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(The State) DHEC reports South Carolina’s lowest coronavirus case count in three weeks at 527

South Carolina recorded its fewest new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in three weeks Tuesday, as health officials reported 527 cases and an additional 22 deaths related to the coronavirus.

That figure is just below the 528 cases reported Sept. 20 and is the lowest since the 380 cases reported on Sept. 8. Since the global pandemic first reached South Carolina in March, the Department of Health and Environmental Control has recorded 143,495 confirmed cases and 3,173 deaths.

Amid a surge in free testing opportunities in the Columbia area coordinated by a federal response team, DHEC reported 4,007 individual test results Tuesday, putting the percentage of tests returning positive at 13.2%. The rolling seven-day average of positive tests is 11.7%.

The average rate of positive tests continues to decline from the state’s high points in July, when it consistently topped 20%, but it is still above the 5% mark health experts, including DHEC state epidemiologist Linda Bell, have cited as a goal.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, State Government

(NPR) ‘This Is Too Much’: Working Moms Are Reaching The Breaking Point During The Pandemic

Youli Lee is proud of the years she worked for the U.S. government, prosecuting cybercrime in some of the world’s darkest places. These days, she’s the one hiding out — mostly from her three children, ages 8, 11, and 13.

“I just actually locked my door so that nobody could come here,” she says, from her bedroom.

The constant interruptions from children are happening in households across the country. Nearly half of all school districts in the U.S. started the school year with remote learning, including Lee’s district in Fairfax County, Va. With the added complexities of managing multiple Zoom calls at work and online learning for the kids, parents – especially moms — are hitting a breaking point.

For Lee, the juggling act fell apart in the spring. Her husband, a doctor, was at the hospital seven days a week while she worked from home, struggling to maintain her own grueling schedule of nonstop work calls. That went on for weeks until she realized that her younger two children were routinely skipping lunch. Without the structure of the school day, the kids never quite knew when it was time to eat.

So, when news came that the kids’ schools would only partially reopen at best, she realized that was it. “I can’t keep this up,” she remembers thinking. “This is too much.”

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family

(David French) Should Americans Worry About Amy Coney Barrett and ‘People of Praise’?

The more I looked into People of Praise, the more I had two simultaneous thoughts: First, many millions of American Christians see echoes of their lives in Judge Barrett’s story. And second, lots of folks really don’t understand both spiritual authority and spiritual community. The concerns about Barrett reflect in part the glaring gaps in religious knowledge in elite American media.

In other words, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet was right when he told NPR’s Terry Gross, “We don’t get religion. We don’t get the role of religion in people’s lives.”

So let’s try to “get religion,” especially in the context of close-knit religious fellowships like People of Praise. First, outside of true cults, the concept of spiritual authority and spiritual “headship” is quite divorced from the lurid fears and imaginations of many Americans—and it rarely has anything at all to do with law, politics, or the American Constitution. It has much more to do with religious doctrine and religious practice—orthodoxy and orthopraxy. And words and terms that sound strange to secular ears are simply biblical and traditional to countless Christian Americans.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

Eleanor Parker–Four Medieval Texts for Michaelmas

Today is Michaelmas, the golden autumn feast of St Michael and All Angels. It falls at perhaps the most beautiful time of the year, on the cusp between the last glow of fiery summer and the yellow-gold ‘fallowing’ leaves of autumn; the wings of Michael and his angels seem to flutter in harmony with the unleaving of the trees. ‘Michaelmas’ has been the English name for the feast since at least the eleventh century, and it’s a lovely one in every context: Michaelmas daisies, Michaelmas fairs, Michaelmas moons, and more. (Terms, too.) The Anglo-Saxon poem the Menologium alliteratively calls it the ‘high-angel’s tide in harvest’, i.e. ‘the archangel’s day in autumn’:

Hwæt, we weorðiað wide geond eorðan
heahengles tiid on hærfeste,
Michaheles, swa þæt menigo wat,
fif nihtum ufor… emnihtes dæg.

Lo, we honour widely throughout the earth
the high-angel’s tide in harvest,
Michael, as the multitude know,
five nights after the equinox day.

St Michael is particularly associated with heights, and churches on hills and in high places were very often dedicated to him. Dragon-slayer, guardian of humanity, and bearer of the scales of divine justice, St Michael was an immensely popular figure in the Middle Ages, and in this post are four pieces about St Michael by medieval English writers…

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Michael and All Angels

O everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the ministries of angels and men in a wonderful order: Mercifully grant that, as thy holy angels always serve and worship thee in heaven, so by thy appointment they may help and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Prayer Manual

O Thou, Who sendest forth light and createst the dawn, making Thy sun to shine upon the evil and on the good: enlighten the blindness of our hearts by the knowledge of Thy truth, and lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us; that in Thy light we may see light and behold at length in the light of grace that light of glory everlasting; and save us, good Lord.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Hear the word of the LORD, O people of Israel; for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or kindness, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, killing, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds and murder follows murder. Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air; and even the fish of the sea are taken away. Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest. You shall stumble by day, the prophet also shall stumble with you by night; and I will destroy your mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame. They feed on the sin of my people; they are greedy for their iniquity. And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways, and requite them for their deeds. They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the harlot, but not multiply; because they have forsaken the LORD to cherish harlotry.

–Hosea 4:1-10

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(NBC) A Boy and a Puppy Bond Through a Similar Struggle

‘At just two years old, Bentley Boyers has undergone two surgeries after being born with a cleft lip. His family recently adopted a puppy with a cleft lip, and they’ve formed a special connection.’

Watch it all.

Posted in Animals, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(NPR) Health On Wheels: Tricked-Out RVs Deliver Addiction Treatment To Rural Colorado

Tonja Jimenez is far from the only person driving an RV down Colorado’s rural highways. But unlike the other rigs, her 34-foot-long motor home is equipped as an addiction treatment clinic on wheels, bringing lifesaving treatment to the northeastern corner of the state, where patients with substance use disorders are often left to fend for themselves.

As in many states, access to addiction treatment remains a challenge in Colorado, so a new state program has transformed six RVs into mobile clinics to reach isolated farming communities and remote mountain hamlets. In recent months, they’ve become even more crucial. During the coronavirus pandemic, even as brick-and-mortar addiction clinics have closed or stopped taking new patients, these six-wheeled clinics have pretty much kept going.

Their health teams perform in-person testing and counseling. And as broadband access isn’t always a given in these rural spots, the RVs also provide a telehealth bridge to the medical providers back in the big cities. Working from afar, these providers can prescribe medicine to fight addiction and the ever-present risk of overdose, an especially looming concern amid the isolation and stress of the pandemic.

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Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine

(AI) Archbp Foley Beach–GAFCON general secretary Ben Kwashi is battling cancer, please pray for him

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus our Saviour and only Lord!

I am writing on behalf of the Gafcon family to let you know that Archbishop Ben Kwashi, our General Secretary and Archbishop of Jos, Nigeria, is undergoing treatment for cancer. Archbishop Ben & Mama Gloria along with their children are grateful for your prayers and concern.

At this stage there is little to report and the family asks for privacy while treatment continues and further tests are carried out….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Nigeria, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained

Monday Food For Thought–JI Packer on the Majesty of God

How may we form a right idea of God’s greatness? The Bible teaches us two steps that we must take. The first is to remove from our thoughts of God limits that would make him small. The second is to compare him with powers and forces which we regard as great.

For an example of what the FIRST step involves, took at Psalm 139, where the psalmist meditates on the infinite and unlimited nature of God’s presence, and knowledge, and power, in relation to people. We are always in God’s presence, he says. You can cut yourself off from your fellow human beings, but you cannot get away from your Creator. “You hem me in—behind and before…. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens [the sky], you are there; if I make my bed in the depths [the underworld], you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,” I still cannot escape from the presence of God: “even there your hand will guide me” (vv. 5-10). Nor can darkness, which hides me from human sight, shield me from God’s gaze (vv. 11-12). And just as there are no bounds to his presence with me, so there are no limits to his knowledge of me. Just as I am never left alone, so I never go unnoticed. “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise [all my actions and movements]; you perceive my thoughts [all that goes on in my mind] from afar…. You are familiar with all my ways [all my habits, plans, aims, desires, as well as all my life to date]. Before a word is on my tongue [spoken, or meditated] you know it completely, O LORD” (vv. 1-4). I can hide my heart, and my past, and my future plans, .from those around me, but I cannot hide anything from God….

For an example of what the SECOND step involves, look at Isaiah 40. Here God speaks to people whose mood is the mood of many Christians today-despondent people, cowed people, secretly despairing people; people against whom the tide of events has been running for a very long time, people who have ceased to believe that the cause of Christ can ever prosper again. Now see how God through his prophet reasons with them. Look at the TASKS I have done, he says. Could you do them? Could any man do them? “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?” (v. 12). Are you wise enough, and mighty enough, to do things like that? But I am, or I could not have made this world at all. Behold your God! Look now at the NATIONS, the prophet continues: the great national powers, at whose mercy you feel yourselves to be; Assyria, Egypt, Babylon—you stand in awe of them, and feel afraid of them, so vastly do their armies and resources exceed yours. But now consider how God stands related to those mighty forces which you fear so much. “Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket, they are regarded as dust on the scales;. . . Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing” (Is 40:15, 17). You tremble before the nations, because you are much weaker than they; but God is so much greater than the nations that they are as nothing to him. Behold your God! Look next at the WORLD. Consider the size of it, the variety and complexity of it, think of the nearly five thousand millions who populate it, and of the vast sky above it. What puny figures you and I are, by comparison with the whole planet on which we live! Yet what is this entire mighty planet by comparison with God? “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in” (Is 40:22). The world dwarfs us all, but God dwarfs the world. The world is his footstool, above which he sits secure. He is greater than the world and all that is in it, so that all the feverish activity of its bustling millions does no more to affect him than the chirping and jumping of grasshoppers in the summer sun does to affect us. Behold your God! Look, fourthly, at the world’s GREAT PEOPLE-the governors whose laws and policies determine the welfare of millions; the would-be world rulers, the dictators and empire builders, who have it in their power to plunge the globe into war. Think of Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar, think of Alexander, Napoleon, Hitler. Think, today, of Clinton and Saddam Hussein. Do you suppose that it is really these top men who determine which way the world shall go? Think again, for God is greater than the world’s great men. “He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing” (Is 40:23). He is, as the prayer book says, “the only ruler of princes.” Behold your God! But we have not finished yet. Look, lastly, at the STARS. The most universally awesome experience that mankind knows is to stand alone on a clear night and look at the stars. Nothing gives a greater sense of remoteness and distance; nothing makes one feel more strongly one’s own littleness and insignificance. And we who live in the space age can supplement this universal experience with our scientific knowledge of the actual factors involved—millions of stars in number, billions of light years in distance. Our minds reel; our imaginations cannot grasp it; when we try to conceive of unfathomable depths of outer space, we are left mentally numb and dizzy. But what is this to God? “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing” (Is 40:26). It is God who brings out the stars; it was God who first set them in space; he is their Maker and Master—they are all in his hands and subject to his will. Such are his power and his majesty. Behold your God!

–JI Packer, Knowing God, cited in part in yesterday’s sermon by yours truly

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon: Up, Down and the Staggering love of God (Phil 2:5-11)

The sermon starts about 19:50 in.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Paula and Eustochium

Compel us, O God, to attend diligently to thy Word, as didst thy faithful servants Paula and Eustochium, that, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, we may find it profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness; and that thereby we may be made wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Prayer Manual

Protect us, O Lord, and prosper us as we labour in our vocations, that our work may be done with Thy blessing and be crowned with Thine approval; through Him Who was numbered among the craftsmen, Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

–Luke 5:1-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

C H Spurgeon on God’s Condescension in Philippians 2

What will not Christ do for us who have been given to him by his Father? There is no measure to his love; you cannot comprehend his grace. Oh, how we ought to love him, and serve him! The lower he stoops to save us, the higher we ought to lift him in our adoring reverence. Blessed be his name, he stoops, and stoops, and stoops, and, when he reaches our level, and becomes man, he still stoops, and stoops, and stoops lower and deeper yet: “Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself.”

–C H. Spurgeon from a sermon on June 05, 1890 quoted by yours truly in the morning sermon here in the parish in which I serve

Posted in Christology, Church History, Preaching / Homiletics

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Join us this Sunday, September 27, 2020, as we, in the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, pray for the work and…

Posted by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina on Friday, September 25, 2020

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Prayer Manual

We heartily beseech Thee of Thy goodness, O Lord, to deliver us from adversity to the body and from all noxious things which tempt and beset the soul: and as Thou dost mercifully ordain that we may dwell in outward tranquility, so grant to us also Thine inward peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!

–Psalm 66:20

Posted in Theology: Scripture

President Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court seat

President Donald Trump on Saturday announced his nomination of federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The move to select Barrett sets up what promises to be a bitter confirmation fight less than two months before Election Day — an unexpected twist in an election season already fraught with the coronavirus pandemic and attempts by the president to undermine confidence in the result.

Read it all.

Posted in Supreme Court

Saturday Food for Thought–There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy by Frederick W. Faber (1854)

“For the love of God is broader than the measures of man’s mind; and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind. But we make his love too narrow by false limits of our own; and we magnify his strictness with a zeal he will not own.”

"For the love of God is broader than the measures of man's mind; and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind….

Posted by St Mary's Shortlands – Church of England on Sunday, April 7, 2019

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

(NYT) How Do Children Fight Off the Coronavirus?

Why the coronavirus affects children much less severely than adults has become an enduring mystery of the pandemic. The vast majority of children do not get sick; when they do, they usually recover.

The first study to compare the immune response in children with that in adults suggests a reason for children’s relative good fortune. In children, a branch of the immune system that evolved to protect against unfamiliar pathogens rapidly destroys the coronavirus before it wreaks damage on their bodies, according to the research, published this week in Science Translational Medicine.

“The bottom line is, yes, children do respond differently immunologically to this virus, and it seems to be protecting the kids,” said Dr. Betsy Herold, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Albert Einstein College of Medicine who led the study.

In adults, the immune response is much more muted, she and her colleagues found.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Lancelot Andrewes

Almighty God, who gavest thy servant Lancelot Andrewes the gift of thy holy Spirit and made him a man of prayer and a faithful pastor of thy people: Perfect in us what is lacking of thy gifts, of faith, to increase it, of hope, to establish it, of love, to kindle it, that we may live in the life of thy grace and glory; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Bishop Nicholas Ridley (1500-1555)

Heavenly Father, the Father of all wisdom, understanding, and true strength, we beseech Thee look mercifully upon Thy servants, and send Thy Holy Spirit into their hearts, that when they must join to fight in the field for the glory of Thy holy Name, then they, strengthened with the defense of Thy right hand, may manfully stand in the confession of Thy faith, and continue in the same unto their lives’ end.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.

–Psalm 87:1-3

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Second wave will be harder, Archbishops warn

Divisions are deeper now — on the brink of a second wave of coronavirus infections — than they were six months ago when the nation first went into lockdown, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have warned in a joint letter to all bishops on Wednesday.

The letter speaks of the inevitability of further national and local restrictions as the winter months approach, and the responsibility of the Church to “avoid mistakes” and respond in the right way to a more complex situation than before. In March, the Church was criticised for going beyond the government advice at the time and ordering church buildings to close, even to clergy (News, 24 March).

“We will need to be more critical in our response to restrictions that are above and beyond government regulations,” the Archbishops write, “helping the Church at the local level, in parish and diocese, steer a course that is marked by responsible action towards each other, care for the most vulnerable, and witness for the poor and disadvantaged who are suffering disproportionately.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine

Friday Mental Health Break–James Taylor and YoYo Ma: Hard Times Come Again No More

Posted in Music

(WSJ) How South Korea Successfully Managed Coronavirus

South Korea appears to have cracked the code for managing the coronavirus. Its solution is straightforward, flexible and relatively easy to replicate.

The country has averaged about 77 new daily cases since early April and recently suppressed a spike in infections. Adjusting for population, that would be the equivalent of about 480 cases a day in the U.S., where new daily cases have averaged about 38,000 over the same period. Total deaths in the U.S. due to Covid-19 just surpassed 200,000.

South Korea halted virus transmission better than any other wealthy country during the pandemic’s early months. It was about twice as effective as the U.S. and U.K. at preventing infected individuals from spreading the disease to others, according to a recent report from a United Nations-affiliated research network. South Korea’s economy is expected to decline by just 0.8% this year, the best among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s forecasts for member nations.

The key to South Korea’s success came from blending technology and testing like no other country, centralized control and communication—and a constant fear of failure.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, South Korea, Theology

(MIT News) Why social media has changed the world — and how to fix it

The numbers make this clear. In 2005, about 7 percent of American adults used social media. But by 2017, 80 percent of American adults used Facebook alone. About 3.5 billion people on the planet, out of 7.7 billion, are active social media participants. Globally, during a typical day, people post 500 million tweets, share over 10 billion pieces of Facebook content, and watch over a billion hours of YouTube video.

As social media platforms have grown, though, the once-prevalent, gauzy utopian vision of online community has disappeared. Along with the benefits of easy connectivity and increased information, social media has also become a vehicle for disinformation and political attacks from beyond sovereign borders.

“Social media disrupts our elections, our economy, and our health,” says Aral, who is the David Austin Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Now Aral has written a book about it. In “The Hype Machine,” published this month by Currency, a Random House imprint, Aral details why social media platforms have become so successful yet so problematic, and suggests ways to improve them.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Sergius

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us, we pray thee, from an inordinate love of this world, that inspired by the devotion of thy servant Sergius of Moscow, we may serve thee with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Russia, Spirituality/Prayer