Blogroll

I read blogs, as well as write one. The 'blogroll' on this site reproduces some posts from some of the people I enjoy reading.

Disclaimer: Reproducing an article here need not necessarily imply agreement or endorsement!

Pastoral Letter from GAFCON Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

Anglican Ink - 36 min 49 sec ago

The English House of Bishops has failed so far to demonstrate that it has the will to resist compromise 

Motion filed to allow St James the Great to return home

Anglican Ink - 3 hours 23 min ago

Motion to Compel Bishop Bruno to permit the parish to return to its buildings pending the disposition of the bishop's misconduct trial filed.

Bishop Patrick Yu of Toronto to retire in January

Anglican Ink - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 22:54

Toronto's sole conservative bishop to step down

A Humanitarian Appeal from the Patriarchs of Syria to the International Conscience and the Concerned Countries

Anglican Ink - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 22:11

Three patriarchs in Damascus call for end to Western sanctions on the Assad regime

Take the Hosting Industry Survey and we'll share the results with you!

CloudLinux - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 17:38

We at CloudLinux are conducting a comprehensive hosting industry survey and I am excited to invite you, a Web hosting professional, to share your expertise.

This survey is being broadcasted to over 15K hosting experts across the globe. Once we compile all data, we will send you the results of this survey so that you can compare your responses with those of your peers. In appreciation of your time, you’ll also be entered to win one of five $100 Amazon gift cards.

This survey will close on Friday, September 9th, so please don’t delay and fill it out today.

Take Survey Now

Fill out the hosting industry survey now and make your voice heard.

Thanks!

Igor 

Categories: Technology

Documentation overhaul

Drupal - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 17:11

One of the biggest content areas on Drupal.org—and one of the most important assets of any open source project—is documentation. Community-written Drupal documentation consists of about 10,000 pages. Preparations for the complete overhaul of the documentation tools were in the works for quite some time, and in the recent weeks we finally started to roll out the changes on the live site.

Background

Improving documentation on Drupal.org has been a part of a larger effort to restructure content on the site based on content strategy we developed.

The new section comes after a few we launched earlier in the year. It also uses our new visual system, which will slowly expand into other areas.

Goals and process

The overall goal for the new Documentation section is to increase the quality of the community documentation.

On a more tactical level, we want to:

  • Introduce the concept of "maintainers" for distinct parts of documentation
  • Flatten deep documentation hierarchy
  • Split documentation per major Drupal version
  • Notify people about edits or new documentation
  • Make comments more useful

To achieve those goals, we went through the following process:

First, we wrote a bunch of user stories based on our user research and the story map exercise we went through with the Documentation Working Group members. Those stories cover all kinds of things different types of users do while using documentation tools.

We then wireframed our ideas for how the new documentation system should look and work. We ran a number of remote and in person usability testing sessions on those wireframes.

Our next step was to incorporate the feedback, update our wireframes, and create actual designs. And then we tested them again, in person, during DrupalCamp London.
Incorporated feedback again, and started building.

The new system

So, how does the new documentation system work exactly? It is based on two new content types:

  1. Documentation guide: a container content type. It will group documentation pages on a specific topic, and provide an ability to assign 'maintainers' for this group of pages (similar to maintainers for contributed projects). Additionally, users will be able to follow the guide and receive notifications about new pages added or existing pages edited.
  2. Documentation page: a content type for the actual documentation content. These live inside of documentation guides.

Documentation guide screenshot
Example of a new documentation guide

All of the documentation is split per major Drupal version, which means every documentation guide or page lives inside of one of a few top level 'buckets', e.g. Drupal 7 documentation, Drupal 8 documentation.
It is also possible to connect guides and pages to each other via a 'Related content' field, which should make it easier to discover relevant information. One of our next to-do’s is to provide an easy way to connect documentation guides to projects, enabling 'official' project documentation functionality.

More information on various design decisions we made for the new documentation system, and the reasons behind them, can be found in our DrupalCon New Orleans session (slides).

Current status

Right now, we have the new content types and related tools ready on Drupal.org.
We are currently migrating existing documentation (all 10,000 pages!) into the new system. The first step is generic documentation (e.g. 'Structure Guide'), with contributed projects documentation to follow later.

While working on the migration, we are recruiting maintainers for the new guides. If you are interested in helping out, sign up in the issue. Please only sign up if you actually have some time to work on documentation in the near future.

There is a lot of work to be done post-migration (both by guide maintainers and regular readers/editors). The content is being migrated as-is, and it needs to be adapted for the new system. This means almost every single page needs to be edited. New fields (such as Summary) filled out with meaningful text (to replace text automatically generated by the migration script). A lot of pages include information for both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8, but this content needs to be split, with Drupal 8 information moved to pages in the appropriate version of the guide. These are just some of the steps that need to happen once the documentation has been migrated into the new system.

Next steps

As staff, we have a few follow-up tasks for minor improvements to the content types and tools. However, the bulk of the work is editing and improving the actual documentation, as I described above. This is in your hands now. Not only do we not have enough staff members to edit every single documentation page in a reasonable amount of time, we are also not subject matter experts for many of the topics, and so can't provide meaningful edits. The tools are ready, now it is up to the community to pick them up and write great documentation.

Documentation page screenshot
Example of a documentation page

Thank you

Lastly we want to say thanks.

Thanks to all the community volunteers who wrote those 10,000 pages over the years. Thanks to the Documentation Working Group members for their expertise, insight, and patience.

And, of course, thanks to staff. Unfortunately due to recent changes for the Engineering team, this will be the last section we'll have resources to work on for a while. This was a fun and important project to work on, and we are glad that we got to finish it. It is a beautiful legacy of the work we did together with some of our former colleagues: DyanneNova, japerry, and joshuami. Thank you!

Categories: Technology

Increase your productivity with an enhanced people experience in Outlook on the web

Microsoft Office - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 17:00

There are two components in any communication: the information shared and the people you are sharing with. Understanding your audience—the people you are sending to—is particularly important in business settings. Today, we are announcing several enhancements in Outlook on the web to help Office 365 customers better understand the people they are communicating with. In addition, we reduced the number of clicks to present the most relevant information at a glance. Powered by the Microsoft Graph, these changes allow you to quickly create more personalized and impactful communications.

A better understanding of people and how to reach them quickly

Many users associate people in Outlook with contact management—storing information such as a person’s phone number and email address. And while knowing how to contact someone is important, having a full understanding of who someone is—how you relate to them and how to quickly reach them—is critical.

With that in mind, we updated Contact Cards to provide a “no-click” way to access common communication actions, as well as provide the ability to see who someone is and how you know them. When in Mail or Calendar, simply hover your mouse over an individual’s name to bring up their Contact Card. The Contact Card allows you to quickly email, IM, call or create a calendar appointment. In addition, you will also see the person’s job title, who they report to, as well as a recent email. This makes it easy to quickly place the person in context—both within your organization as well as within your interactions.

Contact Cards provide actions and context at a glance.

While Contact Cards provide a snapshot of information, the new Contact pane offers a deeper view of someone. Click a name—be it in the Mail, Calendar or People view—and the Contact pane slides into view. The first section of the Contact pane has the same communication actions as the Contact Card, but also includes contact information related to those actions. In addition, you’ll see key information such as their team, title and office number.

Scrolling down, you’ll see their reporting structure—including the option to click through to their full organization chart. You’ll also be able to see who they commonly work with as well as the Office 365 Groups they belong to.

The final section of the Contact pane provides a rich collection of information previously shared between the two of you. So, when preparing for your next meeting or replying to an email, the Contact pane allows you to fully understand where a person is within your organization, the projects and people they work with, as well as the specific emails and files you have exchanged with one another. And because the Contact pane slides out in your existing Outlook window, you are able to maintain the flow of your work without managing pop-ups and tabs.

The Contact pane unlocks people intelligence through the Microsoft Graph

Improved search—finding the right person means finding the relevant person

In late 2015, we announced significant changes to Outlook on the web’s ability to understand the people most relevant to you when composing an email or calendar invites. We expanded this same intelligence to the search box in the Mail, Calendar and People modules. For example, if you frequently communicate with Sarah Davis, typing an “S” or “D” in the search box will bring up her name first—even if her name is not alphabetically first in your company’s directory. Outlook knows Sarah is likely the person you are searching for as she is the most relevant person to you based on your communications, collaborations and business relationship.

In addition, we extended “fuzzy name” matching to Outlook search to catch common variations in how names are spelled. For example, an Outlook search for “John” will also will bring up “Jon” or “Katheryn” in addition to “Catherine.” With relevancy-based search and fuzzy matching, Outlook ends the overload of searching through your company’s full directory and bubbles up the people you are most likely searching for.

New contact lists allow you to view people by the way you interact

Finally, we made several enhancements within the main People section itself. The biggest change is the addition of a new “Featured People” section that contains smart lists. Smart lists allow you to view people by the way you interact with them in Outlook—such as in email or shared meetings. Many of the lists are dynamic, which means the people in the list change as your interactions evolve over time. The smart lists include:

  • Frequently contacted—This list analyzes the strongest signals coming across all of Outlook to understand who you work with the most. It takes into account your communication, collaboration and business relationships.
  • On your calendar—List of the people found in your upcoming calendar appointments that day, which is extremely helpful when preparing for meetings. You can click through to the specific meeting to see who is attending, as well as drill down on any individual via the Contact pane.
  • For follow-up—List of the people who recently sent you email that might require your action. It is a good way to get an overview of who is writing you, what they are writing about and whether you have multiple follow-up items from the same person.
  • Favorites—The Favorites list is one you manage yourself. Similar to Skype favorites, you can add or remove people on your Favorites list for quick and easy access to the latest communication you’ve had with them—for people both inside and outside your organization.

If you’re a fan of a particular smart list, you can choose to “pin” so it opens by default when you switch to the People view. If the traditional Contacts list is more to your liking, you can choose it as your default instead.

Smart lists provide quick access to people based on how you interact with them.

In addition to smart lists, we improved the way we display your contacts so that you see the most relevant information at a glance such as the person’s name, email address, job title and office number. Clicking a name will bring up the Contact pane for more detailed information. These changes apply to your personal contacts, as well as people in your company directory.

Outlook people experience 1

Contact lists now provide information at a glance.

Share your feedback

Outlook is a customer-obsessed organization. If you have feedback or ideas you would like to share, please let us know via UserVoice.

Frequently asked questions

Q. When will these features roll out?

A. We are actively rolling these features out to our Office 365 First Release customers and will start rolling out worldwide in the coming weeks.

Q. What Office 365 subscriptions are eligible?

A. The features are available to all Office 365 commercial subscriptions that include Outlook on the web, including Business, Enterprise and EDU plans.

Q. Do the new improvements to the people experience expose any personal information about coworkers?

A. No. These enhancements to the user experience and added capabilities only present information already available in the company directory, Delve and Outlook. We are not providing additional information on coworkers or private information outside of the work environment. We are surfacing relevant business information already available but with fewer clicks and a more efficient layout.

Q. Will these features be coming to other Office 365 products including Outlook for desktop?

A. Yes. The changes announced today represent the first wave of enhancements to the people experience in Office 365. Over the coming months, we will be rolling out related improvements across numerous Office products and services including Outlook on the desktop.

Q. Will these features be coming to Outlook.com users?

A. The changes coming to the people experience are designed for productivity gains in commercial environments. We will continue to invest in improving people experiences for Outlook.com users, though they will not necessarily mirror the changes described here.

The post Increase your productivity with an enhanced people experience in Outlook on the web appeared first on Office Blogs.

Categories: Technology

New to Office 365 in August—the continued evolution of inking and more

Microsoft Office - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 17:00

Today’s post was written by Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team.

August has been another busy month with updates for inking, mobile app security, Outlook and more. We’re also announcing an additional level for the Office Insider program.

The continued evolution of inking in Office—your digital pen is even more powerful

2016 is a big year for inking in Office and Windows. It’s already easy to simply pick up your pen and write in Office apps. We’ve also expanded what’s possible once your digital ink is on the page with Shape Recognition and handwritten equation conversion. Now, Office is helping you learn more easily, follow inking in action, and get more creative with three new inking capabilities:

  • Ink math assistant in OneNote—When you handwrite an equation, OneNote can not only convert it to text, but also now teach you the steps to solve it. This intelligent assistance makes OneNote your math coach and pairs nicely with Editor, the recently announced intelligent writing assistant in Word. Together, they make Office an even better partner to help you achieve more in your learning journey.
Availability: for Office 365 subscribers using OneNote for Windows 10.

New to Office 365 in August 1 - GIF

OneNote helps teach you how to solve handwritten equations.

  • Replay inking in Office apps—To understand what’s behind the ink you see on a page, use new ink rewind and replay capabilities. Follow a sequence of handwritten notes and drawings, review step-by-step instructions, or see the order in which somebody else marked up the document.
Availability: for Office 365 subscribers using OneNote for Windows 10. Coming soon to PowerPoint, Word and Excel on Windows desktops.

New to Office 365 in August 2 - GIF

Rewind and replay handwritten notes or drawings.

Availability: for Office 365 subscribers using OneNote for Windows 10.

Learn more about the power of Office and OneNote ink. Download the latest version of OneNote to start using the ink math assistant, ink replay and ink effects. Read about other updates to OneNote announced today.

Windows Information Protection comes to Office

Windows Information Protection (WIP) is now supported in Office mobile apps for Windows tablets and phones. Previously announced with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, WIP is an enterprise-ready solution that helps prevent accidental data leaks while letting users maintain control over their personal data. Simply designate content you create in these apps as “work” or “personal” so that your IT department can protect or remove only business data. Download the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote to start using WIP.

Availability: for Office mobile apps. Coming soon for Windows desktops.

New to Office 365 in August 3 - BLOG

Windows Information Protection lets you designate documents as “work” or “personal” so IT restricts only business data.

Enhanced people experiences for Outlook on the web

Commercial customers can now go beyond a person’s basic contact details with deeper, more intelligent people experiences in Outlook on the web. Clicking a coworker’s name helps you discover more information about them, including their organizational chart, who they commonly work with (powered by the Microsoft Graph), Office 365 Groups they’ve joined, as well as recent emails, files and meetings you have in common. Learn more about these and other new people experiences.

Availability: in Outlook on the web for commercial customers. Coming soon to more Office 365 web experiences, such as SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.

New people experiences in Outlook on the web help you discover more about your coworkers.

Visio is expanding to more platforms

Two new Visio apps are available to provide rich diagram viewing across even more devices:

  • The new Visio Online Preview lets you view and share Visio diagrams with just a browser. Drill deeper into sub-processes or link out to web pages. Zoom into detailed views in high fidelity. Open a diagram in Visio Pro for Office 365 to edit.
  • With the new Visio for iPad, access your Visio diagrams from virtually anywhere using your iPad. Search for content, filter different visualizations of the same diagrams, and use the intuitive pan and zoom window to easily navigate or view your diagram in full fidelity. Send feedback and vote on your favorite features on UserVoice.
Availability: Visio Online Preview is rolling out for commercial customers in First Release. Office 365 admins will get a Message Center post when the Visio Online Preview is available for their organization. Visio for iPad is available via a limited Office Insider Program.

New to Office 365 in August 5

Visio Online and Visio on iPad let you view, interact and share your diagrams on more platforms.

Updates to accessibility, in-app support and Office Online

Other updates this month include:

  • Accessibility updates—We have been hard at work making rapid progress on our accessibility roadmap outlined earlier this year. Recent updates to apps like Word, Outlook and SharePoint Online bring us closer to achieving our goal of ensuring that people with disabilities can communicate, consume and create content on any device. It’s also easier for everyone to create accessible content, with Accessibility Checker now available to any customer using Office 2016 for Mac. Follow this blog series for news on upcoming accessibility enhancements.
  • In-app assistance—In Office apps on Windows desktops, now it’s easier to find help documentation when you type a search into Tell me. Also, Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers in the U.S. can chat in real-time with a Microsoft support agent without leaving the Office app you’re using (we’ll expand to more markets soon).

New to Office 365 in August 6

Chat in real-time with a support agent in Office apps.

  • Office Online extension for Microsoft Edge browser—We’ve had over three million installations so far of the Office Online extension for Chrome browser. Now, the same award-winning Office Online extension is available for Microsoft Edge. Right from the top of Edge, you can easily create new Office documents, access your recent files, and open content stored on your OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or your computer. Download the extension to get started (Windows 10 Anniversary Update required).

Image New to Office 365 in August 7

Use the new Office Online extension in Microsoft Edge to easily open Office documents and edit them in the browser.

Announcing Office Insider Fast

Since the launch of Office Insider last November, more than one million Insiders have used pre-release builds of Office across platforms and provided more than 100,000 pieces of feedback. This partnership has helped us ensure a high-quality Office experience for all our Office 365 subscribers worldwide. Thanks to our Office Insiders for all their feedback and support!

Coming in the next few days, we’re adding a new level called Office Insider Fast for Windows desktops, Mac and Windows Mobile (Android and iOS coming soon). The Fast level provides even earlier builds of Office, more frequently. In fact, these builds are what Microsoft employees have access to internally. Office Insider Fast is best for Insiders who want to use the earliest preview builds to identify issues, provide feedback to help make Office great, and who don’t mind a bit of risk using unsupported builds.

Availability: coming in the next few days for Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers (learn more at Office.com/insider). Follow @OfficeInsider for updates and support. Commercial customers can use early builds of Office through First Release.

Learn more about what’s new for Office 365 subscribers this month at: Office 2016 | Office for Mac | Office Mobile for Windows | Office for iPhone and iPad | Office on Android. If you’re an Office 365 Home or Personal customer, be sure to sign up for Office Insider to be the first to use the latest and greatest in Office productivity. Commercial customers on both Current Channel and Deferred Channel can also get early access to a fully supported build through First Release. This site explains more about when you can expect to receive the features announced today.

—Kirk Koenigsbauer

The post New to Office 365 in August—the continued evolution of inking and more appeared first on Office Blogs.

Categories: Technology

The Sin of Soft

Blog & Mablog - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 16:44

“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Heb. 12:3).

Comes now the Ninth Short-Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding legislation in California that bans licensed counselors from helping young people who want to deal biblically with same-sex attraction. The law bans counseling that seeks to steer young people away from gender confusion. Confusion. It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law.Reparative

And this reveals, in high relief, the ratcheting techniques used by the forces of totalitolerance. A howl was set up against reparative therapy, causing even some stalwart Christian leaders to back away from it, and now, since we have ceded that ground, they are proceeding to take it. It is now against the law in California for a godly pastor to urge a teenagers to mortify his perverse desires, and how did we get here?

Incidentally, taking a stand for reparative counseling does not obligate you to endorse anything and everything someone might do in the name of reparative therapy, any more than a stand for free speech means that you agree with every stupid op-ed piece ever written. There could be hucksters out there running Acme Reparative Clinics, and I don’t care because this was supposed to be a free country. Because not only is Acme out there giving us a bad name, but the apostle Paul is out there too.

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9–11).

Some of you used to be gay, he says, but you called on the Lord, and prayed it away. Notice the tense of the verbs. Such were some of you. But you are washed. This does not mean that various temptations to lust just vanish, presto. But it does mean that it is no more permissible for Christians to claim a gay celibate identity than it is for them to claim an identity of celibate pedophilia, or the identity of being an incorrigible celibate flirt.

So what would we think of a celibate flirt? Suppose we were talking to a man who said he was maintaining the biblical standard of fidelity in marriage, but who said that he was also committed to the innocent recreation of flirting his head off with numerous women. All that matters, says he, is that the illicit and prohibited coitus does not in fact occur. That being excluded, all he ever does is tell a few inappropriate jokes, lower his voice confidentially, exchange a few knowing glances, and so on. Is he sinning?

Some of you might be wondering . . . is this a trick question? Of course he is sinning. What is the set up here? If it is sin to get somewhere, it is a sin to act like you are going there. We need not have much patience with those who acknowledge that the Bible says that it is a sin to catch a trout, but who go on to argue that it never says that it is a sin to stand by a trout stream with a fishing rod casting lures.

I want to argue that homosexual acts are indeed sinful, as anyone who knows his Bible can also tell you. But that is not the only sin related to all of this. I also want to argue that to embrace the gay identity, independent of whether any sexual relations occur, is also sinful. The gay vibe is a sinful one. That vibe is one of effeminacy. In the passage above, it is a sin to be effeminate (1 Cor. 6:9-11)—the word is malakoi, soft. It is not just a sin to play the soft one in bed; it is sinful to conduct yourself throughout the day as one who could play the soft one in bed.

This is a problem that the church really needs to work through. I am going to sketch a cartoon here, not because I accept the universal applicability of the cartoon, but because I need to make a point about how we define sin.

Suppose we are dealing with someone who has bought into the “gay but celibate” proposal. On the one hand, he really is celibate, and he is not in any problematic friendships. In other words, he is not in any sexual relationships, and he is not teetering on the edge of one. But on the other hand, let us also say that he is a walking, talking stereotype of someone who is light in the loafers. He talks with a lisp, he is limp-wristed, he walks like Liberace in a pair of skinny jeans, he is really into fabric design, and so on. In other words, sex aside, sexual activity aside, everything about him screams gay. Without any sex at all, and without any sexual activity on the horizon, he is being effeminate. And that is a sin.

As soon as something like this is openly stated, the water around us fills up with squid ink. Someone will immediately produce a gay activist who used to be a Navy Seal, one who has multiple decorations, who can do more one-handed push-ups than his Christian critics could do with two hands 40 years ago, and ask why I am calling him soft. But of course I wasn’t calling him soft. Engaging in homosexual sexual practices is one sin. Being soft is another sin. Not every person is guilty of every sin. A man can be a thief, and not be a murderer.

In ancient Rome, as long as a man limited his penetrative activity to his wife, his slaves of either sex, or prostitutes of either sex, he was considered entirely normal. If he accepted the degradation of being the passive partner, then that was disgraceful. In that era, their definition of masculinity was very important to them. It was all screwed up, but it was still important to them. The masculine one was the one who penetrated, and the penetrated could be either male or female. Rome didn’t care about the identity of the recipient.

But Scripture does. If a tough, hard-bitten Roman soldier called a slave boy to his bed, the Bible condemns his particular homosexual act. The act need not be “effeminate” to be sinful. Something can be an abomination without being girly. But if the slave boy cultivated a persona that was common back then, that of being a dainty boy (puer delicatus), then that was a separate sin.

There is much more than can be said about all of this, and which needs to be said. The problem we have is that our leadership is fighting an ongoing rearguard action against the sexual revolution, and each incremental defeat sets us up for the next round. And the rounds are shorter these days. The waves are coming in more quickly now.

So to end with a test question, a little thought experiment. When a righteous California pastor (who is a licensed counselor) defies this wicked law, and provides scriptural guidance to a teen that he baptized, and who grew up in his church, and the inevitable howl goes up, and all the respectable Christian leaders pull their skirts away from that man, what will you do?

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:14, ESV).

The post The Sin of Soft appeared first on Blog & Mablog.

Categories: People I don't know

Why Students Workbooks?

Children Desiring God - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 13:00

ID-10040192

Here is a frequent question we get at CDG this time of year:

Do I really need to buy student workbooks that are recommended for each curriculum?

First, let me tell you why we developed workbooks to accompany each study.

  • Workbooks for younger children provide them with opportunities for “hands-on” activity—coloring, pasting, taping, stickers, stamps, etc. This helps students focus as the adult leader reviews key lesson themes and asks children follow-up questions.
  • Workbooks—especially in our revised curricula—are integrated into the Small Group Application found at the end of each lesson. Therefore, students need the workbooks in order to complete certain portions of the application section. These exercises are meant to reinforce important truths taught in the lesson.
  • Workbooks for older children provide the students with a variety of opportunities for note-taking, class activities, personal application, and further study.
  • Workbooks provide students and parents with a resource that summarizes the precept-upon-precept study, in its entirety. In other words, if a student misses lessons during the year, he or she will still have a complete outline of the study from beginning to end.
  • Workbooks provide the students with a tangible, interactive resource through which the truths presented in the lesson can be reviewed and remembered.

In order to accomplish these outcomes, we strongly recommend purchasing the printed, bound workbook for each student or printing out a corresponding number of licensed copies of the electronic edition of the entire workbook and then binding it in some manner for the students.

What about one–time visitors or sporadic attenders? You’re welcome to print copies of workbook page for occasional visitors when needed, but if any of those visitors becomes a regular attender, then we suggest giving that child his or her own bound workbook.

In summary, Student Workbooks serve a two-fold purpose:

  • They help students synthesize the information that was learned during the lesson and cement that knowledge in their minds.
  • They are a tool to enhance the application process, whereby the students are encouraged to move from head knowledge to heart application—responding to the truths learned.

(Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

Categories: Christian Resources

Barry Cooper on Life Explored

The Good Book Company - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 12:04

"The mouth speaks what the heart is full of. If our hearts are full of the beauty of Christ, we will speak about him." (Barry Cooper, Life Explored)

Join the conversation and comment below. You can also like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and download The Good Book Company App straight to your phone or tablet.

Categories: Christian Resources

Tax clampdowns make the rest of us poorer too

Adam Smith Institute - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 10:06

I’ve been warning of it for years, and we now have fresh evidence; the wealthy industrialised countries’ desperate search for more tax revenues is causing actual problems that risk seriously damaging the global economy.

Many European and American governments’ spending makes drunken sailors look restrained, but rather than looking at their own behaviour they are blaming their deficits on their citizens’ unwillingness to pay even more tax.

Offshore tax evasion is one culprit often blamed for deficits, even though real tax evasion, hiding income that really is taxable, is very rare.  HMRC estimates that it loses only a tiny 0.8% of tax revenues through tax evasion, and only a small part of that is from offshore evasion (most tax evasion is local, such as small businesses not reporting cash-in-hand income).

But a ‘clampdown on tax havens’ is seen by politicians as a convenient way of distracting attention from their failure to balance their budgets, promising that the latest schemes will bring in the lost billions and solve their financial problems.

The tax authorities’ current favoured tool is automatic exchange of information, whereby banks and other financial institutions around the world are forced to report their clients’ income, not just to the banks’ home tax authorities but, directly or indirectly, to their clients’ home country tax collectors, wherever they may be around the world.

The USA was an early adopter of this, with its 2010 Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which imposed onerous reporting requirements on banks around the world.  In response, some banks stopped providing accounts to US nationals, because of the burden of compliance and risk of penalties for making mistakes in their unpaid work for the taxman, but the reach of the US economy meant that many had to comply.

FATCA, backed up by the long arm of Uncle Sam, spawned several related schemes, and now the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which is helping its member governments collect more taxes whilst preserving its own tax-free status in Paris) has its own “Common Reporting Standard” to demand information from financial bodies.

So a massive information collection and reporting exercise has been created to pursue proportionately tiny amounts of tax, but as financial services businesses start to implement it we are seeing alarming evidence of the costs and risks that it is causing, costs that have to be passed on to the customer and that risk de-railing global growth.

Worse, by making international business more difficult, there is a danger of wider costs to the world economy and for society.

The latest evidence comes from compliance firm Sovos and financial researchers Aberdeen Group, who have produced an analysis of financial institutions which shows that financial services providers are struggling with the requirements of FATCA and similar measures.

(“Stop Playing With Fire”, http://sovos.com/aeoi_benchmarking_report)

The Sovos report found that less than half, only 44%, of FATCA returns are accurate, showing that the financial service sector is finding it difficult to comply with the demands made on it.

And although the systems are still new, the regulators are clearly not giving any leeway while the industry gets to grips with the requirements; the Sovos report found that firms subject to FATCA reported that they were paying an astonishing 6% of their turnover in fines, not for deliberately hiding information but for accidental mistakes in their reporting.

And note, that’s not 6% of profit; it’s 6% of turnover.  That’s going to wipe out a large chunk of the profits of any finance business.

Not surprisingly one of the reasons why finance businesses are finding this difficult is that governments just cannot make a decision and stick to it; 21% of finance businesses surveyed for the Sovos report said that “frequently changing regulatory standards” were a top challenge.

But the bigger issue is more fundamental; the Sovos report found that 26% of finance businesses see “reporting across multiple jurisdictions” as being a major problem.

And that problem is fundamental to FATCA and similar processes; large financial services providers have operations in different countries, possibly with different languages, and customers in different countries.  They are having to capture and collate information from all around the world, put it into various required formats and submit it to different tax authorities around the world, quite possibly for countries where they do not even operate.  And all of this is in addition, and generally different, to their domestic reporting requirements.

Computer systems, according to the Sovos report, are struggling to reconcile client information from multiple sources (only 45% success), to cleanse data of errors (as low as 32% success) and create reports with the correct formats and required encryption (as low as 25%) without expensive manual intervention.

Of course the procedures are still relatively new; as they bed in (if governments can ever resist tinkering for long enough to allow that), systems will be put in place to reduce costs and improve compliance, reducing fines.  Apparently Sovos, the authors of the report, have systems to do just that.  But the fundamental problem remains; the ever-increasing demands for more, and more complex, information from tax authorities is increasing the costs of providing financial services.  Those increased costs are going to be passed on to customers, both individuals and businesses.

It is difficult to justify that these complex, expensive processes are even needed.  The old days when money could be confidently hidden away in a “tax haven” have long gone.  Finance centres, including offshore ones, have operated for years on the basis of “information on demand”, whereby financial institutions, law firms and other intermediaries answer legitimate questions from tax authorities and other government bodies in other countries.  Those systems have now bedded in and are working well.

This was supported by the recent leaks of confidential information (Panama, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and so on), which have not actually disclosed much tax evasion; by and large the supposedly “hidden” money has either been declared to the tax authorities or is legitimately not taxable.

It is therefore doubtful whether much extra tax will be collected from automatic information exchange; it looks more like the usual government desire to be seen to be doing something rather than actually doing something useful. 

But the costs of compliance are huge, and because these reporting requirements are increasingly about international investors, the cost of doing cross-border financial business is going to rise disproportionately.  Worse, it is likely that some financial services providers will pull out of some jurisdictions, or stop serving customers from some countries, because the compliance costs of reporting on them to the various tax authorities will just be more trouble than it’s worth.

That is a serious problem for the world economy.  Global financial integration, making it easier to move money to trade and invest around the world, has played a major role in the growth in world trade and reduction in world poverty in recent decades.  Reducing financial integration, by making it more costly for financial services providers to operate in, or serve customers from, various countries, risks stalling this growth.

Nor is this just a “first world” problem; when businesses pull out of countries, they pull out of the least profitable first, and that means that less developed countries are going to find it increasingly difficult to access world financial markets because banks will decide they just aren’t worth the costs and risks of dealing with the compliance regulations.

IMF research estimated that a 10% reduction in global financial integration would reduce annual GDP growth by 0.3 percentage points.  That may not sound like much, but it would have pretty much wiped out all economic growth in the EU for the last eight years.

Governments’ misguided attempts to prevent the relatively tiny problem of offshore tax evasion risks causing horrifying damage to the world economy.  Is it really worth that, just to demonise a minor problem of offshore tax evasion which is already far more myth than reality?

Categories: Current Affairs

Here we go again… and three old friends back again

The Proclaimer - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 08:08

I know it’s still August, but we’re back. In the UK we’ve had a bank holiday (public holiday) so today is the first working day of the autumn/winter (gulp!) stretch. Hard to write when the sun is shining and Miss R is still to go back to school. But for the most part, it’s business as usual. Praying. Reading. Studying. Preaching. Pastoring.

Don’t you ever get bored of it, someone once asked me? Simple answer: no. I get tired sometimes, but not of the task. I am often wearied by the hard-hearted response that ministering seems to bring. But my heart is always livened by three ministry truths, old friends really.

1. Jesus has saved me by grace. My ministry work is not going to make a jot of difference to my salvation. Of course, I have to work hard, and I have to work out my salvation – and that will sometimes be wearisome for all kinds of reasons. But I am not – thank God – working for my salvation.

2. It is Jesus’ church and not mine. Caught up in the business of ministry, it’s easy to forget that I’m nothing more than an under-shepherd serving the great Shepherd of the sheep. It’s his church. I am – at best – a caretaker. When people reject the word they are rejecting him. When people flourish under ministry they are flourishing under Christ. Not me.

3. Jesus sustains all things by his powerful hand. I serve and love an absolutely sovereign God. Nothing I experience or manage to achieve is outside of his loving control. That does not make everything easy, but ultimately it makes everything right.

Three old friends; three old truths that always sustain me in ministry, whatever the season.

 

The post Here we go again… and three old friends back again appeared first on The Proclamation Trust.

Categories: Christian Resources

Damn right too

Adam Smith Institute - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 07:01

It has always been one of the great gaping holes in the British system that if at some point in life you need a helping hand with housing then you're likely to gain housing subsidy for the rest of your life. That is, if at some point in need of subsidised housing, council or housing association, then that subsidy is going to stay with you whatever your future income.

Thankfully this has changed:

More than 70,000 tenants face average rent rises of more than £1,000 a year under the government’s “pay to stay” policy aimed at ensuring supposedly high earners living in social housing are charged market rents.

This is as it should be. There is no reason at all why those on median income or above should have their housing subsidised by the rest of us. Thus those who make more than around and about median should indeed be paying full market rents, not something subsidised because at some point in the past they needed said subsidy.

And I'm afraid no, it is not possible to state that such housing is not subsidised. That would be to ignore opportunity costs. And whatever it is that you're doing when you do ignore opportunity costs it isn't economics.

That the welfare system stands there to offer a helping hand in times of trouble is just great. But such should not turn into a privileged economic position for life. As recent changes have stopped it being so and damn right too.

Categories: Current Affairs

Sit Down

Peter Leithart - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 05:00

I t may look quaint to contemporary Christians, but once upon a time there were vigorous debates about the proper posture for receiving communion.

Continue Reading »

Categories: People I don't know

Sabbatical Day 72: Christ Church Singapore and leaving SE Asia

Transforming Grace - Tue, 30/08/2016 - 04:02

There are times in the Christian life when various things fall in place and the Lord’s love and will is revealed in unexpected ways. The past week has been one of those times. Through two books, a whole Sunday at Christ Church, Singapore, and this weeks’ memory verse from Desiring God’s Fighter Verses, God has spoken to me about my return to the UK.

The two books were Angels on the Walls by Wallace and Mary Brown and Crossing the Divide by Owen Hylton. Through the honesty of the first God has shown me that pain and struggle are normal in ministry, that my experience is far from unique. Through the vision, theology and wisdom of the second, God has confirmed that working in the context of racial and cultural diversity in West Bromwich is exactly what he has prepared me and Amanda for.

I have already written about Angels on the Walls on Day 66, so I’ll say nothing more on it here.  I want to focus on Crossing the Divide by Owen Hylton.

In Crossing the Divide, Hylton sets out his understanding of God’s will, revealed in scripture, for his people to unite across divides of race, age, education, language and other worldly divisions. He is a British born son of Jamaican immigrants and so the book focuses mainly on the issue of racial division in the world and in church in the UK, where many churches comprise of only one race or language group (homogenous church). He believes there are three main challenges to homogenous churches: first, the increasing number of hetrogenous churches (accidentally or deliberately ethnically diverse with shared faith and identity as Christian believers); second, the troublesome issue of diversity in the world at large; third, the biblical witness of the work of the gospel in uniting all things under one head, who is Christ.

The book divides roughly into two parts.  The first part focuses on the history and legacy of racism and the continuing active or passive racism which divides cultures. Woven into this overview is the biblical challenge from the doctrine of the creation of man, male and female and the nature of believes as one in Christ.  Hylton carefully explains that cultural diversity is part of the world which God made for his purposes in the church, and so different cultures should be celebrated. But we are not to celebrate at a distance. Understanding one another across the divide and learning to love and live with one another is part of God’s plan for the growth of his people and a powerful witness to the gospel of the reconciliation of a world divided by sin. Hylton gives biblical insight after insight for ways in which Jesus or his followers crossed racial, gender and class barriers.

The second part is pragmatic. Owen Hylton has a rare insight to church culture and racial difference. As someone who grew up in the first generation of Britain born children of Jamaican parents, then as an elder and a pastor of a diverse churches and, lastly, as the husband of a very English wife, Hylton has lots of experience to draw on.  Pauline, his wife, was brought up in Kent and barely knew anyone who was no like herself as she grew up. Their cross cultural marriage has taught them vast amounts about the difficulties of understanding and living together with different cultural backgrounds, with single minded determination to stay together. Chapters 7 to 10 are filled with practical advice for church leaders and members to develop truly diverse church, where faith in Christ unites and all races are acknowledged, celebrated and accepted and where deep fellowship is encouraged and developed.

Hylton believes that the leadership of any church must be convinced that God’s will is to unite all things under one head and so lead the church in that way. Members need to be willing to lay down ways of life which have been precious to them and invest in new and different relationships, without pretence or fear of upsetting others. God’s grace is sufficient for us. Hylton also believes that there is no church which he has seen where true unity in diversity can be seen today and that we might not see it in reality until we stand before the throne of heaven in perfect unity.

So how did God speak after I read these two books? First, God assured me that the cross cultural experience of being a Scotsman married to a very English woman combined with our 6 years in Asia were for the purpose of serving in West Browmich, for now. Second, when we returned to Christ Church Dorset Road on Sunday, where I preached at the 8am Tamil service, 11am contemporary bi-lingual service and the 5pm English language service, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who had stories of how God had used Amanda and me to either bring them to faith or establish their walk with Christ. At the time, 14 years ago, it was impossible to really tell what fruit was growing in the church but God revealed lots of that fruit two days ago. Third, I felt a real and genuine fellowship with every one who came to share their stories. We experienced the deep fellowship which Owen Hylton writes about. People not only from a different race, Tamil, but also from a broad spectrum of educational backgrounds and levels of employment or profession, from manual workers to doctors and teachers. We had truly shared our lives for over three years, not just in worship and at events, but by eating and sharing together in our homes. Amanda and I left Christ Church on Sunday with a delight that Jesus had strengthened and established the people we loved, just as he had strengthened and prepared us for ministry in the UK, during the time we had been part of God’s people in Singapore.

Christ Church has grown significantly. It has added a contemporary service, which is multicultural, a Malayalam service and a Tamil migrant workers service to their three services.

One thing struck me on Sunday evening. I had met with Rev Steven Asirvatham before the 8am service to pray. He asked me about my sabbatical and the background to it. I shared about what I had done during my 10 weeks so far and about the events which made the timing of the sabbatical perfect.  I spoke about various griefs and trials and as I did, old emotional wounds reopened and I realised that my 10 weeks away have not brought complete healing. There is still work for me to do in with the Lord in prayer to heal the wounds of last year.

The next morning, my memory verse for the week sprang up on my phone:

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)

The Lord seems to have been preparing me to persevere and in this verse, He spoke deeply to me.

On Monday I met with Denesh Divyanathan, who overlapped with us in Singapore. Denesh is now senior pastor at The Crossing, a church he planted in 2009. He is also one of a team setting up a new theological college in Singapore.

Denesh shared stories of how the Lord closed doors and opened others and how, since it started in 2009, the church has grown and they have sent many future leaders and teachers to train at Moore College, Sydney or Oak Hill College in London. The church has nine pastoral staff and an administrator. This growth mirrors the growth at St Mary’s Cathedral, Kuala Lumpur, which we visited the Sunday before. Rev Andrew Chia, with whom we had dinner with as families on our last Friday in KL, also trained at Moore College, Sydney. As a Malaysian, he returned to KL, with his very Australian wife, Judy, and started in the Cathedral as a church planter in 2005 and is now dean of the cathedral.

So the gospel is bearing fruit in Singapore and Malaysia. The Anglican Church, Emmanuel EFC and The Crossing are all in good heart.  I look forward to meeting with Rev Jonathan Wong and his wife Karen tonight.  They have been wonderful hosts, sharing National Day and their empty parsonage with us. I hope we’ll have time to pray for one another.

I love SE Asia. I love our friends here and the food! This visit has made me wonder about returning to SE Asia, but I know that the Lord has called me, in his great plan for his church, to serve in West Bromwich for now. As we come to the end of our stay in SE Asia, it feels a bit like repatriation rather than the end of a holiday. We have lived here for four weeks with friends and shared meals, houses and stories.  It is hard to leave.  But my heart is being strengthened for the next stage of ministry and the Lord’s test. I know that one day I will receive the crown of life.


Categories: Friends

So You Can Play With Your Ears

Blog & Mablog - Mon, 29/08/2016 - 19:32

I would like to begin by commending this interview of Michael Munger by Russ Roberts. They are discussing the shifting attitudes of white Southerners on slavery in the ante bellum period. Slavery began as a necessary evil and by the 1830’s wound up being thought of as a positive good. How did that happen? This is an intelligent discussion of the various factors involved, and I wish more people were as judicious and thoughtful as this.Roman Slavery

Apart from a missed Dr. Seuss reference, the one significant misstep is where they obliquely minimized the evils of Roman (and African) slavery. It was not central to their point, and was apparently not their area of expertise, and so ordinarily we could just say “no blood, no foul,” and press on.

However, the reason I bring this up is because Anthony Bradley recently cited this particular interview, praising it also, but his first take was to praise the blunder, and his second application—“Southern Xians practiced dark evil”—shows that he didn’t read the rest of the interview very carefully. Munger and Roberts offered appropriate condemnations that were balanced, and showed great awareness of the actual context. Bradley’s is absolute and isolated, about which more in a moment.

Anthony Bradley (@drantbradley) 8/28/16, 2:08 PM Best explanation differences btwn Roman v. American slavery I’ve read recently. Southern Xians practiced dark evil. twitter.com/EconTalker/sta…

The reason this matters is that we have a wealth of teaching in the New Testament, doctrine that carefully instructs Christians how to interact with the pagan system of slavery that surrounded them on every hand. If the system of Roman slavery was in the same league with the system of American slavery then, mutatis mutandis, the instructions apply to those in the South who professed to be Christians. But if they were apples and oranges as institutions, then they don’t apply. This is why conservative Christians (who are stuck with the biblical teaching) desperately want them to be apples and oranges, and why there is such a glib rush to minimize the evils of ancient pagan slavery.

The problem is that minimizing the evils of Roman slavery runs aground on the facts. It is to do what Francis Bacon condemned, which is to offer to the God of truth the unclean sacrifice of a lie.

Thomas Sowell puts it well:

“Why would anyone wish to arbitrarily understate an evil that plagued mankind for thousands of years, unless it was not this evil itself that was the real concern, but rather the present-day uses of that historic evil? Clearly, the ability to score ideological points against American society or Western civilization, or to induce guilt and thereby extract benefits from the white population today, are greatly enhanced by making enslavement appear to be a peculiarly American, or a peculiarly white, crime” (“The Real History of Slavery”)

But things were pretty grim two thousand years ago. One striking difference is that Roman slavery was not race-based. Apart from that, the pagan institution was about as terrible as you might expect. The slave owner had the right to execute his slaves. Slaves could of course be beaten, and they could also be tortured. They were property, bodies. The paterfamilias had absolute sexual prerogatives with any of the slaves he chose, male or female, and no one, his wife included, thought there was anything immoral about it. In one case, where a slave had murdered his master, there was debate over whether the law should be applied, that particular law requiring the execution of all the slaves in the household, that number running into the hundreds.

Thabiti, to his very great credit, understands the challenge presented by the scriptural manner of undermining pagan slavery. The apostolic way of challenging the pagan system seems to us to be singularly angular, and not in keeping with what we thought we all knew. But Thabiti, being intellectually honest, understands the problem. Most would rather retreat into unhistorical bromides and platitudes, which enable them to give first century slavery that old Song of the South treatment. When that starts to wear thin, the one remaining option is to vilify the people who do understand something of the genuine history of slavery—and who consequently understand what the apostles were actually saying to their generation, and therefore to us.

So Bradley is wrong on two counts. The first is that to the extent there was an appreciable moral difference between Roman and American slavery, Roman slavery was worse. And secondly, when Bradley says, “Southern Xians practiced dark evil,” he is engaging in the kind of blanket partisanship that Sowell describes—and that is not how we ought to do history. The truth is, of course, that some Southern Christians practiced dark evil, while others sought to live as consistent Christians in a bad situation. No one in this discussion wants to praise evil as such. I certainly do not. But the evil needs to be described for us by careful historians, and not by cartoonists.

The final issue before us is the sufficiency of Scripture. As soon as conservatives start playing “that was then, this is now” with the text, they will promptly discover that the children of the revolution can play it a whole lot more adroitly than they can, and—to use the old Scottish saying—the secularists will soon put their head in their lap so that they can play with their ears.

If you want to read more, I would recommend the following:

  1. Jerry Toner, The Roman Guide to Slave Management (New York, Overlook Press, 2014).
  2. Jennifer Glancy, Slavery in Early Christianity (Oxford, OUP, 2002).
  3. Thomas Sowell, “The Real History of Slavery” as found in Black Rednecks and White Liberals (San Francisco, Encounter Books, 2005).

Of course, I do not recommend everything that might be said in these books, particularly in Glancy’s, but they will provide an eye-opening introduction to the actual history of ancient slavery, the way it actually was on the ground.

The post So You Can Play With Your Ears appeared first on Blog & Mablog.

Categories: People I don't know

Vale -- the Rev. Prof. J. Alec Motyer

Anglican Ink - Mon, 29/08/2016 - 17:29

Lee Gatiss looks at the life and work of Alec Motyer, the great Anglican pastor and Old Testament scholar, who has died.

Muslim mob murders 8 in revenge attacks in Northern Nigeria

Anglican Ink - Mon, 29/08/2016 - 17:14

Bishop John Danbinta Garba reports a Muslim mob attempted to lynch a man who had converted to Christianity

Beta: mod_lsapi updated

CloudLinux - Mon, 29/08/2016 - 16:05

New updated mod_lsapi packages for CloudLinux 5, 6, and 7 as well as for Apache 2.4 (CloudLinux 6) and EasyApache 4 (CloudLinux 6 and 7) are available from our updates-testing repository.

Changelog:

mod_lsapi 1.0-11

ea-apache24-mod_lsapi 1.0-11

httpd24-mod_lsapi 1.0-11

  • MODLS-234: fixed switch_mod_lsapi for PLESK systems;
  • AAP-104: improved communication between mod_lsapi worker and starter.

To update:

cPanel & RPM Based:

$ yum update liblsapi liblsapi-devel --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing

$ yum update mod_lsapi --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing

$ service httpd restart

DirectAdmin:

$ yum update liblsapi liblsapi-devel --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing

$ cd /usr/local/directadmin/custombuild

$ ./build update

$ ./build mod_lsapi

To install follow the instructions on the link:

http://docs.cloudlinux.com/index.html?installation_mod_lsapi.html

Installation for EasyApache 4:

To update:

$ yum update liblsapi liblsapi-devel --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing

$ yum update ea-apache24-mod_lsapi --enablerepo=cl-ea4-testing

$ service httpd restart

To install:

yum-config-manager --enable cl-ea4-testing

yum update liblsapi liblsapi-devel --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing

read http://docs.cloudlinux.com/index.html?cpanel_easyapache_4.html

yum-config-manager --disable cl-ea4-testing

http24 for CloudLinux 6:

For installation/update run:

$ yum update liblsapi liblsapi-devel --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing

$ yum install httpd24-mod_lsapi --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing

Categories: Technology

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