Daily Archives: November 14, 2011

(WSJ) Matt Ridley–Some Scientists First Deemed Heretics are Later Proved Right

The list of scientific heretics who were persecuted for their radical ideas but eventually proved right keeps getting longer. Last month, Daniel Shechtman won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of quasicrystals, having spent much of his career being told he was wrong.

“I was thrown out of my research group. They said I brought shame on them with what I was saying,” he recalled, adding that the doyen of chemistry, the late Linus Pauling, had denounced the theory with the words: “There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists.”
The Australian medical scientist Barry Marshall, who hypothesized that a bacterial infection causes stomach ulcers, received similar treatment and was taken seriously only when he deliberately infected himself, then cured himself with antibiotics in 1984. Eventually, he too won the Nobel Prize.

Drs. Shechtman and Marshall are on a distinguished list…

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Science & Technology

William Deresiewicz–Generation Sell

According to one of my students at Yale, where I taught English in the last decade, a colleague of mine would tell his students that they belonged to a “post-emotional” generation. No anger, no edge, no ego.

What is this about? A rejection of culture-war strife? A principled desire to live more lightly on the planet? A matter of how they were raised ”” everybody’s special and everybody’s point of view is valid and everybody’s feelings should be taken care of?

Perhaps a bit of each, but mainly, I think, something else….

Today’s ideal social form is not the commune or the movement or even the individual creator as such; it’s the small business. Every artistic or moral aspiration ”” music, food, good works, what have you ”” is expressed in those terms.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Psychology, Young Adults

A S Haley–"A Call to the Light": The Case for Inhibiting the Presiding Bishop

Let me be perfectly clear: the two situations are not precisely parallel, because the sexual abuse of young men went on under the noses of the responsible officials at Penn State University, who studiously ignored bringing the abuser to account, or reporting him to the police. In contrast, and at least as far as we now know, Father Bede Parry did not commit any sexual abuse of minors under the nose of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

But there — with one big exception, as I note below — the dissimilarities between the two cases end. For it is now undisputed that Bishop Jefferts Schori learned early on, from Bede Parry’s own former Abbot, that he was a multiple-count abuser who could not continue to function as a Catholic priest (or monk) because he had “a proclivity to reoffend with minors.” And she learned of this fact before she decided to receive him into her Diocese as an Episcopal priest.

Therein lies the chief similarity between the two cases: Both the officials at Penn State University and at the Diocese of Nevada (including its Standing Committee at the time, and its Commission on Ministry, as well as its Bishop) made an apparent decision to ignore the offender’s history, and to place (or leave) him in a position where he would be free to continue his abuses, if he was so inclined (notwithstanding supposed “restrictions” on his ministry, which were soon forgotten altogether).

The chief dissimilarity between the two cases, however, lies in seeing how the two institutions reacted to the news of this decision to hire (or to retain) a self-convicted pederast, once the news of that decision became public.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, Sexuality, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Timothy Dalrymple–The Flesh Made Word: “Earthen Vessels” and the Sacred Art of Tattoos

But when a Christian tattoos a Bible verse or a faith-phrase upon her body, she makes her body into a text. She reverses the incarnation of Christ; in her de-incarnation she is making the body, what is prone to messiness and effluvia and decay, into a true and eternal Word. They are turning themselves into the Bible, or a part thereof.

There’s something laudable in this: stating that these truths are the ultimate and unchanging truths of who I am. Yet I also wonder if they represent a running away from our carnality, a running away from the things that Christ affirmed in the incarnation. I wonder too whether tattoos like these ”” and all tattoos ”” might sometimes work like frosting upon a store window ”” presenting a surface that seeks not to externalize but to conceal what lies within. Does the person who stamps “God’s Son” upon his skin really believe it?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Teens / Youth, Theology, Young Adults

(LA Times) As U.S. prepares to leave Iraq, Iran's shadow looms large

As the last U.S. troops pack up to leave Iraq by the end of next month, Pentagon officials and senior military commanders are warning that Iran will rush to fill a power vacuum created by the American exit unless Washington limits its pullback from the region.

That broad assessment has taken on urgency in recent weeks against a backdrop of new intelligence that indicates the government in Tehran also is aggressively courting proxy forces in Yemen and, according to United Nations nuclear inspectors, is fast approaching the capability to build nuclear weapons.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Iraq War, Middle East, Politics in General

Migrants and Refugees focus of first day of Anglican Alliance Asia Meeting

The hardships faced by migrants and refugees forced to flee poverty and conflict is the focus for the first day of the Anglican Alliance’s Asia consultation which opens in Hong Kong (Monday Nov14th).
The consultation, hosted jointly by the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui and the Anglican Alliance is the last of the series to draw up the priorities for the initiative to bring together development, relief and advocacy work across the Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Asia

(Faith and Leadership) Frank Griswold: Maybe this is the desert time

The Episcopal Church and the Protestant mainline in America today may be going through a normal “paschal pattern” — a dying and a rising — that all churches go through, said Bishop Frank T. Griswold. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.

“There’s an arrogance and a self-confidence that is shattered by things falling apart,” said Griswold, former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. But beneath the church’s many challenges is an invitation to deeper wisdom, a hidden grace that leads to new insight, wisdom and resurrection.

“To use an image from the Old Testament, maybe this is the desert time,” Griswold said. “The desert was a period of purification and self-knowledge in order that they were prepared to enter the promised land.”

Take the time to read the whole interview.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, Theology

After Returning Home, Soldiers Find Sanctuary in Being Together on Outdoor Adventure Trips

[Sebastian] Junger said the trips help the soldiers make sense of what they’ve been through.

“It takes vets and it takes them to some of the most rugged and beautiful parts of America, of that country they were defending,” Junger said.

The trips also help remind the men of teamwork and the challenges of the natural world. It gives them a place, away from society, to bond again and to be understood by people who have been through the same thing.

“When I was in Afghanistan, I watched people literally die for each other, and then I come back to a society that honks at me if I’ve taken too long to make a right-hand turn,” said Brendan O’Byrne, another veteran from the 173rd Airborne who was on the trip.

Read it all (the video is terrific if you have time).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Health & Medicine, Iraq War, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, War in Afghanistan

Time Cover Story–45,000 Soldiers are Coming Home to a Country that Does Not Know Them

As the nation prepares to welcome home some 45,000 troops from Iraq, most Americans have little or nothing in common with their experiences or the lives of the 1.4 million men and women in uniform. The past decade of war by volunteer soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines has acted like a centrifuge, separating the nation’s military from its citizens. Most Americans have not served in uniform, no longer have a parent who did and are unlikely to encourage their children to enlist.

Never has the U.S. public been so separate, so removed, so isolated from the people it pays to protect it.

Every day, U.S. troops fight and work on all seven continents, but in most ways the nation has moved on to new challenges: the economy and a looming presidential campaign in which the wars bump along at the bottom of a list of public concerns topped by jobs, debt, taxes and health care. Over the past generation, the world’s lone superpower has created–and grown accustomed to–a permanent military caste, increasingly disconnected from U.S. society, waging decade-long wars in its name, no longer representative of or drawn from the citizenry as a whole. Think of the U.S. military as the Other 1%–some 2.4 million troops have fought in and around Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11, exactly 1% of the 240 million Americans over 18. The U.S. Constitution calls on the people to provide for the common defense. But there is very little that is common about the way we defend ourselves in the 21st century.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iraq War, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Psychology, Young Adults

24 Hours on the Aircraft Carrier the USS Carl Vinson

24 Hours on an Aircraft Carrier from The Seventh Movement on Vimeo.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Defense, National Security, Military, Science & Technology

France Keeps a Watchful Eye on Financial Turmoil in Italy

First it was Athens. Then Rome. Could Paris be next?

While Italy has replaced Greece as the focus of anxiety amid Europe’s worsening debt crisis, investors are increasingly concerned about the outlook for France, whose banks are among the world’s biggest and are closely linked with their counterparts in the United States.

One crucial gauge of investor sentiment, the difference between what France pays to borrow versus what Germany pays, has doubled since the beginning of October, and last week reached its widest point since the formation of the euro currency zone in 1999. Meanwhile, speculation that France could soon lose the sterling triple-A rating on its sovereign debt intensified after Standard & Poor’s mistakenly told clients on Thursday that it was downgrading France’s debt.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Italy, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Kendall Harmon–A Call to Raise our Preaching Standards

The global church (and Anglicans) lost a titan not long ago, when John R. W. Stott (1921-2011) passed from this world to the next. One is only now getting a sense of the stone God dropped into the pond of history through this remarkable man, as ever more ripples move through the waters of those who lives and ministries he touched.

John Stott was above all a preacher, and as such he modeled a craft that is increasingly weak in the West.

My mother taught English, and we had a life long conversation about writer-based versus reader-based prose. Good articles and books do the work for the reader, she insisted–they reach out and draw you in.

Dr. Stott was a listener-based preacher. I do not mean by this that he allowed his potential audience to set the topic; nothing could be further from the truth. He was someone who sought to expound Holy Scripture throughout his life.

But he did it though making an argument that one who heard him could follow. As you listened you had the sense that John had wrestled mightily with the text so that you would not need to. More than one person has quipped that John Stott made St. Paul more understandable than Paul himself did!

I will always remember him speaking on the Acts of the Apostles chapter 17 about the mission to Thessalonica. He observed with great care the verbs used in the passage to describe what Paul was trying to do””argue, explain, prove. Then he noted with real force that in response some were “persuaded” by what had been presented. How many times, he asked, do we hear that response to contemporary sermons?

I pray that we might learn to follow in the footsteps of this persuasive preacher. Let us wrestle hard with the text, but let us also present a coherent narrative which is easy to follow. So easy to follow, in fact, that many who did not even wish to hear it will find themselves grabbed and drawn in.

–The Rev. Dr. Kendall Harmon is Canon Theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina and Convenor of this blog

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Winter 2011 edition of the Anglican Digest

Read it all and consider becoming a regular recipient. Better still suggest it as a possible resource to your family and friends.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

A Serious Prayer request for the South Carolina Clergy Conference This week

I do not often do this but regular blog readers know there is a lot going on in the diocese and I mean it when I say it is a serious request–KSH

You may find information about it here and you can find the schedule there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Samuel Seabury

Eternal God, who didst bless thy servant Samuel Seabury with the gift of perseverance to renew the Anglican inheritance in North America; Grant that, joined together in unity with our bishops and nourished by thy holy Sacraments, we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal; through Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant us, O Lord, the faith that rests not on signs and wonders but on thy love and faithfulness; that obedient to thy word and trusting in thy promises, we may know thy peace and healing power, both in our hearts and in our homes; for the honour of thy holy name.

–Frank Colquhoun (1909-1997)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli’jah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli’jah.” He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

–Matthew 17:1-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Santa Barbara Independent) A Spiritualist Gets Ordained

What was your life like before the Spiritualist Church became a part of it? How did your life up to then shape your religious convictions?

I am a fourth-generation Santa Barbaran, so I have lived in this community my whole life. I lead a fairly simple existence. I was a self-employed craftsman for many, many years.

My mother and grandmother were the most influential figures in my spiritual life. They didn’t attend any formal churches, but they did hold very strong spiritual beliefs, especially pertaining to the afterlife and the belief that our souls cycle through numerous lives. They would also consult mediums on occasion.

Exposure to these doctrines was essential to my spiritual molding. When I finally came across the Church of the Comforter and saw how it very much complemented my already-existing convictions, welcoming the church into my life seemed so natural.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ministry of the Ordained, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(BBC) Italy crisis: Mario Monti appointed new PM-designate

Mr [Mario] Monti’s candidature was announced after President Giorgio Napolitano spent the day in 17 meetings with senior politicians.

Speaking to reporters shortly afterwards, Mr Monti said Italy should be an “element of strength and not weakness” within the EU.

“We will aim at solving the financial situation, resume the path of growth. [We want to build] a future of dignity and hope for our children.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Italy, Politics in General, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

The Economist on the European Financial Crisis–Staring into the abyss

A euro-zone central banker confesses that he has lately been thinking about historical catastrophes such as the first world war and wondering how the world blundered into them. “From the middle of a crisis”, he says ominously, “you can see how easy it is to make mistakes.”

Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) was supposed to banish the competitive devaluations that threatened the single market in the early 1990s. It promised to bind a unified Germany into the EU and pave the way for some sort of political union in Europe. Today that dream has not vanished altogether, but the single market is under threat once more. Europe’s nations are at loggerheads, Germany is in a state of outrage, and the link between the euro and the nation state is more fraught than ever. EMU truly is, writes David Marsh, author of a history of the euro, “Europe’s Melancholy Union”.

“The 2008 crisis shows that the dominant economies were not as dominant as they thought,” says Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the French former head of the IMF. “If Europe fails, it will suffer from low growth, economic domination and cultural domination.” Can Europe turn back from the abyss? Only if the core countries will support the rest as they submit themselves to radical political, social and economic reform. Nobody should be under any illusions about how difficult that will be.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(NY Times) For European Union and the Euro, Time Runs Short

“We’ve entered a make-or-break scenario,” said Thomas Klau, a German who heads the Paris office of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “The present situation with Italy now is sustainable for days, perhaps weeks, but not months. This new chapter either writes the endgame of the euro zone, or it precedes a much bigger leap into political and economic integration than all those made so far.”

With each bout of uncertainty, speculative attacks come closer to the core of the European Union. Greece teeters, Italy wobbles and France begins to tremble. The precariousness of the situation was on full view Thursday when a leading ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s, mistakenly suggested on its Web site that it had downgraded France’s prized AAA rating, prompting a sell-off in French government bonds….

And it may get worse, with a recession looming. Unless, of course, the crisis has concentrated minds sufficiently, especially in Berlin. One of the first and most effective ways to combat the crisis and the potential downturn, experts say, would be to enable the European Central Bank, or E.C.B., to act as a lender of last resort, or to at least let it print some more money, to try a little inflation as a recipe for growth and debt reduction.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Notable and Quotable

The lessons of Incognito, The Social Animal, and other popular books drawing on new research on the brain should make us think more highly of the church as the body of Christ, an organism of which we are members. We should think of our spiritual pursuits not as solitary pilgrimages but as an immersion into a wide river. Spiritual disciplines aren’t just enforced time with God, they’re rewiring the circuitry of our brains, forming and shaping disciples. The findings of Eagleman and other researchers call into question evangelicals’ emphasis on a correct worldview as the defining trait of a faithful Christian. How we cognitively rationalize our beliefs is of smaller consequence; those beliefs are shaped more than we think by our passions and desires, our behaviors and habits, which are in turn formed by our families and cultures, genes and neural pathways.

The lesson is not that we cannot help being who we are. The lesson of recent neuroscience is that who we are is much more than what we think. We are not separable from our bodies. The disciple swims in a river pushed by the saints of earlier eras, the biology of our families, and the culture they developed. We swim between banks, pulled by the habits we form, the disciplines we enact, the community we inhabit.

This view of humanity has little in common with the Enlightenment conception of man, the Romantic’s isolated individual, or the evangelist’s decision-maker who at a specific moment chooses for Christ. Instead it sounds like the Old Testament’s covenant community, formed by the ritual of the law into a chosen people, and through whom salvation comes to the world.

–Rob Moll in a review of David Eagleman’s Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain (Pantheon, 2011) in Books and Culture, November/December 2011 edition, p.19

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Books, Ecclesiology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Chaplain Burnout

LUCKY SEVERSON, correspondent: Chaplain Steven Rindahl served 15 months in Iraq. Now he’s the chaplain at the Fort Jackson hospital in South Carolina, which is also the headquarters of the Army’s Chaplain school. There are 2900 full and part-time chaplains, and many have served at least one tour of duty in a combat zone, and, like Chaplain Rindahl, been haunted by the experience.

CHAPLAIN RINDAHL: We have 17 of our soldiers killed and one of our contracted interpreters, and I did not keep count of how many traumatic amputations and other wounds that caused our people to be evacuated from theater.

SEVERSON: It was his fellow chaplains who took him aside and told him that he was suffering from what has become known as “compassion fatigue.”

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq War, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, War in Afghanistan