Mary Queen of Heaven Missionaries with His Eminence Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu

Mary Queen of Heaven Missionaries with His Eminence Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu

A petite woman in pink, in a Filipino red-light district, is picked out by a “tourist” as a possible sex partner for the evening. A pimp accompanying him tells him she’s not a good choice.

She’s a nun.

The Mary Queen of Missionaries (MQHM) are a group of Catholic sisters who serve the sex workers in the Philippines. Their order was established solely for this purpose:

To seek the stray and fallen away in the person of the victims of prostitution and in the power that the Holy Spirit gives, bring them back to the bosom of the Father.  We search for them in the bars and casas and along streets in the red light districts, offering them a decent way of living in our “Home of Love”, a rehabilitation and livelihood training center for them and their children. Those who are willing to embrace God’s grace of renewed life with Him, are sheltered in the Home of Love with all the basic provisions, free of charge.

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Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The_Church_is_a_PartyChristians frequently talk about “stewardship,” but what do we mean when we use that term? And more importantly, what should we mean by it?

At The Gospel Coalition, Stephen J. Grabill, director of programs and international for the Acton Institute, discusses what it means to have a holistic understanding of stewardship and what it means to “make the kingdom of God visible and tangible to the world”:

Although Christians across denominational lines often use stewardship language to describe our calling to live out God’s mission in the world, what we mean theologically by “stewardship” varies greatly across religious traditions. Some think stewardship is tithing; others think it means volunteering or living a simple lifestyle. Still others identify stewardship with environmental conservation, social action of some kind or another, charitable giving, or making disciples through evangelism.

Each of these good and necessary activities points to an essential facet of stewardship, but each—on its own—falls shy of capturing the inspiring vision of biblical stewardship as a form of whole-life discipleship that embraces every legitimate vocation and calling to fulfill God’s mission in the world. In this sense, holistic stewardship, transformational generosity, workplace ministry, business as mission, and the theology of work movement all share a common point of origin in the biblical view of mission as whole-life discipleship. In other words, the essence of stewardship is about finding your place—that is, all the dimensions of your many callings—in God’s economy of all things (oikonomia).

Read more . . .

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Business Catechism
Father John Flynn, LC, Zenit

How to reconcile ethical principles with the exigencies of running a business has long been a cause for debate. A new book looks at this from the perspective of the social teaching of the Catholic Church.

“Men were created to employ themselves”: Calvin on Gen. 2.15
Aaron Denlinger, Reformation21

We tend towards one of two extremes in our attitudes towards work–either we make too little of it, or we make too much of it. We make too little of work when we regard it with contempt, when we treat it as an evil–albeit a necessary one since it supplies the financial resources necessary to pursue the things we actually value (relationships, possessions, status, leisure, etc.).

“The Giver” and the Gift That Keeps on Taking
Anthony Sacramone, Intercollegiate Review

“When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong. Every single time.” So says the Chief Elder, a firm believer in the Reformed doctrine of total depravity, apparently.

The Curse of Calling and Myth of Creativity
Grady Powell, Fare Forward

The word “calling” has the power to elicit eyerolls and sighs – a cliché of the worst kind. Though it stirs up deep desires to commit to a higher purpose and raises hopes for divine guidance, it also awakens the profound confusion within our culture and the church around personal identity and the meaning of a good life.

FLOW-gifOver at Capital Commentary, Byron Borger offers some valuable reflections and rather extensive praise for the Acton Institute’s new educational DVD series, For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a visually enjoyable Christian educational video curriculum,” he writes, “and I know I’ve never seen one so thoughtfully inspiring about a foundational Christian view of creation, culture, social life, and redemption.”

Indeed, FLOW offers a peculiar blend of artistic beauty and educational oomph. FLOW excels and exceeds at both showing and telling, and does so in a way that not only captures the mind, but instills a deeper, meditative longing in the heart for restoration and renewal across all spheres of life.

As Borger aptly captures, the series is unique in the way it unleashes the imagination toward a fuller, more nuanced vision for cultural engagement.

The teaching interviews and bold cinematography are so artfully expressed, though, that the blend of neo-Calvinist and conservative Catholic social theories that form some of the theoretical/theological background of the films are hardly noticeable; they are what Calvin Seerveld would call “suggestion-rich” and allusive. And they are often illustrated, not preached, with curious narratives and fantastic footage in settings as diverse as Makoto Fujimura’s art studio and Dr. Tim Royer’s Neurocore clinic which studies brain-related neurological issues. (more…)

chick-fil-a-truett-cathy-closed-sundayWhenever I get a craving for a chicken sandwich and waffle fries, it’s invariably on Sunday—the one day a week when Chick-fil-A is closed. Rather than become frustrated by the closure, though, I appreciate that Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, was motivated by his religious beliefs to give his employees a day of rest.

It turns out I’m not the only one. “I am from the South and there is a company called Chick-fil-A, and they are known for their religious affiliation — they even have it posted on their wall,” says Kelly Cowart, assistant professor of marketing at Grand Valley State University. “What does that mean to the people that come there? What does that mean for the employees? What does that mean when a company has a religious affiliation? Nothing had really been done looking at that effect.”

A new study led by Cowart and published in the Journal of Services Marketing shows religious affiliation can safeguard companies against negative reactions to store policies, such as limited hours of operation or a temporary store closing:

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Trafficked-Men-570x379The face of human trafficking, for the public, is typically female and young. There is an assumption that females are the victims and males are perpetrators. But is this mindset keeping boys and young men from getting the help they need to escape human trafficking?

The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange believes this is the case. While it appears that males make up about half of human trafficking victims, the numbers may be higher, especially for those involved in sex trafficking. This type of crime, when it involves boys, is often underreported, says one expert.

The percentage of male victims may be higher due to the underreported and subversive nature of the crime, said Summar Ghias, program specialist for the Chicago-based International Organization for Adolescents.

“We’re conditioned as a community to identify female victims more readily,” she said, “because that has been the more prominent focus of the anti-trafficking movement.”

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Jacopo-Bassano-Jacopo-da-Ponte-Departure-of-Abraham-and-his-family-and-livestock2“To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.” –Ecclesiastes 5:1

Obedience to God is a fundamental requirement of the Christian life. With our constant recitations of “thy will be done,” it may seem a rather obvious point, but while many of us are comfortable with the basic aims and directives of the Gospel – feed the poor, serve the needy, steward your talents, love your enemies – when it comes to the actual implementation, we tend to defer to our own designs and desires.

Yet no matter how much spiritual frosting we may apply, that basic question still longs to be asked: “Lord, what would you have me do, and how would you have me do it?”

In a free society, wherein individual choice and action are largely uncontrolled and often empowered, we have increased opportunities to align our lives and actions to God, and thus to others. But this same elusive freedom can also mean heightened temptations to become wise in our own eyes. For the Christian, such freedom is only as authentic as it is subservient to the true and the good — a perplexing and paradoxical notion, to be sure. (more…)

For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles is a 7-part series from the Acton Institute that seeks to examine the bigger picture of Christianity’s role in culture, society, and the world.  The Gospel Coalition (TGC) is highlighting an episode and sharing an exclusive code for a free 72-hour rental of the full episode.

Here’s the trailer for episode 7, The Church.

Visit TGC to get the code for the free rental (you have to apply the code today, but once you do the rental is free for 72 hours).

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Monday, August 18, 2014

Four Ways Christians Can Transform Behavior in the Online Marketplace
Andrew Spencer, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

As Christians called to be holy in all areas of life, including the marketplace, how do we communicate in a godly manner when the marketplace goes digital?

Who Is Speaking For The Persecuted Christians In Iraq?
Rob Schwarzwalder, The Federalist

All persecution is evil, whether it is of Uighur Muslims in northwestern China or of Yazidi on a barren hilltop in Kurdistan. Yet the U.S. mainstream media seems to be downplaying, if not ignoring, the intense persecution of Christian Iraqis by the self-proclaimed “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS), the pretentious self-appellation of a group of Islamist murderers.

A Better Way Up From Poverty
Paul Ryan, Wall Street Journal

I’ve learned I was wrong to talk about ‘makers and takers.’ We have to do more to unwind the cycle of dependency on government.

Journey to Baby Gammy: How We Justify a Market in Children
Rickard Newman, Public Discourse

Materialism, relativism, and consequentialism are at the heart of the arguments in favor of third-party reproduction.

The_Giver_posterThe Giver, a cinematic adaptation of Lois Lowry’s contemporary young adult classic, is great summer action-adventure entertainment. The film also serves as a terrific example for future moviemakers seeking to transfer themes of spiritual faith to celluloid without succumbing to preachiness and overwrought didacticism.

Yes, The Giver is yet another dystopian sci-fi adventure story featuring handsome young protagonists  rebelling against established A-list Hollywood stars portraying adult autocrats. But, unlike the silly, over-the-top political media and often disturbing ultraviolence of The Hunger Games, The Giver delivers the action without unnecessary onscreen carnage. True – for the most part – the adults are still autocratic nincompoops, but the purpose behind their actions derives not from the comic-book arch-villain text book. Instead, the world depicted in the movie is closer to attempts at social engineering witnessed on a daily basis; from all-pervasive surveillance cameras to language policing and nanny-state enforcement.

Taking a cue from the original Star Trek television series, the setting of The Giver has, like Spock’s home planet, Vulcan, eliminated human emotion and biological passions in response to some catastrophe (presumably war). One individual is entrusted to all pre-catastrophe memories, the title character (Jeff Bridges). The Giver resides in an outpost on the edge of civilization, a bunker filled with books and a grand piano. He is charged with transferring his memories to Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), the state-designated Receiver of Memories. Like Spock, the Giver performs his own version of the Vulcan mind-meld for the transference of memories. (more…)