Daily Archives: May 26, 2009

Texting May Be Taking a Toll

They do it late at night when their parents are asleep. They do it in restaurants and while crossing busy streets. They do it in the classroom with their hands behind their back. They do it so much their thumbs hurt.

Spurred by the unlimited texting plans offered by carriers like AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, American teenagers sent and received an average of 2,272 text messages per month in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the Nielsen Company ”” almost 80 messages a day, more than double the average of a year earlier.

The phenomenon is beginning to worry physicians and psychologists, who say it is leading to anxiety, distraction in school, falling grades, repetitive stress injury and sleep deprivation.

Dr. Martin Joffe, a pediatrician in Greenbrae, Calif., recently surveyed students at two local high schools and said he found that many were routinely sending hundreds of texts every day.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth

Obama picks Sotomayor for Supreme Court

Read it all.

Update: There is more here.

Another update: Ilya Somin (Assistant Professor at George Mason University School of Law) has some thoughts here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

Benedict prays for peace at site of WWII battle

Pope Benedict XVI paid homage Sunday to the victims of World War II, visiting a Polish military cemetery at the site of a decisive battle in southern Italy and praying that peace may prevail over war today.

Benedict, who was forced to join the Hitler Youth as a child in Germany, made a pilgrimage to the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino, which was leveled during a 1944 Allied bombardment and was the site of a bloody ground battle between German and Allied forces.

“In this place, where so many lost their lives … we pray especially for the souls of the fallen, commending them to God’s infinite mercy, and we pray for an end to the wars that continue to afflict our world,” Benedict said in English at the end of Mass celebrated at the foot of the monastery in the city of Cassino.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

The Waterloo, Ontario, Record: Anglicans ponder same-sex protocols

Anglican Church of Canada parishes in Waterloo Region should soon be able to hold services to celebrate the relationships of gay parishioners, but they won’t be blessing same-sex marriages for at least another year — if ever.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Bishop Robert F. Bennett's Charge to the 167th Synod of the Diocese of Huron

I must confess that I’m quite torn on the issue [of same sex blessings] and in that sense ponder whether I actually might reflect where a significant part of the church might be. On the one hand, I agree with the National House of Bishops desire to “develop the most generous pastoral response possible within the current teaching of the church”. On the other hand, my catholic sensitivity of whom we are as church mandates that I take very seriously the Archbishop of Canterbury’s request that we embrace a ”˜season of gracious restraint’ in the matter of same-gender blessings. To state the obvious, nothing is easy here!….

As we journey to General Synod 2010 in Halifax, I intend to embrace the pastoral model. It is where I suspect Huron’s heart is. For further clarification, I am committing to maintaining the moratoria as requested by the wider Anglican family. For me, this season of ”˜gracious restraint’ will take us to Halifax 2010. We find ourselves in an ”˜in-between time’ that must be used to prepare for the national gathering and beyond. I also reaffirm the National House of Bishops’ statement on Sexuality that commits to the most generous pastoral response possible within the current teaching of the church. To that end, I am asking the Diocesan Doctrine and Worship Committee (or a sub group) to synthesize and make available the most recent and relevant material to aid in this discernment time. (This is a long list that includes the House of Bishops statements/The Rothsay report/The Galilee report/The Windsor Report/The Anglican Consultative Council statements/Primates’ communiqués/Lambeth Indaba reflections/Council of General Synod communiqués/ Anglican Covenant process”¦see why my file is so large!) I’m also requesting the Doctrine and worship Committee (or a sub group) to develop appropriate protocols, guidelines and evaluative tools to enable us to move forward with appropriate liturgies to celebrate the love, mutual fidelity and support that gay and lesbian Anglicans model every day for the church and wider community. I envisage that the framework for this would be Eucharistic in nature with approved intercessory prayers but with no nuptial blessing (as per the 2007 statement of the House of Bishops).

When the Doctrine and Worship Committee has done their work, I am prepared to consider giving permission for those requesting to move ahead (using of course, the approved liturgies).

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Diocesan statistics for the Episcopal Diocese of Montana

Take a look at this chart for one pictorial view.

According the Episcopal Church Annual of 1993 (itself based on parochial reports of 1991) there were 6,813 baptized members in the diocese of Montana, the 2004 annual lists 6,441 members, and the most recent diocesan statistics from the national church for 2007 lists 5,414 members. This represents a decline of just over 20.5% in this 16 year period.

According to the U.S. Census data, the population of Montana grew from 786,690 in 1980 to 799,065 in 1990, and then to 902,195 in 2000. The most recent estimate of Montana’s population in 2005-2007 is 946,815.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Data

LA Times: Tensions rise on Korean peninsula

A day after North Korea’s nuclear test, tensions on the Korean Peninsula rose further as Seoul announced that it would join a U.S.-led initiative to curb nuclear trade and the North reportedly test-launched two more short-range missiles.

North Korea said Monday that it had conducted a nuclear test followed by several short-range missile launches, drawing criticism from world capitals as well as a warning that Pyongyang had violated a United Nations Security Council resolution.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Korea, Military / Armed Forces, North Korea

Melanie Phillips: It's the morality stupid

What we are seeing is not contrition but the sulky behaviour of rogues who have been caught swindling, cheating and lying – yet are outraged because they didn’t think this was wrong.

So they blame us for telling them that it was. The public disclosure of their shopping choices thus strikes them as persecution.

They just don’t grasp that claiming for dog food and barbecue sets, let alone £1,645 duck-houses in the style of 18th-century Sweden, was simply wrong; and to the extent that these were sanctioned by the rules, the rules were also wrong.

But if the vast bulk of MPs don’t get it, their leaders are no better. From all sides, we hear the all-too-familiar sound of political leaders doing the only thing they appear to know – reacting not from principle but out of opportunism.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Archbishop of Canterbury, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Beach Town Churches' Attendance Comes in Waves

Pastor Mik Megary watched the clock in the elementary school gym tick to 9 o’clock. The Fellowship Alliance Church’s Sunday service was supposed to begin, but the two dozen folding chairs, carefully arranged into three rows, were empty.

“This is really embarrassing,” said Megary, a special education teacher who started the Christian missionary church in Ocean Pines seven years ago.

The church usually attracts about 10 people each week during winter and as many as 40 in summer, but Memorial Day weekend posed a challenge: A few of the regulars were out of town, and no tourists ventured over the Route 90 bridge.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come.

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

–Luke 10: 1,2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

World economy stabilising says Paul Krugman

Speaking in UAE, the world’s third-largest oil exporter, Krugman said Japan’s solution of export-led growth would not work because the downturn has been global.

“In some sense we may be past the worst but there is a big difference between stabilising and actually making up the lost ground,” he said. “We have averted utter catastrophe, but how do we get real recovery?

“We can’t all export our way to recovery. There’s no other planet to trade with. So the road Japan took is not available to us all,” Krugman said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

La Times: Bitterness as mental illness?

You know them. I know them. And, increasingly, psychiatrists know them. People who feel they have been wronged by someone and are so bitter they can barely function other than to ruminate about their circumstances.

This behavior is so common — and so deeply destructive — that some psychiatrists are urging it be identified as a mental illness under the name post-traumatic embitterment disorder. The behavior was discussed before an enthusiastic audience last week at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Assn. in San Francisco.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology

Detroit Episcopal Cathedral Seeks Prayer, Aid for Plight

The landmark Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Detroit has cash reserves for only six to eight weeks of operation and needs a cash infusion of some $200,000 in order to balance the 2009 budget, according to the Very Rev. Scott Hunter, dean of St. Paul’s, who met with diocesan council on May 9.

“I pulled no punches with them,” Dean Hunter told The Living Church. “The cathedral belongs to the entire diocese and we are facing either a hard landing zone or a high mountain, take your pick.”

Dean Hunter said that the cathedral began trying to bring expenses more in line with income about two years ago and that “painful sacrifices” by the entire congregation helped reduce its annual operating budget by $225,000. But the state’s rapidly declining economic situation and the sharp downturn in the financial markets brought the cathedral’s situation to a crisis stage within a relatively short time beginning last fall. The sudden nature of the downturn was the chief reason the cathedral leadership was not able to give diocesan council more advance notice of its plight.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Music for Memorial Day (III): Amazing Grace – Marines and Bagpipes

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

Music for Memorial Day (II): Empty Chairs at Empty Tables from Les Miserables

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music