Daily Archives: November 24, 2009

Anglican bishops: wear Christian symbols at Christmas

The Rt Rev Jonathan Gledhill, the Bishop of Lichfield, told worshippers to wear crosses or fish symbols to demonstrate that Christmas is a religious holiday.

He also criticised “politically-correct” companies and local councils who sought to make the period a secular celebration.

Bishop Gledhill said: “Companies’ sacking those who want to wear a cross or fish lapel badge and councils rebranding Christmas out of fear of offending ethnic minorities are decisions made out of sheer ignorance.

“I think it wouldn’t be a bad thing if in December all Christians wore a fish badge or cross necklace and sent out a loud message that Christians aren’t going to disappear quietly from the Christmas market place.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Christmas, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Obama Plans Afghan Address Next Week

President Obama has conducted a final meeting on his military review for Afghanistan, administration officials said, and he is planning to explain his decision in an address to the nation next Tuesday.

“After completing a rigorous final meeting, President Obama has the information he wants and needs to make his decision and he will announce that decision within days,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Tuesday morning.

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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

Dover New Hampshire religious leaders call on Gregg to move forward with health care debate

Leading up to the vote, Gregg reportedly said Republicans will attempt to filibuster the bill if it resembles what passed the House. After the vote he criticized it for creating a “new multitrillion dollar entitlement program that massively grows the size and role of the federal government, significantly increases taxes, especially on small businesses, and cuts Medicare by over a trillion dollars.”

Nine faiths were represented by the 15 religious leaders, which included rabbis, priests and pastors, including, from Dover, Rabbi Larry Karol of Dover Temple Israel; the Rev. Susan Garrity of St. Thomas Episcopal Church; the Rev. Mark Monson Alley of St. John’s Methodist Church; Dr. Julian Olivier, chaplain at Wentworth Douglass Hospital; and the Rev. Kendra Ford of First Unitarian Universalist Society of Exeter.

“As religious leaders, we affirm that all human life is sacred. We affirm our moral obligation to provide for the basic needs of all people, including food, clothing, shelter, legal protection and medical care,” they wrote in the letter. “We affirm the equal, just and impartial treatment of all people. … As religious leaders, we recognize that we are all morally bound to work for equal access to health care.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Senate

Episcopal Life: New Episcopalian looks back

Finally, I mustered up the strength to walk into my local Episcopal church on a Sunday. Before I made my trip, I researched the liturgy online so I wouldn’t look like a fool.

It was love at first sight ”“ the beauty of the church, and sounds, too, since I loved the sermon, the prayers and the hymns. Most of all, I loved the people in this small parish. I felt very welcome and sensed that they were very accepting. The stereotypes I had of “church people” were shattered. I used to believe people who went to church were judgmental, humorless, rigid and had nothing in common with me. How wrong I had been.

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

Episcopal Diocese of Long Island Seeks Return of Legal Fees

The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island wants law firms to repay the $205,000 in legal fees that “dissident” parishioners allegedly paid out of church coffers after trying unsuccessfully to take over a church. The squabble erupted after the consecration of the church’s first openly gay bishop, in 2003.

The Diocese says the dissidents voted to disaffiliate St. James Church of Elmhurst in 2005, then used church money to pay their legal fees as they sought control of the parish’s 304-year-old property.

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

BBC: Iraq war inquiry will be no whitewash, Chilcot says

The man in charge of the inquiry examining events surrounding the Iraq war has said his committee will not produce a report that is a “whitewash”.

Sir John Chilcot, a retired career civil servant, has promised to produce a “full and insightful” account.

Evidence from senior government figures will start on Tuesday and politicians, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair will be called early in 2010.

The report will not be released until after the General Election.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Iraq War, Politics in General

NPR: Combining Medicine and Writing

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Health & Medicine

WSJ Front Page: One in Four Borrowers Is Under Water

The proportion of U.S. homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than the properties are worth has swelled to about 23%, threatening prospects for a sustained housing recovery.

Nearly 10.7 million households had negative equity in their homes in the third quarter, according to First American CoreLogic, a real-estate information company based in Santa Ana, Calif.

These so-called underwater mortgages pose a roadblock to a housing recovery because the properties are more likely to fall into bank foreclosure and get dumped into an already saturated market. Economists from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. said Monday they didn’t expect U.S. home prices to hit bottom until early 2011, citing the prospect of oversupply.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Uganda Daily Monitor–”˜Pope’s invitation will not have effect on Anglican following’

Church of Uganda yesterday said Vatican’s open invite to disgruntled Anglicans to embrace the Catholic Church for spiritual relief will have no effect on its following. Ms Alison Barfoot, the Churches external relations officer, said there are no Anglican-Catholic members in their fold to heed the Pope’s call.

Critics say the Apostolic Constitution or decree that Rome made public last month appears calculated to exploit the intra-Anglican divide and trigger mass defections over the issue of homosexuality and consecration of women as bishops. “It seems the Pope created the structure [of Anglican Ordinariate] to allow the disaffected, especially Anglo-Catholic, to preserve their tradition of prayers and liturgy while allowing them to be Catholics,” she said, adding: “We don’t think it’s going to have any impact here.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

The Economist Leader: Dealing with America's fiscal hole

A sudden crisis is unlikely. Other rich countries with far bigger debts relative to the size of their economies, from Italy to Japan, have soldiered on without hitting a wall. Stable politics, transparent laws and economic dominance give America unequalled credibility with lenders. For all the anxiety the declining dollar drew from China this week (see article), it has no serious rival as the world’s reserve currency. America has sensibly used this fiscal freedom to enact an aggressive stimulus programme. This should be maintained for as long as it is needed.

Yet ignoring the future is also costly. The problem is not the deficits in the next couple of years, but in the years that follow. Uncertainty over how taxes may be raised to shrink deficits may already be weighing on business confidence. Worries about inflation or default could start to push up interest rates. Eventually, private investment will be crowded out.

Barack Obama and Congress can pre-empt such corrosive uncertainty with a plan to reduce the deficit now. Far from requiring immediate spending cuts or tax increases, a credible plan would reassure markets and allow an orderly exit from fiscal stimulus. The Federal Reserve provides a model: it does not plan to tighten monetary policy in the near future, but has signalled its willingness to do so when inflation threatens.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Economy, Federal Reserve, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: An Extended interview with Ralph Wood on Flannery O’Connor

The assumption made by most of her readers in the early ’50s when she came into print was that here we have another H.L. Mencken, here we have another Sinclair Lewis, here we have a sophisticate, and above all a Catholic sophisticate, making fun of these dumb, backwoods, benighted, backward fundamentalists who are screaming “Jesus saves,” who are doing wild and hairy things like handling snakes and so forth, so she must be mocking, she must be having fun with them, she must be satirizing them in the fashion of Mencken or Sinclair Lewis. Of course, Mencken called the Bible the nastiest name he could think of, you know””not the Cotton Belt, not the Tobacco Belt, but the ugly word, the Bible Belt. And for O’Connor that was the glory of her region, these people, backwoods””not our contemporary fundamentalists, not those that have moved into political power. These were the emarginated people in the sidelines of southern life in small, out of the way places, never making it into the news, never wanting to get into the news, never trying to push political candidates forward, never using the Gospel for some so-called larger political end. They were, instead, obsessed with God’s own self-identification in the Jews and in Jesus and in the book that is that story of self-identification, and so she saw””look, these are my brothers and sisters, they are as unlike me as they can be when it comes to the church and its sacraments, but they are a whole of a kind of sweated Gospel, a Gospel that takes God and God’s world with the utmost seriousness, and therefore I’ve got to attend to them, I cannot dismiss them, and so she winds up saying these are people after my own heart, and I want to write about them sympathetically, and of course that just stunned her secular audience, as they couldn’t understand at all what she was trying to do, when she was saying I think, in fact, what St. Thomas says. She says most sins are committed by acts of immoderation, of excess. There’s one and one only quality that can never be sufficiently immoderate, and that’s the love of God. And in fact Thomas says you cannot love God moderately, you cannot love God in a kind of lukewarm fashion. We love God either absolutely or not at all. And she saw in these backwoods, southern, I call them folk Christians more than fundamentalists, that kind of completely radical love of God in their own way.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, History, Other Churches, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Stephen King On a New Biography of Raymond Carver and a New Collection of Carver's Writings

This is a must-not-miss. For those of you who do not know Carver’s writings, they are a real treasure–KSH.

Raymond Carver, surely the most influential writer of American short stories in the second half of the 20th century, makes an early appearance in Carol Sklenicka’s exhaustive and sometimes exhausting biography as a 3- or 4-year-old on a leash. “Well, of course I had to keep him on a leash,” his mother, Ella Carver, said much later ”” and seemingly without irony.

Mrs. Carver might have had the right idea. Like the perplexed lower-middle-class juicers who populate his stories, Carver never seemed to know where he was or why he was there. I was constantly reminded of a passage in Peter Straub’s “Ghost Story”: “The man just drove, distracted by this endless soap opera of America’s bottom dogs.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, History, Poetry & Literature

3 Clergymen Tell How Differences of Faith Led to Friendship

It sounds like the start of a joke: a rabbi, a minister and a Muslim sheik walk into a restaurant.

But there they were, Rabbi Ted Falcon, the Rev. Don Mackenzie and Sheik Jamal Rahman, walking into an Indian restaurant, and afterward a Presbyterian church. The sanctuary was full of 250 people who came to hear them talk about how they had wrestled with their religious differences and emerged as friends.

They call themselves the “interfaith amigos.” And while they do sometimes seem more like a stand-up comedy team than a trio of clergymen, they know they have a serious burden in making a case for interfaith understanding in a country reeling from the spectacle of a Muslim Army officer at Fort Hood opening fire on his fellow soldiers.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Albert Mohler: Why I Signed The Manhattan Declaration

There are several reasons, but all come down to this — I believe we are facing an inevitable and culture-determining decision on the three issues centrally identified in this statement. I also believe that we will experience a significant loss of Christian churches, denominations, and institutions in this process. There is every good reason to believe that the freedom to conduct Christian ministry according to Christian conviction is being subverted and denied before our eyes. I believe that the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage, and religious liberty are very much in danger at this very moment.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

College Graduates Struggle To Repay Loans

Samantha Green graduated from Indiana University in May with a $50,000 debt, a degree in journalism and a burning desire to start her career in Chicago.

So far, the only job offers she has gotten are temporary or minimum-wage sales jobs.

“It’s just not something that’s a good fit for me,” says Green, who is doing odd jobs to earn some money.

Her job prospects are so poor that her parents have been helping pay her rent, electric bills and groceries. Now they’re covering her $300 monthly student loan payments, too.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Young Adults