Daily Archives: May 25, 2010

Archbishop John Sentamu on BBC Radio 2's 'Pause for Thought'

Chris, your listeners will recall that 25 years ago, 56 supporters lost their lives and hundreds were injured as fire engulfed the stand at Bradford City’s ground.

When tragedy struck, humanity surfaced. Human beings helped each other regardless of the colour of their shirts. On that day humans acted like heroes and links remain in place today.

Last December, Millwall and Charlton Athletic played a charity match to highlight the alarming issue of street violence.

This match was dedicated to the memories of two young boys, Jimmy Mizen and Robert Knox, murdered in 2008 for standing up to violent thugs. Jimmy had links to Millwall and Robert had links with Charlton and for this match the team shirts’ logos were replaced with the words ‘street violence ruins lives’.

You see football can be a powerful tool to drive change. Funds raised by the match went to help young people get out of crime and into positive activities.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), History, Sports

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba proposes a prayer for the 2010 FIFA World Cup

Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town proposes prayer for the 2010 FIFA World Cup

”˜Let us all pray that God will bless the World Cup!’ said Archbishop Thabo Makgoba on Monday as he launched a special prayer for the tournament.

”˜It is a short and simple prayer which is easy to learn, and I hope many people, of many backgrounds, will join me in praying it daily in the coming weeks’ added the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town. ”˜We are asking for the well-being of everyone who is in any way associated with the FIFA 2010 World Cup: players, spectators, South Africans as host nation, and everyone who travels here. Apart from the Olympics, this is the most widely supported sports event in the world ”“ countless millions, even billions, love “the beautiful game” and we want to share this love with one another, for the good of the world.’

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Spirituality/Prayer, Sports

The Presidential Address of Bishop Tom Wright at Diocese of Durham's Synod

We have for years in the Anglican Communion operated a tacit rule of agreeing to differ about many things but trying not to do or say things which will cause other Anglicans to stumble. The Lambeth Conference has been the main instrument of this process: broad agreement can be reached on major issues while the provinces retain autonomy in their own lives. Thus, for instance, the Lambeth Conference agreed that it was all right to admit children to Communion prior to Confirmation, which then opened up the question for any individual Province to discuss, as most now have. Our own General Synod repeated Lambeth’s point, so the issue was then passed down to dioceses. Our own Diocese in turn agreed, so the issue has now become a matter for individual parishes. That is a model of how you discern that something is adiaphora, and how you deal with the issue once that has been decided, respecting consciences all the way through. It highlights again this key point: the question of whether a particular issue is adiaphora or not cannot itself be adiaphora. It wouldn’t have done for the Parish of St-Muddy-by-the-Sea to decide independently that the question of unconfirmed children receiving Communion was adiaphora and then proceeding to take its own decision without reference to its diocese, its province, or the whole Communion.

This is the point which emerges with great clarity from St Paul. He is not at all advocating what we today call ”˜tolerance’ ”“ a loose, flabby laissez-faire approach which shrugs its shoulders and says ”˜just do your own thing’. His aim is not the creation of several different communities each going its own way, but of one single Body of Christ. In that single family, practices that would divide Christians from one another on ethnic grounds are to be treated as adiaphora, however vital and mandatory they may have been for the Jewish people ”“ not least Paul himself in his Pharisaic past! ”“ prior to the coming of the Messiah. At the same time, that same goal ”“ the creation and maintenance of the one Body of Christ ”“ demands new standards of life to which all must conform, in relation to which pagans in particular will experience a considerable moral challenge. These new standards, spelt out in letter after letter, are not adiaphora. They ”“ I am thinking of patience and practical love, of purity both in speech and in sexual behaviour ”“ may not be as central as the Trinity or the Atonement, but they remain mandatory.

Here then is the point, which meets us on page after page in Paul: the move from something being mandatory to that same thing being non-mandatory (e.g. circumcision), from something being prohibited to that same thing being permitted for those who wish (e.g. eating pork), from something being essential to something being trivial ”“ that move is not itself trivial. It is of the utmost importance. It is essential for Paul that the Jewish food-laws, like circumcision and Sabbath-keeping, are non-mandatory for those in Christ””or, to put it the other way round, that the Jewish prohibitions against eating pork and so on are now lifted. And he explains, again and again, why this particular shift has happened. It isn’t, despite centuries of misrepresentation, that Judaism was a religion of harsh and difficult laws and Christianity was all about getting rid of moral rules and regulations. It is, rather, that God has in Jesus Christ created a single family composed of people from every ethnic background. There are strict new rules for this family, because this family is the new humanity, the re-creation of the human race, the new Genesis; but one of those strict new rules is the complete relaxation of the regulations that would have kept Jews and Gentiles permanently separated. So, to repeat: the question of which things are adiaphora and which things are not, what is essential and what is trivial, is not itself a matter of indifference. It is vital; it is theologically rooted; it has nothing to do with an easy-going tolerance, let alone the assimilation of the church to its surrounding culture, and everything to do with the new humanity which has come into being in the Messiah, Jesus. This is the point we urgently need to grasp in relation to several pressing issues.

