Daily Archives: September 9, 2012

Yet Again, Congo Faces The Specter Of Civil War

For years, armed militias have been stalking the lush forests in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, committing all sorts of atrocities against villagers. And now one of the most war-ravaged countries in the world has another looming problem: an emerging rebel group.

“A notorious group of human rights violators” is how the U.N. human rights commissioner describes the group, known as the March 23 Movement, or M23.

Reportedly led by a Tutsi warlord wanted by the International Criminal Court, M23 has been accused of rape, murder and child-soldier recruitment.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Republic of Congo, Violence

Grantland–Honest NFL Logos, or The truth may hurt ”” but it's still the truth

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Men, Sports

(All Things Catholic) John Allen–Playing politics with the global war on Christians

Nonetheless, the question remains: Why haven’t these blatant acts of prejudice become a cause célèbre? I can think of at least three reasons.

First, some Christians may be hesitant to speak out because, in this instance, the prejudice is coming from Jews. Given the long and depressing history of anti-Judaism in Christianity, some Christians may, in their gut, be tempted to feel: “Yeah, this is disgusting, but in a way we’ve got it coming.”

Second, most Christians in the Holy Land are passionately pro-Palestinian, for the obvious reason that many are Palestinians themselves. Some Christians in the West sympathetic to Israel are therefore reluctant to take up their causes, however deserving in themselves, for fear of weakening the Israeli position.

Third, the travails of a handful of Trappist monks in Israel — or Dalit and tribal Christians in India, or Nigerian Christians menaced by the Boko Haram, or the 150,000 new Christian martyrs every year generally — simply have a hard time breaking through the media filter in the West, perhaps especially in the United States, where it’s now all 2012 elections all the time.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Nigeria, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Violence

Dan Ariely–Harvard and the politics of large-scale cheating

We need to consider that for students, the social and professional circles vastly overlap, which makes it more difficult to separate what’s permissible and what isn’t. This is not to absolve students who cheat, but it’s something to consider. Students often live in the same place they go to class, which is essentially their workplace. Their friends are also their colleagues, and their “bosses” (professors and TAs) are often their friends. All this blending makes can make lines of conduct a bit more indistinct.

None of this is meant to make light of the problem of cheating, or to imply that it’s excusable. But if we want to prevent such things from happening again, we need to think about not just the students, but also the system in which they live and operate. Thus, professors need to work on being crystal clear in instructions. Telling students, for instance, “speak to no one other than the professor or your TA about any aspect of the exam” leaves no gray areas. All that said, it will be interesting to see how things at Harvard shake out ”¦

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Young Adults

(Reuters) Germany should back growth or leave the Euro-George Soros

Germany should leave the euro zone if it is not prepared to take a more decisive lead in helping the euro zone’s weaker nations escape a spiral of increasing indebtedness and economic decline, veteran financier George Soros said on Saturday.

Soros said Europe faced a prolonged depression and an acrimonious end to the European unification project if steps were not taken to help its southern nations grow their way out of the debt crisis by collectively assuming some of their debt and relaxing its German-led insistence on austerity.

“Germany should either lead in developing a growth policy, political union and burden-sharing, accept the cost of leadership, or leave through an amicable arrangement,” Soros said in an interview with Reuters television in Vienna.

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Posted in * 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, Foreign Relations, Germany, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Lunch with the Financial Times: Tim Berners-Lee

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is an intimidating interviewee. It’s not so much the worry about keeping up with the brain that invented the world wide web; it’s that when you Google him (in the circumstances, there seems no shame in this method of research), you soon find he has compiled a list of answers to questions that journalists have asked too many times before.

No, he patiently explains on his website, he did not invent the internet; the web is an application that runs on the internet like a fridge uses the power grid. And no, he states, he does not have mixed emotions about his refusal to “cash in” on his invention ”“ “You can’t propose that something be a universal space and at the same time keep control of it.” Nor will he tell you much about his personal life because “what is on the web on this page and my home page is all there is”.

“I thought once I’d put a question on the web, I’d never have to answer it again. And I thought once I got a photographer to take some darn photos of me and put them on the web, then I’d never have to be photographed again,” he says when we meet at his office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “Was I wrong!”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Globalization, Science & Technology

(Telegraph) Jenny McCartney–British Christians must find a louder voice

The Archbishop of Canterbury, as he prepares to leave Lambeth Palace, has sought to quell any claims that Christians in this country are suffering persecution. “We have been hearing quite a lot about the dangers of ‘aggressive secularism’,” he wrote in the introduction to his new book, “But our problem ”¦ is not simply loud voices attacking faith (and certainly not ‘persecution’, as some of the more highly coloured apologetic claims)”.

Well, “persecution” is a powerful word, and few would dispute that genuine persecution is happening to Christian minorities in other countries, a plight that Dr Williams has done much to publicise. It seems ludicrous to compare the appalling treatment of the Christian minority in Pakistan or Iraq to slights suffered by Christians in Britain, where Christianity remains the Establishment religion, albeit one with weakening links to the Establishment.

There is, however, something curious and faintly unpleasant happening in Britain: Christianity seems tacitly understood to be the one faith that can safely be ridiculed or denied expression in the workplace. The complexity of that situation has been highlighted by the four British Christians who last week took their cases to the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that they have been discriminated against at work because of their religion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology

([London] Sunday Times) Bootlegger’s son tipped to be next Archbishop of Canterbury

An Eton-educated former oil executive has emerged as the unlikely frontrunner to succeed Rowan Williams as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Justin Welby has been a bishop for less than a year, but senior Anglican sources claim the committee responsible for making the appointment is preparing to overlook his inexperience to recommend him for the Church of England’s top job .

It would mark a meteoric rise and defy the odds that have placed John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, as the favourite among the public and bookmakers.

While the crown nominations committee will not make a final decision until it meets in secret later this month, sources say senior figures on the panel view the Bishop of Durham as the outstanding candidate….

Read it all (requires subscription) and you can read some basic information about Bishop Justin Welby there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture

After High Note for [Mario Draghi's Latest] Euro Plan, Discord Emerges

Greeted with initial fanfare by investors and economic officials, the unlimited bond-buying plan that the European Central Bank president, Mario Draghi, announced Thursday ran into immediate political problems in the crucial countries of Germany, Spain and Italy.

In Germany, despite Chancellor Angela Merkel’s support for Mr. Draghi and the independence of the Central Bank, political and news media reaction was scathing, with accusations that the bank, in seeking to stabilize the euro currency union, was subverting its mandate to fight inflation and forcing debt upon euro zone members.

“A Black Day for the Euro,” “Over the Red Line” and “Pandora’s Box Opened Forever” were some of the German headlines, with the normally sympathetic Süddeutsche Zeitung headlining an editorial: “The E.C.B. Rewards Mismanagement.” Even the German Bundesbank, officially part of the European Central Bank, put out a statement commenting acidly that the plan was “financing governments by printing bank notes.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Italy, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Telegraph) Archbishop Rowan Williams launches a parting attack on his critics

Dr Williams criticises the way the economy has been run during the financial crisis, saying that public life has become tainted by a “myth” that it is possible to guarantee financial security.

“A mythology of control and guaranteed security, combined with the fantasy that unlimited material growth is possible… has poisoned social and political life across a growing number of countries.

“No theologian has an automatic skill in economics; but there is an ethical perspective here, plainly rooted in theology, that obliges us to question the nostrums of recent decades, and above all persistently to ask the awkward question of what we want growth for, what model of well-being we actually assume in our economics.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

A NY Times Profile Article on the Football Coach at Vanderbilt University

A certain brand of optimism had been required for James Franklin to forgive his father, to forget their past. But now it was being tested. In his father’s new home, Franklin listened to his father’s new wife deny his father’s sins against him, his sister and their mother.

Then Franklin’s father, also named James, stopped her. It was true, he said. He had done awful things to his former wife and their two children. A proud, stubborn man who was now defeated and dying, Franklin finally admitted this to his son. He was painfully frail, an oxygen tank by his side, cancer attacking his spine and lungs. Still, a sense of righteousness filled the younger Franklin. He wanted his mother and sister to feel it too.

Within a month, his father would be dead. But not before Franklin recruited him to visit their old home in Langhorne, Pa., where his father’s alcoholism and violence had ruined a marriage and nearly destroyed his family.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Alcoholism, Children, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Sports, Theology, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Look, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it.

I am weak in the faith; strengthen me.

I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor.

I do not have a strong and firm faith. At times I doubt and am unable to trust You completely. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in You.
I have insured all my treasure in Your name.

I am poor; You are rich and You did come to be merciful to the poor.

I am a sinner; You are upright.

With me there is an abundance of sin; with You a fullness of righteousness.

Therefore I will remain with You, from whom I can receive but to whom I may not give. Amen.

–Martin Luther (1468–1546)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

–Matthew 5:13-20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Guardian) A Look Back to 1979–Robert Runcie is to be the 102nd Archbishop of Canterbury

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History

A New exhibit explores Billy Graham’s friendships with world leaders

In May 1970, President Richard Nixon was one of 75,000 people gathered to hear evangelist Billy Graham preach in Knoxville, Tenn. When they passed the collection plate, Nixon realized he didn’t have any money. So he borrowed some cash from a friend.

The friend? None other than Billy Graham.

“A number of presidents have looked to you for spiritual sustenance over the years,” Nixon later wrote to the famous preacher, “but I suspect I was the first to hit you up for a loan.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Globalization, Other Churches, Religion & Culture