Daily Archives: May 12, 2010

In North Carolina a Growing church opts for tele-communion

A new church was born Sunday morning, but, like an increasing number of congregations, it has no preaching pastor.

In what has become one of the most popular church growth methods across the country, a large white screen unfurled in front of the stage with the preacher’s image projected on it, preempting the live sermon and the pastor’s physical presence.

Welcome to the satellite church, a 21st century phenomenon that owes its success to advances in technology. These days, instead of starting new congregations, churches are reproducing the successful ones, franchise-style.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology

US News and World Report–6 Reasons More Americans are Delaying Retirement

Early retirement is no longer the goal of most workers. Even retirement at age 65 now seems unattainable to many people. The majority of Americans now expect to work until age 65 or later.

The number of Americans planning to retire before age 65 has dropped from 50 percent in 1996 to 29 percent today, according to a recent Gallup survey of 1,020 adults. Meanwhile the proportion of people planning to work until after age 65 has increased steadily from 15 percent in 1996 to 34 percent this year. This is the first time in the 15-year-old survey that more current workers planned to retire after age 65 than before it. Another 27 percent of current employees plan to retire exactly at age 65.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A.

New Zealand Anglican Church Covenant Arguments (II)–Richard Randerson

So we are now in a situation where (1) the proposed Covenant establishes a process for suspending Churches from full communion, and (2) Archbishop Rowan has stated that adherence to the traditional position on same-sex unions will be the basis for avoiding such suspension. The Archbishop foreshadows the potential for a “twofold ecclesial reality” (#22). Each Anglican province faces four options:

1. Not to sign the Covenant because it opposes a procedure that will judge and divide, and/or opposes having to affirm only one of two conscientiously held positions. Failure to sign will see a Church suspended from full communion.

2. To sign the Covenant but to face suspension from the Communion if it permits any steps on same-sex unions contrary to the traditional position.

3. To sign the Covenant and adhere exclusively to the traditional position on same-sex unions. This will disenfranchise all who conscientiously hold the other viewpoint, and separate a Church from full communion with any Church that does not sign the Covenant, or transgresses it.

4. To engage with other provinces to collectively abstain from a process which could split the Communion, and to reinvigorate the Anglican way of dialogue in diversity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces

New Zealand Anglican Church Covenant Arguments (I)–Bryden Black in Favor

…our own Church’s Constitution in its Preamble (18) already speaks of our being “part of and belong[ing] to the Anglican Communion, which is a fellowship … in communion with the See of Canterbury, sharing with one another … life and mission in a spirit of mutual responsibility and interdependence.”

Indeed, we in Aotearoa New Zealand have already “covenanted with each other … to implement and enrich the principles of partnership” (Preamble 13) among us, given the unique history of our Islands.

The Anglican Communion Covenant has become the necessary tool for establishing an authoritative identity among Anglicans. It grants us the means to continue as a global Church, as a catholic community of churches. Without it, we shall simply fragment into groups of associated bodies, held together by allegiances derived from things less than and even other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ himself.

The question is ours: to sign, or not to sign … May we say clearly, “Sign!” – and that “right soon”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces

The Economist–Making electronic circuits that will work inside a person’s body

Most electronics are made in the form of integrated circuits, which are tiny chips that contain transistors and other components etched onto silicon wafers. While fine for computers and other products, they are inflexible and cannot be easily wrapped around curved surfaces or pliable ones, making them hard to be used in the body. Researchers have devised ways to make flexible electronics, for such things as electronic paper. Now, John Rogers of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who is one of the pioneers of flexible electronics, has devised a new technique to create ultra-thin and flexible circuits suitable for medical use.

Dr Rogers first fabricated a mesh containing a circuit of silicon electronics by thinning silicon until it becomes flexible. But this causes a problem. Since it is so thin, it soon collapses. To avoid this, Dr Rogers deposited the circuit onto a special silk to provide structural support without sacrificing flexibility. The silk was engineered by Tufts University, near Boston, from a silkworm cocoon that had been boiled to create a silk solution that can be deposited as a thin film. When the film containing the circuit is placed on biological tissue, it dissolves naturally. What it leaves behind is the circuit, attached to the tissue by capillary forces and supported by it.

Read it all.

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

Forward in Faith UK responds to the Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate

From here:

Forward in Faith notes with interest the publication of the Report of the Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate.

It is of course disappointing – though not surprising – that, after nearly two years’ work, the Committee has so singularly failed to take proper account of the needs of all those loyal members of the Church of England who are unable in conscience to receive the innovation of women bishops (and this despite the best efforts of those members of the Revision Committee who are committed to proper provision for traditionalists).

The inevitable result of this corporate failure will be that, in July, this draft legislation will need to be submitted to the most critical examination and, we trust, substantial amendment. We are confident that the senior leadership of the Church of England will recognise that the legislation will not be able to proceed in its present form without excluding a substantial body of loyal Anglicans from the Church of England of the future.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

New health-care law raises concerns about respecting providers' consciences

Deep within the massive health-care overhaul legislation, a few little-noticed provisions have quietly reignited one of the bitterest debates in medicine: how to balance the right of doctors, nurses and other workers to refuse to provide services on moral or religious grounds with the right of patients to get care.

Advocates for protecting health workers argue the new law leaves vulnerable those with qualms about abortion, morning-after pills, stem cell research and therapies, assisted suicide and a host of other services. Proponents of patients’ rights, meanwhile, contend that, if anything, the legislation favors those who oppose some end-of-life therapies and the termination of pregnancies and creates new obstacles for dying patients and women seeking abortions.

Both sides acknowledge that the scope of any new conflicts that might arise under the legislation will become clear only as the implications of the overhaul unfold. But both agree that clashes are probably inevitable.

“It’s sort of the son of the ‘death panels,’ ” said Loren Lomasky, a University of Virginia professor of philosophy who studies conflicts of conscience in health care, referring to last summer’s controversy about end-of-life counseling. “This is a major transformation of the health-care system. And when this sort of thing happens, fissures can open up and you can fall into them if you’re not careful.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Theology

Muslim Public Affairs Council Statement on this week's Supreme Court Nominee

If confirmed by the Senate, Kagan would take the seat of longtime Justice John Paul Stevens, whose legacy is marked by his commitment to the rule of law, individual rights and civil liberties. Kagan would be the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

“We call upon Ms. Kagan, if she is confirmed, to follow in the footsteps of Justice Stevens in his commitment to preserving individual freedoms, checking executive power, and upholding the rule of law which have made America a better place for over 35 years,” [Haris ] Tarin said today.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

BJC: Supreme Court nominee should protect our first freedom — religious liberty

At…[Monday’s] White House announcement of her nomination to succeed Associate Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan said, “law matters. . . it keeps us safe . . . it protects our most fundamental rights and freedoms.”

The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty hopes the nominee, if confirmed, will protect our most fundamental freedom ”” religious freedom ”” with a commitment to principles of both no establishment and free exercise embodied in our “first freedom.”

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Gideon Rachman in the FT–Europe is unprepared for austerity

I used to think Europe had got it right. Let the US be a military superpower; let China be an economic superpower ”“ Europe would be the lifestyle superpower. The days when European empires dominated the globe had gone. But that was just fine. Europe could still be the place with the most beautiful cities, the best food and wine, the richest cultural history, the longest holidays, the best football teams. Life for most ordinary Europeans has never been more comfortable.

It was a great strategy. But there was one big flaw in it. Europe cannot afford its comfortable retirement.

Greece’s financial crisis is, unfortunately, an extreme example of a broader European problem. Investors have been looking nervously at debt-levels and budget deficits in Spain, Portugal and Ireland for months. But even Europe’s big four ”“ Britain, France, Italy and Germany ”“ are hardly immune from concern. Italy’s public debt is about 115 per cent of gross domestic product. Some 20 per cent of this needs to be rolled over during the course of 2010. Britain is currently running a budget-deficit of nearly 12 per cent of GDP, one of the largest in Europe. George Osborne, who is likely to end up as chancellor of the exchequer in the new government, has described Britain’s official economic forecasts as a “work of fiction”. The French government has not produced a balanced budget for more than 30 years. And one of the reasons for the deep bitterness in Germany at bailing out Greece, is the knowledge that Germany is already struggling to balance its own books.

It is true that the citizens of Latvia and Ireland have already swallowed actual cuts in wages and pensions. But these are both countries that have experienced real poverty in living memory, followed by massive and unsustainable booms. They know that the last few years have been a bit unreal.

As the riots on the streets of Athens illustrate, however, not all Europeans will react so stoically to deep cuts in spending.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Credit Markets, Economy, Europe, Greece, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector

CNS–In Portuguese capital, Pope urges Catholics to re-evangelize

At a Mass for more than 100,000 people in Portugal, Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics to re-evangelize society by witnessing the joy and hope of the Gospel in every sector of contemporary life.

“Today’s pastoral priority is to make each Christian man and woman a radiant presence of the Gospel perspective in the midst of the world, in the family, in culture, in the economy, in politics,” the pope said May 11 at an open-air liturgy in Lisbon, the Portuguese capital.

To evangelize effectively, he said, Catholics themselves need to grow closer to Christ.

“Bear witness to all of the joy that his strong yet gentle presence evokes, starting with your contemporaries. Tell them that it is beautiful to be a friend of Jesus and that it is well worth following him,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Portugal, Roman Catholic

Bishop Peter J. Elliott–What is this “Personal Ordinariate”?

Anglicans can no longer speak of “swimming the Tiber”. Pope Benedict XVI has built a noble bridge, a symbol chosen as the cover illustration for the Catholic Truth Society edition of his Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. Today I want to try to describe where that bridge leads.

The Tiber crossings of those Anglicans who have gone before us have often been difficult and dangerous ”” and, in any event, it has proven difficult to organize a group swim. Not only is the Holy Father’s bridge a noble construction that lifts us high above the perilous waters, it allows us to pass over the deep without breaking ranks. And, as Fr. Dwight Longenecker has observed, this comfortable crossing may appeal to other Christians inspired by the ordered march of the Anglican host towards the threshold of the Apostles.

I have already summed up the papal offer as “united in communion but not absorbed”, words which resonate with the ecumenical vision of the recent past, particularly the era of Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey. Now “United in communion but not absorbed” is realized in “a Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans who wish to enter full communion with the Catholic Church”, to use the Holy Father’s words in his Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Australia / NZ, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Nancy Gibbs–How a Cancer-Stricken Dad Chose a Council of Successors

Cancer hands you red-hot shoes and makes you dance with death every day for the rest of your life. So the question is, Who gets to lead? And what can the rest of us learn from watching?

Bruce Feiler is a writer with diverse interests and an adventurous spirit. His best seller Walking the Bible, about his 10,000-mile trek through the Holy Lands, became a hit PBS series; he wrote a book about his year as a circus clown and one on Abraham–nine books total, but none like his latest, The Council of Dads. It was basically born the day doctors told him there was a malignant, aggressive 7-in. tumor in his femur, a cancer so rare fewer than 100 adults get it a year. He was 43 years old, lying on his bed, wrapped in sudden uncertainty, when his 3-year-old twin daughters raced in, twirling and laughing. “I crumbled,” he recalls. “I kept imagining all the walks I might not take with them, the ballet recitals I might not see … the boyfriends I might not scowl at, the aisles I might not walk down.”

From that dark place came the need; a few days later came the notion, when he began making a list of men who represented, in concentrated form, all the qualities and memories he most wanted his girls to encounter, which they might not get the chance to absorb from him. One of those men he had known since the sandbox, one had been a camp counselor, another a college roommate, another a business partner, six of them in all. My girls have a great mom and a loving family, he told them. “But they may not have me. Will you help be their dad?”

And thus was born the Council of Dads, the friends he hoped would teach the lessons, send the signals, say the things he would have when his daughters fail a test, win a prize, fall in love.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

ENS–Faith leaders push for climate, energy legislation in the Senate

Lately, when the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, president and founder of Interfaith Power and Light, preaches a sermon about the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels and the possible shift toward renewable energy sources she turns to Luke chapter 5 and the metaphor that Jesus used when talking to the frustrated fishermen on the Sea of Galilee.

“When it’s not working, put your nets on the other side of the boat,” Bingham, also an Episcopal priest, said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C., where Interfaith Power & Light, a national organization with 35 state affiliates aimed at mobilizing a religious response to global warming, is having its annual meeting.

“After a hundred years’ of fossil fuels, it’s time to look to alternatives. Put the nets on the other side of the boat. Wind, sun, geothermal ”¦ just like oil, gas and coal, they are God-given resources. What Jesus was saying was, when something isn’t working, try something else.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Energy, Natural Resources, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Lutheran, Other Churches, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Senate, Theology

Mollie Hemingway: Same Sex, Different Marriage

Same-sex marriage advocates frequently ask, “How would gay marriage affect your marriage?” The question is posed rhetorically, as if marriage is a private institution with no social consequences.

But The New York Times, of all papers, argues that gay unions could significantly alter marriage norms. A new study of gay couples in San Francisco shows that half are “open,” meaning that partners consent to each other having sex with other people. The Times says that the prevalence of such relationships could “rewrite the traditional rules of matrimony” by showing straight couples that monogamy need not be a “central feature” of marriage and that sexually open relationships might “point the way for the survival of the institution.”

In the gay community, open relationships are neither news nor controversial. Many of my partnered, gay male friends are in open relationships, some of which have lasted for decades. But the Times reporter, Scott James, who is himself gay, notes that nobody in an open relationship agreed to give their full name for the story, worrying that “discussing the subject could undermine the legal fight for same-sex marriage.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology