Daily Archives: June 20, 2008

NPR–An E-Mail Vacation: Taking Fridays Off

U.S. Cellular Vice President and COO Jay Ellison says his ban on Friday e-mails at the Chicago-based company came after he heard complaints from employees. But it wasn’t a cakewalk.

“I got a lot of push-back from a lot of people that I was nuts they’d have to operate that way, and I pushed back on them,” Ellison said. “I respect that push-back,” he told them. “But I heard the associates; we’re going to try this.”

Ellison says the company tried it for two and a half months, and everyone loved it ”” even those who didn’t like the idea at first.

“I think people would outright just freak out if we started e-mails back up on Friday,” Ellison said. “I know the front-line leadership would scream; I’d have a mutiny on my hands.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

Smiles all round as Gafcon delegates start arriving

GAFCON leadership team and key participants in the week long conference are on their way to Jerusalem for the final preparations for the meeting beginning Sunday. The Pre-GAFCON consultation in Jordan wound up early, and the participants move to Jerusalem today. Hotel and meeting rooms previously unavailable in Jerusalem became available at the same time GAFCON leaders learned that previously granted permission for the Jordan consultation was deemed insufficient.

GAFCON delegates have taken the alterations in their stride, the move proving no barrier to a developing sense of fellowship.

Already, there’ve been joyous scenes as GAFCON leaders greeted each other.

The Nigerian delegation was given a rousing cheer as was Archbishop and Mrs Yong Ping Chung. Archbishop Yong, of Sabah, will give a Bible study during the Gafcon week.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East

From the You Cannot Make this Stuff up Department

Maybe he was trying to beat the heat. A Brooklyn restaurant cook is accused of stealing frozen lobster tails by stuffing them down his pants.

Posted in * General Interest

Suit filed over South Carolina 'I Believe' license plates

A group that advocates separation of church and state filed a federal lawsuit Thursday to prevent South Carolina from becoming the first state to create “I Believe” license plates.

The group contends that South Carolina’s government is endorsing Christianity by allowing the plates, which would include a cross superimposed on a stained glass window.

Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed the lawsuit on behalf of two Christian pastors, a humanist pastor and a rabbi in South Carolina, along with the Hindu American Foundation.

“I do believe these ‘I Believe’ plates will not see the light of day because the courts, I’m confident, will see through this,” said the Rev. Barry Lynn, the group’s executive director.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

Jane El Horr and Sana Saeed on A New Muslim Student Group

he school year that just ended brought to the fore a couple of controversies over Muslim students on U.S. campuses. The University of Michigan announced in the fall that it would be spending $25,000 on footbaths for Muslim students. In the spring, Harvard’s decision to provide women-only gym hours to accommodate some members of the campus Islamic society sparked debate in the ivory tower and beyond. Yet away from the often-harsh media glare, a profound shift has begun across the country. Where dogma and conformity once defined the Muslim scene on campus, students with liberal outlooks are emerging to assert their voices on the quad. At some American colleges where the only official Muslim events used to feature gender-segregated seating, new programs are drawing diverse Muslim and non-Muslim participants to explore the complexity of the Muslim community.

Only a half-century ago, there was hardly any Muslim communal presence at American universities. In the 1960s, the Muslim World League, a Saudi charity, funded the establishment of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), initially to support foreign students studying in the U.S. and, according to the organization’s Web site, to advance Da’wah (proselytizing). The MSA established its first chapter at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and now can be found on more than 100 campuses across North America.

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

A NY Times Editorial: The Big Pander to Big Oil

It was almost inevitable that a combination of $4-a-gallon gas, public anxiety and politicians eager to win votes or repair legacies would produce political pandering on an epic scale. So it has, the latest instance being President Bush’s decision to ask Congress to end the federal ban on offshore oil and gas drilling along much of America’s continental shelf.

This is worse than a dumb idea. It is cruelly misleading. It will make only a modest difference, at best, to prices at the pump, and even then the benefits will be years away. It greatly exaggerates America’s leverage over world oil prices. It is based on dubious statistics. It diverts the public from the tough decisions that need to be made about conservation.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Politics in General

U.S. says exercise by Israel seemed directed at Iran

Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military’s capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran’s nuclear program.

More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of June, American officials said.

The exercise also included Israeli helicopters that could be used to rescue downed pilots. The helicopters and refueling tankers flew more than 900 miles, which is about the same distance between Israel and Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, American officials said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Military / Armed Forces

Sydney Anglicans–GAFCON: The end of the Communion is not nigh

A report in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper referring to the book was headlined Hardline bishops declare Anglican split and went on to declare that they had “formally declared an end to the Anglican communion”.

That was firmly rejected by one of the GAFCON leaders, Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen, who referred to the actions in North America by churches in defiance of the Lambeth decisions of 1998 on homosexuality.

“If we’re talking about schism and the break up of the communion, that’s where it starts and that’s where the responsibility is,” Archbishop Jensen says.

Earlier, Archbishop Jensen told the BBC from Amman that the actions meant that the Anglican communion had turned “from a nuclear family to an extended family”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East

Church Times: GAFCON and the parting of the ways

THE Clearest indication yet that the forthcoming Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) will herald a formal split in the Anglican Communion came yesterday (Thursday) with the publication of The Way, the Truth and the Life.

The 94-page book will be given to everyone who attends GAFCON ”” organisers expect 1000, including 280 bishops ”” and has been produced by the 25-strong GAFCON theological resource team, chaired by the Archbishop of Bendel, in Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicolas Okoh. The group’s secretary is Canon Dr Chris Sugden, executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream, based in Oxford.

The book uses the language of the parting of the ways. “We see a parallel between contemporary events and events in England in the 16th century. Then, the Catholic Church in England was faced with the choice of aligning itself with either Rome or Geneva. But, when forced to decide its identity, it sought to distinguish itself from both the practices of the Papacy and the excesses it associated with the more radical reformers.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East

Church of England Newspaper: Gafcon ”˜will set the future for the Church’

Gafcon, the Global Anglican Future Conference, will work towards shaping an “Anglican future in which the Gospel is uncompromised and Christ-centred mission [is] a top priority,” Dr Jensen, the chairman of the conference’s programme committee, said. He denied charges the conference was a shadow Lambeth Conference, saying the delegates meeting at the Renaissance Hotel near Israel’s Knesset in West Jerusalem were not going to “ape” Lambeth. “This is a conference about he future and we’ve deliberately invited lay people, clergy and others” to ask what it means “to be Anglican,” he said. “How can we best serve God, how can we honour his word and how can we best make his message known? They’re the big themes we’ll be looking at,” Dr Jensen said.

However, Dr Jensen, along with bishops from amongst the largest provinces of the Communion: Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, will boycott the Lambeth Conference, attending Gafcon in its place. “We have made other plans to travel to Jerusalem [instead of Lambeth] to reflect on how best we can do the work of the Lord,” Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya explained last week, citing conservative disquiet with its agenda and guest list.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East

A Telegraph Editorial: The Anglican Church is divided, but not fatally

It is true that the forthcoming Lambeth Conference will also be a divided body, boycotted by an unprecedented numbers of bishops. But the semi-fiasco of Gafcon means that Dr Williams still has a chance of keeping the conservative Christians of, say, Uganda, in dialogue with the liberal provinces of the United States and Canada.

Whether the Anglican Communion can survive the inevitable discord of Lambeth is still unclear. But it is encouraging that some of the most vociferous critics of liberal Anglicanism have decided to join in debate and worship with their fellow bishops at their traditional gathering in England rather than declare allegiance to a rival body meeting in the Middle East.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008, Middle East

God bless the people of Quincy, Illinois

Watch the whole encouraging reporrt on some seeking to help those in the flooding’s path.

Posted in * General Interest

An Episcopal News Service Article on the GAFCON Conference

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Media, Middle East

World population to hit 7 billion in 2012

The world’s population will reach 7 billion in 2012, even as the global community struggles to satisfy its appetite for natural resources, according to a new government projection.
There are 6.7 billion people in the world today. The United States ranks third, with 304 million, behind China and India, according to projections released Thursday by the Census Bureau.

The world’s population surpassed 6 billion in 1999, meaning it will take only 13 years to add a billion people.

By comparison, the number of people didn’t reach 1 billion until 1800, said Carl Haub, a demographer at the Population Reference Bureau. It didn’t reach 2 billion until 130 years later.

“You can easily see the effect of rapid population growth in developing countries,” Haub said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization

Notable and Quotable

“Football is like chess without the dice.”

–A German football player as cited in Der Spiegel in an article on the greatest football quotes in Germany, cited on this week’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell me show (Go here and click on the “Lightning Fill in the Blank” segment, then begin listening at 2 minutes 55 seconds).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports