Daily Archives: April 28, 2010

Survey: 72% of Millennials 'more spiritual than religious'

Most young adults today don’t pray, don’t worship and don’t read the Bible, a major survey by a Christian research firm shows.

If the trends continue, “the Millennial generation will see churches closing as quickly as GM dealerships,” says Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources. In the group’s survey of 1,200 18- to 29-year-olds, 72% say they’re “really more spiritual than religious.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

PBS Newshour Extended Transcript: Cardinal William Levada

MARGARET WARNER: We’ve had people say to us that this is the worst crisis the church has faced in a couple hundred years. Do you see it that way?

CARDINAL LEVADA: It’s a big crisis. I think no one should try to diminish that. I think the crisis is particularly grave because priests are ordained to be good shepherds. We had Good Shepherd Sunday this last Sunday, and this is anything but being a good shepherd when you abuse children and you violate their innocence and their persons and they are too young to be able to respond on their own. So this is a crisis if you will that I think caught most of us by surprise. One bishop told me “this isn’t the cruise I signed up for,” but that’s in fact what has happened. I think the pope, that was not his training and background, but I think he is the right man to be guiding the church at this time.

MARGARET WARNER: Now many people we’ve spoken to certainly in the States, in the church, are surprised that you all here seem surprised by this new wave. That after all the American church went through this eight years ago, painfully, had gone to a new way of operating, after many revelations. Why was the Vatican not more prepared? Why is this a surprise?

CARDINAL LEVADA: Well I think that there are two things involved in the current media attention. I think one is the situation in Ireland, where the report on the Archdiocese of Dublin triggered a lot of attention, not only in Ireland, but in Europe and then I think throughout the world. And the second, frankly I think, is if I will say a certain media bias. I shouldn’t, I don’t want to scapegoat anybody or have a conspiracy theory, but I do think that the American media in particular has the question has been driven by information given by the plaintiffs’ attorneys who are looking for ways to involve the pope somehow in a court process or something like that, which are I think bound to be futile but nevertheless I think that has driven a fair amount of the media coverage if I may say so.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Europe, Media, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

FCA General Secretary responds to the Global South to South Encounter

One reason why it fails to create a strong reaction is that it simply confirms the obvious. The crisis moment has now passed. Many of the Global South provinces have given up on the official North American Anglicans (TEC and the Canadian Church) and regard themselves as being out of communion with them. They renew the call for repentance but can see that, failing something like the Great Awakening, it will not occur. The positive side to this is that they are committed to achieving self-sufficiency so that they will cease to rely on the Western churches for aid. That is something the Global South has been working on for some time, with success.

In my judgment, the assembly was unresponsive to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s video greetings. I don’t think that what he said was obscure. It just seemed to be from another age, another world. His plea for patience misjudged the situation by several years and his talk of the Anglican covenant was not where the actual conference was at. He seemed to suggest that the consecration of a partnered lesbian Bishop will create a crisis. In fact the crisis itself has passed. We are now on the further side of the critical moment; the decisions have all been made; we are already living with the consequences. And it was in working out the consequences that the communiqué may eventually be seen to be historic.

The Global South Encounter could not in itself recognize the authenticity of churches. But the communiqué goes as far as is possible to recognizing the authenticity of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) and declaring this body to be the true heirs of the Anglican tradition on that continent. This is precisely what the GAFCON/FCA Primates Council did in 2009, and it really means that the leadership of the vast majority of the Anglican Communion regards itself as being in communion with ACNA and out of fellowship with the other North Americans. This was symbolized by the part played by Archbishop Bob Duncan at the conference, especially when he presided at Holy Communion. Furthermore the welcome accorded to the two bishops from the Communion Partners demonstrated the Global South commitment to Biblical standards as a test of fellowship.

In the meantime, of course, there are those, notably in the West, who want to play by the old institutional rules. They would argue that ACNA cannot be part of the Anglican Communion because it has not passed the tests of admission via the Anglican Consultative Council. This is so artificial as to be risible….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Global South Churches & Primates, Global South to South Encounter 4 in Singapore April 2010

Down Under, Anglicans back wild rivers law overhaul

The Anglican Church has entered the debate over Queensland’s controversial wild rivers laws, calling for them to be overhauled.

The Archer, Stewart and Lockhart rivers were declared wild rivers in April last year, adding to the six already declared in Cape York and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The declarations place limits on development along the rivers and their tributaries.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues

New Zealand Anglican Bishop Welcomes Alcohol Report

The Anglican Bishop of Auckland, The Right Reverend Ross Bay, has welcomed the Law Commission’s Report “Alcohol in our Lives, Curbing the Harm” presented to Parliament this week.

Bishop Bay has long carried a concern about the negative trends in drinking behaviour among some New Zealanders. He considers that the shift to a lower legal age in 1999 has been a big factor in the growing youth alcohol problem. He is supportive of the legal drinking age returning to 20 years.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Alcohol/Drinking, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shown a PowerPoint slide in Kabul last summer that was meant to portray the complexity of American military strategy, but looked more like a bowl of spaghetti.

“When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war,” General McChrystal dryly remarked, one of his advisers recalled, as the room erupted in laughter.

The slide has since bounced around the Internet as an example of a military tool that has spun out of control. Like an insurgency, PowerPoint has crept into the daily lives of military commanders and reached the level of near obsession. The amount of time expended on PowerPoint, the Microsoft presentation program of computer-generated charts, graphs and bullet points, has made it a running joke in the Pentagon and in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat.

Read it all from the front page of Tuesday’s New York Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Globalization, Science & Technology

Martin Feldstein: Why Greece Will Default

Greece will default on its national debt. That default will be due in large part to its membership in the European Monetary Union. If it were not part of the euro system, Greece might not have gotten into its current predicament and, even if it had gotten into its current predicament, it could have avoided the need to default.

Greece’s default on its national debt need not mean an explicit refusal to make principal and interest payments when they come due. More likely would be an IMF-organized restructuring of the existing debt, swapping new bonds with lower principal and interest for existing bonds. Or it could be a “soft default” in which Greece unilaterally services its existing debt with new debt rather than paying in cash. But, whatever form the default takes, the current owners of Greek debt will get less than the full amount that they are now owed.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Greece, Politics in General

Intrade on the UK Election

Price for Winner of next UK General Election (Political Party) at intrade.com

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

Europe Worried That Greek Crisis Is Poised to Spread

With Greece inching closer to the brink of financial collapse, fear that the debt crisis will spread rattled markets for a second day Wednesday, while an extraordinary collection of global financial leaders gathered in Berlin to seek a solution.

Shares fell 2 percent or more across Europe and parts of Asia as investors increasingly wonder if Portugal, Spain and even Ireland may not be able to borrow the billions of dollars they need to finance their government spending.

“It’s like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns,” said Philip Lane, a professor of international economics at Trinity College in Ireland, referring to the Wall Street failures that propelled the financial crisis of 2008. “It is not so much the fundamentals as it is the unwillingness of the market to fund you.”

Standard & Poor’s cut Greece’s debt to junk level on Tuesday, warning that bondholders could face losses of up to half of their holdings in a restructuring. The agency also downgraded Portugal’s debt by two notches.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Economy, Europe, Greece, Politics in General, Portugal

17 Years Later, Stage 4 Survivor Is Savoring a Life Well Lived

Two and a half years after the Stage 4 diagnosis, I confessed to my mother that the doctors had said I had two years to live, tops. I’d kept this information to myself because if you say it, it’s true. I told her this laughing, as if we were trading preposterous stories. “Well, I guess you’re going to have to hold your breath if you’re going to make that deadline,” she replied, in her slow Southern drawl when I gave my previously stated expiration date.

I spent the next five years holding my breath, then did the same for another five. I enacted every New Year’s resolution, past and future, all at once. Quit work that had grown stale and became a writer. Wrote a book. Went to India on assignment, fell in love with the language that was swirling around me, went back to live for a year and learn Hindi. Didn’t realize the reason I’d come to dislike that hyperbolically overachieving Lance Armstrong was that his behavior was too familiar. Take a nap, Lance! I’d think to myself, though in truth I couldn’t either.

But if I was verging on radical levels of life consumption, I had a reason: No one had told me I wasn’t going to die soon. About 12 years out, my doctor finally did.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Science & Technology

Washington Post–Daniel Coughlin, House chaplain, marks 10 years of service

In the beginning, there was partisanship.

When Daniel Coughlin was chosen to be the first-ever Catholic House chaplain in March 2000, Democrats made clear that he wasn’t their pick. A top Democratic spokeswoman called the decision to appoint him — made unilaterally by then-Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) — “a graceless, tactless, partisan maneuver.”

Ten years later, Coughlin is still in the job, and there is ample evidence that the rancor that accompanied his selection has disappeared: Last week, lawmakers from both parties streamed onto the House floor to honor his decade of service.

“He has seen us through the dark and through the bright,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said of the chaplain. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) confessed to being “a better person for having known Father Coughlin and having been counseled by him.” Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) called him “an inspiration.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, House of Representatives, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Catherine of Siena

Everlasting God, who didst so kindle the flame of holy love in the heart of blessed Catherine of Siena, as she meditated on the passion of thy Son our Savior, that she devoted her life to the poor and the sick, and to the peace and unity of the Church: Grant that we also may share in the mystery of Christ’s death, and rejoice in the revelation of His Glory, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

–1 Thessalonians 2;13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Yet Another Easter Prayer

Gracious Lord, we remember that thou didst accompany thy two disciples as they journeyed to Emmaus. Do thou go with us, O Lord, on our journey through this world. Guide us, uphold us, strengthen us; make our hearts to burn within us; and evermore manifest thyself to our souls in gracious and heavenly power. For thine own name’s sake we ask it.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

David Rosenberg–Even If The Economy's Back, Future Recessions Are Coming Faster And Harder

Nobody would ever dispute that the U.S. economy has managed to see its government spend its way into some sort of statistical recovery ”” though it is more evident in the output and sales data than in the income data. Look at the largesse ”” a 0% policy rate, a $2.3 trillion Fed balance sheet loaded up with mortgages, a $1.4 trillion fiscal deficit loaded with bailouts and freebies and accounting changes that have allowed the banks to mark-to-model their way back towards earnings heaven. If the economy was not recovering without Uncle Sam’s generosity, then that would truly be a big story.

But Mr. Market at some point will have to confront the future. The time gap between recessions is shortening now ”” we went 10 years from 1990 to 2000, then 5 years from 2002 to 2007 and the next recession, following this pattern, is likely going to occur within the next 2-3 years. And, unlike the start of the last recession when the government had so many arrows in its quiver, there are none today to help lift the economy again.

Going into the 2007 downturn, the budget deficit was $160 billion. There was ample room for fiscal stimulus. The funds rate was 5.5% and could be cut 550bps ”” now it is at 0%. The Fed’s balance sheet could be allowed to triple without reviving inflation expectations ”” good luck the next time around.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Federal Reserve, History, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government