Daily Archives: September 29, 2010

WSJ–Free Speech Tested Anew in Digital Age

Free speech stands front and center in the Supreme Court term beginning next week, in a pair of cases testing the First Amendment’s reach in the digital age.

On Oct. 6, the justices will weigh whether the First Amendment protects a Kansas church’s campaign to publicize its beliefs by picketing military funerals with vulgar placards and insulting fallen soldiers’ survivors in online screeds.

The father of a fallen Marine is seeking damages for emotional distress from the church, which believes that God is killing American soldiers to punish the U.S. for its tolerance of homosexuality.

A month later , the court is to consider whether states can bar minors from buying violent videogames, on the theory that these games cause damage to developing minds and this outweighs young people’s constitutional rights.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Law & Legal Issues

Mark McCall–Ordination Vows: Do Bishops Pledge to Conform to Unconstitutional Canons?

Two things are striking about these vows. First, there is no reference to General Convention or any central body. Obedience is pledged to the bishop. Second, the inclusion of a vow of obedience in the rite for the ordination of priests only confirms further the intentional omission of any such vow in the ordination of bishops. Priests make the same declaration of conformity as do bishops, but added to this is a promise of obedience to a hierarchical authority. And that authority is the bishop.

To conclude, it is erroneous to suggest any violation of the ordination vows in the context of the diocese of South Carolina’s proposed resolutions. When these vows are properly understood, it is apparent that bishops have not only the right but the duty to protect the constitutional integrity of TEC and oppose unconstitutional acts by General Convention.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons

Medal of Honor recipients credit lessons learned in large households for future strength under fire

With Charleston hosting 52 of the nation’s 87 surviving Medal of Honor men this week, a common thread among many in their ranks is that they came from large, working-class families where self- reliance, unit strength and attention to duty were learned at an early age.

“Everything depended on what you were supposed to do,” Williams said Tuesday, speaking of life on the cash-strapped cow farm. “If you didn’t get something done you got in trouble with the rest of the family,” he said, “not only with the mother and the father.”

And just like in the military, there was no questioning of work or orders.

“You did it because it had to be done,” said Williams, who along with Baker agreed that they excelled during critical moments on the battlefield probably because of the values instilled back home.

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family

David Brooks On California and Government–Tom Joad Gave Up

Sometimes it’s hard to remember what good government looks like: government that disciplines itself but looks to the long term; government that inspires trust; government that promotes social mobility without busting the budget.

That kind of government existed for decades right here in California. Between 1911 and the ’60s, California had a series of governors ”” like Hiram Johnson, Earl Warren, Goodwin Knight and Pat Brown ”” who were pro-market and pro-business, but also progressive reformers.

They rode a great wave of prosperity, and people flocked to the Golden State, but they used the fruits of that prosperity in a disciplined way to lay the groundwork for even more growth. They built an outstanding school and university system. They started a series of gigantic public works projects that today are seen as engineering miracles. These included monumental water projects, harbors and ports, the sprawling highway system and even mental health facilities.

They disdained partisanship. They continually reorganized government to make it more businesslike and cost effective….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Politics in General, State Government

China moving heaven and Earth to bring water to Beijing

It might be the most ambitious construction project in China since the Great Wall.

The Chinese government is planning to reroute the nation’s water supply, bringing water from the flood plains of the south and the snowcapped mountains of the west to the parched capital of Beijing. First envisioned by Mao Tse-tung in the 1950s and now coming to fruition, the South-North Water Diversion ”” as it is inelegantly known in English ”” has a price tag of more than $62 billion, twice as expensive as the famous Three Gorges Dam. It is expected to take decades to complete.

“This is on a par with the Great Wall, a project essential for the survival of China,” said Wang Shushan, who heads the project in Henan province, where much of the construction is now taking place. “It is a must-do project. We can’t afford to wait.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Science & Technology

In Study, Children Cite Appeal of Digital Reading

Many children want to read books on digital devices and would read for fun more frequently if they could obtain e-books. But even if they had that access, two-thirds of them would not want to give up their traditional print books.

These are a few of the findings in a study being released on Wednesday by Scholastic, the American publisher of the Harry Potter books and the “Hunger Games” trilogy.

The report set out to explore the attitudes and behaviors of parents and children toward reading books for fun in a digital age. Scholastic surveyed more than 2,000 children ages 6 to 17, and their parents, in the spring.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Children, Education, Science & Technology

LA Times–For parents of war dead, the combat doesn't end

The week that Army Spc. Thomas K. Doerflinger was killed in Iraq at age 20, a friend in the neighborhood brought his parents a felt banner with a gold star. Tradition holds that a grieving mother hangs it in her window until the war is over. As it turned out, the war outlasted the banner.

Years passed; the red border faded. Repairmen who came to their door on leafy Collingwood Terrace would innocently inquire, then stammer their condolences. The Doerflingers didn’t feel right displaying a kind of grief that was never going to go away, so after a while they put the banner in the hutch.

Endings can be complicated for families of the fallen.

When President Obama announced the conclusion of combat operations in Iraq this month, Lee Ann Doerflinger didn’t feel any closer to that magical “closure” everyone talks about. In some ways, she felt worse.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq War, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Young Adults

Alan Billings: A growing slice of British society would agree that life begins at 60

While I admire Harriet Harman’s attitude, we do have to be careful not to think that the only meaningful life is a busy one. Religions across the world have never thought that – with the exception of Protestant Christianity. But Protestant Britain forgot that the God in whose image we are made was not only an industrious creator, he also took time out to enjoy what he had made.

Too often we lose the capacity for enjoyment other than through work. In the gospels Jesus hints at how we may recover it when he says that if we are to enter the Kingdom of God we must become as little children. Perhaps what he has in mind is the capacity of children for self-forgetfulness in play. They do something because it is fun, worthwhile in itself, and not because it has some further justification beyond itself. This is what we lose in busy lives where everything must be useful or done for a purpose. If we are to enjoy older age we need to regain that spirit of play, and rediscover that light-hearted self-forgetfulness we knew as children. Sixty may be a good age to find it again.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, England / UK, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Time Magazine's Cover Story on C.S. Lewis, September 8, 1947

(The cover itself is here).

The lecturer, a short, thickset man with a ruddy face and a big voice, was coming to the end of his talk. Gathering up his notes and books, he tucked his hornrimmed spectacles into the pocket of his tweed jacket and picked up his mortarboard. Still talking””to the accompaniment of occasional appreciative laughs and squeals from his audience””he leaned over to return the watch he had borrowed from a student in the front row. As he ended his final sentence, he stepped off the platform.

The maneuver gained him a head start on the rush of students down the center aisle. Once in the street, he strode rapidly ””his black gown billowing behind his grey flannel trousers””to the nearest pub for a pint of ale.

Clive Staples Lewis was engaged in his full-time and favorite job””the job of being an Oxford don in the Honour School of English Language & Literature, a Fellow and tutor of Magdalen College and the most popular lecturer in the University. To watch him downing his pint at the Eastgate (his favorite pub), or striding, pipe in mouth, across the deer park, a stranger would not be likely to guess that C. S. Lewis is also a best-selling author and one of the most influential spokesmen for Christianity in the English-speaking world.

One of the many things I reread in preparation for the class I am teaching on C.S. Lewis and apologetics mentioned yesterday–wonderful stuff. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Apologetics, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology

ABC News–'Credible But Not Specific' Threat of New Terrorist Attack

US and European officials said Tuesday they have detected a plot to carry out a major, coordinated series of commando-style terror attacks in Britain, France, Germany and possibly the United States.

A senior US official said that while there is a “credible” threat, no specific time or place is known. President Obama has been briefed about the threat, say senior US officials.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Europe, Terrorism

RNS–Churches Find Empty Pews at Sunday Evening Services

Doug De Vries describes Sunday evening worship as “a lot less formal” than the morning service at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church.

It’s also a lot less crowded.

Plymouth Heights is in step with a larger trend of declining evening attendance in evangelical denominations that long have cherished a heritage of worshiping twice on Sunday. Some evening services are more intimate; others have been cancelled or replaced by an alternative.

“It’s a business question that has been asked,” said De Vries, the church’s minister of music. “People are spending time with their family (on Sunday nights) or using that time to get together in small groups. We were concerned that we were squandering resources to put the evening service together.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Reformed, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for St. Michael & All Angels

O everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the ministries of angels and men in a wonderful order: Mercifully grant that, as thy holy angels always serve and worship thee in heaven, so by thy appointment they may help and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give us an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give us an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God, understanding to know thee, diligence to seek thee, wisdom to find thee, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

When we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. On the following day Paul went in with us to James; and all the elders were present. After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified God.

–Acts 21:17-20a

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Obama Talks About His Faith

President Obama expounded Tuesday on the reasons he became a Christian as an adult, telling a group of residents here that he was a “Christian by choice” and that “the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead ”“ being my brother and sister’s keeper.”

Mr. Obama, who has been criticized by conservative pundits who have questioned his Christian faith, gave a lengthy discourse on it in response to a woman who said she had three “hot topic questions” for him. The first was: “Why are you a Christian?” The second was on abortion ”” the president said it should be “safe, legal and rare” ”” and her third was whether Mr. Obama would accept her husband’s chili pepper. He said he would.

The unusual exchange came as Mr. Obama continued his tour of American backyards, dropping in at the home of a disabled veteran and a schoolteacher here.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, Religion & Culture