Daily Archives: November 23, 2014

(Yahoo Health) How Marijuana Really Affects the Brain

Although there’s a lot of buzz about marijuana being nonaddictive, the evidence is stacking up that people can ”” and do ”” become dependent on the drug. A study released earlier this year, for example, found that 40 percent of marijuana users in an outpatient treatment program showed signs of withdrawal, a classic indicator of addiction. Now, new research in the journal PNAS sheds light on how lighting up changes the brain ”” and potentially primes people for withdrawal.

It’s long been known that exposure to THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in pot, can lead to changes in the brain. Problem is, different studies have shown different structural alterations, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly how the stuff affects people mentally. That’s why a group of researchers decided to use three different magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to examine the brains of 48 chronic marijuana users and 62 nonusers, while also assessing IQ and negative life consequences of pot smoking.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine

(Sunday [London] Times) It’s the end for Iraqi Christians

[Canon Andrew] White has the optimism of the truly religious but he found this news devastating.“You can’t stop yourself despairing. You can only despair in that situation.”

In parts of the Middle East, Christianity is in danger of extinction. In 1991 there were 1.5m Christians in Iraq. Today there may be as few as 300,000. In Syria and Egypt, in places where there have been churches for almost two millennia, Christians are being persecuted and killed and their places of worship destroyed.

A report by the Pew Research Centre think tank in Washington found Christianity to be the world’s most oppressed religious group. What remains of the Iraqi Christian community has now lost one of its leaders. White, known as “the Vicar of Baghdad”, was recalled last month from St George’s Church by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, because of the danger posed by the terrorist group Isis.

Could the conflict spell the end of centuries of Christian life in Iraq? “If you’d asked me four months ago I would have said no,” says White. “But in the past four months I say yes. What is a Christian life there now? The Bishop of Mosul said recently that for the first time in 2,000 years there was no church in Nineveh [an ancient city that is now part of Mosul]. That’s the reality.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology, Violence

(Local Paper) A year for the birds; species abundant in Lowcountry Region of South Carolina

The long-billed curlew is as quirky looking as it is large. Its bill stands out like a jousting lance. The two-feet-tall bird is the largest shorebird on the continent – where it’s left on the continent.

That might not be in the Lowcountry much longer.

The only places it’s really seen here anymore are a few, very remote islands in Cape Romain. You’re lucky to see two at any one time. They are “probably going to disappear from our state,” said Felicia Sanders, S.C. Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist.

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Posted in * General Interest, * South Carolina, Animals

Two Ohio Men Wrongly Convicted of Murder Walk Free because only witness, 12 at the time, recants

Two Ohio men wrongly accused of murder experienced freedom for the first time in nearly four decades on Friday morning, but said they don’t harbor bitterness over their unjust imprisonment.

A Cleveland judge on Wednesday had dropped all charges against Ricky Jackson, 57, and Wiley Bridgeman, 60, allowing for the pair’s release.

Jackson was 19 when he was convicted along with Bridgeman and Bridgeman’s brother, Ronnie, in the 1975 shooting death and robbery of Harold Franks, a Cleveland-area money order salesman.

Testimony from a 12-year-old witness helped point to Jackson as the triggerman and led a jury to convict all three. Ronnie Bridgeman, now known as Kwame Ajamu, was paroled from prison in 2003.

Read it all from NBC.

Posted in Uncategorized

Canadian Primate’s Comm. on Doctrine Discovery, Healing and Reconciliation sees long road ahead

The 17-member commission held its second meeting at St. Peter’s Church on the Six Nations Reserve in southwestern Ontario from Nov. 6 to 8, welcoming Janaki Bandara from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada to the commission.

Finlay and Wesley reported that the commission began to develop a theological reflection on the Doctrine of Discovery, its continuing impact and ways that it might be dismantled. Secondly, members discussed “what reconciliation looks like in parishes and communities, particularly around the understanding of healing and wholeness and the Circle of Life,” which Wesley explained is a part of the teachings of the medicine wheel. Thirdly, they explored how the quality of life in indigenous communities could be improved by understanding the nature of treaties and the Indian Act, an act that he said “crippled the aboriginal people” after it was passed in 1951 and became law.

Read it all from the Anglican Journal.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

ACNA Leader Foley Beach on the Marriage Pledge–take counsel together before taking further action

Grace and peace to you in the Name of Christ Jesus our Lord!!! I hope this email finds you well and walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. I am writing from Sydney where I just arrived after an incredible time of ministry in South East Asia (Singapore, Kuching, and Yangon). More on that another time.

I am writing to you because there has been alot of discussion in recent days about taking “The Marriage Pledge.” If you have not been following the online conversation, you can read the Pledge here at First Things, as well as a critical commentary here on Doug Wilson’s blog.

Some of our bishops and clergy have been in favor of signing this pledge, some are not in favor of signing the pledge, while others need more time to consider the consequences of making such a commitment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Marriage & Family

Anglican staff returns to Maori after 200 years

A bishop’s crozier, or pastoral staff, discovered in a cupboard in New Zealand is being returned to Maori by the Anglican Church.

The carved crozier was presented to the then Anglican Bishop of Auckland, Bishop Averill, in 1914 by four northern Maori tribes.

It marked 100 years since Samuel Marsden and other Anglican missionaries set up a permanent European settlement with Maori in the Bay of Islands and it is now being returned 200 years later.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Church History

A Prayer to Begin the Day from L. E. H. Stephens-Hodge

Almighty God, whose blessed Son taught in all honesty the way of life that thou requirest: Grant that we may so live as dutiful and loyal citizens of our earthly country, that we may show ourselves to be members of that heavenly country whereof thou art sovereign Lord and King; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever!

–Psalm 118:1

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

US Roman Catholic bishops announce support for Pres. Obama's Action on Immigration

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, welcomed the news today that the Obama administration will defer deportations for many undocumented immigrants and their families.

“We have a long history of welcoming and aiding the poor, the outcast, the immigrant, and the disadvantaged. Each day, the Catholic Church in the United States, in her social service agencies, hospitals, schools, and parishes, witnesses the human consequences of the separation of families, when parents are deported from their children or spouses from each other. We’ve been on record asking the Administration to do everything within its legitimate authority to bring relief and justice to our immigrant brothers and sisters. As pastors, we welcome any efforts within these limits that protect individuals and protect and reunite families and vulnerable children,” said Bishop Elizondo.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in Uncategorized

(UMNS) United Methodists praise the President’s immigration order

President Barack Obama’s immigration plan offers “a word of mercy and a measure of justice,” said United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño, co-chair of the denomination’s interagency task force on immigration reform.

The plan means undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for more than five years and have children who are U.S. citizens or residents “can now come out of the shadows,” said Carcaño, episcopal leader for the California-Pacific Conference.

The United Methodist Council of Bishops has long supported immigration reform and encouraged local communities “to participate in ministries of mercy and justice,” said Bishop Julius C. Trimble, co-chair of the interagency task force on immigration reform and episcopal leader of the Iowa Conference.

Trimble said critics have attacked the president’s action before, saying reform is the responsibility of Congress.

Read it all

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Methodist, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Theology

(RNS) Religious Tension High After Mosque Closures In Mombasa, Kenya

Christian and Muslim leaders fear more violence in the coastal city of Mombasa after the government indefinitely closed four mosques over suspected terror activities.

On Friday (Nov. 21), religious and political leaders united to urge the government to reopen the mosques. Muslim leaders accused the government of insensitivity, while Christian leaders feared being targeted in revenge attacks.

“We have always advised the government against adopting these counterproductive and draconian measures. It is unfortunate they ignored the Muslim leaders,” said Sheikh Abdulghafur El-Busaidy, the chairman of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Kenya, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(F Things) Evangelical Liturgy, High and Low–Jake Meador reviews Melanie Ross' new Book

In one of Ross’s most effective chapters, she argues that low-church evangelical liturgy has taken many of its cues from the Gospel of John, while more high-church traditions have tended to look toward the synoptics. She cites John’s emphasis on personal faith, de-emphasis of high offices, and prioritization of Christology as ways in which this particular gospel has deeply influenced low-church liturgical practices. Ross’s goal here, she tells us, is not to establish which reading or which liturgical practice ought to be favored. She seeks instead to highlight that the breadth of scripture suggests that a breadth of interpretations can be welcomed and affirmed by the Christian church. Ross writes, “Nonsacramental Christianity is one faithful way of embodying the shared confession of faith. My hope is that the discipline of liturgical studies is wide enough to embrace ”˜both-and’ without mandating ”˜either-or.’”

Yet for all the book’s strengths, it is one thing to demonstrate that a system of thought or group of practices are coherent; it is quite another to demonstrate that they are good. While any fair-minded high-church reader of Ross’s work should be able to finish this book with a greater understanding of evangelical liturgical practices, I am not sure that he will come away from this book feeling more sympathetic to low-church evangelicalism. It is possible, in fact, that greater theological clarity might bring about greater discomfort, as some high-church readers may see their worst fears being confirmed in these elucidating pages, particularly by phrases like “nonsacramental Christianity.” Furthermore, those already suspicious of the excesses of Finney and Whitefield are unlikely to be persuaded otherwise by Ross’s discussion of their role in the formation of evangelical liturgical practices.

Still, it is better to have an informed conversation than an uninformed one.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Church History, Evangelicals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Politico) Larry Sabato The Never-Ending Replay of November 22, 1963

In the weeks following the initial 2013 publication of my book, The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy, I received hundreds of emails, letters, and tweets. Many were filled with personal reminiscences and heartfelt emotion, but mainly the communications demonstrated that people who have followed the assassination story these many years have long since chosen sides.

The concrete is so set that even if a time machine existed, and we could go back and videotape the Dallas event from every conceivable angle, some would not be convinced unless their preferred conspirators were caught red-handed. The controversy about the assassination shows few signs of fading away, especially because (according to a Peter Hart poll commissioned for my book), three-quarters of Americans do not believe the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

A handful of the messages I’ve received were sent by individuals who insisted they had revelations about President Kennedy’s assassination. I met, spoke by phone, or exchanged correspondence with the most credible of them. After passage of more than a half-century, it is almost impossible to separate fact from fiction, and some intriguing leads proved impossible to confirm because the principals refused to cooperate or are deceased. Nonetheless, some worthwhile particulars emerged.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Office of the President, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology, Violence

(WSJ) Michel Connell–A Father’s Falter at the Wedding Altar

Recently, I played the role of father of the bride for the first time in my life. It was a life-changing event for me; I barely survived. I suspect it was an important day for my daughter too; she was quite animated and very interested in every detail. Months of planning and purchasing led steadily to the special day. Flower choices were debated, color schemes considered and rejected, songs chosen, an organist identified, a soloist, a photographer, a videographer, a caterer, a baker, greeters, readers, feeders, eaters””Eisenhower spent less time planning his visit to Normandy. It was the usual, once-in-a-lifetime kind of event in the chapel of the small liberal-arts college where I teach and the betrothed couple met, graduated and learned about lifelong commitment””like the legal obligations inherent in student loans.

Of course, there was the Friday-night rehearsal. My part was easy enough: Walk slowly down the aisle with a beautiful woman on my arm. After two walk-throughs, I was confident I could handle it. Although I had major parts, both onstage in a tuxedo and as the signer of numerous bank drafts, I had only one line, “Her mother and I,” in reply to the query, “Who gives this woman?” I delivered my line at the rehearsal in a strong, confident voice, accompanied by the thought, “I can do this tomorrow.”

But at 3 a.m., I awoke with a panic attack. I could not do this.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology