Daily Archives: September 23, 2012

(From 2008) In Orphans’ Twilight, Memories of a Polish Pediatrician who Changed the World

They are in their 80s now, the last living links to Janusz Korczak, the visionary champion of children’s rights who refused to part with his young charges even as they were herded to the gas chambers.

When they speak of him, the old men are young again: transported to their days in his orphanage, a place they remember as a magical republic for children as the Nazi threat grew closer.

“It was a utopia,” said Shlomo Nadel, 85, one of the surviving orphans who managed to flee Poland before the Jewish orphanage was forced into the ghetto.

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Europe, Health & Medicine, History, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Other Faiths, Poland, Religion & Culture

(ReachMD) The Amazing story of Dr. Janucz Korczak (1878-1942), pioneering pediatrician

Herewith the blurb about the show:

Dr. Janucz Korczak (1878-1942) was a Polish-Jewish pediatrician who had revolutionary ideas about humanism for children, and was one of the first proponents of children’s rights. He established the first progressive orphanages in Poland, and wrote numerous books on child psychology, including How to Love a Child and the Child’s Right to Respect. Pediatrician Dr. Susan Weisberg describes how Dr. Korczak has inspired her life’s work, and tells the story of Dr. Korczak’s tragic but noble Holocaust death. Dr. Michael Greenberg hosts.

You can play it or get it via podcast (last about 14 and 1/2 minutes and requires [free] registration). This was the highlight of the week for me–KSH [Hat tip: Elizabeth Harmon]. If you are unable or unwilling to access this recent ReachMD show, do take the time to explore this NPR piece from 2007 here (full transcript there).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Europe, Health & Medicine, History, Judaism, Other Faiths, Poland, Religion & Culture

Suicide bomber kills 2, wounds 46, at Northern Nigerian church in Bauchi

A suicide car bomber blew himself up outside a Roman Catholic church in northern Nigeria on Sunday, killing himself and at least two other people and wounding 46, police said.

Police cordoned off the area around St. John’s church after the blast, which caused minimal damage to the building but killed at least two people in a market area of Bauchi city.

A Reuters journalist saw emergency services bring out three bodies in the area, called Wunti, and police identified one as the occupant of the car that blew up.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Vatican Radio) Pope: Christians in politics defend life, family, and the common good

Pope Benedict XVI today received the participants in the meeting of the Christian Democrat international organization’s Executive Committee, which took place on Friday in Rome. The Holy Father encouraged the committee members to continue in their commitment to improving the quality of human relationships and conditions of life in ammanner consonant with Christian principles. “This commitment,” said Pope Benedict, “must know no bending or folding, but instead should be lavished with renewed vitality, in view of the continuing and – in some ways – the deepening of the problems we face.”

Read and/or listen to it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Politics in General, Roman Catholic, Theology

([London] Times) Liverpool bishop calls for new rules to control the powerful

The bishop who chaired the panel responsible for exposing the devastating truth about the Hillsborough disaster has called for a national debate to establish accountability and to allow those in positions of authority to win back trust.

As Liverpool play a highly-charged game at Anfield against Manchester United this weekend, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev James Jones, said that society was at a “crossroads”. His report, published last week, finally disclosed the extent of the cover-ups and lies told as authorities attempted to deflect blame for the 96 deaths.

He called for discussion that would help to restore accountability and trust to the police and other authorities. “It is timely for us to reconsider how people in positions of power, whoever they may be, behave in a transparent and accountable manner because to do so will then win back the trust which is so vulnerable at the moment in our society,” said the Bishop….

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Tim Keller–The Counter-Intuitive Calvin

So what did I do on my summer vacation? I continued to do something that I started January 1 of this year. Late last fall I came upon a plan for reading through all of John Calvin’s Institutes””his four volume, 1500 page or so systematic exposition of the teachings of the Christian faith””in one year. Calvin and Martin Luther together were the two leading lights of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, Calvin being the founder of the “Reformed” branch of the church of which Presbyterianism is a major part. Today, however, Calvin has a dismal reputation as a pinched, narrow-minded, cold and cerebral dogmatician.

I knew much of this image was caricature, and while over the years I had read a good deal of the Institutes, I treated the books like an encyclopedia or dictionary that one dipped into to learn about specific topics. I had never read it straight through, consecutively, until this year when I began the program, which allots an average of six pages a night, five nights a week, for an entire year. Almost immediately I was amazed by several things.

First, it is not just a textbook, but also a true work of literature. It was written in Latin and French and is a landmark in the history of the French language. Calvin was a lawyer and seems at time to relish debate too much (a flaw he confesses in his letters). But despite such passages, even in English translation it is obvious that this is no mere textbook, but a masterpiece of literary art, sometimes astonishing in its power and eloquence.

Second, it is nothing if not biblical….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Theology

Jonathan Sacks's new book says war between "science" and "religion" is unnecessary and foolish

In the second section of the book, “Why It Matters,” Rabbi Sacks becomes more polemical and in some ways more engaging. He sets out to rebut the charge””leveled, once again, by the new atheists””that religion leads chiefly and inexorably to cruelty, oppression and exclusion. In fact, he argues, belief in a transcendent God is a sine qua non for a healthy, humane society, at least in the long run. An enduringly humane society requires a belief in the inviolable dignity of every human person, which cannot be supported by a materialist worldview.

Rabbi Sacks quotes a 1997 document from an atheist organization arguing that human nature is not “unique and sacred” but different only “in degree, not in kind” from other animals. On this view, hesuggests, the idea of free will must be discarded, because if we are mere animals, we are as bound by genes and instincts and conditioning as any rat or chimp. And since, in his view, “dignity is based on human freedom,” any worldview that rejects free will must eventually reject human dignity. He points to the political violence of the French Revolution, Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany and communist China as the four historical attempts “to create a social order on secular lines,” with no firm support for the idea of dignity.

None of these arguments is particularly new. Rabbi Sacks doesn’t claim they are. But his book is illuminating, and sometimes genuinely moving, because of the erudition and the warm personality with which he unscrolls his credo.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(NC Register Editorial) Freedom Under Attack

But during the conference, sponsored by the USCCB and Catholic Relief Services, …[Cardinal Timothy Dolan] also called on Catholics to deepen their knowledge of this issue and register their concerns with their elected representatives.

“Americans generally, and our Catholic brothers and sisters especially, need to become better informed of the systematic challenges to the fundamental right of religious freedom in far too many countries,” the cardinal urged.

The first freedom, which we too often take for granted in our own nation, even as we are vigilant in its defense, is under often violent attack.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Hunger/Malnutrition, Libya, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

At Standing Committee Meeting, Nigerian Anglican Church Encouraged in Warrior Witness and Mission

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) met for its Standing Committee Meeting (SCM) at Cathedral Church of Emmanuel, Okesa, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, September 11-15, 2012.

The well-attended event had the theme: ”˜Resist The Devil And He Will Flee From You’ (James 4v7)….

At the formal opening of the SCM on Thursday, September 14, while delivering his opening address to delegates, the Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, described the Devil as a spiritual being. Quoting John Piper, the Primate said: “Satan lies, and is the Father of lies (John 8:44); Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4); Satan masquerades in costumes of light and righteousness (II Cor. 11:13-15), and has disciples within the Church through whom he teaches doctrines of demons (I Tim. 4:1).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

On his 80th birthday yesterday, Stuart Harmon and his oldest son Kendall

Posted in * By Kendall, Harmon Family

Eric Metaxas–Cheating at Harvard: Let's Be Honest About Ourselves

Last year, an epidemic of cheating was uncovered in the Atlanta public school system. There was strong evidence that teachers in some public schools had erased students’ answers on standardized tests and penciled in the correct ones.

Then there are the less dramatic ways that, in the words of behavioral economist Dan Ariely, “we lie to everyone-especially ourselves.” In his new book, “The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty,” Ariely debunks the notion that a kind of cost-benefit analysis lies behind human dishonesty. On the contrary, his research shows that neither possible rewards nor even the likelihood of getting caught play much of a role in the decision to cheat.

He also disputes the idea that cheating involves a rejection of the idea of right and wrong. In his account, people are caught between two competing goals: They want to see themselves as good and moral people, and they also want stuff.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Young Adults

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who knowest that we are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but that all our sufficiency is of thee: Assist us with thy grace in all the work which we are to undertake this day. Direct us in it by thy wisdom, support us by thy power; that doing our duty diligently, we may bring it to a good end, so that it may tend to the greater glory of thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed, he is girded with strength. Yea, the world is established; it shall never be moved; thy throne is established from of old; thou art from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice, the floods lift up their roaring. Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! Thy decrees are very sure; holiness befits thy house, O LORD, for evermore.

–Psalm 93

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

'Hellbound?' Filmmaker Hopes His Version of the 'Good News' Builds Bridges

“I don’t accept that criticism,” [Kevin] Miller told CP outside the Cinema Village theater. “I know that we have a little fun with Mark Driscoll at a couple of points. I think that we give people who believe what he believes ample time to make their case. We’re not having somebody who doesn’t believe what they believe kind of present a caricature. We give them, some people would say we give them too much time, to make their case.”

Acknowledging that “we don’t have every position,” Miller adds, “I would hope that this film would build bridges too. I know that some people don’t want a bridge. It’s going to burn some bridges, and I’m sorry for that. That’s not what I would like to see happen.”

In Schaeffer’s opinion, “Hellbound?” isn’t trying to explain God or what people believe about Him.

“The fact, is I don’t think this movie is about hell or theology,” he said. “I think there’s a subtext which totally overwhelms the film. And the subtext is flag-waving, insane retributive ideas of justice…”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Eschatology, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Theology

In China, a Pastor and others are detained for distributing gospel tracts

At 4pm on September 14, 2012, Pastor Bike (Zhang Mingxuan), Chairman of China House Church Alliance, and 17 co-workers from Yunnan, Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu and South Korea, began distributing gospel tracts at the train station of Dezhou city, Shandong Province. Twenty minutes later, police from the police station of Decheng District took them away for interrogation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, China, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology