Posted by Kendall Harmon

The UN says militant Islamist group Isis has ordered all women and girls in Mosul, northern Iraq, to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM).

UN official Jacqueline Badcock said the fatwa, or religious edict, applied to females between the ages of 11 and 46.

She said the unprecedented decree issued by the Islamists in control of the city was of grave concern.

Iraq is facing a radical Isis-led Sunni insurgency, with cities in the north-west under militant control.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 24, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim and her family landed in Italy en route to a new life in the U.S.

A woman in Sudan who faced the death sentence for refusing to renounce Christianity safely landed in Italy en route to the U.S. on Thursday after the international community intervened to secure her safe exit, NBC News reports.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, was imprisoned for apostasy in February under Sudan’s strict Islamic law, after converting from Islam to marry her Christian husband, a U.S. citizen. Born to a Muslim father but raised Orthodox Christian, she refused to convert back under threat of death.

Read it all.

Update: Per Catholic News Service--#PopeFrancis spent 30mins with #Meriam&family. Thanked her for her "constant witness" to faith. She thanked him for church's prayers,support

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPrison/Prison MinistryReligion & CultureViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 24, 2014 at 7:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The church got the message. Although it contained only nebulous safeguards for conservatives, the latest proposal was backed by a thumping majority of lay delegates to the Synod: 152 in favour and just 45 against. Even among the church’s growing contingent of evangelicals, a survival instinct prevailed. Survival as what, though? Some clergy, like Giles Fraser, an outspoken leftist, think the church should cut loose from the state and deliver hard truths from the margins of society.

In England, as in many historically Christian countries, the national church faces a choice. Either it can use its ancient privileges to cast a pale wash of religion over a secular society, making the necessary compromises; or it can morph into one or several minority subcultures, guided by their own particular lights, whose views are no business of politicians.

Over women bishops, the church stepped in the first direction. But if, as is expected, most bishops in the Lords vote against a forthcoming bill on assisted dying, it will swing the other way. Fresh questions may be asked about why bishops of one church, which attracts 2% of the population to its services, should vote at all.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted July 23, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Across the globe there are believed to be 125 million victims in 29 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East living with the consequences of FGM. In most instances the girl involved will be under 15 when cut, and the elders of the community will consider that FGM bestows on her the pure femininity conducive to proper sexual conduct within marriage. In a world in which people travel constantly between cultures and continents, FGM has also become a domestic question. It is estimated that 137,000 women and girls living in England and Wales could have undergone the procedure even though it has been illegal since 1985.

The law is an important rebuke to intolerable practices and it is welcome that the first prosecutions under the 1985 law began this year. The government has also established training for teachers, doctors and social workers to help them to identify girls at risk. The law alone, though, will not prevent the abuse of women.

The importance of set-piece events such as the Girl Summit [in London] is also a marker of the importance of the question and of a standard of conduct that is expected in a developed nation.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesSexualityTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 23, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

he divorce statistics for modern Western societies are catastrophic. They show that marriage is no longer regarded as a new, independent reality transcending the individuality of the spouses, a reality that, at the very least, cannot be dissolved by the will of one partner alone. But can it be dissolved by the consent of both parties, or by the will of a synod or a pope? The answer must be no, for as Jesus himself explicitly declares, man cannot put asunder what God himself has joined together. Such is the teaching of the Catholic Church.

The Christian understanding of the good life claims to be valid for all human beings. Yet even Jesus’s disciples were shocked by their Master’s words: Wouldn’t it be better, then, they replied, not to marry at all? The astonishment of the disciples underscores the contrast between the Christian way of life and the way of life dominant in the world. Whe­ther it wants to or not, the Church in the West is on its way to becoming a counterculture, and its future now depends chiefly on whether it is able, as the salt of the earth, to keep its savor and not be trampled underfoot by men.

The beauty of the Church’s teaching can shine forth only when it’s not watered down. The temptation to dilute doctrine is reinforced nowadays by an unsettling fact: Catholics are divorcing almost as frequently as their secular counterparts. Something has clearly gone wrong. It’s against all reason to think that all civilly divorced and remarried Catholics began their first marriages firmly convinced of its indissolubility and then fundamentally reversed themselves along the way. It’s more reasonable to assume that they entered into matrimony without clearly realizing what they were doing in the first place: burning their bridges behind them for all time (which is to say until death), so that the very idea of a second marriage simply did not exist for them.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologyWomen* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySacramental Theology

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Posted July 21, 2014 at 4:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The new legislation is simpler and based on Christian understandings of trust. Crucially, it includes a commitment for diocesan bishops to abide by five guiding principles, to take proper care of and provide oversight for dissenters, with recourse to an independent reviewer, or ombudsman, to resolve disputes. This was a concept introduced to steering-group discussions by Dr Philip Giddings, the leading conservative Evangelical, who specialised in politics and the work of the Parliamentary Ombudsman. His speech to synod, where he committed himself to vote in favour, coming as it did early in the debate, was influential in securing the result.

Even the Catholic group seemed happy, relatively speaking, with the result. Canon Simon Killwick, the chairman, remained deeply concerned for the wider unity of the whole Church but “pleased that the spirit of reconciliation continued to be displayed during the debate”. Archbishop Bernard Longley, chairman of dialogue and unity for the Catholic bishops, reiterated the goal of full ecclesial communion and acknowledged that the decision “sadly places a further obstacle on the path to this unity between us”. He affirmed the progress made in recent decades.

Whatever the theological and ecclesiological disagreements that remain, for the established Church to have once again rejected women bishops could well have spelled disaster for Christian mission in Britain. The signals from Rome and Canterbury give every ­appearance of grace in action – surely a prophecy of interesting times to come.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

3 Comments
Posted July 21, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last Tuesday, on the front page of The Daily Telegraph of London, which I buy like thousands of other dementia-fearers because of the kindly crossword, I saw the face of a young woman at the General Synod at York with a bright teardrop sliding down her cheek. I thought, Oh dear! More misery. Newspapers now are only frigates of misery.

But the gleaming teardrop was not for sorrow; it was for joy! This girl, in an ecclesiastical, once exclusively male, dog collar, was weeping for joy because the synod, which governs the Church of England, had at last decided to allow women to become bishops.

Not that there are not some tough preliminaries. The dog collar has to be earned. And more. But starting next year, if all goes well, a female Anglican priest will be able to become even an archbishop should she believe she is called to do the job.

And she doesn’t even have to look like a male bishop.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted July 21, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You will have been saddened, but probably not surprised, by the General Synod’s vote last Monday on women bishops. This was the logical outcome of the decision in 1993 to enable women to be ordained to the presbyterate in the Church of England. That decision prompted the formation of Reform and since then we have actively sought to urge the Church to reform herself under the authority of the Word of God.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

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Posted July 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some of the survey’s findings are not surprising. The arrival of children and the subsequent triangulation of the relationship and lack of bandwidth, time, money and energy makes a couple far more susceptible to the desire to stray. And the rise of the social networks make such straying much easier: easier to start, easier to arrange and easier to hide. (It may make it a little harder to end quietly though, especially if one of the parties feels aggrieved.)

Some other findings are a little more unexpected, however. For the vast majority of folks 18 to 49 years old, at least in Austin, Omaha, Nashville and Phoenix, where this study took place, cheating is an absolute dealbreaker. A full 94% of respondents would rather never marry than end up with a person they knew would cheat and 82% of them have “zero tolerance” for infidelity. Yet 81% of people admitted they’d cheat if they knew there wouldn’t be any consequences and 42% of the survey takers, in equal parts men and women, admitted to already having cheated.

Read it all.


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

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As if they needed reminding, given the cameras trained on them, General Synod members were told on Monday morning that there were "many eyes and ears which are attentive to what we say and do".

Eighteen months after the collapse of the previous women-bishops draft Measure, a new creation was awaiting approval, gestated during hours of negotiations led by a diplomat with reconciliation in Northern Ireland under his belt. There was a mood of trepidation.

Introducing the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure, the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, was clear: "While we may be aware of those others, we are here today to do what we believe under God to be right."

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The pivotal votes of a small num­ber of members of the General Synod who helped to defeat the women-bishops Measure in Novem­ber 2012 have swung to the Yes camp.

The earlier Measure was lost by six votes in the House of Laity. Instrumental to the defeat were a handful of members who, despite being in favour of the consecration of women as bishops, voted against the Measure, prompted by a concern that it did not offer enough provision for those who were opposed on principle.

Five of these members told the Church Times this week that they now planned to vote in favour.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

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Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yet the approval of women bishops reflects the fact that ecumenical “consensus” is an empty slogan at best. If women in the episcopate are not considered worth such consensus, one must ask, “what is?” And, when the time comes, will there be the means to achieve it? My own concerns mostly lie here: Even if most Anglicans consider this a secondary issue of Christian “truth” or moral imperative, should we not have worked much harder to implement the means of open discussion, debate, and accommodation with our Christian sister churches, if only to fulfill our calling to such a work on its own terms?

Having said that, one decision can never be said to have foreclosed an ecumenical future. I remember well the witness of the late Rev. Dr. Susan Cole-King, one of the Church of England’s first ordained women. She was one of those who were willing to return to England (from the US) and work as a deacon before her orders were recognized there. Cole-King was the daughter of Bp. Leonard Wilson, the Singapore bishop who was tortured by the Japanese during World War II. In 1998, just a couple of years before her untimely death, she spoke at a Lambeth Conference eucharist that had followed a recent statement of repentance by Japanese Anglicans, many years in the making. She referred to her father’s divine gift of forgiveness of his torturers, including one who later became a Christian and whom he personally confirmed. Her father, she said, could forgive in the power of Christ; but true reconciliation, she went on to say, required an “acknowledgement of wrongs done,” “the truth faced,” and “painful self-examination [that] leads to confession and apology.”

Without knowing how it will be parsed out, I can say that there is much of this acknowledgement, truth-facing, examination, and confession still to come among Anglicans and their brethren on the matter of women’s ordination and consecration to the episcopate. As on much else. Our work now is to determine how this will happen.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted July 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The mood of the Church of England's General Synod in York was set by a key intervention by a leading conservative evangelical early on in the debate.

Dr Philip Giddings, chairman of the House of Laity, said a better way had been found than November 2012, when the last package failed by six votes, but the package still did not meet the needs of everyone in the Church. He said: "The key for me is that this package is adequate."

This was because of the new House of Bishops' guidelines, which bishops and clergy will be disciplined if they fail to adhere to and which pledge proper oversight for those opposed to women bishops.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

9 Comments
Posted July 17, 2014 at 9:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The approval of the Women Bishops legislation brings to an end a decade of debate about what provision should be made for those who are unable, for theological reasons, to receive the ministry of women as priests and bishops.

In the earlier stages of that debate we offered the Church of England a vision of how provision could be made with full ecclesiological integrity not just for us but also for the Church of England as a whole. It is now clear that the reality will be shaped differently, and will fall short of our ideal.

None the less, we believe that we can have confidence in our future as catholics who are called to live out our Christian vocation in the Church of England, maintaining a distinctive witness to the quest for the unity of the Church. The House of Bishops’ Declaration embodies a commitment to enabling us to flourish within the Church of England’s life and structures. It does so because our theological convictions about ministry and ordination remain within the spectrum of Anglican teaching and tradition. As Resolution III.2 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference stated, ‘those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to, the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are both loyal Anglicans’.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

2 Comments
Posted July 17, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Paula Gooder, a theologian who voted in favor of the change both times, was devastated when it did not pass in 2012. On BBC television she said of the debate then versus now, “The tone in the synod chamber last time was really difficult and very angry and hard to experience, whereas this time was much more welcoming and accepting.”

The change of tone was in large part due to the addition of compromises to the legislation. The measure that passed on Monday contained concessions for traditionalists unwilling to serve under a woman bishop, giving them the right to ask for a male alternative and to take disputes to an independent arbitrator. Though some in favor of the change worry that this may undermine female bishops’ authority, most were willing to take that risk in order to see the legislation pass.

Though the added concessions played a key role in changing the outcome of the vote, some voters also reported experiencing a change of heart with regard to the issue over the last 18 months. Among those who voted differently today than in 2012, is the bishop of Dorchester, Colin Fletcher. Addressing the synod prior to the vote, Fletcher explained that he used to believe, as most who oppose the legislation do, the Bible teaches that male leadership of the church is God's will. He said that he interprets scripture differently now.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby--Rowan WilliamsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen

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Posted July 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some observers think a speech in the final stages of the 2012 vote tipped balance and led to defeat of the measure. This time the final speaker, a blind member who is an evangelical from Bristol, the Rev. John Spence, seemed to tip it the other way.

Directing comments to evangelical opponents, he said: “Your faith is my faith, is all of our faith, and every one of us has a vital role to ensure that the searing vision of the risen Christ is taken out into this country. … I am confident that we can walk hand in hand, and return the risen Christ to his rightful place at the centre of this country, its conscience, and its culture.” Spence won a standing ovation.

In greeting the result the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases, disagreeing. The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

3 Comments
Posted July 16, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Catholic Church remains fully committed to its dialogue with the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. For the Catholic Church, the goal of ecumenical dialogue continues to be full visible ecclesial communion.

Such full ecclesial communion embraces full communion in the episcopal office. The decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate therefore sadly places a further obstacle on the path to this unity between us. Nevertheless we are committed to continuing our ecumenical dialogue, seeking deeper mutual understanding and practical cooperation wherever possible.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

3 Comments
Posted July 16, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “Today is the completion of what was begun over 20 years with the ordination of women as priests. I am delighted with today's result. Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases disagreeing.

"The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds. Very few institutions achieve this, but if we manage this we will be living our more fully the call of Jesus Christ to love one another. As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote I am also mindful of those within the Church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow.

"My aim, and I believe the aim of the whole church, should be to be able to offer a place of welcome and growth for all. Today is a time of blessing and gift from God and thus of generosity. It is not winner take all, but in love a time for the family to move on together.“

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchWomen

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Posted July 14, 2014 at 11:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

1 Comments
Posted July 14, 2014 at 10:52 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he was hopeful that the Church of England's governing body would approve women bishops when it votes on the issue this week.

Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans, said the general public would find it "almost incomprehensible" should the General Synod fail to support the move on Monday.

The long-running debate pits reformers, keen to project a more modern and egalitarian image of the church as it struggles with falling congregations in many increasingly secular countries, against a minority of conservatives who see the change as contradicting the Bible.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

1 Comments
Posted July 14, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tonight we're about to take you to the place where hundreds of thousands come every year for a tempting bargain. But is it really worth it?

You're about to meet a woman who flew 6,000 milines to get what she really wants, but is it worth it? If plastic surgery had a Mecca, it would be the ritzy district of South Korea. Everywhere you look there are women seemingly trying to look like the plastic doll-like plastic people here.

Thousands travel to Korea from all over the globe to go under the knife. I think the results would be here in Korea because they know the asian face better. Reporter: The plastic surgeons in Korea are regarded as among the best in the world that attracts clients like this lady.

Read or watch it all (note the transcript link at the bottom of the page).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineWomenYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAsiaSouth Korea* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The fact is that the last package of legislation was not just imperfect, it was a complete and utter mess. It left no meaningful provision for conservatives and traditionalists and the fact that a code of practice was unwritten at the time of the vote made the acceptance of the legislation a complete non-starter. The House of Laity was roundly condemned for the fact that it voted down the legislation. Yet they were absolutely right to do so. There may be other reasons why a wholesale reform of General Synod and its electoral system is necessary but on that fateful day in November 2012 those six members in the House of Laity acted wisely and justly. We now have legislation that is widely supported and which will make women feel valued in their new ministry and traditionalists secure in their conscience.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

0 Comments
Posted July 8, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Bryan Giemza] recommends her recently released Prayer Journal and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” as good starting points for students. Her journal allows him to “point out the various prayer traditions she canvasses and how she shared in the aspirations and worries of someone their age, albeit someone with an incredible depth of field, spiritually speaking. She commands respect that way.” I like Giemza’s method in teaching her popular story. He tells students “things tend towards their ends, that we are creatures of habit, and that virtue has to be practiced. I give them a series of statements to respond to, like ‘I’m basically a good person.’ A majority of my students agree with that position, and aren’t aware that it flies in the face of orthodoxy, and certainly goes against Flannery O’Connor’s belief. They’re usually stunned to learn that no less an authority than Christ said that no man is good. And those who condemn the grandmother have to be shown their own warts, just like those who despise the mother in ‘Everything That Rises Must Converge,’ (pdf) with her patronizing coin, need to be reminded of the story of the widow’s mite.”

O’Connor is one of the best at peeling back our public covers and showing those warts. Like so many writers chided for their disturbing content, criticisms of her work are often less about the texts themselves, and more about our refusals as readers, students, and teachers to examine our own lives. Perhaps even more than her odd characters, it is the “stark racism” of O’Connor’s world that pushes away some of Giemza’s students. But Giemza doesn’t want them to blink; “the danger . . . is that students who (think they) live in a post-racial age must still contend with the sins of the fathers, and I am surprised by how many can blithely accept that those sins have been expiated. Perhaps they don’t see its urgency, but here in the region that helped the nation understand its first fall (i.e. the legacies of our foundation in slavery), we have a duty to try to come to grips with it. It remains the essence of the fallen-ness in her work, and its insistence that God is no respecter of persons or the hierarchies of the temporal order, which can be inverted at a stroke.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryPoetry & LiteratureRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureTeens / YouthWomenYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

0 Comments
Posted July 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you lost everything tomorrow, what would you do?

Roll up my sleeves and see it as an opportunity.

Do you believe in assisted suicide?

Very strongly. I have joined Dignity in Dying.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

No. I wish I did but I can’t.

If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?

Around eight.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the General Synod of the Church of England faces the vote on women bishops, its most important decision in recent decades, the Archbishop of Canterbury's head of reconciliation has outlined the keystones of his path to peace.

Canon David Porter, who has been working for month behind the scenes in the Church of England to broker new relationships between the factions divided over the consecration of women, told an international audience of church leaders that bad religion too easily triumphs over good, and that reconciliation is elusive.

Canon Porter, a leading peacemaker behind the scenes during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, made six "pertinent and provocative" observations of his experience of being a "religious peacemaker" in a situation of conflict where religion has often been said to be the cause and part of the problem rather than the solution.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 5, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Speak to sexually active teenage girls today, as I have been lately while researching a book, and it is evident that many feel the only means they have to beguile men is through sex. And even then, they feel a need to be overt with their flirt.

All those too-tight, too-short and too-low dresses aren’t, as I once thought, what girls wear to be appear fashionable to their female peers. They wear them, I’m informed, to look sexy to men.

‘‘I don’t really care what my friends wear out,’’ one young lady told me, ‘‘unless it makes them look hotter than I do.’’

‘‘You have to be hot to attract a guy,’’ another 16-year-old girl asserted. ‘‘If you don’t look sexy, then they won’t think you are interested in them.’’

And once you attract said guy? ‘‘You need to have sex with them. If you don’t, they’ll just go with someone who will.’’

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSexualityTeens / YouthWomen* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 29, 2014 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ms. Ibrahim's story bears uncanny parallels to another Christian story involving young African mothers who did become Christian martyrs, during the early third century: the story of Felicitas and Perpetua, executed for their faith in the Roman port city of Carthage in today's Tunisia. Vibia Perpetua was a well-educated young woman, not unlike Ms. Ibrahim, who is trained as a doctor. Felicitas was a slave in an advanced state of pregnancy when she was thrown into prison along with Perpetua and other Christians to await their deaths by wild animals in the Carthage arena. Perpetua, like Ms. Ibrahim, went to prison along with a baby son. Felicitas, like Ms. Ibrahim, bore a baby daughter before her execution date.

The most dramatic parallel is the simple affirmation that Ms. Ibrahim gave in court that led to her death sentence: "I am a Christian." Those also were Perpetua's words, as they were of many martyrs in Roman times. Like Perpetua, Ms. Ibrahim, who was brought up in the Ethiopian Orthodox faith of her mother, also refused to recant.

This isn't just a matter of ancient and modern coincidences. More significantly, the Roman world of the third century was strikingly like today's secularized West in its contempt for Christians and indifference to their persecution.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPrison/Prison MinistryPsychologyReligion & CultureViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted June 27, 2014 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Suspected Boko Haram militants have abducted more than 60 women and girls, some as young as three, in the latest kidnappings in northeast Nigeria and over two months since more than 200 schoolgirls were seized.

Analysts said the kidnapping, which happened during a raid on Kummabza village in the Damboa district of Borno state, could be an attempt by the Islamist group to refocus attention on its demands for the release of militant fighters.

Boko Haram has indicated that it would be willing to release the 219 schoolgirls that it has held hostage since April 14 in exchange for the freedom of its brothers in arms currently held in Nigerian jails.

Read it all.

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Posted June 25, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Sudanese woman freed from death row on Monday has been arrested with her family at Khartoum airport, sources have told the BBC.

Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to hang in May for renouncing Islam, sparking widespread outrage at home and abroad.

About 40 security agents detained Mrs Ibrahim - along with her husband Daniel Wani and two sons - at the airport, the sources said.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan

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Posted June 24, 2014 at 8:23 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The leader of a Nigerian ministry supported by Christian Aid recently shared this update on their work. Along with providing necessities for refugees, they share the Gospel with Islamic militants who are curious about Christ.

“We were able to give out 45 of ‘The Treasure’ audio Bibles to Muslims who were ready to hear. Some of them assured us we shall hear from them when we come back,” the leader shares in his report. “Pray for one new convert who accepted Christ after listening to the Gospel of John.

“This is a great tool for reaching Muslims.”

However, these indigenous missionaries are not immune to danger. The ministry leader says Boko Haram attacks continue daily.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

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Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


Meriam Ibrahim following her release today with family and legal team - picture courtesy of Hardwired Global
A Sudanese woman who had been sentenced to death because she declined to renounce her Christian faith has been freed, her lawyer said Monday.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, reunited with her husband after getting out of custody, said her lawyer, Mohaned Mustafa El-Nour. An appeals court found that an initial judgment against her was faulty, he said.

He declined to elaborate.

Read it all and see the update with picture and video here

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan

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Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Diana Navarro loves to code, and she's not afraid to admit it. But the 18-year-old Rutgers University computer science major knows she's an anomaly: Writing software to run computer programs in 2014 is - more than ever - a man's world.

"We live in a culture where we're dissuaded to do things that are technical," Navarro said. "Younger girls see men, not women, doing all the techie stuff, programming and computer science."

Less than 1 percent of high school girls think of computer science as part of their future, even though it's one of the fastest-growing fields in the U.S. today with a projected 4.2 million jobs by 2020, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationScience & TechnologyTeens / YouthWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted June 22, 2014 at 11:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Rev. Enoch Mark heard American drones were flying into Nigeria to find his two kidnapped daughters—among the 223 schoolgirls held hostage by Boko Haram—he thought his prayers for a speedy rescue might be answered. Two months later, he has lost faith.

As U.S. officials stitch together preliminary intelligence gleaned from the skies, the insurgency on the ground is rapidly seizing territory and eliminating Christians and Muslims who oppose it.

On Sunday, Boko Haram burned down a village called Kwaraglum near Chibok, the town where girls were abducted from their boarding school in April, said a local vigilante stationed nearby. That same day, they also struck another nearby town, Ndagu, said Simon Jasini, whose older brother was among 10 people killed in the raid. The group is suspected of a bombing on Tuesday that killed 14 people watching the World Cup in the city of Damaturu, said a resident who accompanied state officials to the hospital.

Back in Chibok, Rev. Mark and what family he has left head up a mountain each night so they can sleep hidden behind rocks.

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Posted June 19, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Despite the anxiety society still feels about single mothers, most American women aged 26 to 31 who have children are not married. And the number of these millennial single mothers is increasing. In fact, in a study just released by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, only about a third of all mothers in their late twenties were married.

The less education the young women have the higher the probability that they became a mom before they got married. Conversely, the married moms of that generation probably have a college degree. “It is now unusual for non-college graduates who have children in their teens and 20s to have all of them within marriage,” says Andrew Cherlin, one of the authors of the study “Changing Fertility Regimes and the Transition to Adulthood: Evidence from a Recent Cohort.”

Sociologists such as Cherlin have been tracking the decline of marriage as one of the milestones or goals of an individual’s life—the whole “first comes love, the comes marriage, then comes the baby with the baby carriage” paradigm. And it’s clear that an increasing number of young people are just not putting a ring on it. “The lofty place that marriage once held among the markers of adulthood is in serious question,” says Cherlin.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyWomenYoung Adults

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Posted June 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now, the word “marriage,” for thousands of years and cross-culturally has meant man and woman. Sometimes it’s been one man and more than one woman. Occasionally it’s been one woman and more than one man. There is polyandry as well as polygamy in some societies in some parts of history, but it’s always been male plus female. Simply to say that you can have a woman-plus-woman marriage or a man-plus-man marriage is radically to change that because of the givenness of maleness and femaleness. I would say that without any particular Christian presuppositions at all, just cross-culturally, that’s so.

With Christian or Jewish presuppositions, or indeed Muslim, then if you believe in what it says in Genesis 1 about God making heaven and earth—and the binaries in Genesis are so important—that heaven and earth, and sea and dry land, and so on and so on, and you end up with male and female. It’s all about God making complementary pairs which are meant to work together. The last scene in the Bible is the new heaven and the new earth, and the symbol for that is the marriage of Christ and his church. It’s not just one or two verses here and there which say this or that. It’s an entire narrative which works with this complementarity so that a male-plus-female marriage is a signpost or a signal about the goodness of the original creation and God’s intention for the eventual new heavens and new earth.

If you say that marriage now means something which would allow other such configurations, what you’re saying is actually that when we marry a man and a woman we’re not actually doing any of that stuff. This is just a convenient social arrangement and sexual arrangement and there it is . . . get on with it. It isn’t that that is the downgrading of marriage, it’s something that clearly has gone on for some time which is now poking it’s head above the parapet. If that’s what you thought marriage meant, then clearly we haven’t done a very good job in society as a whole and in the church in particular in teaching about just what a wonderful mystery marriage is supposed to be. Simply at that level, I think it’s a nonsense. It’s like a government voting that black should be white. Sorry, you can vote that if you like, you can pass it by a total majority, but it isn’t actually going to change the reality.

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Posted June 12, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Four armed men ransacked Antony Akatakpo’s home in front of his wife and two children in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt, shot him in the leg and bundled him into the trunk of his Mitsubishi Endeavor.

Akatakpo, the 34-year-old breakfast show presenter at Wazobia FM who’s known as Diplomatic Akas Baba, was driven to a forest hideout and held blindfolded for a week, fed on plain bread and threatened with death unless his family paid a 10 million naira ($61,289) ransom. He said he was dumped on a city highway on March 20 after the gunmen received less than half the sum they demanded.

“I was praying and calling on God to help me, rescue me,” he said by phone from Port Harcourt, the hub of Africa’s biggest oil industry in southeastern Nigeria. “They wanted to collect their own share of the money I was making for my family.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted June 11, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Suspected Boko Haram militants have abducted at least 20 women close to where 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped in northern Nigeria, eyewitnesses say.

The women were loaded on to vans at gunpoint and driven away to an unknown location in Borno state, they add.

The army has not commented on the incident, which occurred on the nomadic Garkin Fulani settlement on Thursday.

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Posted June 10, 2014 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hundreds more Nigerian schoolgirls may be living in jungle slavery after being captured by Boko Haram militants, according to a mediator.

Stephen Davis, a friend of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said that the number of captives could be twice as many as the 300 students taken from a school in the restless north of the country in April.

He suggested that senior figures in Nigeria were supporting the extremists and cautioned that any rescue attempt would simply result in many of the girls being killed. The kidnappers would then seize more students in the following days, according to Mr Davis, a former Canon Emeritus at Coventry Cathedral, who has been in Nigeria for the past month.

He said that the only way to resolve the hostage crisis would be for a peace deal to be reached with members of the Boko Haram leadership, who appeared to be open to talks.

Read it all (subscription required).

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Posted June 9, 2014 at 6:42 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This was a very enjoyable match to watch. Simona Halep has a bright future ahead of her.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchSportsWomen* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance

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Posted June 7, 2014 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian Christian schoolgirls focused the world’s attention, at last, on the outrages committed by Boko Haram (“No western education”) in Nigeria. Scores of churches have been destroyed and many Christians killed by Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria, but the world kept quiet. Now more people realize that there is a serious problem in Nigeria. But what is the problem? Prime Minister David Cameron correctly identified it recently, according to the Rt Rev Dr Ben Kwashi, the Anglican Archbishop of the area where the girls were kidnapped and where most of the atrocities have taken place. Mr Cameron said: “This is not just a problem in Nigeria. We’re seeing this really violent extreme Islamism. We see problems in Pakistan, we see problems in other parts of Africa, problems in the Middle East. Also, let’s be frank, here in the UK there is still too much support for extremism that we have to tackle, whether it’s in schools or colleges or universities or wherever,” (Quoted in The Times, 12 May 2014). Archbishop Kwashi, on a recent visit to the UK, insists that the violence of Boko Haram does not arise out of their poverty or alienation. They have enough funding to arm themselves with weapons that can take on modern armies. There are many poor and alienated groups in Nigeria who do not resort to violence. And if they are representing the poor and alienated then why did they blow up a major fish market which is a centre for food, income and the export of fish many times over? Those fighting on behalf of the poor do not kill the poor or their children. This is a civilizational conflict that roots itself in religious justification. Islam is of the view that it should be supreme in political and economic power. The North of Nigeria is by and large Muslim. The south is by and large Christian.

Nigeria is an uneasy federation of the two.

Read it all (requires subscription).

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Posted June 6, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Despite disappointment that word of his involvement in the negotiations for the release of the Chibok schoolgirls was leaked to media last week, the Australian cleric appointed as the Nigerian President’s envoy in the negotiations with Boko Haram remains hopeful that they will succeed in getting the girls released.

Dr. Stephen Davis, an Anglican cleric, told media the fact that his name was leaked is not helping the negotiations, but he remains confident nonetheless that they will succeed.

Read it all.

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Posted June 5, 2014 at 7:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigerian police have banned public protests in the capital Abuja for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls seized by Islamist militants in April.

Abuja police commissioner Joseph Mbu said the rallies were "now posing a serious security threat".

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Posted June 2, 2014 at 3:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For decades, women with multiple sclerosis have noticed that they tend to do better while they are pregnant. That has led to an experimental drug for the disease that's based on a hormone associated with pregnancy.

The hormone is a form of estrogen called estriol. It's abundant in a woman's body only when she is pregnant. Adding estriol to treatment with an existing MS drug cut relapses by 47 percent in a of 158 women presented at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in April.

The result is "quite remarkable," says , an author of the study and a neurologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. It suggests that estriol could greatly enhance the effectiveness of current MS drugs, Voskuhl says. Those drugs, which are designed to modulate the immune system, can cost up to $60,000 a year.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineScience & TechnologyWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropology

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Posted June 2, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, who was sentenced to death in Sudan after she married a Christian man, is to be freed, a Sudanese foreign ministry official has said.

The decision comes after the Sudanese government faced mounting pressure from the international community over her “barbaric” treatment.

Abdullahi Alzareg, an under-secretary at the foreign ministry, said the county was committed to protecting the woman and guaranteed religious freedom.

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Posted June 1, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Erin Stevens isn't that kind of evangelist who stands outside the strip club with her bullhorn, yelling at the customers to repent or face the flames.

She's inside the lobby with the strippers, feeding them a catered dinner twice a month, giving them Mary Kay Cosmetics gift sets and quietly slipping her cellphone number into their hands.

She brings no Bibles. No tracts. No lectures.

Just love and an unusual mission given to her by God two years ago, she says, after she spent 21 days fasting and praying for a building for nondenominational Friendship Community Church in Mt. Juliet. Friendship, launched by her husband, Todd Stevens, in 2006, has more than 1,000 members but still meets in Lakeview Elementary School's rented auditorium.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchWomen* TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

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Posted May 31, 2014 at 3:39 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A woman sentenced to death in Sudan after marrying a Christian could be released within days, according to reports.

A senior Khartoum official has told the BBC that Meriam Ibrahim will be freed following worldwide protests about her treatment.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPrison/Prison MinistryReligion & CultureWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

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Posted May 31, 2014 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The courts have judged that she was born a Muslim (because her absent father was one) and therefore that her claim to be a Christian, following marriage to a Christian man, meets the criteria under Sudan’s version of Sharia for the death penalty. The hanging will not, however, be carried out if she renounces her faith and embraces Islam. This she refuses to do. The sentence of 100 lashes for adultery remains to be carried out some time before her execution.

Pinch yourself. This is 2014 not 1014. Meriam’s imprisonment is an offence against basic human rights. Under any civilised code her crime would be no crime at all, but her murder by the Sudanese state most certainly would be a terrible one. A campaign by Amnesty International for Meriam’s release has already received the support of 147,000 people and we hope that many more will sign up.

But such private pressure, while admirable and necessary, is not enough. It is clear that in many countries of the world archaic religious laws or cultural practices are increasingly becoming a major threat to women and religious minorities.

Read it all (requires subscription).

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Posted May 30, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Holy God, whose power is made perfect in weakness: we honor thy calling of Jeanne d’Arc, who, though young, rose up in valor to bear thy standard for her country, and endured with grace and fortitude both victory and defeat; and we pray that we, like Jeanne, may bear witness to the truth that is in us to friends and enemies alike, and, encouraged by the companionship of thy saints, give ourselves bravely to the struggle for justice in our time; through Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchWomen* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance

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Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria's president said on Thursday he had ordered "a full-scale operation" against Boko Haram Islamist militants and sought to reassure the parents of 219 schoolgirls being held by the group that their children would be freed.

Speaking on Nigeria's Democracy Day, Goodluck Jonathan said he had authorised security forces to use any means necessary under the law to ensure that Boko Haram, which operates in the country's northeast is defeated.

"I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism," Jonathan said in a TV speech.

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Posted May 29, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Nigerian government knows where nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls are being held by Islamic extremists but is incapable of using force to rescue them, the country's defense chief said Monday.

Air Marshal Alex Barde made the comment in remarks to demonstrators supporting the military in Abuja on Monday, the state-run Nigerian News Agency reported.

He said the government cannot disclose the whereabouts of the girls, who were taken from a remote area of northeastern Nigeria by the extremist group Boko Haram.

"We want our girls back. I can tell you that our military can and will do it, but where they are held, can we go there with force?'' Barde said, the agency reported.

Read it all.


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Posted May 27, 2014 at 7:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Intelligence agents from all over the globe have poured into this city, Nigeria’s capital, to help find the nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram more than a month ago — but there has been little or no progress in bringing the young women home.

The problem, many involved in the rescue effort say, is the failings of the Nigerian military.

There is a view among diplomats here and with their governments at home that the military is so poorly trained and armed, and so riddled with corruption, that not only is it incapable of finding the girls, it is also losing the broader fight against Boko Haram. The group has effective control of much of the northeast of the country, as troops withdraw from vulnerable targets to avoid a fight and stay out of the group’s way, even as the militants slaughter civilians.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 24, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Boko Haram, the insurgent terrorist group bearing down on Nigeria, has attacked again. This time, officials say, the militant Islamist group hit three villages Wednesday, not far from where they took hundreds of schoolgirl’s hostage.

It’s not even 24 hours after a twin bombing in Jos, which killed 118 Tuesday. On Sunday, a suicide bombing rattled nerves in Sabon Gari, Kano State.

The tactics point to a new terror technique by the insurgent group: the use of random attacks and explosives in a deadly sequence. It means they’re no longer a small insurgency. The United Nations has linked them to another menace.

Jerry Dykstra, a spokesman for Open Doors USA, echoes those concerns. “They’re being empowered by other terrorist groups like al-Qaeda. [sic] It’s disturbing, and we as Christians need to pay attention because [Nigeria is] the most...[populous] Christian country in all of Africa.”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted May 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) will strike on Thursday to demand the prompt release of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram militants last month and compensation for teachers killed in the restive northeast region so far.

“All schools nationwide shall be closed as Thursday will be our day of protest against the abduction of the Chibok female students and the heartless murder of the 173 teachers,” NUT President Michael Olukoya said in a statement.

The union has directed members to hold processions across the capitals of Nigeria’s states and federal capital Abuja.

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Posted May 22, 2014 at 7:13 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Manchester Diocese has over 140 women serving as clergy in the Church. Some were among the first to be ordained priest in 1994.

Bishop Pat said: "It is such a privilege to be invited to speak at such an auspicious occasion as this. It is amazing how, twenty years later, we have taken so much for granted, and it is good on occasion to look back and see how far we have come.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Church of Ireland* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland

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Posted May 22, 2014 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The women of Iran deserve to have freedom of choice about their chadors. It is a disgrace that their mullahs deny them a basic human freedom.

But almost no one in the gallery of gushing approval is raising her voice to defend Meriam Yehya Ibrahim who was condemned to death in Sudan on May 1. Meriam is eight months pregnant, but a court in Khartoum found her guilty of adultery and apostatising from Islam.

The case against her is an absurd travesty of justice by all standards except the standards of the fundamentalist regime which currently governs Sudan. Twenty-seven-year-old Meriam is the daughter of a Muslim father and a Ethiopian Coptic Orthodox mother. Meriam’s father deserted the family when she was a baby and she was raised as a Christian. She qualified as a doctor at University of Khartoum Medical School and married a Christian man from South Sudan, Daniel Wani. Mr Wani is an American citizen who lives in New Hampshire. They have a 20-month-old son and were hoping to emigrate to the US.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted May 21, 2014 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Marina has it all. She has the job, she has the looks, and, depending on her mood, she has her choice of Frankie the acrobatic dancer, Harrison the revolutionary or Eric the actor.

Marina is using a service called Rent-A-Gent. Starting at $200 an hour, users can pick from a list of handsome, intelligent men listed on the service’s website to be their companion and either book online or call to reserve a “gent.” The men can serve as a date to an event, cook meals or even repair a sink.

But what they are not allowed to do is hook-up -- no kissing, and definitely no sex, while on the job.

Marina ended up choosing Eric, whose Rent-A-Gent profile described him as someone who “loves the outdoors, culture and also active and social causes,” for a rock-climbing date -- something she had never done before but always wanted to try.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenWomenYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal Finance* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 21, 2014 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

African leaders meeting in Paris have agreed to wage "war" on Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamic militants.

President Hollande of France, who hosted the summit, said regional powers had pledged to share intelligence and co-ordinate action against the group.

Last month it abducted 223 schoolgirls in north-eastern Nigeria, where it is based. Fresh attacks were reported in Nigeria and Cameroon overnight.

Read it all.

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Posted May 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The proposed law allowing women to be made bishops has received a boost with a vote in favour by the Church of England's London diocese.

In the key House of Laity the diocesan synod backed the law by 43 votes to 17.

The vote does not directly affect the final decision on the proposal by the Church's general synod in July.

Read it all and you can read a diocese of London article here as well.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

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Posted May 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Following the sentencing to death of a pregnant Sudanese woman for refusing to abandon her Christian faith, the Anglican Archbishops of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia are calling on all people of good-will to raise their voices in protest.

Archbishops Brown Turei, Philip Richardson, and Winston Halapua, say it is hard to find words to describe the plight of the woman. The Archbishops believe people across all faiths, who seek charity, love, and justice, will find the court’s decision hateful and heartless

Meriam Ibrahim and her Christian husband were married in 2011. They have an 18-month-old son. A court, in the Sudan capital of Khartoum, has sentenced Meriam to flogging for marrying a non-Muslim and to death for abandoning the Muslim faith for Christianity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted May 16, 2014 at 5:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The whereabouts of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted in northern Nigeria remain unknown a month after their kidnapping. Never the less, the Archbishop of Canterbury has cautioned against military intervention by Western nations to find them.

Writing in the Church Times (below), Archbishop Welby says that defeating Boko Haram, the Islamist militants who snatched the teenagers from their school in Chibok, would take a combination of local police work, winning the hearts and minds of Muslims inthe region, and economic development.

He also writes: "External intervention is always difficult. In the first place, our history as the colonial power, and the role of the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan, makes both countries (and indeed much of the 'Christian West') suspicious for many Muslims."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 16, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Sudanese judge on Thursday sentenced a Christian woman to hang for apostasy, in a ruling which activists described as "abhorrent".

Born to a Muslim father, the woman was convicted under the Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions on pain of death.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, 27, is married to a Christian and eight months pregnant, human rights activists say.

"We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged," Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa told the woman, addressing her by her father's Muslim name, Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah.

Khalifa also sentenced Ishag to 100 lashes for "adultery". Under Sudan's interpretation of sharia, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man and any such relationship is regarded as adulterous.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was like a scene from a movie, except there was no Iron Man swooping to the rescue. More than a hundred girls sitting in a clearing, chanting the Koran. Their eyes downcast, the girls were swathed in ghostly grey and black hijabs. Their captors said this was evidence that they had “converted to Islam”, but their fear was palpable. They held themselves unnaturally still, as though to move would mean death.

Many of the girls were abducted on April 14 from a school in northern Nigeria, which means they have had less than a month to memorise those Koranic verses, or at least to have the chants beaten into them. More than half of the 276 stolen girls were missing from the terrorists’ video. Among them were Rebeccas and Esthers and Ruths – lovely, strong Biblical names. One girl was led to the front and told to give a Muslim name, not her Christian one. You wondered about her missing sisters and whether they had displeased their captors by refusing to surrender either their name or their faith.

“These girls you occupy yourselves with… we have indeed liberated them. These girls have become Muslims,” jeered Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram. He addresses the camera as if he were straight out of Evil Villain school.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 15, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Primate of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has advised the Federal Government not to yield to the demands of Boko Haram for the release of the abducted schoolgirls.

Boko Haram is reportedly demanding the release of some of its captured members in exchange for the abducted schoolgirls.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 13, 2014 at 6:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Justin gave an interview to Radio 4's The World This Weekend on Sunday about the kidnap of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria.

Follow the link provided and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria is ready to talk to Islamist militants to negotiate the release of more than 200 abducted girls, cabinet minister Tanimu Turaki has said.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said on Monday that captured girls who had not converted to Islam could be swapped for jailed fighters.

Mr Turaki said that if Shekau was sincere, he should send representatives for talks.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 13, 2014 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The BBC's Mark Doyle, in the capital, Abuja, says it appears some sort of negotiations will take place because of the large presence of international advisers in the country, including hostage negotiators.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is forbidden", had previously said the girls should not have been at school and should get married instead.

The militants have been engaged in a violent campaign against the Nigerian government since 2009.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted May 13, 2014 at 6:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



In honor of Mother's Day, we salute servicewomen who face the dilemma of leaving their children to serve their country, and we rejoice in their emotional returns....

Watch it all--Kleenex likely necessary; KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilySportsWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military

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Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria has immediately rejected a proposed deal to free the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls after the captives were paraded on a video released by the terror group Boko Haram.

Abubakar Shekau, the group’s leader, claimed in a 17-minute tirade that the girls have converted to Islam and said that they will not be released until all Boko Haram prisoners have been freed from Nigerian jails.

But President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria swiftly ruled out the possibility of a prisoner swap or of paying a ransom.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New video claiming to show a number of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls has been released by the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 12, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby warned on Sunday of the difficulties of negotiating with an "utterly merciless" group like Boko Haram, but called for active contact with the Nigerian Islamists over their abduction of scores of schoolgirls.

Welby has experience of negotiating with violent groups in the Niger Delta in southern Nigeria, and with a predecessor to Boko Haram around Maiduguri, the capital of northeastern Borno state where the group started out.

In an interview with BBC radio about the fate of more than 200 schoolgirls seized by the Islamist group last month, the archbishop said the girls faced a "colossal" risk.

"They're in the hands of a very disparate group which is extremely irrational and difficult to deal with and utterly merciless in the example it's shown in the past, and it must be a huge concern," he said.

Read it all. The [London] Times also has Archbishop calls for talks with Boko Haram for those who have subscriber access.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted May 12, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But little attention has been paid to the group's formal Arabic name: Jam'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-da'wa wal-Jihad. That roughly translates as "The Fellowship of the People of the Tradition for Preaching and Holy War." That's a lot less catchy than Boko Haram but significantly more revealing about the group and its mission. Far from being an aberration among Islamist terror groups, as some observers suggest, Boko Haram in its goals and methods is in fact all too representative.

The kidnapping of the schoolgirls throws into bold relief a central part of what the jihadists are about: the oppression of women. Boko Haram sincerely believes that girls are better off enslaved than educated. The terrorists' mission is no different from that of the Taliban assassin who shot and nearly killed 15-year-old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai—as she rode a school bus home in 2012—because she advocated girls' education. As I know from experience, nothing is more anathema to the jihadists than equal and educated women.

How to explain this phenomenon to baffled Westerners, who these days seem more eager to smear the critics of jihadism as "Islamophobes" than to stand up for women's most basic rights? Where are the Muslim college-student organizations denouncing Boko Haram? Where is the outrage during Friday prayers? These girls' lives deserve more than a Twitter hashtag protest.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The morning after Mkeki Ntakai learned of the mass kidnapping by Boko Haram, he fired up his rickety motor scooter and sped down a dirt road in northern Nigeria to find his 16-year-old daughter.

Mr. Ntakai was joined by more than 100 fathers, uncles and big brothers, all seeking several hundred girls taken by force from a boarding school in the remote hamlet of Chibok. The men followed a trail of hair ties and scraps of clothing the girls dropped to lead rescuers. One found his daughter's flip-flop; another retrieved a remnant of a school uniform.

But the kidnappers had too big a head start. Three weeks later, the trail has gone cold for the 223 girls still missing. More than 50 managed to escape in the first few hours, jumping out of the beds of pickup trucks or slipping away while they were supposed to be washing dishes.

The rest are presumed held by the jihadi group, whose leader Abubakar Shekau said he would sell the girls as slaves.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted May 10, 2014 at 9:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The "Bring Back Our Girls" hashtag—retweeted nearly two million times so far by Twitter users including the Vatican, the first lady and celebrities including singers Mary J. Blige and Chris Brown —wasn't created by Ms. Mosley but by Nigerian Ibrahim Musa Abdullahi, a 35-year-old attorney in the capital Abuja who adapted a chant he heard on television there. This week, Twitter users began calling attention to that fact in a storm of angry tweets to Ms. Mosley.

Ms. Mosley said in an interview on Thursday that she didn't take credit for the hashtag: "The idea that people are so upset has been a complete shock.…I felt compelled to help spread the word."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted May 9, 2014 at 10:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

American mothers today look far different from mothers celebrated 100 years ago when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a day of reverence for mothers. Here’s what we know about today’s American moms and how they’ve changed over time....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilySociologyWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 9, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Barring a rescue of the abducted women, Jonathan’s standing will deteriorate,” Philippe de Pontet, Africa analyst at Eurasia Group, said in an e-mailed note yesterday. “The political implications are damaging for the Jonathan administration, which has been seen as ineffective in its response.”

Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, which means “western education is a sin” in the Hausa language, has claimed responsibility for the April 14 abduction of 276 girls from their dormitories in Borno state in the northeast. He has threatened to sell the girls in “markets” and marry them off, helping galvanize a global campaign to free them joined by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 9, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...here’s a challenge.


Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and, by all means, let’s use it to celebrate the moms in our lives with flowers and brunches. But let’s also use the occasion to honor the girls still missing in Nigeria.

One way is a donation to support girls going to school around Africa through the Campaign for Female Education, Camfed.org; a $40 gift pays for a girl’s school uniform.

Another way to empower women is to support Edna Adan, an extraordinary Somali woman who has started her own maternity hospital, midwife training program and private university, saving lives, providing family planning and fighting female genital mutilation. At EdnaHospital.org, a $50 donation pays for a safe hospital delivery.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationMediaTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 8, 2014 at 11:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 8, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly 300 girls are still missing after being abducted by a terror group in Nigeria three weeks ago....


ABC US News | ABC Business News

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town today called for "all of Africa, and especially South Africa" to rise up and demand the release of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted from their school three weeks ago.

The Anglican archbishop was preaching at the 150th anniversary celebrations of St John's Church, Bellville in Cape Town.

During his sermon, he called on the congregation to "voice your outrage at the killings in northern Nigeria, and at the recent abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls there."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Southern Africa* Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

American military and law-enforcement personnel will coordinate with Nigerian officials in a stepped-up effort to find nearly 300 schoolgirls who were abducted by Islamic terrorists in the country last month, President Obama and John Kerry said Tuesday.

The United States first publicly announced an offer for help last week, but on Tuesday Kerry spoke with Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and a plan was put in action.

“So what we've done is — we have offered, and it's been accepted — help from our military and our law enforcement officials,” Obama told NBC News’ Al Roker on Tuesday. "We're going to do everything we can to provide assistance to them."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 6, 2014 at 4:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Leaders of the International Anglican Women's Network have called on women around the Anglican Communion to do what they can to help the 200+ girls kidnapped in Nigeria by terrorist group Boko Haram.

IAWN Steering Group convener Ann Skamp has written to members encouraging them not to forget the girls some of whom, the media is reporting, have been forced to marry by their captors.

"Three weeks ago now, over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in the northern Nigerian city of Borno. As we continue to keep the girls, their families and communities in our prayers please consider what we can do to support them," she said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 6, 2014 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A public affairs analyst, Mr Sola Ojewusi, has blamed the federal and state governments over the kidnap of over two hundred school girls in Chibok, Borno State.

Speaking as a guest on Sunrise Daily, Channels Television’s breakfast programme on Monday, Ojewusi blamed the lack of synergy between the governments and the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

Reacting to a comment credited to the Head of WAEC’s National Office in Nigeria, Charles Eguridu, Ojewusi said “there seems to be a disconnect right from all forces that should have given the security needed to this kind of people involved.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 6, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria’s government faced mounting pressure to locate school girls seized three weeks ago in an abduction claimed by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which in a video has threatened to sell them in “markets.”

Gunmen on April 14 raided dormitories in an all-girls secondary school in remote Chibok in northeastern Borno state and drove off in trucks with more than 200 students. About 275,000 people have signed a petition posted on Change.org demanding the government do more to rescue the girls amid demonstrations in the capital, Abuja, commercial hub, Lagos, and cities including New York, London, Atlanta and Washington.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 6, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As these girls are held hostage, it is vital that we act on their behalf. Here are the top 3 things you can do to help these young women:

1. Pray

The number one thing that persecuted Christians ask for is our prayers. And though to some it might seem like a passive reaction, we believers know that prayer has changed the course of history. God has changed the hearts of leaders, fellow-countrymen and even persecutors because of the faithful prayers of Christians around the world. Here are some specific ways in which you can pray for them.

2. Spread The Word & Educate

Some prominent leaders, artist and other influencers are shedding light on this important story by using the hashtag #bringbackourgirls.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchEducationTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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Posted May 5, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has released a list of names of the girls Boko Haram terrorists abducted at the Government Girls College, Chibok, in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, northeastern Nigeria, on April 15.

The full list of names may be viewed at the end of the article.

According to CAN, among the girls abducted were 165 Christian girls and 15 Muslim girls.

The Punch reports that figures it obtained from Evangelist Mathew Owojaiye, President of Old Time Revival Hour, and former chairman of Northern States Christian and Elders Forum (NOSCEF), also estimated the number of the abducted girls at about 180.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan met through the night with security, school and state officials and issued a new directive that "everything must be done" to free the 276 girls held captive by Islamic extremists, one of his advisers said Sunday.

It was the first time the president met with all stakeholders, including the principal of the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in northeastern Nigeria where the girls and young women were kidnapped in a pre-dawn raid April 15, presidential adviser Reuben Abati told reporters.

Nigerians' outrage at the failure to rescue the students and protest marches last week in major Nigerian cities as well as New York City have spurred to action Jonathan's government, which many see as uncaring of the girls' plight.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted May 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Amassed on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral, they stood smiling and waving in glorious sunshine, as friends, husbands, children and grandchildren strained to spot their own in the Class of 1994.

The twentieth anniversary of the first priesting of women in the Church of England on Saturday was, the Archbishop of Canterbury confirmed, "party time". Around 700 of those ordained in 1994 attended the service at St Paul's, with many arriving after taking part in a walk of witness from Westminster Abbey.

For fifteen minutes, as they processed into the Cathedral through the West doors, the congregation applauded.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchWomen

2 Comments
Posted May 4, 2014 at 11:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Five is a magic number.

When a child is born, the first thing the parents do is check: 5 fingers on each hand. 5 toes on each foot. For some reason there is such perfection within the number 5.

Unfortunately, every day 18,000 children around the world will die before seeing their fifth birthday and 800 women will loose their life in childbirth daily. This bond between mother and child is something that can only be divinely created. But like all things that grow, it must be nourished and sustained.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsChildrenGlobalizationHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPovertyWomen

0 Comments
Posted May 3, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He is a movie star who shot to fame on a motorcycle in “The Lost Boys.” She is a California massage therapist from a prominent East Coast family. Four years ago, with his sperm, her eggs and the wonder of in vitro fertilization, they produced a child.

From there, the tale gets very, very messy.

For the last two years, Jason Patric and Danielle Schreiber have been waging what has become one of the highest-profile custody fights in the country — one that scrambles a gender stereotype, raises the question of who should be considered a legal parent and challenges state laws that try to bring order to the Wild West of nonanonymous sperm donations.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyMenScience & TechnologyWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 3, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number of kidnapped schoolgirls missing in Nigeria has risen to 276, up by more than 30 from a previous estimate, police said, adding that the actual number abducted by Islamic extremists on April 14 was more than 300.

Police Commissioner Tanko Lawan said the number of girls and young women who have escaped also has risen, to 53.

He told a news conference Thursday night in Maiduguri, the northeastern capital of Borno state, that the figures keep increasing because students from other schools were brought into one school for final exams last month after all schools in Borno state were shut because of attacks by Islamic extremists.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2014 at 6:53 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglican leaders are hailing the report Nudging Anglican Parishes to Prevent Violence Against Women, saying it points to a paradigm shift in the way Anglican communities assist in tackling family violence now and in the future.

In Australia, one in three women has experienced violence and one woman dies each week as a result of violence in the home. Most of their tormentors are not strangers lurking on busy streets, but their friends, acquaintances, husbands, brothers and fathers. The rest of the data on violence against women is equally disturbing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMenSexualityViolenceWomen* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Suspected members of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram are believed to be holding 187 girls hostage in north-eastern Nigeria, after kidnapping them from their boarding school in Chibok at night.

Several girls managed to escape and get back to their families during the kidnapping on 14 April, but most are still being held. The Christian Association of Nigeria has called for prayer and fasting for the girls' safe release.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2014 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The National Council of Churches USA has joined in “urgent solidarity” with Christians and other faith groups around the world to call for the release of 234 Nigerian school girls kidnapped April 14 by the Boko Haram extremist sect.

Speaking out with special urgency is the Church of the Brethren, one of the NCC’s member communions. Leadership of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria—EYN) has reported that most of the girls are EYN.

“This act of cruel violence tears at the hearts of Brethren who are called as witnesses of God’s call to live in love and peace with our neighbors,” said Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren in the U.S.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther Churches

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Posted May 1, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The BBC's Will Ross speaks to Abba Moro, the Nigerian Interior Minister...

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMediaTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 1, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Demonstrators are to march through the Nigerian capital Abuja to press for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by militants two weeks ago.

They say they will march to the National Assembly and demand more action from the government, which has been criticised for not doing enough.

The Islamist group Boko Haram has been blamed for abducting the girls from their school in Chibok, Borno state.

Boko Haram has not yet made any response to the accusation.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted April 30, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the Indian capital’s best known lobbyists for domestic workers is a Belgian nun. Jeanne Devos founded the National Domestic Workers Movement 34 years ago. It tries to organize among this vast informal workforce, by some estimates as high as 40 million mostly women. Many were trafficked into the work as children.

SISTER JEANNE DEVOS (Founder, National Domestic Workers Movement): That’s a whole network of money, racket—it’s amazing. It’s one of the biggest incomes for most people. Just go to the villages, get them poor children, sell them back in the city.

LEEZA JOSEPH: Domestic workers are very invisible. They are not recognized as workers.

DE SAM LAZARO: Leeza Joseph heads the movement’s Delhi office.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndia

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Posted April 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Experts say it’s hard to tell whether more people are cheating than in the past because of differences in definition and because more people are forming very personal, marriage-like relationships without actually marrying. Is it adultery if there’s no spouse?

"I believe that women are catching up because they have greater exposure to other men in the workplace, the gym, on social media, etc.," Doares said. "There is also a diminishing emphasis on marriage itself. This is driven by an increased focus on self and personal happiness, as well as a lack of support for the institution in society at large."

People have more opportunity than ever before to have an affair, too. Hodson said she sees more women engage in affairs because it's much easier than in the past to connect with ex-boyfriends, meet new people and get one's personal needs met beyond a marital relationship. The same is true for men: "I mean, we live in a time where you can be cheating on your spouse while sleeping right next to him," Hodson said

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

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Posted April 24, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to ensure the release of 230 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, who were abducted by members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Professor Soyinka made the call on a day a coalition of women's rights in Borno expressed their readiness to mobilise thousands of women to embark on a voluntary search and rescue mission into the notorious Sambisa forest, to ensure the release of the abducted students.

Senate President, David Mark, on his part described the abduction of the girls as sacrilegious.

Meanwhile, members of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, have threatened to kill the abducted students, should the search to recover them continue.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireTeens / YouthViolenceWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted April 24, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This coming Aug. 3 will mark the golden anniversary of Flannery O’Connor’s “Passover,” to adopt the biblical image John Paul II used to describe the Christian journey through death to eternal life. In the 50 years since lupus erythematosus claimed her at age 39, O’Connor’s literary genius has been widely celebrated. Then, with the 1979 publication of The Habit of Being, her collected letters, another facet of Miss O’Connor’s genius came into focus: Mary Flannery O’Connor was an exceptionally gifted apologist, an explicator of Catholic faith who combined remarkable insight into the mysteries of the Creed with deep and unsentimental piety, unblinking realism about the Church in its human aspect, puckish humor—and a mordant appreciation of the soul-withering acids of modern secularism.

Miss O’Connor’s sense that ours is an age of nihilism—an age suffering from by a crabbed sourness about the mystery of being itself—makes her an especially apt apologist for today...

[She believed the world's]...darkness is rendered darker still by late modernity’s refusal to recognize its own deepest need. For as Miss O’Connor put it in a 1957 lecture, “Redemption is meaningless unless there is cause for it in the actual life we live, and for the last few centuries there has been operating in our culture the secular belief that there is no such cause.”

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* Culture-WatchPoetry & LiteratureReligion & CultureWomen* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* TheologyApologetics

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Posted April 16, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Emma Pierson studied “studied 1 million matches made by the online dating website eHarmony’s algorithm, which aims to pair people who will be attracted to one another and compatible over the long term; if the people agree, they can message each other to set up a meeting in real life. eHarmony’s data on its users contains 102 traits for each person — everything from how passionate and ambitious they claim to be to how much they say they drink, smoke and earn.”

She found that the old adage about opposites and attraction doesn’t hold...

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMenPsychologyWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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