Daily Archives: May 13, 2016

(WSJ) Hooked: One Family’s Ordeal With Fentanyl

When his son fell prey to America’s latest drug scourge, Joel Murphy, a funeral-home worker, knew his family had plenty of company.

He could see it in the faces of the dead.

Many of the corpses he picked up on the job were men in their 20s, with close-cropped hair, baseball caps and gaunt frames. They made him think of his youngest son, Joseph.

“I see him sometimes, I see him in a lot of them,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Theology, Young Adults

Pamela Druckerman–Why are the French so wedded to a failing system? The Miserable French Workplace

Why are the French so wedded to a failing system?

For starters, they believe that a job is a basic right ”” guaranteed in the preamble to their Constitution ”” and that making it easier to fire people is an affront to that. Without a C.D.I., you’re considered naked before the indifferent forces of capitalism.

At one demonstration in Paris, young protesters held a banner warning that they were the “génération précaire.” They were agitating for the right to grow up. As Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow point out in their new book, “The Bonjour Effect,” getting a permanent work contract is a rite of adulthood. Without one, it’s hard to get a mortgage or car loan, or rent an apartment.

Mainstream economic arguments can’t compete. “Basic facts of economic science are completely dismissed,” said Étienne Wasmer, a labor economist at Sciences Po. “People don’t see that if you let employers take risks, they’ll hire more people.” Instead, many French people view the workplace as a zero-sum battle between workers and bosses.

Read it all from yesterday’s NY Times.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, France, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology

(Gallup) 3 in 10 US Workers Foresee Working Past Retirement Age

In reality, however, many working Americans simply can’t afford to retire. Fewer workers today than in the past say a pension will be a major income source in retirement, and many have been unable to save sufficiently during the economic slowdown of the past decade. Seven in 10 employed adults told Gallup in April that they are worried about not having enough savings for retirement. As a result, they now need to work as long as possible to build up their retirement nest eggs.

At the moment, most workers are forgoing any thought of retiring before 62, the minimum age to receive partial Social Security retirement benefits, while nearly a third are planning to hold off until after age 67.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pensions, Personal Finance, Social Security, The U.S. Government, Theology

Paris Review interviews Eudora Welty–“Wherever you go, you meet part of your story"


Where does the dialogue come from?


Familiarity. Memory of the way things get said. Once you have heard certain expressions, sentences, you almost never forget them. It’s like sending a bucket down the well and it always comes up full. You don’t know you’ve remembered, but you have. And you listen for the right word, in the present, and you hear it. Once you’re into a story everything seems to apply””what you overhear on a city bus is exactly what your character would say on the page you’re writing. Wherever you go, you meet part of your story. I guess you’re tuned in for it, and the right things are sort of magnetized””if you can think of your ears as magnets.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Poetry & Literature, Theology, Women

(UMNS) Methodist process to foster greater consensus around tough issues fails to get consensus

Over the past three days, the United Methodist General Conference also has offered a live demonstration of just how difficult following its rules of order can be.

The final tally on the much-debated Rule 44 ”” a proposed Group Discernment Process ”” was 355 “yes” and 477 “no.”

The Commission on General Conference recommended Rule 44 at the request of the 2012 General Conference, which sought an alternative process to Robert’s Rules of Order for dealing with particularly complicated and contentious legislation.

The commission’s aim was to use small groups to give all delegates a chance to weigh in on selected petitions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Church Census 2016 cancelled after C of E drops out

The Church Census 2016 will not go ahead, Churches Together in England (CTE) has said, after the Church of England became the latest denomination to decline to participate, on the grounds of concerns over the administrative workload and time constraints.

The general secretary of CTE, the Revd Dr David Cornick, said on Wednesday: “Our understanding is that the census will not now be taking place in October, and we have informed our members of this.

“The steering group, and a number of national church leaders, have realised that too much remains to be done in too short a time for that to be feasible. Given those circumstances, the data produced would not have been accurate or useful enough to justify the exercise. The steering group will be meeting again to consider how to proceed in the light of this.”

Read it all.

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

(RW) Kurt Armstrong recounts his battle with depression in the midst of a job gone wrong

I never know how to see my own work clearly””maybe no one does. In August, though, any work I do is complicated by thinking muddied by depression. My deepest depressive cycles follow a fairly simple pattern: one in early winter and another in late summer. I start to slip into the murk, spend a couple of dark weeks beneath the waves, then gradually climb back into the light. I’m a high-functioning depressive: I’ve always been able to get a lot done, even when I’m at my lowest. I’m grateful I’m not laid right out by my depressive spells, though sometimes I think two weeks in the psych-ward would be easier than pushing through the day-to-day with all the light and joy drowned in blackness.

The worst part of my low is the relentless mental monologue. It’s nothing audible; more like the normal self-conscious thoughts most of us experience now and then except uninterrupted and fiercely self-loathing. The voice says “You’re stupid and useless. You’re a waste. You’re a black hole. You’re a piece of garbage, and nobody wants to be around garbage. Toss it and it’s gone.” On and on it goes, day after day for weeks, starting the moment I open my eyes in the morning until I collapse into sleep at night, an endless, monotonous commentary on my day, a narrative of self-hatred. Stupid and useless, not smart enough to really figure anything out, and incapable of doing what actually needs to be done.

I’ve personified my self-loathing voice, and it’s not a raging, snarling demon with fangs and claws, or an evil, faceless ghoul. It’s a fat, middle-aged, balding man who needs a shower and shave.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Leonine Sacramentary

Almighty and merciful God, into whose gracious presence we ascend, not by the frailty of the flesh but by the activity of the soul: Make us ever by thy inspiration to seek after the courts of the heavenly city, whither our Saviour Christ hath ascended, and by thy mercy confidently to enter them, both now and hereafter; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Of old thou didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They will perish, but thou dost endure; they will all wear out like a garment. Thou changest them like raiment, and they pass away; but thou art the same, and thy years have no end.

–Psalm 102:25-27

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Amy Tuteur–The theology of quackery; how pseudoscience has become a secular religion

So why are people so gullible?

Perhaps we’ve been approaching this the wrong way. Instead of viewing quackery as a form of knowledge, albeit wrong, we might try approaching it as a religion.

What do I mean?

It seems to me that for a large proportion of people, particularly people on the political Left, pseudoscience has become a secular religion, complete with creation myth, demons and ultimate salvation.

Don’t get me wrong: there’s plenty of pseudoscience on the political Right, too. But often that is motivated by adherence to standard religious philosophy, the idea that the Bible is the world of God and that anything that contradicts it cannot be allowed to be true. On the Left, where many abjure religion, quackery has become the new religion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Secularism, Soteriology, Theology

(CEN) NZ Cathedral Dean suspended 25 years after marital indiscretion

A diocesan spokesman said the decision was “ the outcome of a church disciplinary process for a historic matter of behaviour, unrelated to the Diocese of Waiapu, deemed to be a breach of church canons, rather than illegal, and not expected of a priest in the Anglican Church.”

However, Dean Godfrey told local newspapers his indiscretion had been no secret. He had confessed to his wife and his bishop in Australia at the time of his misconduct.

“My feeling is that there hasn’t been due process or natural justice in terms of the process of dismissal,” he said.

However the diocese responded that while the Australian diocese may have known of the affair, “it is the first that his bishop, now in New Zealand, has heard of it”.

Read it all (may require subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women, Young Adults