Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Lashes Out Against Gays: “Spit on Them, Beat them Up, They Are Not Human” - The Pappas Post

Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Lashes Out Against Gays: “Spit on Them, Beat them Up, They Are Not Human” - The Pappas Post:

Ambrosios is the Metropolitan of Kalavryta and Aigialeia— a region in north central Peloponnese and ranks as the 8th in order of hierarchy and influence in the Church’s synod, or governing body. Numerous politicians, media and public figures have called for condemnation of the bishop’s comments.

His vitriolic blog post (in Greek) followed legislation set forth by the ruling government to extend domestic partnership status to same-sex couples, granting them similar rights to those who are married.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Entertainment News - Magufuli’s ‘Pombe’ is intoxicating the world

Entertainment News - Magufuli’s ‘Pombe’ is intoxicating the world: The 5th president of Tanzania knows this all too well. Barely months into his first term, John Pombe Magufuli continues to win every one over with his anti-graft messages and actions. He storms hospitals and government offices to see if everyone is pulling their weight. Those who don’t are sacked, or threatened with the sack.

But the perception among Tanzanians is that finally, someone high up the leadership ladder is walking the talk. The raft of austerity measures the president has so far instituted have saved the East African nation trillions of Tanzanian shillings and for once, the country of some 50 million people seems to outclass her egotistic neighbour Kenya, while hogging the international limelight for all the right reasons.

Habetis Papam by David Bentley Hart | Articles | First Things

Habetis Papam by David Bentley Hart | Articles | First Things: F

ar be it from me—not being a Roman Catholic—to tell Catholics what they should think of their pontiff. But, just as a brief amicus curiae (so to speak), I want to note that I feel a wholly unqualified admiration for Francis; and nothing he has done, said, or written since assuming office has had any effect on me but to deepen that esteem. I have to say also that I am utterly baffled by the anxiety, disappointment, or hostility he clearly inspires in certain American Catholics of a conservative bent (using “conservative” in its distinctly American acceptation). And frankly I find it no more inexplicable in its most extreme expressions—which at their worst verge on sheer �hysteria—than in its mildest—an almost morbid oversensitivity to every faint hint of hidden meanings in every word, however innocuous, that escapes the pope’s lips or pen.

Christians, Capitalism, and Culture: A Response to David Bentley Hart | Public Discourse

Christians, Capitalism, and Culture: A Response to David Bentley Hart | Public Discourse: In an article praising Pope Francis in the December 2015 edition of First Things, the Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart confesses his bafflement at “the anxiety, disappointment, or hostility he clearly inspires in certain American Catholics of a conservative bent.” Referring to Francis’s environmental encyclical, Hart states that “I can quite literally find not a single sentence or sentiment in Laudato Si’ to which it seems to me possible for any Christian coherently to object.” Hart adds that he “simply cannot find an assertion anywhere in its pages that strikes me as anything other than either a plain statement of fact or a reasonable statement of Christian principle.”

Such comments are audacious but untenable. Close examination of some of Laudato Si’s arguments does raise questions about their coherence.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Warning: Actual Bible Reading Likely To Turn You Into A Liberal, Study Shows �

Warning: Actual Bible Reading Likely To Turn You Into A Liberal, Study Shows �:

Christian researchers have discovered the existence of a book that is so dangerous to conservative ideology, Republicans may soon decide to ban it altogether. Strangely enough, that book is the Christian Bible.

According to a study published in Christianity Today, people who say they read the Christian Bible frequently are far more likely to support liberal policies, when compared to those who read the Bible less often.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke:

This line of thought has led to some scientists claiming that “atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think,” says Graham Lawton, an avowed atheist himself, writing in the New Scientist. “They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say. Humans are pattern-seekers from birth, with a belief in karma, or cosmic justice, as our default setting. “A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith,” writes Pascal Boyer in Nature, the science journal, adding that people “are only aware of some of their religious ideas”.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Book Maven: Williams goes mainstream

Book Maven: Williams goes mainstream: There could not be a more appropriate venue to launch a book about a man less known than his two fellow Inklings, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R.R. Tolkien, but who had a powerful presence at their meetings at the Eagle and Child. Lindop describes him as the "missing piece of the jigsaw" - a novelist, publisher, lecturer, poet, critic and, yes, magician.

Book Maven

Book Maven: There could not be a more appropriate venue to launch a book about a man less known than his two fellow Inklings, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R.R. Tolkien, but who had a powerful presence at their meetings at the Eagle and Child. Lindop describes him as the "missing piece of the jigsaw" - a novelist, publisher, lecturer, poet, critic and, yes, magician.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Things Done In Secret - Anglican Pastor

Things Done In Secret - Anglican Pastor:

As a priest, I live at the intersection of two worlds: at the corner of seen and unseen, at the juncture of things in heaven and things on earth. So do you; so do we all. Yet, even this language is fraught with difficulty; it doesn’t get it quite right. It is too conditioned by Enlightenment dualism. There is, after all, only one world, not two – a single world containing both that which we see with our eyes and touch with our hands and that which we know only through revelation and perceive only by faith.

Things done in secret matter insofar as they reveal and partake of this unified world in which God is everywhere present and filling all things, a world in which water can actually become holy, a world in which bread and wine are actually consecrated by word and Holy Spirit and by prayer and touch, a world in which a bow is worship and the sign of the cross banishes demons. If this is, in fact, the kind of world we live in, then yes, things done in secret matter as much as things done in plain sight. I believe this is the kind of world we live in. If I am wrong about this, then seen or unseen, none of this matters.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Top editor ‘was an apartheid spy’ - South Africa | IOL News

Top editor ‘was an apartheid spy’ - South Africa | IOL News: A legendary figure in journalism, who edited the largest and arguably most influential newspaper of the day, was a “mole” working in the interests of the apartheid government, according to a book released this weekend.

God, Spies and Lies: Finding South Africa’s Future Through its Past is written by veteran journalist John Matisonn.

He says Tertius Myburgh, who edited the Sunday Times between 1975 and 1990, was the editor whom apartheid secret service head General Hendrik van den Bergh boasted he owned.

We can save atheism from the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins | Jeff Sparrow | Comment is free | The Guardian

We can save atheism from the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins | Jeff Sparrow | Comment is free | The Guardian: Why are the New Atheists such jerks? Case in point: Richard Dawkins’ continuing pursuit of Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas 14-year-old humiliated in school after authorities mistook his homemade clock for a bomb.

The other day, The God Delusion author called Ahmed a hoaxer and responded to suggestions “he was only a kid” by linking to a report about a juvenile Islamic State (Isis) fighter. “And how old is this ‘kid’?” Dawkins asked.

Monday, November 16, 2015

John Daniel’s Question — Or, Why Searching for the Missing Still Matters for South Africa (A Tribute) | Backstories

John Daniel’s Question — Or, Why Searching for the Missing Still Matters for South Africa (A Tribute) | Backstories: Before he died of cancer last year, and up until the moment he could no longer focus on much more than getting through the next treatment, John Daniel was a passionate and active supporter of the Missing Persons Task Team (MPTT) – of its cause, its work, and of its incredibly brave and overworked staff. His interest in the MPTT emerged not only from the long standing social justice orientation that came to define his political and academic life, but also from his work as a researcher for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which constituted the MPTT to continue with aspects of its overall mandate.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

What I Discovered From Interviewing Imprisoned ISIS Fighters | The Nation

What I Discovered From Interviewing Imprisoned ISIS Fighters | The Nation:  An Islamic State fighter’s biggest resentment was the lack of an adolescence. Another of the interviewees was displaced at the critical age of 13, when his family fled to Kirkuk from Diyala province at the height of Iraq’s sectarian civil war. They are children of the occupation, many with missing fathers at crucial periods (through jail, death from execution, or fighting in the insurgency), filled with rage against America and their own government. They are not fueled by the idea of an Islamic caliphate without borders; rather, ISIS is the first group since the crushed Al Qaeda to offer these humiliated and enraged young men a way to defend their dignity, family, and tribe. This is not radicalization to the ISIS way of life, but the promise of a way out of their insecure and undignified lives; the promise of living in pride as Iraqi Sunni Arabs, which is not just a religious identity but cultural, tribal, and land-based, too.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

SLAVA – what makes Serbs different from other Orthodox

SLAVA – what makes Serbs different from other Orthodox: Slava is connected to the times of old Slavic religion, when a cult of ancestors was very strong. For Slavs, family and its legacy is one of the holiest things in life; and this custom is highly appreciated even today. In order to maintain this legacy and implement it into Christianity, Serbian archbishop St. Sava canonized this ceremony and formed a unique cultural heritage for Serbs

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Oswald Spengler and the Soul of Russia � Katehon

Oswald Spengler and the Soul of Russia � Katehon: while Spengler, like many others of the time in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution, regarded – partially - Russia as the Asianised leader of a ‘coloured revolution’ against the white world, he also considered other possibilities. This paper examines Spengler’s views on Russia as a distinct culture that had not yet fulfilled her destiny, while Western civilisation is about to take a final bow on the world historical stage. His views on Russia as an outsider are considered in relation to the depiction of the Russian soul by seminal Russians such as Gogol.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill

Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill: In my career as a psychologist, I have talked with hundreds of people previously diagnosed by other professionals with oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety disorder and other psychiatric illnesses, and I am struck by (1) how many of those diagnosed are essentially anti-authoritarians, and (2) how those professionals who have diagnosed them are not.

Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.

Remembering St. John Coltrane

Remembering St. John Coltrane: “My goal is to live the truly religious life, and express it in my music. If you live it, when you play there’s no problem because the music is part of the whole thing. To be a musician is really something. It goes very, very deep. My music is the spiritual expression of what I am – my faith, my knowledge, my being.” –John Coltrane

Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe

jameschater.com - Home:

The Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe (hereafter referred to as the exarchate), headquartered at the Cathedral of Alexsander Nevsky, Rue Daru, Paris, is facing an unprecedented crisis. And that is saying a lot, given the archdiocese’s turbulent history! Recent actions by Archbishop Job of Telmessos have done nothing to stabilize what was already a precarious situation. Rather, they have brought matters to a head, with implications that run all the way to the throne of the Ecumenical Patriarchate itself. As such, the issues raised deserve the attention of all Orthodox.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

The Rise and Rise of Papism in African Churches | Her Zimbabwe

The Rise and Rise of Papism in African Churches | Her Zimbabwe: You have to have study for a PhD or a medical degree to be called Dr. Somebody. You must have certain educational qualifications, experience and character qualities to be called Judge So-and-So. But in many churches have people called Apostle Ningi when he had not planted even one church and Bishop Lokhuzeni who has no leadership track record that anyone can attest to. These titles are often meaningless and only serve the purpose of distinguishing the title from other members of the church. They are the super-Christians and everyone else is subordinate. They are not about respecting a person but about exalting the person behind the pulpit further above the people on the pews.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Carmen Bugan: Secret Police Records and The Language of Memory - Nieman Storyboard

Carmen Bugan: Secret Police Records and The Language of Memory - Nieman Storyboard:

Reading my personal “biography” in the secret-police speak of the files sends me back to a self I both recognize and don’t, creating another place of writing, which I could not have imagined before. I am caught in the conflict between the free, fluid language of memory and the shackled, impersonal language of surveillance reports.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Slow Death of the University - The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Slow Death of the University - The Chronicle of Higher Education: From Cape Town to Reykjavik, Sydney to S�o Paulo, an event as momentous in its own way as the Cuban revolution or the invasion of Iraq is steadily under way: the slow death of the university as a center of humane critique.

The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much - The New York Times

The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much - The New York Times: a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.

Friday, October 23, 2015

What Happened When Sam Harris Tried (and Failed) to Embarrass Noam Chomsky | Alternet

What Happened When Sam Harris Tried (and Failed) to Embarrass Noam Chomsky | Alternet: Harris shares the perverse belief that pervades the corridors of power, “people are going to be killed, many of them women and children – and unlike our enemies it appalls us so that makes it okay.”

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Daily Maverick Chronicle: #FeesMustFall – Violence at the Gates of Parliament | Daily Maverick

Daily Maverick Chronicle: #FeesMustFall – Violence at the Gates of Parliament | Daily Maverick: When students stormed Parliament's grounds on Wednesday afternoon, SHAUN SWINGLER was there to document the police's brutal response. It is an upsetting but important video.

Photo: Police give chase to a group of protesters who have moved through the CBD (Shaun Swingler)

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Shooting Feet: Israel Targets Palestinian Soccer Players | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Shooting Feet: Israel Targets Palestinian Soccer Players | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community: One more God-awful chapter in the ongoing God-awful narrative that is Israeli occupation: Israeli forces attacked two teenage Palestinian cousins and soccer players, Jawhar Nasser Jawhar, 19, and Adam Abd al-Raouf Halabiya, 17, shooting them repeatedly in the feet and legs - ten bullets into Jawhar, two into Adam - before unleashing attack dogs and finally beating them in what critics call another egregious targeting of Palestinian athletes in a place where "soccer is politics."

Monday, July 20, 2015

Here’s How Facebook’s News Feed Actually Works | TIME

Here’s How Facebook’s News Feed Actually Works | TIME:

Facebook is injecting a human element into the way News Feed operates. The company’s growing army of human raters help the social network improve the News Feed experience in ways that can’t easily be measured by “Likes.” A new curation tool launching Thursday, for instance, called “See First” will let any user choose which of their friends they want to see at the top of the feed, rather than having the decision dictated by an algorithm.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

John Pilger: Fascism and a new holocaust beckon if we remain silent - Stop the War Coalition

John Pilger: Fascism and a new holocaust beckon if we remain silent - Stop the War Coalition:



Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.

Neoliberalism and Higher Education - The New York Times

Neoliberalism and Higher Education - The New York Times:



...neoliberalism is a pejorative way of referring to a set of economic/political policies based on a strong faith in the beneficent effects of free markets. Here is an often cited definition by Paul Treanor: “Neoliberalism is a philosophy in which the existence and operation of a market are valued in themselves, separately from any previous relationship with the production of goods and services . . . and where the operation of a market or market-like structure is seen as an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action, and substituting for all previously existing ethical beliefs.” (“Neoliberalism: Origins, Theory, Definition.”)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Zuroff: What happened in Srebrenica does not fit definition of genocide | InSerbia News

Zuroff: What happened in Srebrenica does not fit definition of genocide | InSerbia News:



BELGRADE – It is absurd to compare the Holocaust, genocide in Rwanda and the crimes committed in Srebrenica, said Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Efraim Zuroff from Israel as one of the most famous Nazi-hunters.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Stanford scholar upends interpretation of philosopher Martin Heidegger

Stanford scholar upends interpretation of philosopher Martin Heidegger: After a lifetime of studying the German philosopher's groundbreaking works, Stanford Religious Studies Professor Thomas Sheehan concludes that Heideggerians' obsession with Being misses the point.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

ReligiousLeftLaw.com

ReligiousLeftLaw.com:



Germany will be able to export much more than it otherwise would, since its currency — the euro — is undervalued as a German currency. It also means Greece will have much more trouble exporting than it otherwise would, since its currency — the euro — is overvalued as a Greek currency. So Germany will tend to rack up huge trade surpluses, and Greece will tend correspondingly to incur deficits and debts — all thanks to the nature of their shared currency in relation to their very different economies.

Almost Everything You've Heard About The Anti-Gay Sweet Cakes Wedding Cake Case Is (Probably) Wrong - The New Civil Rights Movement

Almost Everything You've Heard About The Anti-Gay Sweet Cakes Wedding Cake Case Is (Probably) Wrong - The New Civil Rights Movement:



the Oregon DOJ sent Cryer's consumer complaint to the Kleins, with a cover letter requesting that they respond to the complainants. It was an attempt to encourage reconciliation.

Instead, Aaron Klein posted the discrimination complaint to Facebook (not taking the precaution of redacting the couple's name and address from the document). "This is what happens when you tell gay people you won't do their 'wedding cake,'" he posted.

The Kleins then took to the news and media. They cozied up to anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, campaigning at appallingly anti-gay hate rallies, for their business' totally-fictional right to discriminate against LGBT people.

After filing the discrimination complaint, the Bowman-Cryers became the victims of death threats — as well as outrageous and horrific claims by conservative media outlets and anti-gay groups.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Evolutionary Mystery of Left-Handedness and What It Reveals About How the Brain Works | Brain Pickings

The Evolutionary Mystery of Left-Handedness and What It Reveals About How the Brain Works | Brain Pickings:



So what can the brain reveal about handedness? One of the first scientists to ponder the mystery of left-handedness was pioneering French surgeon Paul Broca, whom Wolman calls “the closest thing the religion of Southpaw has to a prophet.” In 1861, just two years after Darwin had discovered the principles of evolution, Broca encountered two patients who stumped him profoundly. One was an epileptic man named Leborgne but known as “Tan,” nicknamed after the only syllable he was capable of uttering. Leborgne was able to understand spoken language but couldn’t articulate his thoughts in speech — something that perplexed Broca enormously, doubly so given that one of Leborgne’s first symptoms was a weakening of function in the right side of his body, which progressed to more loss of motor control and eventually the loss of sight and some of his mental faculties.

This Is How Hillary Loses the Primary - The Daily Beast

This Is How Hillary Loses the Primary - The Daily Beast:

Hillary Clinton has supported every U.S. war since Vietnam. She supported not only DOMA, which her husband signed, but a travel ban on those who were HIV positive. She supported welfare cuts (remember her husband’s efforts toward “ending welfare as we know it”?). She supports the death penalty and campaigned in her husband’s place during the 1992 New Hampshire primary when he left to oversee the execution of an African-American man whose suicide attempt left him brain damaged.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Greece referendum result and the meaning of debt - Business Insider

Greece referendum result and the meaning of debt - Business Insider:



To pay back debt, you have to have a growing economy. That's a basic law of economics. It's how credit cards work. It's how mortgages work. And it is how sovereign/central-bank debt works. But Greece's economy was never in a position to benefit from debt, because it has been shrinking for years:

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Thomas Piketty accuses Germany of forgetting history as it lectures Greece - The Washington Post

Thomas Piketty accuses Germany of forgetting history as it lectures Greece - The Washington Post:



A number of prominent economists have raised concerns about Germany's approach to the Greek debt crisis, which Germans say reflects a need to force changes in Greece's economy so that it never again has such a crisis.

But in the interview with Die Zeit, Thomas Piketty went even farther, saying that the Germans are only in the strong economic position they are today because they benefited from the forgiveness of their neighbors after World War II.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

This 200,000 Year-Old City in South Africa Could Rewrite Human History | The Mind Unleashed

This 200,000 Year-Old City in South Africa Could Rewrite Human History | The Mind Unleashed: A giant stone city was discovered in South Africa, approximately 150 km west of port Maputo, Mozambique. By calculating the erosion rate of the dolerite, it became possible to assess the age of the site. It was estimated that the 1500 square-kilometer metropolis was constructed between 160,000 and 200,000 years ago!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dylann Roof’s racist manifesto: ‘I have no choice’ - The Washington Post

Dylann Roof’s racist manifesto: ‘I have no choice’ - The Washington Post: Authorities said Saturday that the man accused of killing nine African Americans in a venerable Charleston, S.C., church left a racist manifesto targeting blacks, Jews and Hispanics on his Web site, a white supremacist broadside that also appears to offer a rationale for the shootings.

The lengthy declaration, loaded with offensive racial characterizations of blacks and others, includes the conclusion that “someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”

“I have no choice,” states part of that final section, titled “An Explanation.” “I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is [the] most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country.”

A Letter From a White South African to White America�|�Bronwyn Lea

A Letter From a White South African to White America�|�Bronwyn Lea: I know there are many differences between America and South Africa's histories: they are complex narratives, woven in blood and ink. I do not write this as an expert analyst, or as a political pundit -- but as one confessing there is so much I don't know and understand. But, I offer the little I've learned living in a country which shed tears and blood over race, and now living in another doing the same:

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The Usenet Improvement Project - Home

The Usenet Improvement Project - Home: What is the Usenet improvement Project?

The Usenet Improvement Project is an attempt to make Usenet participation a better experience for those who are clued as to what the Usenet medium is and how to use it.
Lamers
Lamer Street Sign

Most of the people who post to Usenet via the clunky Google Groups web interface are lusers or lamers. Because of their use of a clunky Usenet web interface (and all Usenet web interfaces suck - Usenet wasn't designed for webification and does not need webification), they have no idea what Usenet is, how it works, or how to use it properly. And, generally, they don't want to learn.

Don’t stress about us in SA | Opinion & Analysis | BDlive

Don’t stress about us in SA | Opinion & Analysis | BDlive: there have always been people who think SA has five years left before we go over the cliff. No change from when I was at school in the sixties. The five years went down to a few months at times in the eighties!

But it seems the people who are the most worried live far from the cliff in places like Toronto, Auckland, London and other wet and cold places. Also from St Ives and Rose Bay in Sydney, Dallas and Europe and other "safe places" that are in the grip of the global financial crisis, which by the way is quite scary.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me - Vox

I'm a liberal professor, and my liberal students terrify me - Vox: So it's not just that students refuse to countenance uncomfortable ideas — they refuse to engage them, period. Engagement is considered unnecessary, as the immediate, emotional reactions of students contain all the analysis and judgment that sensitive issues demand. As Judith Shulevitz wrote in the New York Times, these refusals can shut down discussion in genuinely contentious areas, such as when Oxford canceled an abortion debate. More often, they affect surprisingly minor matters, as when Hampshire College disinvited an Afrobeat band because their lineup had too many white people in it.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

“Divine Totalitarianism” - Institute of Modern Russia

“Divine Totalitarianism” - Institute of Modern Russia:



The recent conflict surrounding the production of Tannh�user has revealed a new dimension of the relationship between religion and the state in today’s Russia. It clearly demonstrates that if, contrary to the expectations of the state, the church does not act with sufficient toughness, Orthodox activists can be used to manipulate public opinion. After all, except for Metropolitan Tikhon, who filed a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office, none of the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church called for any action to be taken against the director of Tannh�user or the director of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater. On the contrary, on March 5, the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church published an explanation by Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Synodal Information Department, in connection with the situation. His words were correct and encouraging: any believer or priest, he wrote, who notices something in the public sphere that he considers blasphemous or insulting to his feelings should not immediately rush to the Prosecutor’s Office. “A sinner is not only the one who blasphemes God, but also the one who falsely accuses someone of blasphemy,” claimed Legoyda. However, these words were ignored by Orthodox activists.

Friday, May 15, 2015

A science fiction and fantasy reading list for teen creativity | ideas.ted.com

A science fiction and fantasy reading list for teen creativity | ideas.ted.com: Creative writing is part of being a kid. Writing and reading goofy stories of lost kingdoms and Mars colonies helps the imagination grow strong. But a recent study uncovers an interesting, perhaps even dismaying trend: this generation of kids seems to prefer narrative realism when they write.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fighting Fire with Ire: 3 Lessons from Noam Chomsky’s Takedown of Sam Harris | Religion Dispatches

Fighting Fire with Ire: 3 Lessons from Noam Chomsky’s Takedown of Sam Harris | Religion Dispatches: For Sam Harris, “not all cultures are at the same stage of moral development.” Yes, he admits, the U.S. has committed atrocities at a larger scale than many of our enemies, but we have higher moral standing because these were mistakes. Harris likens the U.S. to a “well-intentioned giant,” whose aims are good even if it occasionally blunders.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

The Limits of Discourse : As Demonstrated by Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky : Sam Harris

The Limits of Discourse : As Demonstrated by Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky : Sam Harris:



For decades, Noam Chomsky has been one of the most prominent critics of U.S. foreign policy, and the further left one travels along the political spectrum, the more one feels his influence. Although I agree with much of what Chomsky has said about the misuses of state power, I have long maintained that his political views, where the threat of global jihadism is concerned, produce dangerous delusions. In response, I have been much criticized by those who believe that I haven’t given the great man his due.

Last week, I did my best to engineer a public conversation with Chomsky about the ethics of war, terrorism, state surveillance, and related topics. As readers of the following email exchange will discover, I failed. I’ve decided to publish this private correspondence, with Chomsky’s permission, as a cautionary tale. Clearly, he and I have drawn different lessons from what was, unfortunately, an unpleasant and fruitless encounter. I will let readers draw lessons of their own.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Ex-Prosecutor Apologizes to Wrongfully Convicted Glenn Ford After 30 Years on Death Row — The Atlantic

Ex-Prosecutor Apologizes to Wrongfully Convicted Glenn Ford After 30 Years on Death Row — The Atlantic: Glenn Ford spent 30 years on death row for a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to die in the electric chair, he was sent to a Louisiana penitentiary in 1985. "My sons, when I left, was babies,” he said. “Now they’re grown men with babies.” Earlier this month, he was released at age 64, but his story doesn't end happily. He has stage-four lung cancer. He is expected to die within months. And the state of Louisiana doesn't want to pay the $330,000 it owes for destroying his life, as The Shreveport Times noted in an editorial denouncing the state's behavior.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Rhodes protester repeats faults he reviles | Opinion & Analysis | BDlive

Rhodes protester repeats faults he reviles | Opinion & Analysis | BDlive: There is a lesson in this. Maxwele is a student of politics at arguably SA’s leading university. Interviewed by Chris Barron of the Sunday Times, he struggled to offer an argument. Alleging racism, he fell into racist stereotyping himself. Barron was repeatedly told he could/would not understand because he’s "a white male and privileged and so on".

Repeating the racism he allegedly opposes, Maxwele grew incoherent: "We as black people don’t have to justify anything. If you ignore our history because you are a white male, then that is not my problem," he told Barron. Maxwele shows a collapse of the critical engagement with reality a university hopes to encourage.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

UVA Law Prof Who Supports Gay Marriage Explains Why He Supports Indiana's Religious Freedom Law | The Weekly Standard

UVA Law Prof Who Supports Gay Marriage Explains Why He Supports Indiana's Religious Freedom Law | The Weekly Standard: The issue with respect to Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) is whether people should be allowed to practice their religion, even when their acts would otherwise be illegal, if they are not doing any real harm. The American tradition of religious liberty has exempted religious practices since the seventeenth century. Quakers in colonial times didn't have to swear oaths, or serve in the militia.

Sometimes this is entirely uncontroversial. It is illegal to give alcohol to minors, but no one thinks that law should be applied to communion wine, or seder wine at the Jewish Passover.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Changes in training prompt resignation and protest letter

Changes in training prompt resignation and protest letter:



A PROPOSAL to devolve decision-making about ministerial training to the dioceses, opposed by 17 theological educators in a letter to the Church Times today, prompted one member to resign from the task group behind it, it emerged this week.

The Revd Dr Sarah Coakley, professor of divinity at the University of Cambridge, sent a resignation letter to the group four days before the report - Resourcing Ministerial Education - was published (News, 16 January). In it, she lists several reservations about the report, warning that it is "anodyne and misleading". She describes the devolution to the dioceses as "the most disturbing part . . . I must be blunt: I simply do not believe there is sufficient qualitative theological understanding in most of the dioceses to protect the sort of aspirations that this report promotes."

WCC consults on humanitarian aid for Ukraine

WCC consults on humanitarian aid for Ukraine:

A survey by the Ukrainian polling company Research & Branding showed that the Church is the most trusted organisation in Ukraine: 62 per cent of respondents said that they trusted the Church, compared with 24 per cent who said that they did not. The army generates a 57 per cent trust-rating, as do civic and voluntary organisations.

In contrast, political parties are trusted by only eight per cent of respondents.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Don’t blame Eskom for load-shedding | Opinion & Analysis | BDlive

Don’t blame Eskom for load-shedding | Opinion & Analysis | BDlive: At the end of 1998 the government published a white paper on energy policy. The intention was to restructure the generation as well as the distribution of electricity in SA. Eskom was then prohibited from building any power stations. Future power stations were to be built by private investors. This never happened. One of the many reasons was that the price of electricity was not attractive enough for private investors to enter the electricity market in SA.

Despite the fact that Eskom was not allowed to build power stations, it continued to develop long-term electricity demand forecasts and concomitant generation expansion plans. These forecasts were based on expected long-term economic growth for the country, and also catered for the electrification of houses. Plans based on the moderate long-term Eskom forecast done in 1997-98 had at that stage already indicated that the country would need new generating capacity by 2007.

Monday, March 09, 2015

the ochlophobist: returning. again.

the ochlophobist: returning. again.: I am returning to the Orthodox Church.

I hereby recant my rejection of Orthodox dogma. I ask forgiveness for my ridicule of certain Orthodox beliefs - particularly concerning the energy/essence distinction and uncreated light. I also ask forgiveness for my ridicule of some Orthodox saints (particularly those I assigned to seats in hell), the Athonite tradition, the entirety of the elder tradition, and some of the basic components of Orthodox piety. I was also wrong to laud the Soviet annihilation of nearly all of the Russian Church, and to downplay the horror of their killing of many thousands of believers, and to justify the killing of children in a basement in Yekaterinburg. I also beg forgiveness to those many souls I mocked for their faith and the accouterments of faith that are dear to them. I have never embodied the calling that Fr. Matthew speaks of above. It is my endeavor now to do so.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Get to Know Robocopy for More Powerful File Management

Get to Know Robocopy for More Powerful File Management: Robocopy (the name is short for Robust File Copy) was introduced with the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit and is included in all editions of Windows 7. Its many strengths include the ability to copy all NTFS file attributes and to mirror the contents of an entire folder hierarchy across local volumes or over a network. If you use the right combination of options, you can recover from interruptions such as network outages by resuming a copy operation from the point of failure after the connection is restored.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

falkenbergs folly: Avoiding the retirement blues

falkenbergs folly: Avoiding the retirement blues: I always thought that a beautiful environment such as Greyton (where I am lucky to live) usually enhances one’s happiness. But now I’m not so sure. Recently someone mentioned that, in her opinion, Greyton has an unnervingly high number of depressed people, many who have struggled to adjust to retirement. I would never have thought so, but then I don’t belong to any of the informal networks that gather and distribute such information.

The Myth That Everyone Naturally Prefers Trains to Buses - CityLab

The Myth That Everyone Naturally Prefers Trains to Buses - CityLab: there's no reason to suspect these two rides—modern BRT or modern light rail—would be noticeably different experiences. And yet when transport scholars David Hensher and Corinne Mulley of the University of Sydney Business School showed these images to about 1,370 people in six Australian capital cities, the difference in preference was enormous.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Famous Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary | Brain Pickings

Famous Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary | Brain Pickings

The great internet swindle: ever get the feeling you've been cheated? | Technology | The Guardian

The great internet swindle: ever get the feeling you've been cheated? | Technology | The Guardian: During every minute of every day of 2014, according to Andrew Keen’s new book, the world’s internet users – all three billion of them – sent 204m emails, uploaded 72 hours of YouTube video, undertook 4m Google searches, shared 2.46m pieces of Facebook content, published 277,000 tweets, posted 216,000 new photos on Instagram and spent $83,000 on Amazon.

By any measure, for a network that has existed recognisably for barely 20 years (the first graphical web browser, Mosaic, was released in 1993), those are astonishing numbers: the internet, plainly, has transformed all our lives, making so much of what we do every day – communicating, shopping, finding, watching, booking – unimaginably easier than it was. A Pew survey in the United States found last year that 90% of Americans believed the internet had been good for them

Monday, February 09, 2015

Uruguay's Jose Mujica Was Liberal's Dream, But Too Good to Be True | The New Republic

Uruguay's José Mujica Was Liberal's Dream, But Too Good to Be True | The New Republic:

There’s something wrong with the way we respond to figures like Mujica. We place our faith in them—fall in love with them—for what they say and the incorporeal impact they have on our national consciousness. But then, not only do we judge their performance on entirely different metrics, we also stop listening to them. Inspirational leaders issue a call to us, not a promise for us. They invite us to see ourselves differently, to open ourselves to a new way of being. If, after casting our ballots, we don’t buy books instead of new cell phones, don’t use less gas, don’t do more to stitch back together the social fabric of our own neighborhoods—if, rather than answer the call, we retreat safely back to our old cynicism—then whose fault is that?

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Shepherding Movement ::: Subversive Influence

� The Shepherding Movement ::: Subversive Influence:

In the early 1970s, four well-known charismatic leaders responded to a moral failure among charismatics in south Florida. Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Don Basham, and Charles Simpson felt a need for personal accountability and covenanted together for this purpose, submitting their lives and ministries to one another. Ern Baxter, who had ministered with William Branham, was later added to the group and they became known as the “Ft. Lauderdale Five.” They formed Christian Growth Ministries in 1974, and in the movement that they began, the accountability they shared became an emphasis that all believers should submit to a “shepherd” in order to be discipled in the Christian life. Their prominence helped gain wide acceptance for their teaching, which included what was felt to be correctives to the charismatic movement at the time. Other charismatic leaders began submitting to the authority of the Ft. Lauderdale Five in what was known as “covenant relationships.”

Thursday, January 29, 2015

That Time Badass Feminist Queen Elizabeth II Gave Saudi Arabia's King a Lesson in Power | Mother Jones

That Time Badass Feminist Queen Elizabeth II Gave Saudi Arabia's King a Lesson in Power | Mother Jones: Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is known to have a wicked sense of humor, and some mean driving skills. One day back in 1998, she deployed both spectacularly to punk Saudi Arabia's late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. Back then, Abdullah was a Saudi crown prince visiting Balmoral, the vast royal estate in Scotland. The Queen had offered him a tour of the grounds—here's what happened next, according to former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles:

The royal Land Rovers were drawn up in front of the castle. As instructed, the Crown Prince climbed into the front seat of the Land Rover, with his interpreter in the seat behind. To his surprise, the Queen climbed into the driving seat, turned the ignition and drove off. Women are not—yet—allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah was not used to being driven by a woman, let alone a queen. His nervousness only increased as the queen, an Army driver in wartime, accelerated the Land Rover along the narrow Scottish estate roads, talking all the time. Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chomsky: Paris attacks show hypocrisy of West s outrage - CNN.com

Chomsky: Paris attacks show hypocrisy of West s outrage - CNN.com:



NATO and American officials defended the attack, Erlanger reported, as an effort to undermine the regime of President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia. Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon told a briefing in Washington that Serb TV is as much a part of Milosevic s murder machine as his military is, hence a legitimate target of attack. There were no demonstrations or cries of outrage, no chants of We are RTV, no inquiries into the roots of the attack in Christian culture and history. On the contrary, the attack on the press was lauded. The highly regarded U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke, then envoy to Yugoslavia, described the successful attack on RTV as an enormously important and, I think, positive development, a sentiment echoed by others.

vintage everyday: Rare and Unseen Color Photographs of America’s Hippie Communes from the 1970s

vintage everyday: Rare and Unseen Color Photographs of America’s Hippie Communes from the 1970s: Their hair and dress, their pioneer spirit, even their Indian teepees evoke the nation’s frontier beginnings. These young people are members of a commune, which they have created for themselves as a new and radical way of living. Scores of these communes are springing up all across the U.S. In the wilderness areas of the West, Southwest, and New England, the new settlers build their own homes–adobe huts, log cabins, geodesic domes–share their money and labor and legislate their own laws and taboos.



http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-JdwmcGOKOT4/VL_h_h2y-ZI/AAAAAAABPTc/MC2cFmF9XG8/s1600/America%E2%80%99s%2B1970s%2BHippie%2BCommunes%2B(4).jpg

14 African Countries Forced by France to Pay Colonial Tax For the Benefits of Slavery and Colonization | SiliconAfrica.com

14 African Countries Forced by France to Pay Colonial Tax For the Benefits of Slavery and Colonization | SiliconAfrica.com:

When S�kou Tour�of Guinea decided in 1958 to get out of french colonial empire, and opted for the country independence, the french colonial elite in Paris got so furious, and in a historic act of fury the french administration in Guinea destroyed everything in the country which represented what they called the benefits from french colonization.

Three thousand French left the country, taking all their property and destroying anything that which could not be moved: schools, nurseries, public administration buildings were crumbled; cars, books, medicine, research institute instruments, tractors were crushed and sabotaged; horses, cows in the farms were killed, and food in warehouses were burned or poisoned.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Are All Terrorists Muslims? It’s Not Even Close - The Daily Beast

Are All Terrorists Muslims? It’s Not Even Close - The Daily Beast:

here are some statistics for those interested. Let’s start with Europe. Want to guess what percent of the terrorist attacks there were committed by Muslims over the past five years? Wrong. That is, unless you said less than 2 percent.

As Europol, the European Union’s law-enforcement agency, noted in its report released last year, the vast majority of terror attacks in Europe were perpetrated by separatist groups. For example, in 2013, there were 152 terror attacks in Europe. Only two of them were “religiously motivated,” while 84 were predicated upon ethno-nationalist or separatist beliefs.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Teen Bryce Masters In Critical Condition After Police Use Taser On Him: Report

Teen Bryce Masters In Critical Condition After Police Use Taser On Him: Report:



Cellphone video still from the scene. (Photo: Fox4kc.com)

Witnesses to a police stop in Missouri say cops used excessive force when they used a Taser on a 17-year-old boy who is now reportedly in critical condition.

"You could tell the kid was going into convulsions," witness Michelle Baker told Fox4kc.com. "[The cop] turned him over and his head was dangling ... and he had blood coming out."

The teenager has been identified by Kctv5.com as Bryce Masters of Independence.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Serb TV station was legitimate target, says Blair | World news | theguardian.com

Serb TV station was legitimate target, says Blair | World news | theguardian.com: Nato leaders yesterday scrambled to justify the bombing of Serbia's state television station in an attack which killed a number of civilian workers and marked a further widening in the scope of targets now considered legitimate.

The attack on the building in the centre of Belgrade - which contradicted an apparent assurance by Nato this month that only transmitters would be hit - was condemned by international journalists' organisations, representing both employers and unions.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

What a Shaman Sees in A Mental Hospital | Earth. We are one.

What a Shaman Sees in A Mental Hospital | Earth. We are one.:



What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.” The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm. “Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field,” says Dr. Som�. These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm.

The 160-Year Christian History Behind What's Happening in Ukraine | Christianity Today

The 160-Year Christian History Behind What's Happening in Ukraine | Christianity Today:

In recent days, the Crimean peninsula has been at the heart of what some have described as the greatest international crisis of the 21st century. But this is not the first time the region has been so critical to international affairs. Many educated people have at least heard of the great struggle known as the Crimean War (1853-56), although its causes and events remain mysterious to most non-specialists.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Morehead's Musings: IBMR explores "Witchcraft and Mission Studies"

Morehead's Musings: IBMR explores "Witchcraft and Mission Studies":



The January 2015 issue of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research explores the topic of "Witchcraft and Mission Studies."Essays exploring this topic include:



  • "Putting Witch Accusations on the Missiological Agenda: A Case from Northern Peru by Robert J. Priest 
  • "Beyond the Fence: Confronting Witchcraft Accusations in the Papua New Guinea Highlands" by Philip Gibbs 
  • "Healing Communities: Contextualizing Responses to Witch Accusations" by Steven D. H. Rasmussen, with Hannah Rasmussen 
  • "Toward a Christian Response to Witchcraft in Northern Ghana"by Jon P. Kirby
  • "Witchcraft Accusations and Christianity in Africa" by J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Blogging highlights of 2014

Here are some of the highlights of my blog posts in 2014.

They are not necessarily the most popular, or the most commented-on, but the ones that I think were worth reading, and the ones I would most like to see comments on.

January 2014

February 2014
March 2014 April 2014
May 2014
June 2014

July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
Could there be said to be any outstanding highlights for the whole year?

Probably it is
The clergy with Archbishop Damaskinos after the Divine Liturgy in St Demetrius Church. Deacon Stephen nHayes, Fr Elias Palmos, Archbishop Damaskinos, Fr George Cocotos, Archimandrite Athanasius Akunda

Friday, January 02, 2015

Yugoslavia and the Betrayal of Democracy | Oriental Review

Yugoslavia and the Betrayal of Democracy | Oriental Review:



Vaněk asserts that Tito’s Yugoslavia in the wake of the Stalin-Tito split was the closest society in the world to his ideal of a worker-managed economy, and that as a result it was able to provide an example of a highly-efficient, humane and human-scaled economy, sporting near full employment, incredibly high educational standards and a high standard of living, which was the envy of many of the other nations in the region. He notes that the Yugoslav economy was built through a long process of trial-and-error, but that its income growth between 1951 and 1959 was unparalleled anywhere else in the world except Japan.