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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Who brought down the Berlin Wall? It was Polish trade unionists, Mikhail Gorbachev and his perestroika, Ronald Reagan and his Star Wars program, ordinary East Germans demonstrating in the streets and piling into the West German embassy in Prague, and of course Günter Schabowski, the Politburo member who read out that legendary note lifting travel restrictions -- "effective immediately" -- on the night of Nov. 9, 1989.
A new book published this week ventures to add another name to that list -- rock star Bruce Springsteen, who held the biggest concert in the history of East Germany on July 19, 1988, and whose rousing, passionate performance that night lit a spark in the hundreds of thousands of young people who saw him.
Springsteen attracted an estimated 300,000 people from all over the German Democratic Republic -- the largest crowd he had ever played to. They were hungry for change and freedom, and seeing one of the West's top stars made them even hungrier, argues veteran journalist Erik Kirschbaum in his book "Rocking the Wall,"
Read it all.
Egypt needs a revolution.
Wait, isn’t that what happened two years ago? Not really. It is now clear that what happened two years ago was more musical chairs than revolution. First the army, using the energy of the youth-led protesters in Tahrir Square, ousted Mubarak, and then the Muslim Brotherhood ousted the army, and now the opposition is trying to oust the Brotherhood. Each, though, is operating on the old majoritarian politics — winners take all, losers get nothing....
“The other day,” [Ahmed el-]Droubi said, “I was standing on a main intersection in downtown Cairo, where two one-way roads meet. As I stood there, I saw cars going both ways down both one-way streets — cars were coming and going in four different directions — and other cars were double-parked. I was standing next to a shop owner watching this. ‘This is a complete mess,’ he said. ‘No one has any civic responsibility. They each only care about themselves getting to where they are going.’ ”
Read it all.
Suppose someone wants to live a life committed to the Gospel but does not want to live the three traditional vows -- poverty, chastity and obedience -- as they have usually been interpreted. Or maybe only one or two of those vows make sense to that person. Maybe someone wants to pronounce a new vow that speaks to the heart of his or her identity and call. Or maybe she or he wants to develop a new form of committed life without vows. All of these possibilities are already happening -- and evolving.
Read it all.
“Denominationalism is not dead but, increasingly, it’s only one of several options for organizing the church in America,” explained Baptist historian Bill Leonard, the James and Marilyn Dunn Professor of Baptist Studies and professor of church history at Wake Forest School of Divinity.
Increasing pluralism in the United States and the decreasing influence of Protestantism are forcing denominational leaders to ask hard questions about identity, viability and relevance.
Pluralism, “which Baptists helped put into place,” is becoming more normative, Leonard said. The rise of the “nones”—people with no connection to organized religion— also plays into the challenges denominations face.
Gone are the days when communities formulated policy and activities around the church. “We are living through the death rattle of the Protestant privilege,” Leonard said.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Baptists Disciples of Christ Evangelicals Lutheran Methodist Pentecostal Presbyterian Roman Catholic United Church of Christ
Last fall, a group of strangers in Raleigh undertook a seemingly puny attempt at repairing a family dysfunction that shook the Middle East some 2,000 years ago.
Two dozen Christians and Jews filed into the all-purpose room at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, not exactly sure what awaited them. For the next six months, we earnestly discussed history, theology, readings, biblical passages and our personal reflections and experiences.
If I had to summarize the point of the half-year-long interfaith project while standing on one leg, I’d put it this way: Treat other religions as you’d like your religion to be treated.
Read it all.
About a century ago...the moral status system was likely to be the inverse of the worldly status system. The working classes were self-controlled, while the rich and the professionals could get away with things.
These mores, among other things, had biblical roots. In the Torah, God didn’t pick out the most powerful or notable or populous nation to be his chosen people. He chose a small, lowly band. The Torah is filled with characters who are exiles or from the lower reaches of society who are, nonetheless, chosen for pivotal moments: Moses, Joseph, Saul, David and Esther....
Over the years, religion has played a less dominant role in public culture. Meanwhile, the rival status hierarchies have fallen away. The meritocratic hierarchy of professional success is pretty much the only one left standing.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Barely twenty years ago, serious commentators, like Francis Fukuyama in his book The End of History, were able to argue that liberal democracy and market economics may constitute the term of mankind's ideological evolution and the final form of human government, and thus the end-point of history. History, however, has moved on in the intervening years, not least in the new prominence of religious convictions and institutions.
In these circumstances, it has proved harder to craft a political rhetoric and a convincing narrative pointing to a better material future, which many citizens have begun to suspect actually lies behind us. Hope is on the wing while some of the strongest political passions seem to be engaged, not by a vision of a better future but by a rather narrow nationalism which exalts our tribe against the others.
Is a renewed Christian vision in these circumstances possible? It may be, but I wonder whether the Christian community is ready for it?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
Next up, the employment population ratio:
June 1985 - 59.8%
May 2013 - 58.6%
Many economists consider the employment population ratio to be THE most important indicator for the labor market, and it's interesting to note that we are currently 1.2% under the rate posted in June of 1985, which is quite a difference.
Next up - the labor force participation rate:
June 1985 - 64.6%
May 2013 - 63.4%
Again, another significant difference.
Read it all.
Why did it all go wrong? Was it inevitable? And does the collapse of peace and economic interdependence, at a historical moment when you didn’t even need a passport to visit a neighboring European country, suggest any lessons for our own age?
In 1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War, Charles Emmerson offers a close look at the year before the war broke out. With the looming 100th anniversary of World War I, a spate of books about the not-so-Great War have begun to emerge. Emmerson's effort stands out for several reasons. First, Emmerson ranges widely, from Germany to Paris, from Bombay to Tokyo. Second, he is a sparkling writer, his narrative rarely flags, and he has amassed a startling amount of detail. His aim is to show that while there were latent tensions in 1913, it would be wrong to suppose that government officials or citizens assumed that conflict was inevitable. It was a year of possibilities, not predestination. Still, the lurch into war does provide a reminder that comity and financial interdependence between nations can quickly devolve into war, particularly countries that are boisterously seeking, as China does today, their place in the sun, as Wilhelmine Germany once did. But once the bellicosities were initiated—triggered by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo by a Serbian nationalist named Gavrilo Princip—all bets were off. The Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig recalled, "All the bridges between our today and our yesterday and our yesteryears have been burnt." The "golden age of security," he lamented, "was gone."
Read it all.
If there was a Bible belt over 1,500 years ago, it was in Turkey. However, that changed with the rise of Islam and its eventual conquest of the region. Then, a few centuries later, the area would be at the heart of one of the world's most powerful empires, the Islamic Ottoman Empire.
After the decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey took a road less traveled among majority Islamic nations—it leaned toward Europe rather than the Middle East.
Turkey has more recently been seen as a moderate Muslim country, though some (including the current President) reject that terminology, and there are troubling signs for the future.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Europe Turkey * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations
[These Deuterocanonical]...texts were included in Bibles and were presented in exactly the same manner as the canonical books, in similar typeface and appearance. The books continued to have authority and religious significance, and the stories they told remained widely known. I could give countless examples, but let me take one English moment. In 1746, the Duke of Cumberland returned to London after bloodily defeating the Jacobite rebellion. Handel composed an oratorio for the occasion, and naturally turned to the Bible for an appropriate story of a heroic general fighting for his nation and faith against a pagan foe. Also, the story had to be a famous piece well known to a Protestant audience. Where else would he turn, then, but to the story of Judas Maccabaeus? Patriots of the American Revolution loved the story of Maccabees.
English-speaking Protestants lost the Deuterocanon not through any calculated theological decision, but through publishing accident, and at quite a recent date. Prior to the early nineteenth century, Anglo-American Bibles included the apocryphal section, but this dropped out as printers sought to produce more and cheaper editions. Increasingly too, during the nineteenth century, anti-Catholic sentiment encouraged Protestants to draw a sharp line between the two variant Bibles. If Catholics esteemed books like Maccabees and Wisdom, there must be something terribly wrong with them.
As I have noted elsewhere, the sudden loss of those books had unexpected consequences....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Books History Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Theology: Scripture
[On May 21 Dominique] Venner, a conservative ultra-nationalist who as a young man had been jailed for violence against Communists, was 78, ailing, and had come to the extreme conclusion that French civilisation was dying and being replaced by an ''Afro-Maghreb culture'' and would give way to sharia law. The former colonies were overrunning the republic. In his final message before leaving for the cathedral, he wrote on his internet blog: ''Peaceful street protests will not be enough to prevent it … It will require new, spectacular, and symbolic gestures to wake up the sleepwalkers, to shake the slumbering consciousness and to remind us of our origins … and rouse people from their complacency … We are entering a time when words must be backed up … by new, spectacular and symbolic actions.''
He had his own spectacular symbolic action in mind. His timing was prompted by the passage, the week before, of a law legalising gay marriage in France. Venner regarded this as a key element in the dismantling of French culture. He also regarded the immigration of millions of Muslims as a demographic and cultural disaster for France. And he saw white French culture as being overwhelmed by Americanism.
Venner predicted current social trends would lead to a ''total replacement of the population of France, and of Europe''....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Marriage & Family Psychology Suicide Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Economy Politics in General * International News & Commentary Europe France * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam
The purpose of Social Security is to help families. It reinforces the intergenerational sharing that families already — though imperfectly — provide. It helps retirees by stabilizing their income, and it helps their grown children, who are relieved of any excessive burden of supporting them. This purpose strongly suggests that the Social Security benefits should be indexed to some measure of the available, aggregate economic pie. That means a formula that looks completely different from the ones being discussed today.
Clearly, something needs to be done: if nothing changes, and the trust fund runs out in 2033, the system would be able to pay only about 75 percent of promised benefits.
The issues are complex, as economic theorists like Henning Bohn at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have shown. But now that an index change is on the table, we should take this opportunity to get it right.
Read it all.
It was D-Day, and Abe Milkis found himself up to his neck in the war right away. When the boat ramp was dropped off Utah Beach, the 101st Airborne troopers piled out with all their combat gear.
The boat crews didn't want to get too close, so the soldiers disembarked far from shore. "We had some little guys, we had to carry them. I only went in up to my neck," said Milkis, who was 5 feet, 111/2 inches tall.
Speaking in a strong, assured voice at his home in Wynnewood last week, Milkis reached across 69 years of history to bring alive the baptism of fire for a 20-year-old soldier from West Philadelphia. "Everybody was very nervous," he said coolly.
Read it all.
We do not know what was prayed. Her Majesty knelt at the beginning of a path of demanding devotion and utter self-sacrifice, a path she did not choose, yet to which she was called by God. Today we celebrate sixty years since that moment, sixty years of commitment.
There was a trumpet fanfare as today as the Queen arrived with her supporters, but let us resist the splendour of the spectacle for a moment, and focus on what was meant: “Not my will, Lord, but yours be done."
And following her giving of allegiance to God, others - especially, with such equal and dedicated commitment, the Duke of Edinburgh - pledged their allegiance to her.
And here, in the grace and providence of God, is the model of liberty and authority which our country enjoys. Liberty is only real when it exists under authority. Liberty under authority begins, as the Book of Common Prayer puts it, with our duty to God, "whose service is perfect freedom".
Read it all (my emphasis).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK
Watch it all. She is simply remarkable.
Shifting government finances are likely to take an even bigger bite out of growth over the next few years than many now expect, economists at the San Francisco Fed warned Monday.
In a research note, Brian Lucking and Daniel Wilson write fiscal policy headwinds will subtract one percentage point from growth over the next three years beyond the normal fiscal drag that usually comes during times of recovery. If not for the current and likely future stance of fiscal policy, the economy would be growing at a faster rate, which would allow for more robust job growth and, presumably, a more normal stance of monetary policy for the Federal Reserve.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- The U.S. Government Budget Federal Reserve Politics in General
Of the half-dozen full-length histories of the battle of Gettysburg written over the last century, none dives down so closely to the experience of the individual soldier, or looks so closely at the sway of politics over military decisions, or places the battle so firmly in the context of nineteenth-century military practice. Allen C. Guelzo shows us the face, the sights, and the sounds of nineteenth-century combat: the lay of the land, the fences and the stone walls, the gunpowder clouds that hampered movement and vision; the armies that caroused, foraged, kidnapped, sang, and were so filthy they could be smelled before they could be seen; the head-swimming difficulties of marshaling massive numbers of poorly trained soldiers, plus thousands of animals and wagons, with no better means of communication than those of Caesar and Alexander.
Read it all.
The conventional portrayal of Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, has been built on the political canard that the secularist principles of the Republic of Turkey were a deliberate turn away from the Islamic theocracy of the Ottoman Empire. The reality is quite different. In fact, Turkey's founding moment involved the genocide of two-and-a-half million Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Christians in Ottoman Anatolia and Asia Minor--in short, most of the remaining Orthodox Christian population that had survived from Byzantine Christian times.
In some ways, Ankara's policies against Turkey's Christian citizens have added a modern veneer and sophisticated brutality to Ottoman norms and practices. Pogroms, persecution, and discrimination have been visited on Turkey's Christians. The Turkish press revealed only weeks ago that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was the target of an assassination conspiracy (the second such plot against his life in four years), and the constant threats and interference in the affairs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox community have led to the near extinction of that ancient Christian community. In the words of an anonymous Church hierarch in Turkey fearful for the life of his flock, Christians in Turkey are an endangered species. The siege of Constantinople continues today, 560 years after the fall on May 29th, 1453.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Europe Turkey * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations
As biographer Robin Wood pointed out in his eponymous book on the director, that when the British film journal Movie compiled its ranking of great directors in its inaugural 1962 issue, only two directors received its highest rating, “Brilliant”: Alfred Hitchcock and Howard Hawks. The two directors were polar opposites; Hitchcock was as masterful at generating self-publicity as he was directing his fabulous films, while Hawks epitomized the laconic and self-deprecating protagonists he often featured in his stories.
Hawks said a good movie consisted simply of “three great scenes, no bad ones,” and described a good director as “someone who doesn’t annoy you.”
Read it all.
A new study has found that American veterans who had a negative experience serving during World War II attend church more frequently today than those who were less troubled by their service.
The study also found that when service members were fearful in combat, they reported prayer was a better motivator for getting them through it than several other factors, including the broader goals of the war.
Researchers say the study, which will be published in a future edition of the Journal of Religion and Health, has implications for health professionals, counselors and clergy who work with veterans with more recent service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Mark Durkan recalled his days as a minister in the Executive during the debate on same-sex marriage.
"Under powers that came from the old position of Lord Lieutenant General in Ireland from the 17th century, I had to sign if a new Church of Ireland church was created," he told MPs.
Read it all.
The Church of England’s position as “the Church by law established” has been weakened by the progress of the legislation to permit the marriage of same-sex couples. Not only is the law on marriage under review, but so is the nature of the Church-State relationship.
What is surprising is how few in the Conservative Party, trad itionally the party of throne and altar, seem to be aware of this. It is as if the nation is taking a significant step towards disestablishment in a fit of absent-mindedness. Perhaps not so absent-minded on the part of the more vociferous secularists, however, who have been aware all along of the potential for the gay-marriage issue to further their own agenda. They needed the Church to do its best to stop the legislation, and fail. Although the battle is not yet finished, events do appear to be going their way.
The clergy of the Church of England solemnise about a quarter of all marriages in England, and so far the law of marriage they administer has been the law of the land. This is unlike the case of the Catholic, Jewish or Muslim communities, who have their own marriage laws, customs and courts where their own doctrines of marriage take precedence.
Read it all and it may alo be found .
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch History Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Every American president has faced the same central questions: What is the appropriate relationship between security and liberty? When should the scales tip one way or the other? We have never found a universal answer, which says as much about the enormous challenge our elected leaders accept as it does about who we are and what we value.
Presidents often do what they insist needs to be done to protect their people — and gamble that they'll be forgiven for the inevitable erosion of rights. Congress and the public typically fall in line, particularly in the post-9/11 world. And the nation moves on until the next situation flares.
In general, both presidents and their people inherently believe in America's ability to remain true to its identity and not let others define it, as long as it abides by the country's founding principles. The trouble, or perhaps the gift, is that the framers of our Constitution made sure to include leeway in the ability for leaders to tip the security-vs.-liberty scales when the situation demands.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Watch it all.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has partnered with the internet-based genealogy research firm Ancestry.com to bring burial records from historic national cemetery ledgers into the digital age. The effort will make the collection—predominantly of Civil War interments—accessible to researchers and Ancestry.com subscribers undertaking historical and genealogical research.
“We are excited to be able to share this wealth of primary documentation,” said VA’s Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Steve L. Muro. “With the help of Ancestry.com, we have opened the doors to thousands of service members’ histories through the information contained in these burial ledgers....”
Ancestry.com has assembled the digitized and indexed NCA burial ledgers with those at NARA into a new collection, "U.S. Burial Registers, Military Posts and National Cemeteries, 1862-1960." The burial records contain information such as name, rank, company/regiment, date of death, age at death, date of burial and grave number. A large number of Civil War soldiers were buried where they fell in battle or in temporary cemeteries, and sometimes that information, along with religious affiliation, can be found in the ledgers.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet History Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military
“…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…”
--Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Politics in General Office of the President
“My Fellow Americans:
“Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.
“And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
“Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
“They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
“They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest -- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
“For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.&
“Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
“And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
“Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
“Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.
“And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.
“And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
“With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
“Thy will be done, Almighty God.
You can listen to the actual audio if you want here.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Politics in General Office of the President
Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.
There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Twenty-year-old Wilfredo “Cusi” Pantaleon Zamora was more at peace than he’d been in a while.
After spending the last four months serving the U.S. Army in Vietnam, he’d finally found a Catholic church.
On July 1, 1968, he wrote a letter home to his parents in Miami, Fla. He told them he had just enjoyed a day off when he attended mass and was able to confess and receive communion. It was a shred of normalcy among the chaos of war.
At the end of his letter, he sent love and kisses to his mom and dad and to his brother and sisters. Before that letter ever reached them overseas, he was dead.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
One from the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky may be found here.
Check all of them out there.
Stars cut from worn-out U.S. flags will be handed out on Memorial Day to men and women in the military and veterans as part of a campaign called Stars For Our Troops that recognizes service to country.
Susan Wells, who started the project, collects discarded and damaged U.S. flags and removes the stars. Each one is washed and pressed, then placed in a small bag with a note that reads: "I am part of our American flag that has flown over a home in the U.S.A. I can no longer fly. The sun and winds have caused me to become tattered and torn. Please carry me as a reminder that you are not forgotten."
The stars are distributed at events such as Memorial Day parades and through the group's website at http://www.starsforourtroops.org.
Read it all.
I caught this one this morning as I continue to regroup from the recent knee replacement surgery--watch it all.
Church of England leaders have accepted the need to be “hospitable” to other faiths within any future service at Westminster Abbey, in order to reflect the spiritual diversity of modern Britain.
The Church has resisted calls for a multi-faith service in recent years, preferring to stress that the Christian nature of the coronation is preserved by law.
Senior church figures told this newspaper that it was now accepted that other faiths should be recognised within the coronation service for the first time.
It will not, however, be a “multi-faith” service in the sense of a ceremony that treats all faiths as equal.
Read it all and there is more there.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths
...all this elite pressure wouldn’t have worked even ten years ago, and certainly not twenty or thirty years ago. How could what then seemed a settled conviction about sexuality (or prejudice, if you wish) disappear so fast?
[ Brendan ] O’Neill has an answer, which seems to me correct. The non-elites proved susceptible to such pressures for a reason, he notes. “The fragility of society’s attachment to traditional marriage itself, to the virtue of commitment, has also been key to the formulation of the gay-marriage consensus. Indeed, it is the rubble upon which the gay-marriage edifice is built.”
Read it all.
In Game of Thrones we’re shown a world of medieval technology, accoutrement, and honorifics, but without chivalry (some lame pretense is made here and there, but it plays no part even in the life of the nobility, and the tale is told solely through their eyes) because there is no Christ to inspire it and no Church to encourage it. The denizens of the land claim a belief, of whatever sort, in “the gods,” who are never specified, whose mythology is never told, and of whom worship seems virtually nonexistent. The latter is the one significant breach with real-world paganism, which always involved true belief and often extravagant liturgics. There is also (as there was with Rome) a most implausible dearth of numinous awe for the natural world. One may have to pledge one’s son in marriage to the daughter of the castle-holder controlling a vital river crossing in order to get one’s army across, but of the necessity of offering a she-goat or woodcock to the river god himself in order to be granted safe passage there is nary a trace.
This is a significant oversight and makes the world a more modern one that the filmmakers should be comfortable with. Nevertheless, we are presented a generally accurate (for Hollywood) portrayal of what theologian David Bentley Hart calls the “glorious sadness” of ancient paganism in which life was short, or at least wildly precarious, and relatively meaningless while it lasted, and death both all too common and all too horrid to contemplate. Pleasures were to be grasped in whatever form they may be readily at hand, and whether they involved cruelty or kindness was a matter of relative taste. Joy may flit briefly by, but only in such a manner and measure as to enhance the agony of its loss and the poignancy of its ephemerality.
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As the Prime Minister knows, I am very suspicious that behind the plans to change the nature of marriage, which will be debated in the House of Lords within the next two months there lurks an aggressive secularist and relativist approach towards an institution that has glued society together for time immemorial. By dividing marriage into religious and civil the government threatens the church and state link which they purport to support. But they also threaten to empty marriage of its fundamental religious and civil meaning as an institution orientated towards the upbringing of children.
If this is not enough, the legislation fails to provide any protection for religious believers in employment who cannot subscribe in conscience to the new meaning of marriage. There will be no exemptions for believers who are registrars who can expect to be sacked if theycannot, in all conscience, support same-sex marriage. Strong legal opinion also suggests that Christian teachers, who are required to teach about marriage, may face disciplinary action if they cannot express agreement with the new politically-correct orthodoxy.
The danger I believe that the government is courting with its approach both to marriage and religious freedom, is the alienation of a large minority of people who only a few years ago would have been considered pillars of the community.
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One September day in eighth grade, when he was walking home from school, Mike saw his maternal grandfather, Charlie Wesson, pull up beside him in a car. Wesson had always been there for Mike, attending his games, winking when he faked a fever in grade school so they could spend the day together. This time, the news was bad. He needed to go home, immediately.
Young Mike saw a crowded house and knew something was wrong. His father had died of a heart attack after hip surgery. A short and difficult life was over, at 43, but the son thought largely about his mother. His parents were not married anymore, but he knew her life would change, too.
“I just felt like I had to pick myself up and my mom up,” he said. “It was a very tough time for her. I felt like I was trying to take control of my life and not rely on other people to do things for me.”
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On Jan. 22, 1899, Pope Leo XIII sent Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore, leader of the American hierarchy, a document in the form of a letter whose opening words in Latin were Testem Benevolentiae (In Witness to Good Will). “It is clear, our beloved son,” Pope Leo wrote, “that those opinions that, taken as a whole, some designate as ‘Americanism’ cannot have our approval.”
Appalled, Cardinal Gibbons held up the document’s release in the United States for a week, until the publication of excerpts originating overseas forced his hand and moved him to give it to The Baltimore Sun. In a letter to a friend, the cardinal called it “very discouraging … that the American Church is not understood abroad.”
But the bishops of the Milwaukee province, a center of German-American Catholicism, said the errors condemned by Pope Leo were real.
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After 87 years, the University Baptist Church of Coral Gables, Fla., recently shed its name for something it felt was more forward looking - Christ Journey.
It was following the lede of First Baptist Church of Perrine, Fla., which dropped the name it had held for 89 years in favor of Christ Fellowship.
Coral Baptist Church of Coral Springs, Fla., relaunched itself in 2006 as Church By the Glades.
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Midway through the second half of a close and pivotal game against Texas Southern during the 1967 football season, Coach Eddie Robinson’s Grambling team mounted a drive. It ended abruptly when Grambling’s center threw a forearm at the nose tackle who had been dominating him. A referee penalized Grambling and ejected the center from the game.Read it all.
When the center, Thomas Ross, reached the sideline, Robinson was waiting. Yet he did not strike Ross. He did not curse him. He did not even shout at him. Instead, in controlled, staccato bursts, he delivered a lesson about character and teamwork.
“You have satisfied yourself,” Robinson said. “You got him back. But we told you about stability and self-control. Now you think about us. We don’t have a center, and we got to play the rest of the game.” Robinson motioned to the other players, standing on the sideline or sitting on the bench. “Look at what you did. Look at the people you let down.”
Pakistanis went to the polls in high numbers on Saturday, in a vote that carried the historic prospect of the country’s first fully democratic political cycle despite being carried out under threat of fresh violence from Taliban insurgents.
A bomb in the southern port city of Karachi killed at least 11 people, doctors said, offering an ominous start to the day following Taliban threats to dispatch suicide bombers to targets across the country. And intensifying claims of vote irregularities in Karachi raised the prospect that some of the vote would be invalidated in the country’s largest metropolis.
But in several cities the turnout was very strong, supporting predictions of unusually high voter participation. Long lines remained at many polling places well into the evening, leading to the announcement that the formal poll-closing time would be extended by an hour, to 6 p.m. local time, and that even then lines would not be cut off.
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The two men grew up on separate continents, speaking their own languages. One was not yet 20; the other was bearing down on 100.
Yet within half an hour of meeting each other this week for the first time, Henry Kabiyona and Sol Rosenkranz knew each other’s stories before the words reached their lips.
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ir Alex Ferguson will step down as Manchester United manager at the end of the season after 26 years in charge.
The Scot, 71, has won 38 trophies for the club and will now become a director and ambassador.
His haul includes 13 league titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups.
"The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. It is the right time," Ferguson said.
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We are becoming a society in which “choice” and self-defined identities trump once-common values and traditional beliefs. But contrary to the rhetoric of its defenders, this shift is not a simple advance for freedom. The privileging of “choice” above all else in fact requires re-engineering the human person and society as a whole, and this will inevitably involve a great deal of coercion.
Wesley J. SmithThis shift, if it didn’t begin with Roe v. Wade, could be said to have been dramatically accelerated by it. Despite continuing opposition by over 50 percent of the American people, abortion is now universally available, in some places through the ninth month. Two states have legalized assisted suicide for the terminally ill—once strictly prohibited by the Hippocratic Oath. Now, some doctors actively collaborate in lethally overdosing their patients.
Advocacy for legalizing “after birth” abortion—e.g., infanticide—as a natural extension of the abortion right is growing more prominent, and not just among acolytes of Princeton’s Peter Singer. A Florida Planned Parenthood representative, opposing a bill that would require medical treatment for an infant who survives abortion, said the choice to care for the child should be a private one made between a mother and her doctor.
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What Falstaff represents is nothing more or less than life: life itself, life as such, the sheer indomitable fact of being alive. That is why Falstaff is so fat - he is larger than life, more human and more alive than ordinary mortals. When Hal points out that the grave gapes for Falstaff "thrice wider than for other men," it is true symbolically as well as literally. No ordinary grave could hold Jack Falstaff, for he is no ordinary mortal. He is large, he contains multitudes. When old Falstaff condescendingly tells the Lord Chief Justice, "You that are old consider not the capacities of us that are young," we feel the truth of it in our very bones. Falstaff's body might be "blasted with antiquity," as the Chief Justice replies, yet nobody is younger than he. He is young because he is youthfulness itself, the very energy and drive of life.
Nonetheless, in the final scene, a scene that has scandalised generations of playgoers and critics, Hal banishes his friend Jack Falstaff. Our minds recoil from the thought of it - even though, objectively speaking, Falstaff deserves everything he gets. It is not just that we like Falstaff and want things to turn out well for him. It is that this rejection of Falstaff seems like a rejection of life - an incomprehensible, nonsensical act. As Falstaff himself has intimated, to reject him is to reject everything: "Banish plump Jack, and banish all the world."
But perhaps the point of this difficult scene is just to show that Falstaff can be rejected. For all his irresistible charm, it is still possible to turn him away. The significance of the last scene is that it makes comedy more vivid by revealing its limits.
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That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been.
Charles Dickens (1812-1870), Great Expectations, Chapter 9
Leopold Engleitner, the oldest known survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, has died at the age of 107, his biographer said.
Engleitner, a conscientious objector whose life was documented in the book and film “Unbroken Will”, was imprisoned in the Buchenwald, Niederhagen and Ravensbrueck camps between 1939 and 1943.
He refused to renounce his Jehovah’s Witness faith to win his freedom but was eventually released, weighing just 28 kilograms (62 pounds), on condition that he agree to spend the rest of his life working as a slave agricultural labourer.
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It was left to Cambridge to right the [Oxford] injustice, and in the early Fifties to bestow a newly created chair. In the meantime, Lewis, like his colleague Tolkien, had created a series of imaginative stories. The Chronicles of Narnia were works of keen imagination, appealing alike to many children and perceptive adults. They echoed the incarnation of Christ, his death and resurrection, and have enjoyed a mass-revival in the United States in recent years, where they have been responsible for creating a new kind of Christianity: what might be called educated evangelicalism. This is a remarkable and valuable phenomenon, and gives Lewis a high rank among writers on religion, alongside Wesley and Newman.
He deserves his lasting appeal, and for three reasons. First he was immensely well- read, delving into every corner of English literature with intelligence and sympathy, and squeezing from it moral qualities which had been hitherto unsuspected in many works. Second, he had an enviable clarity, so that his meaning, even when making rarefied distinctions, always leaps from the page. Thirdly, he had excellent judgment in both literature and theology, and combined them both in fascinating books which never condescend and are always a pleasure to read. Alister McGrath gives us much food for thought in this dutiful, sound and worthy book.
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While [Dr. Gregory] McGriff says he is forced to do things most other doctors wouldn't necessarily do, he also notes that the disparity — while seeming unfair — has served up a bit of sweet irony: It has helped make him a better doctor. At a time when cost-cutting and understaffing place pressure on physicians to move swiftly through their rounds, McGriff adopted a bedside manner to earn a patient's trust that has now become his signature at Rutherford Regional hospital.
"I make a point to do something that many of my partners don't do — most physicians don't do anymore. I sit," McGriff says. "I sit in the room, and I ask the patient to tell me their story. I'm really interested in these stories, by the way, and every client I meet has a very interesting story.
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In the thirty or so years that I have been following EU affairs – or is it nearer 35 years now since I studied in French literature in Paris, and German philosophy in Mainz – I have never seen ties between Europe’s two great land states reduced so low.
The French Socialist Party crossed a line by lashing out at Chancellor Angela Merkel in person. It is one thing to protest “German austerity”, it is quite another to rebuke the “selfish intransigence of Mrs Merkel, who thinks of nothing but the deposits of German savers, the trade balance recorded by Berlin and her electoral future”.
There is no justification for such an ad hominem attack. German policy is indeed destructive, but that is structural. It is built into the mechanisms of EMU and the anthropological make-up of the enterprise.
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[BOB] FAW: Now the former law school dean and distinguished legal scholar has written a most unusual book: “Baseball as a Road to God.” That’s right, baseball.
[John] SEXTON: The similarities between baseball and religion abound. The ballpark as cathedral; saints and sinners; the curses and blessings. But then what I’m arguing is beyond that surface level, there’s a fundamental similarity between baseball and religion which goes to the capacity of baseball to cause human beings, in a context they don’t think of as religious, to break the plane of ordinary existence into the plane of extraordinary existence.
FAW: John Sexton says that what happens here is more than just a game—that it reveals a dimension beyond the eyes and mind letting us, in his words, “see through to another, sacred space”—what John Sexton calls “the ineffable.”
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Donald Kagan is engaging in one last argument. For his "farewell lecture" here at Yale on Thursday afternoon, the 80-year-old scholar of ancient Greece—whose four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War inspired comparisons to Edward Gibbon's Roman history—uncorked a biting critique of American higher education.
Universities, he proposed, are failing students and hurting American democracy. Curricula are "individualized, unfocused and scattered." On campus, he said, "I find a kind of cultural void, an ignorance of the past, a sense of rootlessness and aimlessness." Rare are "faculty with atypical views," he charged. "Still rarer is an informed understanding of the traditions and institutions of our Western civilization and of our country and an appreciation of their special qualities and values." He counseled schools to adopt "a common core of studies" in the history, literature and philosophy "of our culture." By "our" he means Western....
Mr. Kagan offers another explanation. "You can't have a fight," he says one recent day at his office, "because you don't have two sides. The other side won."
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Mr. [Reed] Hastings said he realized that the company’s attempt to both raise prices and separate into two companies, one the legacy DVD-by-mail business and the other the up-and-coming broadband streaming business, was trying to do too much too fast. Angry subscribers abandoned the company in droves (800,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone), revenue missed estimates and the stock plunged.
“I messed up,” Mr. Hastings wrote in an unusually forthright September 2011 blog post. Citing the precedents of AOL and Borders Books, which struggled or failed to make the digital transition, “my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming.” But in the rush to accelerate the transition, he wrote, “In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success.” He also made a video apology.
Mr. Hastings said he didn’t expect the apology alone to “turn it around,” adding, “I wasn’t naïve enough to think most customers care if the C.E.O. apologizes, but I thought it was honest and appropriate.”
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Listen to it all (about 20 minutes). Those of you who are preachers, please note: this is a model of how to tell a story. It is heartwarming, hilarious, and oh so wonderful because it is true--you could not make this up if you tried--KSH (Hat tip: EDH).
In ways both big and small, both fleeting and transformational, this time simply felt different.
On the lawn of the First Baptist Church in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, Eve Nagler stood at a prayer vigil two days after terrorists attempted to shred the joy of Boston's biggest day with nails and BB's and bits of hurtling metal.
This, she knew, was not 9/11 – the scale, the shock, the fear were nothing like people had felt 12 years ago. Yet something else had shifted, too – something perhaps less easily definable but no less palpable to many of those at the vigil and across the suburbs that bound themselves together as "Boston Strong."
There was a calm, not only in the streets but in raw and wounded hearts.
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It’s hardly a new prediction—we’ve been hearing it for years. Gay marriage is a slippery slope! A gateway drug! If we legalize it, then what’s next? Legalized polygamy?
We can only hope.
Yes, really. While the Supreme Court and the rest of us are all focused on the human right of marriage equality, let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage. We need to legalize polygamy, too. Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice. More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families.
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Oklahoma Episcopal Bishop Edward J. Konieczny, who once strongly opposed stricter gun control laws, is changing his views.
Konieczny will participate Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church in an adult forum on gun control titled "The Thin Line Between God and Guns."
A former police officer, Konieczny discussed his changing views on gun control in a recent CNN Belief Blog that drew national attention.
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magine two teams with more than a thousand competitors on each side. Imagine a playing field that stretches three miles from goal to goal. And imagine a single ball that both sides are fighting over.
That is Shrovetide Football, which is played each year over two days in Ashbourne, England between members of the town. In his documentary Wild In The Streets, Peter Baxter tells the story of the game that has been played for centuries.
Read it all and take the time to watch the official trailer video.
Millennials got a bad rap during the recession. They have been working less, earning less, and, as I’ve pointed out in this magazine before, buying far fewer houses and cars than their parents did—or than the economy needs them to in order to move forward. But all of this is poised to change. In the near future, these same young people may be the very ones to supercharge the recovery. How? By growing up.....
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A national Holocaust monument is to be erected near the Canadian War Museum on LeBreton Flats, the government announced Tuesday.
The memorial, on federal land at Wellington and Booth streets, will honour the approximately six million Jews and others persecuted and murdered by Nazis and their collaborators during the Second World War.
It “will be a testament to the importance of ensuring that the memory of the Holocaust is never lost,” Tim Uppal, minister of state for democratic reform, said in a statement after announcing the location during a ceremony at the neighbouring Canadian War Museum. The monument will go across the street, on the northeast corner of Booth Street.
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Let me begin by telling you about Stephen, a mature intelligent man of 38, a successful architect, with a wife and children of whom he is very proud. A man loved and respected by his wider family and the community where he lives and in which he is a blessing to many.
This is one of the real possibilities that the future held for Stephen Lawrence who was murdered 20 years ago this Monday in an unprovoked racist attack by a gang of white youths in Eltham. An attack whose devastating effect not only tragically denied Stephen a future, but also reverberated through many lives, causing pain which cannot be calculated this side of the grave.
As we remember Stephen’s death at this time, we need to renew our determination to rid our communities of racism, hatred, fear, ignorance, stereotyping, and the advantaging or disadvantaging of others because of their colour or ethnic origin.
Read it all from the Yorkshire Post.
I deny any knowledge whatsoever of the people in this photograph.
The biographical film "42" depicts Jackie Robinson's courageous battle to break the color barrier in major league baseball. At the same time, the film provides a glimpse of his religious faith, which afforded the strength he needed to overcome fierce opposition.
"It took two Christians to pull this off," says Chris Lamb, the author of "Blackout: The Untold Story of Jackie Robinson's First Spring Training" (University of Nebraska, 2004). "Robinson was a Christian and Branch Rickey was a Christian," he notes. "Sometimes we miss this."
Lamb was blind to it himself until he researched Robinson's life for his book. "I kept wondering all these years what kept Robinson together," he says. "Finally I realized what I missed before – the core came from above."
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In March, 7.6 million Americans who want more hours were stuck in part-time jobs, about the same as a year earlier and three million more than there were when the recession began at the end of 2007.
These almost invisible underemployed workers do not count toward the standard jobless rate of 7.6 percent. A broader measure, which includes the involuntary part-timers as well as people who want to work but have stopped looking, stands at 13.8 percent.
“There’s nothing inherently wrong with people taking part-time jobs if they want them,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago. “The problem is that people are accepting part-time pay because they have no other choice.”
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Whatever struck you, provoked you, moved you; whatever part of it which you believe is most significant or worthy of further consideration. Remember the more specific you are, the more other blog reads can participate in what you say--KSH.
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[Yossef] Bodansky traces the secret history of the two Chechen wars, illuminating how the process of "Chechenization" transformed the fight from a secular nationalist struggle into a jihadist holy war against Russia and the secular West.
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In the beginning, there was widespread concern that [Robert] Edwards's in vitro technique would result in more children born with birth defects. When Louise Brown, the first "test tube" baby, was born healthy in 1978, these concerns evaporated, though questions of the long-term health of IVF children continue to be raised. As the original cohort ages, we should get clear answers one way or another.
The eminent bioethicist Leon Kass of the University of Chicago raised other concerns. IVF would, he feared, "lead to cloning, genetic manipulation of embryos, surrogate pregnancies, and the exploitation of nascent human life as a research tool." For those like me who share Dr. Kass's view of these practices as incompatible with respect for the dignity of human beings, these fears have proven to be well-grounded....
...the real question of "who is in charge" cannot be resolved by proving that something is technically possible. Rather it is whether it is right to or wrong—consistent with or contrary to the dignity of the human being—to do what it may well be technically possible to do. Edwards's technical achievement has brought joy to millions of parents. And each life created, no matter how it was created, is inestimably precious and intrinsically good.
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George Beverly Shea, a noted gospel singer and close confidant to evangelical leader Billy Graham, died Tuesday evening after "a brief illness," according to the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. He was 104.
Shea had been hospitalized after a stroke, association spokesman Brent Rinehart said.
In honoring Shea's death, the evangelical organization noted that the singer had "carried the Gospel in song to every continent and every state in the Union."
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
The word on the Brooklyn streets in 1959 was that a crazy preacher from Pennsylvania was helping addicts find the power to kick heroin and gang members to trade their weapons for Bibles. — Reporter John McCandlish Phillips heard the talk in local churches and took the tip to his metro editors at The New York Times. This was more than a religion story, he argued. This was something truly new in urban ministry in a rough corner of the city.
The editors just didn't get it.
"The New York Times could not see ... validity of this approach to any issue as serious as addiction. Editors said, 'You can't put a few religious ideas up against something as real as addiction and expect any results,' " said Phillips, in a 2000 interview in Riverside Park.
The young preacher was David Wilkerson, whose story would eventually be told in the best seller "The Cross and the Switchblade."
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On a gray and drizzly day, a horse-drawn gun carriage bore the coffin of Margaret Thatcher, draped in the Union flag, to St. Paul’s Cathedral for a ceremonial funeral that has divided British opinion, much as the former prime minister stirred passions during her lifetime.
A hearse had taken the coffin from Parliament as far as the church of St. Clement Danes near the head of Fleet Street where a military guard placed it on the gun carriage for the solemn cortege to St. Paul’s. Crowds of mostly silent people lined the streets near Parliament Square and along Whitehall — one of several major thoroughfares closed to traffic — as the hearse passed by with a display of white flowers.
Some 700 military personnel from three services — the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force — lined Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill leading to St. Paul’s. The honor guard included guardsmen in scarlet tunics and distinctive black bearskin hats on the 24 cathedral steps. Military bands played Bells tolled. Crowds lined the street as the gun carriage passed slowly by, some applauding. The procession moved at 70 paces per minute. Well-wishers threw flowers into the road.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK
...I do love this city. I love its atrocious accent, its inferiority complex in terms of New York, its nut-job drivers, the insane logic of its street system. I get a perverse pleasure every time I take the T in the winter and the air-conditioning is on in the subway car, or when I take it in the summer and the heat is blasting. Bostonians don’t love easy things, they love hard things — blizzards, the bleachers in Fenway Park, a good brawl over a contested parking space. Two different friends texted me the identical message yesterday: They messed with the wrong city. This wasn’t a macho sentiment. It wasn’t “Bring it on” or a similarly insipid bit of posturing. The point wasn’t how we were going to mass in the coffee shops of the South End to figure out how to retaliate. Law enforcement will take care of that, thank you. No, what a Bostonian means when he or she says “They messed with the wrong city” is “You don’t think this changes anything, do you?”
Trust me, we won’t be giving up any civil liberties to keep ourselves safe because of this. We won’t cancel next year’s marathon. We won’t drive to New Hampshire and stockpile weapons. When the authorities find the weak and terminally maladjusted culprit or culprits, we’ll roll our eyes at whatever backward ideology they embrace and move on with our lives.
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The bombing of the Boston Marathon on Monday was the end of more than a decade in which the United States experienced strikingly few terrorist attacks, in part because of far more aggressive law enforcement tactics in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
In fact, Sept. 11 was an anomaly in an overall gradual decline in the number of terrorist attacks since the 1970s, according to one of the most authoritative sources of terrorism statistics, the Global Terrorism Database, maintained by a consortium of researchers and based at the University of Maryland.
Only in 2009, after 13 people were killed in a shooting spree at Fort Hood in Texas, did the number of fatalities in post-9/11 terrorism on American soil rise into double digits in a single year. That was a sharp contrast with the 1970s, by far the most violent decade since the tracking began in 1970, the database shows.
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When the Rev. Gordon Cosby founded Church of the Saviour in the late 1940s, it was one of the first interracial churches in the still-segregated District of Columbia. Cosby, who died last month at the age of 95, is remembered not only for his work as a pastor, but also for his commitment to social change.
"Many people have never heard of him, but he shaped the vocations of so many of us that he shaped the church more than any pastor of his generation," says Jim Wallis, a prominent Christian writer and evangelical leader, and one of the many pastors whom Cosby mentored over his life.
Cosby was born in Lynchburg, Va., and raised Southern Baptist. When he was 16, he and his brother, P.G., were walking through the African-American part of town and came upon a small church.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Why are C.S. Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia" - especially their showcase opener, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - so popular, fifty years after their author's death? Many answers might be given, from the obvious fact that they are stories well told, to the suggestion that they call us back to a lost childhood. But perhaps there is something deeper going on here.
To understand the deep appeal of Narnia, we need first to appreciate the place of stories in helping us to make sense of reality, and our own place within it. The "Chronicles of Narnia" resonate strongly with the basic human intuition that our own story is part of something greater and grander - something which, once we have grasped it, allows us to see our situation in a new and more meaningful way. A veil is lifted; a door is opened; a curtain is drawn aside; we are enabled to enter a new realm. Our own story is now seen to be part of a much bigger story, which both helps us understand how we fit into a greater scheme of things, and discover the difference we can make.
Like his Oxford friend J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis was deeply aware of the imaginative power of "myths" - stories told to make sense of who we are, where we find ourselves, what has gone wrong with things, and what can be done about it. A "myth," as Lewis uses the term, is not a false story told to deceive, but a story that on the one hand resonates with the deepest structures of reality, and on the other has an ability to connect up with the human imagination.
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In other words, [David] Sessions seems to be fine with Christian doctrine so long as it doesn’t contradict what he sees to be the higher authority of modern liberalism, which has a whole different set of doctrines it regards as absolute, including many which are at odds with Orthodox Christian doctrine: the right to an abortion, the right to same-sex marriage, and all the other hot-button issues that garner headlines. And so the question isn’t one of “absolutism,” the only dispute between Douthat and Sessions seems to be which set of absolute doctrines supersedes the other: Orthodox Christianity or modern liberalism.
While it’s easy to make the case in secular America that Christian doctrine should be made subservient to modern liberalism, it is harder to make that case within the Church. This is especially true in denominations where Orthodox doctrine has been passed down through the centuries and carries the weight of both revealed truth and apostolic tradition. And it is in light of the weight of Orthodoxy’s historic lineage that Sessions’ claim that Douthat ascribes to a “religious ideology that is unable to see past its own particular politico-cultural moment” rings most hollow.
Seeing past its own particular politico-cultural moment is precisely what Orthodoxy does. As Chesterton once said of his own Orthodox Catholicism, “It is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age. It is the only thing that talks as if it were the truth; as if it were a real messenger refusing to tamper with a real message.” And to that end, Bad Religion is nothing if not a compelling case for a Christian doctrine that transcends time and place — particularly our time and place.
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Late in 2011, Michiko Kakutani opened her New York Times review of Claire Tomalin’s biography of Charles Dickens with “a remarkable account” she had found in its pages. In London for a few days in 1862, Fyodor Dostoevsky had dropped in on Dickens’s editorial offices and found the writer in an expansive mood....
I have been teaching courses on Dostoevsky for over two decades, but I had never come across any mention of this encounter. Although Dostoevsky is known to have visited London for a week in 1862, neither his published letters nor any of the numerous biographies contain any hint of such a meeting. Dostoevsky would have been a virtual unknown to Dickens. It isn’t clear why Dickens would have opened up to his Russian colleague in this manner, and even if he had wanted to, in what language would the two men have conversed? (It could only have been French, which should lead one to wonder about the eloquence of a remembered remark filtered through two foreign tongues.) Moreover, Dostoevsky was a prickly, often rude interlocutor. He and Turgenev hated each other. He never even met Tolstoy. Would he have sought Dickens out? Would he then have been silent about the encounter for so many years, when it would have provided such wonderful fodder for his polemical journalism?
Several American professors of Russian literature wrote to the New York Times in protest, and eventually a half-hearted online retraction was made, informing readers that the authenticity of the encounter had been called into question, but in the meantime a second review of Tomalin’s biography had appeared in the Times, citing the same passage....
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The Bishop of Grantham has criticised the scale and cost of Baroness Thatcher’s funeral, describing it as a “mistake” which may play into the hands of extremists.
The Rt Revd Dr Tim Ellis said the ceremonial event at St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday, costing up to £10 million, was “asking for trouble” amid divisions about the late prime minister’s legacy....
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Economy Politics in General
It's, like, totally tubular. The '80s: The Decade That Made Us isn't about nostalgia; it's about the history of our modern world that spawned political, technological, cultural, and social revolutions that began in the United States and went on to dominate the world. This cultural programming event is the defining biography of a generation. It's about a decade of people, decisions, and inventions that changed our future, told from the perspective of the unknowing history makers who lived these iconic moments. We worked out, worked harder, played harder and consumed more—because the 1980s was the decade when we went forward to the future....
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Fifty years ago, in June 1963, the Christian Century found itself near the center of American public debate when it was the first large-circulation magazine to publish the full text of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The letter would shortly thereafter stand as the manifesto of those King led in pursuing African-American civil rights in the mid-1960s by means of nonviolent direct action. And it eventually assumed pride of place alongside Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” as a touchstone for the theory and practice of civil disobedience in American protest politics.
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American workers are being fired or laid off less often than at any time in the last decade, the government reported this week. But companies are also less willing to hire than they used to be.
The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for February showed that during that month the total number of people who were either discharged or laid off totaled just 0.9 percent of all job holders in the United States. It was the first month since that survey began in 2000 that the figure dipped below 1 percent.
Over the most recent 12 months, the Labor Department figures show, only 15.1 percent of workers lost their jobs because of layoffs or discharges. Until this year, the lowest figure for any 12 months had been 15.3 percent, during the period ending in September 2006. That came as the economic boom was cresting before the recession that began at the end of 2007.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--
(Please note the article to which this responds was posted here on the blog last week--KSH).
The ’60s secularizing and “modernizing” that orders went through, discarding habits, common prayer life and so on, were a strategic error for which many orders today have paid the price: drastically shrinking numbers and remaining members who are in their 70s and older.
But some traditional Dominican communities, male and female, are seeing a significant uptick in their applications from younger people. The same can be said for some branches of Franciscan friars and sisters. I don’t think that this is an accident.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic Other Faiths Secularism
As late as the mid-20th Century, a marriage between an American Protestant and an American Catholic was considered inter-religious.
But the dynamic began to shift in the 1980s with the emergence of the Religious Right. Though the movement was spearheaded by evangelical leaders, they opened their arms to Catholics and even Mormons, who were seen as valuable allies in the fight against our nation’s “moral decline.” Animosity between the groups began giving way to cooperation. The election of Pope Francis may be the next step in bridging the divide between Catholics and Protestants. He has been called “a Pope for all Christians,” but could the growing popularity among non-Catholics make him “the first Protestant Pope?”
Francis has already met with Nikolaus Schneider, the head of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany. Dr. Schneider, who is ironically a Lutheran minister, said that Pope Benedict “offended” Protestants when he insisted in 2000 that Protestant communities were not “churches in the proper sense,” but he is hopeful for future Christian unity as a result of his meeting with Francis. This newfound common ground between the two groups, it seems, stems largely from the current Pope’s concern for the poor and marginalized....
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An Army chaplain who saved the lives of fellow US soldiers before perishing in a North Korean prison camp has been awarded a posthumous US Medal of Honor.
On Thursday, President Obama presented the highest US military decoration to the nephew of Emil Kapaun, a Catholic priest who died in the Korean War.
Kapaun, an Army captain, was renowned for his bravery and caring.
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On Saturday 12th April 1913 +Cosmo, Archbishop of York, drove into the village of Woodlands in his “shiny new motor car”, to the amazement of the villagers, to attend the consecration of the new Church of All Saints. The new Church of St George in Highfields had been consecrated a few weeks earlier. 8½ years earlier there had been no Church. In fact there had been no shops, no school, no squares; no houses at all except Woodlands House (later to become the Park Club) and perhaps the Old Lodge. In just over 8 years a whole community had been born – with one purpose. To house and provide for the men who won the coal at Brodsworth Pit and their families.
Congratulations to them--read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
As others have said, she changed the face of Britain, opening up new avenues of possibility in all directions - share ownership, home ownership, the liberalisation of markets, entrepreneurial innovation and so on. She strengthened Britain's role in the world with her clear policies on defence, the Falklands, Northern Ireland, Communism, Europe, South Africa and more. No-one was in any doubt that there was a force in the land.
I spent the last years of the 1980s in County Durham, so I know some of the deep divisions Lady Thatcher's policies caused. Billy Elliot country was not an all-singing, all-dancing landscape. It's almost impossible to find moderate opinions, for or against, on her style of leadership, but the one thing we can all acknowledge is that she was a leader of absolute integrity in terms of her own beliefs. She was an iconic 'conviction politician.'
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK
An official with the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina said Monday he believes the dispute over who has the right to claim the centuries-old diocese name and properties in the Lowcountry should be decided in state court, not federal.
“We believe the issues belong in state court,” the Rev. Jim Lewis, Canon to the Ordinary, said. “We certainly have plenty of state precedent in our favor....”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina TEC Polity & Canons * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch History Law & Legal Issues * Theology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology
Lord Carey, who was appointed as leader of the Church of England during Lady Thatcher’s time in Downing Street, said that while there would be disagreement about politics, her time in office “transformed” the UK.
The current Archbishop of canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, said faith has "inspired and sustained" Britain’s only female Prime Minister.
Meanwhile the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, who first knew Margaret Thatcher when she was his local MP in north London, said she was a “giant” who was one of the few people to leave a “personal imprint” on the country.
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Margaret Thatcher was forever the thrifty Methodist grocer’s daughter of Grantham. Her father was both lay preacher and Conservative Party stalwart. They attended the Methodist church several times every Sabbath and heeded many then Methodist strictures against theater-going and dancing. Her family’s social life was enmeshed in the church’s sewing meetings, youth guilds, and missions work, as she recalled to the Catholic Herald 35 years ago.
“Methodism is the most marvelous evangelical faith and there is the most marvelous love and feeling for music in the Methodist Church which I think is greater than in the Anglican Church,” she then remembered. “But you sometimes feel the need for a slightly more formal service and perhaps a little bit more formality in the underlying theology too.”
Although married in John Wesley’s London Chapel, Thatcher later converted to her husband’s Anglicanism.
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Basically, she outlined the problems with the euro perfectly, that Germany would chafe at the inevitable need for greater inflation, and that the poorer countries would inevitably be uncompetitive and need bailouts that would not easily be forthcoming.
This paragraph is from "The Path To Power," where she discusses conversations with John Major (her successor) about negotiating with the rest of Europe. She just totally nails the inflation and competitiveness angles....
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Take the time to listen to it all (and note there is a live excerpt of the Kenyon Commencement address).
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This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't. You get to decide what to worship.
Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship--be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles--is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.
Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.
Read it carefully and read it all.
At the center of Spain and of ancient Castile, and less than an hour from Madrid, Toledo has always existed in another world. Countless settlers have been drawn to the city's impregnable perch on a mountaintop, and they have shaped its cultural history: Romans, Visigoths, Moorish caliphates and, in the medieval period, Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities all left their mark on monuments that fill the small city. Domenikos Theotokopoulos—the 16th-century painter from Crete known as El Greco—left his adopted home some of its greatest treasures, including his magisterial painting of "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz." On a monumental scale (almost 16 feet by 10 feet) and in astonishingly original form, the canvas reflects not only centuries of Toledo's history as a cultural melting pot, but the profound faith and tolerance that sustained it.
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Opponents of same-sex marriage resist it because it amounts to redefining marriage, but also because it will invite future redefinitions. If we embrace same-sex marriage, they argue, society will have surrendered any reasonable grounds on which to continue forbidding polygamy, for example.
In truth, proponents of same-sex marriage have never offered a very good response to this concern. This problem was highlighted at the Supreme Court last week in oral argument over California’s Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman.
Surprisingly, the polygamy problem that same-sex marriage presents was raised by an Obama appointee, the liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor interrupted the presentation of anti-Prop 8 litigator Theodore Olson to pose the following question: If marriage is a fundamental right in the way proponents of same-sex marriage contend, “what state restrictions could ever exist,” for example, “with respect to the number of people . . . that could get married?”
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The Dean of Durham, the Very Revd Michael Sadgrove, has welcomed a statement issued by the new manager of Sunderland Football Club, Paolo Di Canio, on Wednesday, saying that he does "not support the ideology of fascism".
Dean Sadgrove wrote an open letter to Mr Di Canio on Tuesday, seeking clarification whether he held fascist beliefs. Mr Di Canio, whose appointment as Sunderland manager was announced on Sunday evening, gave a straight-arm salute more than once when he was a player, and said in his autobiography that he was "fascinated by Mussolini".
The former Foreign Secretary David Miliband resigned from the board of Sunderland FC because of "past political statements" made by Mr Di Canio.
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You can find the the basic information about this there. But make sure, too, to watch this whole excerpt and then find it and try to absorb the whole thing--just an incredible story all the way through.
Update: The official trailer may be watched there.
MarketWatch: Since Nixon’s “abomination” as you call it, we have had some periods where government spending to GDP actually went down, like during the Clinton era. Doesn’t that show it’s just the choices made by Congress rather than the Fed to blame [for the problem of rising national debt as a % of GDP]?
Stockman: There is the issue that Congress ultimately is the fiscal authority. But my argument is, when the Fed becomes a massive buyer of bonds and debt and artificially suppresses interest rate below market-clearing levels, it’s a terrible signal to the Congress that debt is cheap, that running deficits is a viable strategy. So therefore they are induced to kick the can, to let it drift and avoid hard choices. Who wants to tell the public you are going to take your broccoli of higher taxes and lower benefits and spending if you can issue debt on a three-year basis for 40 basis points. That’s free. I was in Congress, they don’t do decimal math, OK? And they think the money is free, it’s a bad problem philosophically, we shouldn’t be doing this for the great long run, but it’s no harm today.
Then they have professors like Krugman who give them the disingenuous advice that the bond vigilantes don’t care. The market is saying, “fine with us, we don’t care, keep piling the debt on, we love it.” That is so much baloney. The reason the interest rate on the 10-year bond 10_YEAR -0.33% today is 1.8% or whatever it happened to settle today, is the market knows the Fed is buying half of the debt and is front running the Fed. And it is renting the bond on repo, 98 cents on the dollar, based on overnight money that’s free thanks to Bubbles Ben as well.
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