Daily Archives: June 3, 2010

NPR's Talk of the Nation: Morgan Freeman Takes You 'Through The Wormhole'

Now, Morgan Freeman takes on an even bigger challenge ”” searching for answers to the some of the great mysteries of our universe. Freeman hosts a special for the Science Channel, Through The Wormhole.

Freeman credits the hand of providence for guiding him to the project. “I’ve been interested in this subject for a very long time,” Freeman tells NPR’s Neal Conan.

In Through The Wormhole, all theories around the creation of the universe are entertained, says Freeman. But those who take a literal view of the Bible will not find the series encouraging.

If the Bible is interpreted literally, then “the world is only about 6,000 years old,” says Freeman. “So we have to do that with care, but ask the questions. Mostly what the series does is ask the questions. I don’t think it produces any answers.”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Star-Tribune: For Hmong, a book of prayer of their own

It’s a story that loses a lot in translation: Holy Apostles Episcopal Church in St. Paul is working on a Hmong version of the Book of Common Prayer. This simple-sounding endeavor goes far beyond just replacing one word with another.

It’s a story about a church that was in danger of dying joining forces with a culture that was worried about the same thing. It’s a story about finding just the right words in a language that didn’t even exist in written form until the 1950s. It’s a story about a book from a St. Paul neighborhood that will spread around the world.

Five years in the making, the first Hmong translation of the most important book in the …[Episcopal] service might be completed by fall.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Happiness May Come With Age, Study Says

It is inevitable. The muscles weaken. Hearing and vision fade. We get wrinkled and stooped. We can’t run, or even walk, as fast as we used to. We have aches and pains in parts of our bodies we never even noticed before. We get old.

It sounds miserable, but apparently it is not. A large Gallup poll has found that by almost any measure, people get happier as they get older, and researchers are not sure why.

“It could be that there are environmental changes,” said Arthur A. Stone, the lead author of a new study based on the survey, “or it could be psychological changes about the way we view the world, or it could even be biological ”” for example brain chemistry or endocrine changes.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Psychology

Abortion Foes Advance Cause at State Level

At least 11 states have passed laws this year regulating or restricting abortion, giving opponents of abortion what partisans on both sides of the issue say is an unusually high number of victories. In four additional states, bills have passed at least one house of the legislature.

In a flurry of activity last week, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi signed a bill barring insurers from covering abortion in the new insurance exchanges called for under the federal health care overhaul, and the Oklahoma Legislature overrode a veto by Gov. Brad Henry of a bill requiring doctors who perform abortions to answer 38 questions about each procedure, including the women’s reasons for ending their pregnancies.

It was the third abortion measure this session on which the Legislature overrode a veto by Mr. Henry.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government

Timothy Stoltzfus Jost on the U.S. Roman Catholic Bishops and Health Care

On May 20, 2010, the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement supporting H.R. 5111, sponsored by Congressmen Joseph R. Pitts (R-Pa.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.). H.R. 5111 is prolife legislation intended to protect the unborn and the consciences of health-care providers, and it is not surprising that the USCCB should support this bill. Unfortunately, the USCCB used this occasion to attack once again the major health-care legislation that was signed into law in March, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The USCCB continues to misunderstand the provisions of PPACA and contributes to confusion about its content. This analysis is intended to correct the USCCB’s erroneous characterizations of PPACA, and to clarify what the legislation actually says and does….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(London) Times Leader:Israel has behaved appallingly, but those on board also warrant scrutiny

The Israeli raid on a flotilla bound for Gaza, which left at least nine dead, was a disaster. It was poorly conceived, incompetently executed and entirely counter-productive.

Israel has a right to defend its borders, but also a responsibility towards its citizens and friends to remain a beacon of civilised conduct in the Middle East. When it fails in this responsibility, the problem is not its alone. Israel’s friends believe in Israel because they believe in the ideals that it represents. On Monday morning, Israel fell short of these ideals.

Such a betrayal invites a roar of disapproval, all the more damaging to Israel’s interests because of that which it drowns out. Just as the intransigence of the blockade around Gaza has allowed the vile regime of Hamas to escape the scrutiny that it deserves, so has Israel’s blundering savagery on the high seas allowed those on board the flotilla to appear unimpeachable. This is inaccurate and also dangerous.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Israel, Middle East, Politics in General, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

RNS–Muslims, Churches Blast Israel for Deaths in Raid

Tens of thousands of Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa on Tuesday (June 1) continued demonstrations against Israel’s deadly interception of a flotilla of ships trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

Nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed on the passenger ferry Mavi Mamara when Israeli commandoes boarded the ship early Monday (May 31) morning. The Mavi Mamara was one of six Turkish ships trying to break Israel’s blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Across the Arab world and in Israel””where Arabs comprise 20 percent of the population””angry protestors demanded an end to the blockade. Ishmael Haniyeh, the prime minister of Hamas, declared a day of mourning. Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said the attack “indicates Israel is not ready for peace.”

In Rome, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told Agence France-Presse that the Holy See feels “deep sadness and concern” over the flotilla incident, which also injured several activists and seven Israeli commandoes.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

ABC Nightline–Unschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Bedtime

For the Martin family, the usual morning ritual of getting ready for school and onto the school bus, is a foreign concept.

They live as though school doesn’t exist. They’re at home all day, but they’re not being homeschooled. They’re being “unschooled.” There are no textbooks, no tests and no formal education at all in their world.

“Just picture life without school. So, maybe a weekend. We wake up, and we have breakfast, and we just start pursuing what we’re interested in doing,” said Dayna Martin, a mother of four in Madison, N.H.

I caught this yesterday on the late afternoon run–didn’t know anything about it. I highly recommend the video (just under 8 minutes) but if you cannot do that please read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Psychology

U.S. to Join South Korean Military Exercise Off North Korea Coast

The U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington will participate in a joint naval exercise with South Korea next week in the Yellow Sea, the same waters west of the Korean peninsula where North Korea is accused of sinking a South Korean warship last March, ABC News has learned.

A U.S. official said the carrier, which operates from its home port in Japan, “will be sent to the waters off South Korea within coming days to participate in joint exercises” with the South Korean navy.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, North Korea, South Korea

NC Register: Storyteller Says the Greatest Story Led Him to the Church

Paul McCusker has spent the last 25 years working for Focus on the Family. A former Baptist-turned-Anglican-turned Catholic, McCusker has served as executive producer for the organization’s award-winning audio dramas, such as “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and the recent Audie Award-nominated “The Screwtape Letters,” as well as the children’s radio program “Adventures in Odyssey.” McCusker serves as director of creative content for Focus on the Family.

He spoke with Register senior writer Tim Drake about his life and work from his office in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in southwest Pennsylvania, in Uniontown, but I grew up in Bowie, Md., just east of Washington, D.C., and spent my formative years there.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Anglican churches dismayed by Shenouda comments

Anglican churches in Egypt have voiced their offence over recent statements by Coptic Pope Shenouda III, who, in his most recent sermon, declared that Anglicans did not adhere to Biblical teachings.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Coptic Church, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Blandina and Her Companions

Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we who keep the feast of the holy martyrs Blandina and her companions may be rooted and grounded in love of thee, and may endure the sufferings of this life for the glory that shall be revealed in us; 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

A Holy Trinity prayer of Invocation

Bless us, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with the vision of thy glory; that we may know thee as the Father who created us, rejoice in thee as the Son who redeemed us, and be strong in thee, the Holy Spirit who dost sanctify us; keep us steadfast in this faith, and bring us at the last into thine eternal kingdom, where thou art ever worshipped and glorified, one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

ENS–Episcopal Seminaries close out challenging year

Seminary campuses grew quiet this week with the 2009-10 academic year now ended, but that quiet belies vigorous — and by turns upbeat and cautious — discussions about the future of theological education.

As the year was beginning, a re-configured Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, had just sold its property to nearby Northwestern University, using the $13 million to pay off its debt and balance its budget.

While it ended its master of divinity degree the year before, Seabury this year began a joint doctor of ministry degree in congregational development with the Church Divinity School of the Pacific 2,100 miles away in Berkeley, California. It is an example, the school has said, of what it calls its new mission: to “embod[y] generous Christianity, grounded in the Baptismal Covenant and the Episcopal tradition, as we educate lay and ordained women and men for ministry, build faith communities, and enrich people in their faith.”

In deciding to sell property, Seabury took a further step on a path that Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Episcopal Divinity School went down in March 2008 when it sold some of its buildings to Lesley University for $33.5 million and entered into a partnership that includes academic program enhancements and shared facilities for uses such as library, student dining and services, and campus maintenance.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

BP Searches for Another Way to Slice Through Pipe

BP officials were casting about for another way to slice through a leaking riser pipe located a mile underwater after a diamond-studded wire saw operated by a robot got stuck and was later found to be ineffective. The delay on Wednesday was one more bump in a frustrating obstacle course that BP has tried to run in dealing with a stricken oil well on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, 50 miles offshore and a mile below the surface. Since an explosion on April 20 that wrecked a drilling rig and killed 11 workers, the well has been spewing thousands of gallons of oil a day into the gulf, fouling beaches, shellfish and birds on the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

A technician involved in the effort said that the wire saw had cut less than halfway through the riser when it stopped being effective. The technician, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the work, said that it appeared that there was other material in the riser ”” including, perhaps, some of the objects pumped into the well during the failed “top kill” procedure last week ”” that was dulling the saw.

“It was cutting at a rate far less than it should have,” he said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Science & Technology