Daily Archives: May 6, 2010

Teenage Insults, Scrawled on Web, Not on Walls

It is the online version of the bathroom wall in school, the place to scrawl raw, anonymous gossip.

Formspring.me, a relatively new social networking site, has become a magnet for comments, many of them nasty and sexual, among the Facebook generation.

While Formspring is still under the radar of many parents and guidance counselors, over the last two months it has become an obsession for thousands of teenagers nationwide, a place to trade comments and questions like: Are you still friends with julia? Why wasn’t sam invited to lauren’s party? You’re not as hot as u think u are. Do you wear a d cup? You talk too much. You look stupid when you laugh.

By setting up a free Formspring account and linking it to their Tumblr or Twitter or Facebook accounts, young people invite their hundreds of online friends to ask questions or post comments, without having to identify themselves.

In part, Formspring is just the latest place to hang out and exchange gossip, as teenagers have always done. But because of the anonymity, the banter is unvarnished.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Teens / Youth

Anglican Journal–Clergy get 'behind fence line' view of military chaplaincy

“It far exceeded my expectations,” said Bishop Ordinary to the Canadian Forces Peter Coffin, when asked his thoughts about a recent tour of a nearby Canadian Forces Base by members of the Anglican regional clericus.

The tour was sponsored by the 17 Wing’s flight line chaplain, Captain (The Rev.) Gordon Mintz. On the tour, Anglican clergy had the opportunity to receive a ”˜behind the fence line’ insight into how military chaplains deal with the challenges of ministering to such a diverse and dynamic entity.

“The local (Anglican) clergy was very appreciative of learning first-hand the stresses on military families that they see in their congregations and learning more of the role of chaplains in supporting our military families,” said Padre Mintz.

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

David Bartlett–Scripture: The Great, Accessible Gift

Some people naively suggest that at Christmas or Easter we should just read the Lukan birth narrative or the story of the empty tomb in Mark and faith will abound. If we had just those stories without the conversations, sermons, and prayers and hymns that interpret them, they would be entirely bizarre and incomprehensible. Scripture is a great gift because it points to Christ. Scripture is an accessible gift because we are invited to talk about it, interpret it, claim it.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Not Your Average Gamer: Women Play To Socialize

“We’ve still barely hit the tip of the iceberg for people who could play [the] games but don’t think they can,” says David Roberts, the CEO of PopCap, the company that created Bejeweled.

“With Bejeweled, 70 percent of our customers are women, and that astounds almost everybody,” he says….

Roberts says people were wrong in assuming that games on Facebook would appeal to a more traditional audience of younger males.

“What you find is a lot of women who are both working and raising children just have no time for relationships,” says Misiek Piskorski, who teaches about online social networking at the Harvard Business School. “But it’s not like they wouldn’t want to spend more time having these relationships. It’s just really, really hard. And this allows them to basically sustain these relationships.”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Women

Martin Wolf in the FT: A bail-out for Greece is just the beginning

This story, in short, is not over.

For the eurozone, two lessons are clear: first, it has a choice ”“ either it allows sovereign defaults, however messy, or it creates a true fiscal union, with strong discipline and funds sufficient to cushion adjustment in crushed economies ”“ Mr Buiter recommends a European Monetary Fund of €2,000bn; and, second, adjustment in the eurozone is not going to work without offsetting adjustments in core countries. If the eurozone is willing to live with close to stagnant overall demand, it will become an arena for beggar-my-neighbour competitive disinflation, with growing reliance on world markets as a vent for surplus. Few are going to like this outcome.

The crises now unfolding confirm the wisdom of those who saw the euro as a highly risky venture. These shocks are not that surprising. On the contrary, they could have been expected. The fear that yoking together such diverse countries would increase tension, rather than reduce it, also appears vindicated: look at the surge of anti-European sentiment inside Germany. Yet, now that the eurozone has been created, it must work. The attempted rescue of Greece is just the beginning of the story. Much more still needs to be done, in responding to the immediate crisis and in reforming the eurozone itself, in the not too distant future.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Economy, Europe, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector

New Zealand Anglican General Synod Meets In Gisborne May 8-13th

The General Synod will also debate issues including urging the government to place a ban on alcohol advertising. The proposed Anglican Covenant addressing the issue of the ordination of bishops in same sex relationships will also be a discussion for the General Synod but no final decision is expected until the next Synod in 2012.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Jeff Walton: Former Dominican Turned Episcopalian Praises Gaia, ”˜Goddess’

An Episcopal priest and theologian who popularized the rave-like “Techno Cosmic Mass” and advocated goddess worship recently led a seminar on mysticism and Earth spirituality to coincide with Earth Day.

Warning that environmental degradation caused by raging against “Gaia” had to cease, the Rev. Matthew Fox made frequent references to “the Goddess” and the divine feminine during his environmentally-themed lecture and workshop, “Earth Spirituality and the Mystical Tradition.” The event was held in April at the Unitarian Universalist Church in the Washington suburb of Rockville, Maryland, and sponsored by the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer

David Clohessy –Pope and Church hierarchy have refused to bring true reform

Many in the Church hierarchy seem to think that the most brief acknowledgment of wrongdoing and an indistinct promise of reform will generate sufficient goodwill.

Keep in mind that the pope is the CEO of a global monarchy with a very troubling track record when it comes to the safety of kids.

Benedict has the power, with a stroke of a pen, to really make a difference and protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded and restore trust in the hierarchy. He just refuses to use that power in any way that brings true reform to the Church by putting an end to decades of secrecy and recklessness.

Instead, he only uses words. Words can be powerful weapons, especially when the pope is taking on worldwide crises over which he has no control, like poverty, war, racism and AIDS. But over this scandal, Benedict has virtually limitless power. And his words, however eloquent, protect no one (except perhaps the Church’s criminals and enablers).

Sadly, this pattern of talking a lot but doing little to tackle predatory priests, nuns, brothers, bishops and seminarians “trickles down.” When the media and the parishioners are moved by gestures and impressed with words, few in the Church hierarchy feel compelled to take tangible steps to oust child-molesting clerics, or have them criminally prosecuted, and help their still-suffering victims.

Read it all.

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

R.C. Bishop of Charleston, S.C.: Media should get facts straight on actions taken by the Church

Did the Vatican cover up evidence of Kiesle’s predatory behavior? No. The civil courts of California destroyed that evidence after the priest completed a sentence of probation — before the case reached Rome.

So this was not a question of cover-up or poor Vatican oversight or failure to discipline a priest. Kiesle merely asked to be released from his vows, and the Vatican wanted to consider the request carefully.

When a priest is laicized, he returns to a lay state and is no longer under the control of the Church. Who is responsible for his actions after laicization? Ratzinger only requested more time to consider the request for laicization. In two years, he was laicized. But it took the civil authorities nine years to investigate, prosecute and finally convict the priest. Who is truly at fault? There is no evidence of any cover-up in this case or any other adjudicated by Pope Benedict XVI.

I urge members of the media to get their facts right in the frenzied discourse on child sexual abuse, which has become a hydra-headed monster in our society. As was recently seen in Malta, Pope Benedict is deeply moved by the stories told by victims and has expressed his shame and sorrow, assuring them that the Church will continue to do all in its power to investigate allegations, to bring to justice those responsible for abuse and to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people in the future. No one else has done as much as Pope Benedict XVI, and by extension, the Catholic Church, to provide a safer environment for our children. Today, the Catholic Church — its schools, hospitals and organizations are the safest environments for children in today’s world bedeviled by sexual predators. The records are there for everyone to see.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Media, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Sky News: Final Polls Point To Hung Parliament in Britian

Britain is heading for a hung parliament according to the final opinion polls released as the campaigns ended.

The surveys gave the Tories a lead of up to nine points but none of them handed outright victory to David Cameron.

The Populus survery for The Times put the Tories up one point on 37% with Labour on 28% (down one) and the Lib Dems also down a point on 27%.

The ICM poll for the Guardian put the Tories on 36%, Labour on 28% and the Lib Dems on 26%.

The ComRes poll for ITV News and The Independent had the Tories nine points ahead on 37%, with Labour and the Lib Dems tied on 28 points.

Read it all.

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

WSJ: New U.S. Push to Regulate Internet Access

In a move that will stoke a battle over the future of the Internet, the federal government plans to propose regulating broadband lines under decades-old rules designed for traditional phone networks.

The decision, by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, is likely to trigger a vigorous lobbying battle, arraying big phone and cable companies and their allies on Capitol Hill against Silicon Valley giants and consumer advocates.

Breaking a deadlock within his agency, Mr. Genachowski is expected Thursday to outline his plan for regulating broadband lines. He wants to adopt “net neutrality” rules that require Internet providers like Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. to treat all traffic equally, and not to slow or block access to websites.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues

Part of tower falls as doubts resurface about saving landmark church in Western NY

A section of a bell tower has collapsed at a long-abandoned landmark church on the West Side.

The incident occurred on the same day that Buffalo’s inspections chief said he doubts the 117-year-old structure can be saved from the wrecking ball.

James Comerford told city lawmakers earlier today that it was against his “better judgment” to take steps to save the steeple of the former St. Mary’s on-the-Hill Episcopal Church, because he didn’t believe the structure is sufficiently stable.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

From the Morning Bible Readings

This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering–since indeed God deems it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant rest with us to you who are afflicted, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

–2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Another Prayer for the Easter Season

O Heavenly Father, by whose gracious will we have been born again by the Word of truth: Make us ever swift to hear that Word and responsive to its saving message, that henceforth we may live as those who are partakers of thy new creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

BBC–Greek protesters urged to retreat from 'abyss'

Greece is “on the brink of the abyss”, President Karolos Papoulias has warned, after three people died during protests over planned austerity measures.

“We are all responsible so that it does not take the step into the void,” the president said in a statement.

It followed a day of violence during which protesters set fire to a bank, killing three employees.

Greece’s government has vowed to pursue the spending cuts – a condition of its 110bn euro ($142bn; £95bn) bail-out.

“We are prepared to pay the heavy political cost,” Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told parliament during Wednesday’s debate on the bill.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Europe, Greece