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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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At the heart of any company is its mission. A business' mission defines what it stands for -- its purpose and the reason for its existence. Mission declares the difference a company seeks to make in the world. A strong mission is lofty, ambitious, and sometimes audacious.
Many executives don't realize that mission is an underused asset in improving organizational performance and profitability, and they neglect their ultimate responsibility of aligning their brand and culture with their highest purpose. Failure to meet a company's mission-related needs is failure of leadership.
To instill a passion for the company's purpose, the best leaders in the world hold managers accountable for addressing employees' basic engagement needs. Then they focus on aligning mission, culture, and brand to empower high performance among individuals and teams. By providing this strategic direction, mission-driven leaders maximize employee engagement as a key driver of organizational performance -- and as a strong predictor of business success.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Thank you for your news story on Monday entitled “Church ready to split from England on Homosexuals.”
I would like to make a very important clarification, and hope you will publish this clarification as widely as you did the first story, because the story paints a very misleading picture of the Church of Uganda’s actual relationship with the Church of England.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Church of Uganda Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
The thing we need to remember as we try to get at this problem of sin is that it is very hard to get at it at all. There is so much that protects it from our inner eyes. The axiom of the Reformers is apropos here: “What the heart desires, the will chooses, and the mind justifies.” When we try to get at the motives of the heart, the mind and will are forever getting in the way justifying ourselves. These are like layers of garments swirling around the heart of our sin. But in Christ we can pray that through the work of the Holy Spirit, who convicts our hearts of sin; the liturgy’s use of Psalm 51 and the Litany of Penitence’s brutal naming of sins; and with the Scripture’s constant entreating us to turn to God’s mercy and forgiveness; these will rend or tear through the layers and layers of these garments eventually leaving the sinful heart revealed that we might by grace turn and look to Jesus Christ—to his cross and death. St. Paul’s letter assigned for today reminds us of this. “For our sake he [God] made him [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21) He reminds us that the heart of our need is nothing less than the Cross; God’s forgiving love, his reconciling work and grace. Nothing else will do. For once the sin in the heart is revealed and his forgiveness received, the transforming work of God’s Spirit begins to tune our lives. And from here, through Divine-human cooperation, even the disciplines of the Spiritual life (as enumerated in the Ash Wednesday liturgy, see BCP, p. 264) may be of service. But we must get the order correct. Begin with the Lenten disciplines and we will go awry every time—going from infestation of mice to cats to dogs to lions to elephants and back to mice again. Begin and remain in a grace-filled repentance that yields a torn and contrite heart and God’s grace shall abound. Then we may seek God’s guidance about self-denials and devotionals and whatever else we find to mark our mortal nature in grace. Yet we dare not side step the word of apostolic proclamation—“We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Read it all.
I have become more and more suspicious of the concept of the nominal Christian. Our parish churches are supposed to be full of nominal Christians who are just going through the motions, of half-believers who are relying on their good works and who have not really surrendered to Christ and accepted the Gospel. In any parish church there are a few real apostates, and a few real scoffers and perhaps a few who genuinely hate God. Their numbers are routinely exaggerated. Most of the people who come to the church Sunday by Sunday know they are dying and are placing their hope in Christ. It may be an inarticulate hope, it may be a confused hope. Often there are huge brambles of misunderstanding that must be cleared away before the whole power of the good news can come in upon them. Often there is real darkness into which the light of Christ has not yet come and which cries out for a light-bearer. Yet, they come. When Jesus saw such as these gathered in their multitudes on the hill side, the sight provoked in him not contempt for the nominal but compassion, “for they were like sheep without a shepherd.”
Read the whole thing.
"Confess your faults one to another" (Jas. 5:16). He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. This pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. so we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!
But it is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you. He wants you as you are; He does not want anything from you, a sacrifice, a work; He wants you alone. "My son, give me thine heart" (Prov. 23:26). God has come to you to save the sinner. Be glad! This message is liberation through truth. You can hide nothing from God. The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him. He wants to see you as you are, He wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to on lying to yourself and your brothers, as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner. Thank God for that; He loves the sinner but He hates sin.
--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
...We are all over stimulated. Blessed Lent, the sad springtime of the Church's year is the time when we support each other as believers in simplifying our lives; removing fuel from the fires of rage and fear; facing a little more of the shadow world within by laying aside some of our usual comforters...
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Lent * Theology Anthropology Christology
Are human beings born good or born with a volcanic anti-God allergy in their hearts? Answering this theological question is one of THE great challenges for Christians as we stand on the brink of a new millennium.
On one side of the divide stands Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). Men and women “are born free,” he famously said in his Social Contract, yet “everywhere” they are “in chains.” Rousseau believed that we are born good. His explanation for the deep problems in the world? They came to us from outside us. Error and prejudice, murder and treason, were the products of corrupt environments: educational, familial, societal, political, and, yes, ecclesiastical.
Note carefully that the FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM is located outside men and women, and the MEANS of evil developing comes from the outside in. The NATURE of the problem is one of environment and knowledge.
Augustine (354-430) saw things very differently. Describing the decision by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Augustine writes in The City of God: “Our parents fell into open disobedience because they were secretly corrupted; for the evil act had never been done had not an evil will preceded it.” The motive for this evil will was pride. “This is undue exaltation, when the soul abandons Him to whom it ought to cleave as its end, and becomes a kind of end to itself … By craving to be more” we “became less;” and “by aspiring to be self-sufficing,” we “fell away from him who truly suffices” us.
For Augustine, men and women as we find them today are creatures curved in on themselves. We are rebels who, rather than curving up and out in worship to God, instead curved in and down into what Malcolm Muggeridge once termed “the dark little dungeon of our own” egos.
In this view the FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM is located inside men and women, and the means of evil developing comes from the inside out (note Jesus’ reasoning in Mark 7:18-23). The NATURE of the problem is one of the will.
The difference between Augustine and Rousseau could not be more stark. In a Western world permeated by Rousseau, we need the courage to return to the challenge and depth of Augustine’s insight.
To do so makes the good news of the gospel even better. Think of Easter. What is the image which Paul uses to describe what occurs when a man or woman turns to Christ? New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)! Jesus rose to transform the entire created order from the inside out, beginning with our evil wills which he replaces with “a new heart…and a new spirit” (Ezekiel 36:26).
--Kendall S. Harmon from a piece in 2007
Principally focusing on John 12:32, "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself" (ESV), Bp. Lawrence related how this verse addresses why suffering so often draws people in varying ways to the foot of the cross. He also shared his own personal experience of seeking the Truth as a young man.
Our first parents fell into open disobedience because already they were secretly corrupted; for the evil act had never been done had not an evil will preceded it. And what is the origin of our evil will but pride? For "pride is the beginning of sin." And what is pride but the craving for undue exaltation? And this is undue exaltation, when the soul abandons Him to whom it ought to cleave as its end, and becomes a kind of end to itself. This happens when it becomes its own satisfaction....The devil, then, would not have ensnared man in the open and manifest sin of doing what God had forbidden, had man not already begun to live for himself....By craving to be more, man became less; and by aspiring to be self-sufficing, he fell away from him who truly suffices him.
--Augustine, The City of God 14.13
The idea of national repentance seems at first sight to provide such an edifying contrast to that national self-righteousness of which England is so often accused and with which she entered (or is said to have entered) the last war, that a Christian naturally turns to it with hope. Young Christians especially-last-year undergraduates and first-year curates- are turning to it in large numbers. They are ready to believe that England bears part of the guilt for the present war, and ready to admit their own share in the guilt of England. What that share is, I do not find it easy to determine. Most of these young men were children, and none of them had a vote or the experience which would enable them to use a vote wisely, when England made many of those decisions to which the present disorders could plausibly be traced. Are they, perhaps, repenting what they have in no sense done?
If they are, it might be supposed that their error is very harmless: men fail so often to repent their real sins that the occasional repentance of an imaginary sin might appear almost desirable. But what actually happens (I have watched it happening) to the youthful national penitent is a little more complicated than that. England is not a natural agent, but a civil society. When we speak of England's actions we mean the actions of the British government. The young man who is called upon to repent of England's foreign policy is really being called upon to repent the acts of his neighbor; for a foreign secretary or a cabinet minister is certainly a neighbor. And repentance presupposes condemnation. The first and fatal charm of national repentance is, therefore, the encouragement it gives us to turn from the bitter task of repenting our own sins to the congenial one of bewailing-but, first, of denouncing-the conduct of others.
--C.S. Lewis, "Dangers of national repentance"
In his most recent column, Douthat strives to reframe the current debate about anti-gay discrimination (and even segregation) into one about sincere believers being brutally trampled by gay rights activists eager to bury religious freedom. It’s a failed effort, but a useful failure nonetheless. Arizona’s anti-gay bill may be dead, but several more are alive and kicking, and Douthat neatly anticipates the many straw men, euphemisms, and verbal chicanery anti-gay forces will deploy to make their case.
In fact, Douthat’s column is such an effective piece of homophobic apologia that I expect many red state politicians to borrow from its playbook in the coming months and years. To make their job easier, I’ve laid out the most effective means of disguising raw hatred as religious liberty and rounding discrimination down to “dissent.” If you’re thinking about introducing an anti-gay discrimination bill to your own state’s legislature, you should pay close attention.
Read it all.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
While we pray today for the people of Ukraine we might also examine our own consciences about the ways in which we have lived a double-standard and the consequences for others of our own sins. Repentance isn’t just about saying sorry to God and having a firm purpose of amendment.
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If Daniel Nadler is right, a generation of college graduates with well-paid positions as junior researchers and analysts in the banking industry should be worried about their jobs. Very worried.
Mr Nadler’s start-up, staffed with ex-Google engineers and backed partly by money from Google’s venture capital arm, is trying to put them out of work.
Its algorithms assess how different securities are likely to react after the release of a market-moving piece of information, such as a monthly employment report. That is the kind of work usually done by well-educated junior analysts, who pull data from terminals, fill in spreadsheets and crunch numbers. “There are several hundred thousand people employed in that capacity. We do it with machines,” says Mr Nadler. “We’re not competing with other [tech] providers. We’re competing with people.”
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
What makes [The publicity of the Arizona debate and its]... response particularly instructive is that such bills have been seen, in the past, as a way for religious conservatives to negotiate surrender — to accept same-sex marriage’s inevitability while carving out protections for dissent. But now, apparently, the official line is that you bigots don’t get to negotiate anymore.
Which has a certain bracing logic. If your only goal is ensuring that support for traditional marriage diminishes as rapidly as possible, applying constant pressure to religious individuals and institutions will probably do the job. Already, my fellow Christians are divided over these issues, and we’ll be more divided the more pressure we face. The conjugal, male-female view of marriage is too theologically rooted to disappear, but its remaining adherents can be marginalized, set against one other, and encouraged to conform.
I am being descriptive here, rather than self-pitying. Christians had plenty of opportunities — thousands of years’ worth — to treat gay people with real charity, and far too often chose intolerance. (And still do, in many instances and places.) So being marginalized, being sued, losing tax-exempt status — this will be uncomfortable, but we should keep perspective and remember our sins, and nobody should call it persecution.
But it’s still important for the winning side to recognize its power. We are not really having an argument about same-sex marriage anymore, and on the evidence of Arizona, we’re not having a negotiation. Instead, all that’s left is the timing of the final victory — and for the defeated to find out what settlement the victors will impose.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Divorce is not God's will or desire for us. Even where divorce is allowed, it is not commanded, and then it is still a tragedy. Divorce leaves behind devastation and victims in its wake.
That God himself is a divorcee, despite his faultless covenant faithfulness, calls us to a more nuanced understanding of marriage and divorce. In our own marriages, God calls us to follow his example of covenant faithfulness, and has demonstrated how much grace and forgiveness is needed to maintain a relationship in the face of human sinfulness. God's example give us a framework to talk meaningfully about commitment and grace, and yet also to say that in situations of hard-hearted and deliberate covenant violation, divorce was allowed as God's way of officially declaring a broken covenant "broken."
We find wisdom when we view hot topics within the larger framework of Scripture. A discussion on purity should not just be about whether a person is a virgin when they marry (even if they've done "everything but"), but about how they steward their sexuality throughout their lives. Similarly, the litmus test for covenant faithfulness in marriage should not just be about whether or not someone got divorced (even if they did "everything but"), but about how we steward our marriages and make daily attempts to model God's faithfulness to our spouses.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Canadians are “split into haves and have-nots by marriage lines,” the report concludes. “The big story is that Canadian are divided along marriage lines by income, and that share of marriage has remained remarkably stable among high income earners,” says co-author Peter Jon Mitchell, a senior researcher.
Among its recommendations: The government should “consider tax initiatives and youth education campaigns that promote marriage,” better work-life balance in workplace practices, and even support for marriage counselling, an approach adopted recently in Australia. Certainly, there’s an economic and social value in helping families stay together, especially when kids are involved.
But are Canadians split along marriage lines, or is income influence how they approach marriage? The Institute study argues “there is evidence for both.” But if it’s the latter, then encouraging the swapping of vows is not a particularly useful poverty measure on its own, as researchers in the United States have observed.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Sociology * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
I do not come to bury our culture (for it may well bury itself). Rather, I write to understand it. And there are few topics that we need to understand more than how our culture is viewing sex. Some of what I say may be familiar. I’m not striving to be creative, really, so much as I am seeking to speak a true word so as to be able to engage folks around me.
Nowhere are modern sexual mores more evident than in pop music. Pop music today is not singularly occupied by sex, but nearly so. And not just sex generally, but increasingly sexual acts. I think it’s important for Christians who want to engage the culture well to know that this development is not merely owing to an aberrant way of life, but to a different worldview. I commend Peter Jones’s The God of Sex, a prescient and underappreciated work from a few years back. Jones helped me to see that many people today have, wittingly or unwittingly, adopted a pagan outlook on life. In our modern neo-pagan world, the body is paramount, sex is cathartic and even gives meaning to life, and there is no telos or purpose for sex and relationships.
I cannot help but think of these matters when I listen, as I infrequently do, to secular rap and R&B.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Men Movies & Television Music Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality Women * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Wicca / paganism * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Media Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
"Who do you like?" asked recent ads on Facebook...featuring young women in alluring poses.
Some of the ads were configured to reach young teens, who were invited to join an app called Ilikeq that let others rate their attractiveness, comment on their photos and say if they would like to date them.
That's how 14-year-old Erica Lowder's picture ended up on display to adult men online. Users of Ilikeq, one of Facebook's fastest-growing "lifestyle" apps, were able to click through to the Indianapolis girl's Facebook page.
"How can Facebook say here's how we're going to protect your kids, then sell all these ads to weird apps and sites that open kids up to terrible things?" asked Erica's mother, Dawn Lowder.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Media Psychology Science & Technology Teens / Youth * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
The seven of us sit in a room in a maximum-security prison. I come and go weekly; they will be there for the rest of their lives. They tell me about their faith. One man has a calloused bump on his forehead, the result of his salat, bowing down to God, pressing his head into his rug, into the concrete floor of his cell: a dedication to prayer. “Allah found me in my cell,” he says. The other men nod their heads, even though they are not Muslims; they are Christians of various traditions: Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness. Yet each knows what it feels like for his God to find him in prison, regardless of profound differences in theological language and faith practices. When I’m with them, I’m within a religious pluralism unknown to me outside of prison.In Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison, Joshua Dubler explores this phenomenon of religious pluralism within U.S. prisons by spending time with the various faith communities that congregate in the chapel at the maximum-security prison in Graterford, Pennsylvania. From the chapel, Dubler tracks the religious practices of the faithful among the 3,500 men confined inside Graterford’s walls. His book is a tapestry of scenes from worship services, small group discussions, and conversations with imprisoned men who open their spiritual lives to him. A Roman Catholic chaplain describes his visitation of the forgotten men on death row as a “ministry of presence”: “to have somebody drop in . . . to show them that they’re remembered.” A correctional officer engages in “Christian apologetics” while policing the chapel. A Muslim prisoner named Baraka’s discussions and debates enlighten the author’s observations of incarcerated life.
Dubler shows up at Graterford as a budding ethnographer and becomes a man captured by friendships—by relationships mediated through religious encounters in prison. “How truly bizarre that this awful place,” he reflects, “should afford such profound pleasure to those who feel called to enter into it and partake in its overflowing meaningfulness.”
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The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, has described the House of Bishops' pastoral statement on same-sex marriage, which he signed a fortnight ago, as "Anglican fudge".
The Bishops have also been challenged over the accuracy of their guidance, issued on 15 February. In it, they reiterated the ban on same-sex marriages in church, and stated that clergy may not enter into gay marriages... Several priests have publicly declared their intention to defy the Bishops.
Dr Sentamu, speaking at a meeting of Jewish and Christian students in Durham in the middle of last week, said that the Church of England's position was that "a clergy person has a right, an expectation, to live within the teaching of the Church, but for lay people and others they should be welcomed into the Church.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Married couples will be able to draft their own DIY divorce settlements using an officially-approved financial formula without having to fight over details in court under plans put before ministers today.
Under proposals put forward by the Government’s legal reviewer, prenuptial agreements would become legally binding in England and Wales for the first time.
The Law Commission is also urging the Government to consider devising a specific numerical formula which separating couples could use to calculate how to divide their assets.
Read it all.
As Prime Minister David Cameron enters into tortuous negotiations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the future shape of Europe; and as Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson threatens to resign over certain secret assurances given to Irish Republican terrorists classified as "On The Run"; and as the Ukraine descends into a bloody civil war about historic matters of ethnicity, identity, religion, and whether or not Russia is more Christian and free than the EU; and as Syria (remember that?) pours out a vast sea of destitute and diseased humanity, where Christians are beheaded and mothers die in childbirth; spare a thought for Church of England as it continues to agonise over the House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is trying to move on (with an ecumenical focus on social action projects), but the Bishop of Oxford has written a letter to his clergy in which he pours out his anguish and sorrow over the House of Bishops' statement, and explains his personal torment and the torture deep within his soul over the limbo caused by the statement. For Bishop John, civil partnership is not and can never be the same thing as marriage, and he has long trodden a narrow path which has pleased neither wing of the sexuality divide. It is not so much a question of sheep and goats, as which pasture is most conducive for spiritual grazing and where the theological grass is greener. But the inadequacy, ambiguity, obfuscation and internal contradictions contained in the Bishops' Dog's Breakfast Pastoral Guidance would do Sir Humphrey proud. For some, it comes as a great relief; for others, it is cruel and absurd. God reveals Himself in His Word, which requires exegesis, interpretation and a grasp of its fundamental Sitz im Leben. But the Bishops cloak Him in shadowy puzzlement and shroud the Word in smog. Doing theology in this context is nigh impossible.
This guidance permits the Church of England to begin the facilitated conversations that were advocated in the Pilling Report. There is no predetermined outcome, but the distrust and suspicion on both sides clouds understanding, makes prayer a profound spiritual struggle, and fellowship a depressing hassle.
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 Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The impression is that if only poor people would organise their lives more effectively, work harder at work or at finding work, and help each other out a little more, the problems would disappear.
This is not just a comforting fantasy for the comfortably-off, it’s a dangerous delusion. It ignores the huge structural changes affecting the British economy, thanks to technology, international competition and immigration. The top 1 per cent have seen their share of earnings increase from 7 to 10 per cent in two decades, but median pay has been static or falling for ten years. The decline is sharpest for those at the bottom of the scale.
Poor people are getting poorer because full-time jobs are disappearing or wage rates are being cut. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that the income of those in the bottom tenth of the income range peaked in 2004 and has been falling ever since. At the same time there have been above-inflation rises in essential costs. Since 2008 gas and electricity prices have risen by almost two thirds, food by a third, transport by a quarter. The result is that incomes and wealth are being squeezed as never before. Half of all families on average to low incomes have no savings whatsoever.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Dieting/Food/Nutrition Globalization Poverty Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Scientists have already experimented with combining genetic material from cells of three people. In 2001, researchers in New Jersey did so using material from the cytoplasm, the material that surrounds the nucleus of the egg and directs its development after fertilization, from fertile women into the eggs of infertile women. More than 17 babies have been born this way in the United States.
The practice raised questions and eventually led the F.D.A. to tell researchers that they could not perform such procedures in humans without getting special permission from the agency. Since then, studies have been confined to animals.
But a researcher in Oregon, Shoukhrat Mitalipov, has performed the mitochondrial procedure in monkeys and has said that it is ready to be tried in people.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Last June, in an interview with Adam Bryant of The Times, Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google — i.e., the guy in charge of hiring for one of the world’s most successful companies — noted that Google had determined that “G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. ... We found that they don’t predict anything.” He also noted that the “proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time” — now as high as 14 percent on some teams. At a time when many people are asking, “How’s my kid gonna get a job?” I thought it would be useful to visit Google and hear how Bock would answer.
Don’t get him wrong, Bock begins, “Good grades certainly don’t hurt.” Many jobs at Google require math, computing and coding skills, so if your good grades truly reflect skills in those areas that you can apply, it would be an advantage. But Google has its eyes on much more.
“There are five hiring attributes we have across the company,” explained Bock. “If it’s a technical role, we assess your coding ability, and half the roles in the company are technical roles. For every job, though, the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information. We assess that using structured behavioral interviews that we validate to make sure they’re predictive.”
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Education Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Philadelphia, which imposed a calorie-label law in 2010, provides a good case study of the law’s impact. Researchers studied 2,000 McDonald’s and Burger King customers after it went into effect. The law made virtually no difference in the calorie count of food that people purchased or the number of times they ate at the restaurants. About 60 per cent of them didn’t even notice.
In another study, researchers at Carnegie Mellon wondered whether more information might help. So they gave McDonald’s customers pamphlets with recommended calorie intakes for a single meal and for a day. Nothing changed. Despite their new-found knowledge, a third of the customers continued to eat 1,000-plus-calorie meals. The researchers also found that people of healthy weights made the same choices as obese people.
“It is hard to counteract the fact that fast food is cheap and tastes pretty good,” Dr. Brian Elbel, lead researcher for the Philadelphia study, was quoted as saying. “We need to consider other, more robust interventional policies in places where obesity is most prevalent.”
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I don't suppose anyone today would say that the problem with our politicians is that they are too deeply immersed in humanistic learning. Even in Snow's time and in Britain, the picture was far more complicated than he let on. When Snow delivered his Rede Lecture, the prime minister of the United Kingdom was Harold Macmillan, an Old Etonian who read classics at Oxford (and received a first-class degree); Macmillan fit to a T Snow's picture of the "traditional culture," But by the time Snow died in 1980, the holder of that office was Margaret Thatcher, who often said that she was less proud of being the first female prime minister than of being the first with a science degree. I suspect that Snow, a lifelong member of the Labour Party, was not especially consoled by Thatcher's status as a chemist. Moreover, the P.M. who made Snow minister of technology and elevated him to the peerage was Harold Wilson, the most academically gifted of 20th-century British politicians, who read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford and then became a lecturer in economic history there at the ripe old age of twenty-one. (Wilson's father was a chemist, though.) The arrows here point in many directions; they don't tell the coherent story that Snow would like them to tell. It is hard to discern what connects politicians' academic training with their political judgments.
Snow wanted to believe something like this: political decisions in the modern world often concern how to deploy science and technology, so people well-trained in science and technology will be better prepared to make those decisions. But that's a syllogism without a minor premise. And before we fill in that minor premise, we might reflect on one little story, which I offer, though it's a true story, as a kind of parable. At the height of the Red Scare in the 1950s, J. Robert Oppenheimer, who had directed the American atomic bomb program during World War II, found himself under scrutiny for alleged Communist sympathies. He was interviewed at length, and at one point found himself reflecting on how he and his people had made their decisions. Oppenheimer said, "When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you've had your technical success. That's the way it was with the atomic bomb."
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A same-sex wedding is the ceremonial blessing of behavior the Bible condemns. Affirmation of homosexual practice is intrinsic to... [same-sex] nuptials. There is no need to ask the history of the couple or their reasons for marrying in order to figure out whether or not the marriage is one that God would approve. In contrast, while two heterosexuals wishing to marry may or may not be obeying God’s commands, the institution itself is one that God has affirmed.
Hypocritical Christians are those who forget that they are sinners in need of a savior. Apart from God’s grace we would be damned, and we are hypocrites if we refuse to call others from their sin to experience that same grace. To profit by helping others celebrate their sin, thereby perpetuating the illusion that homosexual behavior is not sin, would be hypocritical for any Christian, be he butcher, baker, or candlestick maker.
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It changed medicine forever. But less than 90 years on is the golden age of antibiotics about to come to a spectacular end? Sarah Freeman reports.
Antibiotics revolutionised global medicine. Since Alexander Fleming made his almost accidental discovery of penicillin in a small London laboratory back in 1928, they’ve saved millions of lives, prevented countless infections turning fatal and seen off a thousand diseases. Yet they’re also in danger of being too successful for their own good.
Suffering a bout of flu? We demand our GP writes a prescription for a course of antibiotics we probably won’t see through to the end. As the unused tablets sit in bathroom cabinets, the bacteria it was designed to kill grows just that little bit stronger. It’s not just humans who have become reliant on them. With disease spreading rapidly through intensively farmed pigs, sheep and chickens, antibiotics have been used to keep the wheels of British factory farming turning for years.
And that’s not all. We pump antibiotics into everything from toothpaste to washing up liquid...
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Of course the C of E finds itself in a tricky position where it is being forced to run to keep up with secular law and given its historic stance on homosexuality counterbalanced against an explicit call to accept those in same-sex relationships as far as possible within that framework, there is some tightrope walking going on to find the via media middle ground. Such an approach easily leads to misinterpretation, claims of contradiction and denouncements from those on the ends of the spectrum of views.
The statement has been described as a dog’s breakfast and a master class in doublespeak, but reading it carefully – unless I am missing something obvious – it does appear to be coherent within the parameters of C of E law. Some of the interpretations in the media have been less than helpful implying that the statement is saying that private blessings (effectively informal endorsements) in the form of ‘special’ prayers should be made available following civil partnerships and same-sex weddings, yet the actual wording makes it clear that clergy are not told to offer formal private blessings although some undoubtedly will.
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...I have always been taught that faith is at its strongest when people find their own way to the Almighty. And as Oman’s Religious Tolerance website so wisely states: “Everyone must answer for himself before God.”
But there’s a deeply disturbing political element to sectarianism when negative political forces exploit these differences. And this approach takes on an even more sinister tone when sect is equated with nationality or loyalty to a particular country – where Shia Muslims in Sunni majority countries are seen as loyal to another country, and vice versa.
We need to point to history to show violent sectarianism is not inevitable. We must look to times when different sects within Islam worked together and worshipped together. All of us, believers and leaders alike, must reclaim the true meaning of Islam, and focus on the things that unite us, rather than those that divide us. And in reclaiming the true meaning of Islam we must also reclaim the language of Islam, much of which has been distorted and usurped for political ends.
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Steven Holcomb said he was almost blind, and that's obviously very bad for a bobsled driver.
Worse, as it turned out, was that some of those around him were blind to what really was wrong with the American Olympic champion. He was suffering from depression while driving his team to heights U.S. bobsledders had not seen in decades.
Holcomb said competing among world-class athletes is not a good setting for picking up on a condition he shares with more than three percent of Americans, according to various studies.
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The researchers are quick to note that not everyone uses Twitter, only 14 percent of the US population, and not all who do use it to talk about politics, for example.
Still, looking at how conversations flow on social media can provide new insights into how people communicate in a way that was not possible until very recently.
"You could never do that in the old days when you were running around with a pen and clipboard," said Marc A. Smith, one of the study's authors and director of the Social Media Research Foundation.
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A silent epidemic of anorexia is sweeping through the country’s top independent schools, affecting thousands of teenage girls, experts say.
Girls from aspirational families are the “fastest-growing” group using mental health services as they struggle to cope with the pressure to achieve top grades, according to psychologists. Mental health charities say that many of the top private schools are in denial about the scale of the problem because they do not want to damage their brands.
“Being high-achieving, perfectionist and competitive are all traits that are celebrated in highly academic girls’ schools,” Susan Ringwood, of the eating disorder charity BEAT, said. “They are also among serious risk factors contributing to an eating disorder.”
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Alasdair MacIntyre once quipped that “facts, like telescopes and wigs for gentlemen, were a seventeenth-century invention.” Something similar can be said about sexual orientation: Heterosexuals, like typewriters and urinals (also, obviously, for gentlemen), were an invention of the 1860s. Contrary to our cultural preconceptions and the lies of what has come to be called “orientation essentialism,” “straight” and “gay” are not ageless absolutes. Sexual orientation is a conceptual scheme with a history, and a dark one at that. It is a history that began far more recently than most people know, and it is one that will likely end much sooner than most people think.
Over the course of several centuries, the West had progressively abandoned Christianity’s marital architecture for human sexuality. Then, about one hundred and fifty years ago, it began to replace that longstanding teleological tradition with a brand new creation: the absolutist but absurd taxonomy of sexual orientations. Heterosexuality was made to serve as this fanciful framework’s regulating ideal, preserving the social prohibitions against sodomy and other sexual debaucheries without requiring recourse to the procreative nature of human sexuality.
On this novel account, same-sex sex acts were wrong not because they spurn the rational-animal purpose of sex—namely the family—but rather because the desire for these actions allegedly arises from a distasteful psychological disorder. As queer theorist Hanne Blank recounts, “This new concept [of heterosexuality], gussied up in a mangled mix of impressive-sounding dead languages, gave old orthodoxies a new and vibrant lease on life by suggesting, in authoritative tones, that science had effectively pronounced them natural, inevitable, and innate.”
Sexual orientation has not provided the dependable underpinning for virtue that its inventors hoped it would, especially lately....
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...more people every year, locally and across the nation, continue laboring for a paycheck past the time when they could be collecting Social Security.
The average age of retirement in America, which had been on the decline during much of the 20th century, has been rising for the past two decades for a combination of reasons. A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report found that about 27 percent of people ages 65 to 74 were still in the workforce, compared with just 20 percent in 2002. It predicted nearly one in three people of that age would be part of the labor pool in 2022.
“People today are working later than they have been for quite some time … as long today as in the 1970s,” said Kevin Cahill, a research economist for the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College. “The incentives have shifted in favor of work.”
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3. As we reviewed the current situation, we recognized that the fabric of the Communion was torn at its deepest level as a result of the actions taken by The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in Canada since 2003. As a result, our Anglican Communion is currently suffering from broken relations, a lack of trust, and dysfunctional “instruments of unity.”Read it all.
4. However, we trust in God’s promise that the “gates of hades will not overcome” the church. Holding unto this promise, we believe that we have to make every effort in order to restore our beloved Communion. Therefore we took the following decisions:
a) We request and will support the Archbishop of Canterbury to call for a Primates Meeting in 2015 in order to address the increasingly deteriorating situation facing the Anglican Communion. It is important that the agenda of this Primates Meeting be discussed and agreed upon by the Primates beforehand in order to ensure an effective meeting.
b) We decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council, in following-through the recommendations taken at Dromantine in 2005 and Dar es Salam in 2007, to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to dissenting individuals, parishes, and dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion.
c) We realize that the time has come to address the ecclesial deficit, the mutual accountability and re-shaping the instruments of unity by following through the recommendations mentioned in the Windsor Report (2004), the Primates Meetings in Dromantine (2005) and Dar es Salam (2007), and the Windsor Continuation Group report.
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In the Orthodox tradition to which Lewis is so obviously indebted, Jesus Christ is the face of God, and thus the ultimate sacrament and icon of God. He is the image and likeness of the invisible God who remains at least partially invisible even in him. This in turn accounts for the utter centrality of icons for the life of Orthodoxy. An icon is not an image that one looks at in order to order to glimpse the meaning of things as depicted by an artist. It is, instead, an image that looks at us. It is meant to reveal, to our mundane sight, a vision of the invisible and eternal world that everywhere envelops and transcends us. An icon is image that we are not meant to master, but that instead is meant to master us.
This desire to divinize the human world means that realistic proportions and perspectives are abandoned. The size of a person in an icon is usually determined by their importance and significance. A figure standing in the background can thus be larger than one in the foreground. Heads and haloes often overlap, for depth is of no real importance. The Incarnation has overthrown all ordinary dimensions and perspectives. Indeed, everything in the icon takes place in the forefront. In an Eastern icon, the vanishing point it is situated in front of the icon in an inverse perspective. The focus point thus moves out away from the icon toward the beholder, as the iconic figure comes forth to meet the viewer. "The result is an opening," declares Michel Quenot, "a radiating forth, while the vanishing point in an ordinary painting results in a convergence that closes up"
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Dr [John] Haas says that because of the current demographic trend the world population is aging and it is not being quickly replaced: “I think it is a very apt topic – these are grave social problems in most Western countries with an aging population, all kinds of ethical questions arise with regard to their treatment – end of life decisions have to be made”. “It can be “a very difficult time of life but it can also be a very beautiful time of life depending on how we go in to it” he said.
Commenting on the emphasis Pope Francis puts on the importance and value of the elderly, Dr. Haas says Francis has a profound impact on the way people think by virtue of his personality which leads them to “sit up and pay more attention”. He also says that Francis’ emerging “theology of compassion and of accompaniment” is fundamental in the way society treats its elderly. “I think that this call will really resonate with the faithful” he said.
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An East Barnet vicar says his parish is preparing to challenge Church of England leaders after they reiterated their ban on blessing same-sex couples.
The House of Bishops, which governs practice in Anglican churches across England, earlier this month rejected recommendations that it lifts its ban on blessing gay couples.
But the parish of St Mary’s Church in East Barnet says it plans to lodge a protest against the decision and write a formal letter once its members have met later this month.
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When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it--Henry Ford
Madison Holleran, a 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania freshman, died in Philadelphia Friday night in what police called an apparent suicide. Her father later said her death was linked to the “stress” of keeping good grades at her Ivy League school.
According to NorthJersey.com, Holleran jumped off the roof of a parking garage Friday night. Just an hour earlier, the Allendale, N.J., native reportedly posted a photo of the lights at Rittenhouse Square in Center City Philadelphia on her Instagram account.
Holleran was a soccer and track star in her hometown at Northern Highlands Regional High School and called a “perfectionist” by her father, Jim Holleran. He also said she had “grown depressed” while adjusting to college life away from home.
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More American women have had medical help to have their babies than ever, according to the latest annual report from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.
The group represents the greater majority of in vitro fertilization clinics in the United States.
Their report showed that doctors at these clinics performed 165,172 procedures, including IVF, with 61,740 babies born as a result of those efforts in 2012.
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I’d defend the father’s example, and, informed by a reading of Timothy Keller’s outstanding book “The Prodigal God,” I’d even apply the father’s wisdom to social policy-making today.
We live in a divided society in which many of us in the middle- and upper-middle classes are like the older brother and many of the people who drop out of school, commit crimes and abandon their children are like the younger brother. In many cases, we have a governing class of elder brothers legislating programs on behalf of the younger brothers. The great danger in this situation is that we in the elder brother class will end up self-righteously lecturing the poor: “You need to be more like us: graduate from school, practice a little sexual discipline, work harder.”
But the father in this parable exposes the truth that people in the elder brother class are stained, too. The elder brother is self-righteous, smug, cold and shrewd. The elder brother wasn’t really working to honor his father; he was working for material reward and out of a fear-based moralism. The father reminds us of the old truth that the line between good and evil doesn’t run between people or classes; it runs straight through every human heart.
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Americans have a new No. 1 problem. Nearly one in four Americans mention jobs and unemployment as the most important problem facing the country, up from 16% in January. The government and politicians had topped the list since the government shutdown in October.
Prior to last fall, either jobs or the economy had led the "most important problem" list going back to February 2008, and these two have regained their top spots in the Feb. 6-9 poll.
Healthcare continues to rank among the top problems, with 15% naming it, unchanged from January. Mentions of the federal debt/budget deficit are stable at 8%, despite Congress' increasing the debt ceiling in February.
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Like other 20-somethings seeking a career foothold, Andrew Lang, a graduate of Penn State, took an internship at an upstart Beverly Hills production company at age 29 as a way of breaking into movie production. It didn’t pay, but he hoped the exposure would open doors.
When that internship proved to be a dead end, Mr. Lang went to work at a second production company, again as an unpaid intern. When that went nowhere, he left for another, doing whatever was asked, like delivering bottles of wine to 27 offices before Christmas. But that company, too, could not afford to hire him, even part time.
A year later, Mr. Lang is on his fourth internship, this time for a company that produces reality TV shows. While this internship at least pays him (he makes $10 an hour, with few perks), Mr. Lang feels no closer to a real job and worries about being an intern forever. “No one hires interns,” said Mr. Lang, who sees himself as part of a “revolving class of people” who can’t break free of the intern cycle. “Is this any way to live?”
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Two months ago, an escaped mentally ill inmate was walking down the street, blocking traffic. I stopped, and the next thing I knew he started accusing me of killing his mother. Then he attacked me. Fortunately, I was able to subdue him, and we returned him to prison.
Mental illness is not a crime, and the vast majority of people with mental illness are not dangerous. People whose mental illness goes untreated, however, may become dangerous. Tragic headlines around the country too often provide evidence of that fact.
It is against this background that S.C. Circuit Judge Michael Baxley recently found that mentally ill inmates in S.C. prisons receive grossly inadequate treatment. His 45-page order sets forth in shocking detail the deficiencies in the Department of Corrections’ mental health system.
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[Donald Margulies’s play “Dinner With Friends'"]...underlying subject is the mysterious way in which all relationships — friendships as much as romances — can evolve on a deep level as people grow and change, while, on the surface, things appear to remain stable. Life is sailing smoothly by, then one day the familiar face on the other side of the bed, or across the dinner table, or maybe even in the mirror, looks utterly strange.
--Charles Isherwood in his NYT review of the play in Friday's print edition, quoted by yours truly in Adult Sunday School class this morning on Revelation 2:1-7
“When I saw ‘All My Sons,’ I was changed — permanently changed — by that experience....It was like a miracle to me. But that deep kind of love comes at a price: for me, acting is torturous, and it’s torturous because you know it’s a beautiful thing. I was young once, and I said, That’s beautiful and I want that. Wanting it is easy, but trying to be great — well, that’s absolutely torturous.”
--Philip Seymour Hoffman as quoted in the New York Times.
I just returned from a well-known (and well-heeled) Christian college, where roughly 100 demonstrators gathered on the chapel steps to protest my address on the grounds that my testimony was dangerous. Later that day, I sat down with these beloved students, to listen, to learn, and to grieve. Homosexuality is a sin, but so is homophobia; the snarled composition of our own sin and the sin of others weighs heavily on us all. I came away from that meeting realizing—again—how decisively our reading practices shape our worldview. This may seem a quirky observation, but I know too well the world these students inhabit. I recall its contours and crevices, risks and perils, reading lists and hermeneutical allegiances. You see, I'm culpable. The blood is on my hands. The world of LGBTQ activism on college campuses is the world that I helped create. I was unfaltering in fidelity: the umbrella of equality stretching to embrace my lesbian identity, and the world that emerged from it held salvific potential. I bet my life on it, and I lost.
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How many American marriages end in divorce? One in two, if you believe the statistic endlessly repeated in news media reports, academic papers and campaign speeches.
The figure is based on a simple - and flawed - calculation: the annual marriage rate per 1,000 people compared with the annual divorce rate. In 2003, for example, the most recent year for which data is available, there were 7.5 marriages per 1,000 people and 3.8 divorces, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
But researchers say that this is misleading because the people who are divorcing in any given year are not the same as those who are marrying, and that the statistic is virtually useless in understanding divorce rates. In fact, they say, studies find that the divorce rate in the United States has never reached one in every two marriages, and new research suggests that, with rates now declining, it probably never will.
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Fourteen percent of adults between the ages of 24 and 34 -- those in the post-college years when most young adults are trying to establish independence -- report living at home with their parents. By contrast, roughly half of 18- to 23-year-olds, many of whom are still finishing their education, are currently living at home.
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Facebook said the changes, shared with The Associated Press before the launch on Thursday, initially cover the company's 159 million monthly users in the U.S. and are aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves, such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual.
"There's going to be a lot of people for whom this is going to mean nothing, but for the few it does impact, it means the world," said Facebook software engineer Brielle Harrison, who worked on the project and is herself undergoing gender transformation, from male to female. On Thursday, while watchdogging the software for any problems, she said she was also changing her Facebook identity from Female to TransWoman.
"All too often transgender people like myself and other gender nonconforming people are given this binary option, do you want to be male or female? What is your gender? And it's kind of disheartening because none of those let us tell others who we really are," she said. "This really changes that, and for the first time I get to go to the site and specify to all the people I know what my gender is."
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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
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Read it all. Also an AP story is now there it begins this way:
Belgian lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly to extend the country's euthanasia law to children under 18.
The 86-44 vote Thursday in the House of Representatives, with 12 abstentions, followed approval by the Senate last December.
The law empowers children with terminal ailments who are in great pain to request to be put to death if their parents agree and a psychiatrist or psychologist find they are conscious of what their choice signifies. The law was opposed by some Belgian pediatricians and the country's leading Roman Catholic cleric.
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[Bruce] Longenecker's careful analysis of the ambiguities surrounding Paul's commitment to the care of the poor is not meant to challenge the general presumption that Paul and the early church in general did not assume that Christians had an obligation to care for the poor. Indeed, he argues that, though economic assistance to the poor was not exhaustive of the good news of Jesus, neither was it peripheral to that good news. "Care for the poor was thought by Paul to be a necessary hallmark of the corporate life of Jesus followers who lived in conformity with the good news of the early Jesus movement."
I call attention to Longenecker's account of the commitment to the poor by the early followers of Jesus to remind us of the commonplace presumption by Christians that we are a people of charity. We are supposed to care for those less well off. Almsgiving is constitutive of what it means to be a Christian. Yet how Christians have cared for those who have less has recently come under severe criticism. I want to explore that critique and hopefully provide a constructive response.
One of the reasons I am intent to address questions surrounding what it means to remember the poor - or, in other terms, why charity is at the heart of Christian living - is I do not think I have adequately dealt with the challenge that Christians must be a community of the poor that cares for the poor.
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[Around mid-January]... the sports and pop culture website Grantland published a story called “Dr. V’s Magical Putter” — a piece of “long-form,” as we now call multi-thousand-word, narrative-driven reported articles — about a woman named Essay Anne Vanderbilt, who claimed to have invented a golf putter of unsurpassed excellence.
Over the course of 7,000-plus words, the writer, Caleb Hannan, devoted a lot of space to the contentious relationship he had developed with his subject. Ms. Vanderbilt, who was transgender but in the closet — and also probably a con artist — didn’t like Mr. Hannan’s digging into the details of her personal and professional life. In the final few paragraphs of the story, Mr. Hannan revealed some shocking news: Ms. Vanderbilt had killed herself.
The piece was initially met with praise from across the Internet. (“Great read,” raved a typical Tweet. “Fascinating, bizarre,” read another.) Then the criticism started. Mr. Hannan was accused of everything from being grossly insensitive to Ms. Vanderbilt’s privacy to having played a role in her suicide. The controversy soon grew so intense that the editor of the site, Bill Simmons, felt compelled to address it in an apologetic, if defensive, 2,700-word post of his own. Mr. Simmons stressed that the decision to publish the piece had not been taken lightly and that somewhere between 13 and 15 people had read it before it was posted and had all been “blown away.”
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Underemployment, as measured without seasonal adjustment, was 18.6% in January, up from 17.2% in December, and up from 17.5% in January 2013. Gallup's U.S. underemployment rate combines the percentage of adults in the workforce who are unemployed (8.6%) with the percentage of those who are working part time but looking for full-time work (10.0%). An increase in unemployment mainly explains the increase in underemployment vs. December, partly attributable to more out-of-work Americans now reporting they are looking for work.
