Daily Archives: May 23, 2009

Daniel Gilbert: What You Don’t Know Makes You Nervous

Similarly, researchers at the University of British Columbia studied people who had undergone genetic testing to determine their risk for developing the neurodegenerative disorder known as Huntington’s disease. Those who learned that they had a very high likelihood of developing the condition were happier a year after testing than those who did not learn what their risk was.

Why would we prefer to know the worst than to suspect it? Because when we get bad news we weep for a while, and then get busy making the best of it. We change our behavior, we change our attitudes. We raise our consciousness and lower our standards. We find our bootstraps and tug. But we can’t come to terms with circumstances whose terms we don’t yet know. An uncertain future leaves us stranded in an unhappy present with nothing to do but wait.

Our national gloom is real enough, but it isn’t a matter of insufficient funds. It’s a matter of insufficient certainty. Americans have been perfectly happy with far less wealth than most of us have now, and we could quickly become those Americans again ”” if only we knew we had to.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology

Chris Sugden–Confusion reigns at ACC in Jamaica

What was going on? The church is an institution. Institutions are determined by power. Power was often exercised arbitrarily in the debates and decisions in Jamaica. The debates on the covenant were confusing and breached many rules of normal procedure. The press were told that a great deal of weight falls on the chairman to direct the meeting.

On the central issue the chair ruled the motion to delay the covenant out of order because it was bringing back a previously defeated motion. But Archbishop Williams trumped him and interpreted the mind of the meeting as having rejected the first motion because they wanted it again in another form. The Archbishop later suggested that, in future, procedures be outlined at the beginning of the meeting.

Those disadvantaged when all power is in the hands of the chair and the president are the ordinary members of the Council. Many said they were confused. A Ugandan member spoke of a spirit of confusion.

Secondly, the real issue was the property of the North American Churches. Had the motion on moratorium passed, TEC would have been in breach of the will of the Communion in pursueing faithful Anglicans through the courts. Had the motion on the covenant passed, orthodox churches would have the high moral ground in property matters in claiming their status as Anglicans faithful to a covenant to which TEC would not agree.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Covenant, Archbishop of Canterbury

Frederick Quinn: Relating to other religions

It will come as a surprise to some that in 1990, a British academic theologian named Rowan Williams, now the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote comprehensively on the “Trinity and Pluralism” in a 1990 volume called “Christian Uniqueness Reconsidered,” edited by Gavin D’Costa, a Roman Catholic theologian of world religions.

The Williams article was in part a book review of Raimon Panikkar’s “The Trinity and the Religious Experience of Man.” Panikkar, who spent many years in India as a Roman Catholic priest, is best known for his observation on his faith journey: “I ”˜left’ as a Christian, ”˜found’ myself a Hindu and ”˜return’ a Buddhist, without having ceased to be a Christian.”

A lively, expansive, intellectually inviting quality pervades the Williams essay, characteristic of his writings before he was elevated to his present post. His trinitarian vision is not frozen in time, but represents a steady unfolding of the fullness of Christ, always being discovered, and not locked into any conceptual pattern that reduces the full worth of other religions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, Theology

Arlington Cemetery prepares for Memorial Day

Important images on this oh so important weekend throughout the country–watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

Archbishop Rowan Williams: Enough humiliation. We must move on

The issues raised by the huge controversy over MPs’ expenses are as grave as could be for our parliamentary democracy, and urgent action is needed to restore trust. It is good that all parties are recognising this. But many will now be wondering whether the point has not been adequately made; the continuing systematic humiliation of politicians itself threatens to carry a heavy price in terms of our ability to salvage some confidence in our democracy.

It is important to connect some of the underlying attitudes with a wider problem. In recent months, we’ve had a number of examples (bankers’ pensions, the suspension of two peers from the Lords) of people saying when challenged that “no rules were broken”. Some of the initial responses to public anger about MPs’ expenses have amounted to much the same thing. And this suggests a basic problem in our moral thinking.

The question “What can I get away with without technically breaching the regulations?” is not a good basis for any professional behaviour that has real integrity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Theology

Climate Change Bill Heads For House Vote

Thursday night, a committee in the House of Representatives passed an ambitious climate bill ”” a big step toward having a law that controls greenhouse gases. At the heart of the bill is a mechanism called cap-and-trade. It’s a careful mix of government mandate and free-market economy. How successful it will be is a matter of some debate.

Cap-and-trade is one of those wonky terms that have permeated the world of Washington, D.C. Part of its mystique is that a lot of people don’t know what it really means.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Law & Legal Issues

Graduation Weekend for the Harmon Family

Nathaniel graduates from the Pinewood School today; he plans to attend Boston University in the fall. His sister Selimah flew home from the Millbrook School in southern New York state to be with us, and Abigail drove up from the College of Charleston. Elizabeth and I, well, we just work here as many of you know. It is great to have all the brood under one roof–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, Education, Harmon Family

Congress attacks GM revamp

General Motors is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection as early as May 31, but a speedy restructuring of the carmaker faces headwinds from an increasingly sceptical US Congress.

Under the current plan, the US government would cancel most or all of its existing debt in the company and invest in a “new” GM that could emerge from bankruptcy in the autumn, said a person close to the matter.

GM would receive tens of billions of dollars in new government money, probably in stages, to prop up its business at a time when car sales are threatening to be lower than the 10m annual rate at which GM says it can break even.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Possibility of a Bailout for the U.S. Auto Industry

Survey Questions from the Diocese of Upper South Carolina Episcopal Search Process

Please give us your opinion, as a parishioner in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, on the following statements. For each item, indicate whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, have no opinion, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree….

13. The diocese would benefit from having a bishop who has an understanding of the cultural dynamics of South Carolina.
14. It is important for the Episcopal Church to remain in the Anglican Communion.
15. Our current Bishop and the diocese, in convention, have affirmed that we are a Windsor Diocese. In that light, I believe our next bishop should be supportive of the Windsor Report and the ongoing Windsor process.
16. I support the blessing of civil unions (as opposed to marriage) between gay and lesbian persons in the Episcopal Church.
17. I support the ordination of partnered gay and lesbian persons in the Episcopal Church.
18. I believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary for salvation.
19. Divisiveness in the wider Church is beginning to cause problems in our diocese.
20. I believe the current problems within our denomination should be resolved by reasonable negotiation between and among the various constituencies.
21. I support the marriage of gay and lesbian persons in the Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

An 11 year old who raised over 40,000 dollars in order to give away over 55,000 pounds of Food

Watch it all-makes the heart glad.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Poverty

Dollar hits new multimonth low vs euro, pound, yen

On Thursday, Standard & Poor’s said Britain may have its rating cut because of rising debt levels. Though the ratings agency reaffirmed the country’s actual long-term credit rating at “AAA,” it said the outlook had deteriorated because of massive borrowing to deal with the recession and the banking crisis.

Because Britain is pursuing similar policies to the U.S.””with both the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve injecting billions of dollars in their economies by buying assets from banks””the move also weighed on U.S. assets and the dollar. Treasurys sold off Thursday, and continued to do so Friday.

S&P’s announcement “wound up creating more problems for the U.S. dollar than for the British pound,” HSBC analysts said in a research note.

“The problem for the U.S. is particularly acute because of its reserve status,” said UBS analyst Brian Kim in an e-mail to investors Friday. Major holders of U.S. debt, such as Middle Eastern sovereign funds and the Chinese government, have not been shy about calling the U.S. out for what it sees as policies that will trigger inflation, shrinking the value of their Treasury holdings.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)