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(NYT) Boosters Are Complicating Efforts to Persuade the Unvaccinated to Get Shots

Vaccinated people have been burning up the phone lines at the community health center in rural Franklin, La., clamoring for the newly authorized Covid booster shot.

But only a trickle of people have been coming in for their initial doses, even though the rate of full vaccination in the area is still scarcely 39 percent.

The dichotomy illustrates one of the most frustrating problems facing public health officials at this stage of the pandemic: Almost all the eligible adults who remain unvaccinated in the United States are hard-core refusers, and the arrival of boosters is making efforts to coax them as well as those who are still hesitating even more difficult. In the September vaccine monitor survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 71 percent of unvaccinated respondents said the need for boosters indicated that the vaccines were not working.

“This vaccine has tested me like nothing before and I’ve been doing this for 40 years,” said Dr. Gary Wiltz, director of the Franklin health center. “I can’t tell you how many people we’ve tried to cajole into taking it.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine

(IFS) Aaron Renn–Is the Pandemic Changing the Nature of Home Life for Many for the better?

Most white-collar workers in America were forced to work at home during the pandemic. Many of them discovered they liked it and want to keep doing it. Many companies, especially in the tech industry, have responded with policies allowing work from home permanently. This includes firms like Twitter and Spotify. Nationwide Insurance is closing several offices and allowing companies in those locations to work remotely. Others like Ford are embracing a hybrid model with a mix of in office and remote work. Pre-pandemic, the share of people working from home was already rising, going from 3.3% in 2000 to 5.7% in 2019. Even if only a small share of workers stays fully remote, this will be millions of additional workers. While work from home is not the same as a home-based business, it still represents a radical reorientation of the location where work is performed. It’s as if the textile business reverted from factory-centered back to the putting-out system.

Add it together, and this is a radical shift for many families. They are now working from home, caring for children at home, schooling their children at home, doing their own yard work, cooking at home, and improving their home themselves.

This may not be a reversion to pre-industrial homesteading, but it does represent a significant re-functionalization of the home within a post-industrial context for millions of families. Whether this will persist for the long term is yet to be seen, but with inflation and shortages continuing to squeeze the economy, the Do-It-Yourself family will likely be with us for at least a while longer. By choice or under duress, some Americans are going to have to start saying goodbye to their servants.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family

A Prayer for the Feast of Saint Wilfrid

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Edith Cavell

Living God, who art the source of all healing and wholeness: we bless thee for the compassionate witness of thy servant Edith Cavell. Inspire us, we beseech thee, to be agents of peace and reconciliation in a world beset by injustice, poverty, and war. We ask this through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Health & Medicine, Spirituality/Prayer

A prayer for the day from C. J. Vaughan

Write deeply upon our minds, O Lord our God, the lessons of thy holy Word, that only the pure in heart can see thee. Leave us not in the bondage of any sinful inclination. May we neither deceive ourselves with the thought that we have no sin, nor idly acquiesce in aught of which our conscience accuses us. Strengthen us by thy Holy Spirit to fight the good fight of faith, and grant that no day may pass without its victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, he who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in tongues, unless some one interprets, so that the church may be edified.

Now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how shall I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will any one know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if you in a tongue utter speech that is not intelligible, how will any one know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning; but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves; since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

–1 Corinthians 14:1-12

Posted in Theology: Scripture

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon at Thanksgiving for the Province of Alexandria in Cairo

A Church attuned to the Spirit of surprise:

In human terms, Philip took the wrong road – and there he was met by the Spirit of God, who showed him why he was in the middle of the desert. And he found himself speaking to someone who was the wrong person, in human eyes. It was the wrong recipient of God’s message; Luke always points us to the Gospel for the excluded. The Ethiopian was a foreigner so could not enter the temple, a eunuch so wrongly considered by the people of his time to be outside God’s purpose. He was doubly outside

Luke’s stories in Gospel and Acts are of refugees, the poor, those of no honour. Seen in hospitals, schools, prisons, rubbish dumps and food centres. Seen here in the past and now.

Yet in God’s eyes there was nothing wrong. This was the right time, right road, right scripture, right person, right opportunity for baptism.

The Bible tells us to be where the Spirit sends us, not by human wisdom, and the Gospel reading shows us the foundation of what Philip was doing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Egypt, Middle East, Sermons & Teachings

Rod Dreher–Billy Abraham, Gone To God

This is a newsletter focusing on the spiritual, and on reasons to hope. It might seem weird to you today to lead off with the death of Dr. Billy Abraham, a well-known, much-beloved Irish Methodist who taught for years, until his retirement this year, at SMU in Dallas. He was 73. Though his death is a shock, and an occasion of sorrow, let me tell you why I rejoice in Billy’s life and example.

I met Billy back in 2005 at St. Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas. He was a dear friend of Archbishop Dmitri, and had come to visit. I instantly liked him. It was impossible not to. Billy was a small-o orthodox Christian, and we discussed the manifold problems within both the Catholic and the Methodist churches (I was still a Catholic at the time, and was contemplating becoming Orthodox). The difference between Billy and me was that while I back then was broken and angry, Billy was indefatigably optimistic. Actually, scratch that: he wasn’t optimistic, because he believed that for the Methodists, things were going to get worse (and they did); rather, he was hopeful. For Billy, hope wasn’t simply an act of faith, but a reasonable response to what he had seen in his own life.

Billy grew up in Northern Ireland, in the time of the Troubles — that is, the terrorist warfare between the Irish Republican Army and Protestant paramilitaries. He saw evil up close — a lot of it. I won’t go into detail in this recollection, because I don’t want to get any of the particulars wrong, and our discussion of the topic was a long time ago. But Billy told me about growing up as a Protestant in Belfast during a time when it was very, very easy for a young man to be drawn into political violence. I seem to recall him saying this happened to him and some or all of his five brothers, but my recollection is fuzzy, so I don’t want to say more. He came to Christ through the ministry of local Methodists, and changed his life. What stands out in my mind as I think today about that first encounter of mine with Billy is how grateful he was to have been liberated from the bonds of hatred….

Read it all and watch the whole video.


Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Methodist, Theology

(NYT) ‘It’s Not Sustainable’: What America’s Port Crisis Looks Like Up Close

Like toy blocks hurled from the heavens, nearly 80,000 shipping containers are stacked in various configurations at the Port of Savannah — 50 percent more than usual.

The steel boxes are waiting for ships to carry them to their final destination, or for trucks to haul them to warehouses that are themselves stuffed to the rafters. Some 700 containers have been left at the port, on the banks of the Savannah River, by their owners for a month or more.

“They’re not coming to get their freight,” complained Griff Lynch, the executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. “We’ve never had the yard as full as this.”

As he speaks, another vessel glides silently toward an open berth — the 1,207-foot-long Yang Ming Witness, its decks jammed with containers full of clothing, shoes, electronics and other stuff made in factories in Asia. Towering cranes soon pluck the thousands of boxes off the ship — more cargo that must be stashed somewhere.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Globalization

(FT) US has already lost AI fight to China, says ex-Pentagon software chief Nicolas Chaillan

The Pentagon’s first chief software officer said he resigned in protest at the slow pace of technological transformation in the US military, and because he could not stand to watch China overtake America.

In his first interview since leaving the post at the Department of Defense a week ago, Nicolas Chaillan told the Financial Times that the failure of the US to respond to Chinese cyber and other threats was putting his children’s future at risk.

“We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years. Right now, it’s already a done deal; it is already over in my opinion,” he said, adding there was “good reason to be angry”.

Chaillan, 37, who spent three years on a Pentagon-wide effort to boost cyber security and as first chief software officer for the US Air Force, said Beijing is heading for global dominance because of its advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber capabilities.

He argued these emerging technologies were far more critical to America’s future than hardware such as big-budget fifth-generation fighter jets such as the F-35.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., China, Science & Technology

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all Blog Readers!

Posted in Canada

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Philip the Deacon

Holy God, no one is excluded from thy love; and thy truth transformeth the minds of all who seek thee: As thy servant Philip was led to embrace the fullness of thy salvation and to bring the stranger to Baptism, so grant unto us all the grace to be heralds of the Gospel, proclaiming thy love in Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A prayer for the day from the Church of England

O God, forasmuch as without you
we are not able to please you;
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit
may in all things direct and rule our hearts;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

–Psalm 1:1-3

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(NYT) A Safe Space’: Black Pastors Promote Vaccinations from the Pulpit

Dozens of people gathered at the Word of Life International Church in the South Bronx on a recent Saturday for its weekly food bank, but the pastor wanted to ask the crowd a question before the groceries were handed out: Did anyone know where to find the closest vaccination site?

“Yankee Stadium is always open!” shouted one woman, seated on one of the many folding chairs in the windowless, fluorescently-lit room. “Take the six bus, straight up.”

“174th street and 3rd avenue is 24 hours,” said another woman, standing up in the crowd. “You go there at 2 o’clock in the morning, it’ll still be open.”

The pastor, the Rev. John S. Udo-Okon, said he wanted everyone there — mostly Black residents, including seniors and mothers with small children — to know that the coronavirus vaccines were easy to find and, more important, that they would not harm them. More than 80 percent of adults in New York City have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, but there are significant racial disparities in the vaccination rate.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

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

A prayer for the day from William Bright

O God, who hast appointed unto men once to die, but hast hidden from them the time of their death: Help us by your Spirit so to live in this world that we may be ready to leave it; and that, being thine in death as in life, we may come to the rest that remaineth for thy people; through him who died and rose again for us, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord (slightly edited–KSH).

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

When Micai′ah the son of Gemari′ah, son of Shaphan, heard all the words of the Lord from the scroll, he went down to the king’s house, into the secretary’s chamber; and all the princes were sitting there: Elish′ama the secretary, Delai′ah the son of Shemai′ah, Elna′than the son of Achbor, Gemari′ah the son of Shaphan, Zedeki′ah the son of Hanani′ah, and all the princes. And Micai′ah told them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the scroll in the hearing of the people. Then all the princes sent Jehu′di the son of Nethani′ah, son of Shelemi′ah, son of Cushi, to say to Baruch, “Take in your hand the scroll that you read in the hearing of the people, and come.” So Baruch the son of Neri′ah took the scroll in his hand and came to them. And they said to him, “Sit down and read it.” So Baruch read it to them. When they heard all the words, they turned one to another in fear; and they said to Baruch, “We must report all these words to the king.” Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, how did you write all these words? Was it at his dictation?” Baruch answered them, “He dictated all these words to me, while I wrote them with ink on the scroll.” Then the princes said to Baruch, “Go and hide, you and Jeremiah, and let no one know where you are.”

Jeremiah 36:11–19

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Local paper) Inside the delta variant’s attack on South Carolina schools: the first seven weeks of class

Hundreds of South Carolina schools shut down because of the coronavirus right after the school year kicked off.

Students were thrown back into virtual learning, and parents feared for their children’s health as infections skyrocketed across the state.

Districts struggled with how to protect the children and their staff from the delta variant, a new coronavirus variant that causes more infections and spreads faster than earlier forms of coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s website. Vaccinated people can also spread the delta variant to unvaccinated people.

But district’s hands were largely tied: They could not mandate masks.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine

(PRC) A Rising Share of U.S. Adults Are Living Without a Spouse or Partner

As relationships, living arrangements and family life continue to evolve for American adults, a rising share are not living with a romantic partner. A new Pew Research Center analysis of census data finds that in 2019, roughly four-in-ten adults ages 25 to 54 (38%) were unpartnered – that is, neither married nor living with a partner.1 This share is up sharply from 29% in 1990.2 Men are now more likely than women to be unpartnered, which wasn’t the case 30 years ago.

The growth in the single population is driven mainly by the decline in marriage among adults who are at prime working age. At the same time, there has been a rise in the share who are cohabiting, but it hasn’t been enough to offset the drop in marriage – hence the overall decline in partnership. While the unpartnered population includes some adults who were previously married (those who are separated, divorced or widowed), all of the growth in the unpartnered population since 1990 has come from a rise in the number who have never been married.

This trend has broad societal implications, as does the growing gap in well-being between partnered and unpartnered adults. Looking across a range of measures of economic and social status, unpartnered adults generally have different – often worse – outcomes than those who are married or cohabiting. This pattern is apparent among both men and women. Unpartnered adults have lower earnings, on average, than partnered adults and are less likely to be employed or economically independent. They also have lower educational attainment and are more likely to live with their parents. Other research suggests that married and cohabiting adults fare better than those who are unpartnered when it comes to some health outcomes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Sociology

A Prayer of praise for the day Adapted from the Thought of Matthew Henry

Holy Father, We bless thee that the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost; that he is come that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly, and that for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that by the power of the Holy Spirit he might destroy the works of the devil.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will you not receive instruction and listen to my words? says the LORD. The command which Jon’adab the son of Rechab gave to his sons, to drink no wine, has been kept; and they drink none to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. I have spoken to you persistently, but you have not listened to me. I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying, ‘Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your doings, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land which I gave to you and your fathers.’ But you did not incline your ear or listen to me. The sons of Jon’adab the son of Rechab have kept the command which their father gave them, but this people has not obeyed me. Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing on Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken to them and they have not listened, I have called to them and they have not answered.” But to the house of the Re’chabites Jeremiah said, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of Jon’adab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Jon’adab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.”

–Jeremiah 35:12-19

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Methodist Theologian Billy Abraham RIP

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Methodist, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Terry Mattingly) Concerning that sermon on vaccines by the governor of New York

It helps to know that Hochul’s appearance took place in a setting frequently visited by Democrats and Republicans alike: Brooklyn’s massive Christian Cultural Center. A New York Times profile of its pastor, the Rev. A.R. Bernard, once noted that this “church, the largest in New York City, has long been considered a required stop on the way to City Hall and beyond.”

In other words, it wasn’t that surprising that the governor said what she said in the sacred setting in which she said it. However, her remarks were also connected — by timing — with the state’s decision to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all health care workers, including those attempting to claim exemptions based on their religious beliefs.

Hochul didn’t address that issue at the Christian Cultural Center, but said, “I feel God has tapped me on the shoulder … because everything I have done in life has been because of the Grace of God leading me to that place.” She added that the coronavirus pandemic has only strengthened that conviction.

“Jesus taught us to love one another,” Hochul said. “How do you show that love but to care about each other enough to say, ‘Please get the vaccine because I love you and I want you to live?’

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, State Government

(The News) Jonathan Frost named as new Bishop of Portsmouth and says he has city ‘on his heart’

He was unveiled as the new Bishop of Portsmouth this morning at Charter Academy, the diocese’s only Church of England secondary school on the mainland. He joined pupils in a science laboratory, as part of his desire to start his new role by engaging with young people living in the diocese.

Bishop Jonathan said: ‘I believe the role of a bishop is to pray, to share the story and the love of Jesus, and to speak up for the marginalised and voiceless.

‘I’ve got Portsmouth on my heart. Many people across this diocese have had a tough time through the pandemic, especially the most vulnerable, and I know Christians here played their part with others to support those in need.

‘I’m looking forward to working in partnership, as together we tackle the biggest issues facing us today – such as the poor mental health and wellbeing of so many of our young people; climate change; and the scandal of poverty, which restricts opportunities and life chances.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(New Scientist) Drug treatment for Lyme disease could lead to its eradication

The discovery that a chemical is deadly to the bacterium that causes Lyme disease but harmless to animals might allow the disease to be eradicated in the wild.

“Lyme disease is well-positioned to be eradicated,” says Kim Lewis at Northeastern University in Boston. “We are gearing up, the first field trial will be next summer.”

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi that lurks in wild mice. Ticks that feed on the mice become infected and can infect other animals, including people.

The disease is a growing problem in North America, Europe and Asia. It initially causes a characteristic “bullseye” rash and a flu-like illness. If untreated, it can lead to serious long-term problems, such as Lyme arthritis.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

([London] Times) Nord Stream 2: Vladimir Putin accused of ‘choking’ gas supply to push up price

Britain has accused President Putin of “choking off” the supply of gas to Europe to increase energy prices and win approval for a new gas pipeline.

Ministers believe that Russia is deliberately restricting gas exports as part of a strategy to force European Union nations into approving Nord Stream 2, a pipeline under the Baltic Sea.

The shortage of gas in Europe has pushed up international prices, leading to a significant rise in household energy bills in the UK and pushing a string of suppliers into administration.

The average dual fuel bill could rise by as much as 30 per cent next year to £1,660 if gas and electricity prices continue to soar and more suppliers go bust, according to Cornwall Insight, an energy advisory group.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Russia

A prayer for the day from William Temple

Almighty Father, in whose hands are our lives: We commend ourselves to the keeping of thy love. In thy will is our peace. In life or in death, in this world and the next, uphold us that we may put our trust in thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Surely the righteous shall give thanks to thy name; the upright shall dwell in thy presence.

–Psalm 140:13

Posted in Theology: Scripture

A Prayer of John Donne in the Evening

Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity; in the habitations of thy glory and dominion, world without end.

Posted in Eschatology, Spirituality/Prayer