All this means that this question, which differences make a difference and which don’t, cannot itself be decided locally.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Theology, Theology: Scripture

An ENS Article on the Upper South Carolina Consecration this past Weekend

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

U.S. Is Said to Expand Secret Military Acts in Mideast Region

The top American commander in the Middle East has ordered a broad expansion of clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region, according to defense officials and military documents.

The secret directive, signed in September by Gen. David H. Petraeus, authorizes the sending of American Special Operations troops to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to gather intelligence and build ties with local forces. Officials said the order also permits reconnaissance that could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate.

While the Bush administration had approved some clandestine military activities far from designated war zones, the new order is intended to make such efforts more systematic and long term, officials said. Its goals are to build networks that could “penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy” Al Qaeda and other militant groups, as well as to “prepare the environment” for future attacks by American or local military forces, the document said. The order, however, does not appear to authorize offensive strikes in any specific countries.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Middle East, Somalia, Terrorism

Tenzin Gyatso (Current Dalai Lama): Many Faiths, One Truth

When I was a boy in Tibet, I felt that my own Buddhist religion must be the best ”” and that other faiths were somehow inferior. Now I see how naïve I was, and how dangerous the extremes of religious intolerance can be today.

Though intolerance may be as old as religion itself, we still see vigorous signs of its virulence. In Europe, there are intense debates about newcomers wearing veils or wanting to erect minarets and episodes of violence against Muslim immigrants. Radical atheists issue blanket condemnations of those who hold to religious beliefs. In the Middle East, the flames of war are fanned by hatred of those who adhere to a different faith.

Such tensions are likely to increase as the world becomes more interconnected and cultures, peoples and religions become ever more entwined. The pressure this creates tests more than our tolerance ”” it demands that we promote peaceful coexistence and understanding across boundaries.

Granted, every religion has a sense of exclusivity as part of its core identity. Even so, I believe there is genuine potential for mutual understanding. While preserving faith toward one’s own tradition, one can respect, admire and appreciate other traditions.

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

Mohamed el-Erian on the European Sovereign Debt Crisis and why it Matters

[SUSIE] GHARIB: Let me begin by just asking you what are the risks of all these events, that Spanish bailout, the debt crisis in Greece, the falling euro? What’s the intact and the risk of all of that to American businesses and our economy?

[MOHAMED] EL-ERIAN [CEO of PIMCO]: Susie, we went into the weekend knowing that Europe had a debt issue and Europe had a growth issue. And we come out of the weekend with the news that Europe may also have a banking system issue. The minute you bring in the banking system, it’s like an amplifier, something that we discovered in this country a couple of years ago. Banks have a way of amplifying shocks in the system because banks are like the oil in your car. They link up so many different parts. And the problem for the U.S. is that not only is it going to have to cope with a growth issue out of Europe. Europe is an important export market. We sell a lot to Europe. Europe is going to grow less, but now the strains in the banking system. And the minute you introduce strains in the banking system, there’s always a fear that governments will be behind the curve and that you can get contagion. You can get widespread disruptions. And that’s what we started to price in today.

GHARIB: In terms of American banks that have just been coming out of our own financial crisis, how exposed are U.S. banks to what’s going on in the European banking system?

EL-ERIAN: They are not as exposed to the European banks as they are to each other but we are all exposed to the global banking system. Banks are very inter-linked. And the minute you start having disruptions, the minute the flow through the pipes starts to be interrupted, then everybody suffers. And the concern is that Europe’s banking system may come under pressure.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Nancy Gibbs–Help for the Families of Fallen Soldiers

[Bonnie] Carroll founded TAPS in 1994, after her husband Brigadier General Tom Carroll died in the crash of an Army C-12 plane, to help surviving families find a safe place to land. It offers peer mentoring, grief counseling and all kinds of social support, and for five days over Memorial Day weekend there’s a mass gathering in Washington that families like the Dosties attend. The kids go to a Good Grief camp, where they are matched with mentors, take tours, write journals, bond with other kids who have lost a parent. They lay wreaths made of their handprints, each with a message to their loved one, at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The adults attend workshops like Grief Support for Siblings, Dream Visits, Creating a Facebook Memorial, Coping with Suicide Loss. There is one conducted by military physicians called Did My Loved One Suffer? “It’s a very tough session but always the most packed,” says Carroll. “It’s an opportunity for families who don’t understand elements of a traumatic, horrific death to ask questions of absolute experts.”

Almost every weekend, somewhere in America there is a gathering of dozens, sometimes hundreds, of survivors looking to help one another cope ”” 30,000 families registered to date. It is a far cry from the days of early Vietnam when the Army was so overwhelmed with casualties that it enlisted cabdrivers to deliver the telegrams with news of a soldier’s death and when fierce opposition to the war sometimes translated to an inhuman lack of sympathy. “We’d hear things like ‘We’re glad he’s gone. He was a baby killer,'” recalls Kit Frazer, president of Gold Star Wives of America. “It was a very unhappy time. Now there’s an outpouring of love for widows and widowers and an attempt to help them.” Children get medical and dental benefits until they are 21, rather than just for three years after the death; the Army has a 24-hour call center for survivors with benefits questions, a new family center at Dover Air Force Base and Survivor Outreach Services to coordinate the efforts.

But there is also, sadly, a growing need, which private groups like TAPS are serving.

Fantastic stuff–read it all.

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

Job Prospects Improve Slightly for College Graduates

This spring’s college graduates face better job prospects than the dismal environment encountered by last year’s grads. But that doesn’t mean the job market is thriving.

Average starting salaries are down, and employers plan to make only 5 percent more job offers to new graduates this spring compared to last spring, when job offers were down 20 percent from 2008 levels, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which tracks recruitment data.

Liam O’Reilly, who just graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in history, said he had applied to 50 employers ”” to be a paralegal, a researcher for a policy organization, an administrative assistant ”” but he had gotten hardly any interviews. While continuing to search for something he truly wants, he has taken a minimum-wage job selling software that includes an occasional commission.

“Had I realized it would be this bad, I would have applied to grad school,” Mr. O’Reilly said.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Young Adults

Collin Hansen–Why Johnny Can't Read the Bible

Americans love their Bibles. So much so that they keep them in pristine, unopened condition. Or, as George Gallup Jr. and Jim Castelli said in a widely quoted survey finding, “Americans revere the Bible but, by and large, they don’t read it.”

Anecdotes abound. Time magazine observed in a 2007 cover story that only half of U.S. adults could name one of the four Gospels. Fewer than half could identify Genesis as the Bible’s first book. Jay Leno and Stephen Colbert have made sport of Americans’ inability to name the Ten Commandments””even among members of Congress who have pushed to have them posted publicly.

Perhaps the first step toward improved Bible literacy is admitting we have a problem. A 2005 study by the Barna Group asked American Christians to rate their spiritual maturity based on activities such as worship, service, and evangelism. Christians offered the harshest evaluation of their Bible knowledge, with 25 percent calling themselves not too mature or not at all mature.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Adult Education, Children, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Christine A. Scheller–No Right to Rest for Weary Anglicans

Such is the fatigue over the Anglican-Episcopal splintering that two weekends ago, when the Episcopal diocese of Los Angeles consecrated the denomination’s second partnered gay bishop, the event didn’t make a blip on many evangelical news websites. Also largely unnoticed was the previous week’s press release from St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach, California, stating that it would appeal the latest California Supreme Court ruling in its property dispute with the Episcopal Church. Christianity Today reported on St. James’s court case as recently as January, but for embattled congregations, months can feel like years.

St. James broke ties with the Episcopal Church and briefly joined the Anglican Diocese of Luwero, Uganda, in 2004 before becoming a member of the Anglican Church of North America last year. The court case is set to determine who gets its building and other assets.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Departing Parishes

U.S., European economies face major hurdles-GE CEO Immelt

The U.S. economy faces major problems while Europe’s is “teetering,” the head of General Electric Co (GE.N) told a class of graduating college students on Monday.

“We are at an unprecedented moment in the history of our country. There is economic and social anxiety,” said Jeff Immelt, chairman and chief executive of the largest U.S. conglomerate. “Europe appears to be teetering.”

Still, the risk that the Greek debt crisis could drag down other European economies does not appear to be enough to derail the world’s overall economic recovery, he told reporters after addressing Boston College’s commencement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Europe, Globalization, Young Adults

Washington Post–One false move in Europe could set off global chain reaction

If the trouble starts — and it remains an “if” — the trigger may well be obscure to the concerns of most Americans: a missed budget projection by the Spanish government, the failure of Greece to hit a deficit-reduction target, a drop in Ireland’s economic output.

But the knife-edge psychology currently governing global markets has put the future of the U.S. economic recovery in the hands of politicians in an assortment of European capitals. If one or more fail to make the expected progress on cutting budgets, restructuring economies or boosting growth, it could drain confidence in a broad and unsettling way. Credit markets worldwide could lock up and throw the global economy back into recession.

For the average American, that seemingly distant sequence of events could translate into another hit on the 401(k) plan, a lost factory shift if exports to Europe decline and another shock to the banking system that might make it harder to borrow.

“If what happened in Greece were to happen in a large country, it could fundamentally mark our times,” Angelos Pangratis, head of the European Union delegation to the United States, said Friday after a panel discussion on the crisis in Greece sponsored by the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Germany, Globalization, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bede the Venerable

Heavenly Father, who didst call thy servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to thy service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of thy truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make thee known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, 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 Bible Readings

Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it.

–Proverbs 15:16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture