Category : Marriage & Family

(CNBC) Coronavirus forced 62% of summer camps to close this year and early estimates predict the industry will take a $16 billion revenue hit

If you visited Lochearn Camp For Girls, nestled on the shores of Vermont’s Lake Fairlee, during the summer months you’d likely hear the sounds of tennis balls hitting the court, horses trotting in the nearby corrals and girls laughing as they canoe in pristine waters.

But this year, the grounds are much quieter without the roughly 360 campers Lochearn welcomes each summer. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, camp director Tony Oyenarte and his team decided to close the overnight resident program for the 2020 season. “It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make as a camp director and as a businessman,” Oyenarte tells CNBC Make It.

“We’ve been open for 104 consecutive years. We went through the flu of 1918, both world wars, H1N1. But when June 1 came, and we had to make a decision for the summer, it was focused on: Are we gonna be able to deliver an experience that’s going to be safe and is it going to be fun?” Oyenarte says. And the short answer, after much soul searching, was no. “At the end of the day, we just said it’s not going to be the best experience for our campers and our staff.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Economy, Marriage & Family, Sports

(1st Things) Carl R. Trueman–The Road to Bostock

It is here that Farrow’s book is so singularly helpful. The essay “Autonomy: Sic transit anima ad infernum” is worth the price of the book all by itself. In it he traces with both remarkable depth and enviable conciseness the rise of the modern self: the autonomous self-creator to whom reality must bend or, better still, for whom reality is merely what works best for the individual concerned. With roots in Rousseau and Nietzsche, this self lies behind Anthony Kennedy’s oft-cited fantasy of selfhood in Casey and lurks in the background of all the subsequent Supreme Court rulings on matters involving sexuality, up to and including Bostock. Indeed, Farrow makes the necessary point:

The autonomous will really has no choice but to attack the body as well as the mind. For the body is the most obvious locus of the given, the most stubborn impediment to the power claimed by the will.

Transgenderism is the logical outcome of all this. In fact, the annihilation of gender as a stable category tout court is the logical outcome—a point that seems to have eluded Justice Gorsuch, who apparently wants to keep his binary categories while not realizing the metaphysical depths of the revolution he has now placed into law.

The shock and awe surrounding the Bostock ruling perhaps indicates that the old task of apologetics is now being oddly reversed. The pressing pastoral need of the hour for the church is not to explain the faith to the world but rather first to explain the world to the faithful. If Richard Rorty’s famous quip—the truth is what your contemporaries let you get away with saying—works as a descriptive rather than prescriptive principle in terms of cultural dynamics, in terms of which arguments work and which do not, then it behooves us to ask in what kind of culture the stated logic of the Bostock decision has come to make sense. If Christians do not understand the wider context, then they will continue to underestimate the true depth of the cultural problem, be perplexed at the speed of apparent change, and be disturbed by new developments. And that will make it very hard to navigate this world as both good citizens and good stewards of the gospel.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Secularism, Supreme Court

(NBC) Father Inspires With Viral ‘Dadvice’ On YouTube

‘Rob Kenney is using YouTube to share lessons he wished he had learned as a child growing up without a father. On his page, “Dad, How Do I?” Kenney shares useful advice on tasks such as tying a tie, changing a tire, and fixing a toilet, while providing encouragement to his over two million subscribers.’

Watch it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Marriage & Family, Men, Science & Technology

Thanks Dad

Posted in Children, Marriage & Family

A Prayer for Fathers Day from the Rev. Chuck Currie

From there:

We give our thanks, Creator God, for the fathers in our lives.

Fatherhood does not come with a manual, and reality teaches us that some fathers excel while others fail.
We ask for Your blessings for them all and forgiveness where it is needed.

This Father’s Day we remember the many sacrifices fathers make for their children and families, and the ways–both big and small–they lift children to achieve dreams thought beyond reach.

