Daily Archives: October 29, 2011

William Doherty and Leah Sears–Our assumptions About Marriage and Divorce are wrong

Contrary to popular belief, only a minority of divorcing couples experience high conflict and abuse during their marriages. Most divorces occur with couples who have drifted apart and handle everyday disagreements poorly. It is these “average” divorces that research shows are the most harmful to children.

In their study documenting the difference between high conflict and average divorces, sociologists Paul Amato and Alan Booth offer this promising conclusion: “Our results suggest that divorces with the greatest potential to harm children occur in marriages that have the greatest potential for reconciliation.”

But do any parents already in the divorce process still want to save their marriages?….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Psychology

Pope Benedict XVI's Address at the 2011 Assisi Pilgrimage–Two kinds of Violence need to be seen

Let us try to identify the new faces of violence and discord more closely. It seems to me that, in broad strokes, we may distinguish two types of the new forms of violence, which are the very antithesis of each other in terms of their motivation and manifest a number of differences in detail. Firstly there is terrorism, for which in place of a great war there are targeted attacks intended to strike the opponent destructively at key points, with no regard for the lives of innocent human beings, who are cruelly killed or wounded in the process. In the eyes of the perpetrators, the overriding goal of damage to the enemy justifies any form of cruelty. Everything that had been commonly recognized and sanctioned in international law as the limit of violence is overruled. We know that terrorism is often religiously motivated and that the specifically religious character of the attacks is proposed as a justification for the reckless cruelty that considers itself entitled to discard the rules of morality for the sake of the intended “good”. In this case, religion does not serve peace, but is used as justification for violence….

If one basic type of violence today is religiously motivated and thus confronts religions with the question as to their true nature and obliges all of us to undergo purification, a second complex type of violence is motivated in precisely the opposite way: as a result of God’s absence, his denial and the loss of humanity which goes hand in hand with it. The enemies of religion — as we said earlier — see in religion one of the principal sources of violence in the history of humanity and thus they demand that it disappear. But the denial of God has led to much cruelty and to a degree of violence that knows no bounds, which only becomes possible when man no longer recognizes any criterion or any judge above himself, now having only himself to take as a criterion. The horrors of the concentration camps reveal with utter clarity the consequences of God’s absence.

Yet I do not intend to speak further here about state-imposed atheism, but rather about the decline of man, which is accompanied by a change in the spiritual climate that occurs imperceptibly and hence is all the more dangerous….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Secularism, Terrorism, Violence

Life Magazine–Graves of the Very Famous

There are 74 in all–check it out.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Parish Ministry

(New York Magazine) Noreen Malone–The Kids Are Actually Sort of Alright

Twenge, the Generation Me author, turned me on to the existence of a concept called “locus of control.” Essentially, it’s a measure of whether you think your destiny is controlled by you or outside forces. For years, young people have increasingly placed their loci of control outside themselves, and this is true of my generation more than any yet. It seems unlikely that a global financial crisis that revealed just how deeply ingrained, intertwined, and intractable are the world’s problems is doing much to counteract that trend. Yet someone like Desi manages to place the locus of control firmly within himself, centered narrowly on his own life and the people he knows. Notwithstanding what that attitude portends for social justice (nothing good), maybe it’s the only way to feel like you are in charge of your own destiny, by focusing your lens ever tighter.

Another phrase I now can’t get out of my head is “managed decline.” It’s been batted around in the context of Europe; George Soros splashily said it about the U.S. dollar a few years ago; and Ken Layne, the Wonkette Cassandra, used it when we spoke. It also strikes me as a fairly good way of describing the process of getting older. That’s what we’re doing when we decide that we can be okay with having more unpredictable careers and more modest lifestyles, if that’s what’s in store: Even as we hold out hope that something will reverse the trajectory, we are managing our decline, we are making do.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Young Adults

(FT) Paranormal expert set to become Tory MEP

Britain is set to be represented in the European parliament by an expert on the paranormal, who ran a course at an unaccredited West Virginia university about ghosts, apparitions, poltergeists, UFOs, aliens, sasquatches and the Loch Ness monster.

Rupert Matthews, who is poised to be appointed as the next Conservative MEP for the East Midlands, taught a distance-learning programme on the paranormal on behalf of the International Metaphysical University. He says that he only had one student on the $425 course.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(ACNS) Anglican Alliance welcomes Parliamentary report backing UK aid for Burundi

The Anglican Alliance has welcomed the report from the International Development Select Committee which recommends the UK Government to reconsider its decision to cut its aid programme to Burundi.

The report which highlights the fragile economy and security of the land-locked country included evidence from the Anglican Church in Burundi and the Anglican Alliance, which brings together development relief and advocacy work across the Anglican Communion. Its recommendations were that the UK Government should reinstate its £13.7 million programme, and said that the closure decision was inconsistent with DFID;s poverty focus, and undermined DFID’s investment in other countries in the region.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Burundi, Anglican Provinces, Burundi, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Politics in General

Anglican Church Represented at Sudan Mission Partners Meeting in Cairo

On October 5-6 in Cairo, Egypt, bishops from the Diocese of Egypt and dioceses in the north of Sudan held a meeting of reflection and planning with several mission partners, including the Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. This important meeting was held for the benefit of discussing the challenges and needs facing the suffering northern dioceses of the Province of the Episcopal (Anglican) Church of Sudan. Upon completion of this meeting, the partners in mission with Sudan released an official communique stating the challenges facing this region, their specific needs, and the top priorities of the partners in mission in order to implement lasting peace in the Sudan.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Egypt, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Middle East, Missions, Sudan, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Michael Paulsen–We Must Face the Reality that Sex Selection Plays a Role in Abortions

Millions of women obtain abortions because they do not want baby girls.

It’s shocking, but incontrovertible. Two decades ago, Harvard economist Amartya Sen, in an arrestingly titled article, documented the statistical reality that “More Than 100 Million Women Are Missing.” In a recently published book, Unnatural Selection, journalist Mara Hvistendahl convincingly demonstrates that the overwhelming reason for the increasingly large demographic disparity in the male-female birth ratio is sex-selection abortion. Hvistendahl estimates the number of missing or dead now to be 160 million and counting. Women have abortions because (among other reasons) they are able to learn the sex of their unborn baby and kill her if she’s a girl.

The phenomenon is most pronounced in certain Asian populations where the birth of girls is especially discouraged, but is not limited to Asia….Sex-selection abortion occurs in America, too, and the practice is likely to increase….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Sexuality

Harassment and Evictions Bedevil Even China’s Well-Off

It is a familiar tale of modern China with a sadly predictable denouement. A group of people wake up to find demolition notices affixed to their homes. After they reject the government’s compensation as too meager, a dark campaign of harassment ensues. The bulldozers arrive in the dead of night. Score another win for the boundless authority of the state.

But the struggle unfolding at Huaxiang World Famous Garden, a gated, suburban-style community on the exurban fringe of the capital, is not like a majority of redevelopment battles that each year lead to the forced eviction and dispossession of countless families.

The residents involved are by and large middle class and privileged ”” doctors, financiers, retired government bureaucrats ”” who thought they were immune to such capriciousness. Among their ranks is one of China’s most successful fiction writers, Yan Lianke, whose satirical novels about famine, AIDS and the cruelties of the Cultural Revolution plumb the suffering of ordinary Chinese.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Psychology

Congratulations to the Cardinals, World Series Winners–the Team that never quit

The St. Louis Cardinals have won the World Series with Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith. They’ve won it with speed. They’ve won with power. They’ve won it with pitching, defense and mastermind managers.

Until now, the Cardinals had never won a World Series with a team like this. A team that was lost, left behind and stranded in the standings. A team too stubborn and proud to accept the hopelessness of the situation. A team that fought back like no other has in franchise history.

A team that on Friday night completed one of the truly spectacular comebacks in major-league baseball history….

Read it all.

Update: For Texas, the Moment Slipped Away, Twice.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

A Prayer for the Feast Day of James Hannington and the Martyrs of Uganda

Precious in thy sight, O Lord, is the death of thy saints, whose faithful witness, by thy providence, hath its great reward: We give thee thanks for thy martyrs James Hannington and his companions, who purchased with their blood a road unto Uganda for the proclamation of the Gospel; and we pray that with them we also may obtain the crown of righteousness which is laid up for all who love the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of Uganda, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Uganda

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Most gracious God, incline thy merciful ears to my prayers, and enlighten my hearts by the grace of thy Holy Spirit; that I may worthily approach the gift of this day, and love thee with an everlasting love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, out of every tribe of the sons of Israel, twelve thousand sealed out of the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand of the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand of the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand of the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand of the tribe of Naph’tali, twelve thousand of the tribe of Manas’seh, twelve thousand of the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand of the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand of the tribe of Is’sachar, twelve thousand of the tribe of Zeb’ulun, twelve thousand of the tribe of Joseph, twelve thousand sealed out of the tribe of Benjamin. After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night within his temple; and he who sits upon the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

–Revelation 7:4-17

Posted in Uncategorized

Keith Ellison–Islam and politics in the new Middle East

As democratic movements bring down autocratic regimes across the Middle East, Islamic parties are moving into the newly opened political space. Many Americans understandably find this development alarming because the terrorists who attacked us on September 11, 2001 claimed to follow Islamic tenets.

People inside and outside the Middle East worry that women’s rights, minority rights, freedom of expression, and due process might be threatened if Islamic parties take power. (These worries multiply when people hear the phrase “Sharia Law.”) However, it would be wrong to confuse the 9/11 terrorists with religious parties in the region. Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, for example, is Islamic and is also committed to democracy and the fight against terrorism as our NATO ally….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Foreign Relations, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Bill Gates gives a rare talk to students at the University of Washington

Student question. Personally like to thank you for saving me winter algebra last year through Khan Academy investment. Is there a need for a teacher role anymore?

Gates. If you go from kindergarten to college, certainly the need for adult supervision hopefully goes down somewhat. But remember education to some degree is about motivation. If you’re motivated to learn physics, read Feynman’s book. Education is not about the unique availability of information, it’s about curating info into form that student chooses to ingest. Always will be teacher, but most replaceable in terms of lecture. We have about 20 schools now that have agreed to design entire experience around Khan lectures.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Personal Finance, Science & Technology, Young Adults