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(WSJ) Moms in Middle Age: Rarely Alone, Often Online and Increasingly Lonely

Middle age is a crowded time. It’s also a lonely one. Work and family demands leave little time for nurturing friendships, particularly for women.

Pre-pandemic, conversations about loneliness often centered on men, with talk of a “loneliness epidemic.” But during lockdown, Generation X women, who range in age from 41 to 57 years old, reported the sharpest rise in loneliness, according to a survey of more than 1,000 adults conducted in the spring of 2020 by the Roots of Loneliness Project, a research organization. And the increase in social isolation reported by women living with children was also greatest among those from Gen X, according to an unpublished portion of the survey shared with The Wall Street Journal.

For women feeling burned out from holding family life and work together, social media has typically been the most convenient place to vent and seek connection. But going online has surfaced feelings of inadequacy and loneliness, many say.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Women

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Timothy and Titus

Almighty God, who didst call Timothy and Titus to do the work of evangelists and teachers, and didst make them strong to endure hardship: Strengthen us to stand fast in adversity, and to live godly and righteous lives in this present time, that with sure confidence we may look for our blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from B F Westcott

O God, the God of all goodness and of all grace, who art worthy of a greater love than we can either give or understand: Fill our hearts, we beseech thee, with such love toward thee that nothing may seem too hard for us to do or to suffer, in obedience to thy will; and grant that thus loving thee, we may become daily more like unto thee, and finally obtain the crown of life which thou hast promised to those that love thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Hence even the first covenant was not ratified without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

–Hebrews 9:15-28

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(FT) China launches internet ‘purification’ campaign for lunar new year

China has launched a month-long campaign to clean up online content during next week’s lunar new year festival, in its latest effort to reshape behaviour on the internet.

The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s top internet regulator, has instructed officials to sweep away “illegal content and information” and target celebrity fan groups, online abuse, money worship, child influencers and the homepages of media sites.

The campaign will apply the tradition of cleaning house before the new year, the most important holiday in China, to the internet, envisioning a “purification” of the online world.

The edict is the latest step in Beijing’s clampdown on the entertainment industry as authorities purge content deemed immoral, unpatriotic and non-mainstream from online culture.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, China

National University of Singapore (NUS) research team sets new efficiency record for solar cell technology

A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has set a new record in the power conversion efficiency of solar cells made using perovskite and organic materials. This technological breakthrough paves the way for flexible, light-weight, low cost and ultra-thin photovoltaic cells which are ideal for powering vehicles, boats, blinds and other applications.

“Technologies for clean and renewable energy are extremely important for carbon reduction. Solar cells that directly convert solar energy into electricity are among the most promising clean energy technologies. High power conversion efficiency of solar cells is critical for generating more electrical power using a limited area and this, in turn, reduces the total cost of generating solar energy,” explained lead researcher Presidential Young Professor Hou Yi, who is from the NUS Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and also leading a “Perovskite-based Multi-junction Solar Cells group” at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore at NUS.

“The main motivation of this study is to improve the power conversion efficiency of perovskite/organic tandem solar cells. In our latest work, we have demonstrated a power conversion efficiency of 23.6% – this is the best performance for this type of solar cells to date,” added Dr Chen Wei, Research Fellow at the NUS Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the first author of this work.

Read it all.

Posted in Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Conversion of Saint Paul

O God, who by the preaching of thine apostle Paul hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same by following the holy doctrine which he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

Serene Son of God, whose will subdued the troubled waters and laid to rest the fears of men: Let thy majesty master us, thy power of calm control us; that for our fears we may have faith, and for our disquietude perfect trust in thee; who dost live and govern all things, world without end.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

–Hebrews 9:11-14

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Pzephizo) Ian Paul–On the appointment of senior leaders in the Church of England

The Church of England keeps asking its gay members to go against their convictions and consciences.

Her most recent victim is the new Archbishops’ Appointments Adviser Stephen Knott. He is a gay man who has married his partner in another member church of the Anglican Communion, the Scottish Episcopal Church. He clearly disagrees with the Church of England’s apostolic teaching that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman: he has signaled that in what is surely the most public and permanent way possible. And yet the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have asked him to take charge of the process of appointing the Church of England’s most senior leaders (deans, bishops, and archbishops) who are all duty bound to teach that he cannot be married in the sight of God. How can they have asked him to do something that must be so troubling to his convictions and conscience?

Perhaps he feels, or they have indicated, that this situation won’t be for that long. That soon, post Living in Love and Faith, he will be able to help appoint people who will be able to “bless” his same-sex marriage (indicate the Church of England’s half-hearted acceptance of it), or even allow people like him to get married as Anglicans south of the border too. If so, it is my convictions and conscience that the Church of England is going to trample on next – I am a gay Anglican who lives in the light of historic teaching that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As a result, I am single and celibate, in the reassuring knowledge that this is what my church has consistently asked of people like me. Am I soon to be told that, somehow, we’ve got it wrong for centuries? At what cost to me and my many spiritual forebears? I’m increasingly uncertain as to whether that matters to the archbishops when they appoint someone like Stephen Knott to such a senior and influential position.

Some will say that neither Stephen Knott nor myself need to worry too much because neither of us are clergy and it is only the ordained, and not lay officeholders, in the Church of England, who need to live in the light of the Church’s official teaching on marriage. This is an idea that has gained traction in recent years as part of an uneasy unofficial settlement that has kept liberals and traditionalists together. The Church of England’s victims this time have been gay clergy who have been disciplined when they have, like Stephen Knott, entered into a same-sex marriage (celibate civil partnerships are permitted). He will now, in theory, be partly responsible for making sure that no ordained man or woman in his position gains preferment in the Church of England – unless his appointment signals a change in the rules. How he can be asked to do this beggars belief, how gay clergy can put up with one rule for him and another for them also strains too many people’s convictions and consciences once again. He, I, may not be ordained but we are both in positions of authority in the Church of England and so surely need to be living in the light of her teaching in all areas of faith and conduct?

What is the solution to this personal struggle for so many of us?

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

‘Bored’ Grandma Turns The Tables On Phone Scammer

‘A Long Island woman received a scam call that her grandson was in a drunken car crash. She notified the police, who helped tackle the fraudster when he showed up demanding money.’ Watch it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance & Investing, Police/Fire, Science & Technology

(Telegraph) Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–Putin will never have another chance like this to overthrow the European strategic order

The Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington has laid out the likely options for the Kremlin in an essay by CIA veteran Philip Wasielewski and CSIS security chief Seth Jones.

Mr Putin could peel off the Black Sea coast and link up to the Crimea, perhaps pushing beyond Odessa to deprive Ukraine of its entire coast. However, the British warning on Saturday suggests that he aims for total decapitation of the Ukrainian state.

He could seize the whole of Orthodox Eastern Ukraine as far as the Dnieper River. But this would leave a large enough rump to survive as a viable state and permanent headache.

The conquest would have to include Kiev, the great prize for Mr Putin, who harks back to Kievan Rus as the ancient cradle of the Russian nation in his mythologised ethno-nationalist version of history. His 7,000 word manifesto published last year dismisses the Ukrainian state as the invention of Soviet cartographers.

Read it all (registration).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O God, who art the God of peace, mercifully grant that, as much as lieth in us, we may live at peace with all men; and if our outward peace be broken, yet do thou preserve peace in our hearts; through him who is the Prince of peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original)

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

After the two days he departed to Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast, for they too had gone to the feast. So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Caper’na-um there was an official whose son was ill. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was living. So he asked them the hour when he began to mend, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live”; and he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

–John 4:43-54

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from The Daily Service

God our Father, who hast created us in thine own image, with a mind to understand thy works, a heart to love thee, and a will to serve thee: Increase in us that knowledge, that love and that obedience, that we may grow daily in thy likeness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–W. E. Orchard, The Daily Service (Revised Edition); A Book of Public Worship; Divine Service (OUP, 1919 original)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the morning scripture readings

O God, thou art my God, I seek thee,
my soul thirsts for thee;
my flesh faints for thee,
as in a dry and weary land where no water is.
So I have looked upon thee in the sanctuary,
beholding thy power and glory.
Because thy steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise thee.
So I will bless thee as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on thy name.

–Psalm 63:1-4

Posted in Theology: Scripture

An Ad Clerum on Missions from Interim Pittsburgh ACNA Bishop Martyn Minns

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

It was 1985, and our 18-year-old daughter Helen was transferring through Miami International Airport on her way back home to Lafayette, Louisiana, from a short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic. She had been there leading a team of young people from our church, including our 16-year-old daughter Catherine and our 14-year-old son Jon, as part of a World Servants project. They had worked in a remote village with dirt roads and no running water. In two weeks they had built a simple church structure using concrete block and had also led a Vacation Bible School for the children of the community. It had been hard work, but they were thrilled by all that they had accomplished, and the villagers were overjoyed.

As she walked through the busy airport, Helen spotted “Charlotte” and a group of her old friends from high school. After the usual squeals of delight, Charlotte explained that they were on their way home from a week in Paris, where they had visited various museums and enjoyed many of the delights of that wonderful city. She asked Helen what she had been doing and looked appalled when our daughter described her two weeks of manual labor in the Dominican Republic.

“Why would you ever do such a thing?” Charlotte asked.

Short-term missions are not exactly new, but they have always been somewhat controversial….

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Missions

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Vincent

Almighty God, whose deacon Vincent, upheld by thee, was not terrified by threats nor overcome by torments: Strengthen us, we beseech thee, to endure all adversity with invincible and steadfast faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spain, Spirituality/Prayer

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

O Christ, to whom all authority is given both in heaven and earth: Transform our wills, cleanse our hearts, and enlighten our minds; that all our thoughts and desires being made obedient to thy pure and holy law, we may grow up in all things unto thee, and present ourselves a living sacrifice, to the praise and glory of thy name; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever.

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 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: Scripture

(Church Times) House of Bishops announces move to increase ethnic diversity at meetings

At least ten clergy of UK minority-ethnic / global-majority heritage (UKME / GMH) will be present at meetings of the House of Bishops within months, after its Standing Committee agreed a plan to address its lack of ethnic diversity.

Of the 53 places in the House of Bishops, only four are currently occupied by UKME/GMH bishops. Under plans agreed by the Standing Committee of the House on Thursday it will “ensure that at least 10 can be present, either as members as of right; as suffragan bishops appointed as participant observers, or as priests elected as participant observers”, a statement from Church House said.

“In addition to the four existing UKME/GMH members of the House, the plan will involve three further suffragans (two of whom were recently nominated as bishops) being invited to join the House as participant observers. There would also be three priests elected by serving UKME/GMH clergy.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology

(Economist leader) Momentum is building for war in Ukraine

The first world war became inevitable once mobilisation orders had been issued in Berlin, argued A.J.P. Taylor, a British historian. The complexities of early-20th-century railway timetables, upon which troop movements then depended, made any alteration virtually impossible. Modern armies do not suffer the same constraints. But as Russia sends more and more units to Ukraine’s borders, a grim momentum is building.

Last week’s diplomacy yielded nothing. Some of Vladimir Putin’s demands are impossible for nato to accept, as he well knew. (Essentially, he wants nato never to admit new members, and to remove its forces from any country Russia threatens.) On January 19th President Joe Biden said that he expects Russia to “move in” on Ukraine.

On January 14th hackers sabotaged Ukrainian government websites, getting them to display a poster of the Ukrainian flag and map crossed out, and warning Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect worse”. Over 100,000 Russian troops are massed on Ukraine’s eastern border, with field hospitals and fuel dumps. “Battalion tactical groups” have arrived in Belarus, a Kremlin client state north of Ukraine, in apparent preparation for a two-front attack that would divide Ukrainian forces and menace the capital, Kyiv. Only a trigger is lacking, and America says it has evidence that a “false flag” operation is planned to allow Russia to claim its men had been attacked by Ukraine. The odds of war seem perilously high.

Read it all (registration).

Posted in Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

The Church of England restricts investment in climate laggards

The Church of England’s National Investing Bodies (NIBs) are delivering on their 2018 commitment to General Synod to engage with and disinvest from high carbon emitting companies that are not making progress to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2023.

Twenty companies have made climate-related changes to stay off the Church’s restricted list since 2020.
Following extensive engagement efforts by the NIBs, nine companies made changes to meet the 2021 hurdles. As a result they stayed off the restricted list for a further year, while 28 companies that did not meet the latest climate hurdles were restricted.

These actions are part of the NIBs’ commitment to transitioning their portfolios away from companies that are unwilling to act and align their businesses with the Goals of the Paris Agreement. The climate hurdles were set by the NIBs using Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) data. Additional exacting hurdles will come into force in 2022 and 2023.

The NIBs are founding members of TPI and are investor engagement leads in the Climate Action 100+ (CA100+) global engagement initiative. As long-term investors, the NIBs will continue to engage with companies to meet their climate objectives and build alliances with like-minded investors to engage with company boards and executives.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Stock Market

(BBC) Stanwick man uses 72-year-old toaster every day

A man who uses his 72-year-old toaster every day said he was embracing the spirit of the wartime generation.

Jimmy James, from Stanwick, in Northamptonshire, said the toaster was manufactured in December 1949 and given to his parents as a wedding present.

The 69-year-old said it only needed repairing once every six or seven years.

Mr James said: “I was brought up by the wartime generation and encouraged to repair things and not throw them away.”

He inherited the Morphy Richards pop-up toaster after his father’s death in 1993.

The machine generally needs repairing “once every six or seven years”, he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, History, Marriage & Family

(FT) Gillian Tett om why we need to watch trucking costs fully to understand the US inflation problem

When America’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released data this month showing that consumer price inflation had surged to 7 per cent, many investors were shocked. No wonder: this marks the fastest jump since 1982.

But here is another number that should spark concern: 17 per cent. That was the annual inflation rate for overall trucking costs last month, according to a (deeply buried) section of the bureau’s data. For the long-haul trucking sector, the number was even scarier: 25 per cent.

That is bad news for business — and consumers — given that almost three-quarters of freight in America is moved by trucks. Or to put it another way, if you want to understand what lies behind that scary 7 per cent inflation number, don’t just track raw material, energy or cross-border shipping costs; watch those oft-ignored truckers too.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, Travel

A nifty London Times profile on Diocesan Registrar for Chester and Blackburn, Lisa Moncur

On Boxing Day Lisa Moncur received a call from a vicar asking for help to arrange a special marriage licence for someone who was terminally ill. She has also been called on to deal with a badger whose industrious digging had uncovered human remains in a churchyard.

It was all part of her varied work as the Church of England’s diocesan registrar for both Chester and Blackburn. Registrars are personally appointed by the diocesan bishop and must be a qualified solicitor and a communicant in the Church of England.

Moncur was appointed to the diocese in Chester in 2016, and in Blackburn last year, after 20 years working as a commercial property solicitor. In that previous role, Moncur says, “I got up and knew what each day would look like” — but as a diocesan registrar she never knows what to expect and “there is never a dull day”.

Her job is to provide advice and support on ordinations, consecrations, confirmations, baptisms, marriages and burials as well as general legal advice to clergy and parishes, maintaining diocesan and parochial records, and advising on parish trusts.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Agnes

Almighty and everlasting God, who dost choose those whom the world deemeth powerless to put the powerful to shame: Grant us so to cherish the memory of thy youthful martyr Agnes, that we may share her pure and steadfast faith in thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from William Bright

We beseech thee, O Lord, to perfect within us the work of grace which thou hast begun; grant us always to think, speak and do what is pleasing to thee; and keep us from falling back into the sins we have repented of; that we may live as in thy presence, and finish our lives in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture readings

‘But I trust in thee, O Lord,
I say, “Thou art my God.”
My times are in thy hand’

–Psalm 31:14-15a

Posted in Theology: Scripture