Daily Archives: July 14, 2013

(Post-Dispatch) Joe Williams– ”˜Fill the Void’ explores arranged marriages

In most parts of the world, arranged marriages are a time-honored expression of religious and cultural orthodoxy. Even in modern-day Israel, with its educated and affluent population, the tradition endures in the Hasidic community. But “Fill the Void” is not the critique of sexist repression we might have expected. It’s an artful, character-driven drama that constitutes a minor miracle of empathy.

The source of that empathy is director Rama Burshtein’s own life. She is the first ultra-Orthodox Israeli woman to direct a feature film, and the yearning for independent identity is embodied in her heroine, Shira (Hadas Yaron).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

George Weigel on the Ukraine–A Church of martyrs confronts the cultural iron curtain

The L’viv Old Town also houses the Cathedral of St. George, center of the Greek Catholic Archeparchy of L’viv. In the cathedral’s crypt are the tombs of two men whose names do not figure prominently in today’s debates over the corruptions of the Yanukovych regime, but whose dramatic lives may suggest a path beyond the culture of corruption and conformism that threatens to turn Ukraine into a simulacrum of Belarus ”” another country in which the intellectual iron curtain has yet to be torn down, with dire effects on both politics and the economy. Andrey Sheptytsky, a man of broad culture, who was the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for 43 turbulent years, from 1901 until 1944, is buried there. Next to him is the man Sheptytsky chose to succeed him and whom he secretly consecrated a bishop: Josyf Slipyj, model for the Ukrainian pope in Morris West’s novel The Shoes of the Fisherman, and a leader whose dreams of a Greek Catholic Church nourishing the public culture of a free Ukraine are beginning to be realized by the efforts of one of his spiritual sons ”” who happens to have been born in Syracuse, N.Y.

Whether those dreams come to fruition may be the key factor in determining whether Ukraine, like the Baltic states and Poland, follows the historic path into Europe taken by similar victims of Stalin’s imperialism, or whether it becomes Belarus 2.0: a vast land of shattered hopes and another extension of Vladimir Putin’s imperial revanchism.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(Globe and Mail) John Lorinc–On George Packer’s ode to the unequal states of America

Two-thirds of the way through George Packer’s harrowing and magisterial account of post-2008 America, we meet a Florida boat builder named Jack Hamersma ”“ a rough-hewn, working-class guy who’d climbed up the economic ladder only to find himself drawn into the maelstrom of the real-estate speculation that destroyed huge tracts of suburbia in the wake of the Lehman Brothers collapse.

Like thousands of naïve speculators ”“ the 1920s-era shoeshine boys with the hot stock tip ”“ Hamersma’s savings were tied up in a heavily mortgaged house that lost most of its value after the bubble burst. With repo men circling and foreclosure looming, he retained Matthew Weidner, a small-time Florida lawyer (think Paul Newman in The Verdict) to defend him against the venality of a banking sector that imploded after an orgy of deregulated and frequently fraudulent greed.

The lawyer was able to keep the lenders from foreclosing on Hamersma. But as lawsuit dragged on, Hamersma’s life unwound into insolvency and costly cancer diagnoses. “That happened a lot to Weidner’s clients ”“ the job, the house, their health, usually in that order,” writes Packer, a New Yorker staff writer, novelist and playwright. “Weidner watched Jack shrink before his eyes, dropping a hundred pounds until, three years after that first consultation, he limped into the office one afternoon to discuss his case, wasted legs sticking out of his shorts, a canvas bag hanging over his shoulder, from which a drip tube extended under a bandage on his chest.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Economy, Health & Medicine, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Brad Wilcox: Men and Women Often Expect Different Things When They Move In Together

At 33, my friend (I’ll call her Shannon) had little to show for her five-year relationship with her live-in boyfriend. No ring. No baby. No future. So she finally decided to break up with him.

Back when Shannon and her (younger) boyfriend moved in together, things had looked a lot brighter. They shared a love of indie music and the Charlottesville arts scene. She thought they both wanted a future together. But over time, her boyfriend turned aside her queries about their shared future–queries that started off subtle and became more explicit as the years passed by. Finally, when she turned 33, Shannon told him she wanted a wedding date, to which he responded that he was not ready for marriage.

Shannon’s experience with a live-in boyfriend with commitment issues, it seems, is not all that unusual. According to a new paper from RAND by sociologists Michael Pollard and Kathleen Mullan Harris, cohabiting young adults have significantly lower levels of commitment than their married peers. This aversion to commitment is particularly prevalent among young men who live with their partners.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Psychology, Sexuality, Sociology, Theology, Women, Young Adults

(Local Paper) Healing Farms Ministries offers options for young adults with disabilities

A new approach to caring for young adults with developmental, cognitive and intellectual disabilities is quietly rooting and growing in a cozy mustard-colored house behind a West Ashley strip mall.

The dozen or so participants at Healing Farms Ministries recently graduated high school, and said good-bye to all of the structure and help that the school system provided them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Young Adults

(CC) Samuel Wells–What’s really killing the church

The crown jewels of the Church of England are its parishes. Priests have the cure of souls””not just the churchgoers but of every resident of the neighborhood, where every blade of grass in the entire country has a church that seeks to make itself in some way a blessing to all, where the clergy know that “I can’t know everyone, but everyone can know me.” But this inheritance is under pressure. In the corners of clergy gatherings there are mutterings. Stories are told of spouses or friends in health care and education who see very few patients or students any more, but instead sit behind computers filling in forms about targets and thresholds. The same is said about priests””that a Prussian-style bureaucracy is infesting the poetry of the priest’s relationship to the parish.

In the Church of England, parish clergy are all paid the same; there are no “rich rectors” with well-endowed churches and sprawling expense accounts, so the conventional commercial appraisal””balance sheet healthy, 2 percent pay increase, MBA completed, another 2 percent increase””doesn’t apply. But now appraisal schemes for ministry review have been introduced by some dioceses, and this is the bureaucracy that is resented by clergy who see it, with its target goals, assessments, statistics and accountability, as another layer of control.

When I overhear the clergy grumbling, the elderly Welsh millworker comes to mind, and I find myself asking, “Shouldn’t we pause for a moment and ask ourselves why all these systems and controls have been introduced? Isn’t it because the glorious parish system puts the parish priest in a position of extraordinary trust, and because that trust has gone without honor rather more times than we’d care to admit?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(BBC) Yorkshire diocese merger: Bishop warns of job losses

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Anglican Church of Egypt dean to speak in Sumter, South Carolina

The Very Rev. Dr. Samy Fawzy Shehata, dean of St. Mark’s Pro-Cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt, will speak about the Anglican Church in Egypt and its role during the current unrest, a critical time in the life of Egypt, during a Thursday luncheon at the Church of the Holy Comforter. The public is invited to the noon luncheon in the church’s parish hall.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anglican Provinces, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

(SMH) Teaching Australian boys an ''alternative way of being men''

Australian boys need to be taught an ”alternative way of being men” if the community is to break a cycle of domestic violence fuelled by aggressive and physical stereotypes of masculinity.

University of Western Sydney academic Moira Carmody, who is leading a NSW government-funded project into early intervention programs for boys, says a respectful family environment can conflict with other influences.

”It might not be so cool outside the family, and they might need to be seen as tough and competitive, otherwise they could get beaten up,” she said.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/man-enough-to-eschew-violence-20130713-2pwti.html#ixzz2Z1e05tjE

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Great Photos–White lion cubs look more like little puppies than big cats

These photos might cause a double-take. Look closely: These white balls of fur aren’t puppies, or lambs, they’re lion cubs. And they’re adorable. The rare white color is due to a recessive gene.

Seven of the cubs were born in captivity to three South African mama lions since last month.

Read it all and look at all twelve pictures.

Posted in * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Animals, Asia, Japan

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. For, “every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.

–Romans 10:10-17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Telegraph) Archbishop Welby relives his unsettling moment of conversion and his wounded past

…it did happen to him, in New Court, Trinity College, during the evening of October 12, 1975. At Eton, he had “vaguely assumed there was a God. But I didn’t believe. I wasn’t interested at all.” That night in Cambridge, though, praying with a Christian friend, he suddenly felt “a clear sense of something changing, the presence of something that had not been there before in my life. I said to my friend, ‘Please don’t tell anyone about this’, because I was desperately embarrassed that this had happened to me, like getting measles.”

Since then, there have been long periods with “no sense of any presence at all’’, but he has never gone back on that night’s “decision to follow Christ’’. This is not his doing: “It’s grace. Grace is a reality: feelings are ephemeral.”

To understand the change in Justin Welby’s life, you need to know what happened before.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Eternal Light, shine into our hearts;

Eternal Goodness, deliver us from evil;

Eternal Power, be our support;

Eternal Wisdom, scatter the darkness of our ignorance;

Eternal Pity, have mercy upon us;

that with all our heart and mind and soul and strength we may seek thy face and be brought by thine infinite mercy to thy holy presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Alcuin (735-804)

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

David Faulkner (Diocese of Dallas TEC priest) Chimes in

To compare the mentality of a brother bishop to school shooters (see here), or to call him and presumably those close to him “petty deciders or wolves who masquerade as sheep” is incredibly inappropriate for any Christian, not to mention bizarre. I truly have never before heard or read such a spiteful and hate-fueled speech on either side of our present unpleasantness. This type of hateful and over the top language is even worse coming from a leader who claims to speak for the “national Church” and all Episcopalians. Let me be clear: I am an Episcopal priest and the Presiding Bishop does not speak for me. I have no delusion that I share in any ownership of anything outside of my parish and my diocese. The idea that one person, even if one agrees with the present incumbent, can speak for all Episcopalians is sheer lunacy.

To be fair, this centralization of power and influence certainly did not start with the present Presiding Bishop, but we do well to consider the state in which we find ourselves. Power corrupts, and the Presiding Bishop rightly notes that when one figure assumes the power it often leads to abuse, tyranny and corruption. She apparently fails to see how this truth has been demonstrated in her term as Presiding Bishop. Fast tracking bishops to “renounce their orders” rather than letting the House of Bishops speak, inhibiting without the consent of the three most senior active bishops (which the new Title IV conveniently does not require), and setting up new dioceses (which TEC has every right to do) while violating the canons of TEC all point to an office that has overgrown its canonical bounds and is running unchecked.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, --Aggressive Title IV Action Against Multiple Bishops on Eve of Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(SHNS) Terry Mattingly: Boy Scouts, Catholics and the future

For Catholics, he wrote, the key isn’t to be pulled into speculation, but to seek a logical and compassionate application of all church teachings linked to homosexuality.

The line between orientation and behavior is crucial, due to a clarification issued by the Boy Scouts: “Any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.”

This firm statement, Peters argued online, “seems wholly in line with sound Catholic teaching against sexual activity outside of marriage and stands in welcome contrast to the indifference toward premarital sex shown by some other youth organizations. Aside from youth programs expressly oriented toward chastity, I know of no other secular organization that so clearly declares all sexual conduct by its youth members to be contrary to its values as does the Boy Scouts.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology

(Art News) Anglican court says Benjamin West altarpiece can go to Boston

A Church of England court has ruled that Benjamin West’s altarpiece, Devout Men Taking Away the Body of St Stephen, 1776, which was made for one of the most important churches in the City of London can be sold for display in the US. The $2.85m painting is being bought by an anonymous foundation, which is due to lend it to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (The Art Newspaper, April 2013, pp6-7 and June 2013, p3). West was born in America, but worked in England.

In his judgment, delivered on 10 July, Judge Nigel Seed, chancellor of the consistory court of the Diocese of London, ruled that St Stephen Walbrook should be allowed to sell the masterpiece. The painting had been removed from the church in around 1987, in what he described as “perceived illegal actions”, and has since been kept in storage.

Judge Seed was critical of “unlawful actions” taken by two priests at St Stephen Walbrook: one who had originally hung the picture in 1776 without “faculty” approval from the Church of England and the second who had removed it in around 1987, again without the necessary permission. He said: “This case, if nothing else, is an object lesson of the consequences of incumbents behaving as though the church building is a sort of personal doll’s house for them to play with, without reference to the parishioners.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Art, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Stewardship