Daily Archives: March 13, 2011

(NY Times) In South Carolina, Charleston's Museums Finally Chronicle History of Slavery

Slavery and its heritage are everywhere here. Charleston was one of the main colonial ports of the 18th century, dealing in rice, indigo and slaves. In 1860 South Carolina held as many slaves as Georgia and Virginia, which were at least twice its size. The genteel grace and European travels of its wealthy citizens were made possible by the enslavement of about half the population.

So on a recent visit, I searched for a public display of an understanding of that American past and its legacy. After all, is there any more vexed aspect of this country’s history than its embrace and tolerance of slavery? And is there any aspect of its past that has been less well served in museums, exhibitions and memorials?…

Of course, in the North slavery can seem like a distant abstraction, creating its own problems. But in Charleston all abstractions are gone. The strange thing is how long it has taken to see the substance, and how much more is yet to be shown. Several directors of the region’s historical plantations and homes, which offer tours of these once-prosperous estates, told me that until the 1990s, slavery’s role was generally met with silence.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, History, Race/Race Relations

(Washington Post) Smithsonian undertakes $225,000 effort to restore the Jefferson Bible

When Thomas Jefferson was 77, he went back to a project he had been thinking about for decades. Sitting in Monticello, using candlelight and a knife, he cut New Testament verses in four different languages from six books to create his own bible. Jefferson, saying he was selecting his own “morsels of morality,” removed verses on any miracles, as well as the Resurrection.

For more than 116 years, the Jefferson Bible, as it is known, has been one of the iconic possessions of the Smithsonian Institution . Now a group of conservators and curators has removed the 86 pages from the original binding and are examining every inch to stabilize its condition, study its words and craftsmanship, and guarantee that future generations can learn more about the artifact and the man.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Thom Rainer: Radical hindrances to the Gospel

All of these hindrances have one common denominator: pride. Wealth can lead to pride in power and thereby control. Education can lead to a mindset of intellectual superiority. Cynicism is an overall prideful attitude. The cynic places himself above all his peers — the epitome of pride. All of these radical hindrances to the Gospel share the belief that people do not need anyone else. Their lack of need directly opposes the foundation of the Gospel. The neediness of the sinner is the cornerstone of repentance.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Charles Simeon on Temptation

The agency of Satan in the affairs of man cannot be doubted by any one who really believes the representations given us in this inspired volume. His great employment from the very first has been to seduce men to sin.

—-Charles Simeon, Horae Homileticae MCCLXXVI

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Saint Augustine on Temptation

Our first parents fell into open disobedience because already they were secretly corrupted; for the evil act had never been done had not an evil will preceded it. And what is the origin of our evil will but pride? For “pride is the beginning of sin.” And what is pride but the craving for undue exaltation? And this is undue exaltation, when the soul abandons Him to whom it ought to cleave as its end, and becomes a kind of end to itself. This happens when it becomes its own satisfaction….The devil, then, would not have ensnared man in the open and manifest sin of doing what God had forbidden, had man not already begun to live for himself….By craving to be more, man became less; and by aspiring to be self-sufficing, he fell away from him who truly suffices him.

–Augustine, The City of God 14.13

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Pastoral Theology, Theology

C.S. Lewis on Temptation

It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

–C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters, Letter XII

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Pastoral Theology, Theology

David Brooks: The Modesty Manifesto

In a variety of books and articles, Jean M. Twenge of San Diego State University and W. Keith Campbell of the University of Georgia have collected data suggesting that American self-confidence has risen of late. College students today are much more likely to agree with statements such as “I am easy to like” than college students 30 years ago. In the 1950s, 12 percent of high school seniors said they were a “very important person.” By the ’90s, 80 percent said they believed that they were.

In short, there’s abundant evidence to suggest that we have shifted a bit from a culture that emphasized self-effacement ”” I’m no better than anybody else, but nobody is better than me ”” to a culture that emphasizes self-expansion.

Writers like Twenge point out that young people are bathed in messages telling them how special they are. Often these messages are untethered to evidence of actual merit. Over the past few decades, for example, the number of hours college students spend studying has steadily declined. Meanwhile, the average G.P.A. has steadily risen.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Education, History, Marriage & Family, Psychology

(NY Times) The Burden of Pensions on States

Coming up with bigger contributions to pension funds will require states to make difficult choices about the size of their work forces, their commitment to public services and the viability of their employee benefits, which are often said to be irreversible and protected by state constitutions.

“The amount they have to be contributing could potentially be two to three times as much as they’re contributing now,” said Joshua Rauh, an associate professor of finance at Northwestern University, who has been challenging the way most cities and states measure their pension promises. “If you don’t want to count on the stock market to pay for all this, this is what you’re going to have to contribute.”

Mr. Rauh and a number of other analysts say the states’ biggest problem has been a failure to understand how much benefits will really cost. Instead of the states’ models, these analysts have come up with alternatives that more closely approximate those used by insurance companies.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pensions, Personal Finance, Politics in General, State Government, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Temptation

The voice of the tempter does not come out of an abyss only recognized as ”˜Hell’. It completely conceals its origin. It is suddenly near me and speaks to me. In paradise it is the serpent–quite plainly a creature of God””through whom the tempter speaks to Eve. Indeed there is no sign of the origin of the tempter in fire and brimstone. The denial of the origin belongs to the essence of the seducer.

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall: Temptation (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997 ed. of the 1957 tr. of the 1955 German original), p.116 (emphasis mine)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Europe, Germany, Lent, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Blessed Lord, who wast tempted in all things like as we are, have mercy upon our frailty. Out of weakness give us strength; grant to us thy fear, that we may fear thee only; support us in time of temptation; embolden us in time of danger; help us to do thy work with good courage, and to continue thy faithful soldiers and servants unto our life’s end.

–B. F. Westcott (1825-1901)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; therefore, as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord.”

–1 Corinnthians 1:26-31

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Nominees for the Vth Bishop of San Joaquin Announced

With gratitude to the Search Committee for their faithful completion of the task appointed them, and with anticipation of the continued guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, ACNA, is pleased to make formal announcement of the candidates for Episcopal Election. The following candidates were selected after a process of serious prayer, discussion, and discernment from the nominations which were received as of January 2011. They are listed simply in alphabetical order:

The Rev. Dr. Ronald Jackson, Diocese of Luweero (Province of Uganda)
The Rev. Dr. Eric Menees, Diocese of Western Anglicans (ACNA)
The Very Rev. Carlos Raines, Diocese of San Joaquin (ACNA)
The Very Rev. Canon Ryan Reed, Diocese of Fort Worth (ACNA)

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

(BBC) Arab League backs Libya no-fly zone

The Arab League has backed the idea of a no-fly zone over Libya, as rebels continue to be pushed back by Colonel Gaddafi’s forces.

A special meeting in Cairo voted to ask the UN Security Council to impose the policy until the current crisis ended.

The UK and France have pushed for the idea, but have failed so far to win firm backing from the EU or Nato.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Libya, Middle East, Violence

Muslims on Capitol Hill Find Hearings Dispiriting

…this week, despite his political affinity for conservatives and Republicans, Mr. [Suhail] Khan has found himself indignant and appalled. Representative Peter T. King, a conservative Republican from Long Island, has convened hearings into what he says is the radicalization of American Muslims and the supposed refusal to cooperate with law enforcement officials.

If these hearings are meant to draw some bright line between “good” and “bad” Muslims, between “moderates” and “radicals,” then that point has been lost on Mr. Khan and many of the Muslims who work on Capitol Hill. Republican and Democrat, Sunni and Shia, convert and born Muslim, they echo a common revulsion.

“It’s saddening that faith has become a partisan issue,” Mr. Khan said. “It’s disappointing that some people have attempted to exploit fears and real threats to demonize a whole faith community.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, History, House of Representatives, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

Eran Zahavi's Amazing Bicycle Kick Goal

Watch it all–wow.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports