Daily Archives: August 5, 2013

(BBC Magazine) Why did offices become like the home?

The other day I got into the office early to find a young colleague noisily munching his way through a bowl of Fruit ‘n Fibre at his desk. Just behind him his dry cleaning was hanging on the coat stand, and on the back of his chair was a damp towel.

“Doesn’t he have a home?” I thought.

But of course he does. The thing is that, like many office workers, he doesn’t distinguish between being at home and being in the office….

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Washington Post profile of Gary Hall, Dean of the Washington National Cathedral

Now 64 years old, Hall has white hair, an angular face and thin-rimmed glasses. He looks, well, like a traditional Episcopalian. But he doesn’t talk like one. He is friendly and funny, smart and very, very frank. Boy, is he frank. Don’t be fooled by the white collar he wears. On a scorching summer day, Hall strides into Le Zinc, a French restaurant close to the cathedral and one of his favorite hangouts, in an Oxford blue shirt with white clerical collar and seersucker jacket. He settles down to lunch and a long conversation that culminates in a description of what he calls “bar theology.”

“Part of being a priest,” says Hall, “is being a cultural anthropologist.” Pastors, he thinks, should devote time ”” perhaps once a week ”” to going around to bars and engaging customers in conversations about religion. This is the thinking behind the Arlington Catholic diocese’s regular “Theology on Tap” ”” conversations, often clergy-led, in bars that are among the diocese’s most popular programs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(All Tech Considered) Digital Seen Surpassing TV In Capturing Our Time

It’s finally happening, folks. This year, the average time Americans spend with digital media each day will surpass traditional TV viewing time. That’s according to of media consumption among adults.

The average adult will spend more than five hours per day online and on non-voice mobile activities (read: texting, apps, games). That’s compared to an average four hours and 31 minutes each day of TV watching.

Daily TV time will actually be down slightly this year, while digital media consumption will be up nearly 16 percent.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Movies & Television, Science & Technology

Elizabeth Harmon Welcomed to the Medical University of S.C. School of Nursing Faculty

You can see her bio there and if you go to the main page here her photo will scroll through as one of the new people. What can I say like most clergy I married up–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, Education, Harmon Family, Health & Medicine

(Get Religion) Mollie Hemingway–CBS asks if the Pope is breaking with the Vatican

Whatever the Pope says is news. Every time a pope gives an interview, except headlines. This was an intriguing and open and flowing interview. Headlines are proper and to be expected. At the same time, it’s important to accurately convey the news in the headline. It’s worth taking some time to understand the context of remarks (such as the gay mafia issue which was the focus of the question that generated the headlines). And it’s important to make sure that one’s own biases and obsessions aren’t coloring the way the news is being presented.

All that to say that I have a favorite example of media mis-steps on this. It comes from CBS and was caught by a conservative criticism site. You can read their full coverage here but they feature Dean Reynolds asking a man who left the Roman Catholic priesthood in 2006 over his belief that individuals with same-sex attraction would be purged. It’s an interesting choice for a single source bit, but that’s neither here nor there. Check out this exchange

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Media, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(WSJ) Iran Seen Trying New Path to a Bomb

Iran could begin producing weapons-grade plutonium by next summer, U.S. and European officials believe, using a different nuclear technology that would be easier for foreign countries to attack.

The second path to potentially producing a nuclear weapon could complicate international efforts to negotiate with Iran’s new president, Hasan Rouhani, who was sworn in Sunday in Tehran. It also heightens the possibility of an Israeli strike, said U.S. and European officials.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology

Robert Putnam–Crumbling American Dreams

My hometown ”” Port Clinton, Ohio, population 6,050 ”” was in the 1950s a passable embodiment of the American dream, a place that offered decent opportunity for the children of bankers and factory workers alike.

But a half-century later, wealthy kids park BMW convertibles in the Port Clinton High School lot next to decrepit “junkers” in which homeless classmates live. The American dream has morphed into a split-screen American nightmare. And the story of this small town, and the divergent destinies of its children, turns out to be sadly representative of America.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Rural/Town Life, Sociology, The U.S. Government, Theology

(ABC Aus.) Stanley Hauerwas–Does Anglicanism have a future?

Catholicity is that name we give to the priority of the local for the determination of faithfulness that can only be sustained by engagement with other local expressions of the faith, as well as engagement with the whole. As Rowan Williams reminded us at the 2008 Lambeth Conference,

“The entire Church is present in every local church assembled around the Lord’s Table. Yet the local church alone is never the entire Church. We are called to see this not as a circle to be squared but as an invitation to be more and more lovingly engaged with one another.”

“Such engagement, moreover, is crucial if the church is to be an alternative to the forces that threaten to destroy locality in the name of peace. We are in danger of confusing the universality of the cross with the allegedly inevitable process of globalization. We are in the odd situation of needing one another in our diverse localities in order not to be subject to the power of false universals. Kaye calls attention to Rowan Williams’s claim in the final address at the 2008 Lambeth Conference as an expression of this understanding of catholicity:

“The global horizon of the Church matters because churches without this are always in danger of slowly surrendering to the culture around them and losing sight of their calling to challenge that culture.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Ecclesiology, Globalization, Parish Ministry, Theology

Time Magazine Cover Story–Having It All Without Having Children

One evening when she was 14 years old, Laura Scott was washing dishes in the kitchen with her mother when she decided she didn’t want to have a child. “You might change your mind,” said her mother, whom Scott describes as “bone tired” from a life in which she “didn’t have any time for herself.” Scott’s mom worked as a samplemaker for an upholstery company; after making dinner for Scott and her brother, she’d park them in front of the television and go down to the basement to spend her evening cutting and sewing. That life was what “doing it all” meant to Scott. “I learned you could ”” but did you want to?” she says. At 26, Scott got married and waited for her mind to change. “I thought I would be struck by a biological lightning bolt,” she recalls. “It never happened. And I realized I was going to be fine.” As she says from her Tampa office, where she works as a professional coach, writer and documentary filmmaker, “My main motive not to have kids was that I loved my life the way it was.”

Now 50, Scott is more than fine: she’s fulfilled. And she’s not alone. The birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded American history, which includes the fertility crash of the Great Depression….

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

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Theology

(CT) Timothy Morgan–Why Welcome a Same-Sex Couple to Church?

Christians and the church can do much more beyond welcome. About half of LGBT adults surveyed report no religious affiliation. While the ones who did attend worship felt welcome, the Pew survey found that most LGBT respondents view major religious groups (Christians, Jews, and Muslims) as “unfriendly.”

A new attitude within churches of openness and hospitality, anchored in biblical grace and truth, would be a startling response for individuals or couples with same-sex attraction. We need to repent of the notion that sexual identity is as easy to change as a light bulb.

What would this new attitude look like? Biblical belief and practice are tested by extreme situations. In this instance, the test occurs inside and outside the four walls of a church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Living God, in whom is the fountain of life: So teach us to know thee through Jesus Christ that we may share the power of that eternal life which is in him, and that all our lives may be brought into obedience to thy holy will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Eric Fenn

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, the stock which thy right hand planted.

–Psalm 80:14-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NY Times Op-Ed) T. M. Luhrmann–Addicted to Prayer

World of Warcraft creates a landscape of craggy mountains, wastelands and castles, villages full of orcs and elves. Players create avatars who enter this world and interact with other avatars and fight monsters. It’s like finding yourself in “Lord of the Rings” and discovering that it’s your job to kill the huge venom-dripping spider that stands between you and your quest. At its peak, in 2010, there were more than 12 million players. (About half of all American adults play video games, and about one in five play almost every day or more.)

The anthropologist Jeffrey G. Snodgrass and his colleagues set out to study this complex social world. They found people who were relaxed and soothed by their play: “Sometimes I just log on late at night and go out by myself and listen to the soothing music.” Others felt addicted: “Once I start playing it’s hard to tell whether or not I’ll have the willpower to stop.”

What made the difference was whether people found their primary sense of self inside the game or in the world. When play seemed more important than the real world did, they felt addicted; when it enhanced their experience of reality outside the game, they felt soothed.

Prayer works in similar ways. When people use prayer to enhance their real-word selves, they feel good. When it disconnects them from the everyday, as it did for the student, they feel bad.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(Kansas City Star) Voices of Faith: Does religion still matter in American life?

…I believe that this shifting attitude is not a healthy sign for America. I am of the view that any society without the underpinning of strong moral and ethical values is weak and subject to all kinds of problems.

Looking at the principles on which America was founded, one can clearly see that it has a strong religious basis. Our forefathers had the wisdom and vision to recognize that although state and religion should be separated, they never wanted removal of religion from the public or an individual’s life….

Read it all.

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

(FT) Jonathan Ford–Moral objections to the case for dishing Wonga

There is something endearingly audacious about Justin Welby’s expressed desire to compete the titans of Britain’s payday loan industry out of existence. But the Archbishop of Canterbury’s remarks raise two connected questions. Can he do it, and should he want to?

The first point is easier to deal with….

There are better ways for the archbishop to help the poor than for the church to dish Wonga. Those on the margins of society will always need occasional access to loans to help tide them over unscheduled expenses or interruptions in income. That these should be appropriately priced goes without saying.

The real challenge, however, is not simply to shave the interest rate by a few points, but to ensure that those who take out loans do so in the full knowledge of the risks and with a realistic plan for managing them. This means two things: first, offering genuine advice to potential borrowers; and second, real assistance should things go wrong….

Read it all (or if necessary another link is there).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(The Atlantic) Why Wasn't the NSA Prepared for someone like Edward Snowden?

In the coming weeks, Congress and the civilian defense leadership will have to ask a lot of questions about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, and how to reconcile them with privacy concerns. But they will also have to ask a more basic set of questions: Why on earth wasn’t the NSA prepared for this? Why didn’t the intelligence agency’s leadership have a plan to deal with the global outcry that would follow the leak of classified Internet surveillance programs?

Contingency planning is a critical part of every military operation, and is even more important for secret or covert activities. The Central Intelligence Agency and Special Forces Command examined every possible thing that could go wrong on the raid to kill Osama bin Laden, for example, and had clear plans to deal with any ensuing fallout. Although it has an intelligence mandate, the NSA is a Defense Department organization, and the director of NSA is a 4-star general. As such, it is troubling that the NSA appears to have no plan in place for how to respond once its spying program was made public and plastered on the front pages around the world. Instead, the best defense General Alexander could offer a room full of security professionals at the Black Hat convention, almost two months after the leak, was an explanation of FISA courts and the successful prosecution of a San Diego cab driver who sent money to a Somali militia.

The NSA leadership had ample warning signs that leaks were possible, and that public reaction in the U.S. and around the world would be overwhelmingly negative….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government, Theology