Daily Archives: January 5, 2009

Mr. Hilarious Himself, Dave Barry–The Year in Review: Bailing out of 2008

How weird a year was it?

Here’s how weird:

Ӣ O.J. actually got convicted of something.

”¢ Gasoline hit $4 a gallon — and those were the good times.

Ӣ On several occasions, Saturday Night Live was funny.

Ӣ There were a few days there in October when you could not completely rule out the possibility that the next Treasury Secretary would be Joe the Plumber.

Read it all.

Posted in * General Interest

A Rise in Efforts to Spot Abuse in Youth Dating

“We are identifying teen dating abuse and violence more than ever,” said Dr. Elizabeth Miller, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Davis, who began doing research on abuse in teenage dating relationships nearly a decade ago.

Dr. Miller cited a survey last year of children ages 11 to 14 by Liz Claiborne Inc., a clothing retailer that finances teenage dating research, in which a quarter of the 1,000 respondents said they had been called names, harassed or ridiculed by their romantic partner by phone call or text message, often between midnight and 5 a.m., when their parents are sleeping.

Such behavior often falls under the radar of parents, teachers and counselors because adolescents are too embarrassed to admit they are being mistreated.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Violence

My Favorite Advertisement of 2009

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children

Newsweek Profiles E. A. Adeboye

You may never have heard of E. A. Adeboye, but the pastor of The Redeemed Christian Church of God is one of the most successful preachers in the world. He boasts that his church has outposts in 110 countries. He has 14,000 branches””claiming 5 million members””in his home country of Nigeria alone. There are 360 RCCG churches in Britain, and about the same number in U.S. cities like Chicago, Dallas, and Tallahassee, Fla. Adeboye says he has sent missionaries to China and such Islamic countries as Pakistan and Malaysia. His aspirations are outsize. He wants to save souls, and he wants to do so by planting churches the way Starbucks used to build coffee shops: everywhere.

“In the developing world we say we want churches to be within five minutes’ walk of every person,” he tells NEWSWEEK. “In the developed world, we say five minutes of driving.” Such a goal may seem outlandish, but Adeboye is a Pentecostal preacher: he believes in miracles. And Pentecostalism is the biggest, fastest-growing Christian movement since the Reformation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Globalization, Nigeria, Other Churches, Pentecostal

Church of England remains divided over historic reforms to create women bishops

After years of bitter wrangling over the issue, a report was published last week that advocated creating a new class of clergy to cater for traditionalists who refuse to accept women’s ordination.

However, 41 per cent of respondents said they would not back such a solution, and a further eight per cent said they were undecided.

Figures on both sides of the debate argued that providing “complementary” or “flying” bishops for opponents of female bishops was unacceptable.

While traditionalists said that this did not represent a satisfactory safeguard, supporters of women bishops claimed it is too great a concession.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Church of England accuses Labour of failing to support the family

In the straw poll of members of the General Synod, the Church’s parliament, an overwhelming majority of those questioned said that the bishops were right to speak out.

The survey also uncovered serious concerns over the state of British society and Labour’s lack of support for the family.

This newspaper questioned 71 members of the 467-strong Synod, one in seven of the total. Of those questioned, 86 per cent said the bishops had been “right to criticise the Government at this particular time”.

Nearly half, 48 per cent, said it was time for a change of government, while 45 per cent agreed with David Cameron’s claim that Britain is a “broken” society.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

George Carey: Living with Diversity”“Christians, Jews and Muslims”“in a Darwinian World

We need to open a second conversation concerning the role or usefulness of religion. We note from the press that shortly bill boards will appear from London to Washington saying ”˜There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life’. Another humanist group in America are mounting a similar campaign which states: ”˜Why believe in a god? Just be good, for goodness sake’. The inference is that all religions are bad for human flourishing; they are diseased and atrophied vestiges of human life. They make us miserable and do little good. For Dawkins, Roman Catholicism is a virulent virus that should be eradicated as doing great harm to young people, and even Anglicanism, from which he emerged, is but a milder form of the same disease. Hitchens, as we have seen, has a more aggressive approach to religion which ranges from the very crude to the most opinionated. I have to say that the polemical language of such people remind me of the Chinese saying: ”˜Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend’s forehead!’

So a reasonable and careful conversation is needed for us to overcome the infantile and trivial way matters of ethical behavior are being discussed these days. To those who believe that religion is regressive, the question has to be put: ”˜then why is religion so active socially in the world and in society and why is it that its contribution to social capital is so highly regarded?’ Roy Hattersley, former Deputy Prime Minister wrote in a Guardian article a few years ago that his view is that ”˜most believers are better human beings than atheists’. Reluctantly he acknowledges that unbelievers are less likely to care for the poor and spend time with outcasts of society. He writes: ”˜Good works, John Wesley insisted, are no guarantee of a place in heaven. But they are most likely to be performed by people who believe that heaven exists’.

This candid admission is remarkable and should not detract from the fact that a large number of humanists, agnostics and atheists are also good people who seek to create a better world. My argument is not polemical ”“ it is to say that those who wish to eradicate the world of faiths have to perceive them as they are, and to recognize the tremendous contribution they make to our world.

But does religion make a personal difference to people? Prof Keith Ward in his book ”˜Is Religion Dangerous?’ emphatically says that it does. He cites a survey carried out in the States by the Pew Foundation that shows that ”˜spiritually committed’ people are twice as likely to be ”˜very happy’ than the ”˜least religiously committed people.’

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

Sarah Hey: [Upper South Carolina] Rector, Vestry, and Majority of Congregation Depart A Parish

Rob has struggled with his ministry within The Episcopal Church for some years now. From my own perspective, in observing his struggle and the instigating factors of that struggle, the decisions — and not merely the most obvious one — of the General Conventions of 2003 and 2006 indicated a departure from the Christian view of the primacy of Holy Scripture and the person of Christ for the majority of the leadership at the highest national levels of The Episcopal Church. This was deeply troubling to Rob.

Beyond his struggle with his ministry in The Episcopal Church, there was his belief that the diocese of Upper South Carolina had not stood sufficiently or publicly against the new direction of the national leadership of The Episcopal Church. The lack of a diocese with a clear and strong identity to counter the stances of The Episcopal Church at the national level was also deeply troubling to Rob.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

A USA Today Editorial on the credit crisis: A system that invited bankers to make bad loans

Here’s a system Willie Sutton would have loved. Under the federal government’s banking regime, those being regulated ”” the banks and savings and loans ”” get to pick who regulates them.

That’s a sweet deal, made even sweeter by this: The two major regulatory agencies get almost all their income from assessments on the very institutions they oversee, so they have an incentive to keep the bankers happy. The largest banks and S&Ls ”” including some that engaged in the riskiest behavior ”” are big catches for the agency that can hook them.

That’s not exactly a prescription for strict enforcement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Could you live like Jesus for a year? This pastor tried

The Rev. Ed Dobson has spent most of his life following Jesus. But only now does he realize how hard it is to live like him.

The retired megachurch pastor and one-time architect of the religious right has spent the last year trying to eat, pray, talk and even vote as Jesus would. His revelation: Being Jesus is tough.

“I’ve concluded that I am a follower, but I’m not a very good one,” Dobson said. “If you get serious about the Bible, it will really mess you up.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Theology

Michael Lewis and David Einhorn: The end of the world as we know it

Americans enter the New Year in a strange new role: financial lunatics. We’ve been viewed by the wider world with mistrust and suspicion on other matters, but on the subject of money even our harshest critics had been inclined to believe that we knew what we were doing. They watched our investment bankers and emulated them: For a long time now half the planet’s college graduates seemed to want nothing more out of life than a job on Wall Street.

This is one reason the collapse of our financial system has inspired not merely a national but a global crisis of confidence.

Good God, the world seems to be saying, if they don’t know what they are doing with money, who does?” Incredibly, intelligent people the world over remain willing to lend us money and even listen to our advice; they appear not to have realized the full extent of our madness. We have at least a brief chance to cure ourselves. But first we need to ask: of what?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Bernard Madoff Scandal, Economy, Globalization, Stock Market

For Israel, a chance to attack in Bush's final days

In recent days, as European Union and UN officials have called urgently for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, the Bush administration has squarely blamed the rocket attacks of the Palestinian militant group Hamas for Israel’s assault, maintaining to the end its eight-year record of stalwart support for Israel.

President George W. Bush said in his weekly radio address over the weekend that the United States did not want a “one-way cease-fire” that allowed Hamas to keep up its rocket fire, and Vice President Dick Cheney echoed the point, declaring that only a “sustainable, durable” peace would be acceptable.

Many Middle East experts say that Israel timed its move against Hamas, which began with airstrikes on Dec. 27, 24 days before Bush leaves office, with the expectation of such backing in Washington. Israeli officials cannot be certain that Barack Obama, despite past statements of sympathy for Israel’s right of self-defense, will match the Bush administration’s unconditional endorsement when he becomes president Jan. 20.

.Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Israel, Middle East, Violence

African Children's Choir Changes Lives

The African Children’s Choir goes to the neediest places ”” those hardest hit by disease, war or poverty. The children are brought to a training academy for about four months, Victor says, and then they join the choir. The children tour for 12 to 15 months, and when they go home, they go to a Music for Life center to get an education. Victor himself was chosen from an orphanage to join the choir: Music for Life paid for his schooling up to the university level, and when he graduated, he came back to the choir to volunteer.

Listen to it all from NPR.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Children, Music

WSJ: Obama Eyes $300 Billion Tax Cut

President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are crafting a plan to offer about $300 billion in tax cuts to individuals and businesses, a move aimed at attracting Republican support for an economic-stimulus package and prodding companies to create jobs.

The size of the proposed tax cuts — which would account for about 40% of a stimulus package that could reach $775 billion over two years — is greater than many on both sides of the aisle in Congress had anticipated, and may make it easier to win over Republicans who have stressed that any initiative should rely relatively heavily on tax cuts rather than spending.

Read it all.

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

North Augusta (S.C.) Episcopal Church leader steps down, congregation follows

But Father Rob Hartley who resigned Sunday as vicar of the church says the issue of homosexuality was not his main concern.

“I found it an error because it was contrary to scripture and I don’t think it was any deeper than that,” Hartley said.

He says his issues with the Episcopal Church started long before 2003.

“Early 80’s probably,” Hartley said.

That is when he said he started to see a shift in the theologies and teachings of the church.

“The Episcopal church really wants to make Christianity relevant they really want to make the truth of the gospel easier to ingest for the modern mind. I think the truth is the truth and changing it to make it digestible isn’t exactly what the apostles learned from Jesus,” Hartley said.

Read it all.

Update: The parish website is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology