Daily Archives: November 15, 2009

NY Times: More Than Ever, You Can Say That on Television

“As a writer, you’re always reaching for a more potent way to call somebody a jerk,” Dan Harmon, the creator of “Community,” said about the word “douche.” “This is a word that has evolved in the last couple of years ”” a thing that sounds like a thing you can’t say.”

It is not simply that the language is becoming more raw on broadcast networks but that the language, violence and sex that formerly was restricted to the 10 p.m. hour has migrated to earlier time slots.

Recent research by Barbara K. Kaye of the University of Tennessee and Barry S. Sapolsky of Florida State University found that in 2005 television viewers were more likely to hear offensive language during the 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. hours than at 10 p.m. Technically, there has not been a “family hour” since 1976, when the United States Supreme Court struck down the imposition of such a policy by the Federal Communications Commission. But broadcast networks observed the practice long after that.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

Roderick Strange: Remembering those who died raises questions about loss and early death

When we wonder about life after death, there are so many questions of varying subtlety. None of us has all the answers. But there is a wisdom in recognising that love may be one of them. The very suggestion that love is the answer is so well worn that it may well seem worn out. But that may be because we have let slip our awareness of what we mean by love. We know about the emotion and we know how mercurial it often is. We recognise it too as something more than feeling: it is the bond that binds us in decisive commitment, the fruit of desire, something we have willed. And then love also names us as we are at our best.

I think of a couple in their later middle age whom I used to visit years ago. The wife had had a stroke, and her medication had caused side-effects that disfigured her. One day her husband said to me, “I wish you could have seen her when she was young. She was lovely”. And I in my foolishness said to him, “I suppose you can still see glimpses of that in her”. He told me, “That is all I see”. Love is more than a quality we possess. It is not an abstraction. It is ultimately what we are called to become.

Heaven is code for the presence of God where love is made perfect, and we are perfected in love. There we shall see one another as we really are, when all imperfection has been wiped away.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Eschatology, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Roman Catholic, Theology

A Church Times Interview with theologian Alison Milbank

It was my children who told me about Tolkien, and said I should read The Lord of the Rings. I had thought it was a book for boys, and was pleasantly surprised to find wonderful feisty heroines in it. But it’s also very melancholic, and you are led to long for something beyond it: the ending is quite unsatisfying, and you’re left with a great hunger for heaven.

The Franciscans use it a lot with young people in Italy. And I was in America, talking to some poor young men on a Greyhound bus; it meant something to all of them. It made one of them question his work, sent another to walk the Appalachian mountains, and prompted a meeting with a girl on the internet.

It’s a very powerful book. I don’t think the films are very good.

G. K. Chesterton is a wonderful writer. The Everlasting Man con­verted C. S. Lewis. Chesterton’s story of how he came to Christianity himself, Orthodoxy, is brilliant: witty, paradoxical, and it makes you see reality in a totally new way.

The stories that changed my life and faith are the ones which give me a shock of the otherness and reality of the world beyond the self.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

A Cloud of Birds. Really. Watch and be Amazed

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

In Copenhagen, Push to Build Mosques Is Met With Resistance

Paris has its grand mosque, on the Left Bank. So does Rome, the city of the pope. Yet despite a sizable Muslim population, this Danish city has nothing but the occasional tiny storefront Muslim place of worship.

The city, Denmark’s capital, is now inching toward construction of not one, but two grand mosques. In August, the city council approved the construction of a Shiite Muslim mosque, replete with two 104-foot-tall minarets, in an industrial quarter on the site of a former factory. Plans are also afoot for a Sunni mosque. But it has been a long and complicated process, tangled up in local politics and the publication four years ago of cartoons mocking Islam.

The difficulties reflect the tortuous path Denmark has taken in dealing with its immigrants, most of whom are Muslim. Copenhagen in particular has been racked by gang wars, with shootouts and killings in recent months between groups of Hells Angels and immigrant bands.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Denmark, Europe, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

High Costs Weigh on Troop Debate for Afghan War

While President Obama’s decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan is primarily a military one, it also has substantial budget implications that are adding pressure to limit the commitment, senior administration officials say.

The latest internal government estimates place the cost of adding 40,000 American troops and sharply expanding the Afghan security forces, as favored by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top American and allied commander in Afghanistan, at $40 billion to $54 billion a year, the officials said.

Even if fewer troops are sent, or their mission is modified, the rough formula used by the White House, of about $1 million per soldier a year, appears almost constant.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, War in Afghanistan

Michael McKinnon: Is unity possible between Catholics and Anglicans?

With so much in common, will many orthodox Anglicans be taking the Pope up on his recent offer? Is this the end of the English Reformation? Probably not. The primacy of Scripture and the Catholic Faith and Order of the early Church serve as the very foundation of the English Reformation and historic Anglicanism. Persons, churches, etc, availing themselves of the Pope’s provision, while maintaining some aspects of Anglican spirituality and liturgy must sacrifice this foundation and become Roman Catholic in Faith. For many Anglicans, we could no more avail ourselves of this offer than could the Eastern Orthodox Church. So for now, Ecumenical Dialogue must continue. We should be grateful to Benedict XIV for reaching out to us and bending as far as he could to accommodate us for the sake of unity. He leads by example. I long for the day when the Church Catholic is reunited. Until then, let us all commit to pray for unity and continue to grow in our understanding and respect for one another.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

A Tablet Editorial on the Vatican Proposal: The Other Path to Rome

Perhaps because of lack of consultation with both Catholic and Anglican authorities in England, the CDF seems to have failed to grasp what Anglo-Catholicism is really all about. Its fundamental aim was to reassert the Catholic credentials of the Church of England as the “ancient Catholic Church of these lands” identical in essence to the medieval English Church. It is from this foundation that derive all those characteristics of its style that the CDF is keen to preserve ”“ the interiors of its churches almost indistinguishable from Catholic churches, the use of “Father” as the title for its clergy, and devotion to a Catholic type of spirituality including honouring the Virgin Mary. But unless one counts use of the Roman missal in some of their churches, there is no distinctive Anglo-Catholic liturgy.

Anglo-Catholicism is going through a profound crisis precisely because it is losing faith in its central principle. Anglicanorum Coetibus is offering to let incoming Anglo-Catholics hang on to the incidental symbols of that principle, while relinquishing what lies behind it. Does that make sense? Would they not be better off just becoming Roman Catholics in the normal way, and joining an existing Catholic community they can enrich and be enriched by?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

A Church Times Editorial on the Vatican Proposal: Checkpoint Charlie for Anglicans

To change the metaphor, the wall that has existed between Rome and Canterbury still stands, maintained, it must be said, largely by Rome. Gates have allowed those led by their consciences to pass across to the other side, but the slow, painstaking work of chipping away at the edifice ”” which many Anglicans thought was the object of dialogue with Roman Catholicism ”” has not yet born fruit. Certainly, this latest move amounts only to the erection of a larger gate, so that groups rather than individuals might cross over. Any who choose to do so will find themselves in another enclosure erected partly, we are told, to preserve the Anglican nature of the ordinariates, but mostly, we suspect, to protect the Roman Catholic dioceses from non-celibate priests and unfamiliar liturgy.

On the Anglican side, the view appears to be gaining ground that, for those people who have been petitioning Rome repeatedly and insistently, the time for persuading them to stay passed some time ago. The issue for them has ceased to be how to fit into the Anglican set-up, but whether the Pope’s offer meets their desires. Just how many of these petitioners there are remains to be seen, of course. When those in “irregular marriage situations”, and those who were formerly Roman Catholics, and those who have difficulty accepting the Roman Catholic Catechism in its entirety, and those who object to the removal of lay people from government are excluded from the figures, there might well be fewer than expected. But once they have decided, the true work of unity, the chipping away at those walls, can resume.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic