Daily Archives: September 6, 2009

Laura Vanderkam: The Myth of the Overscheduled Child

No one would accuse Erika DeBenedictis of having a light schedule. Ms. DeBenedictis, 17, recently finished her junior year at the Albuquerque Academy in New Mexico, where she took A.P. Physics, A.P. Chemistry and a multivariable calculus class simultaneously. When she wasn’t doing homework, she worked on computer-programming projects for science fairs, entering several over the course of the year. She practiced the piano for 30 minutes most days and got up early to sing in a choir, too.

In other words, she could be the poster girl for the “overscheduled child” phenomenon that parents and educators like to work themselves into a stew about every time the calendar flips to September. Kids feel so much pressure to build a college-worthy résumé, the story goes, that they’re sleep-deprived and anxious””or as psychiatrist Gail Saltz put it at a lunch I attended recently: “You might have a child who really wants to learn Mandarin . . . but if they are pushed too hard, you will likely wind up with a child who speaks perfect Chinese . . . on Xanax!”

So is Ms. DeBenedictis facing a nervous breakdown as she enters her senior year? Hardly. “I’m very happy when I’m busy,” she tells me. It’s when she doesn’t have enough to do that she starts “moping around.”

She’s onto something worth pondering in this back-to-school season….

Read the whole piece.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Marriage & Family, Teens / Youth

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Personalized Genetic Testing

GONZALEZ: Although he says he’s not overly concerned, Godfrey’s DNA test results have spurred him to think more about his health and spend a lot more time at the gym.

GODFREY: When you look through all of those orange boxes that we went through and you take a look, almost all of them say that you should keep your weight down, that you should stay in shape, that you should eat better. It was validation to me that, yeah, that was the right move and your money is being spent in the right place and the work you are going through is going to be worth it in the end.

GONZALEZ: Lord says his company offers tests only for treatable or preventable illnesses, giving clients an edge in anticipating and avoiding future health problems.

JACK LORD: And it is with that information that they can start to understand what they might do today to prevent an illness. If you know that in advance you can start going to your doctor more frequently to be checked, or you might start a medication that prevents that condition much earlier than when you become symptomatic.

Read or watch the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Theology

The Governor of Indiana in the WSJ: The Coming Reset in State Government

State government finances are a wreck. The drop in tax receipts is the worst in a half century. Fewer than 10 states ended the last fiscal year with significant reserves, and three-fourths have deficits exceeding 10% of their budgets. Only an emergency infusion of printed federal funny money is keeping most state boats afloat right now.

Most governors I’ve talked to are so busy bailing that they haven’t checked the long-range forecast. What the radar tells me is that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. What we are being hit by isn’t a tropical storm that will come and go, with sunshine soon to follow. It’s much more likely that we’re facing a near permanent reduction in state tax revenues that will require us to reduce the size and scope of our state governments. And the time to prepare for this new reality is already at hand.

The coming state government reset will be particularly wrenching after the happy binge that preceded this recession. During the last decade, states increased their spending by an average of 6% per year, gusting to 8% during 2007-08. Much of the government institutions built up in those years will now have to be dismantled.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

FT: Google’s head of China resigns

The head of Google’s operations in China quit on Friday, ending a controversial four-year tenure that saw the company censored version of its search engine to gain a foothold in the most populous internet market.

The departure of Kai-Fu Lee comes close on the heels of a renewed debate inside the company about whether Google should pull out of China ”“ a discussion prompted by the latest flare-up of its battle with the Chinese authorities, according to people close to the situation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, China, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy

New Maine Episcopal rector brings background of action for the environment

From 1984 to 1991 she held various positions with the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., dealing with water use and water quality. She assisted in drafting legislation and worked on the 1991 reauthorization of the Clean Water Act.

Kirkpatrick returned to Maine in 1991 to become director of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureaus of Land and Water Quality. In 1999 she was appointed DEP Commissioner during the administration of Gov. Angus King, a post she held until 2003.

In changing her career path to enter the ministry, Kirkpatrick has not forsaken her environmental ethos. Her master’s thesis at Harvard was on “incarnational ecology,” a growing field of theological scholarship. A revised version of her study is published in the current issue of the Anglican Theological Review, in which she addresses planetary crisis as a challenge to the church, moving from scripture and received tradition toward an ethics of common cause.

Read the whole profile.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

In Ohio, how are National same sex Union decisions affecting local churches

[Richelle] Thompson said the church has grappled with the issue of homosexuals in the church in a very public way and for a while now, citing the 2003 decision to ordain Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire as the church’s first openly gay bishop. Thompson said at the time of Robinson’s ordination, the Southeast Ohio Dioceses lost two churches, leaving them with 82.

Then, in 2006 what many regarded as a moratorium on ordaining openly gay bishops was put in place after controversy about the Robinson ordination. That moratorium was overturned at the Episcopal Church’s National Convention in Anaheim, Calif. in July.

Thompson was also in attendance at this year’s national convention. At the convention, it was voted that anyone could be eligible to be elected as a bishop and that being gay or not is not an impediment to serving in that capacity. As Thompson explained the decision, “all of God’s people are treasured and valued and anyone who is called and has the correct qualifications regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation may be elected as bishop.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Parishes

Pastors in Upper South Carolina split over new same sex union policies

The moves have other pastors defending against what they believe is an abandonment of the Bible’s teaching about homosexual behavior.

“God loves people regardless of their sexual orientation. ”¦ But the departure is a departure from biblical authority,” said the Rev. R.E. Lybrand Jr., pastor at Lake Wylie Lutheran Church.

“There may be things in Scripture that we may wish weren’t there ”¦ but when they are there, even when we are uncomfortable, we must bow to that with obedient hearts,” he said.

Lybrand was one of three local pastors who placed an ad in last Sunday’s Herald in the form of a letter to “disassociate ourselves” from the actions taken by the national Lutheran and Episcopalian groups. In the letter, the pastors said they wanted to affirm that their beliefs about the gay issue and other church matters were based on the Bible’s authority.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Other Churches, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Tribune-Review: TEC affiliated Diocese of Pittsburgh to vote on provisional bishop

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh wants to name a provisional bishop, the next step in remaking itself after a split last year, officials said.

The church will vote on appointing the Right Rev. Kenneth L. Price Jr., an assisting bishop of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, at its convention Oct. 17.

“It’s the next logical step in the path that we’re on,” said the Rev. James Simons, president of the diocese’s Standing Committee, which recommended the appointment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Notable and Quotable

I believe firmly that the future health of any diocese lies in the vitality and imagination of the local parish or arena of ministry. Top-down strategies are sometimes helpful (Developing Servant Leadership, Academies) but are often self-defeating because energy resides at local level, and there is plenty of evidence in our diocese of prayerful planning of local mission. What senior leadership can offer, however, is a dynamic framework, not to control but to guide, release and encourage. Bishops can offer direction and undergirding values, and they can try to align resources to those strategic directions.

The Rt Revd John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Parish Ministry

Notable and Quotable

His last column for The Daily Mail, “It’s English as She Is Spoke Innit?,” written in May, dealt with language education. He was the founder and life president of the Association for the Annihilation of the Aberrant Apostrophe, a fictional organization dedicated to combating false plurals like tomato’s and road signs like the one he spotted near Sevenoaks, with letters three feet high that read BUSE’S ONLY

From an obituary for Keith Waterhouse in today’s Times that I caught on the plane today–love the Association name–KSH!

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

Delays in Muslims’ Cases Spur Interfaith Call to Action

Early one morning last June, fully two hours before his appointment, Mustafa Salih arrived at a federal office here in the Washington suburbs. He wore the new suit he had bought for the occasion. A friend, accompanying him, carried a camera to record the event. Mr. Salih had not slept the previous night.

High emotion was not supposed to be the province of a middle-aged accountant, which was exactly what Mr. Salih was. But on that particular morning, he was scheduled to be sworn in as an American citizen, the culmination of a process that had begun when he immigrated from Sudan in 1991.

The process had tested his patience and nerves. He had received his green card as a permanent legal resident in 1995. He held a master’s degree and worked in a white-collar profession. In the two years since filing his petition for naturalization, he had passed the required history test, sat for the required interview, and submitted the required fingerprints, only to be told in a form letter from the Department of Homeland Security that he could not become a citizen until he cleared an unspecified “background check.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A Rabbi Whose God Is a Loving and Long-Suffering Mother

Rabbi Margaret Moers Wenig preaches increasingly to the converted: Hebrew congregations and rabbinical and cantorial students who no longer assume that a rabbi has to be a he or heterosexual. Rabbi Wenig, 52, has seen and propelled her share of changes in Judaism since being ordained in 1984, and now teaches classes of more women than men at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Greenwich Village, seminary of the Reform movement, Judaism’s liberal branch. A lesbian with two grown daughters from a previous marriage whom she raised in Brooklyn with her longtime partner, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Rabbi Wenig won acclaim for her widely published 1990 sermon “God Is a Woman and She Is Growing Older,” portraying the deity as a loving if long-suffering mother who wonders why you haven’t called.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

G-20 Ministers Back Stimulus, but Pay Limits Remain Elusive

Finance ministers of the largest industrial countries vowed on Saturday to keep their multitrillion-dollar stimulus efforts in place, but at a meeting here they failed to agree on any firm limits on bankers’ bonuses, a sign of the deep rifts that remain between American and European leaders.

The ministers did agree on a blueprint to raise capital requirements at banks to strengthen the world financial system as the recovery takes hold, a major goal of the United States Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner.

Regarding the higher capital requirements, Mr. Geithner said here that his goal was to reach a final agreement on the new standards by the end of next year.

Mr. Geithner added that while concerted action by central banks and governments had “pulled the global economy back from the edge of abyss,” he added that “conditions for a sustained recovery led by private demand are not yet established.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization