Daily Archives: August 13, 2007

From the NY Times Magazine: Can This Marriage Be Saved?

One of Marie’s troubles, the psychoanalyst Stephen Mitchell might have said, is that she seemed hooked on safety. Marriage typically meets our sharply felt needs for security and predictability, he argues, but in those relationships that last well, people take the leap of believing that they actually don’t know exactly who the other person is or what he or she is capable of ”” the absolute knowingness is a fantasy, anyway ”” and that there is new terrain to be discovered. So, out of deference to Marie’s fascination with the Civil War, Clem was planning a summer trip to visit some battle sites with her. And maybe, if Marie would dare risk it, Clem could get caught up in the history of the era, too. And maybe, after watching her husband traverse the grassy fields of Antietam, she’d even want to sleep with him, if she could bear him being anything other than dependable old Clem. (Not incidentally, Clem was as enamored of stability as his wife. When I spoke to him outside of the group, he told me one moment of his yearning for Marie to “roll over and kiss” him in bed. The next, he said that she met perhaps his top requirement for a wife: She’d never “stray or look at other men or have an affair. Marie’s true to me, and that’s one of the things I wanted, and that’s what I got.”)

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family

Peter Thompson: Religion is not a delusion but a quest for home

Enlightenment does not mean merely shining a light into the darker recesses of the world but must also mean a liberation of people out of darkness into the light. What progressive religious thought has to contribute to that process of liberation in an age of tumultuous social change is the preservation of human dignity against both reactionary religious obscurantism and value-free scientistic rationalism. To label all forms of religion as part of a general delusion, therefore, does a disservice to both progress and reason. Where we are offers us no home. That is why we constantly feel it is time to move on. As long as that is the case there will be the need for religion. The point, however, is to make it a religion which will be happily complicit in its own earthly fulfilment. And I say that as a good atheist.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

Priesthood Called Three Brothers

When the Geinzer boys were growing up in Ingram in the 1940s and 1950s, their grandpa built them a miniature altar, nicely painted and equipped with its own imitation tabernacle. It wasn’t the most popular toy in the Roman Catholic household of five boys and one girl, but it got a lot of use.

There was a little taste of childhood inside the sanctuary of St. Barbara Church in Collier yesterday when three of the boys, now in their 60s, came together on a full-sized altar as real priests concelebrating a Mass.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Lowcountry South Carolina Area Muslims see prejudice

At the conclusion of the Friday service, the Central Mosque of Charleston congregation stands to prayer on Friday.

The message Imam Mohamed Melhem delivered during the Friday afternoon prayer service at the Central Mosque of Charleston emphasized the unity of Islam and its universal message of peace.

But in the wake of the recent arrests of two Egyptian students driving through Goose Creek, he also expressed the collective frustration of local Muslims, many of whom think the public reaction to the arrests has been exaggerated and unfair.

“The media went crazy,” Melhem said. “Most Muslims are good citizens and good contributors to society.”

And nothing much is yet known about the two students, he said, so why the rush to judgment?

“We believe in the system and the court of law and believe it will be fair,” he said.

Read it all from the front page of yesterday’s local paper.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Islam, Other Faiths

John Hussman on the Fed's Activity on Friday

A few interesting details ”“ in the midst of Friday morning’s panic, banks would have liked to have done more. At the 8:25 AM operation, $31 billion of securities were submitted by the banks for repo, and $19 billion were accepted by the Fed. At 10:55 AM, $41 billion were submitted, and just $16 billion were accepted. But by 1:50 PM, the scramble for funds had eased somewhat – $11 billion were submitted, and $3 billion were accepted.

Given that about $1.4 trillion of interest-only adjustable-rate mortgages were issued in 2005 and 2006, and hundreds of billions in sub-prime mortgages are already delinquent, a $38 billion repurchase operation by the Fed, where the securities posted as collateral have to be bought back by the banks unless the banks default, is hardly a “rescue operation.”

The Fed has an interest in stabilizing the banking system and the real economy. It has no interest in taking the private sector’s loss for the irresponsible lending practices of recent years, nor in saving overly aggressive hedge funds from the losses on their leveraged bets. Again, the Fed did exactly what it was supposed to do on Friday. There will inevitably be enormous losses taken as a result of mortgage defaults ”“ but don’t assume it will be the Fed that takes them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

Telegraph: Archbishop Williams faces conference snub

Only a couple of hundred of the 880 Anglican bishops invited to next year’s Lambeth Conference, one of the most critical gatherings in the Church’s history, have replied by the deadline set by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr Rowan Williams hopes that the conference, which is held every 10 years at Canterbury, can be the starting point for rebuilding the Church, which has been torn apart over the issue of homosexuality.

The failure of so many to respond is fresh evidence of the disintegration of the 70 million-strong worldwide Communion, and will come as a further blow to the authority of Dr Williams.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008

The Religion Report Down Under Interviews Archbishop John Sentamu

John Sentamu: I think, for myself, that the 1998 resolution was very clear on where the church stood, and it actually invited everybody to engage in the listening process to gay and lesbian people. I still think it was not a good thing for the Episcopal church, while we are still in conversation, to proceed the consecration of Jim Robinson. I happen to think they actually pre-empted the conversation and the discussion. Now what I don’t think should happen now [is] that the whole question of gay and lesbian people — when we said we should listen to their experiences — should now become the kind of dominant theological factor for the whole of the communion. Because really the communion, at the heart of it, has got to do a number of things. While on one hand upholding Christian teaching, [it] must also be very loving and kind towards gay and lesbian people because that’s part of the resolution. And it must also continue to listen. And I’m not so sure, when some people speak as if the debate has been concluded, or we cannot engage with this, you’re being very faithful to the resolution.

Secondly, the Windsor Report has made it very clear that the four instruments of unity — that is, Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Primates Meeting — should be the kind of instrument that actually allows all of us to talk. So those who now say, for example, that they don’t want to come to the Lambeth Conference in 2008 because there may be people from ECUSA , well all I want to say is that church history has always taught us that churches have always disagreed. I mean, over the nature of Christ, the salvation of Christ, there were bitter, bitter, bitter disagreements in the early church, but everybody turned up at those ecumenical councils to resolve their differences. So my view would be, if you’re finding this quite difficult, please do not stop the dialogue and the conversation.

Stephen Crittenden: Well indeed, you’ve warned — just in the last few days –warned the conservative bishops of the global south that if they don’t come to Lambeth, they’d effectively be severing themselves from the rest of the communion. That’s a bit tough, isn’t it?

John Sentamu: Well, the Lambeth Conference is an invitation from the Archbishop of Canterbury to all bishops of the Anglican communion to come to Lambeth and talk of matters of common concern. Now if there is already a fracture within the communion, I would have thought everybody would want to turn up in order to work out how we as a communion are going to go forward. Secondly, the Primates Meeting in Tanzania set out a fairly clear way ahead in its communiqué, as well as the whole question of the covenant. Now if we’re going to continue to talk about the covenant at Lambeth Conference, and some people absent themselves from this, what is it that actually they think they’re going to be achieving? You see, again I want to challenge them in terms of the debate about the nature of Christ and the salvation of Christ — no church in the seven Ecumenical Councils absented themselves from it, because they were trying to represent the faith as they saw it. And only by people meeting around the table and having a conversation are you likely to find some kind of thing. I think the thing I was reacting to was a question that some people were planning an alternative Lambeth Conference, and my view was there can be no alternative Lambeth Conference, because the Lambeth Conference is always at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury in line with the four instruments of unity. And I cannot see an alternative, actually, for another Lambeth Conference. I mean that’s the logic for it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Lambeth 2008

From the Morning Scripture readings

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

–Acts 20:24

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Biblical Commentary & Reflection

3 Killed in Missouri Church Shooting

A gunman opened fire in the sanctuary of a southwest Missouri church Sunday, killing three people and wounding several others, authorities said.
About 25 to 50 people were briefly held hostage at the First Congregational Church until the gunman surrendered, Neosho spokeswoman Desiree Bridges said.

About four or five people were wounded, Police Chief Dave McCracken said, and several others who were injured fled the scene.

Officials removed two covered bodies from the brick-and-white trim church into a waiting funeral parlor van Sunday evening.

“This is a terrible tragedy which was made worse by the fact that it happened in a peaceful place of faith and worship,” Gov. Matt Blunt said in a statement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Violence

A new social movement helps young Jews engage their world

Sorting out ways to live Jewishly in a big city – and sharing their experience with other young adults – has just brought Rebecca Karp, 25, and Becky Coren, 23, together with Vassar in a Center City townhouse they will share for at least a year.

Coren, a second-year law student at Rutgers/Camden, calls theirs a “holistic, grassroots pursuit of religion.”

Their experiment is so relaxed and so new (three weeks) that the three haven’t yet affixed a mezuzah to the doorway, although that might happen Sunday at their open house “kickoff” barbecue.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Other Faiths

The Economist: Is America turning left?

From this perspective, the worrying parallel for the right is not 1992 but the liberal overreach of the 1960s. By embracing leftish causes that were too extreme for the American mainstream””from unfettered abortion to affirmative action””the Democrats cast themselves into the political wilderness. Now the American people seem to be reacting to conservative over-reach by turning left. More want universal health insurance; more distrust force as a way to bring about peace; more like greenery; ever more dislike intolerance on social issues.

So some sort of shift seems to be under way. Would it be a change for the better? The Economist has never made any secret of its preference for the Republican Party’s individualistic “western” wing rather than the moralistic “southern” one that Mr Bush has come to typify. It is hard to imagine Ronald Reagan sponsoring a federal amendment banning gay marriage or limiting federal funding for stem-cell research. Yet Mr Bush’s departure hardly guarantees a move back to the centre. Social liberals like Mr Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger are in a minority on the right. On the one issue where Mr Bush fought the intolerant wing of his party, immigration, the nativists won””and perhaps lost the Latino vote for a generation.

In terms of foreign policy, America’s allies, especially in Europe, would also be unwise to start celebrating….

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics

Go Tiger Go

The man is a marvel!

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

US Slipping in Life Expectancy Rankings

Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people in 41 other countries.

For decades, the United States has been slipping in international rankings of life expectancy, as other countries improve health care, nutrition and lifestyles.

Countries that surpass the U.S. include Japan and most of Europe, as well as Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands.

“Something’s wrong here when one of the richest countries in the world, the one that spends the most on health care, is not able to keep up with other countries,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch

Sam Dealy: An Atrocity That Needs No Exaggeration

JUST last month, the House of Representatives passed the Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act and the United Nations Security Council decided to deploy up to 26,000 peacekeepers to Sudan. Both actions were due in no small way to the work of the Save Darfur Coalition. Through aggressive advertising campaigns, this group has done more than any other to focus world attention on the conflict in the Sudanese region.

But with a ruling Wednesday from Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority, Save Darfur now finds itself in the spotlight. Siding with a business group allied with the Sudanese government in Khartoum, the authority ruled that the high death tolls Save Darfur cites in its advertisements breached standards of truthfulness.

The ruling is more than just a minor public relations victory for Khartoum; it exposes a glaring problem in Save Darfur’s strategy. While the coalition has done an admirable job of raising awareness, it has also hampered aid-delivery groups, discredited American policy makers and diplomats and harmed efforts to respond to future humanitarian crises.

The trouble began last fall….

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa

Markets Gird for Fallout from Subprime Loans

The world’s financial markets are bracing for another volatile week as investors worry about the effects of widening losses tied to subprime mortgages. On Friday, the U.S. Federal Reserve pumped more liquidity into the banking system to reassure the financial markets after similar action by the European Central Bank and other central banks in Asia.

Adam Davidson talks to Rebecca Roberts about the potential fallout, both at home and abroad.

Listen to it all from NPR.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy