Daily Archives: January 2, 2011

David Brooks on Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly's new book “All Things Shining”

For the past hundred years or so, we have lived in a secular age. That does not mean that people aren’t religious. It means there is no shared set of values we all absorb as preconscious assumptions. In our world, individuals have to find or create their own meaning.

This, Dreyfus and Kelly argue, has led to a pervasive sadness. Individuals are usually not capable of creating their own lives from the ground up. So modern life is marked by frequent feelings of indecision and anxiety. People often lack the foundations upon which to make the most important choices.

Dreyfus and Kelly suffer from the usual Cambridge/Berkeley parochialism. They assume that nobody believes in eternal truth anymore. They write as if all of America’s moral quandaries are best expressed by the novelist David Foster Wallace. But they are on to something important when they describe the way ”” far more than in past ages ”” sports has risen up to fill a spiritual void.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture

Kevin Deyong–It’s Not About You (Even If You’re a Student)

The first sentence of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life got it right: “It’s not about you.” Our reason for being should begin not with our happiness, our ambition, or our giftedness, but with God. We are not the hope of the world. God is.

Which is why I’m often puzzled by the advertisements put out by Christian colleges and seminaries. I understand that an advertisement for higher education is going to emphasize what the school can do for you and what the school will equip you to do in the world. That’s fine. The school wants students to enroll; that’s why the advertise. So they are bound to make an appeal to the “you” reading the ad. But a little restraint would be nice.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Media, Religion & Culture

Mike Parnell–The 10 Best Movies of the Year

See what you make of his choices.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

Upcoming Medicaid Cuts a big issue for diabetics in South Carolina

Advocates for diabetes patients are voicing concerns that Medicaid cuts taking effect in February will reverse gains South Carolina has made over the past decade in managing diabetics’ health.

Doctors have treated diabetes aggressively in recent years, but cuts in the number of drugs Medicaid covers — reductions state health officials called difficult but necessary — might compromise that focus, they said.

The number of diagnosed cases of adult-onset diabetes has risen dramatically, but the rate of lower- extremity amputations has decreased, according to preliminary findings from the annual report of the Diabetes Initiative of South Carolina.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, State Government, The U.S. Government

Thais Look to the Supernatural

Don’t be fooled by the skyscrapers, the roads clogged with the latest luxury cars or the high-tech gadgetry in pockets and purses. This country of 65 million people has embraced modernity, yes, but many Thais will tell you that ghosts and spirits still wander the streets and inhabit buildings. Important business decisions often require consultations with a fortune teller. Cabinet ministers and military officers are sometimes so concerned with numerology and advice from their shamans that politics in Thailand could be called the black art of the possible.

“We still have our ghosts, we still have black magic,” said Todsaporn Jamsuwan, the co-founder of Holy Plus, a company that makes “spirit houses,” the ubiquitous miniature structures that resemble dollhouses and serve as dwellings for protective ghosts.

Far from abandoning traditional beliefs in the paranormal, Thailand is harnessing the forces of technology and modernity to reinforce them.

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

Baby Boomers Hit New Self-Absorption Milestone: Age 65

In keeping with a generation’s fascination with itself, the time has come to note the passing of another milestone: On New Year’s Day, the oldest members of the Baby Boom Generation will turn 65, the age once linked to retirement, early bird specials and gray Velcro shoes that go with everything.

Though other generations, from the Greatest to the Millennial, may mutter that it’s time to get over yourselves, this birthday actually matters. According to the Pew Research Center, for the next 19 years, about 10,000 people “will cross that threshold” every day ”” and many of them, whether through exercise or Botox, have no intention of ceding to others what they consider rightfully theirs: youth.

This means that the 79 million baby boomers, about 26 percent of this country’s population, will be redefining what it means to be older, and placing greater demands on the social safety net. They are living longer, working longer and, researchers say, nursing some disappointment about how their lives have turned out. The self-aware, or self-absorbed, feel less self-fulfilled, and thus are racked with self-pity.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Middle Age, Psychology

LA Times: Coptic church bombing in Egypt is latest assault on Mideast Christians

A devastating New Year’s Day terrorist bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt that killed 21 people was the latest in a spate of violent assaults against the Middle East’s vulnerable Christian communities.

The car bomb explosion also injured 79 people just after midnight Saturday as worshipers were leaving a New Year’s Mass at the Saints Church in east Alexandria, Egyptian officials said. The bombing sparked street clashes between police and angry Copts, who hurled stones, stormed a nearby mosque and threw some of its books into the street.

Security forces cordoned off the area and used tear gas to disperse the crowd. A witness told the state-run newspaper Al Ahram that a priest calmed the Copts and urged them to stay inside the church.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Other Churches, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Eternal God, who makest all things new, and abidest for ever the same: Grant us to begin this year in thy faith, and to continue it in thy favour; that, being guided in all our doings, and guarded all our days, we may spend our lives in thy service, and finally, by thy grace, attain the glory of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–W. E. Orchard

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever.

–1 John 2:15-17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Sunday Telegraph) First Anglicans are received into the Roman Catholic Church in historic service

Priests and worshippers from around 20 Church of England parishes converted to Catholicism on Saturday at a ceremony in Westminster Cathedral.

Three former bishops were among those confirmed at the service, which saw the first wave of Anglicans defecting to Rome to join the Ordinariate.

The Pope introduced the structure in 2009 to welcome disillusioned Anglicans into the Catholic fold after secret meetings were held at the Vatican with Church of England bishops, as The Sunday Telegraph revealed a year earlier.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

The Archbishop of Canterbury condemns the church bombing in Alexandria

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Egypt, Middle East, Violence

Powerful bomb blast in front of Coptic Church in Alexandria

An explosive load packed into a car exploded in front of the Coptic Saints’ Church in Egypt’s sea port city Alexandria at about a half an hour after midnight, when New Year’s Mass just ended and worshippers stepped outside, beginning to mingle into the crowd on the streets. The powerful blast, which Egyptian authorities later ascribed to a suicide bomber, killed at least 25 people and wounded some 80 more. Immediate condemnations of the bomb attack arrived from Al-Azhar’s Muslim authorities in Cairo, but also from the Muslim Brotherhood and from the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, who denounced the death of innocent people during the blast and offered his condolences to the people and government of Egypt”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Middle East, Violence

The Archbishop of Canterbury's 2011 New Year's Message

Perhaps someone some time has said to you that you shouldn’t hide your light under a bushel. Or told you to set your house in order. Maybe you only survived a certain situation by the skin of your teeth. Perhaps it’s time you listened to the still small voice within.

All those everyday phrases come from one source ”“ a book whose four hundredth anniversary we celebrate this coming year, the King James Bible ”“ or the Authorised Version as it’s sometimes called. It wasn’t the first Bible in English by any means. But for all sorts of reasons it got into the bloodstream of the people of this country.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

The Thread of Life

1

The irresponsive silence of the land,
The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
Speak both one message of one sense to me: ””
Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand
Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band
Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
But who from thy self””chain shall set thee free?
What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?””
And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
And sometimes I remember days of old
When fellowship seemed not so far to seek
And all the world and I seemed much less cold,
And at the rainbow’s foot lay surely gold,
And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.
2

Thus am I mine own prison. Everything
Around me free and sunny and at ease:
Or if in shadow, in a shade of trees
Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds sing
And where all winds make various murmuring;
Where bees are found, with honey for the bees;
Where sounds are music, and where silences
Are music of an unlike fashioning.
Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew,
And smile a moment and a moment sigh
Thinking: Why can I not rejoice with you ?
But soon I put the foolish fancy by:
I am not what I have nor what I do;
But what I was I am, I am even I.

3

Therefore myself is that one only thing
I hold to use or waste, to keep or give;
My sole possession every day I live,
And still mine own despite Time’s winnowing.
Ever mine own, while moons and seasons bring
From crudeness ripeness mellow and sanative;
Ever mine own, till Death shall ply his sieve;
And still mine own, when saints break grave and sing.
And this myself as king unto my King
I give, to Him Who gave Himself for me;
Who gives Himself to me, and bids me sing
A sweet new song of His redeemed set free;
He bids me sing: O death, where is thy sting?
And sing: O grave, where is thy victory?

–Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Women

Anglican bishops 'to become Catholics at Westminster Cathedral today'

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops