Daily Archives: December 21, 2008

(London) Times: How different faiths embrace Christmas

Four different familes and faith traditions. Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Hinduism, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Judaism, Other Faiths

Minette Marrin: What a relief we now have more sense than money

The recession has reversed the phrase “cash-rich, time-poor” – a phrase that sums up the skewed priorities of our period of wealth. Time is almost the only thing that is recession-proof. Most of us are now more time-rich. Time cannot disappear into the ether with a dodgy derivative; in fact, time for other people is the best silver lining in the cloud of recession.

The other thing that is recession-proof is love, along with the time to express it. So things are not all bad. We can hold tight those who are close to us, save the baggy cardie and take time to talk to one another. Happy Christmas.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, Personal Finance

As Outlook Dims, Obama Expands Recovery Plans

Faced with worsening forecasts for the economy, President-elect Barack Obama is expanding his economic recovery plan and will seek to create or save 3 million jobs in the next two years, up from a goal of 2.5 million jobs set just last month, several advisers to Mr. Obama said Saturday.

Even Mr. Obama’s more ambitious goal would not fully offset as many as 4 million jobs that some economists are projecting might be lost in the coming year, according to the information he received from advisers in the past week. That job loss would be double the total this year and could push the nation’s unemployment rate past 9 percent if nothing is done.

The new job target was set after a meeting last Tuesday in which Christina D. Romer, who is Mr. Obama’s choice to lead his Council of Economic Advisers, presented information about previous recessions to establish that the current downturn was likely to be “more severe than anything we’ve experienced in the past half-century,” according to an Obama official familiar with the meeting. Officials said they were working on a plan big enough to stimulate the economy but not so big to provoke major opposition in Congress.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, US Presidential Election 2008

Data Show Steady Drop in Americans on Move

Despite the nation’s reputation as a rootless society, only about one in 10 Americans moved in the last year ”” roughly half the proportion that changed residences as recently as four decades ago, census data show.

The monthly Current Population Survey found that fewer than 12 percent of Americans moved since 2007, a decline of nearly a full percentage point compared with the year before. In the 1950s and ’60s, the number of movers hovered near 20 percent.

The number has been declining steadily, and 12 percent is the lowest rate since the Census Bureau began counting people who move in 1940.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch

Notable and Quotable (I)

Marriage is more than your love for each other. It has a higher dignity and power, for it is God’s holy ordinance, through which he wills to perpetuate the human race till the end of time. In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations, which God causes to come and to pass away to his glory, and calls into his kingdom.

In your love, you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind. Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal””it is a status, an office. Just as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man.

As high as God is above man, so high are the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of marriage above the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of love. It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “A Wedding Sermon from Prison”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family

Bishop Robert Duncan: Why I believe this new North American Anglican Province is healing

We need a unified body both to heal the divisions among ourselves and to give the broader Anglican Communion a unified and coherent partner with which to be in relation­ship.

Forming the Anglican Church in North America is a significant step forward on both these fronts. It is an amazing God-given healing of that internal division and an opportunity for forming constructive relation­ships within the Communion.

Eleven fragments of “mainstream” Anglicanism in the United States and Canada were involved in the adop­tion of the provisional constitution: the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in the Americas (Rwanda), the Anglican Network in Canada, the Convocation of An­glicans in North America (Nigeria), Forward in Faith North America, the Missionary Convocations of Kenya, Southern Cone (including the Bolivia and Recife networks), and Uganda, together with the Reformed Episcopal Church.

These fragments draw together some 700 congregations in North Am­erica, with an estimated 100,000 worshippers on average on any given Sunday. This constellation is thus numbered as larger than 13 of the provinces of the Anglican Com­munion (including Scotland and Wales), and compares to the 750,000 the Episcopal Church in the United States claims to draw every Sunday.

Please note: this was in last week’s print edition of the Church Times, which was available on the web for subscribers only. It is now available to all. Please read it attentively.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Anglican Continuum, CANA, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

RNS: Virginia Judge Hands Conservatives Big Legal Victory

A Virginia judge ruled on Friday (Dec. 19) that three parcels of land belong to parishes that have broken away from the Episcopal Church, handing conservatives an important, if tentative, legal win.

An 1867 state law, passed as Virginia congregations separated over slavery, allows a parish to disaffiliate from a denomination where a division has occurred while maintaining legal control over parish property.

Judge Randy Bellows of Fairfax Circuit Court ruled Friday the three parcels of land in Northern Virginia, which include church buildings, are covered by the “division statute,” as it is commonly known.

In April, Bellows ruled that a “division of the first magnitude” has arisen in the worldwide Anglican Communion and its U.S. branch, the Episcopal Church, over homosexuality.

Read it all.

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

The 7 year old Piano Player Explains How he Got Piano Lessons at Age 3

This is one you really need to listen to.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

How Can He Possibly Be only Seven Years old and Play the Piano Like This?

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

Sri Lankan government declines Catholic-Anglican call for Christmas ceasefire

Despite appeals from Catholic and Anglican bishops, the Sri Lankan government on Thursday said it will not declare a ceasefire for Christmas.

A Wednesday statement from bishops of both Churches asked the government (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to declare a truce during Christmas and the New Year.

“We are now approaching Christmas, a world festival of peace. At this time many Christians and even persons of other faiths will be encouraged by the birth of Christ, the Prince of Peace, to review and strengthen relationships,” the statement said, according to the Sri Lankan Daily News.

“It is consequently expected that family ties will be renewed, communities will gather for fellowship, strangers will be welcomed, the marginalized included and the oppressed set free.

Makes the heart sad–read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Asia, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Violence

Geoffrey Garin: A Progressive Case for Rick Warren

Many of Barack Obama’s progressive supporters feel let down by his choice of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the Inaugural. I understand why, but here’s a different way to look at it.

The real story here is not that President-elect Obama has somehow blessed Rick Warren’s views on abortion or gay rights, but that one of America’s leading evangelical pastors has decided to bless the presidency of someone who is strongly pro-choice and committed to the civil rights of gays and lesbians. That’s a rather extraordinary development.

Does anyone think the selection of Rick Warren means that Barack Obama will govern differently on social issues than he said he would during the campaign? I certainly don’t.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

Religion and Ethics Weekly: Interracial Churches

LUCKY SEVERSON: If something seems odd or unusual about these worshippers, maybe it’s the diversity, all the different colors and nationalities of their faces. This is the Wilcrest Baptist Church in Houston, and Pastor Rodney Woo couldn’t be more proud of the cultural and racial mix of his congregation.

Pastor RODNEY WOO (Wilcrest Baptist Church, Houston, TX): I think my main passion is to get people ready for heaven. I think a lot of our people are going to go into culture shock when they get to heaven, and they get to sit next to somebody that they didn’t maybe sit with while they were here on earth. So we’re trying to get them acclimated a little bit.

SEVERSON: Assuming Pastor Woo is right, there are a lot of congregations that need to get acclimated. A recent study found that only 7 percent of churches in the US are integrated. This comes as no surprise to Ohio State sociology professor Korie Edwards, author of the book “The Elusive Dream”.

Professor KORIE EDWARDS (Sociology Department, Ohio State University and Author, “The Elusive Dream”): We’re segregated in housing. Even the job market is segregated, and we end up going to churches with people who look like us.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations

Madoff Scheme Kept Rippling Outward, Across Borders

The case is still viewed more with mystery than clarity, and Mr. Madoff’s version of events can only be drawn from statements attributed to him by federal prosecutors and regulators as he has not commented publicly on the case.

But whatever else Mr. Madoff’s game was, it was certainly this: The first worldwide Ponzi scheme ”” a fraud that lasted longer, reached wider and cut deeper than any similar scheme in history, entirely eclipsing the puny regional ambitions of Charles Ponzi, the Boston swindler who gave his name to the scheme nearly a century ago.

“Absolutely ”” there has been nothing like this, nothing that we could call truly global,” said Mitchell Zuckoff, the author of “Ponzi’s Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend” and a professor at Boston University. These classic schemes typically prey on local trust, he added. “So this says what we increasingly know to be true about the world: The barriers have come down; money knows no borders, no limits.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Bernard Madoff Scandal, Economy, Globalization, Stock Market