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TGC Mobile | Article | A Father’s Love

“Steve Brown once said, “Children will run from law and they’ll run from grace. The ones who run from law rarely come back. But the ones who run from grace always come back. Grace draws its own back home.” I ran from grace. It drew me home”

http://buff.ly/Y5zSnp

What you wrote above about gracious love, Tullian, really moved me to tears. I empathize with you missing your father. What a wonderful man who displayed God’s Love exceptionally graciously 🙂 How blessed…

Read it all: TGC Mobile | Article | A Father’s Love

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George Jones playlist

A few memorable George Jone’s songs. Rest in Peace Possum.

 
George Jones by Joseph Howard on Grooveshark

Listen to George Jones, a playlist by Joseph Howard for free on Grooveshark

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Why Yoga Is Good For Your Health

I know some folks have issues with Yoga, even as exercise, along with martial arts. I don’t, if only because I think there are much more mainstream forms of syncretism where the lines aren’t as easily drawn between the Christian faith and other thought processes. Election years are a good time to see this in process… or pretty much any town hall meeting.

So, all that said, here’s an interesting bit about the physiological benefits that seem connected to the practice of Yoga even over a short time:

“The Norwegian study, published this month in the journal PLOS ONE, has found genetic evidence of yoga’s impact on the immune system. In the study, researchers examined 10 participants who underwent a week-long yoga retreat where they did meditation, yogic postures and yogic breathing exercises. Examining the participants’ blood before and after four-hour yoga sessions showed that the yoga practice changed the expression of 111 genes in circulating immune cells. In contrast, music and walking-based relaxation changed the expression of 38 genes.

“There are rapid (within two hours of start of practice) and significant gene expression changes… during a comprehensive yoga program,” the research team writes in the study. “These data suggest that previously reported effects of yoga practices have an integral physiological component at the molecular level which is initiated immediately during practice and may form the basis for the long-term stable effects.””

Studies have shown yoga to be beneficial for both physical and mental health, but the biological mechanisms for why have been poorly understood — until now. New research from the University of Oslo has determined that yoga practices can have an almost immediate impact on gene expression, particular…

Read it all: Why Yoga Is Good For Your Health

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Washington Post

From the forced exit category:

“Cancer clinics across the country have begun turning away thousands of Medicare patients, blaming the sequester budget cuts.

Oncologists say the reduced funding, which took effect for Medicare on April 1, makes it impossible to administer expensive chemotherapy drugs while staying afloat financially.”

http://buff.ly/183Lifq

Ralph V. Boccia of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders runs a cancer clinic that is in danger of losing funding due to the sequester cuts. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Read it all: Washington Post

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North Caucasus: Islamist Threat Comes from a History of Violence – The Foundry: Conservative Policy

Not a bad summary from the Heritage Foundation. The history is deeper and more complex than depicted here, but at least this gets at some of it.

When I was in seminary, in our history of World Christianity Class, I focused on this area of the world. One of the things that was extremely interesting and pertinent to current issues, was Russia’s founding of the Caucasus or Caucasian Line, a string of fortresses that ran eastward along the Caucasus mountains. These fortresses were built beginning in the 18th century following Russia’s expansion in the region and ongoing conflict with the Ottomans. From these fortresses, which often contained Orthodox Monasteries, Orthodox Christian Monks would sally forth to convert the pagan tribes in the mountainous regions.

At the same time, Sufi brothers from Persia were making their way up into the Caucasus region and spreading their form of mystical Islam among the tribes. The Russians, believing pagans were more easily converted to Christianity (and therefore, more likely to be Russo-fied) actually encouraged peoples to maintain their pagan religion rather than convert to Islam, if they were not open to Christianity. But, as with many regions of the world, religious identification came to mirror ethnic and political loyalties. Because the Russians and Georgians were Orthodox Christians, many of the Caucasian tribes that were at political odds with them found in Islam a means of expressing their difference from their enemies while encouraging cohesiveness among their own people.

Through the years, there were various rebellions which were crushed by the Czars. Many of the refugees from these failed rebellions fled to regions where they were influenced by radically conservative brands of Islam which viewed the Sufi brotherhoods of their home region with contempt. Eventually these folks returned home to Chechnya, some went to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. When the war in Afghanistan was over, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, many of these fighters became the core of Islamist movements for independence. But they were also movements for purity, creating a triparte (at least) conflict: The Chechens vs. the Russians vs. the Islamist Chechens who viewed the rest of them as practicing a form of Islam that was impure.

At any rate, this conflict goes back a long, long time, with lots of death and many atrocities fueling it.

“Boston Marathon bombers have brought greater attention to Russia’s volatile North Caucasus, their ancestral home. As painful their heinous acts are, however, the bombers’ actions are just a footnote to the history of insurgency and connections to global Islamist networks in the North Caucasus.The North Caucasus has a long history of violence and fighting against Russia stretching back over 200 years. Russia’s expansion into the North Caucasus in the 19th century met with decades-long resistance from the local mountainous Muslim nations. Despite Russian military victories and control, bought with rivers of blood and mass ethnic cleansings, the inhabitants of the North Caucasus maintained their distinct Islamic identity due to their tenacity and the rough terrain of the region.”

The Boston Marathon bombers actions are just a footnote to the history of insurgency and connections to global Islamist networks in the North Caucasus.

Read it all: North Caucasus: Islamist Threat Comes from a History of Violence – The Foundry: Conservative Policy

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What if the Tsarnaevs Had Been the Shooters instead of the bombers

“Here’s a little mental experiment. Imagine, for a moment, that the Tsarnaev brothers, instead of packing a couple of pressure cookers loaded with nails and explosives into their backpacks a week ago Monday, had stuffed inside their coats two assault rifles—Bushmaster AR-15s, say, of the type that Adam Lanza used in Newtown. What would have been different?

Well, for one thing, the brothers would probably have killed a lot more than three people at the marathon. AR-15s can fire up to forty-five rounds a minute, and at close range they can tear apart a human body. If the Tsarnaevs had started firing near the finish line, they might easily have killed dozens of spectators and runners before fleeing or being shot by the police.

The second thing that would have been different is the initial public reaction. Most Americans associate bomb attacks with terrorists. When they hear of mass shootings, they tend to think of sociopaths and unbalanced post-adolescents. If the Tsarnaevs had managed to carry out a gun massacre unharmed and escaped, their identities unknown, would the first presumption have been that the shooters were Islamic extremists? Or would people have looked in another direction?”

Read it all: What if the Tsarnaevs Had Been the

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John Macquarrie on the untenable nature of the doctrine of total depravity

Good stuff from Macquarrie. I’ve never read Faith of the People of God, but I’ll have to add it to the list.

(for the record, he’s channeling a bit of St. Athanasius here, either consciously or unconsciously).

“While I have stressed the universality of sin, as any realistic account of man must do, I do not think that one can accept the doctrine that man is totally immersed in sin, the doctrine of a ‘total depravity’. For if man were totally depraved, he would not even be conscious of his sinful state or be made uneasy by it. Only because there persists in the human race something of an original righteousness, more original than original sin, can there be awareness of sin and any desire to overcome it. In more theological language, this original righteousness can be expressed by saying that man was made in the image of God; and although that image has been marred by sin, it has not been totally effaced. It speaks of a destiny to which men know themselves obscurely called even in the sinful condition of the race, and the fact that men go on hopefully striving toward that destiny is itself a powerful argument against any view, atheistic or theological, that would write man off as an absurdity or an incorrigible sinner.”

(from Faith of the People of God, pp. 63-64)

Read it all: John Macquarrie

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John Macquarrie on Jesus going to the cross

“There would be something unreal about Jesus if we thought of him acting out, as it were, a part according to a script already written. This would contradict what we have learned already about his vocaton — indeed, it would contradict his genuine humanity. It may be that Jesus went up to Jerusalem hoping that things would turn out differently from the way they did. But there must have come that moment when he finally realized that faithfulness to his vocation meant death, and when he accepted that, and it is that moment that is represented to us in the mystery of the agony in the garden. Like the other mysteries, this one is partly recollection, partly interpretation, and both of these strands constitute its theological significance and truth.

(From Principles of Christian Theology, XIII.56.viii

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At Boston’s bombing scene: Catholic priests need not apply

“Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Graham tells me something that I hadn’t heard about Boston Marathon bombing. As dozens of victims were sprawled across Boylston Street, many of them in danger of death, Catholic priests came running to the scene—and were turned away.

Doctors and nurses were welcome at the bombing scene. Firefighters and police officers were welcome. But Catholic priests, who might have offered the solace of the sacraments, were not.

”Catholics need not apply.” That slogan was familiar in Boston years ago, before Irish and Italian immigrants took over control of the city. Now, after decades of decline in Catholic influence , the attitude has returned. One priest who was barred from Boylston Street remarked that in the past a priest was admitted anywhere. “That’s changed,” he said. “Priests are no longer considered to be emergency responders.”

Unless police officers in Boston are uniquely hostile to priests (a distinct possibility), the tide has turned very quickly on this question. On September 11, 2001, there were Catholic priests at the staging areas near the World Trade Center, giving absolution to firefighters before they rushed into the doomed building: mass-producing saints!

Unable to provide spiritual help to those whose lives were endangered, the priests in Boston retreated to a nearby church, were they “set up a table with water and oranges and bananas to serve people.” Doesn’t that nicely capture what a once-Catholic, now-secular culture expects from the Church? ”

http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/the-city-gates.cfm?ID=561

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Graham tells me something that I hadn’t heard about Boston Marathon bombing. As dozens of victims were sprawled across Boylston Street, many of them in danger of death, Catholic priests came running to the scene—and were turned

Read it all: At Boston’s bombing scene: Catholic priests need not apply

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Figuring Reunion | First Things

I deeply appreciate the fact that Radner will not allow us to be confortably self-decieved. in my opinion he’s the most interestung theologion in the Episcopal Church, and one if the most interesting in tge Anglican Communion today. his work is serious and always worth reading. From the review:

“Ephraim Radner is one of those rare theologians whose work can be described as “relentless.” His most recent book, A Brutal Unity, may be his most relentless yet. Radner dismantles every self-congratulatory, self-protective ecclesiology that blinds Christians to what is self-evident to everyone else: The Church is shattered. For Radner, our divisions are more than unhappy. One chapter title, “Division is Murder,” captures the book’s substance and its searing rhetoric.”

http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/04/figuring-reunion

Ephraim Radner is one of those rare theologians whose work can be described as “relentless.” His most recent book, A Brutal Unity, may be his most relentless yet. Radner dismantles every self-congratulatory, self-protective ecclesiology that blinds Christians to what is self-evident to everyone else…

Read it all: Figuring Reunion | First Things

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