Daily Archives: May 11, 2016

Albert Mohler–Crisis in American Democracy

For nearly two and a half centuries, Americans have enjoyed the enormous privilege and responsibility of forming our own government””a privilege rarely experienced throughout most of human history. For most of history, humanity has struggled with the question of how to respond to a government that was essentially forced upon them. But Americans have often struggled with a very different reality; how do we rightly respond to the government that we choose?

To put all of this in historical perspective, the Framers of the American experiment understood that a representative democracy built on the principle of limited government would require certain virtues of its citizens. These would include a restraint of passions and an upholding of traditional moral virtues, without which democracy would not be possible. As the idea of limited government implies, the citizenry would be required to carry out the social responsibilities of the community without the intrusion of government and, thus, citizens would be expected to have the moral integrity necessary for such an arrangement. The Framers of the American Republic also agreed that it would be impossible to have a representative democracy and a limited government if the people did not elect leaders who embodied the virtues of the citizenry while also respecting and protecting society’s pre-political institutions: marriage and family, the church, and the local community.

Thus, the idea of a limited government requires that society uphold and pursue the health of its most basic institutions. When a civil society is weak, government becomes strong. When the family breaks down, government grows stronger. When the essential institutions of society are no longer respected, government demands that respect for itself. That is a recipe for tyranny.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, History, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

British PM launches diplomatic initiative on corruption

Channels TV Nigeria

Reuters

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Foreign Relations

(WSJ) In the Uber Age, a Boom in Background Checks

The growth of firms such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. has been a boon for the background checkers tasked to vet hundreds of thousands of amateur taxi drivers.

But those background scans are undergoing changes of their own as sharing-economy firms bring massive volumes and new pressure to run checks more quickly and frequently, prompting companies to update their offerings and introduce new products.

Background checks were at the heart of a battle that led ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft to halt operations in Austin, Texas, on Monday.

In a citywide referendum, Austin residents voted in support of local rules requiring fingerprint scans for drivers””regulations that Uber and Lyft spent millions to fight.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology, Travel

(Harpers) Janine di Giovanni–Postcard from Aleppo: A Sense of War

Wartime looks like this.

The steely greyness of the city. The clouds are so low, but not low enough to hide government helicopters carrying barrel bombs, which usually appear at the same time each day, in the mornings and late afternoons, circling for a while at altitudes of 13,000”“16,000 feet, little more than tiny dots in the sky, before dropping their payloads.

What does war sound like? The whistling sound of the bombs falling can only be heard seconds before impact””enough time to know that you are about to die, but not enough time to flee.

What does the war in Aleppo smell of? It smells of carbine, of wood smoke, of unwashed bodies, of rubbish rotting, of . . . fear. The rubble on the street””the broken glass, the splintered wood that was once somebody’s home. On every corner there is a destroyed building that may or may not have bodies still buried underneath. Your old school is gone; so are the mosque, your grandmother’s house and your office. Your memories are smashed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Media, Middle East, Psychology, Syria, Theology, Violence

(CT) Ryan Hoselton–Bonhoeffer’s Answer to Political Turmoil: Preach!

Many today remember Bonhoeffer for his radical Christian discipleship and sacrificial involvement in the German resistance movement against Hitler. However, few know him for what he believed was most central to his life and ministry: nourishing the body of Christ through the proclamation of the Word. Bonhoeffer cared deeply for the spiritual life and health of the local church, serving in various pastoral roles in Germany, Spain, England, and America. He even wrote his doctoral thesis””Sanctorum Communio””on the church as a holy community.

The sermon showcases Bonhoeffer’s masterful pastoral instincts. He speaks into this atmosphere of angst and uncertainty with a message of hope””a message the church still needs to hear and re-proclaim today, because no human is beyond fear’s reach. We’ve all encountered its many faces:

“. . . fear of an important decision; fear of a heavy stroke of fate, losing one’s job, an illness; fear of a vice that one can no longer resist, to which one is enslaved; fear of disgrace; fear of another person; fear of dying.”

Fear fills us with loneliness, hopelessness, and desperation. It drives us to decisions and actions that undo us.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Christology, Church History, Europe, Germany, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Makes the Heart Glad–What St Andrew’s, Oxford, seeks in a new vicar

We are looking for a wise and godly Vicar who is

–firmly grounded in the Bible, both in personal life and teaching;
–devoted to prayer and open to the leading of the Holy Spirit;
–an effective communicator able to interpret and apply scripture to the culture and society we inhabit
–an experienced, collaborative, friendly and approachable leader.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the South African Prayer Book

O Almighty God, who by thy holy apostle hast taught us to set our affection on things above: Grant us so to labour in this life as ever to be mindful of our citizenship in those heavenly places whither our Saviour Christ is gone before; to whom with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.

–Ephesians 4:1-16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Culture-Watch, example #323b–What does it mean to be Monogamish Per Glamour Magazine

I saw a friend a few weeks ago who said he was looking for love, commitment and a “monogamish” relationship with a woman.

“Do you need to clear your throat?” joked another friend. “You mean ‘monogamy’, right?”

He didn’t and he’s not alone. The term “monogamish” was first coined a few years ago by relationship and sex columnist Dan Savage, who shared that the arrangement he has with his long-term partner, in which they’re committed to each other but can have sex with others, is not just a phenomenon for gay men. Savage asserted that these kind of relationships are happening more and more with straight couples across the country, though many will never talk openly about it.

Today, the idea is becoming even more mainstream as we delay marriage and design our lives according to our needs, wants and values””not just the expectations we follow based on what society or our parents would think.

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

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Men, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women

(ACNS) Task group appointed to 'maintain conversation' among Anglican primates

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Theology