Category : History

(NBC) Wonderful Story–Man Travels 10,000 Miles to Return Flag to Fallen Soldier’s Family

During World War II, Marvin Strombo found a flag on the body of a fallen Japanese soldier. 73 years later, the 93-year-old veteran is bringing it back to that man’s family.

Watch it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Japan, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces

(CEN) Andrew Carey–Disestablishment is now the only option

It was around the time of the same-sex marriage legislation that it finally became clear that the establishment of the Church of England had become harmful. The very fact that the state had to legislate the so-called quadruple lock, which banned the Church of England from being bound by the state’s redefinition of marriage, highlighted the absurdity of the arrangements.

In turn, politicians themselves are endangering the establishment by their attitudes. Theresa May has every right as a communicant member of the Church of England to an opinion on the theology of same-sex marriage, but no right to use her position as a Prime Minister to prevail or persuade the Church of England. In spite of the headlines, she probably has not overstepped the mark but her colleagues have.

Justine Greening, Equalities Minister, in her enthusiasm for transsexual rights, positively advocates the Church to change its position. Her religious illiteracy was trumped, though, by the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, who famously urged the Church to ‘get with the programme’. Cameron once compared his faith to the dodgy radio reception in the Chilterns – ‘it comes and goes’. And it was Cameron who presided over the ever-building pressure for a change in the Church’s relationship.

By interfering in the Church of England’s own decision-making with his indefensible ‘lock’ he made it impossible to defend the Church’s establishment. His breezy, braying Etonian interventions were representative of religious illiteracy that is now widespread in the Palace of Westminster.

In a matter of five years or so, conservative religious attitudes to marriage are now regarded as extremism or hate speech. The Church of England has no choice but to flee the relationship it has with the state. To stay is to risk having a relationship like the official Chinese church has with the Communist Party.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(TGC) Tim Keller–Race, the Gospel, and the Moment

Twentieth-century fascist movements that made absolute values out of “Blut und Boden” (“Blood and Soil”)­—putting one race and one nation’s good above the good of all—also claimed to champion traditional family values and moral virtues over against the decadence of relativistic modern culture. Even though they were no friends of orthodox Christianity (see Adolf Hitler’s heretical “Positive Christianity” movement), they could and can still appeal to people within our own circles. Internet outreach from white nationalist organizations can radicalize people who are disaffected by moral decline in society. So it is absolutely crucial to speak up out about the biblical teaching on racism—not just now, but routinely. We need to make those in our circles impervious to this toxic teaching.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Evangelicals, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Albert Mohler–Letter from Berlin: The Lessons of History+the Heresy of Racial Superiority

Imagine, then, how the news from Charlottesville, Virginia breaks in Berlin. A demonstration billed as an effort to “Unite the Right” leads to counter protests and violence. Among those who attended the demonstration on Friday night were self-identified neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Photos quickly appeared in Berlin, showing protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia — in the United States of America — offering the raised arm of the Nazi salute.

Germany is all too aware of where claims of racial superiority lead. Just today, in the service of the Kaiser Wilhelm Church, a martyr of the Confessing Church was remembered. Pastor Werner Sylton was a Lutheran pastor, but he was from a Jewish family. He is believed to have saved more than 1,000 Jewish converts to Christianity by helping them escape to other nations. He was arrested by the Gestapo, sent to Dachau, and eventually murdered by gas in 1942.

As Berlin awoke this morning to photos of Hitler salutes in Virginia, there was news of a car driven into a crowd protesting against white supremacy, of one woman killed in the attack, and of two law enforcement officers killed in a helicopter crash. This is America?

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Germany, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WEF) John Broich–Dunkirk survivors’ terror didn’t end when they were rescued

Documenting the reality of those shell-shocked survivors is what London’s Imperial War Museum had in mind when it recorded interviews of scores of veterans in the 1990s and early 2000s. Those interviews show that the horror stayed with many of them long after they were freed from a deathtrap between the German Army, the Luftwaffe and the sea.

As a WWII historian, I’ve found those tapes – many free to stream – substantiate the film’s depictions of anguish. But, even more, they add the dimension of time and the long echoes of that anguish which the film can’t capture.

On his 1999 recording, Will Harvey tells how shrapnel from a German bomb tore through his legs as he waited for his chance to board a ship. In the pain and confusion, he mistakenly thought his legs were gone. “You lost a bit of your senses.”

His voice cracks, but he covers it up with an out-of-place laugh. These are commonplace in the tapes, along with obvious restraint and overall evasion of grim details.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Germany, Health & Medicine, History, Military / Armed Forces

(Guardian) Shocking figures: US academics find ‘dramatic’ growth of swearing in books

Mark Twain wrote: “There ought to be a room in every house to swear in,” because “it’s dangerous to have to repress an emotion like that”. Today, the great American novelist might have applauded the increase in cursing, with a new study identifying a “dramatic” increase in swear words in American literature over the last 60 years.

Sifting through text from almost 1m books, the study found that “&^%$#$%” was used 678 times more often in the mid-2000s than the early 1950s, occurrences of “)*&^!@#$$%” multiplied 69 times, and “&^%$$#!@(*&” was 168 times more frequent.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Language

(Atlantic) Kurt Andersen–How America Lost Its Mind

When did america become untethered from reality?

I first noticed our national lurch toward fantasy in 2004, after President George W. Bush’s political mastermind, Karl Rove, came up with the remarkable phrase reality-based community. People in “the reality-based community,” he told a reporter, “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality … That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” A year later, The Colbert Report went on the air. In the first few minutes of the first episode, Stephen Colbert, playing his right-wing-populist commentator character, performed a feature called “The Word.” His first selection: truthiness. “Now, I’m sure some of the ‘word police,’ the ‘wordinistas’ over at Webster’s, are gonna say, ‘Hey, that’s not a word!’ Well, anybody who knows me knows that I’m no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They’re elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn’t true. Or what did or didn’t happen. Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914? If I wanna say it happened in 1941, that’s my right. I don’t trust books—they’re all fact, no heart … Face it, folks, we are a divided nation … divided between those who think with their head and those who know with their heart … Because that’s where the truth comes from, ladies and gentlemen—the gut.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Entertainment, History, Movies & Television, Philosophy, Psychology, Science & Technology

(WSJ) Newton the Faithful: David Davis reviews ‘Priest of Nature’ by Rob Iliffe

Mr. Iliffe, a professor of history at Oxford, documents the depth and breadth of Newton’s religious inquiry, explaining how, in thousands of manuscript pages, Newton explored the mechanics of optics and motion alongside diligent theological research. His topics were varied, covering biblical prophecy, God’s infinitude, the Incarnation, idolatry and the nature of the soul. Mr. Iliffe demonstrates how Newton pored over biblical scholarship, exhibiting a mastery of Greek as well as the chief sources on church history.

Interestingly, Newton’s study of prophecy overlapped the period of his most groundbreaking scientific work—in part because the discipline with which he approached one intensified the rigor of the other. Newton’s underlying assumption was that religious truth was itself rational, because it, like science, was an explanation of the divine order. While Newton did not use the Bible as a book of science, his science was grounded in Christian assumptions that “humans were made in the image of God” and that rational thought could provide insight into the Creator God. His interpretation of scripture developed a universal order, through which all prophecy could be understood—assumptions that also provided a framework for the mathematic system of Newton’s “Principia….”

Read it all.

Posted in Books, History, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Story in Pictures) the World before Social media

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, History, Science & Technology

(Church Times) Class divide at church must be addressed, new study suggests

The Church in the UK is dominated by the middle class, who must eschew superior attitudes and empower working-class culture if the dearth of working-class people in their congregations is to be reversed.

This is the message of A Church for the Poor (David C. Cook), a new book whose authors, Martin Charlesworth and Natalie Williams, straddle the class divide.

“If the poor or working-class are uncomfortable in our churches, we don’t need to convert them to our middle-class ways,” the authors write. “We need to move out of our comfort zones and accept them as they are.”

With a warning against “an attitude of superiority”, they cite sermons that disparage Sun readers, and social-media postings by Christians who argued for an IQ test before people could vote in the EU referendum. Churches must “consciously empower the sub-culture of the incoming group”, they argue.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture

(CEN) Disestablishment is now the C of E only option

Justine Greening, Equalities Minister, in her enthusiasm for transsexual rights, positively advocates the Church to change its position. Her religious illiteracy was trumped, though, by the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, who famously urged the Church to ‘get with the programme’. Cameron once compared his faith to the dodgy radio reception in the Chilterns – ‘it comes and goes’. And it was Cameron who presided over the ever-building pressure for a change in the Church’s relationship.

By interfering in the Church of England’s own decision-making with his indefensible ‘lock’ he made it impossible to defend the Church’s establishment. His breezy, braying Etonian interventions were representative of religious illiteracy that is now widespread in the Palace of Westminster.

In a matter of five years or so, conservative religious attitudes to marriage are now regarded as extremism or hate speech. The Church of England has no choice but to flee the relationship it has with the state. To stay is to risk having a relationship like the official Chinese church has with the Communist Party.

We need to beware the temptation of becoming a tame, domesticated state Church that desperately yearns for official approval and gains influence by supporting the short-term interests of politicians. The other danger is to be forced by the state to change doctrine because of the pressure to conform to new secular orthodoxies.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Guardian) Sam Shepard in 2014: ‘America is on its way out as a culture’

These days, he reads a lot of Irish writers. “They are head and shoulders above,” he says. “It’s the ability to take language and spin it.” And a lot of South Americans, too, “because they seem to have a handle on the ability to cross time and depth.” He struggles to think of contemporary American writers he rates, beyond Denis Johnson. “The thing about American writers is that as a group they get stuck in the same idea: that we’re a continent and the world falls away after us. And it’s just nonsense.”

Did he ever get stuck in that idea? “I couldn’t see beyond the motel room and the desert and highway,” he says slowly, and turns his glass a little. “I couldn’t see that there was another world. To me, the whole world was encompassed in that. I thought that was the only world that mattered.

“And it’s still there,” he adds, “but now it’s redundant because everything’s replaced by strip malls.”

The situation, he believes, is irredeemable. “We’re on our way out,” he says of America. “Anybody that doesn’t realise that is looking like it’s Christmas or something. We’re on our way out, as a culture. America doesn’t make anything anymore! The Chinese make it! Detroit’s a great example. All of those cities that used to be something. If you go to a truck stop in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, you’ll probably see the face of America. How desperate we are. Really desperate. Just raw.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., History, Movies & Television, Theatre/Drama/Plays

(Local Paper) South Carolina historian Joseph McGill wants to observe the 1619 start of slavery in America

They were kidnapped from towns in Ndongo, given Christian names such as Isabella and Anthony, chained onto cramped bunks aboard a Portuguese slave ship for an 8,000-mile trip to Mexico. The ship didn’t make it.

It was plundered at sea by English pirates sailing under a Dutch flag. The pirates brought “20 and odd” of the African captives to the Jamestowne colony, where they were sold as “victualls,” or supplies.

The date was August 1619, and the sale is considered the beginning of slavery as an institution in what would become the United States.

Joseph McGill doesn’t think that should be forgotten.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Africa, America/U.S.A., England / UK, History, Mexico, Portugal, Race/Race Relations

(Flowing Data) Marrying Later, Staying Single Longer–Here’s the shifts between 1900 and 2015

Everyone has their own timeline for marriage (if at all), and a number of factors can play a part, whether it be finishing an education, establishing a career, or finding the right person. But looking over the past century, as a whole, people are staying single longer and marrying later.

Using data from the decennial census and the American Community Survey, you can see this shift.

The charts that follow show the timelines in animated form. Each line represents the percentage of people with a certain marital status, given their age. The time span is every 10 years, from 1900 to 2010 and ending at 2015.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Marriage & Family

(AM) Response to the Archbishops’ statement on the Decriminalisation of Homosexual Acts

We welcome the Archbishops’ reminder that the Church of England supported ending the criminalisation of homosexual behaviour among consenting adults, which is no more appropriate than criminalising adultery. We are also glad that they speak of homosexual people who want to follow Christ and are drawn by his love.

However, in calling people to him, Jesus speaks of his yoke and burden not ours. He refers to the yoke or challenge of living the kind of spiritual and moral life he expects. He promises that if we follow him he shares the burden and challenge to enable us to overcome those aspects of our lives that still need to conform to his pattern and teaching. He does not comfort and console us by accepting what is unacceptable to him.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology: Scripture