Category : Anthropology

(CPT) Gratitude as Intellectual Virtue: On John Webster’s “Theology in the Order of Love” (Part 1)

Although the regeneration of our fractured natures is God’s work from beginning to end, we must fill out this reality by working hard in pursuit of intellectual powers (abilities), and virtues. Webster acknowledges a long list of intellectual virtues, but focuses on just two: gratitude (to God and to others in the communion of saints), and generosity.

We’ll think about gratitude to God in the remainder of this post, and gratitude and generosity to others in a later post.

Webster reminds us that “Gratitude is fundamental to regenerate life: ‘Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God for you.’ (1 Thess. 5.18).” For theologians in our theological work, this includes gratitude to God as our teacher.

As our instructor, God doesn’t merely pass on information to us. Rather, he establishes a relationship and he makes us his friends. We don’t just know information. God enables us to know God (Jn 17:3). In God’s grace, “Ignorance and idolatry are overcome; powers of mind which creatures have neglected to exercise or squandered on worthless objects are awakened, reanimated and redirected.” And this is not done in isolation: in his saving work of regeneration, God is created an “intellectual society”, a “company of pupils or disciples (Isa 2.2-4; Mic. 4.1-3; Mk 6.34).”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Tennessean) NIH director Dr. Francis Collins urges Christians to look for truth about COVID-19 vaccines, not conspiracy theories and misinformation

Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, urges anyone questioning whether they should take a COVID-19 vaccine to evaluate all of the available evidence.

While speaking Thursday with a top Southern Baptist leader, Collins encouraged Christians to seek out the truth about the vaccines awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration instead of the misinformation and conspiracy theories being spread out of fear and anxiety. Collins pointed to a Bible verse in Philippians 4 for guidance.

“‘Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things,'” Collins said. “That would apply really well right here. So whatever is true.”

Amid a surge in coronavirus cases and promising vaccine developments, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission hosted Collins, who leads the country’s medical research agency, for an online discussion.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(NYT front page) As Hospitals Fill, Travel Nurses Race to Virus Hot Spots

It is a nomadic existence and, in a pandemic, a particularly high-risk one. The nurses parachute into cities like New York, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Green Bay for weeks or months at a time, quickly learning the ways of a new hospital and trying to earn the trust of the existing staff.

At the end of their shifts, they return to their temporary homes: hotels, Airbnb apartments or rented houses. Their families and friends are sometimes thousands of miles away, available only through phone calls or FaceTime.

Last week in Green Bay, where the surrounding county has averaged more than 150 cases a day since late September, a team of four travel nurses worked at Bellin Hospital, grappling with the unrelenting pressure of the emergency room and a Thanksgiving holiday far from home.

More than eight months into the pandemic, many travel nurses have done little else but treat Covid-19 patients.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pastoral Theology

(Stephen Noll) Covid19 Vaccine: Are Clergy First Responders, or Last?

I am in my 75th year, a bellwether of the Baby Boom generation, and I am looking forward to getting my Covid-19 vaccinations as soon as possible.

I am also a retired priest. Most of my ordained colleagues are younger than I and are serving active congregations.

So who goes first?

The Centers for Disease Control is apparently drawing up priority guidelines as to “essential” recipients, and it is thought that the elderly and “first responders” will go to the head of the line. I have heard no mention of clergy being on the list of essential workers.

It is, I suppose, not surprising that in a secular society, clergy are considered non-essential, but what surprises me is that there has been no call from church leaders in this matter. All too frequently there has been a sheepish plea for compliance with regulations restricting worship, even when secular bodies are exempted from them. The Supreme Court just struck down such a provision in New York as a violation of the free practice of religion, which is good, but such a decision lacks the rationale that religion – and Christianity in particular – is a matter of the life of the immortal soul, not just the body.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Religion & Culture

(McKinsey) What’s next for remote work: An analysis of 2,000 tasks, 800 jobs, and nine countries

Now that vaccines are awaiting approval, the question looms: To what extent will remote work persist? In this article, we assess the possibility for various work activities to be performed remotely. Building on the McKinsey Global Institute’s body of work on automation, AI, and the future of work, we extend our models to consider where work is performed. Our analysis finds that the potential for remote work is highly concentrated among highly skilled, highly educated workers in a handful of industries, occupations, and geographies.

More than 20 percent of the workforce could work remotely three to five days a week as effectively as they could if working from an office. If remote work took hold at that level, that would mean three to four times as many people working from home than before the pandemic and would have a profound impact on urban economies, transportation, and consumer spending, among other things.

More than half the workforce, however, has little or no opportunity for remote work. Some of their jobs require collaborating with others or using specialized machinery; other jobs, such as conducting CT scans, must be done on location; and some, such as making deliveries, are performed while out and about. Many of such jobs are low wage and more at risk from broad trends such as automation and digitization. Remote work thus risks accentuating inequalities at a social level.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

(WSJ) Pop culture suggests humans use only about 10% of their brains but that is a myth

OK, concentrate: How much of your brain are you using right now—or at any moment in time?

If you said 10%, you’ve repeated a popular, but inaccurate, myth.

The origin of the tale is murky but might be rooted in an outdated theory about the structure of the brain that was repeated in a bestselling self-help book more than 80 years ago.

Today, the trope is still trotted out in cartoons, books and movies.

In the 2014 thriller “Lucy,” a scientist repeats the 10% claim while speculating about the promise of accessing a larger portion of the mind. The 2011 film “Limitless,” about a struggling writer, pegs the fraction at a slightly more encouraging 20%. And the 1991 comedy “Defending Your Life,” about a deceased man’s efforts to prove his worth in the afterlife, lowers it to a demoralizing 3% to 5%.

Sorry, Hollywood. Science doesn’t buy it.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Psychology, Science & Technology

(AI) Evangelicals may seek a “Third Province” in the CoE if teaching on human sexuality is changed

The president of the Church of England Evangelical Council, the Rt. Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn suggested Evangelicals may withdraw from the Church of England if the institution changes teaching on human sexuality. Bishop Henderson’s warning came in the Beautiful Story video produced by the CEEC in response to the Living in Love and Faith project (LLF).

Progressives within the Church of England have sought to amend church teaching on human sexuality, bringing it in line with that of the Episcopal Church of the USA. If this happened, evangelical leaders warned, they would have to consider their allegiance to the Church of England….

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Wash Post) Voices from the Pendemic: Amber Elliott–‘This is how we treat each other? This is who we are?’

We weren’t set up well to deal with this virus in Missouri. We have the worst funding in the country for public health, and a lot of the things we’ve needed to fight the spread of covid are things we should have had in place 10 years ago. We don’t have an emergency manager. We don’t have anyone to handle HR, public information, or IT, so that’s all been me. We didn’t get extra funding for covid until last month. I’m young and I’m motivated, and I took this job in January because public health is my absolute love. It doesn’t pay well, but would I rather be treating people who already have a disease or helping to prevent it? That’s what we do. We help take care of people. At one point this summer, I worked 90 days straight trying to hold this virus at bay, and my whole staff was basically like that.

We hired 10 contact tracers to track the spread, starting in August, but the real problem we keep running into is community cooperation. We call everyone that’s had a positive test and say: “Hey, this is your local health department. We’re trying to interrupt disease transmission, and we’d love your help.” It’s nothing new. We do the same thing for measles, mumps, and tick-borne diseases, and I’d say 99 percent of the time before covid, people were receptive. They wanted to stop an outbreak, but now it’s all politicized. Every time you get on the phone, you’re hoping you don’t get cussed at. Probably half of the people we call are skeptical or combative. They refuse to talk. They deny their own positive test results. They hang up. They say they’re going to hire a lawyer. They give you fake people they’ve spent time with and fake numbers. They lie and tell you they’re quarantining alone at home, but then in the background you can hear the beeping of a scanner at Walmart.

I’ve stayed up a lot of nights trying to understand where this whole disconnect comes from. I love living in this county. I know in my heart these are good people, but it’s like we’re living on different planets. I have people in my own family who believe covid is a conspiracy and our doctors are getting paid off. I’ve done press conferences and dozens of Facebook Live videos to talk about the real science. Even with all the other failures happening, that’s the one thing we should be celebrating: better treatments, nurses and doctors on the front lines, promising news about vaccines. But the more I talk about the facts, the more it seems to put a target on my back.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Science & Technology, State Government

(1st Things) Mary Eberstadt–The Fury Of The Fatherless

So, here’s a new theory: The explosive events of 2020 are but the latest eruption along a fault line running through our already unstable lives. That eruption exposes the threefold crisis of filial attachment that has beset the Western world for more than half a century. Deprived of father, Father, and patria, a critical mass of humanity has become socially dysfunctional on a scale not seen before.

This is especially true of the young. The frantic flight to collective political identities has primordial, not transient, origins. The riots are, at least in part, a visible consequence of the largely invisible crisis of Western paternity. We know this to be true, in more ways than one.

First, a syllogism: The riots amount to social dysfunction on parade. Six decades of social science have established that the most efficient way to increase dysfunction is to increase fatherlessness. And this the United States has done, for two generations now. Almost one in four children today grows up without a father in the home. For African Americans, it is some 65 percent of children.

Some people, mainly on the left, think there’s nothing to see here. They’re wrong. The vast majority of incarcerated juveniles have grown up in fatherless homes. Teen and other mass murderers almost invariably have filial rupture in their biographies. Absent fathers predict higher rates of truancy, psychiatric problems, criminality, promiscuity, drug use, rape, domestic violence, and other less-than-optimal outcomes.

Read it all.

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

(NYT) The Covid19 Vaccines Will Probably Work. Making Them Fast Will Be the Hard Part

The promising news that not just one but two coronavirus vaccines were more than 90 percent effective in early results has buoyed hopes that an end to the pandemic is in sight.

But even if the vaccines are authorized soon by federal regulators — the companies developing them have said they expect to apply soon — only a sliver of the American public will be able to get one by the end of the year. The two companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have estimated they will have 45 million doses, or enough to vaccinate 22.5 million Americans, by January.

Industry analysts and company executives are optimistic that hundreds of millions of doses will be made by next spring. But the companies — backed with billions of dollars in federal money — will have to overcome hurdles they’ve encountered in the early days of making vaccines. Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines use new technology that has never been approved for widespread use. They are ramping up into the millions for the first time. Other challenges include promptly securing raw vaccine ingredients and mastering the art of creating consistent, high-quality batches.

“The biology of scaling manufacturing is a very temperamental activity, and there were many, many different attempts over the months until we cracked it,” said Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology

(WSJ) As Covid-19 Surges, the Big Unknown Is Where People Are Getting Infected

Western nations face a big challenge in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic: Ten months into the health crisis, they still know little about where people are catching the virus.
The problem is becoming more acute as new cases are breaking records in the U.S. and Europe and pressure grows on authorities to impose targeted restrictions on places that are spreading the virus, rather than broad confinement measures that are wreaking havoc on the economy.

In Germany, authorities say they don’t know where 75% of people who currently test positive for the coronavirus got it. In Austria, the figure stands at 77%. In Spain, the health ministry said that it was able to identify the origin of only 7% of infections registered in the last week of October. In France and Italy, only some 20% of new cases have been linked to people who previously tested positive.

Jay Varma, senior adviser for public health in the New York City mayor’s office, said 10% of the city’s infections are due to travel, 5% from gatherings, and another 5% from institutional settings such as nursing homes.

“The vast majority of the remainder—somewhere probably around 50% or more—we don’t have a way to directly attribute their source of infection,” Mr. Varma said. “And that’s a concern.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology

(David Ould) “Erroneous and Unconvincing”. GAFCON Australia responds to Appellate Tribunal Opinion

Gafcon Australia exists to promote the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ through the Anglican Church of Australia. We are convinced that the fullness of life that only Jesus gives is experienced through hearing, trusting and obeying his word of grace and life, in the power of his Spirit and the fellowship of his people. For this reason, the Board of Gafcon Australia expresses its deep regret that the recent majority opinion of the Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia relies upon a disputed definition of the meaning of ‘doctrine’ rather than on a whole-hearted and glad embrace of the life-giving Word of God. In doing so, they have seriously undermined the basis of national unity in our church. We regard their conclusions as erroneous and unconvincing.

A majority of the Appellate Tribunal affirmed that certain legislation passed by two Australian Dioceses was ‘not inconsistent with the Fundamental Declarations and Ruling Principles of the Constitution’. In doing so, the Appellate Tribunal declined to follow advice they had requested from two other Australian Anglican bodies – the House of Bishops and the Board of Assessors. Both of these bodies unanimously affirmed the historic and biblical teaching on personal sexual ethics. The General Synod will respond to the opinion at its meeting in May/June next year. It is possible, indeed likely, that in the meantime some Dioceses will take steps to authorise their own services of blessing of same-sex marriages in the near future.

Around the Anglican Communion where developments of this kind have occurred (notably, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Scotland) orthodox Anglicans have found themselves ostracised or isolated from their own Dioceses and Bishops.

Gafcon Australia assures Anglicans who affirm the Scriptures as ‘the ultimate rule and standard of faith given by inspiration of God and containing all things necessary for salvation’ (to quote the Constitution) that we will support and assist you in maintaining a faithful Anglican witness.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Moore College) Mark Thompson–Preliminary thoughts on the Appellate Tribunal ruling

It is with great sadness that I note the opinion of the Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia on the matter of proposed services to bless same-sex unions. Setting aside the unanimous advice of the House of Bishops and the unanimous advice of the Board of Assessors, the majority of the Tribunal has decided that there is no impediment to such services of blessing going ahead.

This opinion, if acted upon, may indeed have devastating consequences for the Anglican Church of Australia, as similar decisions have done elsewhere in the world, but it cannot change the revealed will of God. The opinion is deeply wrong because it opens the door for the blessing of behaviour which the Bible clearly says will exclude people from inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:10). As the Board of Assessors and the House of Bishops made clear, the prohibition of this behaviour is not limited to an isolated passage in the New Testament but is consistent through the entire Bible. God does not change his mind. He does not need to. He has always known the end from the beginning.

Since its release, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop Geoff Smith, has described the decision of the Tribunal as ‘an important contribution to the ongoing conversation within the church’. He clearly does not see it as the final word. It is important that only Scripture occupies that place.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology

The Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia releases its ruling on the matter of proposed services to bless same-sex unions.

You can find the ruling at the top of the page here. You may find the ruling itself in a 123 page pdf there. It is a lot to digest.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(PD) Carl Trueman–The Impact of Psychological Man—and How to Respond

This means that we will be living in a day of small things for some time to come. The modern self is the result of a long and comprehensive revolution; it cannot be supplanted until an equally comprehensive revolution comes to take its place, and that will likely take many generations if it happens at all. In the meantime, Christians need to have modest goals, especially Christians involved in the public square. A world where orthodox Christianity is considered not just implausible but also immoral is a world that we will need to navigate in a manner perhaps not seen since the second century. Then, Christianity was a little-understood minority cult, suspected of entertaining values and patterns of behavior deemed subversive of the wider social good. Of course, we all know how that story developed. Sporadic local and later a few pan-imperial persecutions of the church gave way in the fourth century to the toleration and then the official adoption of Christianity as the religion of Rome. Historians and theologians debate to this day whether this final move was on balance good or bad for the church. That is not my interest here. My point is simply this: the church has been in a similar situation before and has not only survived but ultimately thrived.

And how, humanly speaking, did she do this? By all accounts it was by being faithful members of the church community and loyal subjects of the state, to the extent that loyalty to Christ and loyalty to Caesar were compatible. At times it was not possible to be both, and those were times of persecution. But it was not culture war so much as fidelity to the Christian community and, only when necessary, dissent from the decrees of Caesar that characterized her life and made her strong. She became attractive by being faithful to her message. It is my belief that only by modeling true community, oriented toward the transcendent, can the church show a rapidly destabilizing world of expressive individuals that there is something greater, more solid, and more lasting than the immediate satisfaction of personal desires.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Anthropology, Apologetics, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

An update on the safeguarding complaint against the Archbishop of Canterbury

A formal complaint made to the National Safeguarding Team, NST, in June, that the Archbishop of Canterbury did not follow correct safeguarding procedure when responding to an allegation against Smyth, has not been substantiated. The complaint referred to Lambeth’s response to allegations which first came to attention in 2013 and information relating to the specific issues raised has been reviewed. Information relating to a further complaint sent to the NST in August, about wider issues, has now also been reviewed and no safeguarding concerns have been identified. All the information reviewed will now be sent to the Makin Review, due to publish next year, for further scrutiny.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(Church of England) Living in Love and Faith resources published

The Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith teaching and learning resources, exploring questions of human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage, have been published today.

The extensive resources draw together the bible, theology, science and history with real-life stories. They were commissioned by the House of Bishops and include a book, a series of films and podcasts and a course following three years’ work by a group of more than 40 people from across the Church.

They are intended to initiate a process of whole Church learning and engagement in 2021, within a clear timeframe, that will contribute to the Bishops’ discernment of a way forward in relation to questions of human identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.

Read it all (and yes you have to look through it all; the book is 480 pages (!)).

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(PD) Ryan T. Anderson And Robert P. George–Pope Francis, Civil Unions, and Moral Truth

In What Is Marriage, we opposed a “consent-based” view of marriage that saw marriage as being primarily about companionship, establishing a companionate relationship with what one scholar called “your number one person.” We argued that a faulty understanding of marriage actually makes it harder for people to find happiness, both inside and outside of marriage. That a vision of marriage that sees it as just about whatever ordinary friendships and relationships have, but taken to the nth degree—that marriage is simply the best, most important of whatever makes human sociality good to begin with—gets marriage wrong in ways that can harm both married and unmarried people.

For married people it can make them presume that their marriage is to be their primary means of fulfillment in all the areas of their life, that they should be able to say of their spouse “you fulfill me.” But no one human being and relationship totally fulfills any of us. And no one should seek total fulfillment from their spouses or their marriage.

For unmarried people, it can make them feel—and the rest of society view them—as not only lacking one aspect of fulfillment, marriage itself, but as lacking the pinnacle of human fulfillment, and thus as not flourishing at all. A vision of marriage that sees the relationship between spouses as the peak of human sociality in turn renders the unmarried as second-class flourishers.

Instead, we should view marriage correctly, as a distinctive good with a distinctive nature: a conjugal union of husband and wife ordered to, and thus normatively shaped by its unique aptness for, the bearing and rearing of children. Doing so not only allows us to see family as involving much more than just the spouses themselves—to include extended family and friends grafted into the family—but also allows us to appreciate the unique and irreducible goodness of non-marital forms of human sociality.

A sound vision of marriage thus offers wide vistas of human fulfillment to people who may never marry, for whatever reason. It offers hope of meaningful non-sexual relationships to people who experience same-sex attraction in a way that makes forming a truly marital partnership impossible.

More deeply understanding the truth about marriage and human sexuality will help all of us flourish. And that, of course, is what a pastor like Pope Francis desires. We can understand—indeed we share—the frustration of our fellow Catholics with the ways in which the Holy Father conducts interviews and the ways in which the media distorts them, but we must not do anything to undermine the truth that sets us free.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop William Love resigns as TEC Bishop of Albany

The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and I, the Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Bishop of Albany voluntarily entered into an Accord which became effective October 21, 2020, with the unanimous approval of the Disciplinary Board of the House of Bishops. The Accord resolves the matter of my case, thus discharging any further action from the Hearing Panel.

The Accord stipulates the following: I will resign as Bishop Diocesan of the Diocese of Albany, effective February 1, 2021; I will begin a one month terminal sabbatical beginning January 1, 2021; I agree to continue to abide by the January 11, 2019 Restrictions placed upon my ministry by the Presiding Bishop until the effective date of my resignation as Bishop; I will work with the Presiding Bishop through the Office of Pastoral Development to help foster a healthy transition from my leadership as Bishop Diocesan, as the Diocese begins a new chapter in its history; and lastly, I acknowledge that upon February 1, 2021, the effective date of my resignation as Bishop Diocesan, my November 10, 2018, Pastoral Directive regarding B012 will lose force. Until then, however, it remains in effect.

In signing the Accord, the Presiding Bishop has agreed to allow me to notify the clergy and people of the Diocese of Albany of my pending resignation, before he sends out an announcement to the wider community. I am very appreciative of his willingness to agree to that pastoral request.

I met with Fr. Scott Garno, President of the Standing Committee, on Thursday afternoon, to inform him of my decision to resign and of the Accord between myself and the Presiding Bishop. I pledge my full support to Fr. Garno and the Standing Committee as they enter into their new role. I also pledge not to interfere with their deliberations.

Please note, that in accordance with Article IV of the Constitution of The Episcopal Church, the Standing Committee serves as the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in the absence of the Bishop. In addition, in accordance with the Diocesan Canons, the Standing Committee oversees the election of the new bishop of the Diocese.

The Diocese of Albany is blessed to have an excellent Standing Committee that will serve you well. I ask God’s blessing upon them as they prepare to lead the Diocese of Albany during this period of transition.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT) Fighting the Pandemic with Our Hearts and Our Smarts–A development economist and a disaster-relief expert on how to approach Covid19

My dentist was becoming a Shrewd Samaritan. But how is a Shrewd Samaritan different from others with good intentions toward the needy?

If we want to genuinely help people living in poverty—and a world in the middle of a global pandemic—rather than just feeling good about believing we have helped, we are not merely to be Good Samaritans, like the man commended in the famous parable in Luke 10. We should also be Shrewd Samaritans—shrewd like the manager in the less-famous parable in Luke 16, whom Jesus also points to as an example.

In the original Greek, the word for the manager in the parable is oikonómon, which literally means “Econo-Man.” We must be people with big hearts like the Good Samaritan but with minds like the Econo-Man. This means learning to love our global neighbors wisely, one might say even “shrewdly,” by making the best use of our resources—our time, talents, and money—on behalf of those who are victims of injustice, disease, violence, and poverty.

Shrewd Samaritans have made progress through what I call the seven I’s. They have moved past ignorance, indifference, and idealism and toward investigation, introspection, and impact. They have even come to identify with those they seek to serve.

Shrewd Samaritans understand the underlying causes of poverty and need. They can identify interventions that are likely to be effective in different contexts. Their motivation is fueled by the Christian call to love our neighbors, but their means are influenced by an understanding of cause and effect and even by good science. Shrewd Samaritans are wedded to a biblical view of humanity and informed by a desire for human flourishing in all respects: physical, psychological, social, and spiritual.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Major C of E clergy wellbeing study results shared

Key insights from an ongoing Church of England research programme into clergy flourishing are to be distributed to curates across the country as part of an initiative to promote clergy wellbeing, it was announced…[this week].

Findings from the first phase of the Living Ministry project – a 10-year study into clergy flourishing and wellbeing – have been incorporated into a new booklet, How Clergy Thrive, published by Church House Publishing.

The booklet, sponsored by Clergy Support Trust, is a practical resource for all clergy. It summaries qualitative and quantitative findings from the research in areas including the spiritual, relational, physical and mental as well as material wellbeing of clergy and ordinands.

The study identifies six principles that contribute to the wellbeing of ordained ministers, including handling expectations, recognising times of vulnerability, healthy boundaries and the importance of affirmation.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology

(CNA) Pope Francis Calls for Civil Union Law for Same-Sex Couples, in Shift From Vatican Stance

In a documentary that premiered Wednesday in Rome, Pope Francis called for the passage of civil union laws for same-sex couples, departing from the position of the Vatican’s doctrinal office and the pope’s predecessors on the issue.

The remarks came amid a portion of the documentary that reflected on pastoral care for those who identify as LGBT.

“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” Pope Francis said in the film, of his approach to pastoral care.

After those remarks, and in comments likely to spark controversy among Catholics, Pope Francis weighed in directly on the issue of civil unions for same-sex couples.

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” the pope said. “I stood up for that.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

(NYT) The Police Can Probably Break Into Your Phone

In a new Apple ad, a man on a city bus announces he has just shopped for divorce lawyers. Then a woman recites her credit card number through a megaphone in a park. “Some things shouldn’t be shared,” the ad says, “iPhone helps keep it that way.”

Apple has built complex encryption into iPhones and made the devices’ security central to its marketing pitch.

That, in turn, has angered law enforcement. Officials from the F.B.I. director to rural sheriffs have argued that encrypted phones stifle their work to catch and convict dangerous criminals. They have tried to force Apple and Google to unlock suspects’ phones, but the companies say they can’t. In response, the authorities have put their own marketing spin on the problem. Law enforcement, they say, is “going dark.”

Yet new data reveals a twist to the encryption debate that undercuts both sides: Law enforcement officials across the nation regularly break into encrypted smartphones.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Science & Technology

(WSJ) Nigerian Protesters Shut Down Africa’s Largest City, Escalating Standoff With Government

Tens of thousands of protesters brought the largest city in Africa to a standstill on Monday, mounting the biggest demonstration in a two-week campaign against police brutality and escalating a standoff with a government that has pledged to restore order.

Groups of placard-waving protesters blocked major roads across Lagos, Nigeria’s sprawling commercial capital and home to an estimated 20 million people. The city’s Ibadan expressway, the country’s busiest road, was blocked by groups chanting: “We want change.” Protesters closed off the city’s airport and stormed the terminal. In a city infamous for hourslong traffic jams, columns of Lagos residents could be seen walking along emptied streets and causeways.

The Lagos protests were the largest of a series of demonstrations on Monday across the West African nation of 206 million people that appeared to significantly raise the temperature between demonstrators and the government.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General

(Church Times) Churches must challenge the systems that cultivate modern slavery, webinar in Wales hears

Church communities and people of faith must challenge the systems and structures that have allowed modern slavery to become the fastest-growing crime around the world, a panel of international experts and activists told a webinar hosted by the Church in Wales in advance of Modern Slavery Day on Sunday.

The speakers concluded that it had to be about more than raising awareness of something in which services and products used every day were implicated: manufacturing supply chains, casual labour, and sexual and criminal exploitation. Statutory systems were fragmented and not working well, despite the Modern Slavery Act and the introduction of the National Referral Mechanism, they said; “pitifully small” numbers of perpetrators were being brought to justice.

An estimated 40.3 million men, women, and children worldwide are estimated to be trapped in modern slavery, among them potentially up to 136,000 victims in the UK alone. “We are losing the battle,” the former Bishop of Derby, Dr Alastair Redfern, founder of the C of E’s Clewer Initiative on modern slavery, said. He described it as “the sharp end of inequality”. There was a “massively strange silence” among Christian people, he said, in a climate in which consumers wanted cheap goods and claimed rights without responsibilities.

Awareness was not enough, panellists said. Unity was the greatest weapon against trafficking, said Commissioner Christine MacMillan, who is the founder and director of the Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission, and chairs the World Evangelical Alliance’s Global Human Trafficking Task Force.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of Wales, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Tablet Magazine) American liberalism is in danger from a new ideology–Stop Being Shocked

No one has yet decided on the name for the force that has come to unseat liberalism. Some say it’s “Social Justice.” The author Rod Dreher has called it “therapeutic totalitarianism.” The writer Wesley Yang refers to it as “the successor ideology”—as in, the successor to liberalism.

At some point, it will have a formal name, one that properly describes its mixture of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality. Until then, it is up to each of us to see it plainly. We need to look past the hashtags and slogans and the jargon to assess it honestly—and then to explain it to others.

The new creed’s premise goes something like this: We are in a war in which the forces of justice and progress are arrayed against the forces of backwardness and oppression. And in a war, the normal rules of the game—due process; political compromise; the presumption of innocence; free speech; even reason itself—must be suspended. Indeed, those rules themselves were corrupt to begin with—designed, as they were, by dead white males in order to uphold their own power.

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” as the writer Audre Lorde put it. And the master’s house must be dismantled—because the house is rotted at its foundation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Media, Movies & Television, Philosophy, Politics in General, Secularism

A Theological Conversation with Retired South Carolina Bishop C FitzSimons Allison

It covers topics such as grace, justification, guilt and the gospel–Listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NAE) An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility–For the Health of the Nation

The concerns we face in the United States are great, but they are not greater than God. In creation, God called humans to just and compassionate governance. In reverence to God and with love for others, evangelical Christians engage in the public square — not for our own sake but for the health of the nation and world.

Our responsibility to society is grounded in the truth that all people are made in the image of God. Though we all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, we can find full restoration in our living Lord. Truth that brings life leads to flourishing and results in ongoing hope that guides our day-to-day approach to civic engagement.

We also engage with a gracious and winsome spirit. We should not echo the rage and disrespect that typifies much of today’s political debates. Indeed, as the combative nature of 21st-century public discourse threatens meaningful efforts for the common good, the tone of our engagement will be as strategic as our involvement. Evangelicals of all political persuasions and backgrounds must demonstrate that differing opinions can be handled without demonizing, misrepresenting or shaming.

Therefore, in challenging and in equipping evangelical Christians to be involved in policy making and discourse, the National Association of Evangelicals emphasizes that our involvement should model the servant call of our faith and the care and concern for the other. In so doing, we may find our political efforts not only strengthen the social fabric of our nation but also rebuild the plausibility of the Christian faith in the minds and hearts of our culture.

The NAE was formed in 1942, in part, as a response to theological liberalism and rising fundamentalism. Centered on a standard set of beliefs (see the NAE Statement of Faith), NAE’s founders sought a space for thoughtful and biblical engagement with each other and with culture. We continue in this tradition as we advocate for effective public policy.

Evangelical Christians will not always agree on the specifics of governance or the best roads to social reform. However, from our understanding that all people are made in the image of God, we do hold many callings and commitments in common, including: protecting religious freedom and liberty of conscience; safeguarding the nature and sanctity of human life; strengthening marriages, families and children; seeking justice and compassion for the poor and vulnerable; preserving human rights; pursuing racial justice and reconciliation; promoting just peace and restraining violence; and caring for God’s creation.

While these issues do not exhaust the concerns of good government, they provide a platform from which evangelicals can engage in common action. In view of our civic emphasis to engage the public square with conviction and love, and in light of the aforementioned commitments held by evangelicals, we present the following principled framework that seeks to be comprehensive and consistent, and seeks to serve as a basis for cultivating thoughtful evangelical public engagement.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Tuesday Mental Health Break–Liverpool Coach Jurgen Klopp Writes an 11 yr old a letter which you need to see

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Sports

(3CBSPhilly) Election Stress Disorder Spreading Across US As Therapist Warns Anxiety Worse Than 2016

A new round of election stress disorder is spreading across the U.S., according to experts. They say the tension is even worse this time because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Stress levels have been sky-high for months now. We’ve been dealing with the coronavirus since March and tensions have escalated the last few weeks before the election.

Marsha Palanci says she’s been feeling election anxiety.

“I was keeping pretty zen about the whole situation, until I watched the debates, and then that went out the window and I have been incredibly stressed,” Palanci said.

“I’m getting a lot of emergency calls of resentment or anger,” therapist Dr. Steven Stosny said.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology