Daily Archives: March 20, 2015

(WSJ) John Mauck–Bible Colleges Shouldn’t Need a State Seal

President Obama last week directed federal agencies to change the way graduates pay back student loans, the latest in a string of measures that aim to make college more accessible and affordable. Governors across the country have echoed the president’s claims that it is time to get college costs under control. Here’s one idea that wouldn’t cost taxpayers a nickel: Stop overregulating Bible colleges.

As it stands, some state education boards are keeping Bible colleges from issuing bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Instead, such colleges can only give out diplomas or certificates of completion. Bible colleges have an illustrious history in the U.S.””Congregationalist ministers founded Yale to equip young men for the ministry, after all””but many of today’s more than 1,000 Bible colleges are being relegated to second-class status.

In Illinois, our law firm recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of three Bible colleges, with the backing of the nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, against the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The IBHE claims that the Bible colleges do not meet the state’s curriculum requirements, and therefore cannot issue degrees.

That claim is absurd.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology, Young Adults

(NYT Op-ed) Clemens Wergin–Is America too overprotective of children?

On her first morning in America, last summer, my daughter went out to explore her new neighborhood ”” alone, without even telling my wife or me.

Of course we were worried; we had just moved from Berlin, and she was just 8. But when she came home, we realized we had no reason to panic. Beaming with pride, she told us and her older sister how she had discovered the little park around the corner, and had made friends with a few local dog owners. She had taken possession of her new environment, and was keen to teach us things we didn’t know.

When this story comes up in conversations with American friends, we are usually met with polite disbelief. Most are horrified by the idea that their children might roam around without adult supervision. In Berlin, where we lived in the center of town, our girls would ride the Metro on their own ”” a no-no in Washington. Or they’d go alone to the playground, or walk a mile to a piano lesson. Here in quiet and traffic-safe suburban Washington, they don’t even find other kids on the street to play with. On Halloween, when everybody was out to trick or treat, we were surprised by how many children actually lived here whom we had never seen.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Theology

(NYT) J Peter Zane–In the Age of Information, Specializing to Survive

Jonathan Haber majored in philosophy at Harvard University. And Yale. And Stanford. He explored Kant’s “The Critique of Pure Reason” with an Oxford don and Kierkegaard’s insights into “Subjectivity, Irony and the Crisis of Modernity” with a leading light from the University of Copenhagen.

In his quest to meet all the standard requirements for a bachelor of arts degree in a single year, the 52-year-old from Lexington, Mass., also took courses in English common law, Shakespeare’s late plays and the science of cooking, which overlapped with the degree in chemistry he earned from Wesleyan in 1985.

Here’s the brilliant part: Mr. Haber didn’t spend a dime on tuition or fees. Instead, he gorged from the smorgasbord of free courses offered by top universities. He documented the project on his website, degreeoffreedom.org, and in a new book exploring the wider phenomenon of massive open online courses, or MOOCs. He didn’t earn a degree ”” the knowledge may be free but the sheepskin costs dearly ”” but he was satisfied.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

(Aleteia) David Mills–Scientific-Sounding Excuses for Sexual Immorality

One popular excuse for sinning I call the “Margaret Mead Method.” I was reminded of it when flipping through my files and finding an article titled “The Virtues of Promiscuity,” the kind of title that gets your attention.

According to a journalist named Sally Lehrman, writing in The San Francisco Chronicle, anthropologists have found that “”˜Slutty’ behavior is good for the species. Women everywhere have been selflessly engaging in trysts outside of matrimony for a good long time and for excellent reasons. Anthropologists say female promiscuity binds communities closer together and improves the gene pool.”

Some primitive tribes, these anthropologists claim, assume that women having sex with more than one man will help them survive, and even thrive. At least twenty “accept the principle that a child could, and ideally ought to, have more than one father.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Media, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology

(Archbp Cranmer blog) The Church of England exists for all people ”“ not just Christians

According to Bishop Lesslie Newbigin, “there is not and cannot be a gospel which is not culturally embodied”. He maintained that the missionary task of the Church is to challenge the “reigning plausibility structure” by examining it in light of the revealed purposes of God contained in the biblical narrative. He advocated a scepticism which enables one to take part in the life of society without being deluded by its own beliefs about itself.

Easier said [than done]….

Read it all.

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

(Der Spiegel) ISIS' destruction of artifacts in Iraq seeks to lure West into battle

The images are meant to create an impression, and in this war of images, they don’t miss their mark. Heads are cut off: both the heads of human beings and those of statues. Museums are looted, ancient sites are bulldozed. These images are then dispatched around the world.

It is a calculated escalation that Islamic State is pursuing. It may even be that the images of destroyed artifacts are more effective than those depicting executions, because they are televised everywhere and not relegated to the depths of the Internet. And because we can understand the images of destruction — unlike the photos and videos of executions, which we see as acts of insanity beyond the scope of rational thought.

We aren’t just able to kill in the present, that is the message of these images, we are also able to destroy the past: We are the masters of both time and space. The caliphate’s goal is to expand its path of destruction into the fourth dimension.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Iraq, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Time) Why loneliness may be the next big public-health issue

Loneliness kills. That’s the conclusion of a new study by Brigham Young University researchers who say they are sounding the alarm on what could be the next big public-health issue, on par with obesity and substance abuse.

The subjective feeling of loneliness increases risk of death by 26%, according to the new study in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. Social isolation ”” or lacking social connection ”” and living alone were found to be even more devastating to a person’s health than feeling lonely, respectively increasing mortality risk by 29% and 32%.

“This is something that we need to take seriously for our health,” says Brigham Young University researcher Julianne Holt-Lunstad, an author of the study. “This should become a public-health issue.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology

A Church Times Leader–Methodists and unity

As the Commission suggests, no more introductions are needed to bring the two Churches together. Each has long exercised eucharistic hospitality, joint working on ethical and political matters is now the norm, and there are many more formal agreements in parishes around the country. The commitment made a few years ago not to do apart what could be done together has borne fruit. As a result, one of the final hurdles, the interchangeability of ministers, is once again the focus of debate.

The apostolic-succession question has sent the Methodists back down the garden path on more than one occasion, to their justifiable annoyance. In this report, however, the Anglican understanding of succession, and the problem it poses for the interchangeability of ministers, is explained fully and sympathetically.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Methodist, Other Churches, Theology

(CT) Leith Anderson–Lyle Schaller, Preeminent Church Consultant, Dies at 91

Few of those he influenced identified him with the institutions that claimed his leadership. Many knew him as the consultant who came to their towns and churches to listen and recommend””averaging about 150 on-site church consultations per year. I don’t know if the Guinness Book of World Records includes an award for the most parishes consulted, but Lyle Schaller would no doubt hold the record with thousands and thousands of visits to local congregations. At these churches, he took a repeated approach of gathering statistics and interviewing church leaders, youth, ministers’ spouses, non-leader congregants, and pastors from nearby churches. At the end of each consultation, he reported his 360-degree view, analysis and list of practical suggestions for congregational health and growth. Along the way, he pretty much avoided conflicted churches, at least he declined those obviously in a fight; he identified himself as a consultant and not as a conflict mediator.

Tens of thousands of interviews in churches ranging from mainline to independent and liberal to conservative gave him a mental data base to write, co-author, or edit almost 100 books selling over two million copies. Add his monthly monographs of “The Parish Paper” reaching 200,000 subscribers and we’re talking about penning millions of words about and to the churches of America. His writing style was distinctively his own with long, long sentences including long, long lists.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

A Doxology from Thomas Ken for his Feast Day

To God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts: to the one true God be all love and all glory for time and for eternity.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Thomas Ken

Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Thomas Ken grace and courage to bear witness to the truth before rulers and kings: Give us also thy strength that, following his example, we may constantly defend what is right, boldly reprove what is evil, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,

“For thy sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

–Romans 8:28-39

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ DailyFix) The Madness of Georgia State’s Improbable Comeback in the NCAA Tournament

Here’s how it happened. No. 3 seed Baylor was up 56-46 on No. 14 seed Georgia State with 1:54 left in their NCAA tournament opener Thursday. The upset was virtually impossible at that point. It’s actually possible to put a number to it with a calculator on kenpom.com that controls for factors like time and possession and spits out win probabilities. It isn’t perfect, but it’s as close as college basketball comes to real-time odds.

So how unlikely was the Georgia State win? This calculator had Baylor’s win probability at 99.9%.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Men, Sports, Young Adults

(BI) Virtual reality is going to grow like crazy over the next five years

Virtual reality is just getting started. A bunch of companies, including HTC, Samsung, and Sony have shown off headsets that immerse you in a virtual world, and Facebook’s Oculus ”” credited with kickstarting the latest craze ”” has been selling a version to developers for some time now.

But most people have never tried or even seen a VR headset, much less been able to buy one.

That’s going to change, fast. Business Insider Intelligence expects VR to be the next big thing in gaming, with 26.5 million units sold in 2020. That would give it a compound annual growth rate of nearly 100% ”” in other words, sales, on average, will double every year for the next five. So get ready to be immersed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Psychology, Science & Technology

Governor Haley opposes efforts to make South Carolina dump available to nation's nuclear waste

Gov. Nikki Haley said Thursday she will oppose efforts to reopen the Barnwell County low-level nuclear waste dump to the nation.

At a State House news conference, Haley said the landfill should remain closed to states other than South Carolina, Connecticut and New Jersey, which have exclusive rights to the site.

“We just want the Legislature to know we don’t want to go in that direction,” Haley said of efforts to open the landfill to other states.

“We don’t think that’s healthy,” Haley said. “We don”t sell our soul for jobs and money.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

(BBC) ISIS 'may have committed genocide' in undertaking Yazidi attacks

Jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) group may have committed genocide and war crimes against the minority Yazidi community in Iraq, the UN says.

In a new report, it says IS had “the intent… to destroy the Yazidi as a group.”

Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled villages in northern Iraq amid IS advances last summer. Many were killed, captured and enslaved.

Yazidis follow an ancient faith that jihadists regard as devil worship.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Former Bishop Keith Slater to face defrocking by the Anglican Church for mishandling abuse claims

The Anglican Church is quietly preparing for a hearing that could see the defrocking of one of its former bishops, five months after the royal commission recommended he face disciplinary action for ignoring complaints from sexual abuse victims.

Keith Slater, whose title remains the Right Reverend, was forced to resign as the Grafton Bishop in 2013 for the way he handled abuse claims from a group of 40 people.

They were men and women who had been sexually, physically and or psychologically abused at the North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore between the 1940s and the 1980s.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

Nominating Committee for the Election of the TEC Presiding Bishop offers an Update

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops

John Stonestreet–should we just get the government out of the marriage business?

Marriage is an inherently public institution designed to recognize and protect natural families, she says””not a “government registry of friendships.” Privatizing wouldn’t get the government out of the marriage business. By removing the presumption of biological parentage, courts would be full of custody battles between unrelated individuals, friends, gamete donors, and whoever else claims parentage. And children would suffer.

That’s isn’t a solution. It creates more problems than it solves.

Read and listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Philosophy, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture