Daily Archives: September 15, 2009

Barbara Ehrenreich and Dedrick Muhammad: The Recession’s Racial Divide

If any cultural factor predisposed blacks to fall for risky loans, it was one widely shared with whites ”” a penchant for “positive thinking” and unwarranted optimism, which takes the theological form of the “prosperity gospel.” Since “God wants to prosper you,” all you have to do to get something is “name it and claim it.” A 2000 DVD from the black evangelist Creflo Dollar featured African-American parishioners shouting, “I want my stuff ”” right now!”

Joel Osteen, the white megachurch pastor who draws 40,000 worshippers each Sunday, about two-thirds of them black and Latino, likes to relate how he himself succumbed to God’s urgings ”” conveyed by his wife ”” to upgrade to a larger house. According to Jonathan Walton, a religion professor at the University of California at Riverside, pastors like Mr. Osteen reassured people about subprime mortgages by getting them to believe that “God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and bless me with my first house.” If African-Americans made any collective mistake in the mid-’00s, it was to embrace white culture too enthusiastically, and substitute the individual wish-fulfillment promoted by Norman Vincent Peale for the collective-action message of Martin Luther King.

But you didn’t need a dodgy mortgage to be wiped out by the subprime crisis and ensuing recession. Black unemployment is now at 15.1 percent, compared with 8.9 percent for whites. In New York City, black unemployment has been rising four times as fast as that of whites. By 2010, according to Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute, 40 percent of African-Americans nationwide will have endured patches of unemployment or underemployment.

One result is that blacks are being hit by a second wave of foreclosures caused by unemployment.

This makes the heart very sad–read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Benedict XVI: "The Law, as Word of Love, Is Not a Contradiction to Freedom"

He to whom everything has been revealed belongs to the family; he is no longer a servant, but free because, in fact, he himself forms part of the house. A similar initial introduction in the thought of God himself happened to Israel on Mount Sinai. It happened in a great and definitive way in the Cenacle and, in general, through the work, life, passion and resurrection of Jesus; in him, God has given us everything, he has manifested himself completely. We are no longer servants, but friends. The Law is no longer a prescription for persons who are not free, but is contact with the love of God — being introduced to form part of the family, act that makes us free and “perfect.” It is in this sense that James tells us, in today’s reading, that the Lord has engendered us through his Word, that he has planted his Word in our interior as force of life. Here there is also talk of “pure religion” which consists in love of neighbor — particularly of orphans and widows, of those who are in greatest need of us — and in freedom from the fashions of this world, which contaminate us.

The Law, as word of love, is not a contradiction to freedom, but a renewal from within through friendship with God. Something similar is manifested when Jesus, in his address about the vine, says to his disciples: “You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). And the same appears again later in the priestly prayer: You are sanctified in the truth (cf. John 17:17-19). Thus we now find the right structure of the process of purification and of purity: We are not the ones who create what is good — this would be a simple moralism — instead, it is Truth that comes to meet us. He himself is the Truth, the Truth in person. Purity is a dialogic event. It begins with the fact that he comes to meet us — he, who is Truth and Love — takes us by the hand, and is fused with our being. In the measure in which we allow ourselves to be touched by him, in which the encounter becomes friendship and love, we are, stemming from his purity, pure persons and then persons who love with his love, persons who introduce others in his purity and his love.

Read it all.

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

Bible NOT God's Word says Bishop Williams

OK, name the speaker, the date and take a stab at the context for good measure.

Read it all AFTER you guess.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Archbishop of Canterbury to visit Japan

As part the150th anniversary celebrations of the Anglican Church in Japan, the Archbishop of Canterbury will be making a week-long visit to Japan during which he will visit Anglican churches, universities and schools, as well as the city of Nagasaki.

Dr Williams will preach at the service to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Anglican Church in Japan (known as Nippon Sei Ko Kai) and will be joined by other bishops and Primates from around the Anglican Communion.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Japan

Adviser Has Low Expectations for White House Faith-Based Office

Former Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page said he doesn’t expect much to result from the work of advisers to the White House’s office dealing with faith-based and community groups.

“I believe that the policy recommendations that will come forth will be relatively innocuous, good, helpful,” said Page, a member of the panel, on Thursday (Sept. 10) at the annual meeting of the Religion Newswriters Association. He expects results to be not much more than “low-hanging fruit.”

“There will be good things, but nothing of great substance.”

Read it all.

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

The International Anglican Liturgical Consultation of 2009

(ACNS) The International Anglican Liturgical Consultation met August 3-8 at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Auckland, in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia. We are grateful to the Local Arrangements Committee, the Right Reverend Winston Halapua and the Right Reverend Kito Pikaahu, the Right Reverend George Connor, Mrs. Heather Skilling and the Very Reverend Ross Bay who shaped the conference and tended to our travel and practical needs with care.

The gathering comprised Anglicans from fourteen of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion. Particular welcome was given to the first representatives from the Anglican Church in Korea and the Church of North India. Due to unforeseen difficulties regarding travel and visa matters, several of our members were unable to be with us. We upheld them in our prayers, as we prayed for the Churches of the Communion and for our ecumenical friends.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Latest News, Liturgy, Music, Worship

David Doveton: Faithful?…. Committed?…….. or Deceived?

”˜Acceptance’ in modern parlance has been the favourite mushily sentimental and superficial term which has come to replace the deeply theological term ”˜justification’ In a recent interview3 Bishop FitzSimmons Allison points out how ”˜acceptance’ is used as a watered down secular version of ”˜justification’. He notes that we all have a notion of what is just and right built into us. If we reject the standards our transcendent creator God has set for us to live by, and choose rather to trust our instincts and desires in formulating our behaviour, we are in effect suppressing the truth, and choosing to live by our own standards of righteousness. We have rejected the standard of God’s transcendent righteousness revealed to us in scripture, and thus only have ourselves as reference points with a resulting individualism and subjectivity.

Christian philosopher Prof. Jack Budziszewski points to certain realities about the created order, realities which continue to operate despite our rebellion. For example, knowledge of guilt (even if suppressed) produces certain objective needs, needs which have to be satisfied. These include confession, reconciliation, atonement and justification. Out of our need for justification, the need to be ”˜right’ before God, we develop mechanisms to ”˜be righteous’ ”“ such as thinking well of ourselves, or ”˜self esteem’. “God accepts us as we are ”“ so we should accept ourselves and others”. ”˜Inclusion’ is the term commonly used for this and we are told that ”˜Jesus was inclusive in all his dealings with people ”“he included the outcasts and the sinners’. So basically what the doctrine of ”˜inclusion’ means is that God accepts me as I am. The idea that God accepts us as we are is not a biblical idea. God loves us unconditionally, no matter what state we are in, but that is not the same. God calls us as we are, in the state of rebellion we are in. If we then turn to him in repentance and faith he accepts us in Christ, but if we do not turn to him, we are still lost in sin. Kummel says, “That man must turn around if he wishes to stand before God is one of the basic views of Judaism in Jesus’ time, and thus Jesus also explicitly named conversion as a condition for entrance into, the kingdom of God.”5 So, in Mark 1:15, Jesus’ message of the good news begins with the call to turn around, and from that moment all gospel preaching is based on Jesus’ commission to his disciples to call all men to repentance (Mark 6:12) (Acts 3:19, 8:22)

Read it all.

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

Saint Dunstan's in Florida Realigns with Anglican Diocese of Quincy

Via email:

Largo, Florida ”“ By a vote of 174 to 13, the membership of St. Dunstan’s Church today voted to sever its ties with The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as a parish within the Anglican Diocese of Quincy, Ill. The vote took place during a special meeting convened following regularly scheduled church services this past weekend.

The ACNA unites some 100,000 Anglicans in 700 parishes into a single church. Jurisdictions which have joined together to form the 28 dioceses and dioceses-in-formation of the Anglican Church in North America include four former Episcopal dioceses (the dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin); the Anglican Mission in the Americas; the Convocation of Anglicans in North America; the Anglican Network in Canada; the Anglican Coalition in Canada; the Reformed Episcopal Church; and the missionary initiatives of Kenya, Uganda, and South America’s Southern Cone. Additionally, the American Anglican Council and Forward in Faith North America are founding organizations. The ACNA is headed by the Archbishop Robert Duncan, Archbishop and Primate.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, TEC Departing Parishes

Food For Thought–The 7 Phases of Waiting

1. Intensity – A crisis causes you to focus all of your energy to pray for a divine solution.
2. Distraction – You cannot sustain indefinite intensity: your heart and mind are distracted.
3. Anger – Anger emerges and is directed at God for not taking action, the cause of the problem, or yourself for not being able to do more.
4. Accusation – Satan the accuser says that God hasn’t answered because of your sinfulness.
5. Frustration – You are no longer certain how to pray.
6. Revelation – Provided you stay in the Word, deeper understanding will develop about waiting on God for answered prayer.
7. Determination – Faith at this point is not a feeling, but a willful determination to be faithful in prayer, no matter how or when (if ever) God answers.

–Ron Susek from Pray magazine

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

Lehman: 'alarm bells should still be ringing'

One year after Lehman Brothers’ dramatic plunge into bankruptcy, one of Britain’s leading policy think-tanks has warned that too little has been learned from the crisis.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said “alarm bells should be ringing” because the return of the bonus culture in the City signalled that real changes have been “very limited”.

Tony Dolphin, senior economist at the IPPR, said there was little evidence that policymakers were taking measures “to ensure the next economic recovery is better balanced than the last one”.

Read the whole thing.

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

No we can't ”” UK think tank says US power fading

A weakened United States could start retreating from the world stage without help from its allies abroad, an international strategic affairs think tank said Tuesday.

The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies said President Barack Obama would increasingly turn to others for help dealing with the world’s problems ”” in part because he has no alternative.

“Domestically Obama may have campaigned on the theme ‘yes we can’; internationally he may increasingly have to argue ‘no we can’t’,” the institute said in its annual review of world affairs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, The U.S. Government

Protectionist Measures Expected to Rise, Report Warns

This weekend’s U.S.-China trade skirmish is just the tip of a coming protectionist iceberg, according to a report released Monday by Global Trade Alert, a team of trade analysts backed by independent think tanks, the World Bank and the U.K. government.

A report by the World Trade Organization, backed by its 153 members and also released Monday, found “slippage” in promises to abstain from protectionism, but drew less dramatic conclusions.

Governments have planned 130 protectionist measures that have yet to be implemented, according to the GTA’s research. These include state aid funds, higher tariffs, immigration restrictions and export subsidies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization

Atheists put their faith in Twitter

P.Z. Myers’ Twitter bio reads, “godless liberal biologist.”

The avid atheist is far from alone in the cyber world. He has more than 7,700 followers who subscribe to his atheism- and evolution-themed Internet updates.

When Myers led about 300 like-minded evolutionists to the Creation Museum, thousands more followed along via the Internet, avidly anticipating each 140-character “tweet” about the Kentucky center, which renounces evolution in favor of a Bible-based view of natural history.

“It’s a very peculiar medium,” Myers said of Twitter. “I can also see that it is quite useful.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Blogging & the Internet, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

USA Today: The secret lives of female alcoholics

The numbers are troubling: An estimated 17.6 million adults in the USA are either alcoholics or have alcohol problems, according to the National Institutes of Health. By some estimates, one-third of alcoholics are women.

Yet if you were to ask a woman’s friends and family if she has a drinking problem, they might very well say no.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Alcoholism, Women

Mass appeal: Old-style service drawing young crowd

When introducing a new service these days, most churches seem to go the rock ”˜n’ roll route ”” something new to bring in a younger crowd.

To say that Trinity Episcopal Church went in another direction might be a bit of an understatement.

When the church decided to add a new service in fall 2006, instead of looking forward, it looked back.

Way back. As in the fourth century.

Read it all.

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