We pity, and fear, because we recognize that the evil that surprises us in Macbeth is our own.
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When I was growing up in the ’60s and early ’70s, conservatives were the enforcers of conformity. It was the right that was suspicious, sniffing out Communists and scrutinizing public figures for signs of sedition.
Now the role of oppressor has passed to the left. In Australia, where I spoke, Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act makes it unlawful to do or say anything likely to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate,” providing alarming latitude in the restriction of free speech. It is Australia’s conservatives arguing for the amendment of this law.
As a lifelong Democratic voter, I’m dismayed by the radical left’s ever-growing list of dos and don’ts — by its impulse to control, to instill self-censorship as well as to promote real censorship, and to deploy sensitivity as an excuse to be brutally insensitive to any perceived enemy. There are many people who see these frenzies about cultural appropriation, trigger warnings, micro-aggressions and safe spaces as overtly crazy. The shrill tyranny of the left helps to push them toward Donald Trump.
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Now we have come full circle. It was widely reported on Saturday that a terminally ill 17-year-old became the first minor to be officially euthanized in Belgium since age restrictions on euthanasia were lifted in 2014. Jacqueline Herremans, a member of Belgium’s federal euthanasia commission (death panel?), said in a French media report, “The euthanasia has taken place.” She further announced that the euthanasia was done “in accordance with Belgian law.” Few details were provided other than the minor child had “a terminal illness.” Belgium is presently the only country in the world that allows terminally-ill children of any age to choose to end their life, but Belgian law requires that the minor be capable of making “rational decisions.” Further, any request for euthanasia must be made by the minor, be studied by a team of doctors, approved by an independent psychiatrist or psychologist, and have parental consent. The only thing missing is the 1,700 special courts and 27 higher courts to give their legal authorization . . . always within the law, of course. The Netherlands also allows mercy killings for children, but only for those aged over 12. Lord, have mercy!
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Rachel Treweek, the bishop of Gloucester, has said she is highlighting the issue of body image among children to challenge perceptions that physical appearance determines self-worth.
[Last week]...Treweek – the first female bishop to sit in the House of Lords – will visit All Saints Academy in Cheltenham to talk to a group of 13- to 16-year-olds in the first of a series of school visits in her constituency to discuss the issue.
It follows a report from the Children’s Society last month that found one out of three girls aged 10 to 15 was unhappy with her appearance and felt ugly or worthless.
Read it all from the Guardian.
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White rioters poured into the streets, burning and looting homes, businesses and churches in a black neighborhood and leaving this city deeply traumatized. That was 1921.
Last week, not far from where those haunting events took place, the streets of Tulsa were calm after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black motorist. The video of the shooting angered many Tulsa residents, but the subdued reaction was markedly different from the violent clashes that took place in Charlotte, N.C., in recent days, after the police killed a man there.
Why one place erupts and another does not is never easy to discern. Tulsa quickly released videos showing the facts. But some here trace part of the reason for Tulsa’s emphasis on prayer, and not protest, in recent days to the lingering scars of the 1921 riot, which is regarded as one of the deadliest race riots in the country’s history and still lingers in Tulsa’s consciousness.
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Reliable contraception is important, and will become even more so in countries like Nigeria where couples increasingly seek smaller families. But the assumption that family planning should be all about birth control is a 1960s relic. In a growing number of countries, the problem of getting hold of contraception is giving way to the problem of getting pregnant. As Mr Feng puts it, unmet need is being replaced by unmet demand.
As our poll shows, people in wealthy countries consistently want bigger families than they get. Couples start having children late and find it increasingly difficult. A 30-year-old woman has a roughly 20% chance of getting pregnant each month, falling to about 5% by the age of 40. The resulting baby shortfall is painful for couples and alarming for governments, which worry about the long-term solvency of old-age-pension systems.
Read it all from The Economist.
STEIN: But Lanner's experiments are hugely controversial. Some people have moral objections to doing any kind of research on human embryos. But editing the DNA in embryos is even freaking out people who think that's OK.
MARCY DARNOVSKY: The production of genetically modified human embryos is actually quite dangerous.
STEIN: Marcy Darnovsky heads a genetic watchdog group called the Center for Genetics and Society.
DARNOVSKY: It's a step toward attempts to produce genetically modified human beings. This would be reason for the already grave concern.
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In the wake of July’s vote on same-sex marriages at General Synod, Indigenous Anglicans intend to “proceed towards self-determination with urgency,” the Anglican Church of Canada’s three Indigenous bishops say.
General Synod voted this summer to provisionally approve changes to the marriage canon, which would allow same-sex marriages. The proposed changes must pass a second reading, slated for the next General Synod in 2019, before they can take effect.
On Thursday, September 22, National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald; Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh; and Bishop Adam Halkett, of Missinipi, released ajoint statement they say was requested by an Indigenous circle that met after the results of July’s vote were revealed. The bishops begin by saying that they do not speak for all Indigenous peoples, although, they add, they have consulted “broadly and deeply” with many. The statement voices displeasure both with the decision and the process it was made, and expresses desire for a more self-determined Indigenous Anglican community in Canada.
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The ICBC also highlights that Māori and Pacific voices have been notably absent in public conversations over assisted suicide, raising questions whether the debate so far has accurately reflected this country’s cultural diversity on these issues.
The submission also flags:
1. The limits of claiming assisted dying as a personal ‘right’. The ICBC propose that an individual choice to die does not exist in a vacuum. The ICBC reminds Kiwis that no person is free of social responsibility for others who may suffer as a result of their choice to die.
2. Overseas experience indicates that assisted suicide promotes suicide by normalising it.
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The majority position of the Way Forward Working Group (composed of some of the best legal and theological minds of our church) agreed that blessing committed same-sex couples is not a departure from the Doctrine and Sacraments of Christ, and therefore not prohibited by Te Pouhere (our church’s constitution). Many places provide such blessings, and people in committed same-sex relationships hold a bishop’s licence. Under the 2016 revision of Te Pouhere, bishops can even authorise such blessings in places under their jurisdiction.
I propose that our doctrine of marriage be changed to being between a couple, with the intent that it be lifelong and monogamous. Such a change would enable the sort of diversity illustrated in my first paragraph. The change would remove the current hypocrisy around marrying divorcees, clarify practice in relation to committed same-sex relationships, and facilitate honesty and openness.
Within this, I propose we affirm the current position that any minister shall have full discretion to decline to conduct any marriage service or blessing, and that we also affirm and encourage vocations to religious life, singleness, and chastity.
Yours in Christ,
(Rev) Bosco Peters
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The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and Changing Attitude have welcomed the establishment of a Reflection Group under the leadership of Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich. Whilst expressing disappointment that a group tasked with reflecting on issues of human sexuality does not appear to include any openly gay people, we recognise that this simply reflects the reality within the church’s leadership - that LGBT people are invisible, our voices often silenced, and our experiences unheard. We welcome the opportunities which have arisen as part of the Shared Conversations to included the lived experience, deep conviction and prophetic witness of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, and we recognise the enormously costly nature of the contribution many people have made to that process.
The Reflection Group must now consider the Church’s steps into the future. In doing so, they will be called to listen carefully to all they have heard during the Shared Conversations. We call upon them to lead the House of Bishops towards a future that celebrates the gifts of all God's people including the LGBTI members of the Church of England and embodies the radical equality to which we are called in Christ.
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The Rev. Kevin Robertson was among three priests elected suffragan bishops at a synod of the diocese of Toronto, Saturday, September 17. Photo: Diocese of Toronto
A gay man living with a male partner is among three priests to have been elected suffragan bishops in the diocese of Toronto this weekend.
On Saturday, September 17, members of an electoral synod elected the Rev. Riscylla Walsh Shaw, Canon Kevin Robertson and Canon Jenny Andison as suffragan, or assistant, bishops. Each will be responsible for one of the diocese’s four episcopal areas: York-Scarborough, York-Credit Valley, Trent-Durham and York-Simcoe. Archbishop Colin Johnson, diocesan bishop, will decide which bishop will serve in each area. Bishop Peter Fenty is currently the bishop responsible for York-Simcoe.
Canon Kevin Robertson, incumbent at Christ Church, Deer Park in Toronto, was elected on the fourth ballot of the second election. According to an article on the diocese of Toronto website, Robertson, who lives with his male partner, said it was a “historic day.” He said he believed he was the first openly gay and partnered bishop-elect in the diocese and perhaps even in the entire Anglican Church of Canada.
His election, Robertson said, together with this summer’s provisional vote at General Synod to allow same-sex marriages, showed a growing acceptance of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) people in the church.
Read it all. You can read more about the Suffragan Bishop-elect there.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Think about the people at work who are part of your network — the individuals who help you improve your performance or provide you with emotional support when you are going through a tough spell. If you’re like most people, the colleagues who come to mind are those you get along with and who have a good impression of you. But has anyone in your network actually given you tough feedback?
Your likely answer is “not many.” As I discovered in recent research I conducted with Paul Green of Harvard Business School and Brad Staats of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, people tend to move away from those who provide feedback that is more negative than their view of themselves. They do not listen to their advice and prefer to stop interacting with them altogether. It seems that people tend to strengthen their bonds with people who only see their positive qualities.
In one of our studies, we used four years of archival data on over 300 full-time employees at a United States-based food manufacturing and agribusiness company. The company has a fluid structure that gives employees some discretion in defining the scope, responsibilities, and deliverables of their role on an annual basis.
Read it all.
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A book I begrudgingly appreciate is The Meaning of Marriage, by Timothy Keller. Keller is not my theological cup of tea. He embraces traditional gender roles and rejects same-sex marriage, and these points are not marginal to his arguments. They are central to his take on the whole institution of marriage. So while I longed to write him off on principle, I found myself nevertheless affirming a great deal of what I read, particularly his take on premarital sex.
One of the reasons we believe in our culture that sex should always and only be the result of great passion is that so many people today have learned how to have sex outside of marriage, and this is a very different experience than having sex inside it. Outside of marriage, sex is accompanied by a desire to impress or entice someone. It is something like the thrill of the hunt. When you are seeking to draw in someone you don’t know, it injects risk, uncertainty, and pressure to the lovemaking that quickens the heartbeat and stirs the emotions.Many will roll their eyes at this blanket statement. After all, according to Keller, he and his wife were virgins on their wedding night. What does he actually know about what it’s like to have sex before marriage? Surely this is a reductive blanket assessment of casual or committed-but-not-married sex. There are undoubtedly a wide variety of ways to experience unmarried sex. But for me? Yeah. The shoe fits. I can see it now. My relationships with boyfriends were devoid of any true intimacy. Sure, on rare occasions the sex was great—but it was never truly good.
The contrast between unmarried and married sex is significant. The covenant of marriage—the vows to love now and forever—changes everything. It just does.
Read it all (emphasis hers).
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I was, in other words, a very early adopter of what we might now call living-in-the-web. And as the years went by, I realized I was no longer alone. Facebook soon gave everyone the equivalent of their own blog and their own audience. More and more people got a smartphone — connecting them instantly to a deluge of febrile content, forcing them to cull and absorb and assimilate the online torrent as relentlessly as I had once. Twitter emerged as a form of instant blogging of microthoughts. Users were as addicted to the feedback as I had long been — and even more prolific. Then the apps descended, like the rain, to inundate what was left of our free time. It was ubiquitous now, this virtual living, this never-stopping, this always-updating. I remember when I decided to raise the ante on my blog in 2007 and update every half-hour or so, and my editor looked at me as if I were insane. But the insanity was now banality; the once-unimaginable pace of the professional blogger was now the default for everyone.
If the internet killed you, I used to joke, then I would be the first to find out. Years later, the joke was running thin. In the last year of my blogging life, my health began to give out. Four bronchial infections in 12 months had become progressively harder to kick. Vacations, such as they were, had become mere opportunities for sleep. My dreams were filled with the snippets of code I used each day to update the site. My friendships had atrophied as my time away from the web dwindled. My doctor, dispensing one more course of antibiotics, finally laid it on the line: “Did you really survive HIV to die of the web?
Read it all from New York Magazine.
The Church of England will see the number of traditional clergy drop by 15 per cent in just 20 years unless it dramatically increases ordinations over the next decade, new figures show.
While falling numbers in the pews have attracted headlines in recent years, senior clerics are also concerned about a separate looming decline - in the pulpit.
Bishops fear a fall in the number of priests could make the task of reversing declining congregations by winning new converts more difficult than ever.
Read it all.
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(Photo: Joy Hunter)
Prolific author and teacher Dr. Ken Boa spoke to a crowd at St. John’s, Johns Island, September 7, 2016 on “Rewriting Your Broken Story: Gaining an Eternal Perspective on your Christian Walk,” which is also the title of his most recent book.
“All of us have broken stories,” said Boa. “How is yours broken?”
He began retelling a story of Martin Laird’s which tells of a dog who when set free simply ran in circles, because it had lived most of its life in a cage. “We buy into a false narrative,” said Boa.
Read it all and note the link to his talk and to pictures.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Adult Education * South Carolina * Theology Anthropology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology Soteriology Theology: Scripture
With children it is usually cancer: incurable sickness, unbearable pain, debilitating, degrading misery. What child wouldn’t prefer to go an be with Jesus? Belgium’s Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia (it’s a thing) agrees. Far better for children to be given a fatal injection than to cough up blood all night long, whether or not they go to be with Jesus. Indeed, Jesus doesn’t really come into it. Why should he? We’re talking about the exercise of free will for the alleviation of unbearable physical suffering. It is liberal, progressive and compassionate. A child could understand it, especially at the age of 17.
Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002, and now injects people whether or not they are suffering a terminal illness. If you’re depressed and feeling suicidal for no particular reason at all, Belgium will provide a way out. They extended euthanasia to children in 2014. It is the only country in the world that has no age restriction. At least in the Netherlands you have to be 12 years of age before you can decide you’d prefer to be with Jesus than all those nasty doctors and nurses. In Belgium, the Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia can give their blessing to your death if you’re 10, eight, six… provided you’re in unbearable physical pain and know what you’re doing.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child… (1Cor 13:11).
One hesitates to use the word ‘evil’ of statutes promulgated by well-intentioned politicians in the context of a liberal democracy, with all the constitutional checks and balances afforded by reason and experience. But Belgium’s abolition of all age restrictions on “the right to die” must surely qualify as one of the most wicked and damnable decrees in the history of Christendom.
Read it all.
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Supporters of a change in the Church of England’s stance on sexuality have voiced dismay after a new panel of bishops to help “discern” its future course on issues such as same-sex marriage was chosen seemingly dominated traditionalists.
The 10-strong “Bishop’s Reflection Group” appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York includes a string of prominent evangelicals and some seen as staunch conservatives but no-one who has openly advocated a change in teaching or practice on the issue.
Liberals voiced anger while opponents of any change also privately hailed the make-up of the group, set up after a four-day gathering of all the bishops last week, as better than they expected from their point of view.
Read it all from the Telegraph.
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What we now see is occurring because Christians have allowed our own minds to become dull, darkened, and depraved. We’ve allowed this to happen, not out of malice toward God or bad intentions, but because our passive minds have resulted in passive lives and a weakened, impotent, wandering, and often confusing and contradictory witness to the Gospel and the life of Christ within.
Simply put, the world has done a better job of evangelizing us to its ways than we have of evangelizing the world to the magnificent good news of the Gospel.
Upholding constitutional rights and the human dignity of those who are same-sex attracted is a matter of basic human decency. But same-sex marriage is something completely different. As a gay man, allow me to make what is perhaps a startling declaration: same-sex marriage is a great coup for the devil, far greater than individual homosexual acts or relationships ever were or ever could be. Same-sex marriage mocks Christ’s relationship with his Bride, the Church. That is the source of the fury being hurled at those who speak out against same-sex marriage.
Read it all (emphasis mine).
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