Daily Archives: January 11, 2011

(Slate) Hear the Tiger Mother Roar (on Amy Chua's new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother)

Almost exactly a century ago, two Harvard professors””Dr. Boris Sidis, in psychology, and Dr. Leo Wiener, in the Slavic literature department””riled America by showcasing their two prodigy sons and the methods that had produced them, both Harvard-ready math marvels. While 11-year-old William James (Billy) Sidis stunned the university’s Mathematical Club with a lecture on the fourth dimension and 15-year-old Norbert Wiener plunged into graduate studies, Dr. Sidis insisted that anyone could nurture such youthful prowess. The only obstacle, he argued, was the American embrace of mediocrity. “Poor old college owls, academic barn-yard-fowls and worn-out sickly school-bats,” he scolded in his 1911 book Philistine and Genius, “you are panic-stricken by the power of sunlight, you are in agonizing, in mortal terror of critical, reflective thought, you dread and suppress the genius of the young.”

Now it’s Yale’s turn. In a book with a title very much in the pugnacious Sidis spirit, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua, a professor at the university’s law school, sets out to provoke with her account of raising two precociously talented daughters. Chua, now making the TV rounds, is well aware her methods will make her readers gasp””with horror but also with unexpected envy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Jane Williams–Genesis allows readers to be realistic about the world's tragic state

The final symptom of the malady of the world is the Tower of Babel. This is a sly dig at Israel’s neighbours in Mesopotamia, who boasted that their temple towers reached into heaven. Genesis is suggesting that, far from being a source of pride and a symbol of religious potency, these towers are sinful and destructive. In the Genesis scheme of things, the tower and the city are selfish and self-aggrandising: human beings are meant to be spreading out over the whole earth to be stewards and guardians of God’s creation, not huddling together in a self-serving, inward-looking circle. Their instructions, when they are created in chapter one, is to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it”, and this blueprint is repeated after the flood. The words have a slightly sinister ring to us, but in the context of Genesis, this is how human beings co-operate with God in the world.

It is very striking how Genesis sees the tragedy that has befallen creation as all-encompassing. Because human beings were made “in the image” of God, they have a real capacity to affect creation, and so their destructiveness does not just impact on them.

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Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NY Times) Pakistan Faces a Divide of Age on Muslim Law

Cheering crowds have gathered in recent days to support the assassin who riddled the governor of Punjab with 26 bullets and to praise his attack ”” carried out in the name of the Prophet Muhammad ”” as an act of heroism. To the surprise of many, chief among them have been Pakistan’s young lawyers, once seen as a force for democracy.

Their energetic campaign on behalf of the killer has caught the government flat-footed and dismayed friends and supporters of the slain politician, Salman Taseer, an outspoken proponent of liberalism who had challenged the nation’s strict blasphemy laws. It has also confused many in the broader public and observers abroad, who expected to see a firm state prosecution of the assassin.

Instead, before his court appearances, the lawyers showered rose petals over the confessed killer, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, a member of an elite police group who had been assigned to guard the governor, but who instead turned his gun on him. They have now enthusiastically taken up his defense.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Violence, Young Adults

(RNS) State Department to Leave 'Mother' and Father' on Documents

Facing a backlash from conservative groups, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ordered changes to a proposal to remove the terms “mother” and “father” from records of overseas births.

“With Secretary Clinton’s input, we will be revising the form to retain the existing designation of mother and father, in addition to the designation of parent,” said Rosemary Macray, a spokeswoman for the department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Foreign Relations, Marriage & Family, Politics in General

(Daily Mail) YWCA drops the word Christian from its historic name to call itself Platform 51

One of the country’s best-known charities has changed its name, losing the clearest link to its Christian roots.

The Young Women’s Christian Association has dropped its historic title after 156 years because ”˜it no longer stands for who we are’.

Instead the organisation ”“ which is mainly funded by legacies left by Christian supporters over 15 decades ”“ will be known as ”˜Platform 51’.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Women

(AP) Pope: Pakistan, others must protect Christians

Pope Benedict XVI urged Pakistan to reverse its blasphemy laws, saying Monday they were a pretext for violence against non-Muslims, and demanded that all governments do more so Christians can practice their faith without fear.

Benedict issued one of his most pointed appeals yet for religious freedom in a speech to ambassadors accredited to the Vatican, saying it was a fundamental human right that must be protected in law and in practice.

Benedict has frequently denounced the wave of attacks against Christians in the Middle East and warned of the threat that religious intolerance poses to world security. On Monday, he catalogued a wave of injustices against the faithful from China to Nigeria in pressing governments to take action.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Pakistan, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(BBC) Brisbane residents urged to evacuate

The authorities are urging people to leave parts of Australia’s third largest city, Brisbane, which is facing its worst flooding in decades.

The city’s mayor has warned that 6,500 homes and businesses are set to flood.

Flash floods have left nine dead and at least 70 missing nearby.

The waters are rising fast; one local official said he saw the river level go up by 1.5m (4ft 10in) in just an hour. Some 200,000 people have been affected across the state by the floods.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ

Chinese Stealth Fighter Makes First Test Flight

Images and witness accounts posted online Tuesday appeared to show that China’s stealth fighter prototype had made its first test flight, even as Robert Gates, the U.S. Defense Secretary who has downplayed China’s stealth aircraft capability, was meeting Chinese civilian leaders in Beijing.

The J-20, which has been undergoing runway tests for the last two weeks or so, took off from an airstrip at the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute just before 1 p.m. local time and flew for about 20 minutes, according to several witness accounts posted by Chinese bloggers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Science & Technology

ABC Nightline–Inside Jared Lee Loughner's Mind

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Psychology, Violence

Auburn beats Oregon for the BCS championship

It was an old-fashioned championship game that featured solid defense, goal-line stands, field goals and a safety.

The first quarter was scoreless and the fourth quarter was breathless.

What game was this?

Read it all–congratulations to the Tigers.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We thank thee, O God, that thou didst give thy Son Jesus Christ to be the light of the world, and that in him thou hast revealed thy glory and the wonder of thy saving love. Help us to love thee who hast so loved us; strengthen us for the service of thy kingdom; and grant that the light of Christ may so shine throughout the world that men everywhere may be drawn to him who is the Saviour and Lord of all, and the whole earth be filled with thy glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

But I through the abundance of thy steadfast love will enter thy house, I will worship toward thy holy temple in the fear of thee.

–Psalm 5:7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Metro Atlanta Area South Sudanese refugees take part in historic vote for independence

Nyawer Majok lost two of her three sons as well as a brother to the conflict in her home country.

Malok Mading, a tall, sinewy man who is totally blind now, still vividly remembers both of the civil wars that ravaged his homeland.

“We lost so many,” Mading, 72, said in fragile but still energetic voice during a community dinner at St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church in Stone Mountain on New Year’s Day. “I was always thinking about how and when we were going to end this long suffering.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Politics in General, Sudan, Violence

(RNS) Court Rules Against Diocese

A federal judge ruled that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield must bow to the altar of historic preservation in a dispute over who controls the fate of shuttered church buildings.

The diocese sued the city in federal court after the city council voted to designate the shuttered Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church a historic district, presumably to stymie demolition and maintain a certain amount of control over future plans.

Diocesan officials accused the city of “religious gerrymandering,” and said the vote interfered with their constitutional rights by standing in the way of preservation of sacred symbols in and around the building.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(FT) Wolfgang Münchau–No happy new year for the eurozone

The longer this dual crisis drags on, the more radical, and improbable, any solutions would have to be. In my view, the crisis is insoluble without a Europeanisation of the banking sector, common labour and product market rules that prevent inflation stickiness in southern Europe, and a minimal fiscal union with a single European bond. This is not a complete list.

Europe’s political establishment is of the opinion that such a radical response is unwarranted and politically infeasible. The first assessment is wrong. As the world comes out of its Christmas stupor, it discovers the second may well be right.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--