Daily Archives: July 21, 2011

A Person's Social Media History Becomes a Potential New Job Hurdle

Companies have long used criminal background checks, credit reports and even searches on Google and LinkedIn to probe the previous lives of prospective employees. Now, some companies are requiring job candidates to also pass a social media background check.

A year-old start-up, Social Intelligence, scrapes the Internet for everything prospective employees may have said or done online in the past seven years.

Then it assembles a dossier with examples of professional honors and charitable work, along with negative information that meets specific criteria: online evidence of racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos; flagrant displays of weapons or bombs and clearly identifiable violent activity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology

(NPR) Eagle Love Story: Injured Mates Reunited At Rehab Center

Here’s a feel-good story.

“Two seriously injured bald eagles, found two months apart and more than a mile away from each other near the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge,” in Western New York State, “were rescued and reunited in a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Medina last week,” the Buffalo News reports.

And on…[Monday’s] All Things Considered, raptor rehabilitator Wendi Pencille tells host Michele Norris the remarkable story of what it was like when the two lovebirds were reunited.

Read or listen to it all (and you have to love the picture).

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

(BBC) Can America's genius for invention endure?

…America’s dominance of innovation and technology is being challenged by other countries.

Figures from Battelle show that China’s spending on research and development is second only to the US because its unprecedented investment in education has created a highly skilled workforce.

The company warns that America’s under-investment in Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) will spark an innovation crisis for the nation in the years to come.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Science & Technology

The WSJ Profiles the Rev. Nicholas Holtam of London's St. Martin-in-the-Fields

[The] Rev. Nicholas Holtam has smoothed over many conflicts in his long career as an Anglican vicar. Before he leaves his central London parish this month [to become the Bishop of Salisbury], he wants to bring peace to one more group of warring factions: the Pearly Kings and Queens.

The “Pearlies” are no street gang. They are groups of mainly aged “Cockney” Londoners who sew mother-of-pearl buttons on their clothes in lavish designs and sing sentimental pub songs. Begun in the 1870s by an orphan London street sweeper, the Pearlies are mostly known for raising money for charity.

But all is not well in their world. Their ever-dwindling ranks have splintered into three factions. Years ago, a feud over finances caused several Pearly “families” to split off from the Original Pearly Kings and Queens Association to form a new group, the London Pearly Kings and Queens Society.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(SMH) In a Shift, Anglicans Down Under Back ethics classes

The leading opponent to the introduction of ethics classes in NSW schools, the Anglican Church, has reversed its position and says they should be retained, while the Catholic Church now argues they should not be removed as they have ”little impact” on the teaching of scripture.

The reversals come amid a stand-off over the classes between the O’Farrell government and the Christian Democratic Party MP, Fred Nile, who has threatened to block key legislation in the upper house if it does not consider removing them from schools.

The comments will be welcomed by the government, which yesterday rejected Mr Nile’s proposal that the classes be moved from being in competition with special religious education (SRE), or scripture, lessons.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Moody’s eyes credit downgrade for South Carolina

Moody’s Investors Service warned Tuesday that it probably will lower the credit rating on five states ”” including South Carolina ”” if it downgrades the U.S. government’s credit rating.

The credit rating agency said it has placed on review for possible downgrade the triple-A bond ratings of South Carolina, Maryland, New Mexico, Tennessee and Virginia.

A triple-A rating is the highest for debt and tells investors an institutional borrower presents a minimal credit risk.

Read it all.

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

([London] Times) Camilla Cavendish–Tomorrow looks like Black Friday for Europe

Three years ago, the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the US investment bank, triggered a domino effect that had calamitous consequences for the world. No one knew how many institutions had lent money to Lehman, or how many might be pulled down with the bank. Fear spiralled through the financial markets and central banks worked overtime to prop dominoes up. The result was a painful recession.

This time, some of the dominoes are nations. Greek debt is about three times the size of that of Lehman Brothers. Around half of it is held by foreign investors, who will be hit if Greece defaults. Add in Spain and Italy, which represent about 28 per cent of eurozone GDP, and the numbers get scary. Add in a leadership vacuum, and investors start asking why they should keep lending to countries such as Italy that are troubled but still solvent…

That Europe has reached its Lehman moment is substantially the fault of its myopic and reckless power elite.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Germany, Globalization, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Thomas Friedman on the European Financial Crisis–Can Greeks Become Germans?

Katerina Sokou, 37, a Greek financial journalist at Kathimerini, a daily newspaper, told me this story: A group of German members of the Bavarian Parliament came to Athens shortly after the economic crisis erupted here and met with some Greek politicians, academics, journalists and lawyers at a taverna to evaluate the Greek economy. Sokou said her impression was that the Germans were trying to figure out whether they should be lending money to Greece for a bailout. It was like one nation interviewing another for a loan. “They were not here as tourists; we were giving data on how many hours we work,” recalled Sokou. “It really felt like we had to persuade them about our values.”

Sokou’s observation reminded me of a point made to me by Dov Seidman, the author of the book “How” and the C.E.O. of LRN, which helps companies build ethical business cultures. The globalization of markets and people has intensified to a new degree in the last five years, with the emergence of social networking, Skype, derivatives, fast wireless connectivity, cheap smartphones and cloud computing. “When the world is bound together this tightly,” argued Seidman, “everyone’s values and behavior matter more than ever, because they impact so many more people than ever. …We’ve gone from connected to interconnected to ethically interdependent.”

As it becomes harder to shield yourself from the other guy’s irresponsible behavior, added Seidman, both he and you had better behave more responsibly ”” or you both will suffer the consequences, whether you did anything wrong or not. This is doubly true when two different countries share the same currency but not the same government….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Globalization, Greece, History, Politics in General, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Notable and Quotable

“Truths turn into dogmas the instant that they are disputed. Thus every man who utters a doubt defines a religion. And the scepticism of our time does not really destroy the beliefs, rather it creates them; gives them their limits and their plain and defiant shape. We who are Liberals once held Liberalism lightly as a truism. Now it has been disputed, and we hold it fiercely as a faith. We who believe in patriotism once thought patriotism to be reasonable, and thought little more about it. Now we know it to be unreasonable, and know it to be right. We who are Christians never knew the great philosophic common sense which inheres in that mystery until the anti-Christian writers pointed it out to us. The great march of mental destruction will go on. Everything will be denied. Everything will become a creed. It is a reasonable position to deny the stones in the street; it will be a religious dogma to assert them. It is a rational thesis that we are all in a dream; it will be a mystical sanity to say that we are all awake. Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer. We shall be left defending, not only the incredible virtues and sanities of human life, but something more incredible still, this huge impossible universe which stares us in the face. We shall fight for visible prodigies as if they were invisible. We shall look on the impossible grass and the skies with a strange courage. We shall be of those who have seen and yet have believed.”

–G. K. Chesterton, Heretics

Posted in Uncategorized

Wonderful Video–Space Shuttle Ascent Imagery Highlights

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Still Counting Calories? Your Weight-Loss Plan May Be Outdated

“This study shows that conventional wisdom ”” to eat everything in moderation, eat fewer calories and avoid fatty foods ”” isn’t the best approach,” Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and lead author of the study, said in an interview. “What you eat makes quite a difference. Just counting calories won’t matter much unless you look at the kinds of calories you’re eating.”

Dr. Frank B. Hu, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health and a co-author of the new analysis, said: “In the past, too much emphasis has been put on single factors in the diet. But looking for a magic bullet hasn’t solved the problem of obesity.”

Also untrue, Dr. Mozaffarian said, is the food industry’s claim that there’s no such thing as a bad food.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Science & Technology

Jeffery Landis–The pastor as Prophet, Priest and King

It is Monday morning (or Tuesday, if your pastor takes Monday off), and your pastor is wondering where to begin. There are sermons to write, committee meetings to plan, visits to make, and things left over from last week’s list that he was never able to get to. He may already feel overwhelmed, and the week has not yet even begun.

Where should he begin? What should he be doing? Most Orthodox Presbyterian churches do not have a written job description for their pastor. We expect them to know what to do. But with the lack of a clear job description comes the problem of our expectations””unwritten, but as firm as if written in stone””of what our pastor ought to do. Pastors face the same problem: what should their priorities be?

In this article, I want to suggest that the pastor’s job description can best be defined by aligning it with the job description of Christ as our mediator. The Shorter Catechism reminds us that Christ, as our mediator, executes the offices of prophet, priest, and king (SC 23). Since pastors are Christ’s representatives, serving as undershepherds of their flock, it is helpful to think of their calling in terms of the same three categories. I have found that I cannot be a faithful pastor if I am not actively involved in all three areas.

Interesting reflections from another tradition–read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Theology

Andrew Goddard reflects on Civil Partnerships & Same-Sex Relationships in the C of E

1. It is vitally important that evangelicals committed to the biblical and traditional sexual ethic set out in Lambeth I.10 engage constructively with these two new initiatives. Some, weary of apparently unending dialogue and listening, fearful of the possible outcome and concerned to put their energy into more important issues, may be tempted to keep their distance or engage in a defensive manner. Such approaches, however, risk the wider church not recognising the strength”“ both in numbers and in argument ”“ of the evangelical positon.

2. These two reviews provide an opportunity for evangelicals to

a. re-explore the historic Christian vision for sex and marriage

b. regain intellectual and spiritual confidence in the biblical rootedness, theological coherence and significance and psycho-social validity of traditional Christian teaching compared to a revisionist position

c. enter constructive theological dialogue with those seeking to revise Christian teaching in order both to correct and be corrected by those with whom we disagree.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O thou who hast taught us that we are most truly free when we lose our wills in thine: Help us to attain to this liberty by continual surrender unto thee; that walking in the way which thou hast prepared for us, we may find our life in doing thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Gelasian Sacramentary

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter rose and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God who knows the heart bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us; and he made no distinction between us and them, but cleansed their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

–Acts 15:6-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture