Daily Archives: July 12, 2013

(WSJ) Jay Greene: Vouching for Tolerance at Religious Schools

The belief that religious schools erode civic goals has a long history. In the mid-19th century, religious schools, Catholic schools in particular, were accused of reinforcing separate identities rather than shared American values. Much has changed in education since then, but a suspicion lingers in some quarters that church-operated schools breed intolerance.

Yet this view has been contradicted by a growing body of social-science evidence. In a review of the research, my colleague Patrick Wolf identified 21 studies of the effect that public and private schooling have on political tolerance. Tolerance is typically measured by asking students to name their least-liked group and then determining whether students would allow members of that group to engage in political activities, such as running for elected office or holding a rally. The more willing students are to let members of their least-liked group engage in these activities, the more tolerant they are judged to be.

I conducted two of those 21 studies, and others were produced by researchers at institutions including Harvard, Notre Dame and the University of Chicago. The studies varied in whether they looked at national or local samples of students and whether they examined secular, religious or all types of private schools. Of those studies, only one””focusing on the relatively small sector of non-Catholic religious schools””found that public-school students are more tolerant.

Read it all (another link if needed may be found there).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, History, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Anglican Essentials) Ah yes, there was… [an Anglican church of Canada] General Synod

I do remember how many folk on the other side of the argument about 10 or so years ago were at pains to point out this was about blessings, not marriage ”“ marriage was not going to be touched. We were not fooled by that, even then.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

(Church Times) [C of E General] Synod makes a new start on women bishops in York

The General Synod has asked for new legislation to be drafted to enable women to be bishops. After a long debate on Monday morning and afternoon, it carried a motion from the House of Bishops embodying Option One, which was amended so as to specify the addition of a mandatory grievance procedure for parishes, and to urge that “facilitated conversations” continue to be used during the legislative process.

Amendments seeking to make provision for opponents by Measure or regulations made under Canon, “for co-provincial provision for alternative episcopal oversight”, and to retain Resolutions A and B for parish churches combined with a new Act of Synod all fell.

WATCH welcomed the passing of Option One, and said that facilitated small-group discussions, carried out behind closed doors on Saturday, had contributed to a better “tone” of debate. Traditionalists were heartened that the Synod had shown a commitment to providing for opponents. All sides welcomed the continuation of “facilitated discussions”, under the guidance of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s director of reconciliation, David Porter.

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

(ENS) Four Midwest TEC dioceses announce joint ministry school

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, TEC Bishops, Theology

Phil Ashey–Wobbly or Winsome? Anglican Perspective

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in a recent speech said the following:

“In some things we change course and recognize the new context. Revolutions change culture. In others we stand firm because truth is not set by culture, nor morals by fashion. But let us be clear, pretending that nothing has changed is absurd and impossible.”

This statement raises the question, “What beliefs can we as Christians, in our efforts to evangelize, maintain and what can we allow to be compromised?”

Watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

Archbishops pledge solidarity with Christians in Egypt

Following fresh turmoil in Egypt, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have sent a message of ‘committed solidarity’ to Pope Tawadros II and Bishop Mouneer in Cairo.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have joined the call for prayers for unity, reconciliation and an end to violence in Egypt.

Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop Dr John Sentamu wrote to the Coptic and Anglican leaders in Cairo today, pledging their ‘committed solidarity’ amid the recent turmoil in the country.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Violence

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Dept.–Clergy Office Freakout Routine

Check it out.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(New Atlantis) Lewis Andrews–Character Formation and the Origins of AA

It is a fact little appreciated that the presidents of America’s early universities were pioneers of what we would now call mental health care, and bear some credit for central features of today’s therapeutic institutions. These teachers, like today’s, felt an obligation to provide their students with guidance on how to overcome life’s inevitable stresses and setbacks.

But this was before the days of psychiatry and psychotherapy, which did not come into existence until the early twentieth century. Rather, the approach of these early university presidents was to integrate moral education into liberal education in the arts and sciences. Although the most highly acclaimed American colleges and universities today enjoy a reputation as secular institutions, it is often forgotten that nearly all of these schools started in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as seminaries under the leadership of staunchly Christian presidents, and that the therapeutic guidance they provided was given within avowedly religious contexts.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Psychology, Theology

(Aeon Magazine) Venkatesh Rao–The American Cloud

[George] Gilman anticipated, by some 30 years, the fundamental contours of industrial-age selling. Both the high-end faux-naturalism of Whole Foods and the budget industrial starkness of Costco have their origins in the original A&P retail experience. The modern system of retail pioneered by Gilman ”” distant large-scale production facilities coupled with local human-scale consumption environments ”” was the first piece of what I’ve come to think of as the ”˜American cloud’: the vast industrial back end of our lives that we access via a theatre of manufactured experiences. If distant tea and coffee plantations were the first modern clouds, A&P stores and mail-order catalogues were the first browsers and apps.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Psychology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord our Father, that we may approach this day with joy in our hearts and openness to the wind of your Holy Spirit whereever and however he may choose to lead us, through Christ our Lord

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure. For thou dost not give me up to Sheol, or let thy godly one see the Pit. Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.

–Psalm 16:8-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NY Times) Christians Targeted for Retribution in Egypt

The military’s ouster of President Mohamed Morsi has unleashed a new wave of violence by extremist Muslims against Christians whom they blame for having supported the calls to overthrow Mr. Morsi, Egypt’s first Islamist elected leader, according to rights activists.

Since Mr. Morsi’s ouster on July 3, the activists say, a priest has been shot dead in the street, Islamists have painted black X’s on Christian shops to mark them for arson and angry mobs have attacked churches and besieged Christians in their homes. Four Christians were reported slaughtered with knives and machetes in one village last week.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Gallup) For Hospital Patients, Feelings Are Facts

“How are you feeling?” It seems like a simple question, but it has significant implications for hospitals and their patients. Understanding those ramifications could be the key to improving patients’ perceptions of their hospital stay — and their overall health. Gallup World Poll research has found that positive emotions are effective predictors of self-reported health status and are closely associated with health.

Gallup has also observed this relationship in analyzing the results of HCAHPS surveys. HCAHPS, which stands for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, is a federally mandated 27-item survey that patients take up to six weeks following a hospital stay. Patients’ ratings are aggregated by hospital and adjusted to control for factors including survey mode and patient characteristics (patient mix). The resulting scores are reported publicly so the public can compare hospitals. These scores also affect a hospital’s Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Psychology

(Wash. Post) Transgender at 6: For Tyler and his parents, no second thoughts

Yes, Tyler is still a boy.

That’s what people who heard about him have wondered.

After a Maryland couple decided to listen to their 5-year-old daughter’s urgent and persistent insistence that she is a boy, after a psychiatrist told them it would be healthy to let the child live as a boy, after they let him pick a boy name and found a school that would enroll the child in kindergarten as a boy last year, Tyler’s parents have had no second thoughts.

“It’s not a phase,” said his mother, Jean. “Anyone who meets him says, ”˜Yeah, that’s a boy.’ ”

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

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Sexuality

(WSJ) Egypt's Agony on A Storied Street

To understand the unrest that toppled the Egyptian government this week, start with a visit to Cairo’s Yacoubian Building.

In fiction, the apartment block is the setting for the widely praised 2002 novel of that name by Ala’a Al Aswany, who described many of the woes that contributed to the uprising in Tahrir Square 2½ years ago. In Mr. Al Aswany’s tale, a young man, stigmatized by the fact that his father is a doorman, can’t find employment with the Egyptian police and heads down a route that leads him to violent jihad. On the rooftop, a shantytown sprouts up thanks to a corrupt deal with the landlord.

But the Yacoubian Building is also an actual place, nestled in Cairo’s downtown, a short walk from the Nile. Here, on a once-stately street that has decayed with the decades, people say that life under President Mohammed Morsi and the government of the Muslim Brotherhood only became worse. If the fictional building predicted the revolution of 2011 that ousted Hosni Mubarak, the real building now reflects the sentiments that erupted into Wednesday’s coup.

Read it all (if needed another link there)

Posted in Uncategorized

(CC) Carolyne Call–Spiritual cul-de-sac: How the church fails the divorced

If and when divorce happens, it usually comes as a surprise. I have yet to meet a married couple that expects to get divorced. For most of us, the marriage vows are part of a sacred ritual surrounded by scripture, prayer and blessing….To me, this was the most mysterious aspect of divorce. How could these words spoken before God no longer hold any truth? It’s a question that’s rarely discussed. Instead I heard unsolicited and unwanted answers to the unasked question, “Why did my marriage end?” Well-intentioned people would say, “Every marriage has its struggles,” as if my divorce came about because we couldn’t agree on the children’s bedtime. The underlying message was, “you took the easy way out,” “you’ve given up” or “you obviously didn’t try hard enough.”

These people assumed that divorce is a kind of cheating; in other words, if we had taken our marriage seriously enough, it would have worked. This assumption glosses over the fractured, damaged and sinful reality of human life. Divorce among God’s people is a fact. Even though we strive for a spiritual ideal, marriages can fail. Contrary to some conventional wisdom, divorce is not easy, and for most of us it is not entered into lightly.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(Living Church) John Martin–C of E General Synod Slogs through in York

Since the beginning of the year various national bodies, including the House of Bishops, have used facilitated conversations, an approach to which Welby brings considerable experience and expertise. The small-group sessions included a drama in which all members played a part. Reports from the groups are being circulated to the House of Bishops but for now the documents remain under wraps.

Will it lead to Synod members changing their minds? Probably not. There are already signs that some opponents are digging in for a long battle. The conservative evangelical group Reform announced in June that it had appointed its first full-time officer with the job title of director. The new director is Mrs. Susie Leafe, who was a notable speaker against the Measure voted down in November.

The sticking point is not the principle of women in the episcopate but of safeguards for those opposed.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

(The Tablet) Vatican-Anglican alliance on poverty

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is in talks with Pope Francis about a new initiative that would link the Anglican Communion with the Vatican in the fight against poverty.

It is understood that the plan, which emerged from meetings between Archbishop Welby and the Pope in June, will focus on how both Churches can work together to help those in poverty around the world.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Poverty, Roman Catholic