Daily Archives: October 6, 2009

In Alabama, Going green for God

It was that “ah-ha” moment Betty McGee said she was hoping to get from members of First Presbyterian Church of Florence.

“It came when we put recycling into context,” she said of the Sunday morning experiment of separating trash from the pulpit into piles of what is garbage and what can be reused.

McGee said a recycling program has been in place at the church, the Shoals’ oldest organized congregation, since the 1980s, but this year, the decision was made to ratchet up the members’ commitment to the environmental cause.

Until the past few years, organized religion, Christianity in particular, has left environmental protection to activists, concerned scientists and political figures. Likewise, environmentalists have either ignored religion or complained that churches have been lukewarm about environmental causes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Energy, Natural Resources, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Tale Of Exploding Assassin Worries Security Officials

This is the story of an al-Qaida assassination plot that failed ”” or did it?

The two main characters are a Saudi prince and an al-Qaida suicide bomber. The prince survived their meeting in August. The bomber did not. And yet, the episode has sent a chill through Western security circles.

The assailant had a bomb hidden inside his body in an elaborate effort to kill the Saudi prince. And Western intelligence officials are concerned that the technique will be tried again.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Terrorism

Church Historian Robert Prichard: Living in the Episcopal Church in Divisive Times

The problem with the Augustine approach is that we have been inconsistent in its use. It is unfair to be serious about the personal sins of gay and lesbian persons, and silent about the numerous personal sins of all others. We need to be more consistent in our use of language, and m ore consistent in our call to personal holiness.

Dated (from 2003) but helpful–read it all (hat tip: PW).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, Theology

Cal Thomas on David Letterman: Creepy Behavior

In olden days when “a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking” there was a morals clause written into an actor’s film contract. The purpose was to restrain an actor from engaging in public behavior that might offend the audience and harm ticket sales.

Today, lewd and crude behavior can boost ticket sales and TV ratings and what passes for a morals clause deals with sexual harassment in the workplace.

Which brings me to David Letterman’s recent disclosure that he has had sex with female subordinates who worked on his show. Much of the coverage has mentioned that this was before his marriage to his live-in girlfriend of more than a decade with whom he fathered a child. Some wish to draw a moral distinction between fornication and adultery. It is something like the line Whoopi Goldberg tried to draw on “The View” between rape and what she called “rape rape” while discussing director Roman Polanski’s 1977 sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl. Hey, if Woody Allen (a signer of the petition for going easy on Polanski) can marry his adopted daughter when he was the lover of Mia Farrow, who is to say any line exists between anything?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Movies & Television, Theology

Julie Asher–Remembering Pope John Paul II in Iowa 30 years ago

I remember being impressed by the sea of people ”” numbering about 350,000 ”” and watching them move across the fields as they found a place to wait for the pope’s arrival and for the Mass he would celebrate. When it was over, I couldn’t help but wonder what a sight it must have been for the pope as his helicopter flew overhead as the people streamed down the highway on foot (a portion of it was closed), leaving for home and to reflect on his message.

The pope’s words that day about respecting the land and the work of farmers and everyone involved in raising our food and getting it to us still have resonance:

“Land is God’s gift ”¦ land is man’s responsibility,” Pope John Paul told the crowd. “To all you farmers and all who are associated with agricultural productions, I want to say the church highly esteems your work. ”¦ You support the lives of millions. ”¦ Conserve the land well so that future generations will inherit an even richer land than was entrusted to you.”

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Energy, Natural Resources, History, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Roman Catholic, Theology

Archbishop Eterovic's Synodal Address to the Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops

Together we thank the Good and Merciful God for the many gifts bestowed on the Church in Africa which are placed at the service of all, especially the poorest of the poor and the most in need. In particular, we give thanks for its great dynamism witnessed in the following statistics.

In a world population of 6,617,097,000 inhabitants, the number of Catholics is 1,146,656,000, that is, 17.3%. However, the percentage in Africa is higher. In fact, out of 943,743,000 inhabitants, the number of Catholics is 164,925,00, namely 17.5%. This figure is very significant if one considers, for example, that, in 1978, at the beginning of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, the number of African Catholics was about 55,000,000. In 1994, the year in which the First Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops was held, the number was 102,878,000 faithful, that is, 14.6% of the population in Africa.

In that same period, we also have a significant increase in the number of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life. In fact, thanks be to God, a consistent increase is witnessed in all sectors, particularly among Christ’s faithful: bishops, priests, deacons, men and women in the consecrated life and committed lay people, among whom catechists occupy an important place. This is proven in a comparison of statistical data from 1994 with that of 2007.

Read it all–it is not short but there is much interesting material to learn from.

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

Roman Catholic Bishops of Ireland Issue a Pastoral Letter on Suicide

Bishop Fleming continued “Each of us has a duty to care for one another and, in particular, to care for the weak and the vulnerable in our society. The parish community can play an important role both in the promotion of mental health and in the provision of the support which says to its members that approaching a professional in the area of mental health is a sign of strength rather than an indication of weakness. Through the creation of a supportive and compassionate community, each of us can reach out to those who, for whatever reason, find life a great burden.

“The Day for Life 2009 also wishes to support those who have lost a friend or a family member through the taking of their own life. In helping them to understand the forces which may draw someone to do this, we wish to show them something of the love and compassion of Christ.”

“Life matters. It is commonly accepted that those who die by suicide don’t want to die; they simply wish to end their pain. Suicide prevention is, therefore, a duty of everyone in our society. In this area we need to be particularly concerned for other people and sensitive to their difficulties.” You are Precious in my Sight addresses pastoral issues around suicide such as why some people consider suicide and the issue of assisted suicide. Bishop Fleming said “Our Pastoral Letter is for everybody. It contains a special Day for Life prayer and it reminds us that “the message of the Gospel is that, whatever has happened to us, and whatever we have done, we can never be separated from the love of God in Jesus Christ. Pain, even tragedy, are never God’s last word.'”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ireland, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Pope: Love Conquers All, Even in Africa

Before Benedict XVI offered the synodal fathers points for reflection, the participants gathered in the Synod Hall in Vatican City to sing the hymn “Veni, Creator Spiritus” (Come, Holy Spirit).

After the intonation to the Holy Spirit, the Pontiff noted: “We just began our synodal encounter by invoking the Holy Spirit and knowing that we can’t do in this moment all that is needed to be done for the Church and the world: Only with the strength of the Holy Spirit will be able to find what is right so as to apply it later.”

Speaking of the action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope explained that it is only with that force that the Church can continue its work, and with his invocation, he prays that Pentecost be not only an event from the past but that it be recreated here and now.

Read it all.

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

Archbishop Rowan Williams welcomes the new Bishop of Dover

The Archbishop of Canterbury introduced the new Bishop of Dover at Chalkpit Farm in Bekesborne, where Bishop Trevor outlined ways that the church and rural communities can successfully work together.

Commenting on Bishop Trevor’s appointment, Archbishop Rowan said: “I am very pleased indeed to welcome Bishop Trevor to the Diocese. He is an experienced pastor, with a powerful vision for the Church in contemporary society, and also a wise and reflective person who will bring great depth to our conversations and plans in Canterbury. I hope he and Margaret will be very happy here, and greatly look forward to our work together.”

Read it all and watch the linked video at the bottom also.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

As Job Loss Rises, Obama Aides Act to Fix Safety Net

With unemployment expected to rise well into next year even as the economy slowly recovers, the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress are discussing extending several safety net programs as well as proposing new tax incentives for businesses to renew hiring.

President Obama’s economic team discussed a wide range of ideas at a meeting on Monday, following his Saturday radio address in which he said it would “explore additional options to promote job creation.” But officials emphasized that a decision was still far off and that in any event the effort would not add up to a second economic stimulus package, only an extension of the first.

“We’re thinking through all additional potential strategies for accelerating job creation,” said Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

U.S. Push to Expand in Pakistan Meets Resistance

Steps by the United States to vastly expand its aid to Pakistan, as well as the footprint of its embassy and private security contractors here, are aggravating an already volatile anti-American mood as Washington pushes for greater action by the government against the Taliban.

An aid package of $1.5 billion a year for the next five years passed by Congress last week asks Pakistan to cease supporting terrorist groups on its soil and to ensure that the military does not interfere with civilian politics. President Asif Ali Zardari, whose association with the United States has added to his unpopularity, agreed to the stipulations in the aid package.

But many here, especially in the powerful army, object to the conditions as interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs, and they are interpreting the larger American footprint in more sinister ways.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Pakistan

Daily Pilot: Supreme Court won't hear St. James case

The Supreme Court of the United States announced today that it will not hear a property rights case petitioned by St. James Church of Newport Beach.

The court said it is waiting for final ruling in the case before considering whether it will make its own decision.

St. James has owned its church property for more than 50 years, and has sought to keep it following its split from the Episcopal Church and its Los Angeles Diocese over theological differences regarding homosexuality.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the Dollar

In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning ”“ along with China, Russia, Japan and France ”“ to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.

The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.

Read it all.

Update: Jim Lindgren has comments on this there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Globalization, Middle East, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

In Rochester Interfaith gathering tackles city issues

The key to solving some of Rochester’s most pernicious problems lies in increased collaboration across faith, racial and geographical boundaries, Episcopal Bishop Prince Singh said Sunday at an interfaith service downtown.

The service was part of the city’s ongoing 175th anniversary celebration. Singh, who is bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, addressed a crowd of about 50 at the Episcopal Church of St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene on South Fitzhugh Street. Scriptures from Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and Christian traditions and a Buddhist prayer were read aloud.

Participants also prayed together for the city’s leaders, firefighters, police officers, young people and others.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Inter-Faith Relations, TEC Bishops

An ENS Article on the US Supreme Court decision in the Los Angeles Episcopal Lawsuit

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles