Daily Archives: March 17, 2014

(NYT Op-ed) Ross Douthat–The Age of Individualism

In the future, it seems, there will be only one “ism” ”” Individualism ”” and its rule will never end. As for religion, it shall decline; as for marriage, it shall be postponed; as for ideologies, they shall be rejected; as for patriotism, it shall be abandoned; as for strangers, they shall be distrusted. Only pot, selfies and Facebook will abide ”” and the greatest of these will probably be Facebook.

That’s the implication, at least, of what the polling industry keeps telling us about the rising American generation, the so-called millennials. (Full disclosure: I am not quite one of them, having entered the world in the penultimate year of Generation X.) A new Pew survey, the latest dispatch from the land of young adulthood, describes a generation that’s socially liberal on issues like immigration and marijuana and same-sex marriage, proudly independent of either political party, less likely to be married and religious than earlier generations, less likely to identify as patriotic and less likely ”” by a striking margin ”” to say that one’s fellow human beings can be trusted.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Marriage & Family, Philosophy, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Young Adults

(NPR) Uniform Rule May Keep Religious Americans From Military Service

Monday, 105 lawmakers from both parties sent to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, urging him to change a relatively obscure uniform requirement for the U.S. armed forces that some argue infringes on religious beliefs.

People who observe religions that require specific hair or dress traditions have to seek an accommodation from a superior to break the Defense Department’s uniform requirements.

Dr. Kamal Kalsi was the first observant Sikh to apply for the accommodation since the rule took effect in the 1980s. As a devout Sikh, Kalsi doesn’t cut his hair. He wraps his hair up in a turban and doesn’t shave his beard. Keeping his hair long is an obligatory article of his Sikh faith.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Military / Armed Forces, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) A Profile of NYC Lutheran Bishop Robert Alan Rimbo

Churches under Bishop Rimbo’s purview are trying some unorthodox measures. In Williamsburg, Mr. McKelahan organized a life-size crossword puzzle inside the Lorimer Street/Metropolitan Avenue subway stop, where topics included Mexican art and nuclear physics, along with a few biblical questions. (Clue: Hebrew name meaning “He will laugh.” Answer: Isaac.)

Another interactive art project used giant dye-filled soap bubbles on foam at an event on Governor’s Island. Mr. McKelahan said that, while not explicitly religious, soap bubbles carry a spiritual message in that they must burst “if they are to leave a lasting impression”””referring to a passage in the Book of John.

“Did most people pick up on this spiritual message? Probably not,” he said. “But hopefully they see that the church is inviting them to work together in bringing joy and beauty into the world.”

Mr. McKelahan, who at 28 is one of the New York metro area’s youngest ordained Lutheran ministers, said it was Bishop Rimbo’s idea to send him to Williamsburg.

“I met with Bishop Rimbo and explained to him, ‘I’m really interested in making art as worship, all my friends are atheists,'” Mr. McKelahan said. “Bishop Rimbo said, ‘There’s this neighborhood in Brooklyn called Williamsburg where lots of young creative people are moving. We are trying to figure out how to minister to them. Would you like to do something with them?’ Even though I’d never heard of Williamsburg, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelism and Church Growth, Lutheran, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Young Adults

Archbp Welby and Pope Francis back Anglican-Catholic anti-slavery and human trafficking initiative

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Francis have given their backing to a ground-breaking ecumenical initiative to combat modern slavery and human trafficking.

The agreement to help eradicate an injustice affecting up to 29million people was co-signed on March 17th by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Sir David Moxon, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Science, Bishop Sanchez Sorondo and Mr Andrew Forrest, the founder of the large international philanthropic anti-slavery organisation from Perth, Western Australia “Walk Free”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

MIT Creates an An interactive catalog of fame, from Abraham to Zinedine Zidane

There are many varieties of fame. Jesus Christ was the first person to achieve it globally, Clive James wrote, “without conquering the world by violence.” The best kind for a poet to earn, W. H. Auden said, is like some valley cheese ”” “local, but prized elsewhere.” Yet if all fame, like all politics, is to some degree local, how thoroughly it has been transmitted across the planet and through the centuries has been difficult, if not impossible, to quantify.

Pantheon, a new project from the Macro Connections group in M.I.T.’s Media Lab, is giving that a stab. It has collected and analyzed data on cultural production from 4,000 B.C. to 2010. With a few clicks on its website, which just went live, you can swing through time and geography, making plain the output of, say, Brazil (largely soccer players) or Belarus (politicians). It also ranks professions from chemists to jurists to porn stars (No. 1 is Jenna Jameson; No. 2 is the Czech Republic’s Silvia Saint).

For now, you are legitimately famous, the M.I.T. team has decided, if a Wikipedia page under your name exists in more than 25 languages.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, History, Media, Science & Technology, Theology

New Suffragan Bishop of Lewes is announced– Richard Charles Jackson

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Richard Charles Jackson, MA (Oxon) MSc, Diocesan Advisor for Mission and Renewal, in the Diocese of Chichester, to the Suffragan See of Lewes, in the Diocese of Chichester, in succession to the Right Reverend Wallace Parke Benn, BA, on his resignation on 31 August 2012.

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

Infoaholic Feast–Google has released a searchable archive of a LOT of newspapers

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Media, Science & Technology

The Real St. Patrick for his Feast Day

Patrick was 16 years old in about the year 405, when he was captured in a raid and became a slave in what was still radically pagan Ireland. Far from home, he clung to the religion he had ignored as a teenager. Even though his grandfather had been a priest, and his father a town councilor, Patrick “knew not the true God.” But forced to tend his master’s sheep in Ireland, he spent his six years of bondage mainly in prayer. He escaped at the suggestion of a dream and returned home.

Patrick was in his mid-40s when he returned to Ireland.

Read it all and for the ambitious there is a lot more there.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Patrick

Almighty God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Ireland, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Blessed Saviour, who art full of mercy and compassion, and wilt not cast out any that come to thee: Help us, we beseech thee, who are grievously vexed with the burden of our sins; and so increase in us the power of thy Holy Spirit that we may prevail against the enemy of our souls; for thy name’s sake.

–Henry Alford

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.

–1 Corinthians 4:20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

U.S. warns Russia against annexing Crimea

Having failed to prevent a Russian-sponsored referendum in Crimea, the Obama administration and its European allies refocused their efforts Sunday on keeping Moscow from annexing the autonomous Ukrainian region and expanding its military moves into other parts of Ukraine.

In a telephone call to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin ”” his third in two weeks ”” President Obama said that the referendum “would never be recognized by the United States and the international community” and that “we are prepared to impose additional costs on Russia for its actions,” the White House said.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

([London] Times) Ignoring Religious Education ”˜could cause social unrest’

Britain’s failure to treat religious education seriously is storing up social problems, religious leaders have warned.

Jonathan Romain, a senior rabbi, warned that failure to make RE a core part of the school curriculum could prove not only an academic mistake, but also one that was detrimental to the health of society.

He was speaking as a report due to be published today by the all-party parliamentary group on Religious Education argues that the teaching of RE can be crucial in reducing tension in multifaith communities.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Heartwarming Story for Sun. Afternoon–Mother and Daughter Reunited after 24 years

After escaping Sudan’s civil war and being separated for 24 years, a mother and daughter have finally located each another on Facebook.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Africa, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Marriage & Family, Sudan, Violence

(ThisDay) Boko Haram: Northern Christian Elders Demand Joint Actions

Worried at the escalating spate of needless bloodletting in some parts of North Eastern states of the country, the Christian Elders’ Forum of northern states has canvassed joint actions of all Nigerians to stop the bloody onslaught which has claimed over 2,000 lives in the last six months.

Chairman of the group, Elder Olaiya Phillips, in a public statement issued in Abuja at the weekend, lamented the alarming increase in the violent attacks by the Islamic terror group, Boko Haram. Particularly, the recent killing of about 60 students of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, further heightens concern about the insurgency, the group noted.

Titled: ”˜If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will be Next’, Olaiya, in the statement, bemoaned a seeming invincibility of the insurgents. He however expressed belief that concerted efforts of all Nigerians coupled with intensive prayers, regardless of their religious persuasions, would ultimately earn the nation total victory. “We know only too well the many horrendous crimes committed against the Christian community in Northern Nigeria, and also of the crimes committed against our Moslem neighbours by the same people.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Nigeria, Terrorism