Daily Archives: February 22, 2015

(Globe and Mail) Religious tension in Quebec resurfaces over mayoral interference

A fierce debate has been reignited in Quebec over religious accommodation after three mayors blocked Muslim speakers and projects, and opposition lawmakers cranked up pressure on the province’s Liberal government to protect traditional values.

Some Muslim leaders say the moves represent a hardening stand not just against Muslim extremism but against Islam in general ”“ one that is forcing a return to a thorny issue many Quebeckers thought had died down after the high-profile fight over the failed Quebec Charter of Values. As in that debate, Muslims say the new actions taken by the mayors are muzzling their ability to practise their religion, while others argue the moves were made for the greater public good.

Debate over religious accommodation and what motivated last fall’s attacks in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa were still simmering in Quebec when Islamist terrorists struck the Paris offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in early January. The Paris attack resonated strongly in Quebec, also a secularist society with a swelling Muslim population.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, City Government, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Nicholas Eberstadt–The Global Flight From the Family

Our world-wide flight from family constitutes a significant international victory for self-actualization over self-sacrifice, and might even be said to mark a new chapter in humanity’s conscious pursuit of happiness. But these voluntary changes also have unintended consequences. The deleterious impact on the hardly inconsequential numbers of children disadvantaged by the flight from the family is already plain enough. So too the damaging role of divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing in exacerbating income disparities and wealth gaps””for society as a whole, but especially for children. Yes, children are resilient and all that. But the flight from family most assuredly comes at the expense of the vulnerable young.

That same flight also has unforgiving implications for the vulnerable old. With America’s baby boomers reaching retirement, and a world-wide “gray wave” around the corner, we are about to learn the meaning of those implications firsthand.

In the decades ahead, ever more care and support for seniors will be required, especially for the growing contingent among the elderly who will be victims of dementia, or are childless and socially isolated. Remember, a longevity revolution is also under way. Yet by some cruel cosmic irony, family structures and family members will be less capable, and perhaps also less willing, to provide that care and support than ever before.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Theology

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Churches in Pubs

Pastor Phillip Heinze began holding church services in a bar when he realized that attending a regular church was uncomfortable for some people. “They say the most difficult thing for us was walking through those doors””that for us church just is a scary place. That was probably the conversation that informed me the most. I said, well, let’s try a new church in place that’s not so scary.” There are a growing number of religious services and conversations in pubs, but the trend has its critics.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Alcohol/Drinking, Consumer/consumer spending, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(ABC Aus.) Ralph Wood–Living in the Ruins: Walker Percy, Kierkegaard and the Healing of the Self

Walker Percy gives fictional life to our contemporary hell ruled by the Prince of this world in both its bestial and angelic expressions. He reveals that we are already inhabiting a city of the dead populated by the corpses of souls. Percy warns against slothfully resigning ourselves to existence in this earthly hell, even though we know that it will eventually work its own self-destruction.

Yet he also cautions against our rising up in wrath against these demonic forces, lest we remake ourselves in their image by returning evil for evil. This more excellent way lies in the formation of true selves in the Body of Christ, not in the redemption of solitary souls through an invisible spiritual inwardness. The more abundant life is found, instead, in the sacramental and communal life of the Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, History, Poetry & Literature, Psychology, Theology

Jared Wilson–Notice the narrative shape of the Apostle's creed

…speaking of the gospel, notice the narrative shape of the creed. It tells the gospel story! Beginning with the one true God””who is self-sufficient and needful of nothing””creating the universe. It then goes on to detail the incarnation of God in flesh, giving us the historical detail of Christ’s birth and life and death. Then it moves on to the next plot point in the grand tale of redemption: the resurrection; then the ascension. And this is why the Holy Spirit, who is the third person of the triune Godhead, equal in deity and one in substance with the Father and the Son, doesn’t appear until the latter portion of the creed. Confession of the Spirit coincides narratively with the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost after the ascension of Christ.

The Spirit empowers the gospel of Christ then to build the church, unite the saints in their spirits, and save the lost. Finally, the creed ends with the new beginning, the “end of days” part of the Bible’s gospel story, when the dead in Christ are raised incorruptible and the Lord’s return ushers in the eternal joy of the new heavens and the new earth. This is what “the life everlasting” corresponds to, in great keeping with the biblical forecast of Jesus’ renewing all things, not simply our receiving a ticket to heaven when we die.

When we read the creed in this way, then””as doxological confession and as proclamation of the gospel storyline of the Scriptures””we help ourselves see the powerful depth and beauty in the old familiar lines.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church History, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

Food for Thought from CS Lewis for Sunday

“Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.”

–CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

Posted in Anthropology, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from B. F. Westcott

Blessed Lord, who wast tempted in all things like as we are, have mercy upon our frailty. Out of weakness give us strength; grant to us thy fear, that we may fear thee only; support us in time of temptation; embolden us in time of danger; help us to do thy work with good courage, and to continue thy faithful soldiers and servants unto our life’s end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; if he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins.”

–Mark 2:18-22

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Brother of slain Coptic Christians thanks ISIS for including their words of faith in murder video

The brother of two of the 21 Coptic Christians murdered in Libya last week has thanked their killers for including the men’s declaration of faith in the video they made of their beheadings.

Speaking on a live prayer and worship programme on Christian channel SAT-7 ARABIC yesterday, Beshir Kamel said that he was proud of his brothers Bishoy Estafanos Kamel (25) and Samuel Estafanos Kamel (23) because they were “a badge of honour to Christianity”.

Harrowing scenes of the murders have been seen around the world. The last words of some of those killed were “Lord Jesus Christ”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Islam, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Barna Group) The Different Impact of Good and Bad Leadership

You’ve probably heard it said that people don’t quit jobs, they quit bad bosses.It’s a common leadership maxim””often issued as a word of warning to those stepping into leadership: a bad leader can ruin even the best of jobs.

But is the opposite also true? Can a good boss lead to less turnover? And what are the qualities that employees think make for a good leader””or a bad one?

In a study among Americans in the workplace, done in partnership with Leadercast, Barna Group found that two in five people work for someone they consider a “bad” leader. When asked to attribute positive and negative characteristics to their supervisors, these 40% of workers assign at least four of the six negative attributes to their boss. Another two in five workers (40%) say their leader displays one to three of those negative attributes, classifying that leader as “average.” In contrast, only one in five workers (19%) assigns only positive attributes to their leaders, qualifying them as “good” bosses.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(Lifesite News) Viral photos of little girl and her dad capture why China is a ticking time bomb

On the eve of Chinese New Year, photos of a father and daughter traveling to see her grandparents have gone viral ”“ picked up by dozens of blogs and media outlets worldwide.

Seen waiting together in Beijing Capital International Airport, Chen Yen has handcuffed himself to his little girl to ensure she is not kidnapped for use as a future bride.

“I saw a warning by police on the TV to take care as traffickers and pickpockets would be out stealing in the holiday rush,” said Mr. Chen according to reporting by The Daily Mail. “I don’t care about pickpockets, but I do care very much about losing my daughter.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, China, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Theology, Women

(CT) How a Mom, Shannon Sedgwick Davis, helped dismantle Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony

In May 2010, Shannon Sedgwick Davis flew to South Africa to meet with the Elders, a nonprofit founded by Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, and Jimmy Carter to bring peace to places of violence. She had been asked to join the Elders’ advisory board in 2007””an offer you don’t turn down, Davis said.

As she walked beside one of her heroes, she asked whether or not she should pursue Joseph Kony. The Ugandan warlord has, in the past two decades, abducted tens of thousands of children, forced them to slaughter their own families and friends, and then enlisted them in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), his rebel army of child soldiers.

“Shannon, this one is clear,” her mentor said without pausing. “This one is black and white.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Religion & Culture, Uganda, Violence

Saturday Mental Health break-Great Exam Answers from a Student who got 0%

Q1. In which battle did Napoleon die?
* his last battle

Q2. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?
* at the bottom of the page

Q3. River Ravi flows in which state?
* liquid

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Children, Education, Humor / Trivia

(Princeton Alumni Weekly) Bruce Ribner was ready when the Call to Fight Ebola Came

[Bruce] Ribner did not specifically have Ebola in mind when he formed Emory’s biocontainment unit shortly after he joined the hospital in late 2000, but intended that it be equipped to treat any infectious disease, from SARS to plague or smallpox. Atlanta is home to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the world’s busiest airport, and Ribner was alarmed that there was no facility in the area equipped to quarantine and care for someone arriving with a highly infectious disease.

At the time, there was only one biocontainment unit in the United States, a two-bed facility run by the Army at Fort Detrick, Md., known as “the Slammer.” The mordant joke among epidemiologists was that the best they could do for anyone confined to the Slammer was lock the door and hope they got well. Working with the CDC, Ribner secured funding to create an up-to-date communicable disease unit at Emory, the first civilian biocontainment facility in the country.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology