Daily Archives: January 14, 2009

A shoe shiner with a global agenda

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization, Poverty

Florida Jews, Muslims Seek Common Ground On Gaza

Scarcely a day goes by in South Florida that there’s not at least one rally in support of Israel, or a protest against the Israeli assault in Gaza. Florida is home to both sizeable Jewish and Muslim populations.

Muhammed Malik is organizing rallies that include both Palestinians and Jews ””which some people might consider risky, even foolhardy. Tensions flared at the first event, earlier this month in Miami, with taunts and jeers being thrown by both sides until police stepped in.

He says there were maybe a dozen hotheads out of a crowd of more than 1,000 people.

“When you take that 1 percent, it ruined the rest for everyone else,” says Malik, of the South Florida Palestine Solidarity Network. “We all know the media likes to focus on violence, because it’s sexy and attracts a lot of advertisers ”¦ . But we hope that peace will also be sexy, too.”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Judaism, Middle East, Other Faiths, War in Gaza December 2008--

An America Editorial: The Roots of Terrorism

It is crucial that the United States abandon the rhetoric that casts the international struggle against terrorism exclusively in terms of a crusade against religious fanaticism. The anger that accompanies the ongoing and worsening social ills among the world’s poorest populations also contributes mightily to terror’s allure. Remedying such widespread resentment will not be easy, and cannot be done alone. A reasonable beginning would include greater international cooperation on sustainable development, renegotiation of lopsided trade agreements, a rethinking of the economics of globalization and an end to military and political unilateralism on the part of the United States. All this will, of course, require money””but far less than the world will spend combating the terror and violence that will otherwise flourish amid the ruins.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

Britain's first woman bishop to take office this weekend

The Rev Jana Jeruma-Grinberga, whose parents were Latvian refugees but who was born in England, will be consecrated as the church’s first female bishop on Saturday at a ceremony in the City of London.

She will take over from the Rt Rev Walter Jagucki as the head of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain, one of 10 Lutheran groups based in the country, and the service will be witnessed by fellow worshippers from around the world.

Her pioneering appointment has been welcomed by Christina Rees, the chairman of Women and the Church, who is a leading campaigner in the struggle to get female bishops installed in Anglican dioceses.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Lutheran, Other Churches

Tennessee Roman Catholic Priest creates stimulus plan for his parish

[The Rev. Joseph] Breen recently devised an economic stimulus package for his parish, giving out more than $100,000 to help 270 struggling families make ends meet. The church gave $250 per child to families who have children enrolled at St. Edward Elementary School. The funds came with no strings attached and no questions asked.

Breen got the idea for the stimulus checks after hearing that several church members had lost their jobs. He checked with lay leaders in the church and, after getting their blessing, sent a letter to parents from the church’s school. The funds came from reserve funds and from donations Breen had received specifically for benevolent purposes.

Like many Tennesseans, parents at St. Edward are struggling to make ends meet, Breen said.

“We thought this was the best thing that we could do for them,” he said.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Historic Saint John's Church Will Host President-Elect on Big Day

President-elect Barack Obama will attend a private prayer service on the morning of his inauguration at the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church on Lafayette Square, according to the Presidential Inauguration Committee.

Kevin Griffis, spokesman for the inauguration committee, said yesterday that the prayer service will not be open to the public.

St. John’s, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, is known as the “Church of the Presidents.” Since James Madison, every president has worshiped there at some point during his tenure in the Oval Office. The church has kneelers embroidered in tribute to each president, and Pew 54 is traditionally assigned to the chief executives when they visit.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes

Israel Says Hamas Is Damaged, Not Destroyed

Despite heavy air and ground assaults, Israel has yet to cripple the military wing of Hamas or destroy the group’s ability to launch rockets, Israeli intelligence officials said on Tuesday, suggesting that Israel’s main goals in the conflict remain unfulfilled even after more than two weeks of war.

The comments reflected a view among some Israeli officials that any lasting solution to the conflict would require either a breakthrough diplomatic accord that heavily restricts Hamas’s military abilities or a deeper ground assault into urban areas of Gaza, known here as a possible “Phase Three” of the war.

As the conflict entered its 19th day on Wednesday, three rockets fired from south Lebanon landed outside the town of Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel, but caused no casualties, the Israeli authorities said. The Israeli military said it fired back. It was not immediately clear who fired the rockets into Israel. A similar incident last week raised concerns briefly that a second front had opened in the war. But Hezbollah, the militant Shiite group which fought a war with Israel in 2006, quickly sought to assure the Lebanese government that it was not responsible.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Israel, Middle East, Terrorism, Violence, War in Gaza December 2008--

The Church of England Launches a new section of its website

The Church of England today launches a new section of its website in celebration of 150 years of the parish magazine.

The Church estimates that the combined readership of its parish magazines exceeds that of several national newspapers, taken together.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, says on the new web-site: “A good parish magazine is a wonderful resource that places the local church at the heart of the community it serves.

“We owe our gratitude to all those who labour lovingly to produce this regular shop-window for their church or parish. As a team or solo, with a generous budget or an alarmingly fraying shoestring, this is a ministry we need to recognise and to support.”

Read it all and see what you think of the new site by following the link at the bottom.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE)

Gene Robinson Interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered

The first openly gay Episcopal bishop, Gene Robinson, has been chosen to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama’s kickoff inaugural event Sunday. Robinson says he doesn’t think Obama picked him to balance the selection of evangelical pastor Rick Warren, who angered gay-rights supporters with his support of the ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in California.

It lasts a little over 5 minutes, listen to it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Conflicts

David Brooks: In defense of death

Most scientists today would say that [Richard John] Neuhaus’ vision was the product of him confusing an inner voice for an outer voice. He was suffering the sort of mental illusion that sometimes befalls epileptics before a seizure.

Neuhaus took it the other way. While most people might use the science of life to demystify death, Neuhaus used death to mystify life.

When he wrote about his experience later, his great theme was the way death has a backward influence back onto life: “We are born to die. Not that death is the purpose of our being born, but we are born toward death, and in each of our lives the work of dying is already under way.”

Neuhaus spent the next days, months and years impressed by the overwhelming fact of death. This made him, he writes, a bit blubbery. “After some time, I could shuffle the few blocks to the church and say Mass. At the altar, I cried a lot and hoped the people didn’t notice. To think that I’m really here after all, I thought, at the altar, at the axis mundi, the center of life. And of death.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Roman Catholic, Theology

Electa Draper in the Denver Post: Rick Warren has the power to broaden the evangelical agenda

Rick Warren, the chubby, denim-clad, goateed 54-year-old Southern Baptist now hailed as America’s pastor, was the heir apparent to 90-year-old Billy Graham long before President-elect Barack Obama asked him to give the inaugural invocation.

Warren rose to the occasion in 28 years, under circumstances very different from Graham’s.

Even before Obama’s invitation, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor, asked Warren to speak at its King Day service Jan. 19.

Long before the Saddleback Civil Forum last August, where Warren moderated a values-focused Q&A session with presidential candidates Obama and John McCain, the media represented Warren as the authoritative spokesman for a new generation of evangelical Christians.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

Vatican suggests excommunicating Mexican drug traffickers

Decrying the violence that Mexicans are enduring, the Vatican has suggested excommunication as a possible punishment for drug traffickers whose war with the government has led to the deaths of thousands of people in the last year.

But the Roman Catholic Church’s severest form of rebuke would probably have little effect on traffickers and killers who lack a religious conscience, the Vatican’s No. 2 official, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, acknowledged.

Speaking to Latin American journalists at the Vatican before traveling to Mexico on Monday, Bertone said it was a “duty” to fight drug gangs because their actions represent “the most hypocritical and terrible way of murdering the dignity and personality of today’s youth.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Paul Volcker: This crisis is different

Volcker, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve, said he did not know how long the economic malaise would last but policy makers should use this opportunity to rebuild the financial system on a more stable foundation.

“Crises are old but this crisis is different,” said Volcker, whom President-elect Barack Obama has appointed to chair the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

“It’s different in its enormous complexity; it’s certainly different in the massive intervention of government. It’s more global in scope than any previous crises.”

Indeed, Volcker said the economy and markets were now feeling the hangover effects of one of the greatest bubbles in history.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Reminder of a Large Conference in Charleston S.C. Later This Week on Engaging Secularism & Islam

There is now a more detailed schedule available via this parish newsletter on page 2.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Church of Tanzania, Anglican Provinces, Baptists, Church of Nigeria, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Islam, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Secularism, TEC Bishops, Theology

Did You Know?

From here:

As of June 30, Kentucky’s largest fund for state workers held about 52 percent of the assets needed to pay current and future benefits to its 117,000 members.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, State Government