A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘christianity

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO notes the plans to build a large park under the western Gardiner.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at Pluto.
  • The Dragon’s Tales goes to Syria.
  • Far Outliers reports from a despairing Siberian village.
  • Geocurrents notes that most Moravians live in Tanzania.
  • Joe. My. God. notes Ireland’s marriage laws have gone into effect.
  • Language Log looks at the spread of the shawm, a musical instrument, across Asia.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes David Frum’s proposal to ethnically cleanse Muslims from Europe.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers the prospects for a widened French war in Syria, noting that despite the popularity of intervention France cannot do much more.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy is critical of the European Union’s policy requiring the labeling of goods made in the West Bank.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the growth of barriers hindering the departure of Russians and looks at Stalin’s rivalry with Hitler in the Balkans and elsewhere.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO notes that a TTC driver has been caught on video … doing pushups.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the discovery of distant dwarf planet V774104.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports that white dwarf SDSS1228+1040 is surrounded by a ring of shattered planets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes widespread German espionage on allies, undermining somewhat German official protests.
  • Far Outliers notes how the desire of Afghan Communists in the late 1970s for radical reform undermined their cause fatally.
  • Geocurrents looks at the various heterodox Christian movements around the world, like Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Language Hat notes how people repairing a church in Russia found centuries’ worth of bird nests, often made of written documents.
  • Language Log looks at a photo caption translated from Tibetan to English via Singlish.
  • Marginal Revolution writes about the Chinese economic slowdown.
  • The Planetary Science Blog reports from Ceres.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shares a map of China, comparing life expectancy in different jurisdictions to different countries.
  • Torontoist reports on a pediatric clinic that opened up in a Toronto public school.
  • Towleroad notes the governor of Utah has argued a judge who removed a child from gay foster parents should follow the law.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the relative disinterest of ethnic Russians in the Baltic States in Russia, and looks at the Ukrainian recognition of the Crimean Tatar genocide.
  • The Financial Times‘ The World links to a paper noting, in Africa, the close relationship between city lights and economic growth.

[LINK] “The Inanity of the Starbucks Christmas Cup ‘Controversy’”

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The Atlantic‘s Emma Green is entirely accurate about the ridiculous nature of this supposed controversy.

“Maybe we should boycott Starbucks. I don’t know,” Donald Trump said on Monday night at a speech in Springfield, Illinois. “Seriously, I don’t care.”

It was a rare moment of trollish apathy for the Donald, considering that he was referring to the kind of peevish campaign that’s right up his alley: a video going around the Internet by a guy named Joshua Feuerstein—he calls himself “an American evangelist, Internet, and social media personality”—raging against “the age of political correctness” and the new seasonal coffee cups at Starbucks.

“Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ, and Christmas, off of their brand-new cups? That’s why they’re just plain red,” he says.

First off, just to be clear, the long-haired, chill-looking person on Starbucks’s cups isn’t Jesus—she’s “a 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid, or Siren.” And though Starbucks says it “has told a story of the holidays by featuring symbols of the season from vintage ornaments and hand-drawn reindeer to modern vector-illustrated characters” since 1997, there was never a time when someone could sip a latte out of a nativity-scene-decorated cup.

[. . .]

In an email, a Starbucks spokesperson said that the company’s baristas “are not provided a script or a policy around greeting customers. They are simply encouraged to create a welcoming environment to delight each person who walks through our doors.” So, no, Feuerstein isn’t right—there’s no ban on Christmas greetings at Starbucks. That being said, Starbucks is a global company that serves millions of customers per day at over 23,000 stores in 68 countries, including the United States, which is home to people who celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, other holidays, or nothing at all in December. They can’t, as a matter of protocol, wish everyone a Merry Christmas. For those who really, really need their barista to wish them a Merry Christmas to find their delight, Feuerstein has a solution: Tell her your name is “Merry Christmas,” and then she’ll have to say it when she’s fixed your hot beverage of choice.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 10, 2015 at 10:37 pm

[LINK] ‘For Some Muslim Asylum-Seekers In Germany, Christianity Beckons”

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Soraya Sorhaddi Nelson at NPR reports on the growing number of conversion to Christianity among nominally Muslim refugees in Germany. The extent to which the conversions are sincere is debatable, though what is not is the real nature of many of these.

Under EU rules, migrants aren’t deported if they face persecution in their home countries for being converts. The EU provision can be especially important for Iranians and Afghans seeking asylum in Germany, given that they otherwise would have a difficult time gaining refugee status. In Iran and Afghanistan, penalties for conversion can include imprisonment or death.

Even so, converts are relatively few when compared to 4 million Muslims living in Germany. The exact number is unknown because German authorities do not track the religion of asylum seekers.

Martens says conversion is not an easy choice for these Muslims, since those who do convert are often ostracized, harassed or worse by relatives, friends and neighbors.

At Trinity, ex-Muslim converts dominate the active congregation of 900. Three-quarters of the congregation are Iranian. Most of the others are Afghan.

During the recent baptism class, Martens explained the meaning of Holy Communion in German, which a congregant translated into Farsi. The pastor said many of his Iranian students are already well versed in Christian practices, thanks to an underground evangelical movement in the Islamic Republic that comes from abroad and takes place in secret in people’s homes.

“There is a big awakening going on in Iran at the moment,” Martens says. “There are serious estimations going from 500,000 to 1 million secret Christians in Iran and the secret service is trying to find them. And when they find them, of course, they have to flee and so they come here.”

Written by Randy McDonald

November 10, 2015 at 10:31 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO shares photos of Yonge and Dundas in the grimy 1970s.
  • The Big Picture shares photos from a Tibetan Buddhist assembly.
  • Crooked Timber shares a photo of Bristol’s floating bridge.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on an estimate of the number of extraterrestrial technological civilizations.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes an atlas of drought in Europe.
  • Geocurrents examines the fallacy of environmental determinism.
  • Joe. My. God. notes how open travel between the European Union and Ukraine has been endangered by the failure to protect gay employment.
  • Language Hat links to an essay by a feminist talking about what it is like to live in a language environment, that of Hebrew, where everything is gendered.
  • Language Log engages with fax usage in Japan and notes rare characters in Taiwan.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the plight of the dying steel town, all the worse because it was evitable.
  • Marginal Revolution has a bizarre defense of Ben Carson.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog and Window on Eurasia report on a rectification of the Russian-Chinese frontier.
  • Window on Eurasia is critical of village values in Russia, and notes the return of ISIS fighters to Azerbaijan.

[LINK] “Jehovah’s Witness grandparents ordered to keep faith to themselves”

What I find most remarkable about this situation, as described by CBC’s Jason Proctor, is the unwillingness of the grandparents to confess what they have been doing. One would have hoped that these evangelists would should some courages, if they believed that what they were doing was right.

A pair of devout Jehovah’s Witnesses have been ordered by a B.C. provincial court judge not to talk about religion in front of their four-year-old granddaughter.

The couple lost their bid for unsupervised access to the girl because they insisted on taking her to worship at their faith’s Kingdom Hall despite the repeated objections of the child’s mother.

The girl is identified only as A.W. and the grandparents as A.R. and B.R. in Judge Edna Ritchie’s 12-page decision. And for now, they’re on a short leash.

“There are many people with strongly held religious views that do not discuss those views in front of others, and specifically not in front of children,” Ritchie wrote.

Unless A.R. and B.R. can satisfy the court that they can comply with the mother’s wishes, Ritchie said, “their time with A.W. must be supervised and limited.”

Written by Randy McDonald

October 23, 2015 at 6:55 pm

[PHOTO] Religious statues for sale, Parliament Street, Cabbagetown

Religious statues for sale #toronto #statues #cabbagetown

Written by Randy McDonald

October 11, 2015 at 10:53 pm


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