So too, we remember all those who have helped fill the void when fathers pass early or are absent; grandfathers and uncles, brothers and cousins, teachers, pastors and coaches and the women of our families.

For those who are fathers, we ask for wisdom and humility in the face of the task of parenting. Give them the strength to do well by their children and by You.
In Your Holy name, O God, we pray.

Amen.

Posted in Marriage & Family, Men, Spirituality/Prayer

(NYT Op-ed) Russell Moore–Monday’s Supreme Court decision on sex discrimination was a blow for religious freedom. That’s a problem — for both sides

Whatever the caricatures, almost no one, even among the most religiously conservative, argues that religious freedom outweighs every other concern. Everyone recognizes that as with freedom of speech and other constitutional guarantees, there will be some hard cases.

But it would be tragic to trample over the consciences of citizens whenever their beliefs come into conflict with the fluctuating norms of secular sexual orthodoxy. Likewise, almost no rational person would suggest that a religious-freedom consensus would evaporate our “culture war” disputes. We have real differences, and they are not going away anytime soon. What’s perilous right now is how we choose to have these arguments.

One need not agree with Christians or Muslims or Orthodox Jews or others on marriage and sexuality to see that such views are not incidental to their belief systems. They did not emerge out of a political debate, and they won’t be undone by political power. In many cases, these beliefs aren’t even, first of all, about sex or family or culture in the first place, but about what these religious people believe undergird them. In the case of 2,000 years of small “o” (and big “O,” for that matter) orthodox Christians, this is the belief that sexual expression is confined to the union of a man and a woman because marriage is an icon of the gospel union of Christ and his church.

That does not mean, in any way, that all Americans of deep religious belief agree on how to address these questions in the public square. One could find multiple views — even in church pews — about what, for instance, public nondiscrimination laws should be. It does mean, though, that such views are not peripheral to the missions of many religious institutions. One cannot simply uproot them and expect these people to adjust their consciences to fit the new cultural expectation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Supreme Court, Theology

(Inside Higher Ed) A Yale University student voices her concerns about reopening campuses in the fall.

Special circumstances. I am an only child, and my parents have health conditions that put them at a risk of getting very ill. Who is going to take care of them if I am at college? Not their siblings, who are also high risk, and not my grandparents, who are in their 80s. What happens to students who suffer from underlying medical conditions? What about graduate students and nontraditional undergrads who have children? What if elementary schools do not reopen in the fall or close midsemester? What if we see more young children develop COVID-related Kawasaki syndrome?

Worst-case scenario. The death rate for university-age students is estimated to be about 0.2 percent, and the hospitalization rate is estimated to be 2.5 percent. At a university like mine, with a student population of roughly 13,000, we risk having 325 students sick enough to be hospitalized and 26 students die in a worst-case-scenario outbreak. Our professors, though fewer in number, face even higher hospitalization and death rates.

Is this a price we’re willing to pay? If the decision were up to me, I would say no. If a vaccine or effective treatment were developed between now and January, such deaths would be entirely needless.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Young Adults

(TEC OPA) TEC Bishop Love of Albany’s Hearing Scheduled for this Friday

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

(CSM) With new urgency, parents learn how to talk to kids about race

As an African American parent, Cassandre Dunbar in Charlotte, North Carolina, always knew she and her husband would have “the talk” with their son, the one preparing him for interactions with law enforcement.

But she never dreamed it would be necessary at 5 years old.

“I thought the cops were supposed to help us? Are they only helpful to white people?” he asked after taking in TV coverage of protests and overhearing his parents discuss the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.

Ms. Dunbar explained to her eldest child: “Some people have a hard time understanding that skin color doesn’t have anything to do with what kind of person you are. I said that, yes, cops are meant to help us all, but some cops aren’t good cops and the bad ones really aren’t helpful to people who look like us.”

Many parents of all races are struggling with similar conversations after a week of outrage and sadness that spilled into streets worldwide after video of Mr. Floyd’s death emerged. It came after months of family togetherness in coronavirus lockdown, a time when kids have been cut off from schools and peers.

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Posted in Anthropology, Books, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Theology, Violence

(CBS) Saturday Afternoon Encouragement–A couple who have been married for 70 years, separated for months due to coronavirus, now get to reunite

Posted in Marriage & Family

(Reuters) New hotline helps families survive abuse in Congo

Four days after the Congolese government shut down Kinshasa’s pulsating nightlife, her husband knocked out some of her teeth and went to live with his mistress, leaving her bleeding and naked on the floor. Their three children saw it all.

A policy aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus meant that case K1B1 – whose name Reuters is withholding for her safety – had been locked down with her abuser.

“When Marie came to visit me I was still vomiting blood from the beatings,” she told Reuters, referring to Marie Lukasa, who set up Congo’s first domestic abuse hotline a year ago.

During the coronavirus crisis, it’s a service in increasing demand in a country ill-equipped to deal with such abuse.

Read it all.

Posted in Marriage & Family, Men, Republic of Congo, Violence, Women

(NYT) Visiting My Grandparents, Separated by Plexiglass

The coronavirus has killed about 14,000 residents of nursing homes in France — half the country’s death toll. We are lucky that, so far, none of those deaths occurred at my grandparents’ home, where the caregivers have been vigilant about social distancing.

As France began easing its lockdown last week, we were finally able to visit, or rather sit outside the home, as my grandparents sat inside, a few feet away. To allow us to hear each other, the staff opened the door, but placed a table with a plexiglass partition in the doorway.

We could see my grandparents only one at a time, since they are in different parts of the home that can no longer mix socially. My grandfather, a former stone mason, misses many things that we cannot yet deliver, like shorts, because of the home’s strict rules. But it is my grandmother’s company that he misses most.

Read it all.

Posted in France, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(SN) Births in the United States have dropped to a 34-year low

For the fifth year in a row, the number of babies born in the United States has declined. It’s the lowest number of births — just under 3.75 million in 2019, gleaned from birth certificate data — since 1985, according to the report published online May 20 from the National Center for Health Statistics. Since 2014, that number has been dropping 1 percent on average per year.

There’s been a general downward trend in births since the Great Recession, which lasted from 2007 to 2009. In periods of economic uncertainty, births tend to drop, says family demographer Karen Benjamin Guzzo of Bowling Green State University in Ohio. But rather than rebounding after the recession ended, as would be expected, births have continued to fall. It’s an indication that not everyone’s prospects improved as the economy recovered, she says.

People like to feel certain about their coming years before they have children, says Guzzo, who was not involved in the new report. But many younger adults struggle with student loan debt, face soaring home prices and hold jobs that lack health benefits or sick days, she says. Considering the costs for childcare and providing for their children’s education on top of that leads some people to question whether they can afford to be a good parent.

“When the economy sort of writ large looks good,” Guzzo says, “it doesn’t necessarily mean it looks good for individuals and particularly for younger folks in their child bearing years.” Even if young people are working, she says, “they’re just not in a place where they feel confident in their future.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Children, Marriage & Family

([London] Times) China plans free childcare and tax cuts as birthrate falls to 70-year low

China may cover much of the cost of childcare, from birth to college graduation, to help reverse a decline in the birthrate.

In advance of the National People’s Congress, the rubberstamp legislature that convenes on Friday in Beijing, an influential policy advisory body has suggested that wide-ranging financial support be offered to families to address the falling birthrate in the world’s most populous country, including providing income tax cuts for new parents.

“In recent years the birthrates have plummeted, and the subsequent social and economic problems have become more severe by the day,” the China Democratic League said. It is proposing a series of subsidies to help with childcare costs and even payments to grandparents so they are rewarded for helping young parents to look after their offspring.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Anthropology, Children, China, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General

An absolutely beautiful Indianapolis Star profile piece of Teenage love and Marriage–‘With months to live, high school senior marries’

“The most important thing in my world at this point is spending time loving and laughing,” he said. “Just living life to the fullest and loving every moment.”

Chase is taking the time to tell his story because he wants to touch people and spread what he has learned through his cancer journey.

“The precious people in your life, the amount of time they are in your life, take every moment you have. Enjoy and give everything you can in those relationships,” he said. “And know there is so much possible with love when your love includes God.”

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Teens / Youth

(NPR) With School Buildings Closed, Children’s Mental Health Is Suffering

[Dimitri ] Christakis says the serious effects of this crisis on children like Phoebe have been overlooked.

“The decision to close schools initially, and now to potentially keep them closed, isn’t, I think, taking the full measure of the impact this is going to have on children,” he told NPR. “Not just the short term, but the long term.”

The problem, Christakis says, isn’t just learning loss, which is expected to fall particularly hard on low-income children with unequal access to distance learning. Recent research from a large testing association on the “COVID-19 slide” suggests children may return in the fall having made almost a third less progress in reading, and half as much progress in math, compared with what they would have in a typical school year.

Mental health and social-emotional development, Christakis argues, have been less discussed: “The social-emotional needs of children to connect with other children in real time and space, whether it’s for physical activity, unstructured play or structured play, this is immensely important for young children in particular.” A new study in JAMA Pediatrics, he says, documents elevated depression and anxiety among children under lockdown in China.

A third major risk, says Christakis, is child abuse.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Science & Technology

(JE) Anglican Bishop Steve Wood, COVID-19 and “Beauty from Ashes”

Bishop Steve Wood was released from the hospital following 10 days on a ventilator amidst treatment for COVID-19. An otherwise healthy man in his 50s who had not before been hospitalized, Wood is far from the image of elderly or medically compromised patients we regularly read about in the news.

The rector of St. Andrew’s Church and bishop for the Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas shares with the Institute on Religion & Democracy’s Jeff Walton about what sustained him during a period of intensive care, ongoing recovery and God bringing “beauty from ashes.”

Take the time to watch it all (just under 18 minutes).

Posted in * South Carolina, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(NYT) Utah Lowers Penalty for Polygamy, No Longer a Felony

A new law that took effect in Utah this week has lowered the punishment for polygamy in some cases, making it an infraction similar to a traffic summons instead of a felony punishable by a prison term.

Under Senate Bill 102, which was signed into law by Gov. Gary R. Herbert in March and went into effect on Tuesday, a married person can now take additional spouses at the same time and not be subjected to felony charges, as long as the new spouse entered into the union voluntarily.

But a polygamous marriage is still a felony if it was made by threats, fraud or force or involves abuse. Second-degree felonies can carry prison terms of up to 15 years. Barring other factors, polygamy is now an infraction, which can draw fines of up to $750 and community service.

When it was passed by the State Legislature in February, the bill exposed the debate over multiple marriages in Utah, which is believed to be the state with the highest population of polygamists.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, State Government

(Guardian) Rory Kinnear–My sister died of coronavirus. She needed care, but her life was not disposable

So it was coronavirus that killed her. It wasn’t her “underlying conditions”. Prior to her diagnosis, she hadn’t been in hospital for 18 months – an unusually care-free period for Karina. No, it was a virulent, aggressive and still only partially understood virus that was responsible, a virus that is causing thousands of people, despite the unstinting bravery of the medical staff of this country, to say a distanced goodbye to relatives who would still be alive had they not contracted it.

No one could describe Karina as weak: she did not have it coming, she was no more disposable than anyone else. Her death was not inevitable, does not ease our burden, is not a blessing. She was vulnerable, yes. She needed the care of others to live. I will remain for ever grateful to the hundreds of caregivers who have, at one point or another, looked after her with such kindness and dedication, some of whom have maintained a relationship with her long after their retirement. Grateful too to live in a country that makes provisions of care free to all, no matter one’s need, however stretched and fraying their chronic underfunding increasingly makes them.

But this disease is not just killing people who would have died soon anyway. It is making the lives of those most in need of our care and compassion even harder, even more fearful. And if there is anything that I hope might come from Karina’s death, from the tens of thousands of other deaths caused by this disease and its insidious spread, it is that as a country, from government both national and local, we might make our focus the easing of those lives in the future.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(FMN) Florence musician shares what’s on her heart by singing out

With life on hold for the past few months, Chelsea Hamshaw’s plowing through the monotony one song at a time.

And she’s sharing her music on social media in the hope it provides a little therapy for friends, family and her community as the world faces such strange times.

“It’s a way I can communicate and share what’s on my heart,” Hamshaw said. “My music enables me to do that, and that’s why it’s so important to me.”

Hamshaw was born in Pittsburgh, where her father served as a minister. The family later moved to Bakersfield, California. After college, Hamshaw sensed a call to move to South Carolina, which is where she met her husband, Jason, who at the time was the youth minister at Prince George Church in Georgetown. The two married in 2010 and are now the parents of four boys.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Marriage & Family, Music

(Mirror) Coronavirus: 60,000 families forced onto Universal Credit ‘to be hit’ by two child limit

Around 60,000 families forced onto Universal Credit by Covid-19 could have essential support restricted by the government’s hated ‘two-child limit’.

Families who have to claim the benefit because of job losses and illness will find they are denied support for more than two children.

Ministers have refused to scrap the policy, even temporarily during the coronavirus crisis….

A new report by the Church of England and Child Poverty Action Group said the virus crisis had exposed the injustice of the policy, which mostly hits working families.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance & Investing, Politics in General, Theology

(Local Paper) How South Carolina summer camps plan to handle changes from coronavirus outbreak

More than 20 million youths across the country attend day and overnight camps, generating more than $27 billion in revenue and providing 1.5 million jobs during the season, according to industry estimates.

At Sullivan’s Oconee County camp, registration is between $945 and $3,930 per child. But it’s hard for her and others in the industry to speak with certainty about what the summer might hold, as they await revised U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols, expected to be released in May.

Sullivan said Camp Chatuga will make “month-to-month” decisions. Maybe sessions can be held in July only, or pushed into August, for instance.

“If it looks too much like it’s going to be a restriction on what camp is all about, that’s going to affect whatever decision we make too,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Children, Economy, Education, Marriage & Family, Sports

(Yesterday’s NYT Front Page) Gasping For Breaths The Size Of A Tablespoon. 32 Days on a Ventilator: One Covid19 Patient’s Fight to Breathe Again

Mr. Bello’s cataclysmic spiral from avid skier, cyclist and runner to grievously ill patient — and the heartbreaking and triumphant twists in doctors’ relentless efforts to save him — underscores the agonizing challenges confronting even highly trained physicians and well-equipped hospitals battling a ferociously capricious virus.

Hospitals have never before had, simultaneously, so many patients so sick that their lungs have basically stopped functioning. And while doctors are experienced at treating similar respiratory failure, the path of patients with Covid-19 can be maddeningly unpredictable.

“It’s like they fall off a cliff,” said Dr. Peggy Lai, a critical care doctor at Mass General. “You see young patients getting sicker and sicker by the day despite everything that you know is good standard of care.”

Without proven therapies to extinguish the infection, doctors ride roller-coasters of trial and error. They weigh risks of uncertain treatments and painstakingly adjust machines in hopes of shoring up patients’ lungs enough that their bodies clear the inflammation and heal.

“The tricky part with this disease,” Dr. Lai said, “is that we have nothing to follow, to know what predicts how sick someone will be and what predicts them getting better.”

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology

The Rector of Saint Helena’s, Beaufort, writes the parish he serves about his medical situation

In consultation with Bishop Lawrence and the Wardens, we agreed to delay the announcement while so much was unknown. Although our current situation still has many question marks, the initial shock of COVID-19 has past, and it remains uncertain when we shall re-gather. Again, in consultation with wise counsel, I have decided to invite you into
the midst of this journey we are on as a family. We would appreciate your love and prayers as we walk into a new season with plenty of unknowns.

If you have limited experience with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) as I did, you should know that Parkinson’s is a neuron-condition which affects the brains dopamine-producing cells. Thislack of dopamine causes a myriad of fairly unpredictable symptoms in the bodies of those afflicted. PD is a “snowflake disease” with no set pattern of symptoms and no known cause or cure. Statistically, I am slightly young to have PD with the average age of onset being 55.Because of the advances in treatment, PD does not generally shorten one’s lifespan.

My prognosis in the near term (10 years+) is good. I have been on a medicine and exercise regimen since January that has produced some very good results….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(Local Paper) A cough. An X-ray. A ventilator. Bishop Steve Wood battles coronavirus and lives to tell

Early on, the medical team told Jacqui that her husband might be on the ventilator three to five days. But so much about this new virus remained unknown. They consulted with doctors across the country and across the state.

As Wood approached his first week on the ventilator, his medical team wanted to try removing him from it. His X-rays looked better, his oxygen saturation improved.

But his body could not handle breathing on its own.

More time, more loneliness, more fear. Jacqui saw on the news that the average COVID-19 patient was staying on a ventilator closer to eight to 11 days. She figured that if he went more than 11 days, she’d panic more.

On day 10, a Monday, his doctor tried again to wean him.

This time, his lungs responded. He no longer needed the ventilator.

His overnight nurse got him out of bed and into a chair. The nurse took a picture around 4 a.m. and texted it to Jacqui.

The next day, his nurse called Jacqui on FaceTime so she could see her husband. Wood could barely get his hand to his mouth. His throat was too raw to speak. But he could answer yes and no.

He was in there. He would be OK. They would all be OK.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(NYT) The New Jersey Nurse Was Holding Up. Then Her 3 Close Relatives Were Brought In.

Twelve doctors at her hospital and the chief executive were sickened with the coronavirus. A colleague had died. Patients as young as 19 were being placed on ventilators.

But Michele Acito, the director of nursing at Holy Name Medical Center, in the hardest-hit town in New Jersey’s hardest-hit county, felt like she was holding up.

Then her mother-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law arrived.

The disease that has crippled New York City is now enveloping New Jersey’s densely packed cities and suburbs. The state’s governor said on Friday that New Jersey was about a week behind New York, where scenes of panicked doctors have gripped the nation.

Hospitals in the state are scrambling to convert cafeterias and pediatric wings into intensive care units. Ventilators are running low. One in three nursing homes has at least one resident with the virus.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(NYT) Jessica Lustig–What I Learned When My Husband Got Sick With Coronavirus

We both wear disposable gloves. I put my hand through the crook of his arm, and we slowly start for the clinic. The day before was one of the harder ones, with T lightheaded and nauseated most of the day, eating only if I spoon-fed him, coughing more and using his albuterol inhaler more, then coughing more again. He was soaked in sweat in the morning and by evening was lying curled up, looking apprehensive. “I coughed up blood just now,” he told me quietly.

We talked to his doctor on speakerphone. “We are all kind of working blind,” he told us. Many patients, he said, seem to begin to feel better after a week. But others, the more serious and severe cases, take a downturn, and the risks rise as the virus targets the lungs. Pneumonia is a common next step in that downward progression. We read about it in the patients admitted to the hospital. Now the doctor called in a prescription for antibiotics to the CVS pharmacy that would close in less than an hour. I texted T’s friend down the block, and he texted back that he would pick up the medicine. I asked if he would get oranges too; T has been accepting a little fresh-squeezed juice or cut-up pieces, and we were down to one last orange. They suddenly seemed an unimaginably exotic treat.

