Daily Archives: April 12, 2012

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Department–Pulled Over for no Seat Belt

Recently, my husband was pulled over for not wearing his seat belt. But Irv was convinced he was being railroaded.

“Officer,” he said in his most condescending voice. “how do you know I’m not wearing a seat belt if my windows are tinted?”

“Because, sir,” replied the officer, “it’s hanging out the door.”

— Reader’s Digest, May 2012 edition, page 97

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

(NPR) Philip Seymour Hoffman on Death of a Salesman and Willy Loman

[STEVE] INSKEEP: You’re touching on the part that is maybe even more poignant, that this is a guy, as his story unfolds, who, early in life, had an opportunity for adventure – go off to Alaska, something – and seems to have turned that aside in order to get security. He thought that selling was something that you could do all your life, you could do as an old man and support yourself. And in the end, he doesn’t even get the security.

[PHILIP SEYMOUR] HOFFMAN: No. But it’s his son. It’s his son. You know, he had sons. He really did give his life for his sons. He didn’t do it in a way that, obviously, was effective or got what he wanted or actually nurtured his sons in a way that was going to help them, but he did.
INSKEEP: Has your job of portraying this disappointed father affected your thoughts at all when you go home and you go home to your three kids?

HOFFMAN: Well, it’s – you know, it affects your life. It’s – I really do think it’s one of those plays that just seeps into – as we talk about all these aspects, I mean, it’s never that simple. I mean, this play really seeps into why we’re here, you know, what are we doing – family, work, friends, you know, hopes, dreams, careers….

Read or Listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Theatre/Drama/Plays

Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks–If we want to survive and thrive as a culture, celebrate the family

…if there’s one element of Judaism I’d love to share with everyone it’s this: If you want to survive and thrive as a people, a culture, a civilization, celebrate the family. Hold it sacred. Eat together. Tell the story of what most matters to you across the generations. Make children the most important people. Put them centre stage. Encourage them to ask questions, the more the better. That’s what Moses said thirty three centuries ago and Judaism is still here to tell the tale having survived some of the most brutal persecutions in human history, yet as a religious faith were still young and full of energy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, History, Judaism, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(PA) UK Charities fear tax relief backlash

Almost nine out of 10 charity bosses fear big donations from wealthy backers will be hit by Chancellor George Osborne’s cap on tax relief for charitable donations, according to a survey.

The findings of the survey of 120 charity chief executives and senior executives conducted by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) will intensify the pressure on the Government to rethink its plans unveiled in last month’s Budget.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Economy, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Taxes

Omri Elisha on Misconceptions of Evangelicals

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about your topic?

A common misconception among non-evangelicals is that evangelical Christians are all ruthless proselytizers and right-wing culture warriors. I’m not an apologist for evangelical beliefs and traditions, which I generally don’t share and, to a large extent, disagree with. But it is a mistake, empirically speaking, for non-evangelicals to latch on to negative images formed by media stereotypes and subjective experiences (for example, having an imposing neighbor or relative insist on “witnessing” to you) and then decide that they can be used to characterize an entire population.

Some people think that evangelicals only do charity out of a selfish desire to convert non-believers. Others insist that evangelical faith-based organizations are secretly installing a Christian theocracy. Both assumptions are misguided in my view because they are too narrow. My book seeks to broaden (and refine) our sense of what everyday evangelicals believe they are doing, or would like to be doing, when they engage the public sphere.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Chart of the Day–American Recessions and the Price of Oil

Check it out (very bottom on the right).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, History

(BBC) Fears grow of widening Sudan war

A second day of fighting between Sudan and South Sudan in their disputed border regions has prompted international concern that the conflict might develop into outright war.

The African Union says it is deeply alarmed by the clashes over oilfields, and called on both sides to exercise the utmost restraint.

Sudan has pulled out of negotiations with South Sudan.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --North Sudan, --South Sudan, Africa, Sudan, Violence

(CNS) From dumpsite to department stores, a rags-to-riches dream in Manila

The evolution of the rags to riches started five years ago with a vision held by a Jesuit seminarian who was assigned to a parish at the Payatas dumpsite, northeast of Manila; about 60,000 people live around the dump’s fringe. Father Xavier Alpasa said he saw exploitation flourishing as he ministered in this deeply impoverished community.

Women were buying dumpsite scraps that scavengers picked and sewing them into rugs to be sold commercially.

“Middlemen were coming in and buying the rugs at 9 pesos and selling them to department stores for 35 pesos,” Father Alpasa said. “Then I was asking, ‘Where did all the profit go? Why is it all going to the middlemen? How come the women would only get 1 peso as a profit?'”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Other Churches, Philippines, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Women

(USA Today) Coptic Christians fight for place in Egypt's political scene

Father Alfons Marzou shuffles across a complex that is home to sisters for the Catholic Missionaries of Charity, whose nuns provide medical care and food to impoverished children living amid heaps of garbage.

“Look around,” Marzou says, motioning to the filthy streets outside the walls where families live among refuse for resale in what is known as Garbage City.

Little has improved for these people in the year since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, Marzou says, “The situation is bad in so many ways.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Telegraph Leader on Easter–A message of consolation that still endures

Abroad, Christians are facing persecution and even death in many countries; the Arab Spring is threatening to turn into winter for Christian communities and the conflict in Syria is fraught with menace for a minority that is being driven out of parts of the Middle East it has inhabited for two millennia. The Coptic Christians in Egypt are suffering murderous attacks and the Lebanese patriarch is warning of dire consequences as a result of revolution across the Middle East, with militant Islamists now looking like the main beneficiaries rather than secular democrats. The courage of the embattled Christian communities in those areas is the most eloquent embracing of the Easter message that could be imagined. For the Easter drama illustrates the worst and the best of human behaviour: Judas’s betrayal, Peter’s craven denial, Pilate’s abdication of responsibility, contrasted with the humility, sacrifice and forgiveness of Christ. Christianity is no soft option.

In Britain, the tide may be turning. There is a sense that the Dawkins years are coming to an end. Richard Dawkins and the militant secularists are confronting the inevitable limitations of their atheist creed: how do you energise a crusade around a vacuum? Even when competing religions historically clashed, they had rival narratives to proclaim. “There is nothing” is not a message to which people in our stressful, increasingly fragmented society will warm. It is cold comfort to bring to a recession-hit household, a hospital ward or a deathbed. Yet to all those forums of human misery the Christian faith has a more consoling message to take: that of the empty tomb, the risen Christ, the joy that is to come. We wish all our readers a very happy Easter.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, England / UK, Media, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(IBD) Medicare Trustee: ObamaCare Will Explode Deficits

President Obama’s signature health reform law will add as much as $527 billion to federal deficits over the next decade, not cut them as advertised, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Affordable Care Act will add as much as $1.2 trillion to federal spending between 2012 and 2021, the report also finds. Charles Blahous, who serves as one of Medicare’s trustees, wrote the report, published by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–Spanish epiphany as depression deepens?

The Spanish reading public now has a very good grasp of the fundamental realities of EMU. This will have consequences. Spain is not on the fringes of the Balkans, terrified of being cast into Ottoman banishment. It is not a small country that can be pushed around for year after year.

How and when all this will end is anybody’s guess but I have suspected for a long time that Spain is the lynchpin of the system. The intellectual atmosphere has changed entirely. Politics must surely follow.

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, Germany, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, whose blessed Son did, as in this season, burst the bonds of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it: Grant that we may be risen with him and walk henceforth in newness of life; and bring us at last to the joy of thy eternal kingdom. Hear us, O Father, for the sake of him who is the firstborn from the dead, and is now alive for evermore, even the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

–1 Corinthians 15:41-50

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Manchester United loses, Manchester City wins in Premiere League title race

Manchester United blew open the Premier League title race by slumping to a surprise 1-0 loss at lowly Wigan on Wednesday, allowing second-place Manchester City to close the gap to five points with a 4-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.

Shaun Maloney scored the winner in the 50th minute at the DW Stadium, leaving United five points clear at the top after second-place Manchester City beat West Bromwich Albion 4-0.

“You wish the lead was better but considering where we were a few months ago, you have to take it,” United manager Alex Ferguson said. “I said both teams would drop points.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Men, Sports

(First Things) William Tighe–Modern-Day Marcionism

Bettany Hughes, an expert in ancient history, was quoted recently in London’s Daily Telegraph as saying that Christianity “was originally a faith where the female of the species held sway. To oppose the ordination of women bishops in the Church of England is to deny the central role women played in the faith’s founding.” She added: “Who knows whether God is a girl, but mankind has turned to the female of the species for good ideas.”

It is not clear from the report whether Ms. Hughes was speaking as a Christian or as an expert in ancient history, but it doesn’t really matter, for she is wrong on both counts. In fact, though, her remarks can be connected loosely with two very old Christian heresies, Marcionism and Montanism, which seem to have undergone something of a revival among trendy religion pundits.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Jennifer Morse–Privatizing Marriage Will Expand the Role of the State

…when the family courts get involved in resolving disputes between contracting parents, they are being asked to give parental rights to someone who is not related to the child, either by blood or adoption. Let us call this person a “non-parent.” In response to these cases, the courts are defining a new category of parenthood. The “de facto parent” category usually involves multi-part tests to determine whether the non-parent should be counted as a parent. The court then inquires into issues such as how much care the non-parent provided and whether the child called her “Mommy.” The state decides that a person not related to a child, by either birth or adoption, can count as a parent. A perfectly fit mother can be compelled to allow her former lover access to her child, against her own wishes.

Think about it. The concepts of “mother” and “father” are natural, pre-political concepts, immediately intelligible to the human race. Up until now, the state has seen its role as simply recording this natural reality. But now parenthood is becoming the creation of the state. This is what “contract parenting” will come to mean: the state taking over parenthood and recreating it for its own purposes. Do you seriously think this can possibly be a “libertarian” or minimum-government move? I do not think that it can.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Theology