According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pew Research | Global Attitudes Project - "Humanity's Greatest Threat"





Nuclear weapons, disease and inequality: What poses the greatest threat to humanity?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/11179747/Nuclear-weapons-disease-and-inequality-What-poses-the-greatest-threat-to-humanity.html

By Oliver Duggan
2:24PM BST 22 Oct 2014

More than 48,000 people in 44 countries were asked by Pew Global to list their
greatest fears for the human race. Click on each coloured country below to see a
breakdown of what each country considers the biggest threats of 21st century

From nuclear weapons and environmental disasters to income inequality and communicable diseases, there is no shortage of threats facing the world's 7.1 billion inhabitants.

Now research compiled by the Pew Global Attitudes Project has revealed how each of humanity's biggest threats are perceived in 44 countries.

Click on the map above, created by The Telegraph, to see how more than 1,000 people in each country responded to the question "Which one of these poses the greatest threat to the world?"

Nearly 50,000 respondents were given an option of AIDs and other diseases, religious and ethnic hatred, pollution and the environment, nuclear weapons and inequality.

The results show that most Middle East countries are primarily concerned with religious and ethnic hatred, while the majority of European and North American citizens fear inequality.

But the data also reveals the impact of local and historic conflicts on individual perceptions of global threats.

More than a third of the 1,600 people questioned in Ukraine, where conflict with Russia continues despite a supposed ceasefire, said nuclear weapons were the biggest concern.

But in China, the largest producer of carbon emmissions in the world, the majority of people said pollution and the environment were the biggest threats.

Similarly, the population of countries with the most developed economies, where the gap between a large income gap exists between rich and poor, cited inequality as their biggest fear.

"Across the nations surveyed, opinions on which of the five dangers is the top threat to the world vary greatly by region and country, and in many places there is no clear consensus," the report concluded.

"With growing conflicts engulfing the Middle East, people in the region name religious and ethnic hatred most frequently as the greatest threat to the world.

"Moreover, publics across the globe see the threat of religious and ethnic violence as a growing threat to the world’s future."

* * * * * * * * * * * *



OCTOBER 16, 2014
Middle Easterners See Religious and Ethnic Hatred as Top Global Threat
http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/10/16/middle-easterners-see-religious-and-ethnic-hatred-as-top-global-threat/

Europeans and Americans Focus on Inequality as Greatest Danger
With growing conflicts engulfing the Middle East, people in the region name religious and ethnic hatred most frequently as the greatest threat to the world. Moreover, publics across the globe see the threat of religious and ethnic violence as a growing threat to the world’s future. But in Europe, concerns about inequality trump all other dangers and the gap between the rich and the poor is increasingly considered the world’s top problem by people living in advanced economies, including the United States.
Middle Easterners Fear Religious/Ethnic Hatred; Europeans, Americans Inequality







Elsewhere, Asians and Latin Americans are somewhat divided about the world’s greatest danger, but pollution and environmental problems as well as the spread of nuclear weapons are high on their list of threats. African countries see AIDS and other infectious diseases as the most pressing issue in the world today.1
These are among the findings of a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted in 44 countries among 48,643 respondents from March 17 to June 5, 2014.

Greatest Danger to the World

Across the nations surveyed, opinions on which of the five dangers is the top threat to the world vary greatly by region and country, and in many places there is no clear consensus.
Around a quarter of Americans say the growing gap between the rich and the poor (27%) is the greatest threat to the world today, with 24% saying this about religious and ethnic hatred and 23% expressing concern about the spread of nuclear weapons. Fewer say pollution and other environmental problems (15%) or AIDS and other infectious diseases (7%) are the world’s top problems.
Greatest Danger to the World
Europeans generally agree that inequality is the top threat to the world. A median of 32% across seven EU nations say the growing gap between the rich and the poor is the top threat and inequality is rated the number one danger in five of these countries.
Inequality is cited as the top problem by 54% in Spain and 43% in Greece, countries where the effects of the Eurocrisis have been especially severe. Somewhat fewer in Germany (34%), Italy (32%), Poland (32%) and France (32%) name the growing rich-poor gap. In the United Kingdom, ethnic and religious hatred (39%) is considered the greatest threat, followed by inequality (25%).
In Russia and Ukraine, both surveyed after the Russian annexation of Crimea but before months of fighting in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces, nuclear proliferation is the number one danger. More than three-in-ten say this in Ukraine (36%), while 29% hold that view in Russia.
Five of the seven Middle Eastern countries surveyed identify religious and ethnic hatred as the top threat to the world, with a median of 34% across these seven countries saying this, despite the fact that the survey was administered before the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) took over large portions of Iraq and Syria and the recent military conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
In Lebanon, 58% identify religious and ethnic hatred as the top threat, the highest level of concern in any surveyed country. Religious hatred is the top concern among Lebanese Christians (56%), Shia Muslims (62%) and Sunni Muslims (58%) alike. But concern about this threat is also prevalent in the Palestinian territories, Tunisia, Egypt and Israel.
Opinions about top dangers are more mixed in Asia. Three-in-ten or more Thais (36%), Filipinos (34%), Chinese (33%) and Vietnamese (32%) see environmental issues as the main danger to the world. Religious and ethnic divisions rank highest in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and India. In Malaysia, Muslims (35%) are more concerned than Buddhists (22%) about religious and ethnic hatred.
Top Threats across the World
In Japan, which remains to this day the only population to experience a nuclear attack, 49% say the spread of nuclear weapons is the world’s greatest threat, the highest rating for this issue across the 44 countries surveyed. Three-in-ten in Pakistan, which borders nuclear rival India, say the spread of those weapons is of paramount danger, garnering the highest spot. In South Korea, the gap between the rich and the poor is the largest issue (32%), mirroring findings from many of the other advanced economies surveyed.

Latin Americans express mixed views about the top threat facing the world today, but many people in the region name nuclear weapons and environmental issues. Around three-in-ten in Chile (30%), Venezuela (29%) and Brazil (28%) identify the spread of nukes as the world’s top danger. About a quarter in El Salvador (27%) and Mexico (26%) also say this, though in Mexico an equal number name pollution. Colombians, Peruvians and Nicaraguans assess environmental problems as the greatest danger. In Argentina, more say inequality (32%).
Africans are generally united in the view that AIDS and other infectious diseases are the top threat to the globe. Africa has the highest rates of HIV/AIDS prevalence in the worldand the recent Ebola outbreak has spread in the continent’s west. Ugandans are the most worried about AIDS (44%), followed by Tanzanians (41%), South Africans (35%), Kenyans (29%) and Senegalese (29%). In Nigeria, where Boko Haram terrorists in the restive north of the country are creating havoc, 38% say religious and ethnic hatred is the biggest problem for the world.

Increasing Concerns about Religious and Ethnic Hatred

Taking the median percentages across the 28 countries surveyed in both 2007 and 2014, there has been a shift toward concerns about religious and ethnic hatred as the world’s top problem, especially in the Middle East. Meanwhile, in Europe, more publics now see inequality as the world’s top problem compared to seven years ago, before the Great Recession and Eurocrisis.
Since 2007, More Concern about Religious and Ethnic Hatred
Overall, in the 28 countries surveyed in 2007 and 2014, religious and ethnic hatred, along with inequality, are seen as the most pressing issues for the world, with the spread of nuclear weapons not far behind. Fewer people within these countries say pollution and AIDS are the biggest threat.
Inequality a Growing Concern in Europe and U.S.; Religious & Ethnic Hatred Worries Increase in Middle East
However, there have been substantial changes in the top choice within some countries over the last decade. For example, in the U.S., when the question was first asked in 2002 just months after the 9/11 attacks and discussion of the spread of WMDs in the lead up to the Iraq War, a third of Americans said nuclear proliferation was the greatest threat to the world. In 2007, after years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, religious and ethnic hatred became the top concern (28%). And now, six years after the Great Recession, with abundant debates about the growing gap between the rich and the poor, inequality is considered the greatest danger.

Europeans have seen a similar progression. Four of the European countries surveyed in 2007 named religious and ethnic tensions as the greatest threat, but in 2014 all but one say inequality is the top issue (France is split between the two). In Spain and Italy, worries about inequality have doubled since 2007.
Meanwhile, Middle Easterners have become more worried about religious hatred. In 2007, a regional median of 24% across six countries named religious prejudice as the greatest danger. By 2014, a median of 32% across those same Middle Eastern countries said this. And in Lebanon, the percentage choosing ethnic hatred jumped 19 points since 2007, while concern has more than doubled in Egypt.

Age and Ideological Differences

Generally, there is little variation by age in views about the top global danger.
But in Japan, 18-29 year olds are less concerned about the spread of nuclear weapons than those 50 and older, possibly due to the fact that people under 30 were born at least four decades after nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Meanwhile, young people in Kenya and South Africa are more concerned about AIDS & disease compared with their elders.
Republicans See Religious & Ethnic Hatred as Top Threat; Democrats Say Inequality
In the UK, people on the ideological right of the political spectrum voice greater worries about religious and ethnic hatred, while those on the left are more concerned about inequality. Similarly, in the U.S., Republicans are much more likely to name religious and ethnic hatred as the greatest threat to the world (35%) than are Democrats (15%) and independents (23%). But Democrats are more concerned about inequality (35%) compared with Republicans (21%). Democrats and independents are also more concerned about pollution and other environmental problems compared with Republicans.


  1. The survey was administered before the Islamic State (“ISIS” or “ISIL”) took over large swathes of Iraq and Syria and posted prisoner executions online and before the Ebola outbreak in West Africa became a high-profile international story.

7 Habits of Natural Leaders




7 Habits Of Natural Leaders
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/20/traits-that-make-a-leader_n_5959298.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000051&ir=Religion

by Carolyn Gregoire
Posted: 10/20/2014 8:28 am EDT Updated: 10/20/2014 8:59 am EDT

Successful leadership, like happiness, is one of those things that everyone claims to have the "secret" to. There are more than 27,000 leadership books on Amazon, thousands of seminars on leadership skills held in conference rooms across the country, and countless articles in business magazines and websites pruning leadership lessons from CEOs and corporate movers and shakers.

But leadership isn't just about sitting at the top of the corporate ladder and running the show -- it's a way of engaging with your social network, community, colleagues and employees to share a vision and unite people in pursuit of a common goal. Good leadership brings out the best individual qualities of everyone participating.

So what does it actually mean to be a good leader? There are many different ways of leading, but great leaders have a few important habits that anyone can cultivate in themselves.

Here are seven habits of natural-born leaders.




They dare to fail.

"The difference between winners and losers is how they handle losing," Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter wrote in Harvard Business Reviewlast year.

Resilience -- the ability to effectively cope with losing, failing, and not getting what you want -- is an important quality for anyone to cultivate in order to achieve success and well-being, but for leaders, it's essential. To lead well is to risk failure, and resilience helps leaders to bounce back from the inevitable hardships and setbacks that risk necessitates.

Failure can work powerfully in either one of two ways: It can be the greatest teacher and motivator for future success, or it can keep you from ever taking a risk (and hence achieving something great) again. Great leaders know this well, and they've learned to use failure, as Arianna Huffington puts it, "as a stepping stone to success."

Huffington, the editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, says that great leaders "dare to fail" -- just read the biography of any leader you admire, and you'll find a story of failure.

"When I ran for governor of California in 2003, it was a failure--but I learned a tremendous amount about the power of the Internet," Huffington said in a conversation with Inc. "I also learned a lot about myself, about communicating, being able to touch people's hearts and minds, and listening. All the things that were ingrained in me during the campaign definitely had an impact in forming The Huffington Post."




They follow their purpose.

"Apple's core value is we believe that people with passion can change the world," Steve Jobs said at a 1997 internal meeting on Apple's "Think Different" ad campaign. "And that those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do."

Watching Jobs address employees, it's impossible not to feel his intense passion and purpose. The ad campaign, which celebrates people throughout history who have expressed that same drive and passion, "touches the soul of the company," Jobs said.

"I don't think there is another company on earth that could have done this ad," he added.

Purpose drives the greatest leaders, like Jobs, to create a meaningful product or accomplish a goal that transcends the company's bottom line -- and to think of the company as having not just a bottom line, but also a "soul." In doing so, they inspire their employees to work to their highest potential to fulfill their larger vision.

"Purpose leaders don’t manage; they mesmerize. They don’t execute initiatives; they lead crusades. Their brands are not labels but flags that should evoke the kind of patriotism we have for the countries we live in," Joey Reiman, CEO of BrightHouse,wrote in The Story of Purpose: The Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, a Greater Company, and a Lasting Legacy. "These leaders want to change the way the planet works -- or as Apple’s Steve Jobs is widely quoted saying, 'to make a dent in the universe.'"




They give.

There are three types of people in this world, according to organizational psychologist Adam Grant: Givers (those who prioritize helping others), takers (those who help themselves) and matchers (those who seek equal benefit for self and other). After investigating years' worth of psychological studies as well as conducting his own research, Grant concluded that givers are the most successful.

"Givers bring out the best in others," Grant told Business Insider in April. "One big part of that is seeing more potential in people than they see in themselves. Givers are often looking at the people around them as diamonds in the rough, investing in such a way that they're able to allow these people to achieve greater potential than they thought possible."

Givers also become role models and change behavior norms for the group, Grant explains, making others more likely to help each other and share knowledge -- which can ultimately contribute to an environment of greater creativity and innovation.




They give themselves a break.

What do Marissa Mayer, Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg and Michelle Obama have in common? These highly successful leaders all insist on taking regular vacations. Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior -- who oversaw more than 22,000 employees in her previous role at Cisco -- makes time for meditation every day, and does a digital detox every Saturday so that she comes back to work every Monday feeling ready to tackle the week ahead with a sense of calm clarity.

Great leaders have ambitious goals, and they work hard to achieve them. But they also know that workaholism and burnout won't get them very far, so they take time to rest and recharge in order to boost their creativity and mental sharpness. It's difficult to be an effective leader when you're burnt out, sleep deprived, and addicted to your smartphone. Taking regular personal time -- whether it's a daily yoga practice, Saturday tech sabbatical, or twice-annual vacation -- keeps leaders mentally sharp and ready to take on new challenges.

For some leaders, like Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson, vacations can even provide an unexpected source of business inspiration.

"When you go on vacation, your routine is interrupted; the places you go and the new people you meet can inspire you in unexpected ways," Branson told Entrepreneur. "As an entrepreneur or business leader, if you didn't come back from your vacation with some ideas about how to shake things up, it's time to consider making some changes."




They really listen.

Bill Clinton has a startlingly simple secret to success: the former president gives everyone he meets his full, undivided attention. Countless anecdotes about Clinton suggest that his legendary charisma stems from the full focus he gives to every person he meets, and it's made him one of the greatest political communicators in recent history.

Clinton was known, during his early career, for connecting with the people he was leading, looking them in the eye, and listening to what they had to say. He embodied an important trait of great natural leaders: They genuinely care about others, and no matter how busy they are, they always give people the time of day.

"All my life I’ve been interested in other people’s stories," Clinton wrote in his autobiography My Life. "I wanted to know them, understand them, feel them."

Clinton's superior powers of attention only highlight to our larger cultural "attention deficit" that can have a significant negative impact on the way we communicate and interact with others. Paying attention to people might not sound too difficult, but consider how often we actually do this. Technology has contributed to a decline of eye contact, and multitasking has become so much the norm that we often check our email or text while conversing with others. Even when we're not multitasking, research suggests that we only give people roughly a third of our attention -- but a great leader knows that everyone they work with deserves more than that.




They seek out new experiences and ways of thinking.

In a competitive and rapidly changing world, creativity is an increasingly important quality for leaders to cultivate to keep their businesses or ventures ahead of the curve. A creative leader is one who keeps an open mind.

Openness to experience -- one of the "big five" domains of personality in psychology, a trait characterized by intellectual curiosity and an intense drive for cognitive exploration -- is the personality trait most associated with creative achievement.Research in organizational psychology has also found that it's one of the personality traits most associated with leadership, trumped only be extraversion and neuroticism.

Leaders need to have a flexible and fluid mindset to adapt to changes and new challenges, which is fostered by being open to new perspectives and ways of doing things. This is one of the reasons Silicon Valley entrepreneurs love Burning Man so much -- the annual art and counterculture festival in the Nevada desert is a breeding ground for unusual ideas and experiences.

But great leaders don't have to hit the desert to keep coming up with innovative ideas and strategies. They simply make a practice of keeping their minds open and explorative, or as Steve Jobs put it, making their "bag of experiences" as large as possible.




They empathize with others.

We don't often think of empathy as being a characteristic of the American workplace. But leaders who are kind and empathetic -- who truly care about the people who work for them -- are some of the most effective managers out there, inspiring others and naturally drawing people to their side. A leader who displays empathy is better equipped to connect with others and understand their perspectives. In turn, they are able to call on these relationships for support when they need it.

Jayson Boyers, vice president of continuing professional studies at Champlain College, goes so far as to argue that empathy is the single strongest force that moves businesses forward.

"Successful people do not operate alone; each of us needs the support of others to achieve positive results that push us toward our goals," Boyers writes in Forbes. "True empathy combines understanding both the emotional and the logical rationale that goes into every decision."

If you're a leader looking to develop your emotional intelligence skills, Google's Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute offers some exercises for cultivating kindness and empathy in the workplace.