The doctor told us to go back to the clinic for a chest X-ray first thing in the morning. Now we slowly walk the three blocks, T coughing behind his mask. As we move along the street, we see some other people too — fewer than a few days ago, before Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed New Yorkers to stay indoors as much as possible. Some joggers go by. Just over a week ago, that was still me. Now I point out the buds about to bloom on the branches we pass, drawing T’s attention away from the few passers-by so we won’t see if they start or turn around. A few are wearing their own masks, but they are walking upright, striding along, using them as protection for themselves. Not like us….

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Urban/City Life and Issues

(WSJ) Tevi Troy–A Minyan in the Time of Social Distancing

Losing a parent is always difficult, especially as important financial and religious arrangements must be made during a time of intense grief. A global pandemic doesn’t help. But when my mother died on March 3, my family still had no idea how difficult it would be to stay safe while still honoring her in the Jewish tradition.

The Jewish response to death is communal. The local community comes together to support the mourners, who open up their home for a week of shiva. During this time the kaddish, or Jewish prayer for the dead, is recited at services three times a day. The mourner then may leave the home but remains obligated to say the kaddish three times daily for 11 months. According to Jewish law, these obligations must be fulfilled in the presence of a minyan, or prayer quorum of 10 men over the age of 13.

The current coronavirus crisis creates a challenge for those wishing to adhere to these Jewish mourning customs, especially in light of Judaism’s prioritization of public and individual health over ritual obligation. In Maryland, where I live, synagogues closed their doors last weekend to services and other community activities. In New Jersey, communities could not have communal prayer services in the home or even outdoors. In the interest of safety, similar changes are occurring throughout the country.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Judaism, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

Martyn Davie–A Basic Christian Primer On Sex, Marriage And Family Life. Article 6 – Men, Women And Marriage In The World To Come.

In the New Testament we learn from Jesus that those who live in this new creation ‘neither marry nor are given in n marriage, but are like angels in heaven’ ( Matthew 22: 30). This teaching by Jesus does not mean that we shall stop being male and female. As we learn from the example of Jesus, our resurrected bodies will retain the same sex that they have now. This means that if we are male or female now we shall be male or female then.

What this teaching does mean is that in the world to come marriage as we know it, involving sexual intercourse and the procreation of children, will be no more. The number of people God wills to inherit his new creation will have been brought into existence and because there will be no more death their number will not diminish. Hence there will be no need for procreative sex, hence there will be no more need for one flesh unions and hence marriage as it exists now will be no more.

However, this does not mean that marriage as such will cease to be. On the contrary, the New Testament tells us that at the centre of the life of the new creation there will be the ‘marriage of the Lamb’ (Revelation 19:6-9, 21: 2 & 9), the marriage between God and humanity that will endure for eternity.

This eternal marriage is the transcendent reality which marriage in this world foreshadows. In the words of Peter Kreeft; ‘The earthly intimacy with the beloved is a tiny, distant, spark of the bonfire that is the heavenly intimacy with God.’

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Eschatology, Marriage & Family, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(IBT) Indonesian Singles Propose ‘Marriage Without Dating’

Frustrated after a string of break-ups, Dwita Astari Pujiartati quit the casual romance circuit and turned to a growing trend among Indonesian singles — marriage without dating.

The 27-year-old professor exchanged resumes with prospective suitors — helped by a Muslim cleric-cum-matchmaker — until she was contacted by a long-lost acquaintance who also wanted to give contact-less dating a whirl.

There was no hand holding or kissing. The pair didn’t even meet in person for almost a year, chatting on the telephone instead.

“Once we felt ‘the click’, (my now husband) asked my parents if he could propose to me,” Pujiartati said.

The practice known as taaruf, or introduction, is derided by critics as old fashioned and more fitting to conservative Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia than relatively liberal Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim majority country.

But Pujiartati saw it as a way to ditch dating that went nowhere and be a devout Muslim at the same time by avoiding pre-marital touching and sex.

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Posted in Indonesia, Marriage & Family, Young Adults