Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
The Manhattan district attorney’s office on Monday arrested a Bronx woman who is accused of stealing more than $1 million from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York when she worked in the archdiocese’s finance office, law enforcement officials and church leaders said.
- Gangsters Party in Davos
- Poor Because of You
- Crisis Made in Davos
The contextual change at the top of minds remains the rebalancing and deleveraging that is reshaping the global economy. In the near term, this transformation is seen in the context of how developed countries will deleverage without falling back into recession and how emerging countries will curb inflation and avoid future economic bubbles. In the long term, both will play out as the population of our interdependent world not only passes 7 billion but is also interconnected through information technology on a historic scale. The net result will be transformational changes in social values, resource needs and technological advances as never before. In either context, the necessary conceptual models do not exist from which to develop a systemic understanding of the great transformations taking place now and in the future.
For those who prefer their Latin news on the page, we remind you of those sturdy souls at Ephemeris.
He granted that, in modern times, it has become unfashionable to speak about democracy in connection to anything above us or beyond our understanding. ... He stood in a grand tradition, though. He invoked the American Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers spoke about a Creator. Why, after all, does man have a right to freedom and a right to dignity? Who has bestowed these rights? They do not come from treaties. They are not human inventions. They are gifts of the Creator. The rights also imply a duty to the Creator. Havel cited the Declaration of Independence—all of which seemed to me rather stirring, given that, unlike a lot of people who natter on about the Founding Fathers and Thomas Jefferson, Havel meant what he was saying, and the Czech Republic was there to prove it. He was Thomas Jefferson. Without slaves!
His proposed new god, for instance, did not have an Enlightenment look. Havel paused to reflect on the god. A new god, he told me, would most likely be abstract and multicultural —- a god who brought together Allah, Buddha, Christ, and so on.
... Of course I could see why he was in no rush to be quoted. One of his closest advisers had confessed to me that even his inner team rolled their eyes over Havel’s screwy ideas. A multicultural god -— “multicultural” was his word -— might upset the various mono-cultural churches. There was no reason to start up pointless controversies over theological musings of a kind that might, in fact, have been enhanced by beer.
Havel was frightened by atheism. In his eyes, communism was atheism’s apotheosis. Communism led everyone to focus on material circumstances and to dream of improving the circumstances, and to dream of nothing else. For why should anyone dream of anything more than material improvements? More does not exist. Such was atheism’s message. To pine for a new automobile made sense, but there was no point in contemplating the state of your soul.
... what many cultural societies see as the inevitable product or by-product of these values: moral relativism, materialism, the denial of any kind of spirituality, a proud disdain for everything suprapersonal, a profound crisis of authority and the resulting general decay of order, a frenzied consumerism, a lack of solidarity, a selfish cult of material success, the absence of faith in a higher order of things or simply in eternity, an expansionist mentality that holds in contempt everything that in any way resists the dreary standardization and rationalism of technical civilization.
If you think there is something more, a Being or transcendental something-or-other that goes beyond your own material existence, your own life is bound to end up seeming, by way of comparison, humbler, therefore easier to put at risk. Havel seems to have understood pretty clearly that his own life was not the greatest of all possible values. ... He was one of the greatest and most heroic figures of modern times, or maybe of all time, but he was a great and heroic figure because his own thinking gave him the courage to risk not being anything at all.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
Whenever this temptation comes to you beware not to dispute with the devil nor allow yourself to dwell on these lethal thoughts, for so doing is nothing less than giving place to the devil and so falling. Try as hard as you can to despise these thoughts sent by Satan. In this sort of temptation and battle contempt is the easiest road to victory ; laugh your enemy to scorn and ask to whom you are talking. By all means flee solitude, for he lies in wait most for those alone. This devil is conquered by despising and mocking him, not by resisting and arguing.
Therefore, Jerome, joke and play games with my wife and others, in which way you will drive out your diabolic thoughts and take courage....
Be strong and cheerful and cast out those monstrous thoughts. Whenever the devil harasses you thus, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing.
Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, aye, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles.
We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you : "Do not drink," answer him : " I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.' One must always do what Satan forbids. What other cause do you think that I have for drinking so much strong drink, talking so freely and making merry so often, except that I wish to mock and harass the devil who is wont to mock and harass me.
Would that I could contrive some great sin to spite the devil, that he might understand that I would not even then acknowledge it and that I was conscious of no sin whatever. We, whom the devil thus seeks to annoy, should remove the whole decalogue from our hearts and minds.
- Letter to Jerome Weller, summer 1530; from Preserved Smith, "The Life and Letters of Martin Luther," (NY & Boston: Houghton Mifflin/Riverside Press, 1911), p.324. [Paragraph breaks are my own insertion].
I do feel this opening a box of Pandora ...
I feel I don’t dominate 100 percent, but I can still get by,” said Mr. Escamilla .... “I can write, read and understand it very well.”
Thursday, January 26, 2012
- Marine Corps veteran and Christian Coalition editor Joe Carter argues that while the truly martial arts -- those that prepare a warrior to fight in a just war -- are entirely ethical, turning them into games and entertainment is not.
- Ted Kluck -- who has been at various times missionary, author boxer and football coach -- says it's all good, and argues that violent sports teach Christian values. We are not remotely convinced.
- Duke divinity student -- and former cage-fighter -- Matt Morin suggests rephrasing the question. He considers "should a Christian do it" to be divisive, and prefers to ask "why would a Christian do it." Hairsplitting, if you ask us. Either way, his answer is blunt: Cage-fighting is the new pornography.
Monday, January 23, 2012
אַ֣ךְ הַנָּבִ֡יא אֲשֶׁ֣ר יָזִיד֩ לְדַבֵּ֨ר דָּבָ֜ר בִּשְׁמִ֗י אֵ֣ת אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־צִוִּיתִיו֙ לְדַבֵּ֔ר וַאֲשֶׁ֣ר יְדַבֵּ֔ר בְּשֵׁ֖ם אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֑ים וּמֵ֖ת הַנָּבִ֥יא הַהֽוּא
- KJV: But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
- NASB: But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’
- CEV: ... and you must also kill any prophet who claims to have a message from another god.
- NIV: ... a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”
Sunday, January 22, 2012
... a plow operator clearing the parking lot of the Washington County Veterinary Hospital on Tower Hill Road notified [police] that a car with a flat tire almost struck him.
When police arrived, they found a white Volvo with ... the driver's side front tire missing from its rim.
The driver was identified as [State Representative] Robert Watson [D-30]. According to Buckley, police saw a pipe of the type often used to smoke marijuana on the floor of the front driver's side. In addition, police found a clear sandwich bag containing what turned out to be marijuana near the driver's seat.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
If there is an experience in life that will teach you the meaning of original sin, [church] finance chairman is that role.
What I discovered through that experience is that there is no connection whatsoever between how much a family gives to the church and how much money that family makes. Instead, I found that the key connection is faithfulness in worship. If you attend the Sunday night service at a typical Baptist church and look around at the 40 people there in comparison to the 200 or 300 in attendance on Sunday morning, you will find that about 80 percent of the church's giving is accounted for in that group.
The converts also want good preaching .... Emotions are OK. Movement is OK. Beauty is OK. Humility before God is OK. And more than anything else, participation in worship is more than OK -- it is essential.
The American converts are not looking for some kind of post-Vatican II, carved-down liturgical experience. They have that all around them. They are not trying to cut the service down another 15 to 20 minutes so that more young people will hang around -- as if that would work. Speaking as a journalist, I can tell you that the lively, growing Roman parishes are not the ones that have cut the Mass down to 45 minutes.
You see, the people who want to worship, want to worship.
One of the trends in American journalism is to try to create newspapers for people who don’t read. This seems to me to be somewhat contradictory. Similarly, there are many churches that are creating worship services for people who do not want to go to worship services. The Orthodox converts are not interested in those churches.
The Talmud, the foundation of Jewish law, acknowledges that men can be sexually aroused by women and is indeed concerned with sexual thoughts and activity outside of marriage. But it does not tell women that men’s sexual urges are their responsibility. Rather, both the Talmud and the later codes of Jewish law make that demand of men. [...]Put more plainly, the Talmud says: It’s your problem, sir; not hers.
In fact, though, their actions objectify and hyper-sexualize women. Think about it: By saying that all women must hide their bodies, they are saying that every woman is an object who can stir a man’s sexual thoughts. Thus, every woman who passes their field of vision is sized up on the basis of how much of her body is covered. She is not seen as a complete person, only as a potential inducement to sin.
Of course, once you judge a female human being only through a man’s sexualized imagination, you can turn even a modest 8-year-old girl into a seductress and a prostitute.
At heart, we are talking about a blame-the-victim mentality. It shifts the responsibility of managing a man’s sexual urges from himself to every woman he may or may not encounter. It is a cousin to the mentality behind the claim, “She was asking for it.”
Friday, January 20, 2012
I think -- I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.
Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.
The story is false. Every personal friend I have who knew us in that period says the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false. They weren't interested, because they would like to attack any Republican.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
So, for example, religious adoption services that place children exclusively with married couples would be required by law to place children with persons of the same sex who are civilly “married.” Religious marriage counselors would be denied their professional accreditation for refusing to provide counseling in support of same-sex “married” relationships. Religious employers who provide special health benefits to married employees would be required by law to extend those benefits to same-sex “spouses.”
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
Thursday, January 12, 2012
The online promotions for the Chasid Cup show the hermetically sealed container with a shot of grape juice and an individually wrapped Communion wafer against a purple background with slick font and a tantalizing picture of grapes reminiscent of juice advertisements.
The product is billed as a sanitary and convenient alternative to conventional methods of serving communion, with sales growing, according to one church goods importer, primarily in the Lutheran market.