Daily Archives: September 13, 2012

(WSJ Ideas Market) Why Are We Overconfident?

Psychologists have long known that people are wildly overconfident in their abilities: Most drivers think they are above average; most academics place themselves in the top echelon of their field. We all live in Lake Wobegon, mentally speaking. But why would this cognitive quirk come to exist? You’d think it would be useful, evolutionarily speaking””and, well, just plain useful””to have an accurate understanding of one’s abilities. For one thing, you’d know what to work on in order to achieve true excellence, rather than ersatz excellence.

A new study suggests an answer: Overconfident people are perceived as having more social status. In one of several related experiments, researchers had people take a geography quiz ””first alone, then in pairs. The task involved placing cities on a map of North America unmarked by state or national borders. The participants rated themselves on their own abilities and rated each other, secretly, on a number of qualities.

As expected, most people rated their own geographic knowledge far higher than actual performance would justify. In the interesting new twist, however, the people most prone to overrate themselves got higher marks from their partners on whether they “deserved respect and admiration, had influence over the decisions, led the decision-making process, and contributed to the decisions.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Psychology, Theology

(NPR) Episcopal Church Seeks to Woo Latinos To Congregations

Latinos are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, but only 5 percent of all Hispanics attend a mainline Protestant church. The vast majority are Roman Catholic.

For the Episcopal Church, those numbers are an opportunity.

The denomination is seeing fast-growing pockets of new Latino congregants. Episcopal churches in Nevada and Washington, D.C., are seeing considerably higher attendance from Latinos. In Oregon, there were only 150 Latino Episcopalians 20 years ago. Now, there are more than 800.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

Stephanie Brown sees a Trend in a Conversation about Faith with other Parents at Ballet Lessons

I sat there pondering. I couldn’t help but feel I was caught up in a moment that could be somewhat farcical. If she had said she wanted to leave an area because she didn’t like that there were a group of Asian or Middle Eastern people, it would have been met with shock.

If she had said she was miserable because there were so many homosexual people she would have been heatedly challenged. If she had singled out any other group, even any other religious group, I think it would be seen as being narrow minded and intolerant, and she would have been put in her place.
In contrast, it seemed it was socially acceptable to isolate and attach negative stigma to people involved in the Christian faith. In essence, it was stereotyping and placing prejudice on a group of people without knowing or experiencing them as individuals.

Without getting into the nuts and bolts of whether the area is in fact a bible belt, I have felt uncomfortable about that conversation. It seemed to reinforce a trend, where people with a Christian faith in Australia are free game to be joked about or spoken of negatively in the paper, on the radio and in comic sketches.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Children, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

Bishop Nick Baines on the recent meeting of the C of E House of Bishops

The conundrum we face has to do with how to get the General Synod to agree on the admission of women to the episcopate (enable them to become bishops). As I have said before, we are being asked to square a circle and no outcome is guaranteed to succeed. In fact, every option before us might either work or not.

What is clear to me, however, is that if women are to be admitted to the episcopate, they must be fully bishops on the same basis as male bishops. A bishop is a bishop is a bishop. How to get there is the problem. At least, how to get there while providing opponents with security within the church.

The arguments have been well rehearsed, so I am not going to go into them again here. However, the bishops are wrestling with this with integrity and great seriousness….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

Archbishop Rowan Williams speaks about women bishops draft legislation

In an audio recording, the Archbishop of Canterbury gives his thoughts on Wednesday’s vote at the House of Bishops.

Follow the link and listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

(C of E) Women Bishops Draft Legislation

The House of Bishops has today by an overwhelming majority settled the text of the legislation to enable women to become bishops in the Church of England.

The House of Bishops made clear its desire for the draft legislation to be passed into law when it goes forward for final approval to the Church of England’s General Synod in November.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

(FT) Silicon Valley is hoping technology can reform the labyrinthine US medical system

Entrepreneurs say their technology could smooth revolutionary reforms of medical care in the US, which spends $2.6tn a year on health, or 17 per cent of gross domestic product. As policy changes roll out over the next few years, insurance companies will be forced to limit their profits, and hospitals will face penalties if patients return to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged. Doctors will no longer be paid for how many X-rays they take or laboratory tests they run but for how well their patients are doing.

However, while the entrepreneurs exude optimism about their ability to streamline the healthcare system, the sprawling industry proved resistant of reforms in the 1990s. It was difficult to translate the vision of a few bright technology experts to the massive healthcare administration sector.

Fears about the proposed technology revolution resonate in several other countries that have hit roadblocks when turning to technology to address healthcare problems. Doctors and other medical professionals around the world have historically been slow to adopt new technology, wary of the costs and the time needed to learn and adjust to new administrative procedures.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology, State Government, The U.S. Government

(World) Toronto’s public school board imposes large rent hikes on churches

When New York City announced last spring it intended to evict religious groups from public school facilities they rented for weekend services, churches fought back with a very public campaign. In June they won a court injunction against the city allowing the churches to stay, for now.

Meeting space is nearly as tight in Toronto as New York, but the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in late August informed churches renting public school space that, beginning Sept. 1, faith-based organizations no longer qualified for reduced rates available to other charitable non-religious organizations, such as the Girl Guides. With only a couple of days’ notice these churches saw their rent doubled, quadrupled, or worse, with another 44 percent hike for all renters scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2013.

The rent increases could drive out many of the hundreds of churches now meeting in Toronto public schools. And Canadian churches lack the experience, inclination, and legal advocacy groups that the New York churches had to duke it out in the public square over what strikes many as religious discrimination.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Stand to Reason) Must-See DVD: October Baby

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Movies & Television, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Women

A.S. Haley–Tempest in a Teapot in the Diocese of South Carolina

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Parish Ministry, Theology

(Lifesite news) Ontario Christian minister forced to conduct same-sex ”˜marriages’ or get sacked

A Church of Christ minister who has been responsible for civic marriage ceremonies at Cambridge city hall for the past 15 years is facing the axe if she doesn’t agree to perform same-sex “marriages.”

[The] Rev. Jay Brown told LifeSiteNews that city council voted 8 to 1 Monday night on a motion, brought forward by Councillor Donna Reid, that Brown be forced to officiate at homosexual “marriages” or they would issue a “request for proposal” to find a replacement.

Rev. Brown explained that as a minister of the Church of Christ she must follow the precepts of her church, which does not allow homosexual “marriage,” but that she was always ready to accommodate same-sex couples by recommending a designated minister who would be happy to perform the ceremony.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Canada, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Andy Murray, 2012 U.S. Open Tennis Winner, Interviewed by Charlie Rose

Watch it all (click on the picture–21 and 3/4 minutes).

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Chrysostom

O God, who didst give to thy servant John Chrysostom grace eloquently to proclaim thy righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of thy Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering thy Word, that thy people shall be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant us, O Lord, to pass this day in gladness and peace, without stumbling and without stain; that reaching the eventide victorious over all temptation, we may praise thee, the eternal God, who art blessed, and dost govern all things, world without end.

–Mozarabic Liturgy

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoeni’cia and Sama’ria, reporting the conversion of the Gentiles, and they gave great joy to all the brethren. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.

–Acts 15:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NPR) What We Know About 'Sam Bacile,' The Man Behind The Muhammad Movie

Most Americans knew nothing about “Innocence of Muslims.” That’s the film that has set the Muslim world on fire, causing protests in Egypt and Libya that led to the death of the U.S. envoy to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

The bottom line is that we know very little about “Sam Bacile,” the man who says he produced the film and who says Sam Bacile is his name. The Wall Street Journal caught up with Bacile before he went into hiding. (Update at 3:34 p.m. ET. Some of the claims made in this interview have come under question. We’ve updated this post ”” read below ”” to reflect that…..)

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Movies & Television, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

South Carolina Senator, agency joust on jobless insurance rates

Unemployment taxes for S.C. businesses could rise by as much as 12 percent next year because state officials are not enforcing a new state law, a state senator said Tuesday.

But officials at the state Department of Employment and Workforce, which administers the state’s jobless benefits, say they expect those tax rates to drop by 12 percent, adding they are enforcing the law.

Earlier this year, lawmakers passed a law that strips unemployment benefits from people who were fired for misconduct. State Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, and some other Republican senators say the state agency is not enforcing the new law properly.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, State Government

(Saint Michael's, Charleston, S.C.) The Bible In One Year As A Way of Life

Read it all and make sure to enjoy the testimonials.

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Communique from the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue

(ACNS) In the name of the Triune God, and with the blessing and guidance of our Churches, the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue (ICAOTD) met at the University of Chester, United Kingdom during 3-10 September 2012. The Commission is grateful for the hospitality extended by the Anglican Communion.

The ICAOTD is continuing in its in-depth study of Christian anthropology, particularly in regard to what it means to be a human person created in the image and likeness of God. The Commission discussed the draft of its joint theological work on this subject, developed through the collaborative studies of previous meetings and enriched by presentations at this meeting on nature and grace, marriage, celibacy and friendship, and creation. Recognizing the need for our churches to address the urgent issues of contemporary humanity, the Commission explored the application of its study, particularly in the area of ecology.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Anthropology, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Theology