Daily Archives: December 17, 2013

Andrew Ross Sorkin–How Nelson Mandela Shifted Views on Freedom of Markets

When you think about Nelson Mandela, you probably think about freedom ”” free people, free country, free speech. What may be overshadowWhen Mr. Mandela was released from prison in 1990, he told his followers in the African National Congress that he believed in the nationalization of South Africa’s main businesses. “The nationalization of the mines, banks and monopoly industries is the policy of the A.N.C., and a change or modification of our views in this regard is inconceivable,” he said at the time.

Two years later, however, Mr. Mandela changed his mind, embracing capitalism, and charted a new economic course for his country.

ed by Mr. Mandela’s extraordinary legacy was his complicated journey to support free markets and a free economy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, South Africa, Theology

(Her.meneutics) Emily Capo Sauerman–How Julia Child and Tim Keller Schooled Me In Femininity

Thanks to Julia, I see how much being a good wife and a good friend to my husband is intrinsically linked to the feminine gifts I possess. While many might contend that Julia Child’s legacy lies in the gender stereotypes she broke, for me, her legacy shines through the feminine strengths she mastered. Like my grandmother, Julia would cook in the heels and pearls, always looking fabulous. Like my mother, she would make silly holiday cards and pound the meat with abandon. There is no contradiction, just a great woman.

While Tim Keller shows me that my femininity is a godly asset in my relationship with my husband, Julia demonstrates that feminine strengths come in all shapes and flavors. Together, they remind us life is most pleasurable when we extend those strengths to their fullest, particularly in marriage. Feminine expression is not something we do merely in anticipation of that day we don a white dress. Femininity is a gift through which we exemplify some of our Creator’s greatest strengths and have fun while we’re at it.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Psychology, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Women

(TLS) William Philpott–1914: The first wave of war, and its centenary

“There is not and never will be a ”˜definitive’ interpretation of the coming of war: each writer can only offer a personal view”, Hastings contends. The three under review describe in ever more detail what it was like, but only consider in the most broad terms what the war was about and why Europe’s people engaged so wholeheartedly in it. After reading them, one despairs of ever being able to break the distorting lens of the Second World War that prevents our understanding the First. Churchill’s legacy in particular, both as Britain’s successful later war leader and as a contentious popular historian of the war in which he did conspicuously less well, remains pernicious.

The war’s course and outcomes were rooted in the events of 1914 ”“ the French victory on the Marne, Serbia’s repulse of Austria’s invasion, Russia’s defeat at Tannenberg, the Royal Navy’s hold on the North Sea and the decision to expand the British army. There is much more to be said, although it remains to be seen what impact extensive historical revisionism on popular motivation and the military conduct of the war, which has been developing for several decades, will have on the history wars. It does not seem to be riding the crest of the first wave, and perhaps it will not be until the centenaries have passed that a more nuanced understanding of the war will be established. Should Great War historians despair? Boredom may set in, and publishers may feel they have done enough by 1918. Until then, the revisionist view will certainly vie for credibility and acceptance with the over-familiar story vividly retold here. Hastings and Mallinson both acknowledge its existence and dabble with it, but there is an obvious reluctance to waver from familiar paths.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Books, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, History

(NBC) Trees for Troops brings holiday spirit to military families

Cue the giant FedEx trailers rumbling onto military bases stateside; or planes landing in the Middle East, Afghanistan or Guam. Their cargo is a precious one this time of year: thousands of Christmas trees donated by 450 tree farms across the United States.

All help put the spirit of the holidays front and center, in spite of circumstance.

This massive effort is organized by Trees for Troops, an organization that has given out more than 139,000 trees in the eight years they’ve been in existence — with FedEx traveling more than 475,000 miles to deliver them.

Read it all (Video highly recommended).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Defense, National Security, Military, Marriage & Family

(Christian Week) British Columbia Court of Appeal upholds Assisted suicide ban

Not only did the British Columbia Court of Appeal rule recently to uphold the Criminal Code section banning assisted suicide and euthanasia, key parts of the majority decision echoed the actual words of pro-life intervenors in the case.

“To see the court reflect very closely the language we introduced in our oral arguments concerning the Charter values of the sanctity and dignity of human life is incredibly satisfying,” says Evangelical Fellowship of Canada legal counsel Faye Sonier.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(ABC Aus.) Thomas Wells–Love in a time of machines: How robots will transform human intimacy

Those who see social robots as a dystopian threat to humanity therefore face a problem in acting on their belief. The reason they are a threat is that they may become superficially more attractive to us than other people. But that is also why it is hard to see how they can be stopped. I suppose one could imagine passing laws against humanoid looking robots working in the home. But such a law would be a rather pathetic defence of humanity. It would mean making a decision not only to reject our robot future, but also to reject our present commitment to the idea of a free society in which we allow our norms and values to evolve dynamically from the cumulative free choices of free individuals.

It’s hard to see how such a law, or anything else short of full blown Luddism, could prevent the development of robots that perform care and emotional labour outside the household (in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, customer service desks, brothels, restaurants, and so on). The technology would always be one short hop away from the home, and thus more or less immediately available if humanity’s suspicion of robots were ever to soften as we become more accustomed to relying on them in more and more situations.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

(Mirror) Kevin Maguire–the House of Cronies is a medieval anachronism ripe for abolition

There are the two dozen Church of England Bishops, and the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, who enjoy reserved places denied Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and those of other faiths and none.

Nor can we ignore the 92 hereditary peers, survivors of Tony Blair’s cull, selected from the Dukes and Earls to sustain feudal bloodlines.

The Establishment guards its perks with a ferocity sadly lacking when it comes to austerity and the Bedroom Tax.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(FT) Brian Groom–The gap between public perceptions and reality makes you shudder

“No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise,” said Winston Churchill. “Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

But oh dear, the public. The gap between their perceptions and reality makes you shudder, as shown by pollster Ipsos-Mori in its end-of-year review. How many lone parents do you think there are out of every 100 people in Britain? The public’s mean estimate in a poll of 1,000 people is 28. The correct answer is three.

Similarly, the public thinks that 22 per cent of people are Muslim (in reality 5 per cent); that 22 per cent are unemployed (actually 8 per cent); that 30 per cent are black or Asian (11 per cent); that 36 per cent are aged 65-plus (16 per cent); and that 34 per cent are Christian (59 per cent).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Media, Politics in General, Psychology, Sociology

(Washington Post) Robert Samuelson–The Latest Budget Deal is just more muddling through

But there’s a problem. [Charles] Lindblom’s common-sense insight has a giant exception: crises. Change, forced by outside events, then happens by “leaps and bounds.” The recent financial crisis caused Congress and two presidents to embrace measures (the rescue of big banks, General Motors and Chrysler) that were unthinkable a few months earlier. In the 1960s, civil rights demonstrations pushed Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that, in outlawing most public racial discrimination, wasn’t “incremental.” History offers other examples, including the Civil War, the New Deal and both World Wars. Small changes won’t suffice when big changes are required.

On the budget, muddling through comes with a crucial assumption. It is that continuous deficits won’t provoke a crisis that compels political leaders to take harsh steps that they would otherwise not take. This optimism may be justified. For decades, “experts” have warned of the dire consequences of unchecked deficits. Yet no great crisis has occurred. But this conviction also could be complacency. Government debt is in territory that, except for wartime debt, is unprecedented. We don’t know the consequences. Someday, we may no longer have the luxury of muddling through.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology, Young Adults

Rob Kunes' Sermon in the parish series on the Church–We are training for Eternity

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Christ our God, who wilt come to judge the world in the manhood which thou hast assumed: We pray thee to sanctify us wholly, that in the day of thy coming we may be raised up to live and reign with thee for ever.

–Church of South India

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

“And to the angel of the church in La-odice’a write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”

–Revelation 3:14-22

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Nigeria Boko Haram emergency: 'More than 1,200 killed'

The UN says more than 1,200 people have been killed in Islamist-related violence in north-east Nigeria since a state of emergency was declared in May.

The UN said the figure related to killings of civilians and the military by the Islamist group Boko Haram in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

It also includes insurgents killed by security forces repelling attacks.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Monday Mental Health Break–A Magic Piano In A Chicago Train Station!

Hooray for Amtrak–this is just so much fun–watch the whole thing (just under 4 minutes)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Music, Travel

Andrew Haines–Pope Emeritus Benedict Defends Pope Francis on Markets and Ethics

Also overlooked amidst the fallout from Evangelii Gaudium was a statement by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, which defended not only Francis’s remarks in EG, but also their specific context, as as well as the greater role of the Church vis-à-vis economics and morality….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Church History, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Bloomberg) The Flood of North American Oil will become deluge as Mexico Ends Monopoly

The flood of North American crude oil is set to become a deluge as Mexico dismantles a 75-year-old barrier to foreign investment in its oil fields.

Plagued by almost a decade of slumping output that has degraded Mexico’s take from a $100-a-barrel oil market, President Enrique Pena Nieto is seeking an end to the state monopoly over one of the biggest crude resources in the Western Hemisphere. The doubling in Mexican oil output that Citigroup Inc. said may result from inviting international explorers to drill would be equivalent to adding another Nigeria to world supply, or about 2.5 million barrels a day.

That boom would augment a supply surge from U.S. and Canadian wells that Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) predicts will vault North American production ahead of every OPEC member except Saudi Arabia within two years.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Foreign Relations, Mexico, Politics in General

For Artifacts From Closed Churches, an Afterlife on Staten Island

There will soon be a rooftop swimming pool where the copper-domed bell towers of Mary Help of Christians once rose.

Formerly a hub of the East Village’s Italian-American community, the site of the Roman Catholic church is now slated for a 158-unit rental building, complete with basement gym and rooftop gardens ”” a familiar trajectory for a growing number of houses of worship as church attendance falls and real estate values soar.

In the rubble-strewn lot on Avenue A between 11th and 12th Streets where Mary Help of Christians and its school and rectory long stood, a rusty basketball hoop and strip of blacktop are all that is left. But perhaps unknown to those mourning the church’s passing, much of what was precious inside it ”” and other now-closed Catholic churches ”” sits in a Staten Island warehouse, awaiting a second chance.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Art, Economy, History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture