Daily Archives: April 13, 2009

With Finance Disgraced, Which Career Will Be King?

In the Depression, smart college students flocked into civil engineering to design the highway, bridge and dam-building projects of those days. In the Sputnik era, students poured into the sciences as America bet on technology to combat the cold war Communist challenge. Yes, the jobs beckoned and the pay was good. But those careers, in their day, had other perks: respect and self-esteem.

Big shifts in the flow of talent can ripple through the nation and the economy for decades with lasting effect. The engineers of the Depression built everything from inter-city roads to the Hoover Dam, while the Sputnik-inspired scientists would go on, often with research funding from the Pentagon, to create the building-block innovations behind modern computing and the Internet.

Today, the financial crisis and the economic downturn are likely to alter drastically the career paths of future years. The contours of the shift are still in flux, in part because there is so much uncertainty about the shape of the economic landscape and the job market ahead.

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

Bishop of Chester Dismayed by EDS Appointment

One of the senior bishops of the Church of England has cited the Rev. Katherine Ragsdale’s appointment as dean of Episcopal Divinity School as an example of the possible need for a new Anglican province in North America.

“That a promoter of abortion on demand, who describes abortionists as engaged in ”˜holy work’, might be given a senior position must call in question any possibility of normal relations with the province concerned,” wrote the Rt. Rev. Peter Robert Forster, Bishop of Chester in a letter to the Church of England Newspaper (April 9 edition). “If any right-thinking Christian has doubted the need for a new province in North America, they should ponder your astonishing report.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Bishop Alan Scarfe: A Pastoral Response to the Iowa State Supreme Court Ruling on Equal Marriage

The Supreme Court’s ruling broadens the legal definition of marriage beyond that which is currently stated in the Canons of the Church or the Prayer Book which contains our authorized services. Further, the Prayer Book requires compliance with both the laws of the State and the canons of the Church. But the Church’s definition of the sacrament of marriage and the state’s definition of the legal form of marriage now differ. In spite of the good intentions many may have, I am unable to permit Episcopal clergy to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Couples wishing prayers and a blessing therefore must go first to the state to be married or a priest may ask a state official to provide for the vows and the signing of the license.

Prayers and the seeking of blessing with the receiving and witnessing of the couple in the company of the people of God are a pastoral decision at the parochial level in the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa. That was the situation before the possibility of marriage, and remains in practice now. What is now clear is that the Church is discussing the nature of the sacrament, not civil rights. The Court has provided us with a definitive debate. While that debate continues, some will enjoy a new freedom for which I am grateful and rejoice.

As an Episcopal bishop I honor the fact that the title of the ruling names an Episcopal couple. I know many Episcopal clergy and baptized who have worked and prayed to see this day. I also know that I am the bishop of the whole Diocese in a global Communion as well as a Catholic Church, and we are not of one mind on this issue. It ought to be no surprise that I desire the Church to find the will and way to move forward beyond our focus on this disagreement to the more fundamental mission of God which we share. What we can hope for is to witness God’s power to reconcile, even in our differences.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

Hernando de Soto: Global Meltdown Rule No. 1: Do the math

As a Peruvian educated by British and American teachers, I learned never to embark on a major task without first “doing the math.” No more of that Latino “happy go lucky, trust your gut and say three Hail Marys” approach to life.

Without measurement, my teachers advised, I wouldn’t be able to identify and disentangle the very reality before my eyes. By doing the math, I would see order and coherence, the way things were organized; invisible relationships would come into view, and right behind order would come meaning, followed by confidence. Thanks to my Anglo-Saxon education, I learned the lesson: You cannot manage what you have not previously measured.

So imagine how I have felt watching my role models go to war over weapons of mass destruction that they never actually assessed, or now, watching them wage a losing war against derivatives….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The 2009 Obama Administration Bank Bailout Plan, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Pope Benedict XVI's Urbi et Orbi message easter 2009

The proclamation of the Lord’s Resurrection lightens up the dark regions of the world in which we live. I am referring particularly to materialism and nihilism, to a vision of the world that is unable to move beyond what is scientifically verifiable, and retreats cheerlessly into a sense of emptiness which is thought to be the definitive destiny of human life. It is a fact that if Christ had not risen, the “emptiness” would be set to prevail. If we take away Christ and his resurrection, there is no escape for man, and every one of his hopes remains an illusion. Yet today is the day when the proclamation of the Lord’s resurrection vigorously bursts forth, and it is the answer to the recurring question of the sceptics, that we also find in the book of Ecclesiastes: “Is there a thing of which it is said, ”˜See, this is new’?” (Ec 1:10). We answer, yes: on Easter morning, everything was renewed. “Mors et vita, duello conflixere mirando: dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus ”“ Death and life have come face to face in a tremendous duel: the Lord of life was dead, but now he lives triumphant.” This is what is new! A newness that changes the lives of those who accept it, as in the case of the saints. This, for example, is what happened to Saint Paul.

Many times, in the context of the Pauline year, we have had occasion to meditate on the experience of the great Apostle. Saul of Tarsus, the relentless persecutor ofChristians, encountered the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, and was “conquered” by him. The rest we know. In Paul there occurred what he would later write about to the Christians of Corinth: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). Let us look at this great evangelizer, who with bold enthusiasm and apostolic zeal brought the Gospel to many different peoples in the world of that time. Let his teaching and example inspire us to go in search of the Lord Jesus. Let them encourage us to trust him, because that sense of emptiness, which tends to intoxicate humanity, has been overcome by the light and the hope that emanate from the resurrection.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

AP: Economic woes leave diabetics skimping on care, risking lives

Diabetics are increasingly risking life and limb by cutting back on ”” or even going without ”” doctor visits, insulin, medicines and blood-sugar testing as they lose income and health insurance in the recession, an Associated Press analysis has found.

Doctors have seen a drop in regular appointments with diabetic patients, if they come back at all. Patients more often seek tax-subsidized or charity care. And they end up in emergency rooms more often, patients and physicians said in interviews.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

USA Today: Obamas celebrate Easter in Episcopal church

President Obama picked the self-described “Church of the Presidents,” a history-drenched Episcopal church across from the White House, for his first venture to services since he was inaugurated Jan. 20.

The Obamas’ Easter visit to St. John’s Church doesn’t mean they have found a permanent place of worship in the capital.

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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

We need spirituality, not a spending spree, Archbishop of Canterbury argues

The Archbishop of Canterbury has challenged Gordon Brown’s plans for Britain to spend its way out of the recession and instead called on consumers to curb their appetites.

Dr Rowan Williams used his Easter sermon to advocate a return to the spiritual values embraced by monastic communities ”” poverty, chastity and obedience.

His message was echoed by Church leaders around the country, putting them on a collision course with the Government and its solution to the economic crisis, which is to persuade shoppers to start buying again.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Consumer/consumer spending, Easter, Economy, England / UK, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Nancy Sineath: Beware of loans for 'quick cash'

Being recently widowed, I have become yet another victim of the infamous check-cashing business. My vulnerability and lack of information on how these places really work have left me in near ruin.

Please allow me to pass along some very important advice: Do not ever think of putting yourself in this position. You will eventually regret it and the stakes are too high. Always try other methods first ”” family, friend, etc.

Let your creditors know from the very beginning your situation; almost all are willing to work with you in order to keep you from dealing with these so-called “Quick Cash ”” Quick Fix” schemes.

Read it all from yesterday’s local paper.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Personal Finance

New Roman Catholic Bishop of Charleston welcomed

It was one of his first excursions into the diocese since becoming bishop March 25. It was his first Palm Sunday procession with the Lowcountry’s Latino parishioners.

It was his first exposure as celebrant of the Mass to a vibrant and mixed community of worshippers at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in North Charleston.

This was the active expression of the faithful in the Catholic Diocese of Charleston ”” prayer, song, re-enactment, togetherness, worship ”” and the Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone, a New Yorker if there ever was one, was there to share the moment.

Members of St. Thomas welcomed the new bishop, saying they were grateful for his visit and excited about his appointment to the diocese after an 18-month wait.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Kidnapped US captain freed; snipers kill 3 pirates

Navy snipers on the fantail of a destroyer cut down three Somali pirates in a lifeboat and rescued an American sea captain in a surprise nighttime assault in choppy seas Easter Sunday, ending a five-day standoff between a team of rogue gunmen and the world’s most powerful military.

It was a stunning ending to an Indian Ocean odyssey that began when 53-year-old freighter Capt. Richard Phillips was taken hostage Wednesday by pirates who tried to hijack the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama. The Vermont native was held on a tiny lifeboat that began drifting precariously toward Somalia’s anarchic, gun-plagued shores.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

China Slows Purchases of U.S. and Other Bonds

Reversing its role as the world’s fastest-growing buyer of United States Treasuries and other foreign bonds, the Chinese government actually sold bonds heavily in January and February before resuming purchases in March, according to data released during the weekend by China’s central bank.

China’s foreign reserves grew in the first quarter of this year at the slowest pace in nearly eight years, edging up $7.7 billion, compared with a record increase of $153.9 billion in the same quarter last year.

China has lent vast sums to the United States ”” roughly two-thirds of the central bank’s $1.95 trillion in foreign reserves are believed to be in American securities. But the Chinese government now finances a dwindling percentage of new American mortgages and government borrowing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Credit Markets, Economy, Globalization, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

The Heidelberg Catechism on Easter

Question 45. What does the “resurrection” of Christ profit us?

Answer: First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, that he might make us partakers of that righteousness which he had purchased for us by his death; (a) secondly, we are also by his power raised up to a new life; (b) and lastly, the resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection. (c)

(a) 1 Cor.15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: Rom.4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 1 Pet.1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (b) Rom.6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Col.3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Col.3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Eph.2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Eph.2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (c) 1 Cor.15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 1 Cor.15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 1 Cor.15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. Rom.8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Other Churches, Reformed

In Mid Hudson Valley New York Christians mark Resurrection

The Rev. Nancy Thornton McKenzie, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Millerton and the South Amenia Presbyterian Church in Wassaic, agreed with [Michael] Dandridge.

She said people should continue to remember Christ’s sacrifice every day, not only on Easter Sunday.

“According to the reformed tradition, every Sunday should be considered a smaller celebration of the resurrection of Christ,” she said.

The Rev. Tyler Jones, pastor at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in the City of Poughkeepsie, said his church also had a big turnout on Sunday.

Jones believes a lot of it has to do with people looking to reinforce their faith in light of the constant stream of bad news lately.

“I think people are taking their (spiritual) hunger to a place they’ll know it will be fed,” Jones said.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Parish Ministry

In pictures: Easter worldwide in 2009

Wonderful stuff from the BBC.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Globalization