The last three years since the creation of the Diocese of Leeds have been an invigorating experience as I have played a part in building something big, important and new. It has been simply wonderful. The challenges are great, but the rural Church has a great story to tell of faithfulness and service and is already demonstrating the potential for exciting renewal and significant growth. There are plenty of examples across the Diocese of Leeds of fresh expressions of church, enabling people to engage with the Christian faith and values in lively, relaxed and contextually responsive ways – like Forest Church in Swaledale, messy churches in a number of places, thriving café churches, a pub church in Clapham, and a pop-up church in Markington. Along with significant mid-week services and collective worship in schools, “Church” is showing up far more than on the traditional Sunday morning.
Daily Archives: May 2, 2017
Higher education has now joined the growing list of subjects (immigration, multiculturalism, nuclear armaments, freedom of speech) about which it is increasingly difficult, it seems, to have an informed public argument. A hugely ambitious and successful programme of government-sponsored “reform” has enshrined various assumptions in the debate: that HE is primarily an exercise in promoting national economic prosperity; that there are quantifiable criteria for judging the quality of research; that the academic profession is in constant need of guidance from outside in order to save it from self-indulgent, inefficient and irrelevant activities; and that the basic model of education in general and universities in particular is that of a product which has to be marketed to individual consumers (students) and is naturally to be assessed in terms of consumer satisfaction.
As any academic who has not spent the past decade on Mars will know, Stefan Collini has emerged as the most eloquent, witty and persistent critic of this deadly mythology. But this new collection of writings makes plain that he is not defending a lost, intellectually pure golden age of academic independence, still less a socially selective ideal or an abandonment of accountability. Even more than in his earlier works, these essays, especially the substantial historical survey of HE ideals (“From Robbins to McKinsey”) and the critique of the notion of the student as consumer (“Higher Purchase”), concentrate on showing the sheer incoherence of public policy documents, with their liberal use of what he nicely calls “the Mission Statement Present” and “the Dogmatic Future” as grammatical devices, “to disguise implausible non sequiturs as universally acknowledged general truths”.
Flannel about empowerment and the increase of purchasing liberty conceals a barbarous indifference to the notion that learning changes you, that this takes time, and that the point of the intellectual life is not productivity but comprehension, and the liberty to ask awkward questions. The proposal that the quality of teaching should be measured by levels of graduate salary is simply one of the more egregious versions of this indifference – as if the graduate who becomes a primary school teacher, a junior doctor, a development worker or, for that matter, a post-doctoral researcher in biomathematics has been taught less well than one who heads for a City law firm.
Read it all (emphasis mine).
In short, from 1914 to 1945, Europeans endured political and then military agony. It was during this period that Christians, especially Catholics, at first imagined that modern populism could serve as a vehicle for the restoration of traditional norms, only to discover themselves either co-opted or crushed. That experience forced a reassessment of core political principles. Traditional Christians learned to premise their search for political influence on a deeper commitment, one that gave them a place to stand over and against the power and violence of the modern nation-state. Human dignity emerged as a central concept.
As Europe rebuilt after the war, human dignity and the rights that flowed from it functioned in ways that parallel the role of the Bill of Rights in the American constitutional system. This was especially true in Germany and Italy, where nationalistic populism had led to disaster….
These criticisms [of Germany’s current leader] should be taken seriously, but the problem remains. Today’s populism, which is once again nationalist and secular, presents conservative Christians with opportunities to gain political advantage over the secular progressivism they see as a threat. That rhymes with the interwar years. Do Christians therefore need to speak, yet again, about human dignity in ways that put limits on populism, too?
In normal times, this question seems remote. Our democratic politics involves contests for power, but there’s a settled, pre-political cultural consensus in the background, and for this reason politics restrains itself to a great degree. Populism, however, is a challenge to the establishment, and thus to the pre-political consensus. Which is why the need to protect human dignity was so pressing for de Valera, Hundhammer, and others of the generation that lived through a time when nationalistic zeal was often used to justify illiberalism and violence.
Read it all (emphasis mine).
The profoundness of the American experiment, …[Chesterton] argued, was that it aspired to create “a home out of vagabonds and a nation out of exiles” united by voluntary assent to commonly held political beliefs.
But recent survey data provides troubling evidence that a shared sense of national identity is unraveling, with two mutually exclusive narratives emerging along party lines. At the heart of this divide are opposing reactions to changing demographics and culture. The shock waves from these transformations — harnessed effectively by Donald Trump’s campaign — are reorienting the political parties from the more familiar liberal-versus-conservative alignment to new poles of cultural pluralism and monism.
An Associated Press-NORC poll found nearly mirror-opposite partisan reactions to the question of what kind of culture is important for American identity. Sixty-six percent of Democrats, compared with only 35 percent of Republicans, said the mixing of cultures and values from around the world was extremely or very important to American identity. Similarly, 64 percent of Republicans, compared with 32 percent of Democrats, saw a culture grounded in Christian religious beliefs as extremely or very important.
These divergent orientations can also be seen in a recent poll by P.R.R.I. that explored partisan perceptions of which groups are facing discrimination in the country. Like Americans overall, large majorities of Democrats believe minority groups such as African-Americans, immigrants, Muslims and gay and transgender people face a lot of discrimination in the country. Only about one in five Democrats say that majority groups such as Christians or whites face a lot of discrimination….
At age 18, John figured out he was balding from a photo on Facebook.
Growing up, John — now a 28-year-old San Francisco public relations professional who asked that we withhold his real name — prided himself on his luscious locks. “I had always had a thick, full head of hair — I’m of Middle Eastern/Jewish ancestry,” he says. “That was closely associated with my identity.” But as a freshman in college, he discovered that he was losing his hair when a friend posted a photo of him on Facebook. “I was kind of stunned. It was really brutal,” he says, noting it was the thinning hair around his temples that gave it away. “I just assumed [balding] was something that magically happened at 45.”
For Mabel it was a clogged shower drain that alerted her to the problem. Already stressed by the pressures of college (she was a premed major and had picked up a minor), and feeling homesick for her family in Hawaii, Mabel, then 19, says the hair loss was devastating. “I thought, oh my god, am I really losing my hair,” she says. “It was crushing. Hair is a very feminine thing.”
Experts say they’re seeing more people like John and Mabel: men and women as young as 18 who are freaking out about going bald. San Francisco dermatologist Andrea Hui says balding millennials are coming to her more than ever, asking her for everything from natural supplements like Nutrafol to more invasive procedures like PRP, which involves injecting your own plasma into your scalp.
(GR) Richard Ostling–After crucial ruling against a Bishop Married to her female partner, what now for United Methodists?
In recent years, the “Seven Sisters” of the old mainline Protestant world have not been making as much news as they have in the past, at least as evidenced in the annual “top stories” polls conducted by the Religion News Assocition.
However, it’s likely that 2017’s religion story of the year will be the April 28 United Methodist Church (UMC) ruling that the western region improperly consecrated Karen Oliveto as a bishop and she should be removed. Reason: as an openly married lesbian, she violated church law and her ordination vows.
That Judicial Council edict produced typically sure-footed stories by The Religion Guy’s former AP colleague Rachel Zoll (The San Francisco Chronicle ran wire copy even though Oliveto led a big local church!) and Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times (a rare treat that this fine, neglected scribe gets 34 inches atop A18!). United Methodist News’s Linda Bloom was a must-read (maxim: always check such official outlets plus independent caucuses left and right.)
For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God comes to our realm, howbeit he was not far from us Acts 17:27 before. For no part of Creation is left void of Him: He has filled all things everywhere, remaining present with His own Father. But He comes in condescension to show loving-kindness upon us, and to visit us. And seeing the race of rational creatures in the way to perish, and death reigning over them by corruption; seeing, too, that the threat against transgression gave a firm hold to the corruption which was upon us, and that it was monstrous that before the law was fulfilled it should fall through: seeing, once more, the unseemliness of what was come to pass: that the things whereof He Himself was Artificer were passing away: seeing, further, the exceeding wickedness of men, and how by little and little they had increased it to an intolerable pitch against themselves: and seeing, lastly, how all men were under penalty of death: He took pity on our race, and had mercy on our infirmity, and condescended to our corruption, and, unable to bear that death should have the mastery””lest the creature should perish, and His Father’s handiwork in men be spent for nought””He takes unto Himself a body, and that of no different sort from ours. For He did not simply will to become embodied, or will merely to appear. For if He willed merely to appear, He was able to effect His divine appearance by some other and higher means as well. But He takes a body of our kind, and not merely so, but from a spotless and stainless virgin, knowing not a man, a body clean and in very truth pure from intercourse of men. For being Himself mighty, and Artificer of everything, He prepares the body in the Virgin as a temple unto Himself, and makes it His very own as an instrument, in it manifested, and in it dwelling. And thus taking from our bodies one of like nature, because all were under penalty of the corruption of death He gave it over to death in the stead of all, and offered it to the Father””doing this, moreover, of His loving-kindness, to the end that, firstly, all being held to have died in Him, the law involving the ruin of men might be undone (inasmuch as its power was fully spent in the Lord’s body, and had no longer holding-ground against men, his peers), and that, secondly, whereas men had turned toward corruption, He might turn them again toward incorruption, and quicken them from death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of the Resurrection, banishing death from them like straw from the fire.
–Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word
St Athanasius who died on this day in 373AD – bishop and advocate of the incarnation – may we increase in knowledge and understanding. pic.twitter.com/NkBw0HRDnt
— Fr. SJM-C+ (@FatherSJMC) May 2, 2017
Uphold thy Church, O God of truth, as thou didst uphold thy servant Athanasius, to maintain and proclaim boldly the catholic faith against all opposition, trusting solely in the grace of thine eternal Word, who took upon himself our humanity that we might share his divinity; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Today's Prayer: Feast day of Athanasius, pray that the Church may be confident in the faith proclaimed in its credal statements … pic.twitter.com/wV0UDo4GIb
— Hereford Diocese (@HerefordDiocese) May 2, 2017
Heavenly Father, we pray that you as the God of hope will fill us this day with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit; through him who conquered death and rose again to begin a whole new order, Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 15:13)