Daily Archives: September 3, 2016

(TIme) Joe Klein on Hillbilly Elegy, the white working class, and our cultural crisis

It is eerie and depressing to read Vance’s account of his mother”“a drug addict in and out of rehab, with a series of husbands and boyfriends rotating in and out of the house. He describes a close relative as “a classic welfare queen.” He writes about 9-month-old babies being fed Pepsi in their bottles, and the abuse of food stamps he saw as a cashier at the local grocery store. All of these things were clichés deployed by Ronald Reagan, and dismissed by liberals, when he railed against poverty and welfare in 1980. But the conservative belief that the underclass was caused by federal antipoverty programs is clearly insufficient too. Vance makes it clear that the problem is profoundly cultural, a consequence of wanton commercialism, the loosening of moral standards and a lack of rigorous training for young men. Vance was saved by the Marine Corps and the support of a single loving adult, his grandmother.

Hillbilly Elegy makes the current political dialogue seem fatuous. Both parties are incapable of discussing the real sources of our national dyspepsia, or how to deal with them. Forces like the global economy, racism and federal programs that cultivated dependency have all been part of the problem. But what we have now is something different: a bottom-up crisis of individual responsibility, largely beyond the reach of public policy. Indeed, some of the “solutions” proposed by each of the parties are likely to make things worse.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Sociology, Theology

(NPR) Former Journalist Sabaa Tahir Writes Dystopian Fantasies Inspired by The News

But at least one critic thinks An Ember in the Ashes is something all its own. Marie Rutkoski is an English professor who also writes young adult fiction. She says [Sabaa] Tahir’s book is unlike The Hunger Games because Tahir writes from multiple points of view, showing empathy even with the merciless headmistress of the military school that the main character, Laia, has infiltrated.

“It felt so strange to be able to see from her perspective because she is so horrible,” Rutkoski says. She also appreciates the rich, dense layers of Tahir’s fantasy world, which borrows from ancient Sparta, Bedouin culture and the loneliness of the author’s own California childhood.

Tahir grew up in an isolated town in the Mojave Desert. Her parents owned a motel with 18 rooms and a pool they didn’t always fill. Even though the motel was near a bustling military base, it wasn’t the financial success her parents had hoped for. “Flipping the no vacancy sign was always a really huge deal because it happened so rarely,” Tahir remembers.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Gafcon Statement on the Appointment of the Bishop of Grantham

…there are aspects of this appointment which are a serious cause for concern for biblically orthodox Anglicans around the world, and therefore we believe that this appointment is a major error.

In 2003, Jeffrey John’s candidacy for the post of Bishop of Reading caused deep divisions within the Diocese of Oxford and beyond, and this news about Nicholas Chamberlain will exacerbate the same divisions within the Church of England and throughout the wider Anglican Communion.

In this case the element of secrecy in the appointment to the episcopacy of a man in a same sex relationship gives the impression that it has been arranged with the aim of presenting the church with a ”˜fait accompli’, rather than engaging with possible opposition in the spirit of the ”˜shared conversations’.

We remain opposed to the guidelines for clergy and Bishops, permitting them to be in same sex relationships as long as they publicly declare that the relationship is not sexual. This creates confusion in terms of the church’s teaching on the nature of sex and marriage, and it is not modelling a helpful way to live, given the reality of our humanity, and temptation to sexual sin.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Canon Mark Tanner announced as new Suffragan Bishop of Berwick

No 10 Downing Street has announced this morning that Her Majesty The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Mark Tanner MA (Oxon), BA (Hons), MTh, Warden of Cranmer Hall and Vice-Principal of St John’s College, University of Durham, as Suffragan Bishop of Berwick in the Diocese of Newcastle.

Mark Simon Austin Tanner, 45, studied at Christ Church, Oxford, and served as a youth worker at Holy Trinity, Coventry before training for ordination at Cranmer Hall. Ordained in 1998, he was Curate at St Mary, Upton (near Birkenhead) and went on to be appointed Vicar of St Mary’s, Wheatley (Doncaster) in 2001. In 2005 he was awarded Master of Theology from Chester College, University of Liverpool, and in 2007 he left Wheatley to become Vicar of Holy Trinity, Ripon, North Yorkshire, until returning to Cranmer Hall as Warden in 2011. He became an honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral in 2015 and was elected to the Church of England’s General Synod in the same year.

Mark is married to Lindsay and they have two teenage children. He enjoys vehicles (especially motorbikes, Land Rovers, and a 1951 BSA Bantam he is rebuilding), and being a husband and dad.

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

(Guardian) Meet Generation M: the young, affluent Muslims changing the world

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case they’re wrong. In the foreground is a young woman with fuchsia lipstick, Jackie O-style sunglasses and a colourful headscarf. Behind her is a young man, with a hip, trimmed beard, headphones jammed in his ears and one hand casually resting in his pocket.

They are part of Generation M, and the eponymous book, subtitled Young Muslims Changing the World, is the first detailed portrait of this influential constituency of the world’s fastest growing religion. According to author Shelina Janmohamed, they are proud of their faith, enthusiastic consumers, dynamic, engaged, creative and demanding. And the change they will bring about won’t depend on the benevolence of others: instead, the Muslim pound, like the pink pound before it, will force soft cultural change by means of hard economics.

To demonstrate all that, the cover image was crucial. “When you’re talking about Muslims in particular, but actually people of religion in general, the images you get are really quite depressing,” she says over coffee and baklava in her garden in the outer suburbs of London. “But I think this really captures it. It’s bold, it’s vibrant, the woman’s got so much attitude. They are exactly the kind of people I’m writing about.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Globalization, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Gelasian Sacramentary

O thou who hast taught us that we are most truly free when we lose our wills in thine: Help us to attain to this liberty by continual surrender unto thee; that walking in the way which thou hast prepared for us, we may find our life in doing thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

–Psalm 30:11-12 (KJV)

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Music for a Friday Afternoon–How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place from A German Requiem by J Brahms

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Music, Theology, Theology: Scripture

350th Anniversary of the London Fire

One of the more surprising consequences of the fire that destroyed London 350 years ago this week was the way it spawned an entire literature of loss. While the most famous accounts of the Great Fire, by diarists Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, didn’t see the light of day until the 19th century, broadside ballads with titles such as “The Londoners’ Lamentation” and “London Mourning in Ashes” began to appear on the blackened streets within weeks.

Some were eloquent in their simplicity: “Old London that, / Hath stood in State, / above six hundred years, / In six days space / Woe and alas! / is burn’d and drown’d in tears.” But there were also heroic couplets and Pindaric odes and Latin verses. There were outrageously mannered compositions ”“ “And still the surly flame doth fiercer hiss / By an Antiperistasis” ”“ and conceits of metaphysical weirdness. The makeshift camps outside the City walls were so full of sleeping refugees that the area was “the Counterfeit of the Great Bed of Ware”.

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