Friday, February 28, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
I know how he feels. When I was working in my last parish, the Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of Connecticut called me in some discomfort. Her voice quivering and hesitant, she informed me that her secretary had done a routine background check on me [I had just started working in the diocese and this was and is standard practice] and discovered that I had a criminal record. In fact, she told me that they discovered that I had served time in Virginia for...well, let's just say a heinous crime. This was news to me and I told her so.
Here's where I first discovered how I was regarded in the corridors of power in Connecticut. She paused and was silent for a long enough time that I thought our phones had been disconnected. She then said, "You should come to Hartford and we can discuss what needs to be done next."
I think my response surprised her, as I said, "No."
I wasn't interested in driving from Lakeville to Hartford and back again only to explain to the powers-that-be that they had the wrong guy. I doubt they would have believed me, anyway. Diocesan clergy tend to be nervous around me because I'm not a woman, like to build things using tools, am physically large, and am of a personality type that doesn't automatically defer to superficial and transient authority. In other words, I don't really belong to the diocesan club.
"Why don't you re-enter the information and use my middle name, too? I think you'll get the correct result, then."
I had the advantage in the conversation because I had been through this ten years before when the Great Barrington police department had run a check when I applied for a Massachusetts I.D. There is an unfortunate fellow who bears not only my first and last name, but also the same day, month, and year of my birth. The only difference is in our middle names. Well, and he's 6 inches shorter than I am and of a different race.
The canon did so, returned to the phone in a much more relaxed state, informed me that I wasn't a criminal, and suggested that I do something about this. Right, it's my responsibility when the diocese runs background checks with incomplete information and doesn't bother to read physical descriptions.
Besides, in a highly bureaucratized society, there is no way to truly "take care of this", as the opportunities for human error increase dramatically with the complexity of information.
Consider, for example, this:
What's in a name? For the wrong Cody Williams, 35 days in jail
That's okay. Look how high a Connecticut city scored. Oh, wait....
What Happens When People Write About Things They Know Little About And In Which They Have No Interest
Oh, and musical instruments:
From this Sunday's Washington Post, a lovely article on the 60th anniversary of the debut of the Fender Stratocaster. The only trouble is the photo they printed to accompany the story features Jeff Beck playing a semi-hollow Gibson.
From an Open Letter to CNN:
While you ponder that, and keeping in mind that I did say the answer to your question is in your article and I would get to that, let’s examine the only fact upon which your argument rests, which is that there is a consensus among 97% of scientists. Well Carol, I read that study. Did you? I’m guessing not. Carol, that study was done by Margaret Zimerman, who sent the survey to 10,257 Earth Scientists. Of those, 3,146 responded. Of those, Ms. Zimmerman excluded all but 77. That fact alone should have your journalistic instincts on high alert. But it gets worse.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
An over-generous and under-funded public pension in a state with a shrinking and aging population does not make a formula for success.
The time a dad spends with his children is a particularly strong predictor of how empathetic a child will become, according to commission of experts who wrote a proposal asking President Obama to create a White House Council on Boys and Men. The group, which Farrell helped assemble, compiled research showing infants with dads living at home were months ahead in personal and social development. Children who lack contact with fathers are more likely to be treated for emotional or behavioral problems. Girls with absent or indifferent fathers are more prone to hyperactivity. If dad is around, girls are less likely to become pregnant as teens. As early as 1993, studies showed that dads also influenced whether their sons became teenage fathers. A Temple University study found no boys born to teen mothers became teen fathers if they had close relationships with their biological fathers, compared to 15 percent of those who didn’t have that closeness.
1. Among the Believers
2. Religious Experience and the Modern Self
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
Saturday, February 22, 2014
[Herbert] served faithfully as a parish priest, diligently visiting his parishioners and bringing them the sacraments when they were ill, and food and clothing when they were in want. He read Morning and Evening Prayer daily in the church, encouraging the congregation to join him when possible, and ringing the church bell before each service so that those who could not come might hear it and pause in their work to join their prayers with his. He used to go once a week to Salisbury to hear Evening Prayer sung there in the cathedral. On one occasion he was late because he had met a man whose horse had fallen with a heavy load, and he stopped, took off his coat, and helped the man to unload the cart, get the horse back on its feet, and then reload the cart. His spontaneous generosity and good will won him the affection of his parishioners.
Today, however, he is remembered chiefly for his book of poems, The Temple, which he sent shortly before his death to his friend Nicholas Ferrar, to publish if he thought them suitable. They were published after Herbert's death, and have influenced the style of other poets, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Several of them have been used as hymns, in particular "Teach me, my God and King," and "Let all the world in every corner sing." Another of his poems contains the lines:
Prayer, the Church's banquet, Angel's age,
God's breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, the heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth.
Our God and King, you called your servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in your temple: Give us grace, we pray, joyfully to perform the tasks you give us to do knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
February 28: Anna Julia Haywood Cooper, Teacher [1858-1964]
Cooper was the fourth African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. Her life as an academic is one of purpose and accomplishment, qualities she shares with many unsung [and un-feasted] Episcopalians in American history, for whom she serves as a representative. Her placement on the church's feast calendar is due to her initial education at St. Augustine's College, an Episcopal Church institution devoted to educating black Americans.
Almighty God, you inspired your servant Anna Julia Haywood Cooper with the love of learning and the skill of teaching: Enlighten us more and more through the discipline of learning, and deepen our commitment to the education of all your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
March 1: David of Wales, Bishop [c. 500- 589]
By tradition and necessity, the Welsh developed a Christian life devoted to learning, asceticism, and missionary work. They were quite passionate about it. Since there were no cities, the centers of culture were the monasteries, with most abbots also serving as bishops. David was the founder, abbot, and bishop of the monastery of Menevia.
The custom in Celtic Christendom was for bishops to have no clear territorial diocesan jurisdiction, but to simply travel about as needed [peregrination]. With that freedom, David was able to evangelize most of Wales, and his monastery was sought out by scholars from far and near. That tradition continues in the contemporary Church of Wales, as it not only keeps the faith but serves to maintain the particular language and culture of the Welsh people.
Almighty God, who didst call thy servant David to be a faithful and wise steward of thy mysteries for the people of Wales: Mercifully grant that, following his purity of life and zeal for the gospel of Christ, we may with him receive the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever. Amen.
I've worked in three different dioceses where these statistics are regarded as the near-equal of the Gospels. The tragedy about such events is that a lot of well-intentioned people will either feel rather daunted or get defensive and continue to present the errant information with an even greater ardor.
In anticipation of Washington’s visit to Newport, the members of America’s oldest Jewish congregation prepared a letter welcoming Washington for presentation to him at a public event on the morning of August 18. The letter was authorized by the congregation’s board and signed by its president, Moses Seixas. It is Washington’s magnificent letter responding to Seixas that is known as a testament to religious freedom and that has become famous as one of the classic statements of religious toleration in America.
Of the Top 25 [colleges], ACTA reports, “only two require an economics course. Only three require a survey in U.S. history. Only five require a survey course in literature.” Amherst College, Grinnell College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, and Vassar College have open curricula with no requirements. Bates College, Bowdoin College, Haverford College, Oberlin College, Smith College, Swarthmore College, Wesleyan University, and Williams College do not require undergraduates to study literature, American history, the principles of American politics, or economics.What I find particularly amazing is that, when a sizable portion of higher education budgets are dedicated to the practice and personnel required to promote "diversity" [please forgive the quotation marks, but the strict definition of that word seems to alter from campus to campus], the expectation for mastery of a language other than English has evaporated. Frankly, having learned [and mostly forgotten] five different languages during the course of my life, I can't think of a better way to experience multiculturalism than to learn a language different from one's own.
The result, other than a spiritual gormlessness, is a social attitude mentioned in earlier postings here, here, and here. Actually, in a number of places.
[Warning: The source from which the above material is quoted is one deemed conservative. The earlier morning post was from a socialist source. As I have said before and will again, the best way to learn is to consult a variety of perspectives and attitudes and form your own opinion. If you can bear only to read periodicals and web 'zines that reflect your established point of view, please skip this posting.]
#1: Don’t you dare tell me to check my privilege
"It’s easy for me to sentimentalise those days when the trade unions held sway, chiming as they did with the calf country of my communism, but whatever their beery and sandwichy limits, they were far better than what replaced them; the politics of diversity. While working-class left-wing political activism was always about fighting the powerful, treating people how you would wish to be treated and believing that we’re all basically the same, modern, non-working-class left-wing politics is about… other stuff. Class guilt, sexual kinks, personal prejudice and repressed lust for power. The trade union movement gave us brother Bill Morris and Mrs Desai; the diversity movement has given us a rainbow coalition of cranks and charlatans."
#2: The church of self-worship: Sunday morning with the atheists
Friday, February 21, 2014
Because, you see, they are of no use anymore. We have the answers to the big questions, so why keep pretending there’s anything left to discuss?
At least that’s where Erin Ching, a student at Swarthmore College, seems to be coming down. Her school invited a famous left-wing Princeton professor, Cornel West, and a famous right-wing Princeton professor, Robert George, to have a debate. The two men are friends, and by all accounts they had an utterly civil exchange of ideas. But that only made the whole thing even more outrageous.
“What really bothered me is, the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion,” Ching told the Daily Gazette, the school’s newspaper. “I don’t think we should be tolerating [George’s] conservative views because that dominant culture embeds these deep inequalities in our society.”
I guess "liberal arts" is defined differently than in my day, which is a pity since I learned more in the free exchange of ideas with people with whom I disagreed than I did from those who expected me simply to parrot conventional thinking.
The latest statement from the Episcopal Church in the United States may be found here.
Bloomberg Media: The Official Forecast of the U.S. Government Never Saw This Winter Coming
Must have been sentimental this week, as this was my "second" parish. It was yoked with another, which I've always regarded as my first parish, since the liturgy there began at 9am and at St. Peter's at 11am. Regardless, I served as Vicar at both, simultaneously. I recall the congregation taught me how to make workable some aspects of ministry.
However, it was on those sanctuary steps in the photo that I was ordained a priest, so there will always be one lasting association with that parish.
Also, the parish changed to a part-time ministry about twenty years ago is, because of that sensible decision, is doing well.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Headline B: But Suicide Bombing Doesn't?
Headline C: Maybe You Should Try Uranus
Muslims have been warned in a Fatwa not to go and live on Mars because it would pose "a real risk to life", according to a Dubai news organisation.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
As always, there are two sets of rules: 39% of IRS Employee Long-Term Travel May Not Comply With Tax Rules
Well, at least racial equity has been achieved: In 2013, for the first time in the 55-year-history of the Billboard Hot 100, not one black artist lodged a number-one single.
And, of course, we support the troops: Number of Military Families on Food Stamps Has Nearly Doubled
We seem to have our national attention pointed towards the Olympics, some millionaire replacing another millionaire on a late night TV show, and the deep, deep concern from the Secretary of State about global warming/cooling, weather/climate change. Meanwhile...
NYT: "With hundreds of riot police officers advancing from all sides after a day of deadly mayhem here in the Ukrainian capital, antigovernment protesters mounted a final desperate and seemingly doomed act of defiance late on Tuesday evening, establishing a protective ring of fire around what remained of their all-but-conquered encampment on Independence Square.
Feeding the blazing defenses with blankets, tires, wood, sheets of plastic foam and anything else that might burn, the protesters hoped to prolong, for a while longer at least, a tumultuous protest movement against President Viktor F. Yanukovych, a leader who was democratically elected in 2010 but is widely reviled here as corrupt and authoritarian.
“It is called the tactic of scorched earth,” said a protester who identified himself as Andriy."
And don't get me started on Venezuela.
Headline B: Perhaps a Prayer to St. Anthony Would Help
Headline C: Rather Like What Happens to My Car Keys
The mammoth asteroid set to fly by Earth last night just disappeared
Headline B: Never Question The Intelligence Of Headline Editors
Headline C: These Are The People Determining Our Tax Code
Headline D: Derp
The Future Will Be Different From the Past, Economists Conclude
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
An employee at a Myers Park gourmet food store was fired after Gov. Pat McCrory’s security detail complained Sunday about a comment the worker made to the governor.
Because if your religion is actually your pattern of living, it scares people and makes them feel "unwelcome" and "offended". He's lucky he wasn't burned at the stake.
Herbert's feast day is next week, just so you know.
I mean it's snowing again and sometimes reading is the best way to combat the "rectory fever". Well, I happen to have a lot of office work to do today, but there's always time for this.
The author, if you're interested, is a Litchfield County farmer.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Headline B: It's Time For Strict Filet Control
Headline C: Maybe It Was Chuck Steak
Woman Assaulted Supermarket Worker With Pair Of "Special Cut Filet"
LSD user breaks into neighbors apartment thinking he is 24's Jack Bauer before he puts all their clothes in the bathtub and stuffs their credit cards inside a chocolate muffin
They should have maintained their perimeter. [That's a 24 reference, for those of you "culturally" unaware of sublime entertainment.]
Sunday, February 16, 2014
In fact, the very core of the scientific method is supposed to be skepticism. We accept arguments not because they come from people in authority but because they can be proven correct — in independent experiments by independent experimenters. If you make a claim that can’t be proven false in an independent experiment, you’re not really making a scientific claim at all.
And saying, “trust us,” while denouncing skeptics as — horror of horrors — “skeptics” doesn’t count as science, either, even if it comes from someone with a doctorate and a lab coat.
I was reminded of this when some "science guy" taking part in a debate got the North and South Poles confused on national TV. These are the people who are not to be questioned, huh?
I have a dispute, though, about #4 being the most haunted place in Connecticut. The fire department on which I served had to find some New Yorkers lost in the woods in Cornwall once and we had to walk through Dudleytown at sunset. That is one creepy place. I've heard some hair-raising stories about the area from some of the locals, too.
The weirdest part? We were in those woods for three hours and I never saw a bird, a deer, or any other familiar woodland fauna. I didn't even hear insects. [Shudder.]
Archbishop Luwum is a recent addition, yet one who fits the traditional mold of Christian martyrdom. Luwum was the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda when Idi Amin seized power in the early 1970's. In events that would seem remarkably familiar to any student of early Christianity, Luwum challenged the dictator for his excessive, often brutal, treatment of the Ugandan people. In return, the Archbishop was arrested, told to read from a prepared "confession" and then executed on this day in 1977. While the government originally claimed him to be a victim of an automobile accident, his body, when released to his family, bore wounds consistent with multiple gunshots. It has always been rumored that he was martyred by Amin himself.
Above, on the right, is the statue to Luwum that is found in the martyr's corner at Westminster Abbey.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
I always wanted stories like this when I worked for newspapers. Instead, I got to cover the town's sewer board. Ew.
A student at Swarthmore College thinks that in order to ensure that students are "hearing a diversity of opinion," the institution should "not be tolerating" the "conservative views" of a prominent alumnus.
I scored an 80%, which means my "cultural bubble is large and permeable". Yeah, that happens when you're from humble and diverse circumstances and live in six different cities or towns over a 25 year period.
A colleague of mine, a long-time New York Episcopal priest, took it and scored, hahaha, a 10%. I think that's higher than some of my colleagues in Connecticut would score.
If you live in a cultural bubble, you can't evangelize.
Friday, February 14, 2014
There will be many who will dispute this, but those would be people who limit their understanding of nature to meteorology or physics or astronomy. Some of us still use the ancient art, so liminal as to be pre-verbal, of rud a bheithsa dúchas agat to understand tides and gravity. We so often watch the waves, are so often immersed in them, observant of their nature and their potential for transport, that, in a crude translation from the Celtic above, “their nature is in our blood”. We know that the waves have changed and that winter’s power is diminishing and, even if we should suffer still more snow and ice, it will be of shorter lease and far less strength.
In short, we’re through the worst of it.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Yes, the greatest threat to America is people who support the Bill of Rights.
Imagine politicians in Washington D.C. having to live within their own laws, regulations, and guidelines. [One of the great moments in U.S. history is when President Harding, right after Prohibition became law, saw to the establishment of a private saloon down the street from the White House so that he and his friends would have a place to drink.]
"When it was all over, Eugene Mallory died of six gunshot wounds from Sgt. John Bones' MP-5 9mm submachine gun."
Civilians have not been permitted machine guns since 1934 [Connecticut politicians would have you believe otherwise by labeling the most popular 21st century rifle design an "assault weapon"]. Perhaps the police shouldn't have them, either.
Cleveland also had a near 50/50 racial population. Yes, there were some Hispanics, mostly from Puerto Rico, and some Asians, but that was a very small population in those days. The city was run by whites and blacks; and, as in cities such as Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, and New Orleans, the two racial groups abided with one another more easily than in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.
Cleveland had the first black mayor, Carl Stokes, of a major American city. Whites and blacks voted for him. JFK's leading campaigner in the 1960 presidential election was Carl's brother, Louis, who would become a long-serving congressman. As a kid I knew the music of Jimmy Smith, Sun Ra, and The Rev. James Cleveland. Kids from other places in the USA dug The Archies; I could not get enough James Brown. I would listen to the Cavs play on the radio and then stay tuned to hear the sermons from the First Baptist Church.
I had black schoolmates, work colleagues, and friends. My first real job was as a teacher in an inner city high school where I taught in classrooms that represented the city's demographic. In the days before I had to be conscious of my diet and general fitness, I loved neckbone and collards. My parents would often take in kids from disadvantaged homes, both black and white. Such was the dinner table in my house. At another time in my life, my colleagues and I were told that "We wear blue and green; we bleed red. That's all."
Imagine my surprise when I came to Connecticut to work and live and found myself in parishes and towns that not only had no black members or residents, but where people had never had a black friend; had never been in a black family's house as a guest, had never sat on crates with other whites and blacks during a lunch break and laughed about common experiences.
Imagine being in Connecticut and realizing that an ordained colleague didn't know what a "West Indian" was, or that senior clergy, including those serving on committees to address racial concerns, didn't know the difference between a West Indian, Afro-American, or Ethiopian; and who attempted to address the disparate concerns of those groups as if they were monolithic. Why were these the people in charge? Was it solely because they "felt" concern, even though they had no active history of actually addressing concern? Was this why, in the company of liberal-minded whites, I always felt as if the goal of diocesan racial programs and multiple clergy visits to Africa was to make everyone embrace white values and perspectives; to become, in the words of a black colleague, "little whites"?
Yet these were the people who designed the Episcopal Church's world view in racial matters. This may, I guess, be the reason that the titular head of the Anglican Communion is a white man who was selected over the Ugandan-born Archbishop of York. This, despite the fact that our world-wide church is predominantly black.
I'm guessing this is also why many of my white colleagues treat the current President of the United States as if he is the near-messiah, which seems terribly unfair to him. Since they have never had any black friends or been in a black house except, perhaps, for the exercise of ministry, Barack Obama is the black friend they never had. I suspect, and I may be wrong, that it may alleviate any secret fears on their part that they are racist. That Obama sticker on a car bumper is like one of those ancient pardons issued from the Vatican.
So, the comments I came across on the weblog quoted from and linked to below resonated, to say the least. I had read the Slate article that's referenced, and, like most articles in Slate, it sounded like something one would hear at a meeting of white clergy: Well-intended, inexperienced, pseudo-intellectual, and naive.
But I also invite you to read the following, which is shorter than the Slate piece, offered by a law professor from Madison, Wisconsin:
Here's a HuffPo piece that had him going on about how he has no black friends, even though he's totally liberal and lives in NYC. He's "never even been inside a black person's house." So that's his background. Why he's the person to declare and explain the failure of affirmative action and to propose a solution, I do not know. Does Slate know? Obviously, Slate's publishing the article boosts Colby's stature as an expert on this topic. It's why I'm reading Colby's piece. But I can see the reasons why Slate would publish this. It knows its readers are mostly white liberals, and it's easy to guess that they're susceptible to the narcissistic question: Where are my black friends? (Obama counts as one friend, but he's always so busy.)
Read both pieces, if you have the time and inclination. They both have valid points that are in need of some consideration.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
You will recognize Hugh Laurie, who plays the "offended" woman, from the American TV show, House.
Reverse the players in this drama and try to guess for how long the two women would be sentenced to prison.
I may have found what is for me the Rocky Colavito of philosophy: Roger Scruton. He is a contemporary philosopher, an aestheticist, who writes some of the most wonderful common sense; which, after all, is what philosophy is supposed to be.
I think we'll feature a daily dose of Scruton during the days of Lent. Here's a nice place to start:
"Contemporary atheism is the desire to escape from the eye of judgement. You escape from the eye of judgement by blotting out the face - most assertively the Face of God."
Now I want his autograph.
After all, the Corvette is the only true sports car ever made by Detroit.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
After all, I was one of many clergy invited to hear of the brave, new world of the Affordable Care Act when it was still a gleam in the dustman's eye, as it were. We were assured by government types that this would save, SAVE!, the poor and elderly in our communities from economic ruin. Many of my perpetually dewy-eyed ordained colleagues, who are mostly the children of privilege who will never know economic ruin, nodded and smiled as if the Messiah had returned.
After over three decades of listening to politicians and government bureaucrats patiently explain to me how their program of shoveling tax dollars and free labor to their cronies in corporations [if Republicans] or unions [if Democrats] will mean the liberation of the human race, especially the impoverished and children, in ways un-dreamt of in apocalyptic literature, I tend to be less than enthralled.
So-called Obamacare was sold to clergy harder than anything I can recall. This meant that it was destined to be more expensive, less helpful, and far, far more complicated and confusing than what was being adamantly promised by the functionaries who were meeting with us to define our role in their version of reality. Such has been the case, as anyone save a secular ideologue can admit.
This is why Christianity needs to embrace its history as a belief practice that is "in, but not of, the world." The more often we are expected to serve as shills for a secular ideology, the further away we get from what was taught by Jesus.
Related news: HealthCare.gov to be out of service
And Mary J. Blige will perform, too. Were you invited?
Obama talks about addressing inequality; Hollande is a socialist who believes everyone should have the same amount of everything. And I'm the cynic, huh?
A slight change in presentation, however, may shift attitudes in the direction of climate science and away from the vicissitudes of local weather. A study out this month, from the Cardiff University psychologists Stuart Capstick and Nicholas Pidgeon, found that periods of exceptionally cold weather in the United Kingdom had the opposite effect as they did in the United States: more people believed in the truth of climate change. The reason for the difference? The media had framed the weather within the context of climate change, emphasizing that it was unnatural, rather than simply cold. Perhaps if people here were told that it’s not just brutal out there, it’s unnaturally brutal, they, too, might jump to a different conclusion.
This reminds me of something that is credited to Confucius:
"If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything."
Skip to the 22nd minute to see the glory of a well-handled machine.
Muslim v Christian in the CAR?
Monday, February 10, 2014
Also, it appears that author is good at his job. Consider this:
University of Iowa Is Top Party School
So, how do I get a job like this?
"Among much else, the 2013 law, deemed New York’s SAFE Act, made it a felony to carry a gun on school property...."
Send this man to Washington D.C., home of the people who mandate medical insurance and then exempt themselves from it.
Do you mean to say that the government has a made a right hash out of a mandated program? That's never, ever happened before, has it?
In reality-land, where I am forced to dwell, there are approximately 159,000 websites dedicated to providing the calorie count for the food we consume, from "fast food" to its slower cousins prepared in the kitchen. I even have a wristband device that helps me track my own consumption. Anyone who wants to know the calories involved in their meal may find the information in fewer than thirty seconds. If they have an internet-equipped phone, they may do so at the restaurant while they're eating. A couple of sites even let you take a photo of the meal and deduce its caloric content from that. This modern age, eh?
There is no need for a mandate. Those who wish to know the caloric count of their meal may find it easily; those who don't care will continue to be apathetic. All this does is create more headaches for franchisees and small business owners. Well, and it causes the rather sad bits of human material that make up our political class to feel a sense of power over the citizenry, which I suspect is the real reason behind many onerous laws.
Such is the world. Thank God we are of the Kingdom.
Historically, when a government plays fast and loose with any law, not only does it weaken the law and create a distrust of leadership, but it encourages individual citizens to freely determine their own compliance to a whole host of laws. How dare they?
Coincidentally, it's estimated that as many as one million people in Connecticut have ignored registering their newly outlawed weapons or empty metal boxes [aka magazines or "clips"] under the useless new gun control laws.
[Actually it's because I find the cleaning crew at my gym to be less than competent, I'm not interested in classes in the latest fitness fad, and I can't keep track of which machines work and which don't, but I'd rather it look like some political action. I am an Episcopal priest, after all.]
The Bible always worked better as a subversive work wrought in the hands of radicals, anyway. I'm looking forward to it returning to that original purpose.
I Was Beginning To Think My Distaste For Canned Music And Auto-Tuned Singers Was A Generational Thing. Nope.
I hope current bands learned a something tonight. 50 years later, and in their 70s, @thebeatles played live & without autotune. #Beatles50
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) February 10, 2014
Sunday, February 9, 2014
"[T]hink the Catholic Church has a problem?" she said. "The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests."
This quotation rankles somewhat:
"OSHA fined 17 companies it said had 'blatantly disregarded' industry standards, with the biggest penalty assessed against general contractor O&G Industries of Torrington. The deadly blast also focused national attention on the risky practice of using flammable gas to clear pipes."
"...in the years since the blast, the federal government agreed to deals that will wipe out as much as 88 percent of the fines levied against the companies it determined were responsible for the explosion, a Courant review of documents related to the case has revealed."
"Responsible for the explosion...." is a nicer way of saying "the death of six human beings".
IRAN SENDING WARSHIPS CLOSE TO US BORDERS
[You hear a sound like a turbine winding up? Yeah, it's the Second Marine Division. They protect the Eastern seaboard. You know, just in case....]
This is no surprise as more and more Americans gain employment or retire overseas. Given that expatriate Americans are the only people in the world expected to pay taxes not only to the country in which they live and work, but also to the United States, there is considerable savings involved in renunciation.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
On February 13th, 1804, The Rev. Absalom Jones was ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church of the
Set us free, heavenly Father, from every bond of prejudice and fear; that, honoring the steadfast courage of your servant Absalom Jones, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, which you have given us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
February 14: Cyril and Methodius
Almighty and everlasting God, by the power of the Holy Spirit you moved your servant Cyril and his brother Methodius to bring the light of the Gospel to a hostile and divided people: Overcome all bitterness and strife among us by the love of Christ, and make us one united family under the banner of the Prince of Peace; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
February 15: Thomas Bray
O God of compassion, you opened the eyes of your servant Thomas Bray to see the needs of the Church in the New World, and led him to found societies to meet those needs: Make the Church in this land diligent at all times to propagate the Gospel among those who have not received it, and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, February 7, 2014
The "discrepancy" is apparent only to non-theists or literalists, I suspect. As Biblical archaeologist William Dever once said, and is quoted in the article,
"We want to make the Bible history. Many people think it has to be history or nothing. But there is no word for history in the Hebrew Bible. In other words, what did the biblical writers think they were doing? Writing objective history? No. That's a modern discipline. They were telling stories. They wanted you to know what these purported events mean."
Thursday, February 6, 2014
I don't know why, but Francis' Harley reminded me of Geronimo's Cadillac [which was actually a 1905 Locomobile; it's a common error].
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Of course, by then, treatment professionals will have moved to the next level.
[An aside: I'm fatigued by people who have started talking about the "heroin epidemic" in the United States over the last couple of days. As a former urban rector who has done his share of funerals for those who have O.D.'d on drugs, this is not a new problem at all. Pardon the radicalism, but what is new is that the latest victim was a wealthy, white man who was beloved by the media class; so now we're allowed to notice a problem. I'm very sorry that that's what it takes, but so be it.]
We have been informed by most professionals that addiction is a disease. Certainly, given the success of most disease-oriented programs, this is a sound approach. However, it has been noticed that the label "disease" has convinced many addicts that theirs is a hopeless case with little or no chance of true recovery. The thinking is that since there is no cure for addiction, sooner or later it will kill you. Thus, treatment theory becomes another rationalization for chronic drug use. Of late, this has been increasingly frustrating to the professionals.
A number of therapists and treatment specialists are advancing a new way to address the paradox of "addiction as disease". The latest theory is that those combating addiction can fall into a state of learned powerlessness; scientific evidence and analysis appears to show that the natural arc is for the most addicts to "mature" out of the disorder. Learned powerlessness does not permit this maturity to occur.
This is based on a 1962[!] study entitled "Maturing Out of Narcotic Addiction" from which this telling quotation is written:
The difference between those who mature out of addiction and those who do not may also mirror the difference between addicts who struggle to abandon addiction and may develop some insight, and those who decide that they are 'hooked,' make no effort to abandon addiction, and give in to what they regard as inevitable."
More studies made subsequent to that initial study may be found in this 2012 document. The end result is that contemporary treatment programs are beginning to seek to avoid learned powerlessness and are likely to bring some evolution to the "addiction as disease" narrative. As there is a lot of money being made through traditional treatment programs, I imagine this will not be an easy change.
[A disclaimer: Addiction treatment is not my field; I'm just noting a discernible change in medical and societal regard for it. My main interest in any of this, I guess, is a desire never to have to officiate at the funeral of an overdose victim again.]
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
In case you were wondering, United has the worst reputation among professional guitarists for destroying guitars in the airline's "care".
As a small-business employer, I have seen a disturbing downward talent drift in job candidates — most acutely in the past five years. When a job candidate’s first question is about vacation days or benefits, we know we have encountered collateral damage from the teachers and parents who believed in “softening the learning experience.” Armed with a meaningless bachelor’s degree from colleges and universities that allowed majors in non-core subjects, we see youngsters who cannot write, research or think analytically. Their lack of discipline is evident in job applications filled with typos and cover letters that reveal no interest in teamwork or service — rather, they emphasize their high opinion of themselves. (Many young job seekers come forward with an executive attitude that is backed by zero capabilities).