Category :

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 ACNA Prayerbook

Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and the comfort of your holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology: Scripture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Let me sing for my beloved a love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He digged it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard. 4 What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry!

–Isaiah 5:1-7

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) U.S. Eliminated From World Cup With 3-1 Loss to the Netherlands

The Dutch, too, had spent the past four years resetting under a coach who plays the kind of soccer that Berhalter has always tried to emulate. The Netherlands manager, Louis van Gaal, is considered to be one of the finest tacticians in the world. And 10 minutes into the match, his team reminded the Americans why with a stunning buildup to its opening goal.

Memphis Depay’s strike came at the end of a 20-pass move that started with a gentle ball back from Van Dijk to his own goalkeeper and couldn’t have been more Dutch if it had been grown in a tulip field.

Over the course of 61 seconds, Van Gaal’s players eluded the American pressing game, dribbled away from tackles, and seemed to find a passing solution every time they looked up. Van Gaal’s Netherlands had been accused repeatedly of straying from Dutch soccer principles, but the players’ movement as they carved up the U.S. could have come straight from an orange textbook.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Globalization, Men, Sports

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Francis Xavier

Loving God, who didst call Francis Xavier to lead many in India and Japan to know Jesus Christ as their Redeemer: Bring us to the new life of glory promised to all who follow in the Way; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Day based on the words of Jan Huss

Help us, O Christ, to seek your truth and bear it; to learn your truth and love it, to tell your truth and live it, and to defend your truth and die in it. Amen.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

–1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Posted in Theology: Scripture

New date confirmed for historic Ecumenical Peace Pilgrimage to South Sudan

Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will make an historic Ecumenical Peace Pilgrimage to South Sudan from 3rd – 5th February next year.

The long-awaited visit was due to take place in July of this year, but was postponed after the Vatican announced that Pope Francis would not be able to travel on advice from his doctors. The visit was promised during a spiritual retreat held at the Vatican in 2019, in which South Sudanese political leaders committed to working together for the good of their people.

The three spiritual leaders have often spoken of their hopes to visit South Sudan – to stand in solidarity with its people as they face the challenges of devastating flooding, widespread famine and continued violence. Pope Francis has said: “I think of South Sudan and the plea for peace arising from its people who, weary of violence and poverty, await concrete results from the process of national reconciliation. I would like to contribute to that process, not alone, but by making an ecumenical pilgrimage together with two dear brothers, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, --Scotland, --South Sudan, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Ecumenical Relations, Pope Francis, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sudan

(Gallup) Stark Gender Gap in Gun Ownership, Views of Gun Laws in U.S.

Men and women in the U.S. differ starkly in their propensity to own a gun and their preferences for the nation’s gun laws. Gallup’s trends show that gun ownership among men has consistently been at least double that of women, and women are much more supportive than men of stricter gun laws.

Since 2007, when Gallup began to track Americans’ personal gun ownership annually, men have been much more likely than women to say they are gun owners, but aggregated biennial data show gun ownership has been more variable among women than men. Gun ownership among women has swelled from the low teens to more than 20% over the past 15 years, while it has remained in the low to mid-40s among men during the same period.

The most recent findings, from 2021-2022, show a 21-percentage-point gender gap in gun ownership, with about twice as many men (43%) as women (22%) saying they personally own a gun.

Read it all.

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

(WSJ) The U.S. Coach Wanted a Soccer Education. He Went Dutch.

…when [Gregg] Berhalter leads the U.S. team into its first World Cup knockout match in eight years on Saturday, he will be up against an opponent that has taught him practically everything he knows about soccer. Nearly every fundamental belief that Berhalter holds about how the game should be played was learned during the six years he spent as a player in Holland.

“A lot of my basic ideas of the game are formed around the Dutch style,” Berhalter has said. “That had a huge part of forming who I am.”

Berhalter’s self-styled immersion program started in Zwolle in the Dutch second tier, where he found, like all Americans who travel to the Netherlands, that everyone spoke surprisingly excellent English. When he had questions, there were actually people who could answer them. This would not have been the case in, say, Genoa.

“He was humble, but not shy—he wasn’t afraid to speak in the dressing room about mentality or about work,” says Marco Koorman, a teammate at Zwolle during Berhalter’s first season there. “But when it came to tactics, he was quiet and he listened.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Sports, The Netherlands

Announcement of the Appointment of the Archbishop of York’s Mission Enabler for the North

The Archbishop’s Mission Enabler for the North is a new and exciting role which will focus on revitalising parishes and planting new churches across the Northern Province.

The role was made possible following a successful bid to the Strategic Development Fund and will focus on the northern dioceses’ goal to establish hundreds of new worshipping communities over the next decade. It will also have a particular emphasis on working with the most deprived communities and seeking to help the Church become younger and more diverse.

Commenting on the appointment, the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell said, “This is an exciting time in the life of our church and this role has emerged after much prayer and collaboration with Diocesan Bishops and Theological Education Institutions across the Province. Mark brings with him a wealth of experience around empowering individuals and teams to flourish and is passionate about revitalisation of the church in the UK. I very much look forward to working with Mark as we seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this pioneering role.”

Mark will work with the 12 dioceses of the Northern Province to produce a bold and achievable strategy supporting step-change in church planting and parish revitalisation, alongside church mission agencies, established church networks and Theological Education Institutions.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education

(Church Times) Archbishop Welby pledges solidarity during three-day visit to Kyiv

The Archbishop of Canterbury has pledged solidarity with Ukrainians during a three-day visit to Kyiv, in which he deplored the suffering inflicted on them during the war, now in its tenth month.

“The people of Ukraine have shown extraordinary courage in the face of Russia’s illegal, unjust, and brutal invasion,” Archbishop Welby said on Wednesday.

“This visit is about showing solidarity with them as they face a profoundly difficult winter.” He said that he was looking forward to meeting church leaders and Christians in Kyiv, “and learning how we can continue to support them amidst the ongoing devastation, loss and destruction of this war”.

The Archbishop spoke after arriving in the Ukrainian capital from Poland, where he said that he had been “deeply moved” by stories told to him by refugees at a crisis centre in Warsaw.

He said: “In this season of Advent, we remember that Jesus was born into conflict and persecution — and became a refugee when his parents fled violence and persecution to seek safety in Egypt.

“I urge Christians in the Church of England and around the world to keep praying for the people of Ukraine in this Advent season — and all people around the world caught up in conflict. Let us keep offering our solidarity and support in every way we can”.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Harold Anson

O great and glorious God, holy and immortal, who searches out the policies of nations and tries the hearts of men: Come, we pray thee, in judgment, upon the nations of the world; come and bring to destruction all that is contrary to thy holy will for mankind, and cause the counsels of the wicked to perish. Come, O Lord, into our hearts, and root out from them that thou seest, and we cannot see, to be unlike the Spirit of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The Lord has taken his place to contend,
    he stands to judge his people.

The Lord enters into judgment
    with the elders and princes of his people:
“It is you who have devoured the vineyard,
    the spoil of the poor is in your houses.

What do you mean by crushing my people,
    by grinding the face of the poor?”
                says the Lord God of hosts.

–Isaiah 3:13-15

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Crux) Ukraine Catholics warn that priests arrested by Russia could be tortured

After two of its clergy were detained by Russian forces last week, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Exarchate of Donetsk has warned they could be victims of torture and has called for their immediate release.

In a Nov. 30 statement labeled as “urgent,” the exarchate voiced their solidarity with the clerics, who serve in the city of Berdyansk, in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region.

The priests are Father Ivan Levytskyi, who serves as abbot of the Nativity of the Holy Theotokos parish, and Father Bohdan Geleta, who assists at the parish.

They were detained several days ago for allegedly housing explosives with the intention to commit “guerilla” activities against the Russian army.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

(Terry Mattingly) a Marvin Olasky flashback: Back to the evangelical clashes over character and two-party politics

Back in 2016, Olasky noted that opposing Trump was risky: “Our call for a different Republican candidate will lose us some readers and donors.” Then in 2021, Trump-era tensions played a major role in his exit at World, after serving as editor for nearly three decades.

“Many people continue to stress that we are electing a president, not a preacher,” said Olasky. “I am also aware that God can do many things outside the limitations of what I think about all of this.”

But Olasky stands by his views in “The American Leadership Tradition” about fidelity and character. “From my selfish point of view,” he added, “the whole Trump era has been a vindication of that book.”

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Pzephizo) Ian Paul–Is Britain no longer a ‘Christian’ country?

The census was of ‘religious attitudes‘, and not religious practice, so there was no question here about any kind of attendance. This leads to some key observations.

First, there is a large disparity between those identifying as ‘Christian’ and actual regular attendance at churches, on Sundays or midweek. C of E regular attendance is around 850,000, and (according to the work of Peter Brierley) this represents around a quarter of all attendance, which would then be 3.4 million, or just under 6% or the population. That attendance figure is a small part of the 27.5 million identifying as ‘Christian’.

(An interesting comparison is football viewing and attendance. In 2020/21, a record breaking 26.8m people or 40% of the population watched a live Premier League match at some point during the year. During football season match days, total attendance at matches of the first four divisions is 720,000—so the Christian faith is still far more popular, in terms of commitment and affiliation, than football!)

So the question is, what did people mean by saying they identified as Christian? For some, they will be aware of the heritage of Christian values which has shaped our culture—but I suspect for most, particularly those who are older, the term is effectively equivalent to ‘decent’, ‘moral’, ‘respectable’, or even ‘traditional British’.

This is very different from any reasonable working definition of ‘Christian’. In the gospels, it is clear that the core of Jesus’ message is ‘The time has come, and the kingdom of God is at hand—repent and believe the good news!’ (Mark 1.15). We might express this in contemporary terms: ‘the kingly, ruling presence of God is on its way; change the direction of your life, and trust your life to me.’ St Paul sums up Christian commitment as confessing that ‘Jesus is Lord’ (Rom 10.91 Cor 12.3), that is to say, it is to Jesus we owe the faithful allegiance of our lives as we receive the forgiveness, hope and confidence that he offers through his life, death and resurrection. As an ordained Christian minister, I confess I am much more concerned with how many people are Christian in this sense, than how many tick a box on a census form!

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(NYT front page) In Blacked-Out Kyiv, Life Goes On, by Flashlight

Elevators across Ukraine’s capital are stocked with emergency supplies in case the power fails. Banks have sent messages to customers to assure them their money is safe in the event of prolonged blackouts. The National Philharmonic played on Tuesday night on a stage lit by battery-powered lanterns, and doctors last week performed surgeries by flashlight.

This is Kyiv, a modern, thriving European capital of 3.3 million people, and now a war-torn city struggling with shortages of electricity, running water, cellphone service, central heating and the internet.

One popular cafe has created two menus — one featuring heated food like homemade pasta for when it has power, a second offering cold dishes like Greek yogurt with granola and applesauce when it doesn’t. At another restaurant, a chef cooked on a sidewalk grill as two young men warmed their hands over the coals. The sun sets early, before the school day is done, so children hold flashlights while waiting for their parents to arrive in total darkness to pick them up.

Generators of all sizes rattle and roar across the city, where municipal officials estimate that 1.5 million people are still without power for more than 12 hours a day.

Read it all.

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

(BBC) Cost of living: People in Cardiff ‘eating pet food’

Mark Seed now runs a community food project in Trowbridge, east Cardiff.

BBC Wales analysis of new Census data suggests six of Wales’ most deprived communities are in the city.

A charity warns that struggling households do not just appear in areas long associated with poverty and policy needs to focus on people not places.

Trowbridge lies in what Mr Seed calls an “arc of poverty” from east to west of the Welsh capital, with issues endemic in his area.

“I’m still shocked by the fact that we have people who are eating pet food,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in --Wales, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Personal Finance & Investing, Poverty

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Richard Baxter

Keep us, O Lord, while we tarry on this earth, in a serious seeking after thee, and in an affectionate walking with thee, every day of our lives; that when thou comest, we may be found not hiding our talent, nor serving the flesh, nor yet asleep with our lamp unfurnished, but waiting and longing for our Lord, our glorious God for ever and ever.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s servant in the gospel of Christ, to establish you in your faith and to exhort you, that no one be moved by these afflictions. You yourselves know that this is to be our lot. For when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction; just as it has come to pass, and as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent that I might know your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labor would be in vain.

But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith; for now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. For what thanksgiving can we render to God for you, for all the joy which we feel for your sake before our God, praying earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?

–1 Thessalonians 3:1-10

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Gun Death Rate Nears Three-Decade High, With Men at Most Risk

The rate of gun deaths in the U.S. reached a 28-year high in 2021 after sharp increases in homicides of Black men and suicides among white men, an analysis of federal data showed.

A record 48,953 deaths in the U.S., or about 15 fatalities per 100,000 people, were caused by guns last year, said the analysis published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open. Gun deaths declined in the 1990s, but have been rising steadily over the past decade and skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic, said researchers who conducted the analysis.

Gun-related deaths of women and children have risen, the analysis said, but men remain far more likely to die from guns.

“The disparities are so marked,” said Chris Rees, a co-author of the study and an assistant professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Rees and his colleagues analyzed U.S. firearm fatality rates from 1990 to 2021 using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 1.1 million people in the U.S. have died from guns since 1990, the analysis showed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Men, Violence

(NYT) Christine McVie, Hitmaker for Fleetwood Mac, Is Dead at 79

Christine McVie, the singer, songwriter and keyboardist who became the biggest hitmaker for Fleetwood Mac, one of music’s most popular bands, died on Wednesday. She was 79.

Her family announced her death on Facebook. The statement said she died at a hospital but did not specify its location or give the cause of death. In June, Ms. McVie told Rolling Stone that she was in “quite bad health” and that she had endured debilitating problems with her back.

Ms. McVie’s commercial potency, which hit a high point in the 1970s and ’80s, was on full display on Fleetwood Mac’s “Greatest Hits” anthology, released in 1988, which sold more than eight million copies: She either wrote or co-wrote half of its 16 tracks. Her tally doubled that of the next most prolific member of the band’s trio of singer-songwriters, Stevie Nicks. (The third, Lindsey Buckingham, scored three major Billboard chart-makers on that collection.)

The most popular songs Ms. McVie wrote favored bouncing beats and lively melodies, numbers like “Say You Love Me” (which grazed Billboard’s Top 10), “You Make Lovin’ Fun” (which just broke it), “Hold Me” (No. 4) and “Don’t Stop” (her top smash, which crested at No. 3). But she could also connect with elegant ballads, like “Over My Head” (No. 20) and “Little Lies” (which cracked the publication’s Top Five in 1987).

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Music

(CT) Evangelical Giving Goes Up, Despite Economic Woes

The annual State of Giving report from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) found giving to ministries increased more in 2021 than it had any year out of the last 10. Inflation and the pandemic both raised real concerns for ministry leaders trying to make ends meet, but evangelicals responded to the crises with generosity.

The ECFA survey of about 1,800 members found they received more than $19 billion in donations in 2021. Adjusting for inflation, giving went up by about 3 percent. In the last 10 years, the increase has been closer to 2 percent.

“Contrary to what many expected, giving during the pandemic to ECFA members was strong,” Michael Martin, ECFA president and CEO, wrote in the report. “The findings we unveil emphasize the good work that ECFA members are doing to serve and expand their services in the face of inflation and other challenges.”

If Christians are excited and optimistic about the work of parachurch organizations, though, the numbers reveal a different story when it comes to megachurches. The ECFA surveyed 87 churches that belong to the financial accountability organization. Giving to those congregations dropped by 6.6 percent in 2021, following a decline of 1.1 percent the year before.

Read it all.

Posted in Evangelicals, Stewardship

(Economist) How will America deal with three-way nuclear deterrence?

The cold war, in which America and the Soviet Union menaced each other with tens of thousands of nukes, was scary enough. In the new age America confronts not just Russia but also China. New weapons—among them hypersonic missiles that are hard to detect and shoot down, and space and cyber weapons that threaten command-and-control systems—may unsettle the nuclear balance. Worse, decades of arms-control agreements may end by 2026. A new nuclear-arms race looms. Many think that it has already started.

Admiral Richard last year sounded the alarm that China was staging a “strategic breakout”. This month he warned that America was losing the military contest: “As I assess our level of deterrence against China, the ship is slowly sinking.” President Joe Biden says America faces a “decisive decade” in which to shape the global order. In a flurry of national-security policy documents this autumn his administration classifies Russia as the “acute” threat and China as “the “pacing challenge”.

“By the 2030s the United States will, for the first time in its history, face two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries. This will create new stresses on stability and new challenges for deterrence, assurance, arms control, and risk reduction,” declares the Nuclear Posture Review (npr).

Stratcom says it needs a new generation of theorists.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., China, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia

U.S. Men’s National Team Advances To Knockout Round Of 2022 FIFA World Cup With 1-0 Shutout Victory Over Iran

The U.S. Men’s National Team advanced to the knockout stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a 1-0 victory against IR Iran on an historic night for U.S. Soccer. Needing a victory to advance, forward Christian Pulisic scored the game-winner in the 38th minute off an assist from defender Sergiño Dest.

With the result, the USA finishes second in Group B with five points and will face Group A winner Netherlands in the Round of 16 on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. ET (FOX, Telemundo). England defeated Wales 3-0 in the other Group B match tonight to finish atop the group with seven points. The victory also ensured the USA’s advancement to the knockout round at five of the last seven World Cups in which the USMNT has participated.

It was fitting that Pulisic, the USMNT’s talisman for much of this four-year cycle, provided the difference maker in a crucial win-or-go-home match. Goalkeeper Matt Turner and the U.S. defense held strong against a spirited second half push by Iran to record a second clean sheet of the tournament, marking the first time that the USA has recorded multiple shutouts at the World Cup since 1930.

After putting plenty of pressure on the Iran defense for the majority of the first half, the USA’s breakthrough finally came in the 38th minute. Left back Antonee Robinson ran a ball down on the left wing deep in Iran territory. He played a bass back and centrally to Adams, who then played Weston McKennie and the U.S. midfielder spotted Dest making a run behind the defense into the right side of the penalty area. Dest ran under the perfectly chipped pass and sent a header bouncing through the middle to Pulisic who put his body on the line to smash home a half-volley from four yards out a second before enduring a heavy collision with the Iran goalkeeper, an incident that would cause Pulisic to be replaced at halftime due to an abdominal injury. The goal was the 22nd of his international career for Pulisic, who was replaced at halftime by Brenden Aaronson, and the young midfielder played a stellar second half.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Men, Qatar, Sports

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Andrew

Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thine apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of thy Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by thy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A prayer for the day from the Non-Jurors’ Prayer Book

O thou, who hast foretold that thou wilt return to judgment in an hour that we are not aware of, grant us grace to watch and pray always, that whether thou shalt come at even, or at midnight, or in the morning, we may be found among the number of those servants who shall be blessed in watching for their Lord, to whom be all glory now and for evermore.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.

O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord.

For thou hast rejected thy people,
the house of Jacob,
because they are full of diviners from the east
and of soothsayers like the Philistines,
and they strike hands with foreigners.
Their land is filled with silver and gold,
and there is no end to their treasures;
their land is filled with horses,
and there is no end to their chariots.
Their land is filled with idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their own fingers have made.
So man is humbled,
and men are brought low—
forgive them not!
Enter into the rock,
and hide in the dust
from before the terror of the Lord,
and from the glory of his majesty.
The haughty looks of man shall be brought low,
and the pride of men shall be humbled;
and the Lord alone will be exalted
in that day.

–Isaiah 2:1-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Washington Post) Bryce Ward–Americans are choosing to be alone. Here’s why we should reverse that.

According to the Census Bureau’s American Time Use Survey, the amount of time the average American spent with friends was stable, at 6½ hours per week, between 2010 and 2013. Then, in 2014, time spent with friends began to decline.

By 2019, the average American was spending only four hours per week with friends (a sharp, 37 percent decline from five years before). Social media, political polarization and new technologies all played a role in the drop. (It is notable that market penetration for smartphones crossed 50 percent in 2014.)

Covid then deepened this trend. During the pandemic, time with friends fell further — in 2021, the average American spent only two hours and 45 minutes a week with close friends (a 58 percent decline relative to 2010-2013).

Similar declines can be seen even when the definition of “friends” is expanded to include neighbors, co-workers and clients. The average American spent 15 hours per week with this broader group of friends a decade ago, 12 hours per week in 2019 and only 10 hours a week in 2021.

Read it all.

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