Daily Archives: May 9, 2008

From the You Cannot Make this Stuff up Department

Warning: some blog readers may find this story of teenage misbehavior disturbing.

I am not going to spoil it you need to read it for yourself.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Teens / Youth

Georgia church uses gas pump pain to fill the pews

When you dial 770-978-5717, you’ll hear a recording that says “First Baptist Snellville is offering you the chance to win one of two $500 gas cards.”

Pastor Dr. Rusty Newman says “we are beginning a revival, ah starting this Sunday. If you attend the service you are able to sign up for a drawing to place your name in at the end of the service stating you were there. Then on Wednesday evening at the conclusion of service we will be drawing for that ability to win the prize.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Pamela Dolan: Anglican identity is not merely cultural

Last weekend I had the opportunity to worship at Christ Church Cathedral as part of the Flower Festival weekend. As the celebration of the Holy Eucharist came to a close, the presider, the Rt. Rev. George Wayne Smith, Bishop of Missouri, turned to the Most Rev. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Archbishop of Sudan, and invited him to impart the final blessing on the congregation. The words he used to extend this invitation were something like, “Archbishop, my brother, would you bless us in the language of your birth?”

It was, for me, a powerful moment. The Archbishop spoke in what I am told was Dinka, an African language utterly unfamiliar to me (and, I would guess, to nearly everyone else in the Cathedral). And yet, at the moment when he raised his hand high to begin making the sign of the cross over us, every person in that church knew that we were being blessed “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” and it made no difference to us in what language the words were spoken. This was Anglicanism at its best: generous and welcoming, respectful of both liturgical tradition and cultural difference, joyfully making room at the table for all who feel called to respond to Christ’s invitation to reconciliation, fellowship, and transformation.

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

Alan Jacobs: Come On, You Call This a Manifesto?

But one thing the document is not is a manifesto. A genuine manifesto is sharp, punchy and, ideally, short. A proper manifesto — say, the absurdist Dada Manifesto of 1921, which begins “DADA EXCITES EVERYTHING. DADA knows everything. DADA spits everything out” — is just a few hundred words long. If the thing’s going to be extensive, like the Communist Manifesto, it should at least begin with a memorable statement (“A spectre is haunting Europe”) and clearly specify its agenda. The true manifesto is bold, even extreme: It leaves us in no doubt about its commitments.

The Evangelical Manifesto, by contrast, is both long and insistently moderate. After the apparently self-undercutting statement that “no one speaks for all Evangelicals, least of all those who claim to,” it launches into a lengthy catalog of theological statements that effectively duplicates Lausanne. To whom is this directed? Who wants or needs an overview of evangelical theology? The document never says.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Church Times: Conservative bishops head for Lambeth

IT IS becoming clear that the conservative case is going to be well represented at the forthcoming Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. At least two conservative bishops have confirmed that they will be attending, with the express purpose of promoting their cause.

One is the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Revd Greg Venables. He told The Times that he would attend both the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in June and the Lambeth Conference in July.

Bishop Venables has been censured in recent weeks for ministering to congregations in Canada and San Joaquin, in the US, without the permission of the Anglican leadership in those provinces, and in contravention of the Windsor process.

He told The Times: “It is clear the division is pretty final. Dialogue is the one thing that is lacking. I don’t think we are going to change people’s minds, but I think it would be wrong for us to get to a point where we acknowledge a division and try to organise it without being together and talking about it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Michael Pollan Digs up the Truth on Food

Watch the whole thing.

Eat food.

Not too much.

Mostly plants.

Sounds simple–but it is very hard to do–KSH.

(The text story is here if you do not have video access).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition

Bill Tancer: The Young and Plastic Surgery Hungry

The recent tragic death of Stephanie Kuleba, an 18-year-old high school cheerleader who died as a result of complications during a breast augmentation surgery, brought our attention to the pursuit of a more “ideal” body amongst teenagers. In fact, search data confirms this phenomenon. One of the most popular sites visited from the search term “plastic surgery” is the official site of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (www.plasticsurgery.org). Over 25% of visitors to the site (the largest segment) fell within the 18- to 24-year-old demographic ”” that’s up from 19.6% two years ago.

Plastic surgery has become an American obsession. Checking other markets that Hitwise has data on, such as the U.K. and Australia, the 18- to 24-year-old fascination with plastic surgery is a decidedly U.S. phenomenon.

Looking at other health related sites visited by 18- t 24-year-olds, reveals just how obsessed this age group is with appearance. Unlike their older counterparts who visit sites related to diseases and keeping healthy, younger Internet users flock to sites that dwell on personal appearance, such as those focused on bodybuilding, weight loss and skincare. And definitely plastic surgery.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Young Adults

Elaine Storkey: Faith is always long-term, and for others

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

For Prospective Moms, Biology and Culture Clash

“Women are no longer marrying the boy they met in high school,” Fisher says. “They’re concerned with getting a career before they marry. This takes time.”

But this is time on the biological clock that cannot be recaptured.

Most U.S. mothers, including Scruby Boggs, have paying jobs. She says that she and her husband, Michael, share the household chores.

The family could get by on her husband’s income, Scruby Boggs says, and she doesn’t want to spend too much time away from daughter. But, she says, “I like contributing to our income, and I like the intellectual challenge of going to work and my job.”

Scruby Boggs admits she might feel differently if she weren’t able to work part of the time from home and rely on relatives for baby-sitting. “I leave Ayda with either of her grandmothers when I’m at work,” she says.

Fisher, of Rutgers, predicts that society will more fully accommodate women’s needs and biological realities.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family

Home sweet (foreclosed) home

Watch it all.

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

David Yount: Feeding the multitudes

Despite gains in reducing world poverty, 1 billion people continue to live on just a dollar a day — the accepted measure of absolute poverty. It was not a famine that precipitated the new crisis, but the economics of the global marketplace.

The Economist reports that “the middle classes in poor countries are giving up health care and cutting out meat so they can eat three meals a day. The middling poor, those on $2 a day, are pulling children from school and cutting back on vegetables so they can still afford rice.”

Starvation is an everyday prospect for those whose staple food is rice. The Economist warns that “the desperate — those on 50 cents a day — face disaster,” and refers to the worldwide rise in the price of food as “the silent tsunami.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition

Thomas Friedman: The Democratic Recession

There are two important recessions going on in the world today. One has gotten enormous attention. It’s the economic recession in America. But it will eventually pass, and the world will not be much worse for the wear. The other has gotten no attention. It’s called “the democratic recession,” and if it isn’t reversed, it will change the world for a long time.

The term “democratic recession” was coined by Larry Diamond, a Stanford University political scientist, in his new book “The Spirit of Democracy.” And the numbers tell the story. At the end of last year, Freedom House, which tracks democratic trends and elections around the globe, noted that 2007 was by far the worst year for freedom in the world since the end of the cold war. Almost four times as many states ”” 38 ”” declined in their freedom scores as improved ”” 10.

What explains this? A big part of this reversal is being driven by the rise of petro-authoritarianism. I’ve long argued that the price of oil and the pace of freedom operate in an inverse correlation ”” which I call: “The First Law of Petro-Politics.” As the price of oil goes up, the pace of freedom goes down. As the price of oil goes down, the pace of freedom goes up.

Read it all.

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

Al-Qaeda Iraq leader 'arrested'

The leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, has been arrested, according to media reports quoting the country’s defence ministry.

Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, was detained in the northern city of Mosul, reports said.

The US military in Iraq said it was currently looking into the reports.

The Egyptian-born militant took over the leadership of the group from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi shortly after he was killed in a US air strike in June 2006.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been blamed for or has claimed responsibility for some of the bloodiest insurgent attacks in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Iraq War, Terrorism

FT: China eyes overseas land in food push

Chinese companies will be encouraged to buy farmland abroad, particularly in Africa and South America, to help guarantee food security under a plan being considered by Beijing.

A proposal drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture would make supporting offshore land acquisition by domestic agricultural companies a central government policy. Beijing already has similar policies to boost offshore investment by state-owned banks, manufacturers and oil companies, but offshore agricultural investment has so far been limited to a few small projects.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Dieting/Food/Nutrition

Central Florida Parish, Diocese Reach Separation Terms

The two sides have agreed not to lobby undecided members and to issue no media releases “concerning the disaffiliation except what counsel for the Leavers and Stayers agree upon.”

The leavers, who include most of the ordained clergy including the Rev. Canon Lorne Coyle, rector, retain sole operational authority of the plant until the date of separation. If the continuing Episcopal congregation later decides that it cannot afford to maintain the church plant, the Leavers have the first right to purchase the property.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida