Daily Archives: April 13, 2015

(Leadership Journal) Healing the Horrors of Boko Haram

On January 7, 2015, two Islamist terrorists stormed into a small publisher’s office in Paris and murdered 12 people. The world reacted swiftly and forcefully. Within a few days, an estimated 3.7 million freedom-of-speech sympathizers, joined by 40 world leaders, thronged the streets of Paris as a show of solidarity.

A few days earlier, some 3,000 miles to the south, the terrorist group Boko Haram swarmed into a small town in the northeast corner of Nigeria and slaughtered up to 2,000 villagers. Amnesty International called the attack “catastrophic.” An eyewitness reported that the terrorists were killing people “like animals.”

But the world hardly noticed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Midday Mental Health Break–Come Thou Fount by Fiddlesticks

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music

(CSM) After 39 years in prison, an epic tale of innocence found and bitterness lost

Vernon testified that he hadn’t seen Franks die. He said the police fed him information ”“ the battery acid, the caliber of the gun ”“ and coerced him into testifying. He said they got mad whenever he got cold feet. They threatened to send his parents to jail. They controlled him with fear. And once told, Vernon’s story became a monster of its own volition.

“They were lies,” he testified.

“It was all lies?” the prosecutor asked.

“They were lies,” he said.

After Vernon’s recantation, Jackson took the stand. “Regardless of what happens here today,” he said, “somebody heard the truth for once. I spent 39 years of my life paying for something I didn’t do.”

In light of Vernon’s recantation, the state withdrew their case. The hearing ended on a Tuesday. That Friday, 39 years, 5 months, and 27 days after his arrest, Ricky Jackson walked out of the courtroom unshackled. He joined Ronnie and Wiley for a tearful, celebratory meal at Red Lobster.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Alcohol/Drinking, Alcoholism, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Prison/Prison Ministry, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

The latest trend in New York City Real Estate–Married, With Roommates

Living with roommates is practically a rite of passage in New York City. It often begins with far too many people sharing too little space and ends with a move into an apartment of one’s own, or with that special someone.

But with rents reaching new highs, single 20-somethings are not the only ones looking for someone with whom to share the rent. Couples are living with roommates even after they’ve tied the knot.

“If we were in Iowa, it would be weird,” said Josh Jupiter, 28, who, with his wife, Isabel Martín Piñeiro, 26, recently posted an ad on SpareRoom.com seeking a roommate to share the two-bedroom, one-bath apartment they rent in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. “If we were in Michigan, it would be weird. In New York City, it’s like, ”˜How many people can you cram into an apartment, married or not?’ We live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.”

Sure, it may sound like the makings of a reality TV show. And there are plenty of ways to cut housing costs other than taking on a roommate. But couples like Mr. Jupiter and Ms. Piñeiro say they would rather relinquish a spare room than contend with an extra-long commute, a smaller place or a less desirable area.

Read it all from the New York Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Personal Finance, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Young Adults

Mark Twain helping to Keep things in Perspective on one's Birthday

Found here:

“It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Anthropology, History, Humor / Trivia, Theology

Giles Fraser–Arguments over Greek debt echo ancient disputes about Easter

The western church typically criticises the eastern view for having a “free lunch” view of salvation. No pain, no gain, insists Anselm. The eastern church says that the west fetishises suffering and is more committed to some iron logic of cosmic necessity than to God for whom all things are possible.

Atheists such as Alexis Tsipras, the Greek leader, may think both of these are fantasies. But for present purposes that’s beside the point. It’s worth recognising that these two completely different stories support two contrasting moral worldviews and different attitudes towards economics in general and capitalism in particular. Tsipras ”“ like me ”“ is very much more in the Greek Orthodox camp when it comes to salvation. And the Lutheran minister’s daughter Angela Merkel is very much in the western one. He wants to leap free from death-dealing debt. She believes it must be paid back, no matter how much blood and pain is involved.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Economy, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Greece, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Politics in General, Roman Catholic, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

Daniel Muth reviews Conor Cunningham's recent book on History, Science+Theology

In fact, materialism fails at every level. Its inability to distinguish between living and dead organisms renders biology moot. Its old-timey atomism cannot withstand the reality of quantum physics and awaits the latter’s disproof. Its inability to explain, or even deal, with consciousness, the first of all human experiences, leaves it denying the existence of the scientist. Given its deification of science, it becomes the snake that swallowed itself.

Finally, Darwin’s Pious Idea ascends to a robustly theological rejoinder. Church Fathers in hand, Cunningham eschews readings of early Genesis or of the Fall as an event rather than a condition. Because God is natural and the created order supernatural, human beings are made in the image of God in and through Christ, for and through whom all else is created.

Adam’s sin was to take life as a given rather than a gift, to seek to be self-created and therefore dead. In Christ’s life we see the abnormality ”” the unnaturalness ”” of death. Death is not reconciled with life, but overcome by bodily resurrection.

Read it all from the Living Church.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, History, Science & Technology, Theology

(Reluctant?) Birthday Post–Kendall Harmon Gloriously Alive at 55

No point in pretending–your blog host is 55 today, the above a recent picture at an event in Columbia, South Carolina

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Children, Harmon Family, History, Marriage & Family, Photos/Photography

Reminder for your Prayers–Gafcon Primates Council Meeting in London starting today

The meeting dates are 13-17 April 2015 in the UK as they consider the future of GAFCON. A previous post about the meeting is here. An earlier letter from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala about the meeting included this section about the gathering:

The GAFCON Primates Council will soon meet in London, from the 13th to the 17th April, and we shall take counsel together so that our movement can grow strongly and be equipped to fulfil the vision of restoring the Anglican Communion’s commitment to biblical truth. It will also give us a special opportunity to meet with leaders of the British and Irish branch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and the Anglican Mission in England. Please uphold us in prayer during this time.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Evangelism and Church Growth, Global South Churches & Primates, Missions, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord God, who hast revealed in holy Scripture what conquests faith has made both in doing, and in suffering: Grant us no smaller faith than that which overcometh the whole world, that Jesus thy Son is God, very God from the beginning, the First and the Last, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, world without end.

–Daily Prayer

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life”” the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us”” that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our joy may be complete.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

–1 John 1:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Jordan Spieth, 21, captures the Masters in a victory for the ages–simply an amazing performance

Jordan Spieth got more than redemption and a green jacket Sunday. He took his place among the best in the game with a Masters victory for the ages.

One year after Spieth lost a bid to become the youngest Masters champion, the 21-year-old Texan turned in one of the most dominant wins ever at Augusta National. He never let anyone get closer to him than three shots after his record start. He never gave anyone much hope on Sunday.

Spieth closed with a 2-under 70, missing a 5-foot par putt on the final hole that would have set yet another record. Instead, he tied the score set by Tiger Woods in 1997 at 18-under 270.

“This was the ultimate goal in my golf life,” Spieth said.

Read it all from AP.

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

ISIS burns food donations from US intended for Syrian refugees

The Islamic State has allegedly burned boxes of food aid coming from the United States that were intended for Syrian civilians.

The Independent reports that two trucks containing the food parcels were intercepted at an ISIS checkpoint manned by the group’s “Hisba” police force in Syria’s Aleppo province. The boxes had the markings of Koch Foods, a chicken company based in the state of Illinois in the US.

According to The Independent, the Islamic State seized and burned the boxes, which contained chicken meat, claiming that the animal products were not slaughtered according to Islamic law.

The International Business Times, however, said that the boxes had markings to show that the chicken meat was “halal,” or had been slaughtered according to the dictates of Islamic Law.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Violence

Funeral homes get in the catering business to put out the traditional spread

Bereaved relatives, already facing a slew of choices surrounding funeral planning, now have one more significant decision to make: Fried chicken or spaghetti?

A growing number of funeral homes have begun incorporating food service into their amenity packages, giving mourners the opportunity to savor pound cake made according to their late grandmother’s recipe or knock back martinis mixed to their late grandfather’s specifications. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, nearly one in 10 U.S. funeral homes features a banquet hall or dining room. Although the concept dates back to the early 2000s, its popularity has picked up rapidly since 2011, when only 6 percent of funeral homes were outfitted for memorial service meals.

“For me as a Generation X funeral home director, one of the things that attracted me to funeral service was the chance to offer different and meaningful ways to celebrate and honor your loved one’s life, and food is just a natural part of celebration,” says Mark Smith, owner of McAlister-Smith, which over the past five years has added banquet facilities to all four of its Charleston-area locations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

(Financial Times) The Global economic recovery is at risk of stalling

The global economy is mired in a “stop and go” recovery “at risk of stalling again”, according to the latest Brookings Institution-Financial Times tracking index.

The index, released ahead of the International Monetary Fund’s twice-yearly forecasts this week, highlights how the modestly improved growth outlook in advanced economies has been offset by weakness in emerging markets.

“A modest reversal of fortunes between the advanced and emerging market economies belies the fact that both groups still face stunted growth prospects,” said Professor Eswar Prasad, an economist and senior fellow at Brookings.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Rising Christian Persecution

In the wake of last week’s deadly attack against Christians at a college in Kenya, we talk with Father Thomas Reese, senior analyst at the National Catholic Reporter and a member of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, about growing concerns over anti-Christian violence around the world and the need for governments to protect religious communities.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(USA Today) Social-media abuse rampant in middle, high school

Armed with cell phones and a dizzying array of social media choices, half of this area’s middle- and high-schoolers in a recent study admitted to social media abuse ”” from bullying schoolmates to spreading rumors to pressuring others to send sexual texts or pictures.

They also admitted to stalking their partners.

“It begins with the constant texting or the stalking on Facebook. ‘Where are you?’ and ‘Who are you with?'” said researcher Poco Kernsmith, an associate professor of social work at Wayne State University.

What may seem like harmless teen jealousy can spiral into a dangerous relationship if left unchecked, said Kernsmith, whose research has centered on violence in relationships. She led a survey of 1,236 sixth- and ninth-graders at six metro Detroit high schools, a mix of high- moderate- and low-risk schools when measured with crime statistics and poverty levels.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Teens / Youth, Theology