Daily Archives: December 19, 2018

(Economist Erasmus Blog) In post-Soviet lands, theology and politics are hard to disentangle

IN MOST Western democracies, including those like Denmark and England which for historical reasons have a state church, the fortunes of this or that form of faith are mainly treated as a matter for the religion’s own adherents. In a context of religious freedom, rival creeds ebb and flow as they offer their spiritual wares and vie for souls. But the further east you travel in Europe, and the further you go into lands where state-sponsored atheism once prevailed, the more likely it becomes that religion will be treated as a matter of high politics.
Over the weekend, as a gathering of bishops in Kiev formally proclaimed an independent Ukrainian church, one striking feature of the proceedings was the omnipresence of President Petro Poroshenko (pictured, above left). He has tied his political fortunes to the successful establishment of a national Orthodox church, a body to which most Ukrainian citizens can comfortably adhere. And as the bishops chose one of their number, a 39-year-old prelate called Epifany Dumenko (pictured, above centre), as their primate, the Ukrainian head of state hailed the election as a landmark in national history: a moment at which Ukrainians stood up to Russia’s worldly leader Vladimir Putin and its spiritual leader Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

He declared:“This is a church without Putin, this is a church without Kirill, a church without prayers for the Russian state or Russian forces, because Russian [state] power and Russian troops are killing killing Ukrainians. But it is a church with [the presence of] God….”

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Posted in Uncategorized

(NYT) Addicted to Vaped Nicotine, Teenagers Have No Clear Path to Quitting

A Harvard addiction medicine specialist is getting calls from distraught parents around the country. A Stanford psychologist is getting calls from rattled school officials around the world. A federal agency has ordered a public hearing on the issue.

Alarmed by the addictive nature of nicotine in e-cigarettes and its impact on the developing brain, public health experts are struggling to address a surging new problem: how to help teenagers quit vaping.

Until now, the storm over e-cigarettes has largely focused on how to keep the products away from minors. But the pervasiveness of nicotine addiction among teenagers who already use the devices is now sinking in — and there is no clear science or treatment to help them stop.

“Nobody is quite sure what to do with those wanting to quit, as this is all so new,” said Ira Sachnoff, president of Peer Resource Training and Consulting in San Francisco, which trains students to educate peers about smoking and vaping. “We are all searching for quit ideas and services for this new nicotine delivery method. It is desperately needed.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Teens / Youth

A Prayer to Begin the Day from The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory

O God of hope, fill us, we beseech thee, with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope by the power of thy Holy Spirit, and show forth our thankfulness to thee in trustful and courageous lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: Services of Praise and Prayer for Occasional Use in Churches (New York: Oxford University Press, 1933)

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; from of old their condemnation has not been idle, and their destruction has not been asleep.

For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomor′rah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example to those who were to be ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the wicked (for by what that righteous man saw and heard as he lived among them, he was vexed in his righteous soul day after day with their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

–2 Peter 2:1-10a

Posted in Theology: Scripture