Daily Archives: May 17, 2012

(USA Today) Social media is reinventing how business is done

When Red Robin Gourmet Burgers introduced its new Tavern Double burger line last month, the company had to get everything right. So it turned to social media.

The 460-restaurant chain used an internal social network that resembles Facebook to teach its managers everything from the recipes to the best, fastest way to make them. Instead of mailing out spiral-bound books, getting feedback during executives’ sporadic store visits and taking six months to act on advice from the trenches, the network’s freewheeling discussion and video produced results in days. Red Robin is already kitchen-testing recipe tweaks based on customer feedback ”” and the four new sandwiches just hit the table April 30.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Feast of the Ascension (II)

O Lord Jesus Christ, who after thy resurrection didst manifestly appear to thine apostles, and in their sight didst ascend into heaven to prepare a place for us: Grant that, being risen with thee, we may lift up our hearts continually to seek thee where thou art, and never cease to serve thee faithfully here on earth; until at last, when thou comest again, thou shalt receive us unto thyself; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

–Frederick B. Macnutt

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

John Leo–A Controversy at Post-Catholic Georgetown

[Kathleen] Sebelius is an unusually provocative choice by Georgetown….

As governor of Kansas she vetoed four anti-abortion bills and was unusually close to the late partial-birth-abortion specialist George Tiller, assassinated by an anti-abortion zealot in 2009. She protected Tiller from litigation and criminal prosecution and he became one of her major political donors. The Sebelius administration destroyed subpoenaed documents sought for years in criminal proceedings against Planned Parenthood for failure to report large numbers of child rapes. The originals somehow disappeared in 2005 and the copies were “routinely” discarded or destroyed by a Sebelius appointee in 2009. Planned Parenthood is also a large and regular donor to Sebelius.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(NY Times) New Fight on a Speaker at a Catholic University

….there was an uproar when it recently became public that Georgetown University, a Jesuit institution, had invited Ms. [Kathleen] Sebelius to speak at an awards ceremony this Friday, its commencement day.

The Archdiocese of Washington released a strong letter of rebuke to Georgetown’s president on Tuesday afternoon, calling Ms. Sebelius the architect of the birth control mandate ”” “the most direct challenge to religious liberty in recent history.”

The conflict is only the latest example of friction between Catholic universities and their local bishops, who are charged with ensuring that the universities uphold Catholic doctrine and exhibit an explicitly Catholic identity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Young Adults

(Washington Post) Robert J. Samuelson–The real lesson from JPMorgan

It’s a teachable moment, but what’s the right lesson? Already, the $2 billion-plus trading debacle at JPMorgan Chase has inspired a powerful storyline. Nothing has changed since the financial crisis, it’s said. Big banks remain out of control, gambling recklessly. If Jamie Dimon’s bank, reputed to be one of the best-managed, can get into trouble, what can we expect of the others? Government regulations and regulators need to be tougher to counteract bankers’ greed and incompetence.

The storyline is marred only by this: Everything in it is exaggerated, misleading or wrong.

Let’s take stock. Here are four propositions that defy conventional wisdom.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(NC Reporter) Michael Sean Winters–Gary Wills has the Worst Column (So Far) on Same-sex Marriage

Garry Wills takes to the online pages of the New York Review of Books, a venue that you would think might require some standards of cogent thought for publication, to make a very curious argument about same sex marriage. He suggests that the Catholic Church’s view that marriage is a sacrament is simply a medieval “fiction.” He makes this point by way of voicing his support for same sex marriage.

Hmmmmm. I can see that there is an argument, although not a Catholic argument, that there is no such thing as the development of doctrine and so the organic growth of the Church’s teaching over the centuries is, per se, invalid. I can see, too, that there is a case to be made, although I have yet to see a convincing one so far, that the doctrine of the Church does develop and that such doctrine should now develop to encompass same-sex marriage. But, I cannot understand Wills’ argument which seems to be that the only developments that are legitimate are those that end up agreeing with him. A magisterium of one, and on the pages of the New York Review. Who knew?

I am especially befuddled by his suggestion that the fact that Christian views about marriage are rooted in Jewishness somehow makes them less capable of sacramental significance.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYRB) Garry Wills–The Myth About Marriage

Why do some people who would recognize gay civil unions oppose gay marriage? Certain religious groups want to deny gays the sacredeness of what they take to be a sacrament. But marriage is no sacrament….

Those who do not want to let gay partners have the sacredness of sacramental marriage are relying on a Scholastic fiction of the thirteenth century to play with people’s lives, as the church has done ever since the time of Aquinas. The myth of the sacrament should not let people deprive gays of the right to natural marriage, whether blessed by Yahweh or not. They surely do not need””since no one does””the blessing of Saint Thomas.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bill Wilson on Parish Stewardship and the Challenge of who serves on Staff and How

There is a revolution taking place in the way traditional congregations hire, manage and compensate their staff. Some of it is healthy and overdue, some of it is painful and short-sighted.

As traditional congregations entered the 21st century, they walked into a perfect storm of factors negatively impacting staffing. Attractional, programmatic congregational life was waning in many settings. Missional leadership required a set of skills and a mentality that was foreign to those who had been trained and taught in another era. The Great Recession put unprecedented strain on church operating budgets. Scapegoating among congregational leaders seeking to explain a suddenly clear pattern of plateau and decline became the norm.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Rob Jenkins–Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Teachers

Don’t get me wrong: Teaching at any level is a noble profession. Some might say it’s not a profession at all but rather a calling. I just pray that if my kids get the call for a high school, they don’t pick up.

I haven’t always felt that way. There was a time when I would have been pleased for my children to become teachers ”” even though teaching is a relatively low-paying profession and an often thankless job. But I used to think the drawbacks were more than offset by the intellectual stimulation and respect that teachers enjoyed, not to mention cut-rate cafeteria lunches.

Now I look at the school calendar and see one long string of standardized tests, most with acronyms that would make the Pentagon blush: CogAT, PSAT, CRCT, GHSGT, ITBS, BOGUS. (OK, I made that last one up.)

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education

(AP) Critics of Russian Orthodox Church say it's sold its soul to Putin

The skinny dissident is thrown headfirst into a police van by camouflage-clad officers. Nearby, a dozen bearded men bearing Russian Orthodox crosses and wearing skull-and-crossbones T-shirts cheer on the cops.

It’s the latest flare-up in a growing feud pitting supporters of the influential church, which sees itself as the nation’s spiritual guide, against opponents who say the church has sold out to Vladimir Putin ”” becoming an arm of his regime more interested in gold than souls.

Roman Dobrokhotov was on his way to Christ the Savior Cathedral, Russia’s biggest church, to protest against the arrest of members of female punk rock band Pussy Riot. They were jailed in early March for belting out an anti-Putin “punk prayer” in front of the church’s gilded altar wearing garishly colored balaclavas.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia

(BBC) Google makes search 'more human' with Knowledge Graph

Google has revamped its search engine in an attempt to offer instant answers to search questions.

A new function, the Knowledge Graph, will make the site’s algorithms act “more human”, the site said in a blog post.

The feature will at first be available to US-based users, but will be rolled out globally in due course.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Science & Technology

(CNS) R. C. Bishops–Canadians experience 'worrisome erosion' of religious rights

Canadian religious groups are “experiencing a worrisome erosion” of freedom of conscience and religious freedom — universal rights that face increasing threats around the world, said the Canadian bishops.

In a 12-page pastoral letter to all Canadians, the bishops said they “particularly want to address those members of the faithful who find themselves in difficult situations where they may be pressured to act against their religious faith or their conscience.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor–religious intolerance is trying to wipe out Christianity

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the UK’s most senior Roman Catholic, has said secularism seeks to wipe out Christianity as religious intolerance increases.

The cardinal mounted a critical attack on atheism and its attitude to those with religious beliefs, warning: “In the name of tolerance it seems to me tolerance is being abolished.”

In an address at Leicester’s Anglican Cathedral, he spoke of a “deep unease” in western society.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Secularism

A Prayer for the Feast of the Ascension (I)

O Thou merciful and loving High Priest, who hast passed within the veil and art in the presence of the Father: Help us with thy mighty intercession, that, our unworthiness being clothed upon with thy perfect righteousness, we may stand accepted in the day of thy coming; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

–Henry Alford

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

–Matthew 28:16-20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture