Daily Archives: January 2, 2008

Anglicans choose Jerusalem for key June conference

The battle over homosexuality that has threatened to split the Anglican Communion could be decided at a June meeting in Jerusalem. On December 26, a conservative coalition led by the archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, announced a June 15-22 conference in the Holy Land to chart the church’s future course.

Divided into liberal and conservative factions, the 80-million member Anglican Communion is on the verge of breaking up over the consecration in 2003 of a gay priest as bishop of New Hampshire.

However, Anglicans are as divided over Israel as they over homosexuality. While the meeting will focus on the current crisis facing the church, some Anglican and Jewish supporters of the gathering hope the presence in Jerusalem this June of conservative Anglican bishops from every continent will present an opportunity to broaden Israel’s support in the developing world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Middle East

Mental toll of war hitting female servicemembers

Master Sgt. Cindy Rathbun knew something was wrong three weeks after she arrived in Iraq in September 2006. Her blond hair began “coming out in clumps,” she says.
The Air Force personnel specialist, in the military for 25 years, had volunteered for her first combat zone job at Baghdad’s Camp Victory. She lived behind barbed wire and blast walls, but the war was never far.

“There were firefights all the time,” Rathbun says slowly, her voice flat. “There were car bombs. Boom! You see the smoke. The ground would shake.”

As the mother of three grown children prepared to fly home last February, she took a medic aside. Holding a zip-lock bag of hair, she asked whether this was normal. “He said it sometimes happens,” she says. “It’s the body’s way of displaying stress when we can’t express it emotionally.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Iraq War, Military / Armed Forces

Most Americans “Very Satisfied” With Their Personal Lives

As Americans look ahead to the new year and reflect on the year past, a recent Gallup Poll finds the public generally content with their own lives. Most Americans say they are generally happy, with a slim majority saying they are “very happy.” More than 8 in 10 Americans say they are satisfied with their personal lives at this time, including a solid majority who say they are “very satisfied.” This personal satisfaction level contrasts sharply with the low level of satisfaction Americans express with the way things are going “in the United States at this time.” Republicans, married adults, those residing in higher income households, parents of young children, those attending church weekly, and whites are most likely to say they are satisfied and happy at this time.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology

Doug Kass' 20 Surprises for 2008

An interesting read.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy

Gay N.H. couples celebrate, gain status in civil unions

Clad in jeans and loose-fitting sweaters, Rachel Gogan and Katie Raynes walked into the side room of a church basement yesterday and joined in a precedent-setting civil union ceremony.

And then they drove home to Dover for a quiet lunch.

The women, both in their mid-20s, were casual history-makers, among the first of about 100 couples in New Hampshire to unite under the state’s civil union law that took effect yesterday. Their more formal and emotional, though unofficial, union took place in October, when friends and family gathered for a ceremony and party in Maine.

“We already had our wedding. This was the signing of our paperwork. The state’s finally catching up with us,” Gogan said.

New Hampshire became the fourth state to allow civil unions of same-sex couples.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

More from George Hood on the Battle in San Joaquin

This picture seems to reduce the discussion to one of whether homosexual conduct is acceptable either on the individual or the pastoral level. While the issue of homosexuality itself figures prominently in this debate, the orthodox dioceses appear to be deeply concerned about the overall direction of the Episcopal Church. The complaints appear to be extensive and include everything from criticisms of Episcopalian seminary programs to questions as to whether the church is remaining true to the scripture on the issue of salvation occurring only through Jesus Christ ”“ and the list goes on.

Nonetheless, no one I have interviewed denies that the trigger point for the present crisis was the 2003 consecration of V. Gene Robinson, a man alleged to be living with another man in an openly homosexual relationship, as the Bishop of New Hampshire. For many, this was the “last straw”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

Teacher Burnout? Blame the Parents

The stress of teaching is often blamed on rowdy students and unrealistic expectations from school officials. But new research suggests that parents may be the real culprit in teacher burnout.

The study, published this month in the psychology journal Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, surveyed 118 German schoolteachers who had been teaching for an average of 20 years. The questionnaires were designed to assess personality traits like perfectionism. They also measured the teachers’ level of burnout and their reactions to pressure from colleagues, students and parents. Although “burnout” is complex and different for every teacher, it’s usually defined as occurring when a teacher feels emotionally exhausted at the end of the day, appears cynical or uncaring about what happens to students and feels as if he or she has reached few personal goals.

Although perfectionism is often linked with job stress, teachers with perfectionist tendencies in this survey weren’t more likely to have burnout. But teachers who felt pressure to be perfect or experienced criticism for being imperfect were more likely to have burnout. Notably, the highest pressure to be perfect didn’t come from students or colleagues but from parents.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

Telegraph: Bishops 'must face gay clergy debate' at Lambeth

A Church of England bishop has criticised the Lambeth Conference, which starts in July, for shying away from the issue of homosexuality.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, said it would be “odd” and “irresponsible” for the meeting to sweep the controversy “under the carpet”.

There are no plans for a major public debate on the issue of gay clergy and much of the conference will take place behind closed doors.

Many bishops, including moderates, fear that divisions will deepen unless the issue of homosexuality is confronted.

Bishop McCulloch criticised conservative bishops who are threatening a boycott because the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has invited American liberals.

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

Notable and Quotable

For many, Christmas is a couple of weeks of massive over-consumption. Two facts say it all: four million Brussels sprouts are purchased in the week before Christmas, and more than 8,000 tons of wrapping paper are used at Christmas, which the Government estimates is enough to wrap the whole island of Guernsey!

–(The Rt. Rev.) David Gillett, Bishop of Bolton

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Christmas, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, CoE Bishops

From the BBC: The 'Nobody Knows' US election

This is the first US presidential election since 1928 in which neither the president nor the vice-president is standing in the primaries, seeking re-election.

It is the Nobody Knows election. Nobody knows which candidates will end up representing the two main parties, nobody knows exactly when the parties will choose them, and nobody knows which issues will decide the eventual contest.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Notable and Quotable

If you fled Wall Street eight years ago ”” remember Y2K? ”” and came back today, you might conclude that nothing much happened while you were gone.
The Standard & Poor’s index of 500 stocks ended the last decade at 1469.25. Now, points out Howard Silverblatt of S.&P., it is at 1468.36. A decline of less than one point in eight years is not impressive.

Floyd Norris

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Stock Market

List of countries by population

Try to do the top ten in order before you look.

Posted in * General Interest

Barry Hughes: Why India will rock our world

The giant Chinese rock tossed into the Asian production pool this decade is about to be followed by another from India. Given time it is likely to be of similarly large import. The first rock profoundly changed Australia, setting up huge economic waves that swamped some (including many manufacturers) while others surfed to prosperity (miners and tax collectors). Watch out for the second rock.

On the surface Australia now appears hooked on swapping rocks for Chinese boxes. True, but fairly glib and deceptive all the same. The content of these boxes is normally not Chinese at all and many of our rocks (particularly coal) go elsewhere in Asia.

What is different this decade is a revamp of Asian production, with bits and pieces made everywhere being finished off in the Middle Kingdom. China is still largely an assembler, not a manufacturer. Those who do these sums reckon only about 25 cents in every dollar in the boxes is in fact Chinese. The majority comes from elsewhere, especially Japan, Taiwan and Korea

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Economy, Globalization, India

Pope Affirms the Family as Agent of Peace

He said: “The same love that builds and maintains unity in the family, the vital building block of society, favors these relationships of solidarity and of collaboration among the peoples of the earth, that are members of the single human family.”

The Pope affirmed that “there is a close relationship, therefore, among family, society and peace.” Quoting his message for the World Day of Peace, he added, “Whoever, even unknowingly, circumvents the institution of the family, undermines peace in the entire community, national and international, since he weakens what is in effect the primary agency of peace.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Christianity Today's Top Ten Stories of 2007

Here are the first two:

1. Taliban takes Korean short-term mission team hostage, killing two
Afghanistan’s resurgent Taliban used the team of 23 short-term workers from Saemmul Presbyterian Church as a bargaining chip, pressuring the South Korean government into a reported ransom payment and a promise to withdraw its 200 troops in the country. Bae Hyeong-gyu and Shim Seongmin were killed before the negotiation was completed.
Our coverage

2. Atheism tops the bestseller charts
Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens may be unhappy about the continuing “God delusion,” but they can’t be too displeased with their royalty checks.

Read them all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media