Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr. Wilder’s rule for comedy was simple: Don’t try to make it funny; try to make it real. “I’m an actor, not a clown,” he said more than once.

With his haunted blue eyes and an empathy born of his own history of psychic distress, he aspired to touch audiences much as Charlie Chaplin had. The Chaplin film “City Lights,” he said, had “made the biggest impression on me as an actor; it was funny, then sad, then both at the same time.”

Mr. Wilder was an accomplished stage actor as well as a screenwriter, a novelist and the director of four movies in which he starred. (He directed, he once said, “in order to protect what I wrote, which I wrote in order to act.”) But he was best known for playing roles on the big screen that might have been ripped from the pages of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & Television* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted August 29, 2016 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of Nigeria’s Bishop of Gusau, the Rt. Rev. John Danbinta Garba (pictured) reports a sectarian riot erupted last week at the Abdu Gusau Polytechnic in the city of Talata-Mafara in Northern Nigeria after a Muslim mob attempted to lynch a man who had converted to Christianity. On 21 Aug 2016 a newly baptized Christian was describing his conversion to fellow students when Islamist militants began to assault him. The penalty for apostasy from Islam was death, they said, and attempted to lynch him. Christian students intervened and rescued the convert and a Muslim bystander drove the injured man to the hospital. The mob then turned their sights upon the Muslim good samaritan -- they marched to his home and set it ablaze, killing eight people inside. T

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLife EthicsReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 29, 2016 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The evangelical Church in Europe is on the precipice. Christianity is thriving in Asia and Africa – with new churches popping up all the time – but in Europe it's decline and more decline. Evangelicals make up just 2.5 per cent of our continent's population. Projections suggest that UK Christianity will be wiped out by 2067. Has the Church, the hope of the world – and of Europe – lost its own hope?

While the media paints an ugly picture, there's another story waiting to be told. It's bubbling out of churches helping Syrian refugees along the Greek coast. It's in the hands of Moldova's Baptist community. It's on the lips of the French woman whose life has been transformed by Jesus' love. Perhaps we've been thinking about the Church in Europe all wrong – we've been seeing numbers instead of people, we've been looking in empty churches rather than at the open hearts on our streets. When we focus on the tomb, we miss the resurrection. There is hope – the Church in Europe is alive.

Yes, it's numerically smaller than it was a generation ago, and we should do something about that. But, equally, the social pressure to go to church in many European countries has gone – so, arguably, the people left in our churches actually believe that Jesus is the saviour of the world. This is what Teun van der Leer, Rector of the Dutch Baptist Seminary, is seeing in the Netherlands. He suggests the fact that some of us still go to church even though we don't have to has left those outside curious about the Christian faith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEurope

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Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A 100-year-old church in Porirua is scheduled to be sold and removed, but its angry congregation will fight to the last to ensure its survival.

The blink-and-you-miss-it St Philip's Church, opposite Paremata School, is a well-used and welcome haven to its 27 members.

That's why they were shocked when a parish review, carried out by the Anglican Diocese this year, recommended St Philip's be sold.

Read it all from Stuff.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

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Posted August 29, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Both Henrietta and Matthew chose to become full-time students, thanks to full scholarships awarded them by Trinity. The seminary, they learned, wants no student to leave with school-related debt. However, despite this welcome financial help, they found they did have to borrow to cover living expenses. This made them instantly very budget conscious.

“So, what was it like to study together,” I asked them? They smiled. “We rarely study together.” Each has their unique study styles. Matthew devoured his books till late at night, but struggled with writing papers. Henrietta wrote with ease, but enjoyed her sleep and was not as absorbed in books as Matthew. So they studied separately unless they were together with a group of students at their kitchen table. Both, however, loved the lectures and found themselves drawn to particular professors who they saw as very genuine and helpful. Greek and Hebrew proved to be the big challenges, as they had been to me. This is why, they explained, they are heading back to Trinity for part of the summer to finish the language requirements for their degree program.

But after that they are off to Indonesia with a team of others from Trinity to do first-hand mission work in a Muslim country. A grant from the SAMS (the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders) made the trip possible. They shared that one of the greatest discoveries of their year away was gaining a global view of God’s Kingdom.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* South Carolina* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted August 29, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooks* Theology

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Posted August 29, 2016 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it. Nowadays most people hardly think of Prudence as one of the "virtues." In fact, because Christ said we could only get into His world by being like children, many Christians have the idea that, provided you are "good," it does not matter being a fool. But that is a misunderstanding. In the first place, most children show plenty of "prudence" about doing the things they are really interested in, and think them out quite sensibly. In the second place, as St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary, He told us to be not only "as harmless as doves," but also "as wise as serpents." He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim. The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not. The fact that what you are thinking about is God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old. It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have. The proper motto is not "Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever," but "Be good, sweet maid, and don't forget that this involves being as clever as you can." God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all. But, fortunately, it works the other way round. Anyone who is honestly trying to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened: one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself. That is why an uneducated believer like Bunyan was able to write a book that has astonished the whole world.
----C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (my emphasis)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyApologetics

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Posted August 29, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A group of parishes is preparing what could be the first step towards a formal split in the Church of England over issues such as homosexuality, with the creation of a new “shadow synod” vowing to uphold traditional teaching.

Representatives of almost a dozen congregations in the Home Counties are due to gather in a church hall in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, later this week for the first session of what they say could eventually develop into an alternative Anglican church in England.

Organisers, drawn from the conservative evangelical wing of Anglicanism, say they have no immediate plans to break away - but are setting up the “embryonic” structures that could be used to do so if the established church moves further in what they see as a liberal direction.

Read it all from the Telegraph.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted August 29, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

God of peace, who didst call John Bunyan to be valiant for truth: Grant that as strangers and pilgrims we may at the last rejoice with all the faithful in thy heavenly city; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Statue of John Bunyan, author of A Pilgrim's Progress, on the corner of Catton Street, Holborn.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchBooks

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Posted August 29, 2016 at 5:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang have banned all forms of religious activity in hospitals in an ongoing crackdown targeting the region's burgeoning Protestant Christian community.

A public notice posted at the Central Hospital in Zhejiang's Wenzhou, a city that has been dubbed "China's Jerusalem" because of its high concentration of Christians, made patients and their visitors unequivocally aware of the new rules this week.

"Religious activities are banned in this hospital," the notice said. The Wenzhou Central Hospital was originally set up as a Protestant hospital.

An employee who answered the phone at the same hospital...confirmed the new measures.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

3 Comments
Posted August 28, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A growing share of children live apart from one of their parents before reaching adulthood. Many policymakers are concerned about the welfare of these children who (partly) grow up in single-parent households. Numerous papers in various social science disciplines document a strong negative empirical association between parental divorce and a wide range of children’s outcomes. This general relationship is highly persistent, leaving the children of divorced parents economically and emotionally worse off, even in adulthood. Most scholars are aware that it is not clear to what degree this relationship is causal (see, e.g., Manski et al 1992, Painter and Levine 2000, Amato 2010, Bhrolcháin 2013, Gähler and Palmtag 2015). A number of confounding factors that provoke parental divorce – for example, emotional stress or parenting disputes – may also be detrimental to children’s outcomes.

In a new paper, we analyse various outcomes for children who experienced parental divorce (Frimmel et al. 2016).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 28, 2016 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

People from all faiths, backgrounds and traditions have come together today as a show of solidarity at a multifaith service at the Anglican Parish of Gosford.

The service was led by Central Coast Anglican Archdeacon Rod Bower and also featured the Islamic Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, local Buddhist leader Gen Kelsang Dawa and Newcastle Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson.

It was organised as a response to the protest by a group of right-wing extremists from the Party of Freedom who posed as Muslims and stormed a sermon by Gosford Anglican priest Father Bower recently.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* Theology

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Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“It’s a moral dilemma,” [Caitlin] Swieca said. “There’s definitely two conflicted feelings: the feeling of wanting to just watch a game and not let the domestic violence thing bother you, and the feeling of not wanting to let the domestic violence issue just fade into the background.”

Swieca tried to make peace with that conflict shortly after Chapman’s arrival with a simple act: She pledged on Twitter that each time Chapman recorded a save, she would donate $10 to an organization that aids domestic violence victims. At least then, Swieca said, she might feel better about Chapman’s helping the team.

She soon found out she was not alone. The Domestic Violence Legal Clinic has worked with Swieca, promoting the hashtag #pitchin4DV and an accompanying Twitter account, for which pledges totaling $5,100 have trickled in from around the country to groups supporting domestic violence victims.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologySexualityViolenceWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 28, 2016 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The 18-year-old assailant left a bench and ran toward the priest at the altar, but a bomb in his backpack only burned without exploding, said national police spokesman Maj. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar.

Before he was restrained by members of the congregation, the man managed to take an ax from the backpack and attacked the Rev. Albert Pandiangan, causing a slight injury to the 60-year-old priest’s hand, Mr. Amar said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndonesia* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 28, 2016 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bernard Smith spent 22 days face-to-face with death. The stench surrounded him as bodies of men, both young and old, were carted into a mortuary for him to process in Saigon during the Vietnam War.

Smith, 77, of Myrtle Beach, survived the war that took the lives of more than 50,000 Americans, but he is still haunted by hundreds of those souls.

“In the middle of the night, I would scream sometimes,” he said about the nightmares that he still has to this day. “One night, the Grim Reaper appeared in my dream and looked right at me and turned and said, ‘You’re next.’”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 28, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Police...[this week] apologised to the bishops of the Church of Uganda for failing to provide security to them while touring church land in Ntawo, Mukono, where they survived a mob.

Police on Tuesday rescued the prelates led by Archbishop Stanley Ntagali from an irate mob that attacked them while coming from a tour of the one-square mile land that belongs to the church.

The land under contention at Ntawo in Mukono is being developed by the Uganda Christian University (UCU) on behalf of the church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Uganda* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire

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Posted August 27, 2016 at 12:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A hired mob attempted to lynch the archbishop and bishops of the Church of Uganda on Tuesday, but were foiled when police arrived and drove off the attackers. On 23 August 2016 the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of Uganda and 34 members of the House of Bishops were inspecting a parcel of church owned land in Ntawo in the Mukono District when the attack occurred.

Sources in the Church of Uganda, who asked not to be named as they were not authorized to speak on behalf of the bishops, reported that at the House of Bishops’ Meeting held before the start of the 23rd Provincial Synod the bishops discussed a ten-year development plan for the church. One of the issues under discussion was the status of a one square mile parcel of land donated to the church in 1940.

Held by the church in trust for Uganda Christian University, a portion of the land has been leased to the government’s National Agricultural Research Organization, with the bulk of the land remaining undeveloped. Under former Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stephen Noll, the university proposed building a commercial housing estate on the site to provide income for the church as well as an agricultural research station for the university.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Uganda* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaUganda* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 27, 2016 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The charity Us is to return to its previous name USPG following an in-depth review of the current brand.

Back in 2012, the mission agency moved away from its long standing name of USPG (United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) to move into a new era of its work.

However a number of supporters were unhappy at the face the word 'gospel' had been removed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted August 27, 2016 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some high-achieving college students are winners when it comes to the South Carolina Education Lottery, but one of the losers is the Palmetto State, which has had to subsidize those awards with more than $1 billion during the past 14 years.

Thousands of college students who started school last week will pay for their educations partly with the merit-based scholarships, which range from $2,800 to $10,000 per year for South Carolina students who meet certain academic criteria and attend a public or private college in state.

But much of the money to pay for those awards doesn’t come from lottery proceeds. Instead, it comes from taxpayers through the state’s operating budget.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducation* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* South Carolina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 27, 2016 at 8:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There’s been a lot of negative campaign language about Islam this election season—calls for banning Muslims from entering the US and for patrolling Muslim neighborhoods. But there are also serious attempts to oppose anti-Muslims rhetoric. Correspondent Kim Lawton reports on efforts in Nashville, Tennessee to counter hateful speech by building personal relationships between Christians and Muslims. She talks with Rev. Josh Graves, pastor of an evangelical megachurch and author of How Not to Kill a Muslim: A Manifesto of Hope for Christianity and Islam in North America, along with Muslim community leaders who are participating in the bridge-building efforts.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

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Posted August 27, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While the filmmakers treat the Messiah with utmost reverence, he offers only a mix of platitudes about peace and forgiveness. This watered-down Christianity mirrors the sentiments of today’s fearful-to-offend evangelicalism, which often seems more concerned with wooing new followers than offering a complete understanding of Christianity’s demands and rewards.

“Love your enemies,” Jesus tells a young Judah. Later, he pacifies an angry mob of Jewish-nationalist Zealots with more boilerplate, telling them that violence against the oppressive Roman regime won’t solve anything. A few scenes later, an impressively costumed Morgan Freeman, playing the wealthy Sheikh Ilderim, who becomes Judah’s chariot-racing patron, also points out that violence isn’t the answer. If you’ve got Morgan Freeman, who needs Jesus?

Christ’s specifically salvific role, which made him the center of Christian theology for the past 2,000 years, goes missing in the film. As portrayed in “Ben-Hur,” he is neither the Messiah, nor the king whose kingdom is not of this world. Jesus’ death on the cross has no particular religious significance here. The Passion is depicted as almost accidental, as Jesus is swept up in Pontius Pilate’s broader purge of Zealots. Jesus’ death serves as nothing more than an opportunity to set a good example by forgiving his enemies.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* TheologyChristology

1 Comments
Posted August 26, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Convicts in British prisons who preach terrorism and extreme ideology to fellow inmates will be held in high-security “specialist units,” the government announced on Monday, amid efforts to crack down on Islamic radicalization in jails.

The announcement reflects an emerging trend in Europe to isolate terrorism convicts and influential extremists from the rest of the prison population. Prisons are often regarded as potential breeding grounds for would-be terrorists, particularly for young offenders serving sentences for crimes unrelated to terrorism but who nonetheless fall under the spell of older, charismatic inmates.

Last week, Anjem Choudary, one of Britain’s best-known Islamist activists, was found guilty of inviting support for the Islamic State. He could face a lengthy prison term.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPrison/Prison MinistryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 26, 2016 at 3:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Let's turn this around for the ESPN crew: OK, when you look at Christian McCaffrey, who and what do YOU see? What about his name? What about those high-school videos with him playing at Valor High Christian school near Denver? What about his active, outspoken Christian parents, including his NFL pro dad? Might these factors play a role in this in-depth story probing the mystery that is McCaffrey?

Apparently not. Here is a sample of the content in this totally faith-free ESPN report on this young Christian named Christian. This scene is set on an airplane:
The intensity of this kid! There's an immersion and stillness and deep rhythmic groove he achieves as he traces with his right index finger the motions plotted out for him and his teammates while also quietly incanting their mnemonic tethers. White. Sixty. Ox. Robin. One row over, one of McCaffrey's teammates, smirking, unburdens himself. It's silent but deadly – a weaponized, wet-velvet, all-but-visible wave of flatulence that warps the air of the cabin. I exclaim Save us from Satan while pulling my shirt collar over my nose and mouth. Others around me do the same (more or less). But not McCaffrey. No, McCaffrey is in his bubble, impervious, tracing, incanting, learning, maintaining his rhythm: After "finishing" a given play, he moves on, then returns exactly five minutes later to test his retention.
It's not the intensity that I'm loath to disturb but the earnestness. It somehow seems of a piece with his regard for the flight attendant making the safety announcement, quietly touching in the same way. I table my voice recorder for the moment and open a notebook. Perhaps because McCaffrey happens to be a pretty good self-taught pop-song pianist (again, see YouTube), I scribble this mincing fancy: Like a conservatory piano student working his way through a Chopin ?tude. The instant I do, though, another, even less appetizing, phrase bubbles up to consciousness. That phrase.
He's a student of the game. You know it well. We all do, and what it's code for: He's white.
Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted August 26, 2016 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Preparing to marry at the Church of Our Lady, the Lutheran cathedral in Copenhagen, this month, Nigel Rowley had felt nervous that its vast space would feel a little empty. When the doors opened, he saw the pews full of people, including many from his church, St Alban’s, there to support him and Mikel Lindbæk, who is now his husband. He felt “ecstatic”, he said this week.

Having attended St Alban’s, the Anglican Church in Copenhagen, for 30 years, he decided to get married in the Church of Denmark, where gay marriages have been solemnised since 2012. A member of both the deanery and diocesan synods, he felt that it was “very important” that he marry in church, “not just a blessing, but . . . the full works”. The service was conducted by the Bishop of Copenhagen, the Rt Revd Peter Skov-Jakobsen, and the choir of St Alban’s sang alongside the cathedral singers.

There is “no doubt” in Mr Rowley’s mind that the Church of England should permit same-sex marriage in its churches.

Read it all.

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

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Laity* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEuropeDenmark* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture


Posted August 26, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Reading Brave New World can be a peculiar experience, as one is alternatively struck by amusingly quaint and alarmingly timely elements. Although the work has aged surprisingly well for futurological fiction, it’s nonetheless a product of its age. Despite Huxley’s prescience and perceptiveness, his vision was largely a projection from and escalation of the emerging dynamics of his age of mass production, mass consumption, and mass society.

These dynamics have been superseded, or at least greatly complicated, by many subsequent developments. In a post-Fordist economy and a digital age of personalized devices, mass society is no longer as straightforward as it once seemed. Far from being perceived as a threat, for instance, individuality is now deeply assimilated into our economic system, as we’re encouraged to differentiate, identify, and align ourselves through our chosen forms of consumption. The fact we’re all caught up in the same system is less obvious when we all wear bespoke chains we’ve chosen for ourselves.

In fact, from our contemporary vantage point, a number of elements of Huxley’s vision seem far too conservative. Writing before the advent of modern genetics, Huxley couldn’t easily have imagined the direct genetic engineering of human beings now on our horizon and the degree of mastery over human nature this offers. Nor does he seem to have anticipated the form of sexuality in our age—the promiscuous sex in Brave New World is all heterosexual. Further, despite existing within a World State, the England providing the backdrop to Huxley’s narrative seems surprisingly provincial at points: Radical globalization had seemingly had limited effect.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistory* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEschatology

1 Comments
Posted August 26, 2016 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Born in Louisiana, Mrs. Janu grew up in a predominantly white suburb in upstate New York, joined a white sorority in college and married a white detective. Yet these days, she fears that racism and bias might be “hard-wired” into society and wonders how that might affect her family.

She worries as her husband holsters his Glock 22, kisses her goodbye and heads out the door to pursue gun runners and violent criminals in this predominantly black city. Will he be a target now on the street?

She worries as she has adjusted to the rhythms of round-the-clock feedings and diaper changes. What dangers might Wesley face as a teenager at the hands of the police?

And then there is the racial divide that runs right through her living room, the issues that occasionally create a rift between husband and wife. Mrs. Janu, 31, is a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, for instance, while Mr. Janu, 42, argues that some of its activists “do more harm than good” and spew “a lot of hate” toward the police.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted August 25, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Low points are emotional creatures. Your physical conditions might not change, but they can seem to take on different characteristics. The same hospital room, same beeping machines, and same bee-hive of busy staff that had been my miracle workers just yesterday were now transformed into a hellish prison. My cancer tormented me. I felt trapped like Jonah in the belly of the whale — with no way out. I felt like I was going to die a slow death by digestive juices in the oozing darkness of the beast. I curled up into a fetal position and felt hopeless.

Then I saw him.

I opened my eyes and looked right into the face of Jesus. He was not looking down from Heaven or floating in the room. He was right there, lying in the narrow bed with me. There was no flaw in His features, no crown of thorns on His head. He was regally perfect. He looked directly into my eyes and beamed. His Presence radiated love that vaporized my fears and loneliness. He assured me of his plans for me. He was going to make sure I got out that hospital to fulfill them.

Read it all from LivingonJesusStreet.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the LaitySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* South Carolina* TheologyEschatologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 25, 2016 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

About half of U.S. adults have looked for a new religious congregation at some point in their lives, most commonly because they have moved. And when they search for a new house of worship, a new Pew Research Center study shows, Americans look first and foremost for a place where they like the preaching and the tone set by the congregation’s leaders.

Fully 83% of Americans who have looked for a new place of worship say the quality of preaching played an important role in their choice of congregation. Nearly as many say it was important to feel welcomed by clergy and lay leaders, and about three-quarters say the style of worship services influenced their decision about which congregation to join. Location also factored prominently in many people’s choice of congregation, with seven-in-ten saying it was an important factor. Smaller numbers cite the quality of children’s programs, having friends or family in the congregation or the availability of volunteering opportunities as key to their decision.

Perhaps as a result of the value they place on good sermons, church leadership and the style of worship services, many people – even in this age of technology – find there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction when seeking information about a new religious home.

Read it carefully and read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedPastoral CarePreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 25, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In retrospect, Facebook’s takeover of online media looks rather like a slow-motion coup. Before social media, web publishers could draw an audience one of two ways: through a dedicated readership visiting its home page or through search engines. By 2009, this had started to change. Facebook had more than 300 million users, primarily accessing the service through desktop browsers, and publishers soon learned that a widely shared link could produce substantial traffic. In 2010, Facebook released widgets that publishers could embed on their sites, reminding readers to share, and these tools were widely deployed. By late 2012, when Facebook passed a billion users, referrals from the social network were sending visitors to publishers’ websites at rates sometimes comparable to Google, the web’s previous de facto distribution hub. Publishers took note of what worked on Facebook and adjusted accordingly.

This was, for most news organizations, a boon. The flood of visitors aligned with two core goals of most media companies: to reach people and to make money. But as Facebook’s growth continued, its influence was intensified by broader trends in internet use, primarily the use of smartphones, on which Facebook became more deeply enmeshed with users’ daily routines. Soon, it became clear that Facebook wasn’t just a source of readership; it was, increasingly, where readers lived.

Facebook, from a publisher’s perspective, had seized the web’s means of distribution by popular demand. A new reality set in, as a social-media network became an intermediary between publishers and their audiences.

Read it all from the New York Times.

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted August 24, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has outlined the priorities he'd like to see youth workers make in the UK going forward.

Justin Welby has written a special editorial for Premier Youthwork magazine as the magazine marks its 25 anniversary.

In it he describes himself as "no expert in Christian youth work" but says he'd love to see young people becoming disciples of Jesus, witnesses to Jesus and servants of the kingdom.

Read it all and follow to the bottom for the editorial.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted August 24, 2016 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When a bomb threat targeted the Thier Galerie shopping mall in Dortmund in July, police rushed to the scene and asked to scour closed-circuit camera recordings.

There wasn’t much footage to go through. An attempt by the mall operator to ramp up video surveillance last fall had been vetoed by local authorities who feared an assault on patrons’ privacy.

“You can’t just say you want to have more cameras,” said Heike Marzen, the mall’s manager. “There are certain laws we have to follow.”

Branded by its dictatorial past, when surveillance was both dreaded and commonplace, Germany has some of the world’s toughest privacy laws. But after two attacks claimed by Islamic State and a mass shooting this summer, the government is pushing to recalibrate the balance between security and anonymity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 24, 2016 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the United States, diversity has generally been considered an asset. It is frequently cited by public figures as both a source of national pride and a worthy ambition. It is an oft-stated goal of Fortune 500 companies, private colleges and entire sectors of the U.S. economy. And even if Americans don’t claim much diversity in their own social networks, few believe that our differences are not something to be celebrated. At one point it was even argued that America’s religious vitality hinged on its diversity — greater competition between places of worship would contribute to a more vibrant religious culture. However, new evidence suggests that religious pluralism could work in the opposite direction — undermining the vitality of America’s religious communities.

This is not a new debate, but it’s more relevant than ever. The American religious landscape is transforming rapidly. At one time, religious diversity meant: Baptist, Methodist and Episcopalian. Today, it encompasses a multiplicity of religious traditions such as Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism, as well as an increasing variety of noninstitutional belief systems such as humanism, skepticism, atheism and subjective spirituality. Racial and ethnic shifts have also changed the face of Christianity. The U.S. was once a predominantly white Christian country, but fewer than half of Americans (45 percent) identify as white Christian today.

We don’t know for sure that America’s religious pluralism is causing a drop in religious vitality — there are reasons to think the two might simply be related — but there are a number of different ways diversity might erode commitment.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMulticulturalism, pluralismReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The explosive growth of digital technology and mobile devices has fundamentally altered the way we communicate and engage with each other. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter mediate our online presence and set new rules for digital interactions. But the question remains: has social media made our lives better or worse?

In partnership with Proverbs 31 Ministries and in conjunction with Lysa TerKeurst’s new book Uninvited, Barna conducted a study exclusively among women to examine the habits and impact of their social media use. Though it appears women are experiencing social media in mostly positive ways, reporting that it heightens their sense of connection with friends, their sometimes round-the-clock use results in notable amounts of women experiencing feelings of loneliness, judgment, comparison and distraction.

Almost half of all women (49%) say they feel bored either usually or sometimes after using social media. Another one-third (35%) report wanting to change something about their life, and one-quarter (24%) feel like they are missing out on something. 1 in 5 women (21%) also report feeling lonely or jealous (17%) of other people’s lives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingSociologyWomen

0 Comments
Posted August 23, 2016 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A group of gay Church of England clergy are set to reveal that they have married their partners, defying the official line taken by church leaders on same-sex marriage.

A dozen gay ministers are to sign an open letter that also urges the church to allow clergy to carry out blessings for parishioners entering into same-sex marriages.

Half the signatories have already declared themselves to be in a gay marriage, including Andrew Foreshew-Cain, who was one of the first priests to openly defy the ruling.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted August 23, 2016 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Justin Trudeau came to power in Canada, he promised to repair the country's relationship with its Aboriginal people, after centuries of discrimination. A disproportionate number of indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered in recent decades, and suicide attempts have risen dramatically in some communities, writes Stephen Sackur.
Attawapiskat is hard to reach. Generations of Canadian politicians have never lent it a thought, still less a visit. But this ramshackle Aboriginal settlement south of Hudson Bay has been making national news over the past year for the grimmest of reasons.
Last October a 13-year-old girl, Sheridan Hookimaw, headed to the rubbish dump and hanged herself. Since then more than 100 of Attawapiskat's 2,000 First Nation people, most of them teenagers, but one just 11 years old, have attempted suicide.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologySuicideTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Perhaps it doesn’t matter; more and more, the word just feels true, and we’re in an epidemic of diagnosis. But when the bore and the charmer both begin to look like a certain American politician, and the American politician reminds us of the worst of what’s online, which may be what the whole younger generation is like, and it begins to feel as if a new selfishness has taken the future hostage and your dinner companion is not just dull, your recently departed not just a fake, but the future itself is narcissism — it raises the question of what it is that we fear, exactly, when we say the word.

Read it all (my emphasis).

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

0 Comments
Posted August 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Elsa Moluf, 26, an Ada graduate, said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, still resonated when she thought about personal safety — a feeling compounded recently by a shooting on a Seattle street in broad daylight only a few feet from her. “In the era of terrorism, I think about stuff like, ‘If I go to this crowded festival, what are the chances,’ ” she said.

Baby boomers, to whom millennials are often compared — if only by the force of their numbers — also reached adulthood amid tumult and angst, during the Vietnam War and the struggle for civil rights. But people now in their 20s and 30s say that the 1960s were different, that there seemed to be a clearer goal then — to end racial segregation, poverty or the war. The economy seemed better and the nation’s future more assured.

Now, from niche anxieties like genetically modified crops to defining ones like climate change, questions feel open-ended and unprecedented: Is the food we eat still food? How do you get your head around a threat to the entire planet?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * By KendallHarmon Family* Culture-WatchTravel* General InterestPhotos/Photography

0 Comments
Posted August 17, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For 46 years South Carolina native Grainger McKoy has turned wood into wings. His carvings of birds at rest, in flight, and in conflict with nature are well known to both hunters and birders. The detail is extraordinary, enough so that at first glance many pieces appear to be taxidermy. In typical modesty and humor, he says “All I do is remove wood. How I make a living is I know when to stop.”

Possibly his most prominent piece is a carving of a pintail wing, originally commissioned by the Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston. The upright sculpture captures the wing in its recovery stroke and is accordingly titled “Recovery.”

“Over the years, having looked at photographs and watched film of birds in flight, the recovery position seemed to be the one with the most beauty and the one that was the most intricate,” says McKoy. “Yet it’s the weakest wing position. Weakness is where the truth comes out, and all of us, somewhere in our lives, are in recovery.”

Read it all and don't miss the amazing pictures.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArt* South Carolina* Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 17, 2016 at 7:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here are mine--I would be interested in what you come up with for your list-KSH.




Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & Television

3 Comments
Posted August 16, 2016 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you’ve noticed that colossal lottery winnings are becoming almost common this year, it’s no accident. Four of the 10 biggest jackpots in United States history have already occurred in 2016, an engineered outcome intended to generate mind-bogglingly big winners.

That’s thrilling if you are the rare winner of hundreds of millions of dollars. But whether it’s a good thing for scores of millions of other people who play government-sponsored lottery games is highly questionable, as a close look at the numbers reveals.

What is immediately evident, though, is that the high frequency of enormous jackpots results from skillful planning, says Salil Mehta, an independent statistician. “This was deliberate,” Mr. Mehta says. “The jackpots are growing very rapidly, and at a certain point when the jackpot rises into the hundreds of millions of dollars, there is a buzz, and people start betting much more....

At a minimum, the government ought to be doing no harm to its citizens, yet it appears to be promoting and benefiting from activities that are surely harming the life prospects of many people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGamblingPsychology* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 16, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There are certain lines everyone knows. Ever-brusque “Dragnet” Detective Joe Friday said, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Sherlock Holmes, somewhat condescendingly, has long said, “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Those and many other sayings have something in common besides popularity — they’re wrong. They were never said by the characters to which they’re attributed, or at least not in those precise words.

Another type of misquoting is even further from the mark — though extremely close to Mark Twain. If someone tells you a famous quotation is by Twain, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, or some other famous person, you should probably take it with a grain of salt. Attributing quotes to the wrong person is a popular pastime. Don’t misquote me on this: Most people, and even many reference books, are terrible when it comes to accurate quotation.

Read it all (hat tip: SP).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetHistoryPoetry & Literature

5 Comments
Posted August 16, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * By KendallHarmon Family* Culture-WatchTravel* General InterestPhotos/Photography

1 Comments
Posted August 14, 2016 at 11:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This good feel for the campus where my family came every summer and just outside of which I am now staying.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTravel* General InterestPhotos/Photography

0 Comments
Posted August 14, 2016 at 8:33 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the 40 million copies sold of The Purpose Driven Life ended up in the large, paddle-like hands of Michael Phelps.

In between winning Olympic golds, Phelps made headlines for very different reasons: repeated DUIs, parties and pot, weight gain and rehab. A couple of years ago, fellow athlete and friend Ray Lewis (aka “God’s linebacker”) gave the champion swimmer Rick Warren’s bestseller.

“I basically told him, ‘Okay, everything has a purpose, and now, guess what? It’s time to wake up,’” the former Baltimore Raven said in The Washington Post.

In an ESPN special, Phelps said the book “turned me into believing that there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet” and “helped me when I was in a place that I needed the most help.” It spurred him to reconcile with his dad.

Read it all from Christianity Today.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHealth & MedicineMovies & TelevisionPsychologyRace/Race RelationsSports* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 13, 2016 at 1:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While Americans rightly exult in the achievements of U.S. medalists, “Chariots of Fire” also serves as a reminder that athletics and even patriotism only mean so much. When Liddell is informed that a qualifying heat takes place on Sunday, his Sabbath, he chooses not to compete in that race. The camera cuts from athletes at the Olympics to Liddell reading a passage in Isaiah: “Behold the nations are as a drop in the bucket . . . but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings, as eagles. They shall run, and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” David Puttnam, a “Chariots of Fire” producer, wrote me that the verses were “specifically selected by the actor, the late Ian Charleson, who gave himself the task of reading the entire Bible whilst preparing for the film.”

The Isaiah passage is liturgically important for Jews: Parts of it are declaimed in synagogue on the Sabbath when we read God’s command to Abraham to leave the center of civilization and found a family, and a faith, in a new land. Isaiah reminds Jews that Abraham’s children have encountered much worse than what Harold Abrahams experienced. While most nations now rest on the ash heap of history, the biblical Abraham’s odyssey continues. The countries competing in today’s Olympics come and go, while those who “wait upon the Lord” endure.

“Chariots of Fire” also offers a message for people of faith who have grown troubled by the secularization of society and the realization that they are often scorned by elites. Like Liddell, we may be forced to choose religious principle over social success. Hopefully, however, we will be able to use our gifts to sanctify this world. As Liddell’s father told his son in the film: “Run in God’s name, and let the world stand back in wonder.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureSports

0 Comments
Posted August 13, 2016 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

“God made me for China.” Eric Liddell lived his life in answer to that calling and commission. As Duncan Hamilton explains, Liddell “considered athletics as an addendum to his life rather than his sole reason for living it.”

Eric Liddell ran for God’s glory, but he was made for China. He desperately wanted the nation he loved to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believe. David J. Michell, director for Canada Overseas Missionary Fellowship, would introduce Liddell’s collected devotional writings, The Disciplines of the Christian Life, by stating simply that “Eric Liddell’s desire was to know God more deeply, and as a missionary, to make him known more fully.”

As Olympic glory shines from Rio, Christians must remember that Olympic glory will eventually fade. There will be medalists for all to celebrate in Rio. But, will there be another Eric Liddell? At the very least, his story needs to be told again. The most important part of his story came long after his gold medal arrived by mail.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchSports

0 Comments
Posted August 12, 2016 at 9:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

LIKE almost every other human activity, religion will make its mark at the Rio Olympics. An American evangelist called David Crandall has organised teams of missionaries to propagate his reading of Christianity (one that attaches great importance to the creation story in Genesis) at every Olympics since 1996; in Rio, he has announced, a team of at least 85 people from seven countries will be handing out 250,000 booklets in ten languages. Pope Francis has tweeted his good wishes to all the athletes and sent a particularly warm letter of encouragement to a "refugee team" drawn from the wave of migrants sweeping through Europe. A priest has been named as "father-confessor" to the Russian team. It has been announced that the Olympic village includes a religion space with facilities for followers of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism.

But the hard fact is that religions in the ordinary sense have never been sure how to respond to the Olympics..

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchSports

0 Comments
Posted August 12, 2016 at 9:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Life-giving God, who alone hast power over life and death, over health and sickness: Give power, wisdom, and gentleness to those who follow the example of thy servant Florence Nightingale, that they, bearing with them thy Presence, may not only heal but bless, and shine as lanterns of hope in the darkest hours of pain and fear; through Jesus Christ, the healer of body and soul, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine

0 Comments
Posted August 12, 2016 at 5:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s known as the historic reversal, and it appears irreversible: Places where the old outnumber kids.

What began in 1995 in a single country, Italy, will spread to 56 nations, economies as diverse as New Zealand and Georgia, by 2030. These are the findings of Joseph Chamie, who spent a quarter of a century studying population patterns at the United Nations in New York and now is an independent researcher.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyGlobalizationSociologyTeens / YouthYoung Adults* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 11, 2016 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even when the dead bodies Zachary Smeltz lifts for a living are hefty, he makes sure to handle even the burliest corpse in a gentle manner, masking any exertion. “Treat every case like that’s your mom that you’re transferring,” is the motto Mr. Smeltz imparts on the staff of the mortuary transport business he owns that sends him all over New Jersey and Pennsylvania and to other locales, picking up bodies.

Mr. Smeltz is part of an unusual niche in the labor market: He is among a proliferating group of independent entrepreneurs capitalizing on the need to collect the dead from houses, hospitals, morgues and accident scenes. It is a little-known link in the chain of death-to-final-resting-place that is growing as places like funeral homes and hospices as well as governments cut their budgets and increasingly outsource the transport of the dead.

A class-action suit unfolding in California has opened a window onto this often lightly regulated industry: Charons of the highway, who shuttle corpses from one place to another. While in some places, like New York, such work must be carried out under the auspices of licensed funeral directors, in others, like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, private contractors without any special permits may pick up bodies.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchTravel* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 10, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I’m meeting more millennials who embrace the mentality expressed in the book “The Abundant Community,” by John McKnight and Peter Block. The authors are notably hostile to consumerism.

They are anti-institutional and anti-systems. “Our institutions can offer only service — not care — for care is the freely given commitment from the heart of one to another,” they write.

Millennials are oriented around neighborhood hospitality, rather than national identity or the borderless digital world. “A neighborhood is the place where you live and sleep.” How many of your physical neighbors know your name?

Maybe we’re on the cusp of some great cracking. Instead of just paying lip service to community while living for autonomy, I get the sense a lot of people are actually about to make the break and immerse themselves in demanding local community movements. It wouldn’t surprise me if the big change in the coming decades were this: an end to the apotheosis of freedom; more people making the modern equivalent of the Native American leap.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 9, 2016 at 3:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Soldiers and protesters clashed in an Anglican church in Nigeria on July 28, leaving five people hospitalized, two of whom are in serious condition.

The violent clash happened at St. John's Anglican Church in Amukpe in Southern Nigeria's Edo State in the Niger Delta. Protesters sieged the church, calling for the resignation of Rt. Rev. Blessing Erifeta, the Bishop of Sapele. Soldiers previously guarding an oil pipeline were called on by the vicar of the church to instill order as bishops had started a synod inside the church.

Protesters surrounded the church, waving their placards and even prevented some delegates to enter the church and taking part of the synod. The soldiers arrived and violently disrupted the protest; four women and one minor were hospitalized in the process.

The protesters were calling on for Archbishop Nicholas Okoh to force Bishop Erifeta to resign. They claimed that the bishop is guilty of "financial recklessness, maladmin­istration, disrespect to elders and embark[ing] on incessant trips abroad with the diocese funds."

Read it all from Christian Daily.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

0 Comments
Posted August 7, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is more than 130 years since Nietzsche declared that “God is dead”, and forecasts of the demise of organised religion in the UK and elsewhere have been a regular fixture ever since.

But new figures from Britain’s longest-running and most important barometer of general public opinion suggest that reports of the imminent death of Christianity at least may have been greatly exaggerated.

As-yet unpublished findings from this year’s British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA), seen by the Sunday Telegraph, show decades of decline in religious affiliation appearing to level off.

The overall proportion of Britons who described themselves as Christian actually rose one percentage point in the last year from 42 per cent to 43 per cent.

Read it all.

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

2 Comments
Posted August 7, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How did you keep the meeting safe and secure?

That was difficult. A lot of prayer. The meeting started out really tense because those individuals had never really been in a room together. They were seeing each other as enemies. It’s hard to have a one-to-one sit-down, but to have 50-50 sit down and talk was even more difficult.

But I opened in prayers and set the ground rules and kept everyone accountable; that’s how I was able to stay in control of the meeting and communicate on a level that was not intimidating or threatening.

You knew many of the people in the room already?

A lot of the guys in that room, I know them personally. I know their families. I have ministered to many of their families in times of shootings and gun violence. I built relationships and rapport with a lot of people in that room. It isn’t something that happened overnight, but it has been in process for some time now.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This year, [Rob] Dewey wants as many tri-county churches as possible to sign up to remember first responders on 9/11 this year. The 15th anniversary falls on a Sunday, and many people will be in church at the time of the attack.

“What we’re trying to do is encourage the churches to remember our local first responders who have put themselves in harm’s way,” Dewey said. “This is a chance for congregations to say, ‘We appreciate you.’ ”

Dewey, senior chaplain of Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy, serves with 40 departments in the tri-county area who respond to emergencies. He plans to spread the word to the first responders who he works with on a daily basis about which churches will be recognizing and celebrating them that Sunday.

Churches can do anything: a reception for first responders and their families, a color guard or honor guard, speakers who were connected to the attack, or include first responders in the service.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted August 6, 2016 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Guerrilla activity stopped the missionary work among the Yukpa for more than three decades. But since the early 2000s, several Colombian believers have re-established contact with the tribe and discovered a number of strong believers. They built two schools and a church, and work is proceeding again on a Yukpa Bible.

The events of Aug. 3, 1966, were a defining moment in my life. I was certain we would be killed in those awful moments, yet I joyfully looked forward to seeing the face of Jesus. When it didn’t happen, it gave me a larger purpose in life—to live for Him. The next year, I chose as my “life verse” Paul’s words in Philippians 1:21: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Ernest’s legacy is one of a faithful servant. He selflessly served others his entire life. Yet the Yukpa were closest to his heart. Three times he ventured out to live among them; and in the end, he gave his life for them. The “Daily Light,” a classic devotional book from which we read at his gravesite, had this Scripture from Revelation 2:10 for Aug. 3: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyTeens / Youth* International News & CommentarySouth AmericaColombia* Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 5, 2016 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The reverend was well aware the thousands he spent on raffle tickets could have purchased multiple similar weapons. He said he not only wanted to get the rifle off the street, but also wanted to make sure he funded the girls' trip.

The brouhaha started when Lucas announced his plans to destroy the rifle. After garnering plenty of local press, the Washington Post picked up the story and Lucas told the paper he had picked up the rifle from a gun store, but had left the rifle at the home of a "responsible gun owner" who offered to keep the weapon locked in a gun safe.

The only problem? As of May 11, 2015, any transfer of a firearm, even between private parties when no money changes hands, requires a full background check.

Read it all and you can find a brief bio of the minister Jery Lucas there.

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

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology


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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When it comes to raising money through enterprise, Chris Henderson has one word of advice for the Anglican Church of Canada: think of projects or partners that will be in line with your values—otherwise, it won’t work.

“You’ve got to be true to mission,” he says. “Not being true to mission means you’re almost writing a cheque for failure.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryCanada

0 Comments
Posted August 5, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Culture-WatchMedia* General InterestHumor / TriviaWeather* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted August 5, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Churches in the UK are setting an example of how to combat hate crimes and racist abuse within their communities, after the divisive EU referendum vote.

The Community and Urban Affairs division of the Church of England highlighted some of these programmes in a new document, Hate-busters and Neighbour-lovers, published last week.

It lists statements, hashtags, welcome events, training, and worship as examples of ways in which dioceses across the country are promoting inclusion, and tackling racism in their communities.

The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, wrote in an open letter in June that, despite “some deep divisions to emerge in our nation” since the UK voted to leave the EU, the diocese would be “keeping the values of welcome, inclusion, and international friendship at the heart of our communities”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 5, 2016 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We give thee thanks, O Lord, for the vision and skill of Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald and Lucas Cranach the Elder, whose artistic depictions helped the peoples of their age understand the full suffering and glory of thine incarnate Son; and we pray that their work may strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and the mystery of the Holy Trinity; who livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchArt

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Posted August 5, 2016 at 5:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Married couples now make up fewer than half the population, according to an official report on family living yesterday.

In a turning point in the fall of the traditional family, it said that only 48.1 per cent of people aged over 16 were married and living as a couple last year, and that many of those who would once have been married now live together as cohabitees.

The estimates that mean married couples are now a minority also showed that nearly one in 10 people who have shunned marriage now live together as cohabitees.

They also found that the 'boomerang generation' of young people who live with their parents because they cannot afford their own home has contributed to a steady rise in numbers who do not live in a partnership.

Read it all from the long list of should-have-already-been-posted material.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilySociology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Regular attenders of Elevation Church reported being surprised Sunday morning when they were directed to the “new balcony entrance” for seating.

“We normally get there early so we can sit as close to pastor Steven as possible,” Marie Dotwiler told reporters. “We were all like, ‘What’s going on?'” They did not have to wonder for long.

Pastor Steven Furtick took the stage under a single spotlight, and after some coy banter, he reportedly announced that it was “Baptism Sunday,” but that this was “not your Mama’s Baptism Sunday.” At this cue, a giant water slide, stretching from the balcony down to a small pool of water, was unveiled from behind a large curtain as the worship band began performing TLC’s 1994 hit “Waterfalls.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* General InterestHumor / Trivia

1 Comments
Posted August 4, 2016 at 3:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But much more important is the steep upward trajectory of our long-term debt – which remains as dangerous as ever. In its latest long-term outlook, released in June, CBO projected that the federal debt will climb to 141 percent of GDP by 2046 – by far the highest level on record.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 4, 2016 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In early August 2015 one of Porritt’s junior colleagues (who asked for his name to be withheld) was looking at CCTV images from the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where he had worked as a beat cop. The officer noticed the same, smartly dressed thief – the man the team later nicknamed McNulty – in two stills taken in upmarket shops. Snap. Then another, and another – snap, snap. As he broadened his search to other affluent boroughs of London, the officer kept seeing the same face. He printed out the images of the serial shoplifter and tacked them to a wall in the office. He told me: “When I had 13 or 14 crimes, I said to Eliot, ‘There’s £35,000 worth of goods stolen by this guy. We need to do something.’”

They downloaded the CCTV clips from where the stills had been taken. McNulty’s hands were so fast that in some cases the officers had to slow the footage down to ascertain exactly when the theft had occurred.

“I hate using the words ‘talented’ or ‘good’ for a criminal, when they could be so many better things, like a street magician or a dextrous watchmaker,” said Porritt. “But when we watched him [McNulty], it was like: ‘That’s good.’”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A police officer with the Washington transit system has become the first American law enforcement officer to be charged with supporting the Islamic State, accused of trying to send financial help to the group after advising a friend on how to travel to Syria to join it.

In court papers filed on Tuesday and made public on Wednesday, federal law enforcement officials charged the officer, Nicholas Young, with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

The charge is based on the allegation that Mr. Young bought gift cards worth $245 and sent their code numbers to someone he believed had joined ISIS in Syria, to help the group pay for mobile phone messaging with its supporters in the West.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 4, 2016 at 6:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you’ve got a smartphone, you’ve probably downloaded a few apps, either games to waste some time or something a little more productive! There are apps for everything now, including a few that might be of use to your church. To save yourself sifting through the hundreds of thousands of apps on the market, I’ve selected a few for you which will help your church be creative, work together and save you time. All of them are work on both Apple and Android phones and are all free to use....

Slack is a fantastic tool for coordinating and collaborating as part of a team. The app (and the corresponding website) lets you have conversations on multiple topics with a particular group of people. For instance, as a church team you could have a conversation about planning for Christmas or ongoing building works. By having it all in one place, all those that need to know, can be in the know, ideas can be suggested to the group, links to resources can be shared and plans can be agreed (saving your inbox from email overload!) You can also send files to each other and more.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted August 4, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace told The Church of England Newspaper: “The Archbishop of Canterbury was pleased to meet Shaykh Naqib ur Rehman, a leading Sufi Muslim leader from Pakistan, at Lambeth Palace yesterday. The Archbishop received a first-hand account of the situation in Pakistan, which is a highly significant country for faith relationships in the UK.”

However, the son of Salmaan Taseer told the International Business Times he was perturbed by the news. Taseer, who had been kidnapped by the Taliban and held prisoner for four years said: “These people teach murder and hate. For me personally I find it sad that a country like England would allow cowards like these men in.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 4, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Banning resident Jim Bailey and his wife went in recently for their annual physicals. They came away with hundreds of dollars in charges for co-pays and tests.

Bailey, 78, told me that he feels duped.

“The Affordable Care Act dictates that all annual physicals be provided at no cost to the policyholders — no deductibles or co-pays,” he said. “But that wasn’t the case with us.”

Nor will it be the case with anyone else — even though many Americans believe otherwise.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebatePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 4, 2016 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Unfortunately, many of us who have spoken up in church communities have been told to “pray harder” or “have more faith.” These suggestions might be well intentioned, but they often discourage and isolate those of us in desperate need of support. “It’s a knee-jerk reaction to judge people when they’re vulnerable,” wrote actress Kristen Bell of her own story. “But there’s nothing weak about struggling with mental illness. You’re just having a harder time living in your brain than other people.”
She’s right: Struggling with an illness of any kind makes a person vulnerable, and a sick brain puts a person in a particularly vulnerable state because it’s often impossible to discern the problem from the inside. The sick brain can’t see the sick brain. More often than not, someone in the midst of a depressive episode or panic attack can barely put forth a cry for help.
As people living in Christian community, we should be ready to offer practical knowledge and gracious support to people experiencing mental health crises. With that in mind, here are three ways I believe every church is best positioned to help:

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 4, 2016 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Islamic State said it appointed a new leader for Boko Haram, in a sign that the Nigerian Islamist insurgency is retooling under the command of the terrorist group.

Sheik Abu Mossab al Bornawi was recently assigned to take command of the Nigerian insurgency, Islamic State’s weekly newsletter Al Naba said Tuesday.

The article didn’t say what happened to Abubakar Shekau, the former face of Boko Haram, who hasn’t been seen in videos since early 2015. It also isn’t clear if Mr. Shekau’s followers support the change in management.

Boko Haram, whose war with Nigeria’s government has left more than 30,000 people dead, declared loyalty to Islamic State in 2015. Mr. Bornawi told al Naba that the two groups have decided “to fight and unite under one umbrella.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted August 3, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since the 1995-96 academic school year, Princeton Theological Seminary has seen 30 percent fewer full-time enrolled students. Reformed Theological Seminary saw a 33 percent decrease to 547 full-time students while Candler School of Theology experienced a 39 percent drop to 414 full-time students.

There were a few positive changes. Since 1995-96, the evangelical Wesleyan-rooted Asbury Theological Seminary experienced a 50 percent increase in full-time student enrollment. “They are drawn to Asbury’s distinctives of a high regard for biblical authority and commitment to preparing women and men for evangelistic ministry,” wrote Dr. Tom Tumblin, Dean of the Asbury seminary Beeson International Center for Biblical Preaching and Leadership, in an article for the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “Our faculty includes world-class scholars who have rich field experience and embrace God’s call to go, disciple, baptize and teach.”

Midwestern Theological Seminary sprung into the top ten largest seminaries with an inspiring 136 percent increase in full-time student enrollment since 1995. Similarly, evangelical Gordon-Conwell also moved up among the largest seminaries with a 57 percent increase in full-time students over the past two decades.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted August 3, 2016 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The kitchen at The Red Barn restaurant in Augusta, Maine, stays busy cooking up miracles, filling its customers — and community — with nourishment that comes straight from the heart.

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsDieting/Food/Nutrition

0 Comments
Posted August 3, 2016 at 11:52 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Isis has "fully operational branches" in 18 countries, a leaked briefing document received by the White House has revealed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism

0 Comments
Posted August 3, 2016 at 11:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s the indirect costs that are high; if anyone wonders why so many of our career politicians are cynics with deep contempt for the public they serve, years of fawning over dumb rich people, pretending to take their silly ideas seriously, assuring each of them that you aren’t like the other stupid rich people, no, you are special, you are smart, and our ten minutes a year friendship punctuated by check writing is deep and sincere—all this tends to corrode the soul. Having a political class who subsist on exploiting the character weaknesses and insatiable narcissism of dilettante plutocrats isn’t the best way to cultivate an ethos of responsibility and patriotism at the highest levels of government.

The fatheaded stupidity of rich liberals is the subtext of the hacked emails: how easily they are exploited, how gullible their vanity makes them, how pathetically eager they are for the hollow satisfaction of a seat next to the powerful. In one sense it’s refreshing: great wealth does not in fact make a nincompoop powerful. Also, it suggests that the real problem with our republic is that what should be our leadership elite is soul-sick: vain, restless, easily miffed, intellectually confused, jealous…

The sense that people like this—a mix of knaves and fools—are running both parties has a lot to do with the anger that fueled both the Sanders and the Trump campaigns. There’s a spiritual disease at work in this, and over time it has the ability to wreck not just individual souls, but our free institutions and the rule of law itself.

Read it all (my emphasis).

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

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted August 3, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But if [Erik] Hurst’s research is accurate (and profit margins from the video-game industry suggest that it is), then the issue becomes much bigger than video games themselves. The portrait that emerges of the young American male indicates an isolated, entertainment-absorbed existence, with only the most childlike social ties (such as with parents and “bros”) playing a meaningful role.

Young men, significantly more so than young women, are stuck in life. Research released in May from the Pew Center documented a historic demographic shift: American men aged 18-30 are now statistically more likely to be living with their parents than with a romantic partner. This trend is significant, for one simple reason: Twenty- and thirtysomething men who are living at home, working part-time or not at all, are unlikely to be preparing for marriage. Hurst’s research says that these men are single, unoccupied, and fine with that—because their happiness doesn’t depend on whether they are growing up and living life.

This prolonged delay of marriage and relational commitment often means a perpetual adolescence in other areas of life. Love and sex are arguably the best incentives for men to assert their adulthood. But in the comfort of their parents’ homes and their gaming systems, young men get to live out their fantasies without the frictions of reality.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEntertainmentMenPornographyScience & TechnologySociologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 3, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He was the senior Newcastle cleric with a prominent role on the Anglican Church’s sexual abuse working group in 2003 that developed national professional standards.

But the 13th Anglican Dean of Newcastle, Graeme Lawrence, was also in a “gang of three” protecting a notorious Hunter paedophile priest, and led a Griffith group of offenders to the Hunter who were later defrocked after child sex allegations, the royal commission has heard.

Over the next two weeks the commission will hear evidence Mr Lawrence’s power and influence protected child sex offenders for several decades, but did not end with his defrocking in 2012.

“It is anticipated there will be evidence that Lawrence had, and continues to have, considerable influence in the diocese,” counsel assisting Naomi Sharp told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse sitting in Newcastle on Tuesday.

Read it all from the Newcastle Herald.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 3, 2016 at 5:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even with the U.S. launching airstrikes on an Islamic State stronghold in Libya, the battle to uproot the extremists from the oil-rich North African nation is expected to be long and difficult.

The U.S. began the attacks on Monday and struck again on Tuesday in support of a ground offensive to retake Sirte, a strategic port on the Mediterranean coast. But Islamic State is also entrenched in other pockets across the country, including parts of the eastern city of Benghazi, Libya’s second largest; Derna, another eastern city; and the western town of Sabratha, near the Tunisian border.

The competing militias and centers of power that have stoked Libya’s civil war complicate the fight against Islamic State. The chaos has given the group an opening to gain its first territorial foothold outside its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaLibya* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 2, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many churches broadcast their worship services – edited, usually, and distributed over the air or on cable. Now, more and more churches are taking advantage of streaming to present their services live, over the internet and available around the world. There are problems, such as how to include absent audiences in such rituals as communion or baptisms. But correspondent Dan Lothian reports from Dallas that many worshippers say watching a streamed service is a lot better than having no church service at all.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 2, 2016 at 3:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...as Mr. Rashid acknowledges, Muslims in the military face numerous challenges. For one, 15 years of war in Muslim countries has made serving in the military a cultural minefield. Among some non-Muslim soldiers, Islam itself is often seen as the problem, not extremism.

In interviews, Muslim soldiers said they had all encountered at one time or another what one called “knucklehead” comments equating them with terrorists. Things got worse after 13 people were killed at Fort Hood in 2009 by a Muslim Army psychiatrist who said America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were wars against all Muslims.

Other problems come from the cultural barriers, like a ban on facial hair, and dealing with military food that is often rife with pork, forbidden by Islam. Few bases have Muslim prayer services, and only five of the Army’s roughly 2,900 chaplains are imams.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted August 2, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Lagos Mainland, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Adebayo Dada Akinde, has condemned the proposed immunity for members of the National Assembly.

The bishop spoke yesterday while addressing newsmen in his office in Lagos on the 10th anniversary of his church and his retirement from active service on August 23, as he attains the age of 70.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 2, 2016 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A devastating story of mass child rape perpetrated by an Anglican paedophile ring is unfolding in the latest hearing of Australia's Royal Commission into child sexual abuse.

The first day of the two-week sessions heard of the crimes perpetrated by Rev Peter Rushton, an Anglican priest who was Archdeacon of Maitland and who died in 2007.

His catalogue of child rape and abuse was finally exposed by an ABC investigation. He led a paedophile ring involving other clergy and lay people from the Newcastle diocese over as many as four decades.

Rushton's godson, Paul Gray, told how he was taken to St Alban's School for Boys in Hunter Valley. This was the 1960s, and boys would be anally and orally raped by groups of men in a locked room called the "f***ing room", according to Daily Mail Australia.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 2, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Should truth in adver­tising laws apply to religious claims? Should governments be in the business of defining authentic miracles? Which pastors are genuine, and which are fakes?

However fanciful such questions might seem, all these issues are very much alive in contemporary Africa. The Christian upsurge of the past half century has been marked by widespread claims of healing and miracles, often in the context of charismatic revivals and crusades. As in any such great awakening since apostolic times, a number of wild and bizarre claims have been made, and there is some evidence of active fraud. Every society has its own versions of Elmer Gan­try, people who use religious deception as a money-making tool. The question then arises of who is meant to regulate or suppress such outbreaks.

One early attempt oc­curred in Nigeria in 2004, when the National Broad­casting Commission tried to prohibit anyone from showing “unverifiable” miracle healings on television.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfrica* Religion News & CommentaryReligious Freedom / Persecution* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 2, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is just the latest intervention by Christian figures in political debates on the matter. Jozef De Kesel, the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels in Belgium, which has the world’s most liberal assisted-dying laws, suggested in January that the country’s church-run hospitals should be allowed to opt out of helping patients end their lives. And in June Pope Francis said to a group of Spanish and Latin American doctors that “true compassion does not marginalise anyone, nor does it humiliate and exclude, much less considers the disappearance of a person as a good thing.” He cautioned against a “throwaway culture that rejects and dismisses those who do not comply with certain canons of health, beauty and utility.” Life is sacred, he added, and should shine “with greater splendour precisely in suffering and helplessness”.

Research shows that religious people are more likely than the non-religious to oppose assisted dying. But there is wide variation between faiths. A survey of Britons, carried out by YouGov in 2013, found that only three in ten Muslims felt the law should be changed to allow close friends and relatives to help people with incurable diseases take their own lives, should they wish to do so. Around half of Hindus and Sikhs surveyed agreed, and six in ten Catholics, Methodists, Baptists and Buddhists. Seven in ten Jews, and 77% of Anglicans, supported such a change in the law. For comparison, 85% of people who claimed no faith were in favour of legalising assisted dying.

Some Anglican leaders are starting to shift their positions. The general synod of the Anglican church in Canada, where doctor-assisted dying was recently legalised, has written guidance on the issue for its congregation. Though it does not go as far as to support doctor-assisted dying, it does not oppose its legalisation, either. “The societal and legal context within which the pastoral and prophetic ministry of the church takes place has shifted,” it notes.

Read it all (their title, it would never be mine).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanadaEuropeBelgium* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Another gay Anglican vicar has married his long-term male partner, defying the Church of England's ban on clergy entering same-sex marriages.

Rev Paul Collier has kept his position as priest of St Hugh's in the Diocese of Southwark after he converted his civil partnership to a marriage in early June with a celebratory service in London.

Collier admitted his marriage put him at odds with the House of Bishops, the body which issued guidance banning clergy from entering gay marriages. He told Christian Today that he had heard from his bishop, and said he had been dealt with "in accordance with the House of Bishops' pastoral statement on same-sex marriage".

He declined to elaborate but said: "My personal reading of the situation is I am unlikely to obtain any other positions within the Church of England." But he said he would continue to serve as a priest at his current church.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted August 1, 2016 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Same-sex marriage and opposite-sex civil partnerships

On Friday, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Act 2016 came into force on the Isle of Man following its approval by Tynwald earlier this year. It will be remembered that homosexuality was only decriminalized in 1992 and official recognition for same-sex couples was not available until 2011, when civil partnerships were introduced. An important aspect of the new law is that it permits opposite-sex couples to enter civil partnerships and, even though it is not part of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man has become the first jurisdiction in the British Isles to offer such a choice to heterosexual couples.

We will watch with interest the response of the Diocese of Sodor and Man to these developments – perhaps this is something to be left for the in-tray of the next Lord Bishop, following the retirement of Robert Paterson on 11 November 2016?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 1, 2016 at 1:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since the dawn of the new millennium, Christianity in China has redirected its growth toward a hundred or so central cities throughout the country. Groups of young, well-educated, active professionals have gathered in urban churches, smashing the stereotype in many Chinese people’s minds of Christians as elderly, infirm, sick, or disabled. These churches are unable to register with the Ministry of Civil Affairs and acquire legal status, but they are a first step toward Christians assuming leadership in the development of a Chinese civil society independent of government control. They have websites, assembly locations, schedules, listservs, communiqués, and even publications, which cannot be sold but can be circulated among church members.

China’s urban churches will be a major force in its democratization, for a free society requires a civil society capable of standing up to tyranny and the abuse of power. First, though, they will have to remedy the erroneous notion, present even among some churchgoers, that religion should be a private matter. What is needed is a political theology underscoring the sovereignty of God’s law rather than separation of church and state.

Christianity has transformed how I see myself as a dissident. Over decades of involvement with the Chinese democracy movement, I have seen so-called dissidents think the same, talk the same, act the same as those from whom they are supposedly dissenting. Too often the Communists and dissidents are kindred spirits. I have also seen personal ambitions and power struggles drive friends apart and turn those who should be working with one another against one another. My fellow dissidents attach great hopes to democracy, but it is simply a better method of public management and division of powers—the least worst, as Churchill said. It is not the horizon of all human hope and longing. If one does not believe in something other than democracy, one is no better off than the Communists, making a god of a ­political system.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

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Posted July 30, 2016 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Like doping scandals today, rigged outcomes and cheating, though not common, certainly did tarnish the ancient Games. Visit Olympia, and you can still see the bases of the “Zanes,” bronze statues of Zeus erected from fines imposed on cheating athletes, with inscriptions naming and shaming the culprits. But nothing diminished the allure of the Olympics. Only Christianity could overcome them. With the banning of pagan practices by the Roman Emperor Theodosius in A.D. 391, their days were numbered, and by 425 the Olympics were no more.

For well over a thousand years the Games survived seismic shifts in politics and society, not to mention long-raging wars. Their religious focus undoubtedly played a major part in their longevity. And they evolved, too, with new contests being introduced (those for heralds and trumpeters were perhaps the most bizarre) while others (such as the mule race) were phased out.

But it was more than all that, and here we arrive at the continuing appeal of the modern Games as well. The philosopher Epictetus put his finger on it. Even as he noted “the cacophony, the din, the jostling, the shoving [and] the crowding” of the ancient Games, he had to admit that “you are happy to put up with all this when you think of the splendor of the spectacles.”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureSports* International News & CommentaryEuropeGreece* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 29, 2016 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has begun a “rapid evidence assessment” as part of its investigation into the Anglican Churches in England and Wales, the Inquiry’s Counsel, Ben Emmerson QC, said this week.

Mr Emmerson made his com­ments on Wednesday at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, Lon­don, where Justice Lowell Goddard was holding a series of preliminary hearings into the Inquiry’s different strands.

He revealed that the Inquiry’s research team was sifting through information and evidence from 114 different sources. Among them was the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, which had sup­plied over 7000 items of evidence relating to the diocese of Chichester and the case of Bishop Peter Ball, which are being used as case studies by the Inquiry.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted July 29, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From my vantage point in the evangelical landscape, I am incredibly optimistic about the future of the church. I know we have lots of cause for concern about “the culture,” and I know the church tasked with proclaiming the kingdom in it seems pretty shaky right now. But I when I take a sober look at the young Christians (the millennials!) training for gospel ministry and thinking hard about mission, I like where their head’s at. The rest of us, on the other hand . . .

I find it incredibly interesting, sort of amusing, and more than a bit sad that the attractional church—what we used to call the “seeker church”—hasn’t seemed to grow up at all. Yes, it’s grown big. But growing big and growing up aren’t the same thing. I was thinking about this recently after a few people posted a video of one of the landmark attractional churches featuring a ’90s boy band throwback segment in their worship service. I’m sure it was a lot of fun. I’m also sure it was especially fun for those whose heyday was the ’90s. It’s the same fun that was had by the worship team in my ’90s attractional youth group who were constantly reworking rock hits from the ’70s to make them more Jesusy (“Peaceful, Easy Feelin,” anybody? How about a little “Talkin’ about my Jesus—he’s some kind of wonderful”?).

And it occurs to me that, exceptions being granted, the attractional church is specifically designed for what was said to “work” 20 years ago....

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pew Research Center’s new survey on human enhancement finds a broad wariness about the prospect of technologies aimed at making people smarter, stronger and healthier. Americans who are highly religious tend to be the most concerned about these possible developments, which include genetic engineering, cognitive augmentation and synthetic blood.

Fact Tank sat down with two experts on science and bioethics who have different views on human enhancement – Christian Brugger and Anders Sandberg – to explore what these new findings might mean. Brugger, who is a professor of moral theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado, believes that people are right to be concerned about the social impact of human enhancement. Sandberg, a research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, thinks that, on balance, human enhancement will improve and enrich our lives.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & CultureScience & TechnologySociology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 28, 2016 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An Anligcan mission agency has conceded that its experiment with ambiguity has not succeeded. The Us announced that it would change its name back to the USPG.

In a statement last week the Us said that a marketing study found that “while our partners in Britain and Ireland and around the world greatly appreciated the energy, values and practical work embodied in the Us brand, many remained saddened that we were no longer referring to the gospel in our name.”

It would revert to its former initials, USPG, but the letters would now stand for United Society Partners in the Gospel.

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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeMissions* Culture-WatchHistoryPsychology* Theology

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Posted July 28, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Could the jihadists inspired by Islamic State stoop any lower? Father Jacques Hamel was 85 years old. His young attackers reportedly attempted to behead him in front of the altar of his church. They failed in that but succeeded in killing him and in proving, once again, that an evil is stalking the continent and it is willing to plumb any depths in its attempts to terrorise and enslave us.

Christians in other parts of the world will not have been surprised at the blood spilt in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen. Some feel that we, in the West, have turned our backs on their sufferings. “We feel forgotten and isolated,” complained Louis Sako, the Chaldean Archbishop of Baghdad: “We sometimes wonder, if they kill us all, what would be the reaction of Christians in the West? Would they do something then?”

While estimates of the global scale of religious slaughter and harassment differ wildly, there is enough evidence to suggest that religious persecution is widespread and growing. The Open Doors charity is a respected and relatively cautious chronicler of persecution and it estimates that an average of 322 Christians are killed every month as a direct consequence of their faith, while 214 churches or Christian properties are demolished, burnt down or in some way destroyed. Overall, Open Doors records, Christians are subject to 772 acts of violence — including beatings, abductions, rapes, arrests or forced marriages — each month.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 27, 2016 at 9:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The more religious a person is, the more likely they are to oppose genetic engineering that could enhance minds and bodies, and help babies suffering from genetic diseases.

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, many US adults oppose the application of breakthroughs in bio-engineering.

"In general, the most religious are the most wary about potential enhancements," says Pew.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLife EthicsScience & Technology* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 27, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"We welcome todays update on the investigation into the Anglican Church in England and Wales and the acknowledgment from the Inquiry that the material already submitted is relevant and useful. We note that the Inquiry has received a substantial amount of material from us and other core participants and the analysis of this is now underway as is the process of identifying possible witnesses....

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted July 27, 2016 at 3:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The dreaded Nigeria-based terrorist group, Boko Haram, established links with some international terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, the Presidential Fact-Finding Committee on the Abducted Female Students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, has said.

The committee stated this in its report submitted to former President Goodluck Jonathan before he left office.

The 50-page report, which details were never made public, was obtained exclusively by Premium Times.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted July 27, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

ST.-ÉTIENNE-DU-ROUVRAY, France — Attendance was sparse at the 9 a.m. Mass on Tuesday at the Église St.-Étienne, a 17th-century church in a working-class town in Normandy. Many regular parishioners were on vacation; so was the parish priest.

Mass was ending around 9:30 a.m. when two young men with knives burst in. They forced the auxiliary priest, the Rev. Jacques Hamel, 85, to kneel. When he resisted, they slit his throat. They held several worshipers and at least one nun hostage, while another nun escaped. Officers from a specialized police unit descended on the church. A short while later, officers shot the young men dead when they emerged from the church.

The brutality in St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray, a suburb of Rouen in northern France, was the latest in a series of assaults that have left Europe stunned, fearful and angry. President François Hollande raced to the town and blamed the Islamic State for the attack; soon after, the terrorist group claimed responsibility, calling the attackers its “soldiers.”

It was the fourth attack linked to the Islamic State in Western Europe in less than two weeks

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 26, 2016 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The world that Disney presents to us is one in which all the sharp edges of real life have been smoothed away. For this reason the Magic Kingdom can never truly be the happiest place on earth in a biblical sense. Unlike Jesus, who entered the real, broken world in order to redeem it, the best Disney can offer is a fantasy of a world that never was. It is a nice place to visit but you really can’t live there.

It is common practice for churches to do with their past what Walt Disney did with his. Churches have a tendency to reimagine the past and make it their ideal. It’s not such a problem for a theme park, but it is a real obstacle for a church, especially when that reimagined world becomes the model for its mission. Churches have often spent decades trying to return to a past that never really existed. The “Christian America” churches try to bring back was not that Christian. The fondly remembered pastor of that golden age was not that golden. Those hallowed church ministries were not as effective as we remember, or if they were, they would no longer be effective today. The sweet fellowship of yesteryear was not that sweet.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchEntertainmentMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEschatology

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Posted July 26, 2016 at 2:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Recent fighting in South Sudan has to date forced 37,491 people to flee to Uganda. To put this in context: more refugees have arrived in Uganda in the past three weeks than during the entire first six months of 2016, when 33,838 came there in search of safety.

On 25 July an estimated 2,442 refugees were received in Uganda from South Sudan. Some 1,213 crossed at the Elugu border point in Amuru, 247 in Moyo, 57 in Lamwo and 370 in Oraba. Another 555 were received at the Kiryandongo settlement. The majority of arrivals – more than 90 per cent – are women and children. People are coming from South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria region, as well as Juba and other areas of the country.

UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a press briefing in Geneva that the intensity of the violence that broke out in South Sudan between rival factions loyal to Salva Kiir and Riek Machar has subsided since early July. However, the security situation remains volatile.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchPoverty* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South SudanUganda* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted July 26, 2016 at 12:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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