Read it all and please note that U-6 happily fell from 13.1% to 12.7% in the BLS report on Friday
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At some point before 35-year-old Jesse Ryan Loskarn hanged himself in his parents’ home outside Baltimore, he wrote a painful letter soaked in shame and self-loathing in which he attempted to explain the unexplainable.
The former chief of staff for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) had lived a secret life, hiding memories of child abuse and his addiction to child pornography. Even as U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents used a battering ram to enter his house, it appeared that he was trying to hide an external hard drive - containing hundreds of videos - on a ledge outside a window.
“Everyone wants to know why,” he wrote, in a Jan. 23 letter posted online by Gay Loskarn, his mother.
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Some of the language here not the best, be advised, but the content really is solid--KSH.
What was so painful about Amy [Winehouse]'s death is that I know that there is something I could have done. I could have passed on to her the solution that was freely given to me. Don't pick up a drink or drug, one day at a time. It sounds so simple. It actually is simple but it isn't easy: it requires incredible support and fastidious structuring. Not to mention that the whole infrastructure of abstinence based recovery is shrouded in necessary secrecy. There are support fellowships that are easy to find and open to anyone who needs them but they eschew promotion of any kind in order to preserve the purity of their purpose, which is for people with alcoholism and addiction to help one another stay clean and sober.
Without these fellowships I would take drugs. Because, even now, the condition persists. Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution.
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In 1951, our four year old son was hit by a truck. Every bone in his body was broken, and he had multiple skull fractures. I prayed fervently for his healing. “Lord, I would do anything to save this little boy”, and then some words came out of my mouth that startled me.
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For much of the last century in the United States, Protestant Christianity’s relationship with beer was cold or even hostile at times. Protestant organizations such as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League led the campaign to make alcohol illegal.
Even after Prohibition ended, many evangelicals defined themselves by their abstention from alcohol, called “the beloved enemy” by televangelist Jack Van Impe.
Drinking was, and in many cases still is, outlawed on Christian college campuses and among leadership of many churches and denominations.
But in recent years, change has been fermenting. Taverns and beer halls, once dismissed as the domain of the “worldly” in need of reform, are today the meeting places for churches
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Alcohol/Drinking History Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Christology Soteriology
Surreptitious cash withdrawals and hidden credit card statements may be signs your significant other is cheating—but not necessarily in the bedroom.
Financial infidelity is on the rise, with more people deceiving (or being deceived by) their partner about purchases made, debts incurred, money earned or other issues related to their joint finances.
One-third of people who have combined accounts said they have committed a financial deception, while 35 percent said they have been the victim of one, according to a new study from the National Endowment for Financial Education conducted with Harris Interactive.
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I’d advocate for an even bigger imaginative leap: one that acknowledges the wide spectrum of pleasures that books (and TV, movies, music, theater, what have you) can offer us and then — and here’s the radical part — doesn’t immediately insist that these pleasures must also be sorted into a moral hierarchy. (This pleasure: good; that pleasure: bad; this one: in the middle.) Can we instead envision a world in which the person struggling through (but enjoying!) “Remembrance of Things Past” and the person tearing through (and enjoying!) “Gone Girl” can coexist on the same strip of sand, beach chairs side by side, each feeling pleasure in her solitary rapt world and neither one needing to cloak that pleasure behind the brown-paper wrapper of guilt?
I’m not a libertarian, politically speaking — I’m Canadian, which puts me slightly to the left of Communist. But increasingly I find myself attracted to a notion I’ll call cultural libertarianism, which might be best summed up in that old saying “Whatever floats your boat.” Which is to say, I’m less and less inclined to drop the hammer on someone who’s sitting in the corner, contentedly reading Dan Brown. Does this mean I’m obliged to acknowledge and celebrate the artistry of Dan Brown? Of course not. For me, personally, Dan Brown doesn’t do it; he leaves my boat unfloated. If you’re interested, I’m happy to share my reasons. But I’m not going to suggest that your enjoyment of Dan Brown is somehow degraded or embarrassing or shameful. I’ve not only lost my fervor to wage a holy crusade against people who enjoy Dan Brown; I’ve lost my faith in the kind of critical crusaders who do.
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Most Catholics worldwide disagree with church teachings on divorce, abortion and contraception and are split on whether women and married men should become priests, according to a large new poll released Sunday and commissioned by the U.S. Spanish-language network Univision. On the topic of gay marriage, two-thirds of Catholics polled agree with church leaders.
Overall, however, the poll of more than 12,000 Catholics in 12 countries reveals a church dramatically divided: Between the developing world in Africa and Asia, which hews closely to doctrine on these issues, and Western countries in Europe, North America and parts of Latin America, which strongly support practices that the church teaches are immoral.
The widespread disagreement with Catholic doctrine on abortion and contraception and the hemispheric chasm lay bare the challenge for Pope Francis’s year-old papacy and the unity it has engendered.
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You might think that we humans are special: no other species has, for example, landed on the moon, or invented the iPad. But then, I personally haven’t done those things either. So if such achievements are what makes us human then I must be relegated to the beasts, except in so far as I can catch a little reflected glory from true humans such as Neil Armstrong or Steve Jobs.
Fortunately, there are other, more inclusive, ideas around about what makes us human. Not long ago, most people (in the west) were happy with the account found in the Bible: we are made in the image of God – end of argument. But the theory of evolution tells a different story, one in which humans slowly emerged as a twig on the tree of life. The problem with this explanation is that it is much more difficult to say exactly what makes us so different from all the other twigs.
Indeed, in the light of new research into animal intelligence, some scientists have concluded that there simply is no profound difference between us and other species. This is the stance taken in new books by Henry Gee, palaeontology editor of the leading scientific journal Nature, and by animal behaviour expert Marc Bekoff. But other scientists of equal eminence argue the opposite: that new research is finally making the profound difference between humans and animals clear – and two of them, the psychologists Michael Tomasello and Thomas Suddendorf, have written new books purporting to tell us exactly what it is.
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In the first hours and days that followed Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death from an apparent overdose of heroin, there was an outpouring of grief on Facebook, on Twitter and in columns by recovering addicts and alcoholics like the journalist Seth Mnookin and the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin about their own struggles with sobriety and the rarely distant fear of relapsing back into the throes of active addiction.
There was also a palpably visceral reaction in the meeting rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, where, according to some in attendance, many discussions since last Sunday quickly turned from the death of a great actor to the precariousness of sobriety, and the fears of many sober people that they could easily slip back into their old ways, no matter how many years they have been clean.
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The outpouring of grief all around the country, but especially in the environs of New York City where "Phil" lived and worked, has been extraordinary and has, perhaps, taken some observers by surprise. The acute pain of my own grief has not abated for days; indeed, it has grown. I loved this actor beyond all others. There was a core of sensitivity and empathy at the heart of everything he did, even when playing the most unattractive characters. I was collecting his films, but in a desultory way, assuming that there was no particular urgency. Like many others who knew his work but not his personal story, I had no idea of the struggle he'd had. The idea that there will be no more performances is almost unbearable. He wasn't just a "character actor," though he certainly played a lot of characters; he had a range that, the more I think about it, was Shakespearean in its humanity. I can't even name a favorite performance; it was true of him across the board (or boards). I was looking forward to whatever he did next; now we can only play his old movies and suffer our loss. Now we will never see him play King Lear, a dismal thought that has occurred to several theatre critics who have lamented in print.
James Lipton, dean emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in New York City, widely known as the creator and host of Inside the Actors Studio on Bravo, was interviewed by CNN (I think it was). I don't remember ever seeing a scheduled television appearance at the time of a death that was so ferociously in the moment, not studied, not thought out ahead of time, just pure rage and grief. He seemed to be gripping the table (he may not have been, but it seemed that way) as he almost spat out his fury at "god-damned drugs." He was liberal on most things, he said, but when it came to drugs he felt nothing but implacable opposition and hatred. It was good to hear that. We don't hear it often enough. I remember when Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning after years of drug abuse. Someone said, "She made bad choices." As if a person in the throes of addiction has a choice! This isn't about choices or "free will." This is about the bondage of the will by demonic powers.
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Primates from across Africa are meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, this weekend to discuss the Church's role in promoting stability across the continent.
The meeting has been organised by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) to enable Primates to “positively engage with each other in their various contexts of their calling, to become drivers of dialogue around pertinent issues in their respective countries.”
“Africa [is] a land of great promise but we are still riddled with all kinds of challenges,” said CAPA General Secretary, Canon Grace Kaiso. “The Church in my view is indispensable in finding solutions to Africa's problems. So am anticipating some deep reflection to take place and clear mechanisms to be developed for the Primates to carry the agreed tasks forward....
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Don’t let all the suits and ties fool you. Almost everyone at Year Up has faced almost unimaginable hardship in getting here. Poverty, drugs, foster care, men's and women's shelters—you name it.
Gerald Chertavian: We are going into a professional skills course.
This all out corporate training blitz is the brainchild of Gerald Chertavian -- a Wall Street veteran who believes that he’s discovered an untapped source of talent among the poorest in the country.
Gerald Chertavian: A majority of the young adults growing up in isolated poverty, in our inner cities, want opportunity, want to be challenged, want to be held to higher expectations, and are motivated to actually get a good job. They haven't had any exposure as to how do you do that.
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Modern societies are still at the dawn of understanding what kind of news they need in order to flourish. For most of history, news was so hard to gather and expensive to deliver, its hold on our inner lives was inevitably held in check. Now there is almost nowhere on the planet we are able to go to escape from it. It is there waiting for us in the early hours when we wake up from a disturbed sleep; it follows us on board airplanes making their way between continents; it is waiting to hijack our attention during the children's bedtime.
The hum and rush of the news has seeped into our deepest selves. What an achievement a moment of calm now is; what a minor miracle the ability to fall asleep or to talk undistracted with a friend; what monastic discipline would be required to make us turn away from the maelstrom of news and to listen for a day to nothing but the rain and our own thoughts.
We may need some help with what the news is doing to us: with the envy and the terror, with the excitement and the frustration; with all that we've been told and yet occasionally suspect we may be better off never having learnt. So I wrote a little manual that tries to complicate a habit that, at present, has come to seem a little too normal and harmless for our own good. In what follows, I play the role of my own interlocutor in order to make clear just why I believe this to be so urgent.
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The letter the Archbishops sent last week to Primates in the Anglican Communion as well as the Presidents of Nigeria and Uganda quoted the Dromantine Communiqué of 2005 ruling out any victimisation or diminishment of people on the grounds of their sexual orientation.
"We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by Him and deserving the best we can give - pastoral care and friendship," the letter reiterated. Last week in London, Church of England bishops agreed to hold a mediated dialogue throughout the 80-million member Communion to reflect on Biblical passages about gays in a way that could make Anglican churches more welcoming to them. Wabukala reiterated that debating that which God has already clearly revealed in Scripture would be a waste of time adding that such dialogue only spreads confusion and opens the door to a false gospel.
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Church of Uganda Archbishop, Stanley Ntagali, on Tuesday launched a fundraising drive for the construction of the Anglican Martyrs shrine at Namugongo.
Ntagali announced the fundraising drive during at a news conference at the Church of Uganda headquarters in Kampala.
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Genetic testing of embryos has been around for more than a decade, but its use has soared in recent years as methods have improved and more disease-causing genes have been discovered. The in vitro fertilization and testing are expensive — typically about $20,000 — but they make it possible for couples to ensure that their children will not inherit a faulty gene and to avoid the difficult choice of whether to abort a pregnancy if testing of a fetus detects a genetic problem.
But the procedure also raises unsettling ethical questions that trouble advocates for the disabled and have left some doctors struggling with what they should tell their patients. When are prospective parents justified in discarding embryos? Is it acceptable, for example, for diseases like GSS, that develop in adulthood? What if a gene only increases the risk of a disease? And should people be able to use it to pick whether they have a boy or girl? A recent international survey found that 2 percent of more than 27,000 uses of preimplantation diagnosis were made to choose a child’s sex.
In the United States, there are no regulations that limit the method’s use. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, whose members provide preimplantation diagnosis, says it is “ethically justified” to prevent serious adult diseases for which “no safe, effective interventions are available.” The method is “ethically allowed” for conditions “of lesser severity” or for which the gene increases risk but does not guarantee a disease.
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Gospel tracts, sidewalk evangelism, street preachers with bullhorns—all of these things seem like evangelistic efforts of yesteryear. But if this seems true, where does that leave the state of evangelism today? Is faith-sharing a fading practice, or does it simply look different today? In all their innovative efforts to engage culture, have Christians left this ancient practice so integral to their faith behind?
Barna Group has charted evangelistic practices and attitudes for more than two decades, and the latest study sheds light on the gaps between evangelism in theory and practice, the social groups who are sharing their faith the most, and the surprising ways economics color one's outreach efforts.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture Sexuality * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Throughout the history of the social teachings of the Church, the right of all people to fair compensation for their labor has been upheld as an essential element of a just society. As early as the late 19th century, Pope Leo XIII recognized the principle that workers should be paid a wage
sufficient to support a family as“a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man." [Rerum Novarum]
As Pope Francis continues to captivate the world through his powerful challenges to care for the least am ong us, he frequently echoes his
predecessors in highlighting the importance of providing opportunities for meaningful work as a path out of poverty.
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[In this next video report]...one brother competes and the other is cheering him on, that could be said of a lot of olympic athletes, but for Alex Bilodeau who won a gold medal in Canada yea years past it is all about the remarkable bond we first learned about in the last winter games; Bob Costas has more.
Watch it all--fantastic and heartwarming.
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The remarkable thing about this confession is, it's true. It's not a moment of great self-esteem, or at which the lost son remembers how inherently worthy he is. By rights, he has no rights. And yet, what does he discover? Well, it is true that he receives no joy from his elder brother. But that is because the Father is irritatingly insistent on showering his tender mercy upon the returning son.
Many Christian churches open their services by inviting the congregation to confess its sins. It might seem as if this a dour reminder of our inadequacies and failings, and a rather grim thing to be doing on a Sunday, when you could be enjoying a late breakfast. But the Christian can confess with confidence - not simply because he or she will find in God a righteous judge, but because "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." To confess your sin is to express confidence in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the one in whom God displayed both his justice and his mercy. And it is a gloriously counter-cultural testimony to the "admit nothing" world.
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The Rt Rev’d James Newcome will chair a county Commission which will review the impact of current and proposed Welfare Reforms.
The Commission has been established at the request of the Cumbria Leaders Board which is made up of key public and third sector leaders in the county.
Evidence from charities, community organizations and individuals will be collected over the coming months.
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World Watch Monitor is curating news coverage of the attacks on [this past] Sunday in north-eastern Nigeria. At least 22 worshippers died at a church in Yola, while 300 homes were burnt down in a village in neighbouring Borno state and at least 52 people were killed. Boko Haram is suspected of carrying out both attacks.
World Watch Monitor is using Storify to collect and organise the widespread news coverage. The Storify report appears below.
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Only one quarter of Anglicans who responded to a Church Times survey are in the habit of inviting people to church.
Just 27 per cent of laypeople responding to a questionnaire agreed with the proposition: "I often invite other people to come to my church"; 56 per cent disagreed. Six per cent agreed with the proposition: "I would never invite anyone to come to my church."
Despite this, lay people continue to be optimistic about church growth: 40 per cent believed that their church would grow in the next 12 months; 42 per cent were uncertain, and only 18 per cent said that it would not.
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Christians, Crouch contends, should embrace true power and use it as effectively as possible for God’s purposes. We must be “trustees,” vigorously guarding against cynicism and abuse of power, eager to take part in the renewal of institutional life, inside our churches and outside of them.
Crouch applies this way of thinking about embrace of power to a discussion of how Christians might deal constructively with issues like abortion and excessive incarceration rates. He defends evangelism even as he urges work for justice and peace. He also acknowledges the link between Christian teaching about power and questions of warfare and the military. But in this case he holds back. He mentions the debate between the Augustinian and Anabaptist traditions with respect to the use of force, only to say that because this territory is so “well-traveled,” he will not “retrace” it now. But a book on the Christian use of power certainly ought to weigh in on violence.
Overall, however, readers will find plenty of insight and inspiration here.
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The Church of England’s bishops have finally reached agreement on homosexuality – by saying that they might never be able to agree.
They emerged from a frank, day-long meeting behind closed doors, discussing their response to radical proposals to offer wedding-style blessing services for gay couples, and admitted they are deeply divided over the issues and are likely to remain so for years to come.
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The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, after being asked about laws there penalising gay people.
The letter said homosexual people were loved and valued by God and should not be victimised or diminished.
Nigeria and Uganda have both passed legislation targeting people with same-sex attraction.
The letter is also addressed to all primates (heads of national Churches) in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
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[Google's] DeepMind acquisition closely follows...[the company's] $3.2 billion purchase of smart thermostat and smoke alarm maker Nest, a slew of cutting-edge robotics companies, and another AI startup known as DNNresearch.
Google is looking to spread smart computer hardware into so many parts of our everyday lives — from our homes and our cars to our bodies — but perhaps more importantly, it’s developing a new type of artificial intelligence that can help operate these devices, as well as its many existing web and smartphone services.
Though Google is out in front of this AI arms race, others are moving in the same direction. Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft are doubling down on artificial intelligence too, and are snapping up fresh AI talent. According to The Information, Mark Zuckerberg and company were also trying to acquire DeepMind.
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When Zac Gossage, 6, lost his hair to chemotherapy treatments for leukemia, he cried to his mother that he didn't want to go to school.
Luckily, he has a friend in 7-year-old Vincent Butterfield.
When Vincent's first grade teacher told their class at Central Elementary School in Union, Mo. that Zac had leukemia, Vincent told his dad he wanted to shave his head.
Read it all and if you have time the video is wonderful. Also, another link for the video if necessary may be found there.
[Justin Bieber is..] 19 and peeling rubber in a rented yellow Lamborghini, drag racing in Miami Beach before dawn Thursday and flunking a street-side sobriety test, according to a police report.
Are his global followers, the Beliebers, still around to read this and weep? Do they even care or have they moved on to other idols of self-expression? (Miley, anyone?) Maybe they have found Bono, who once said, as Falsani noted: “There’s nothing worse than a rock star with a cause … But celebrity is currency and we want to spend it this way.”
It’s certainly not easy to be a celebrity in popular culture and still be taken seriously as a person who practices a religion — Christian or any other faith — in word and deed.
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A number of studies have shown that exercise can remodel the brain by prompting the creation of new brain cells and inducing other changes. Now it appears that inactivity, too, can remodel the brain, according to a notable new report.
The study, which was conducted in rats but likely has implications for people too, the researchers say, found that being sedentary changes the shape of certain neurons in ways that significantly affect not just the brain but the heart as well. The findings may help to explain, in part, why a sedentary lifestyle is so bad for us.
Until about 20 years ago, most scientists believed that the brain’s structure was fixed by adulthood, that you couldn’t create new brain cells, alter the shape of those that existed or in any other way change your mind physically after adolescence.
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"Many people ask me, several times a week... if I ever contemplate (assisted suicide). It makes one feel like I should be contemplating it for the sake of the health service, for my family watching what I'm going through. I'm afraid that it will extend into the social conscience that people will almost expect assisted dying.... a (new) law will pressurise people."
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A Church of England diocese has issued a list of social media rules to its staff and clergy, urging them to consider God when tweeting the masses.
The guidelines range from practical security advice to more faith-based instructions, including a warning that updates are "transient yet permanent".
The list has been widely shared online, dubbed the "Twitter commandments".
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Among those marching for the first time were Geoffrey and Alayne Boland of St. Nicholas Anglican Church in Kissimmee, Florida, who (at the encouragement of their bishop) took vacation time to participate.
The Bolands said they were happy to join the march, adding that as native New Yorkers they were prepared for winter weather.
“The babies who are being aborted need a voice,” said Madeleine Ruch, a high school junior from the Chicago area and a member of Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. Ruch was joined by her father, the Rt. Rev. Stewart Ruch, Bishop of the Upper Midwest.
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An Anglo-Catholic priest was bullied out of his parish after challenging a cadre of “very right-wing” church- goers over a culture of binge-drinking, according to a report.
Father Simon Tibbs, 41, had been in charge of St Faith’s church in Great Crosby, Merseyside — which includes the former Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie among its past parishioners — for just nine months when he was allegedly forced out last September.
An investigation into his departure found yesterday that he had offended an “inner circle” of the congregation by trying to drive through a ban on excessive drinking by worshippers who were treating the church like a “social club”.
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Tallulah, an aspiring dancer from West Hampstead in London, threw herself under a train at St Pancras Station on October 14, 2012. Her mother said she had been unable to prevent the troubled teenager from becoming increasingly withdrawn at home and at school, as she developed a fantasy cocaine-taking persona online.
Ms Wilson said: “Like any parent I sought to protect my daughter, seeking help from professionals at her school, the NHS and the Tavistock Clinic. Her sisters and I did everything we could to keep her safe, but she had fallen into a world of nightmares. She was in the c lutches of a toxic digital world where in the final few weeks we could no longer reach her.
“I was shocked by the ease with which Tallulah and other children can access online self-harm and suicide blogs. Tallulah entered a world where the lines between fantasy and reality became blurred. It is every parent’s worst nightmare.”
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Eastside Catholic prides itself on teaching acceptance. At the end of Crusader Way, by the school’s entrance, banners hang celebrating “relationships” and exhorting passers-by to “remember to take care of each other.” Students use a sign-language gesture to remind one another of the school’s emphasis on unconditional love.
But now the school is unexpectedly grappling with how it defines both love and acceptance. Last month, a well-regarded vice principal was forced to leave his job as soon as administrators became aware that he had married a man; in the weeks since, the suburban Seattle school has been roiled, first by protests in support of the vice principal, and then by the resignations of those who sought his departure. The chairman of the school’s board resigned last month, and on Tuesday, Eastside, a middle and high school with about 900 students, announced the resignation of its president.
The ouster of Mr. Z, as the former vice principal, Mark Zmuda, is known, comes amid a wave of firings and forced resignations of gay men and lesbians from Roman Catholic institutions across the country, in most cases prompted not directly by the employees’ sexuality, but by their decisions to marry as same-sex marriage becomes legal in an increasing number of states.
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Early childhood education advocates called out state lawmakers Wednesday to put aside their differences and reach a bipartisan compromise that invests in pre-kindergarten programs for at-risk children.
The call was made in the lobby of the Statehouse, where the heads of three organizations met to urge lawmakers to implement a statewide policy to measure the progress of children participating in early childhood education programs. More than a dozen organizations, including the United Way and Institute for Child Success, joined the effort dubbed South Carolina's Early Childhood Common Agenda.
"We're spending hundreds of millions of dollars in this state on early childhood education, and we haven't been able to prove that the way we're doing is effective in every case," said Tim Ervolina, president of the United Way, during the conference. "We're just asking the people upstairs spend the money smartly."
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Four bishops and a retired civil servant shut away in a palace, talking about human sexuality — it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. But the resulting Pilling Report is, in spite of 200 pages’ worth of double entendres, neither funny nor enlightening.
It has been clear ever since the Lambeth conference in 1998, which contained the ponderous resolution that ‘we commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons’, that the Anglican church’s position has been to agree not to agree on the issue. From the Jeffrey John affair to the debate over gay marriage, the church has handled the question like a whoopee cushion at a vicar’s tea party — with a mixture of bemusement and embarrassment.
Having spent many months interviewing everyone from the Society of Ordained Scientists to the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, Sir Joseph Pilling’s report comes up with the less than profound conclusion that the issue requires the church to have a ‘facilitated conversation’.
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As John Milbank has pointed out, classical political liberalism in the shape of John Locke and David Hume has a pessimistic view of humans as self-interested, fearful and greedy, while the romantic liberalism of Rousseau takes the opposite view, seeing people as free and innocent but society as corrupting. British (and American) liberalism premised on Lockean pessimism is concerned with the balancing and checking of power, the Rousseau-an approach abolishes the problem of power by assuming, in the general will, that everyone has the same interests....
It is sometimes said that the story of politics since the fall of Margaret Thatcher is that the right won the economic argument and the left won the social argument. But in more recent times both of those victories seem tainted; reflecting the limits of the two liberalisms.
[In fact, most people]... are certainly not the free-floating individuals of liberal ideology. Rather they are rooted in communities and families, often experience change as loss and have a hierarchy of moral obligations. Too often the language of liberalism that dominates public debate ignores the real affinities of place and people. Those affinities are not obstacles to be overcome on the road to the good society; they are one of its foundation stones. People will always favour their own families and communities; it is the task of a realistic liberalism, a postliberal politics, to strive for a description of nation and community that is open enough to include people from many different backgrounds, without being so open as to become meaningless...
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Philosophy Psychology Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
More than five years later, there is still no answer to perhaps the most critical question raised by the man-made disaster: How much did it all cost?
In July, three economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Tyler Atkinson, David Luttrell and Harvey Rosenblum, gave it a shot, at least as far as the United States economy goes.
...their examination offers a panoramic view of the variety of ways in which the financial crisis diminished the nation’s standard of living. At a bare minimum the crisis cost nearly $20,000 for each American. Adding in broader impacts on workers’ well-being — an admittedly speculative exercise — could raise the price tag to as much as $120,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. With this kind of money we could pay back the federal debt or pay for a top-notch college education for everyone.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family Poverty Psychology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Housing/Real Estate Market Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- The U.S. Government Federal Reserve The National Deficit Politics in General * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Embrace the Journey was developed because Anglicans for Life recognized this growing segment of our population and their unique need for ministry and advocacy. Parishioners also need to hear what Scripture teaches about aging, dying, and death. This Adult-Ed Curriculum educates the people in the pews about the role of heaven in their faith walk and provides assurance of heaven as their home for eternity.
Anglicans for Life also produced Embrace the Journey because the term “end-of-life” for the elderly and terminally ill means something very different in today’s culture than it did 20 years ago. Treating vulnerable people as second class citizens is not something we fear may happen, it is happening. And with it comes a growing disregard for the value of life, especially in the ‘golden years.’ Hastening of death via assisted suicide, the growing number of cases of emotional, physical, and financial abuse and the increasing fear of being a burden puts the elderly at risk. The Curriculum seeks to make people aware of these issues to help them be pro-active in preventing them from happening to loved ones or themselves.
The Embrace the Journey Curriculum includes video presentations by Anglicans for Life President Georgette Forney and interviews with Anglican bishops, parish priests, and experts in “end-of-life” issues...
Check it out.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Education Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
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