A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘christianity

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • As noted by The Dragon’s Gaze, Centauri Dreams hosts an essay hotly defending the argument that KIC 8462852 has dimmed sharply.
  • Crooked Timber looks at the links between classical liberalism and the refusal to aid the victims of the Irish famine.
  • D-Brief notes that ancient Babylonian astronomers were close to developing calculus.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that a large majority of Germans and a majority of Australian MPs back marriage equality.
  • Marginal Revolution speculates that much of China’s growth slowdown is a consequence of declining construction.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares photos from Chang’e 3.
  • Peter Rukavina describes his work creating an online Schedule for Charlottetown transit.
  • Savage Minds considers authenticity in relationship to digital models of artifacts.
  • Science Sushi, at Discover, notes the complex social lives of at least some octopi.
  • Transit Toronto notes rising GO Transit prices.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at the decline of the Russian Orthodox Church’s presence in Ukraine.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • blogTO looks back to see when Yonge and Dundas was cool.
  • James Bow is decidedly unimpressed about Toronto’s ever-shifting plans for mass transit.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the opposition of Pope Francis to Italy’s civil unions bill.
  • Language Log notes Hong Kong’s mixture of Cantonese and English, and shares a bit of pop music.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw wonders if Australia has peaked in the 1970s and 1980s, if its originality ended then.
  • Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Science Blog shares XKCD’s charting of the spaces for undiscovered but possible planets in our solar system.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes that the Ukrainian population is continuing to decline.
  • Spacing Toronto examines the history of the Toronto Coach Terminal.
  • Transit Toronto suggests that current mass transit plans evoke Transit City, the difference being that Transit City would be substantially done by now.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO identifies five fast-changing neighbourhoods.
  • Crooked Timber praises Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze examines the formation of supermassive stars.
  • A Fistful of Euros reflects on global income inequality.
  • Geocurrents examines Russia’s demographic issues.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has blamed ISIS on gay pride parades.
  • Language Log looks at how language issues influenced the outcome of Taiwan’s election.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that First Worlders are responsible for poor conditions in Bangladeshi factories.
  • The Map Room examines “persuasive cartography”.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that discrimination hurts economies.
  • Livejournal’s pollotenchegg notes Ukraine’s rapid shifts in natural gas consumption by source country.
  • The Power and the Money considers if the United States might be governed by people who think it a good idea to provoke a war with China.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to sources on the Circassian genocide.
  • Strange Maps notes Chinese cartographic propaganda.
  • Transit Toronto favours a partial pedestrianization of King Street.

[LINK] “A conflict of faith between Russia and Ukraine”

Al Jazeera’s Tamila Varshalomidze notes how the collapse in Russia-Ukraine relations is encouraging many Orthodox Christians in Ukraine to break away from churches linked with the Russian Orthodox Church, with entire parishes breaking away.

Father Sergei Dmitriev meets us at a hospital in Kiev where he has been admitted for two weeks suffering from kidney problems. We suggest holding our interview in the garden of the hospital’s church, just a few metres away. The Father refuses, sternly but politely. He will “never set foot” on the ground of the Church, he says, accusing it of “using propaganda to cover up Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict”.

The Church he is referring to is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy which is ultimately governed by the patriarch of the Russian Church, who is accused of being an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Moscow Patriarchy is different from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchy, which was established after the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. And the two churches are perceived as taking very different positions on the current conflict.

Before the conflict, a divided Church had hardly been an issue for Ukrainians. Worshippers would usually choose which church to attend for prayers and services based on where they were and their personal preference for the individual priests.

But that began to change when the conflict broke out and some Ukrainians found themselves questioning the supposed pro-Russian position of the Moscow Patriarchy.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 29, 2015 at 11:04 am

[LINK] “The War on Jewish Christmas must be stopped”

Daniel Drezner’s Washington Post opinion piece of the 24th of December touches on an interesting issue. The homogeneity with which North Americans of Christian background have celebrated this key holiday is no more.

[B]efore I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season, I’d like to close the year with a plea to stop the War on Jewish Christmas.

Let me explain, As the short documentary film right below this paragraph demonstrates, many Jews have a very specific set of rituals when it comes to Christmas:

Chinese food and a movie. Perfectly pleasant rituals, made special by the fact that the Gentiles are all at home or at church. After a month or two of listening to Christmas music blasted everywhere, after weeks of avoiding malls and shopping centers because of frenzied Christmas shopping, finally the Jews can emerge and just enjoy a simple ethnic meal and a movie with the other minorities that make help make this country great.

No longer.

I don’t know when it became a thing for Christian families to also go see a movie on the day commemorating the birth of Jesus, but personal experience tells me this is a relatively recent phenomenon — i.e., the past 15 years or so. All I know is that what used to be a pleasant movie-going experience is now extremely crowded.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 26, 2015 at 4:43 pm

[LINK] “The Salvation Army Still Hates Gays”

Toronto queer writer reiterates that the Salvation Army, despite whatever good it might have achieved in the past, is still deeply homophobic.

The Salvation Army has been in damage control mode this year, trying to convince the world that the evangelical religious organization is not actually anti-gay.

This is absolutely false. Not only that, it also sweeps a significant anti-LGBTQ history under the rug without taking any accountability for it or making any public apology.

Many of us do annual reminders on social media, urging our friends and followers to not to donate to the Salvation Army and instead boycott the bell-ringers in favour of the many inclusive charities and community organizations that do not openly discriminate against LGBTQ people.

[. . .]

Remember the Salvation Army is a quasi-militaristic Methodist Church, consisting of soldiers and officers known as Salvationists. The Army’s lengthy history of anti-LGBT political maneuvering and discrimination is well documented.

The most glaring example is a 2012 interview on an Australian radio station, when Andrew Craibe, the Salvation Army’s Media Director in Australia, said gay people should be “put to death”.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 18, 2015 at 5:37 pm

[LINK] NPR on the anti-Muslim policies of Angola

At NPR’s Goats and Soda blog, Anders Kelto writes about Angola’s suppression of Islam. This seems to be a consequence of a repression of civil society generally.

The oil-rich, southern African nation of 21 million is thousands of miles away, but looks a lot like the U.S. when it comes to religion. Both countries are roughly three-fourths Christian (Roman Catholicism dominates in Angola) and less than 1 percent Muslim.

But in contrast with the U.S., the Angolan government has made it extremely difficult for non-Christian religious groups to practice their faith.

“The problem is that the men in government believe that Angola is a Catholic country,” says Elias Isaac, program director for the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.

He says freedom of religion is protected in the Angolan constitution but is restricted by many laws. For example, the Angolan government only grants legal standing to religious groups that have at least 100,000 members. There are roughly 90,000 Muslims in the country, the vast majority of whom are immigrants from West Africa. Without legal religious standing, Isaac says, Muslims face many challenges.

“They don’t have permission to build mosques, to open schools, to build clinics, to do outreach,” he says.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 16, 2015 at 4:22 pm


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