Daily Archives: April 17, 2010

Top Episcopal bishop gives blessing to urban programs

There was no red carpet, no fanfare for Friday’s visit to Bridgeport by the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States and 15 other nations.

And the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori preferred it that way.

Jefferts Schori, the first woman to hold the post of U.S. presiding bishop, said she doesn’t even like to be called “Excellency,” as some high-ranking religious officials sometimes are. Nonetheless, her responsibilities are lofty as she is considered the leader of the Episcopal Church’s 2.4 million members, who comprise one of 38 provinces, or churches, of the Anglican Communion. Elected to the post in 2006, she previously served as bishop of Nevada.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

Former Fredericton priest becomes Anglican bishop

Ven. Thomas A. Corston was chosen as the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Moosonee at an electoral synod held April 10.

Corston, who ministered in Fredericton in the 1980s, was elected on the fifth ballot from amongst seven candidates. He succeeds Most Rev. Caleb Lawrence, who had served as Bishop of Moosonee for the past 30 years before retiring in January.

The Diocese of Moosonee encompasses 350,000 square miles in northern Ontario and western Quebec and is home to about 8,700 Anglicans. The diocese is a member of the Council of the North.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Connecticut Episcopal Diocese to consecrate bishop

The state will be the shining star of the Anglican Communion today when the Rev. Ian T. Douglas is consecrated the 15th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.

Douglas sits on the Anglican Consultative Council, which represents Anglicans worldwide, so he is well known outside the Episcopal Church. He asked a friend, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, to be the preacher today.

Douglas, formerly professor of world mission at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., said his connections will benefit the diocese, and vice versa.

“I’m not afraid to call in favors around the world to help us in Connecticut,” he said recently. “I have a pretty good Rolodex that I would hope to utilize.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Evangelicals and Nuclear Security

BOB ABERNETHY, host: At a summit meeting in Washington convened by President Obama, leaders of 47 countries promised to take steps to stop the spread of nuclear materials and weapons. This followed agreement earlier by the US and Russia to cut back their deployed nuclear weapons by a third. Many religious groups are active in support of nuclear arms reduction and eventual elimination, and we want to talk about that with Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. Richard, welcome. There are lots of new organizations around that are trying to call attention to the problem of nuclear weapons. Why now?

RICHARD CIZIK (President, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good): Among other reasons, Bob, not simply the outrage that this could happen, that is, detonation of a nuclear device in an American city. That would be enough to motivate anybody, it would seem. But the younger evangelicals and others their age, they grew up post-Cold War, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and frankly after 9/11. They know terrorism, but they don’t know nukes. But they are optimistic this can be done, the Global Zero movement, but it’s educating a whole new generation that has to be done, who didn’t grow up with it, hasn’t acquiesced to it.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

CNN–The downside of 'friends with benefits'

When Jennifer Nicholas sees television shows or movies where characters “hook up” or have sex with “friends with benefits,” she cringes, because that’s how she got herpes.

“Getting an STD wasn’t even something that crossed my mind,” said Nicholas, 39, who learned that she had herpes at age 22. “One day I’m at the doctor’s office and it was, ‘Surprise! You’ve got herpes.’ ”

Experts in sexually transmitted diseases say they’ve become increasingly concerned about the trend toward having what they call “sexual involvement in nonromantic contexts” — the technical term for hookups or “friends with benefits” — because they’re especially likely to spread sexually transmitted diseases.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

Lord Richard Harries: It's natural for us to use our God-given brains to improve our Wellbeing

I was particularly interested in the news yesterday that scientists at Newcastle University have been able to replace the nucleus of one women’s egg with the nucleus from another egg to stop a child being born with mitochondrial disease. This is a disease affecting one child in 6,500, which can result in blindness, heart failure and other serious conditions. For six years, until the beginning of this year, I had the privilege of being on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and this was one of the many difficult issues that we had to decide about. Indeed, our decision to allow research in this area was challenged right up to the highest court in the land.

These are indeed contentious issues, but I think it is important first to be clear about what we mean by the much used word “natural”. It is not natural to us simply to let nature take its course. What is natural for us as human beings is to use our God given brains to interact with nature for human wellbeing….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Theology

BBC Radio 4's Today Programme–Cardiff's binge drinking culture

Over the course of the election campaign, the Today programme will be investigating the big trends in British society over the past 13 years, and how the trends have influenced the choices that politicians have made on our behalf.

In the first in a series of reports, John Humphrys visited Cardiff on a Saturday night, to see how the government has attempted to tackle the rise in binge-drinking.

Listen to it all (almost 8 1/2 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, England / UK, Violence, Wales, Young Adults

A New Website allows you to rate coworkers

[Kai] Ryssdal: All right, so explain it to me. How does Unvarnished work?

[Peter] Kazanjy: So, essentially what Unvarnished is trying to do is take how professional reputation works in the off-line world and bring it online. Right now, professional reputation information, it exists in the minds of all of our colleagues, and that information is kind of very fractured and not accessible. And what we’re seeking to do is surface that information in such a way that it makes it much more accessible and much more valuable — much the same way that Web sites like Trip Advisor has done for hotels and Yelp has done for restaurants and dentists and doctors and plumbers and individuals as well.

Ryssdal: And all of those things, I get, right — hotels and travel experiences and even dentists. But somehow, this idea of professional reputation being open to such interpretation, it’s a tricky thing, isn’t it?

Kazanjy: Well, I think it is, but I think that a lot of times people say, they immediately go to thinking about themselves being reviewed, as opposed to “Wow, it would be great for a forum where I can express my opinion and give great credit where credit is due, and also feedback where needed.” And also, great to have a resource where I could actually get the inside scoop and figure out who’s great to work with, who’s good to work with and who maybe I want to avoid.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

Joe Nocera–A Wall Street Invention Let the Crisis Mutate

In the immediate aftermath, the conventional wisdom was that Wall Street had simply lost its head. It was terrible, to be sure, but on some level understandable: Dutch tulips, the South Sea bubble, that sort of thing.

In recent months, though, something more troubling has begun to emerge. In December, Gretchen Morgenson and Louise Story of The New York Times exposed the role that some firms, including Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, played in putting together investment structures ”” synthetic C.D.O.’s, they were called ”” that were primed to blow up. They did so, reportedly, because some savvy investors wanted to go short the subprime market.

On Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission dropped the hammer, charging Goldman Sachs with securities fraud for its purported failure to disclose that the bonds that were the basis for one particular synthetic C.D.O. had been chosen by none other than John Paulson, the billionaire hedge fund investor, who was shorting them.

Oh, and one other thing is starting to become clear: synthetic C.D.O.’s made the crisis worse than it would otherwise have been.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Ash Plume across the North Atlantic

A picture that is worth thousands and thousands of travellers stranded in Europe. Ugh.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Travel

Eric Felten–Captive-TV Nation: Oh, The Humanity

If you have traipsed through a hotel lobby lately; tramped on a health-club treadmill; guzzled a beer at a bar; or nervously anticipated your turn in the dentist’s chair, you likely found your eyes wandering to a video screen. The business of “captive TV,” as it is called, is booming. According to Nielsen, the television audience-measurement people, we collectively viewed a quarter-billion video advertisements in the last four months of 2009. Whatever the exact number, we don’t need Nielsen to tell us that it is getting harder and harder to find a public space free from the tireless and tiresome electronic beckonings of “location-based video.”

The business has grown by boasting several advantages for advertisers. A crowd of people with nowhere to go and nothing to do will look at the screens””plus the ads””grateful for anything to “help pass the time,” as one of the services says in its promotional material. Doctors’ offices, airports and the DMV get to turn the inconvenience of their clients into a revenue stream. The place-based systems also promise to deliver narrowly defined audiences that can be given tailored pitches. How better to market to drinkers than with ads in bars? Then there are the screens in bathrooms, which provide ads that one media company crows are, “perfectly gender segmented.” Perhaps most attractive to marketers in the age of digital video recorders: The passive public viewers don’t have access to a remote control. There’s no fast-forwarding through the advertisements.

Unless you have tremendous discipline and willpower, there’s no ignoring them either….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Travel

Peggy Noonan–How to Save the Catholic Church

Once, leaders of the Vatican felt that silence would protect the church. But now anyone who cares about it must come to understand that only speaking, revealing, admitting and changing will save the church.

The old Vatican needs new blood.

They need to let younger generations of priests and nuns rise to positions of authority within a new church. Most especially and most immediately, they need to elevate women. As a nun said to me this week, if a woman had been sitting beside a bishop transferring a priest with a history of abuse, she would have said: “Hey, wait a minute!”

If the media and the victims don’t keep the pressure on, the old ways will continue. As for Cardinal Law, he should not be where he is, nor mitred nor ringed.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

I Love the Whole World–the Discovery Channel

Wonderful stuff–watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Globalization, Science & Technology

Eugene Kontorovich: A Shining Target on a Hill That Nobody Tries to Hit

The First Amendment prohibits any “law respecting an establishment of religion,” and in recent years the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause cases have focused on religiously themed public displays. Yet the court has failed to develop clear rules for deciding such cases, ensuring further litigation. There is something picayune about these disputes, over courthouse Ten Commandments displays or school-yard crèches. In this term’s Establishment Clause case, Salazar v. Bruno, for instance, the justices will soon decide whether an eight-foot cruciform war memorial in a park in the Mojave Desert violates the Constitution.

All the while, the court has never come to grips with the existence of a literal established church on a hill just across town””the National Cathedral. Although the Cathedral helps put issues like those in Salazar in proper perspective, it seems the court can’t see the Cathedral for the crosses.

The Cathedral’s parent body, the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, was “constituted” by an act of Congress in 1893, and the cornerstone was laid in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907. The charter Congress issued on the Feast of the Epiphany called on the Foundation to “establish”¦within the District of Columbia a cathedral . . . for the promotion of religion” and other worthwhile causes.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes

Pope urges repentance in homily

In his most direct reference to the sexual abuse crisis that has reached the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday that it was necessary for Christians to “repent” in light of “the attacks of the world, which speaks to us of our sins.”

But in an approach typical of the tough-minded yet media-averse theologian, Benedict aimed his message directly at the church, offering his remarks in an off-the-cuff homily at a small, untelevised Mass at the Vatican.

“I have to say that we Christians, even in recent times, have often avoided the word ‘repentance,’ which seems too harsh,” Benedict said at a Mass later broadcast on Vatican Radio.

“Now under the attacks of the world, which speaks to us of our sins, we see that the ability to repent is a grace, and we see how it is necessary to repent, that is, to recognize what is wrong in our life,” he added.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic