Daily Archives: August 28, 2013

(RNS) Connecticut slave to get a long overdue church funeral

The remains of an 18th-century Connecticut slave whose abuse continued long after his death will finally be given a dignified burial.

On Sept. 12, more than two centuries after his death, a slave known as Fortune will be interred at Waterbury’s Riverside Cemetery with all the trappings of a state funeral.

It will be a ceremonial end to the life of a man whose mistreatment serves as a reminder of the North’s participation in slavery.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Guardian) Giles Fraser–Spiritually, we do ourselves no favours constantly trying to avoid boredom

There is something indulgent about boredom. It makes me think of posh people in Russian plays complaining they have nothing to do while other people work their arses off in the field. As Schopenhauer insisted, life for the person of means becomes a question of how to dispose of surplus time. Maybe that’s why boredom feels like a problem especially associated with August and not least with children on long car journeys.

But according to the Norwegian philosopher Lars Svendsen, author of A Philosophy of Boredom, boredom comes to take on a particular and possibly darker inflection with modernity. Having been bored witless writing his PhD about Kant, Svendsen came to see a connection between his subject and his state of mind. With Kant, God is replaced by the self as the ultimate source of meaning. As traditional structures of meaning are wiped away, boredom comes to be regarded as a very personal sort of failing. And in order to avoid it, various distractions are entertained: travel, drink, drugs, the Xbox, sex, transgressive behaviour ”“ all strategies of avoidance, all hinting at a desperate desire to hold off the acknowledgment of meaninglessness. It is, says Svendsen, a problem characteristic of modernity. Whereas boredom has once bragged about as a mark of nobility, now it is the ultimate in personal failing. Those who are bored are losers.

Perhaps this is why the entertainment industry is more important to us that we are often prepared to admit.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Adult Education, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(Telegraph) Military action in Syria would spark Middle East war, warns Lord Carey

Opposition in the Church to military action in Syria is growing after the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey warned it could lead to a regional war.

He said that despite a sense of “moral outrage” at the use of chemical weapons by the regime, armed intervention would drag the UK into a war which could engulf the whole of the Middle East.

And he voiced surprise that David Cameron is even contemplating a military response after slashing the armed forces to a “pitiful degree”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Theology, Violence

(Telegraph) Archbishop Justin Welby warns against 'rushing to judgment' over Syria intervention

The Most Rev Justin Welby insisted that MPs must ask themselves whether they are “sure” about the facts on the ground before acting amid a “really delicate and dangerous situation”.

Archbishop Welby, who spent several years promoting reconciliation in war zones in Africa and the Middle East, insisted that there were “numerous intermediate steps” between doing nothing and full regime change in Syria which could be considered.

But speaking to The Daily Telegraph, he acknowledged that there was no “good answer” to the crisis in Syria and that a simple solution “just doesn’t exist”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Health & Medicine, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Syria, Theology, Violence

Superb NY Times profile Article on James Harris, first black starting NFL quarterback

[James] Harris felt jolted, as if King were speaking directly to him, to his deepest, most impossible desire. In the coming month, Harris would begin his junior year at Carroll High School, returning as the starting quarterback for a team that had gone 12-0 and won a state championship the previous fall. His dream was to play professional football.

The prevailing opinion, however, was that a black man was not intelligent enough to play the position. The most promising black prospects, as Harris well knew, were routinely switched to receiver or defensive back….

Now King’s words told him change was coming, not in the hereafter, not in some distant, redeemed era, but imminently.

“I had no chance, I knew that,” Harris said. “But then I started listening to that speech.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Race/Race Relations, Sports

(Washington Post) Imminent U.S. strike on Syria could draw nation into civil war

An imminent U.S. strike on Syrian government targets in response to the alleged gassing of civilians last week has the potential to draw the United States into the country’s civil war, former U.S. officials said Tuesday, warning that history doesn’t bode well for such limited retaliatory interventions.

The best historical parallels ”” the 1998 cruise missile strikes on targets in Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan ”” are rife with unintended consequences and feature little success.

“The one thing we should learn is you can’t get a little bit pregnant,” said retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who was at the helm of U.S. Central Command when the Pentagon launched cruise missiles at suspected terrorist sites in Afghanistan and weapons facilities in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. “If you do a one-and-done and say you’re going to repeat it if unacceptable things happen, you might find these people keep doing unacceptable things. It will suck you in.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology, Violence

Archbishop John Sentamu on Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a Dream" Speech

To be a great leader such as King, you have to love, you have to set an example, you have to take action, and you have to dream. You have to have that vision and belief that you can make it better. Remember too, that it was also the courage and resolve of a single woman that got the ball rolling. Too often, people believe that their own contribution is not important. I tell you friends, one drop of water can turn a waterwheel. Always aim high and never give up hope. – See more at: http://www.archbishopofyork.org/articles.php/2955/martin-luther-king-jnr-i-have-a-dream-speech#sthash.bzECikiN.bz8BF3vG.dpuf

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(Slate) Jessica Olien–Loneliness Is Deadly; Social isolation kills more people than obesity does

Feeling uncertain, I began to research loneliness and came across several alarming recent studies. Loneliness is not just making us sick, it is killing us. Loneliness is a serious health risk. Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely.

The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking. And loneliness is about twice as dangerous as obesity….Loneliness is breaking our hearts, but as a culture we rarely talk about it.

Loneliness has doubled: 40 percent of adults in two recent surveys said they were lonely, up from 20 percent in the 1980s.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Theology

Albert Mohler on the recent New Mexico Supreme Court Decision on Photographing a Same Sex Ceremony

Anyone who still doubts that the normalization of homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage will represent a seismic shift in the culture at large needs only to look to New Mexico to see that nothing less than religious liberty is now under threat””and in a big way….The court’s ruling sets a very dangerous precedent: “If a commercial photography business believes that the [New Mexico Human Rights Act] stifles its creativity, it can remain in business, but it can cease to offer its services to the public at large. Elane Photography’s choice to offer its services to the public is a business decision, not a decision about its freedom of speech.”

A business decision, but not a decision about freedom of speech? The New Mexico Supreme Court’s ruling points to the comprehensive scope of the moral and legal realignment likely required by same-sex marriage””and eagerly demanded by its proponents. The addition of sexual orientation as a denominator of a protected class was sufficient to drag the Huguenins before a court in a state that itself does not legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, State Government, Theology

(WSJ) Biggest Changes in a Decade Greet Students as We head Toward the Fall

Millions of students heading back to school are finding significant changes in the curriculum and battles over how teachers are evaluated, as the biggest revamps of U.S. public education in a decade work their way into classrooms.

Most states are implementing tougher math and reading standards known as Common Core, while teacher evaluations increasingly are linked to student test scores or other measures of achievement. Meantime, traditional public schools face unprecedented competition from charter and private schools.

Supporters say the overhauls will help make U.S. students more competitive with pupils abroad. But others worry that the sheer volume and far-reaching nature of the new policies is too much, too fast. Already, the changes have sparked pushback.

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

Food for Thought from Saint Augustine on his Feast Day

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, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Augustine of Hippo

O Lord God, who art the light of the minds that know thee, the life of the souls that love thee, and the strength of the hearts that serve thee: Help us, following the example of thy servant Augustine of Hippo, so to know thee that we may truly love thee, and so to love thee that we may fully serve thee, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty: Open our eyes, we beseech thee, to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works; that rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve thee with gladness; for the sake of him by whom all things were made, thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

–The American BCP

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to thy servant David my father, because he walked before thee in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward thee; and thou hast kept for him this great and steadfast love, and hast given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people whom thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this thy great people?” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.

–1 Kings 3:5-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Syria Strike Could Dash Hopes for Iran Talks

A U.S. attack on Syria would likely dash expectations of progress in nuclear negotiations with Iran and undermine new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s call for improving relations with the West, diplomats said.

An attack on Damascus would likely give Iranian hard-liners, who oppose a nuclear compromise, the upper hand over moderate President Hasan Rouhani, who has made foreign policy and nuclear talks a priority.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Health & Medicine, Iraq, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Syria, Theology, Violence