Daily Archives: April 10, 2008

2 Outcomes When Foreigners Buy Factories

Four years ago, a low-slung factory on the fringes of town here was stagnating and shedding workers. Then Siemens, the German industrial giant, bought the plant and folded it into a global enterprise. Today, the factory is shipping wastewater treatment equipment to Asia and the Middle East and employing twice as many workers.

“Globalization has been good for Holland,” said David J. Spyker, once the plant manager and now vice president of a Siemens unit with operations around the world.

About 60 miles to the northeast, such talk provokes contemptuous snickers. Two years have passed since a Swedish multinational shut down what had been the largest refrigerator factory in the country, a sprawling complex along the Flat River in Greenville.

The company, Electrolux, sent production to Mexico, eliminating 2,700 jobs from a town of 8,000 people.

“Everybody talks about Electrolux around here the way the rest of the country talks about Katrina,” said Becky Gebhart, manager of a nonprofit medical clinic that opened last November in Greenville, 30 miles northeast of Grand Rapids, that serves people with little or no health insurance.

As foreign buyers descend upon the United States, capturing widening swaths of the industrial landscape and putting millions of Americans to work for new owners, these two cities offer sharply competing narratives for a nation still uneasy about being on the selling end of the global economy.

Read it all.

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

Pope Ground Zero prayer seeks terrorists' redemption

Pope Benedict will pray for the conversion to love “of those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred” when he visits New York’s Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade towers destroyed on September 11, 2001.

A prayer he will read also commemorates those who died or were injured in the other September 11 attack at the Pentagon and on United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers fought off hijackers.

Nearly 3,000 people died in the September 11 attacks, including the 19 hijackers.

The pope will visit Ground Zero in lower Manhattan on April 20, the last day of his six-day visit to Washington and New York.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

In Michigan one Episcopal Parish Celebrates its Roots

“I’m looking forward to the special celebration of the Holy Eucharist and seeing new and old faces,” Whiting said. “The whole day will be kind of fun.”

As the congregation looks back on its long history, Whiting said it also looks to the future and potential outreach programs. The church is currently working towards various projects including a literacy education program and a community closet.

“The Episcopal church, I think, is a wonderful blend of Catholicism and Protestant,” Whiting said. “We allow people to make up their own minds about just about everything.”

“The Episcopal church is very inclusive in terms of color, sexual identity and alternative lifestyles. One of the things we are going to work on is making this a safe haven for GLBT people.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

Quin Hillyer: The Episcopal Showdown in Virginia

Boiled down to their essence, the Episcopal Church arguments against this are twofold — and nonsense twice over. First, the Episcopal Church will raise a federal First Amendment (free exercise of religion) issue, saying in effect that the state has no say over the internal laws of an organized Church. Because the organized Church (in other words, the institutional structure, the bureaucracy of the Diocese of Virginia and the U.S. Episcopal Church) has bylaws that claim corporate ownership of all individual churches’ parish property, the state supposedly must uphold those bylaws despite any claims, evidence, or history to the contrary. Second, they will argue that “hierarchical” churches (e.g., Episcopal, Catholic), unlike “congregational” churches (e.g. United Church of Christ), are indivisible without the assent of the whole body (in this case, the diocese) — much the same way that Lincoln argued that the Union was indivisible.

Of course, their arguments fail the smell test, because a civic polity and a religious one are two entirely different things. At issue in the lawsuit are civic property rights, which are always governed by the state, not the spiritual matters that are exclusively (and rightly) the province of churches alone.

Throughout this whole fight, the CANA churches have offered to negotiate a financial settlement, and they have kept their rhetoric low-key and respectful. After last Friday’s ruling, Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of the new Anglican District of Virginia (the group of breakaway churches), struck just the right tone in his statement. “Let us choose healing over litigation,” he said, “and peaceful co-existence over lawsuits, and let us devote all our resources to serving Christ and helping others around the world.”

If only the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia would be so reasonable. The congregations of the CANA parishes built, care for, and worship in their churches. The Episcopal Diocese ought to adhere to the scriptural admonition against coveting those properties the diocese had no part in creating or maintaining. To do otherwise — to continue attempts to confiscate those properties — is to accomplish the exact opposite of social justice.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

World Evangelical Alliance Responds to Muslim Document

The World Evangelical Alliance has responded to a Muslim overture for interfaith dialogue by saying its members want to “live in peace with Muslims” but disagree with their view of God.

Last fall, more than 100 Islamic clerics and scholars issued their open document, “A Common Word Between Us and You,” to call on Christians to join them in a belief “that we shall worship none but God, and that we will ascribe no partner to him.”

The evangelical alliance, in a four-page response released March 29, said the document’s use of Quranic statements about God having no partner reveal a key difference between Christianity and Islam.

“Even though we are convinced that you misunderstand our doctrine of God being Three in One, when you speak about a `partner’ of God, we are convinced of the truth of Trinity and, therefore, we cannot accept your invitation,” wrote the Rev. Geoff Tunnicliffe, the alliance’s international director.

Read the whoe thing.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Other Churches, Other Faiths

Anglican Planet: Anglican realignment begins in BC, parishes leave ACC

The largest Chinese Anglican congregation in Canada has voted unanimously to leave the Anglican Church of Canada and come under the spiritual care of a South American archbishop. It was not alone. This past February saw an unprecedented exdous of congregations and clergy from the national church as more dioceses voted to bless same- sex unions.

The Church of the Good Shepherd in Vancouver, a 119 year-old Cantonese-speaking congregation, attracts 300 people each Sunday with another 100 attending midweek services and fellowship groups. Although many of its members are young, it is the oldest Chinese Anglican church in Canada. It has a remarkable outreach into Vancouver’s substantial Chinese community. And it helped plant a Chinese ministry at St. Luke’s in 1993. Most of the Chinese who take part in home fellowship groups are first-generation immigrants. Once they learn more about Christianity, many begin to attend church and are baptized as adults.

On Feb. 17 this vibrant, thriving church voted unanimously 203-0 with no abstentions to leave the national church and affiliate instead with the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC). “When you have to defend your faith, you grow stronger,” said the Rev’d Stephen Leung, the rector.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Archbishop of Canterbury condemns recent violence against lesbian and gay people

(ACNS) In response to reports of violence and threats towards Christians involved in the debate on human sexuality, the Archbishop of Canterbury has given the following statement:

“The threats recently made against the leaders of Changing Attitudes are disgraceful. The Anglican Communion has repeatedly, through the Lambeth Conference and the statements from its Primates’ Meetings, unequivocally condemned violence and the threat of violence against gay and lesbian people. I hope that this latest round of unchristian bullying will likewise be universally condemned.”

This needs to be said repeatedly in the current environment–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Keeping Priorities Straight, Even at the End

“The whole thing is very strange,” Dr. Pausch said over lunch at a diner near Norfolk, Va. “I just gave a talk. I gave talks my whole life.”

But of course, this wasn’t just any talk. “Let’s not ignore the obvious,” he said. “If I’d given that lecture but I weren’t dying, it wouldn’t have had the gravitas. Context is everything.”

Dr. Pausch, 47, is dying of pancreatic cancer, a disease that kills 95 percent of its victims, usually within months of diagnosis. Except for a pill bottle on the table in front of him, there were no outward signs of the deadly tumors growing inside him. Though he had just recently recovered from heart and kidney failure, he looked boyish, with a red knit shirt and a head of thick dark-brown hair.

Last fall, after doctors told him that he would probably have no more than six months of good health, Dr. Pausch stepped down from his academic duties and relocated to be closer to his family. But he decided to give one last lecture to a roomful of students and faculty members at Carnegie Mellon.

The lecture was not about cancer. Instead, he says, it was simply a father’s effort to digest a lifetime of advice for his children into one talk ”” a talk that Dr. Pausch knew he would not be around long enough to deliver in person. The children are Dylan, 6; Logan, 4; and Chloe, almost 2.

Although he could have set it up on a home video, he liked the idea that one day they would watch his last lecture and see their dad at work, in his element.

“I’m speaking only to them,” he said. “I didn’t set out to tell the world about how to live life.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Parish Ministry

8 teens charged with beating girl so they could videotape the attack for YouTube

Eight teenagers have been arrested on charges alleging they beat another teen in an “animalistic attack” so they could make a videotape to post on YouTube.

Seven of them remained in juvenile detention today, authorities said. A boy who was charged as an adult had been released on bail.

Victoria Lindsay was attacked on March 30 by six teenage girls when she arrived at a friend’s home, authorities said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Violence

Inside some of how the Subprime Debacle Happened

Before the bottom fell out of the subprime loan market, many big financial firms had an unquenchable thirst for subprime loans. Firms were making a lot of money securitizing these high-interest-rate mortgages, so the demand from Wall Street for new loans was huge. And that created a big opportunity for mortgage brokers. The industry is very thinly regulated, and many brokers made piles of fast, easy money off the lending frenzy.

[Amber] Barbosa says she was pretty fair to her clients and got them the best deal she could in the marketplace. But she says there was plenty of incentive not to put the customer first: Lenders would offer her 1 percent or 2 percent of the price of the loan as a kickback if she persuaded her client to take a higher interest rate. That was legal and commonplace.

Then there were the negative-amortization or “pick-a-payment” loans. Those offered low payment options to begin with but often exploded on the homeowner. As interest rates reset, often at much higher levels, homeowners faced larger payments. That’s because the minimum payment required at the introductory rate didn’t even cover the interest on the loan, let alone the principal.

“The bottom line is that the lender offered an incentive of 3 percent to the broker if they put [a client] into that particular loan,” Barbosa says.

On a $500,000 home in California, brokers could make $15,000 to $20,000 or more in kickbacks on every single one of these risky loans.

“Obviously, tons of people got pushed or thrown in that direction,” Barbosa says.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market

Robert Lipsyte: Is Jock Culture Spoiling our Society?

If you’ve been listening to political candidates, you probably think that America is fragmented by religion, gender, race and ethnicity, as well as wealth, class, age and manual dexterity ”” do you text-message or are you all thumbs?

No wonder sports can seem comforting. In what I call Jock Culture, there are only two kinds of Americans ”” winners and losers.

The political season will be over in a few months (with its winners and losers), but the sports seasons will roll on, one after another, often concurrently, and the messages will be drilled into our minds: First place is the only place. Win or die a little. Losers slink home.

In sports, the pressure of those messages to win has given us recruiting scandals, academic cheating, helmet-spearing, bean balls, steroids and industrial espionage ”” the New England Patriots used video cameras to gain an edge. In real life, those messages about winning have been performance-enhanced to bring us dishonesty in banking, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, energy and foreign policy.

There’s a connection between cutting corners to win a football game and to start a war. For many Americans, certainly for the majority American boys, the most vivid and lasting lessons are learned in the sports they play and watch. Jock Culture is the incubator of most definitions of manly success.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Bishop Kelshaw Denies Resigning from Ministry

Last month Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori informed Bishop Kelshaw by letter that she had accepted his renunciation of the ordained ministry and that he was “deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a minister of God’s word and sacraments.” The action came after Bishop Kelshaw wrote the Presiding Bishop to inform her that he had left The Episcopal Church.

“It means little to me in that I don’t intent to squabble with her over this,” Bishop Kelshaw said, “but I did not renounce my orders. I wrote to her last February informing her that I felt called to request alternate primatial oversight and that my request had been granted by Uganda. I am still a bishop within the Anglican Communion.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts

Interesting Documents on the Diocese of Idaho's Website

Read them both carefully.

I will consider posting comments on this article submitted first by email to Kendall’s E-mail: KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC)

LA Times: Pope's U.S. visit could have political ripples

When Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States next week, he will find a nation consumed by a heated presidential election campaign. Will his presence have an influence?

Although he will meet with President Bush at the White House during his East Coast swing, Benedict is not expected to overtly speak of the campaign or U.S. politics. But his positions on burning social issues facing Americans are well-known, and political parties courting Roman Catholic votes may seek to take advantage of the publicity surrounding his words and actions.

The pope, as the ultimate arbiter of Catholic teaching, adamantly opposes abortion as well as stem cell research, same-sex marriage and any policy that in the church’s view undermines the traditional family. These are positions that find most resonance in the Republican Party.

However, the pope also has been an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, a country he said last year was being “torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees.” He has voiced support for immigrants and denounced “inhumane” capitalism that hurts the poor and weak. Democrats might find something to cleave to in these views.

Benedict’s trip to the U.S., his first as pontiff, normally would have been scheduled for the fall, when the United Nations General Assembly opens. The U.N. extended the initial invitation to the Vatican. But the visit was moved to April to avoid running up against the November elections, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Tuesday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, US Presidential Election 2008

Transplanted Author Jhumpa Lahiri Finds Roots in Writing

You really need to take the time to listen to it all. I most appreciated the passage from her book which she reads in which a mother is awestruck by her newborn child, and her description of how much work is involved in writing–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books