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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘christianity

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • James Bow considers the idea of Christian privilege.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on the oddities of Ross 128.
  • D-Brief shares Matthew Buckley’s proposal that it is possible to make planets out of dark matter.
  • Dead Things reports on the discoveries at Madjedbebe, in northern Australia, suggesting humans arrived 65 thousand years ago.
  • Bruce Dorminey reports on the idea that advanced civilizations may use sunshades to protect their worlds from overheating. (For terraforming purposes, too.)
  • Language Hat notes the struggles of some Scots in coming up with a rationalized spelling for Scots. What of “hert”?
  • The LRB Blog considers the way in which the unlimited power of Henry VIII will be recapitulated post-Brexit by the UK government.
  • Drew Rowsome quite likes the High Park production of King Lear.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers the idea that Pluto’s moons, including Charon, might be legacies of a giant impact.
  • Unicorn Booty notes the terrible anti-trans “Civil Rights Uniformity Act.” Americans, please act.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers/u> the perhaps-unique way a sitting American president might be charged with obstruction of justice.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly photoblogs about her trip to Berlin.
  • Dead Things reports on a recent study that unraveled the evolutionary history of the domestic cat.
  • James Nicoll notes that his niece and nephew will each be performing theatre in Toronto.
  • Language Hat has an interesting link to interviews of coders as if they were translators.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at Chinese video game competitions and Chinese tours to Soviet revolutionary sites.
  • Steve Munro shares photos of the old Kitchener trolleybus.
  • Roads and Kingdoms shares the story of the Ramadan drummer of Coney Island.
  • Savage Minds shares an essay arguing that photographed subjects should provide they consent and receive renumeration.
  • Torontoist shares photos of the Trans March.
  • Towleroad notes the cancellation of anti-gay convictions of Nazis.
  • Van Waffle shows the stories of the caterpillars in his backyard.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy hosts an essay talking about the difficulties of translating the Book of Genesis.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Apostrophen’s ‘Nathan Smith points to his blog post about the strengths of the chosen families of queer people, in life and in his fiction.
  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling revisits the politics behind France’s Minitel network, archaic yet pioneering.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly blogs about meeting her online friends in real life. Frankly, it would never occur to me not to do that.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at how Kepler’s exoplanets fall neatly into separate classes, super-Earths and mini-Neptunes.
  • The LRB Blog has a terrible report from Grenfell Tower, surrounded by betrayed survivors and apocalypse.
  • The Map Room Blog notes the inclusion of Canada’s First Nations communities on Google Maps.
  • The NYRB Daily’s Robert Cottrell explores the banalities revealed by Oliver Stone’s interviews of Putin.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Jason Davis considers the likely gains and challenges associated with missions to the ice giants of Uranus and Neptune.
  • Towleroad notes the new Alan Cumming film After Louie, dealing with a romance between an ACT-UP survivor and a younger man
  • The Volokh Conspiracy’s Ilya Somin does not find much good coming from Trump’s announced Cuba policy.
  • Window on Eurasia warns about the threat posed by Orthodox Christian fundamentalists in Russia.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO notes that the redevelopment of Toronto’s Port Lands is continuing.
  • Crooked Timber argues that climate denialism exposes the socially constructed nature of property rights.
  • D-Brief notes the reburial of Kennewick Man.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes there is no sign of a second planet around Proxima Centauri.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at life in Texas.
  • The LRB Blog analyzes Milo’s stumble.
  • Marginal Revolution considers the levels of disorderliness different societies, like Sweden, can tolerate.
  • The NYRB Daily reports on the poisoning of a Russian dissident.
  • The Planetary Society Blog suggests Voyager 1 picked up Enceladus’ plumes.
  • Peter Rukavina writes of his mapping of someone’s passage on the Camino Francés.
  • Supernova Condensate looks at the United Arab Emirates’ plan to build a city on Mars in a century.
  • Torontoist reported on a protest demanding action on the overdose crisis.

  • Towleroad describes the plight of Mr. Gay Syria in Istanbul and reports on the progress of same-sex marriage in Finland.
  • Understanding Society considers the complexity of managing large technological projects.
  • Window on Eurasia links to one Russian writer arguing Putin should copy Trump and links to anotehr suggesting the Russian Orthodox Church is overreaching.

[LINK] “How nostalgia for white Christian America drove so many Americans to vote for Trump”

Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s article in the Washington Post, based on a visit to a North Carolina town made famous for its linkage with Andy Griffith and a sort of ur-America, was eye-opening. The actual intentional desire of the people interviewed to return to a white Christian America is incomprehensible to me. More: I wonder what this area’s Canadian equivalents are.

From a perch on Main Street, the home town of actor Andy Griffith looks this day like it was plucked right out of the television show that bears his name. And it was.

Residents and tourists from far-flung states mill along the thoroughfare, past the quaint low-slung shops made of Mount Airy’s famous white granite and named, like Floyd’s City Barber Shop, for references in “The Andy Griffith Show,” the folksy comedy set in the idyllic fictional small town of Mayberry that first aired in 1960.

And yet even as this city of about 10,000 nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains fills its coffers by selling nostalgia, many of its residents would agree with the now-popular saying “We’re not in Mayberry anymore.”

If only the real Mount Airy, which has experienced decades of economic and social decline, were like the Mayberry facade, muses Mayor David Rowe. If only his city and the rest of America could return to the 1950s again.

“Now it’s about secular progressivism, not the values you get out of this book,” like honesty and hard work, said Rowe, 72, jabbing his finger at the leather Bible on his office desk.

But as Donald Trump prepares to move into the White House, Rowe and many of his constituents are hoping for a return to the past.

“We’re going to hold him to it,” said Brad Thomas, 42, who used to work as an engineer building turbine blades for power plants before his job was moved to Mexico.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 6, 2017 at 5:45 pm

[ISL] “Keeping the faith: How some churches stay busy after Christmas”

CBC News’ Nicole Williams reports on the struggle of Island churches to have parishoners who attend holiday services attend non-holiday services, too.

For many Christians, attending church is a biannual tradition on two major holidays: Christmas and Easter — but many churches would like to see people in pews for the other Sundays of the year.

“We had over 600 people,” said Karen MacCannell, a pastoral associate at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, a Catholic church in Cornwall, P.E.I., of Christmas weekend.

MacCannell said big crowds are typical at Christmas and Easter, where they need set up extra seating and even an overflow room in the church basement.

But it’s not so much the case the rest of the year.

“It definitely fluctuates,” said MacCannell.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 2, 2017 at 6:15 pm

[LINK] On the growing popularity of the cult of Santa Muerte

The National Post shared Ruth Sherlock’s article, originally from The Telegraph, noting the rising popularity of the cult of Santa Muerte in Mexico. This can be seen as a reflection of grim times, but I also choose to see it as a fascinating case study for sociologists of religion.

Holding a scythe in one hand and a globe in the other, the Santa Muerte could be easily mistaken for the Grim Reaper. But to her supporters, this skeletal saint, nicknamed “skinny woman”, has the power to heal illness, bring prosperity and even help them find love.

Known as the patron saint of violent drug cartels for her relative tolerance, Our Lady of Holy Death is perhaps the fastest-growing religion in the Americas.

When Jasmin Marquez was sentenced to life in prison but freed after only a year, she attributed the “miracle” to this smiling skeleton.

Standing reverently before the shrine of the Santa Muerte, she carefully lit a cigarette and let it burn without toking. “It’s for her,” she explained, in a whisper so as not to disturb the other worshippers.

[. . .]

“From Chile to Canada, Santa Muerte has no rival in terms of the rapidity and scope of its expansion,” said Andrew Chesnut, professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and author of Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint.

“In 2001, when devotion to the folk religion first went public in Mexico, Saint Death was unknown to 99 per cent of Mexicans. In just 15 years Santa Muerte has attracted an estimated 10 to 12 million devotees, primarily in Mexico, Central America, and the U.S.”

Written by Randy McDonald

January 1, 2017 at 10:16 pm