On Naharnet, a Lebanese news and information site, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg and Director of Istituto Acton Kishore Jayabalan comment on Pope Francis’s forthcoming environmental encyclical, which the news organization says is planned for release this summer. (Note: The article describes Acton as a “Catholic” think tank but it is, in fact, an ecumenical organization with broad participation from Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians and those of other faith traditions.) Naharnet notes that “a papal encyclical is meant to provide spiritual guidance to the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics, but among advocates of climate action hopes are high that this one will resonate far beyond the church.”

Samuel Gregg, research director of the conservative Michigan-based Catholic think tank, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, said he doubts that the pope will weigh in on the science of climate change or on any particular political course of action.

“Individual Catholics—lay people, as well as bishops—have a variety of views on the science of climate change, and as citizens, they’re quite entitled to hold those views,” he said. “It’s not the church’s responsibility, nor does it have the authority to say that Catholics must support this treaty, that treaty, or any treaty. It doesn’t fall into the area of faith and morals. And this is often a distinction not understood outside the Catholic Church, or even by a good number of Catholics themselves.” (more…)

Shoe-That-Grows-Kenton-Lee-04-677x381One day while walking to church in Nairobi, Kenya, Kenton Lee noticed a little girl in a white dress who had shoes that were way to small for her feet. He thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a shoe that could adjust and expand – so that kids always had a pair of shoes that fit?”

That question led to the development of “The Shoe That Grows,” a shoe that grows from a size 5 to a size 12 and can last from 5 to 10 years. The Shoe That Grows is the first project of Because International, an organization committed to practical compassion and creating “innovative products that help people living in extreme poverty.”

The organization’s seven-step process provides an inspiring model for creating innovations that can help those in poverty:
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hopebutverifyLast week a group of (mostly liberal) Christian leaders took out a full-page ad in Roll Call calling on lawmakers to support the recent Framework Agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. “As Christian leaders we are telling our political leaders: It is imperative that you pursue this agreement with integrity, commitment, and perseverance,” The ad says. “We will be praying for you.”

The support of the agreement is a mistake, says Nicholas G. Hahn III. Why focus on urging a nuclear agreement when Christians are suffering under the Tehran regime?
(more…)

1333630489130_3671856Back in the 1960s and ‘70s, those of us of a particular bent loved the word “freedom.” The word was featured in the lyrics of many popular songs of the era, and the case could be made that hippies were called freaks as a pun on their oft-chanted “free” mantra. Heck, there was even a band named Free, which captivated the zeitgeist with a classic song about a man angling for a little “free” love with a woman too savvy to succumb so easily.

Free speech also once was all the rage. Lenny Bruce and George Carlin’s infamous seven words and all that, am I right? So, what happened? When did the hippies, yippies, liberals and progressives transition from fetishizing all things related to freedom to checking under their beds every night for a missing Koch brother? (more…)

Women in India with the Embrace blanket

Women in India with the Embrace blanket

Entrepreneur Jane Chen and artist Drue Kataoka met in 2012, and while their areas of expertise are quite different, they both wanted their work to have a meaningful impact. Working together through Embrace (Chen’s start-up), they have designed blankets that will save babies lives.

They have designed swaddlers and blankets for parents in the developed world to purchase, a line of products called Little Lotus. These products help regulate babies’ body temperatures in the first few weeks of life. Meanwhile, the purchase of these products help fund products that use more advanced technology for use in the developing world. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, April 17, 2015
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Religious hiring measure appears dead in Indiana
Associated Press

A measure that would allow religious-affiliated organizations to hire employees based on religion and require workers to follow certain religious tenets appears unlikely to advance this year.

‘Sustainability’ gone mad on college campuses
George F. Will, Washington Post

Like many religions’ premises, the sustainability movement’s premises are more assumed than demonstrated.

Gwyneth did the food stamp challenge wrong. So does everyone else.
Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox

Gwyneth Paltrow has apparently failed at the food stamp challenge. She quit after four days, she reports on her website, GOOP. But then, most everyone who takes the challenge does it wrong.

San Antonio chef ticketed $2,000 for feeding the homeless
Bonnie Kristian, The Week

Though she’s been running the “Chow Train” for years, local police recently slammed Cheever with a ticket carrying a fine of up to $2,000 because she brought prepared meals to the feeding location in a pick-up truck, take-out style.

Protect-Religious-Freedom-Rally-SignThe recent pushback against state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Acts has sent a signal that, as Utah legislator Stuart Adams say, “the landscape of protecting religious liberty has changed. Permanently.” Many Christians are drawing similar conclusions about the cause of religious liberty being all but lost. I think this view is premature and that, to paraphrase John Paul Jones, we have not yet begun to fight.

But our arguments aren’t for religious liberty certainly aren’t as persuasive as they should be. The reason, as Jennifer Roback Morse explains, is that such arguments are not “compelling enough to induce our fellow citizens to sacrifice something they value, namely, sexual liberty.” Morse identifies three reasons for this:
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In the latest video blog from For the Life of the World, Evan Koons recites Rainer Maria Rilke’s powerful poem, “Go to the Limits of your Longing” from Book of Hours.

“In this poem is the whole of what it means to live for the life of the world,” Koons explains. “God speaks to each of us as he makes us.”

The poem offers a compelling complement to the conclusion of the series, in which Stephen Grabill reminds us that the “church maintains the hope of the not yet by living the kingdom now.” We are the “lived memory of God’s purposes in the world,” he says. “The church is called to be the very embodiment of the kingdom to come.” (more…)

80s fashionI grew up in a very small town. Our fashion purchases were limited to the dry goods store (yes, it still went by that name) which carried things like Buster Brown shoes and sensible sweaters, or the grain elevator, where you could buy durable overalls for farm work.

As someone who eagerly awaited Seventeen magazine every month and witnessed the birth of MTV, you can imagine my fashion dilemma. The closest mall was 70 miles away. I needed Calvin Klein jeans, Candies heels and Esprit tops like, now.

Steven Quartz, a philosopher and neuroscientist at Caltech, along with Anette Asp, a political scientist and neuromarketer, feel for me. In The Atlantic, Bourree Lam talked with the two about the connection between “cool” and capitalism. Quartz and Asp, believe, in as sense, that capitalism created “cool.” First, though, Quartz says there are four myths linked to capitalism (or what some would call “consumerism”) that their research shows to be false:

First, that it doesn’t make us happy. Second, that it relies on instilling false needs in us because it’s contrary to our real nature. Third, that it erodes public life.  Fourth, that it’s primarily about “stuff.”

(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, April 16, 2015
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Is There a Shortage of Poor People?
Kevin D. Williamson, The Corner

Call me parochial, but my economic model defines a poor society as a society that has lots of poor people in it.

The Utah Compromise
Stuart Adams, Library of Law and Liberty

Watching the unnecessary dramas that recently unfolded in Indiana and other states, one thing is clear: the landscape of protecting religious liberty has changed. Permanently.

It Takes a Village to Promote Free-Range Parenting
Naomi SchaeferRiley, Family Studies

Want to make free-range parenting possible again? Declare a kids-only afternoon at the park.

The Goal of Classical Education is Truth
Tom Jay, Crisis Magazine

How have our nation’s public schools reached the point where many of them no longer teach grammar? It has happened because schools deviated from the truth about language, which Josef Pieper characterized as a participation in truth.