Daily Archives: June 21, 2010

RNS: Bread for the World Wins Top Anti-hunger Prize

The president of a Christian anti-hunger lobbying group won the premier award for fighting world hunger.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton awarded the World Food Prize to Bread for the World President David Beckmann at the State Department on Wednesday (June 16).

Beckmann, an economist and ordained Lutheran minister, shared the $250,000 prize with Jo Luck, president of Heifer International.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Globalization, Hunger/Malnutrition, Poverty, Religion & Culture

Cancer study sees cultural factors in racial disparities

Despite a high likelihood of death, black patients are much less inclined to have surgery for early stage lung cancer than whites, often because of a communication gulf between them and their doctors, scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill report today.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, UNC-CH researchers surveyed nearly 400 patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer to determine what factors influenced their treatment decisions.

For black patients, who have long had worse outcomes for lung cancer than whites, just 55 percent chose surgery to remove the tumor – the only lifesaving option when cancer is diagnosed early. Sixty-six percent of white patients chose surgery.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

AP: New Agers, neo-pagans see Stonehenge solstice

Thousands of New Agers and neo-pagans danced and whooped in delight Monday as a bright early morning sun rose above the ancient stone circle Stonehenge, marking the summer solstice.

About 20,000 people crowded the prehistoric site on Salisbury Plain, southern England, to see the sunrise at 4:52 A.M. (1152EST), after an annual all-night party.

The event typically draws thousands of alternative-minded revelers to the monument, as they wait for dawn at the Heel Stone, a pockmarked pillar just outside the circle proper, which aligns with the rising sun.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Wicca / paganism

Fairfax (Virginia) Connection: Truro Anglican Church Down, Not Out

“While the branch joined may operate as a separate polity from the branch to which the congregation formerly was attached, the statute requires that each branch proceed from the same polity, and not merely a shared tradition of faith,” [Virginia Supreme Court Justice Lawrence L.] Koontz wrote. “The record in these cases shows that the CANA Congregations satisfied the first of these requirements in that there was a division within TEC and the Diocese, but not the second, as CANA clearly is not a branch of either TEC or the Diocese.”

According Kelly Oliver of CRC Public Relations, a spokesperson for Truro Church, the ADV has until June 21 to appeal the decision, but it is not known yet whether the ADV will do so, or choose to fight the case in circuit court again. In the meantime, Baucum and the leaders of the other ADV churches are meeting with their respective vestries and congregations and each other, and will make a decision soon on how to proceed. No matter the decision, however, the ADV is confident that this battle is far from over.

“We are disappointed with the ruling and will review it as we consider our options,” said Jim Oakes, chairman of the ADV and longtime member of the Truro Church. “This is not the final chapter in this matter. The court’s ruling simply involved one of our statutory defenses ”¦ so, we continue to be confident in our legal position as we move forward.”Koontz wrote. “The record in these cases shows that the CANA Congregations satisfied the first of these requirements in that there was a division within TEC and the Diocese, but not the second, as CANA clearly is not a branch of either TEC or the Diocese.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia

Survey: Many Christians don't go to church

Brian Rauber grew up in church, slacked off during college, then stopped going to church altogether.

He stayed away for 10 years.

Caridad Cruz was active as a youth in a conservative congregation, but she stopped, too, and avoided church for eight years.

Even during those years away from church, they considered themselves Christians.

Rauber, 35, and Cruz, 26, are examples of people in a recent Barna Group survey that found that three out of five U.S. adults who don’t attend church are self-described Christians.

A total of 28 percent of the U.S. adult population said they had not attended church in the past six months.

Read the whole article from McClatchy from the local paper’s Faith and Values section.

Posted in Uncategorized

Local Paper Front Page: Exam illustrates literacy hurdles

More than two-thirds of the Charleston County high school students who flunked the state English language arts exit exam entered high school unable to read better than a fourth-grader.

Students’ inability to read likely prevented them from understanding the test, much less answering its content-related questions. And it may have prevented some from earning their high school diploma because they must pass the exam to graduate.

School Superintendent Nancy McGinley said she doesn’t want to see this happen again, and she said that’s why the district is directing its time, energy and money to improving students reading and writing.

“It reaffirms that we have to have a sense of urgency ”¦ to keep reading progress happening because once a student stalls in that area, they are doomed to be a high school dropout or close to it,” she said.

Ugh–read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Education

Truth and Reconciliation Commission In Canada off to 'a special, excellent start"

The first national event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) concluded Saturday night with Justice Murray Sinclair, TRC chair, expressing satisfaction that it had been a “special, excellent start.”

During the event held June 16 to 19, more than 1,000 residential school survivors spoke privately to TRC statement-takers and in some cases, during sharing circles witnessed by the public. The event achieved “remarkable acts of reconciliation,” Sinclair told a crowd gathered for closing ceremonies at the Oodena Circle of The Forks National Historic Site. “We know that this journey is far from complete.”

More than 40,000 people visited the site and took part in various activities during the event, said Sinclair. “We are told this is unprecedented….”

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Education, History, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

BBC: China yuan stability pledged

China’s central bank says it plans to keep the Chinese yuan “stable” and there will be no immediate revaluation of the currency.

The comments come just a day after the bank announced plans to make the exchange rate more flexible.

But Chinese authorities have ruled out a large, one-off adjustment in the exchange rate.

China has come under increasing international pressure to change its currency policy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Economy

Archbishop Rowan Williams' Sermon for the 350th Anniversary of the Royal Society

Keep your eyes open. Continue to be human ”“ that is to recognise how many ways there are of asking intelligent questions. Remember that Wisdom’s house is built with many and diverse pillars. To remember this is to guard ourselves against one of the persistent temptations of science and indeed of all scholarship, the temptation””expressed once again in the words of Joseph Margolis””of thinking that the human is dispensable: When the conclusions have been reached and the formulae settled, the human, the unfinished, the time-bound is somehow brushed aside.

The early exuberance of the Royal Society””and exuberance is not I think an unfair word for it””the voracious appetite for the trivial and the metaphysical together, is a very good reminder of the origins of science in the human ”“ human curiosity, yes, and the human willingness to be surprised and to begin again. Which perhaps gives a bit of context to that text with which I began: ‘Whoever finds me finds life’. Searching for and finding wisdom is a process of moving into life, a self-aware life, a self-questioning life, above all a life that is a growing in mind and emotion. Curious that when we speak of finding or discovering life these days we very often mean one of two things at least. We talk of finding life elsewhere in the galaxy or indeed the universe. We talk of finding and forming life in the laboratory. Great and controversial enterprises; and yet to find life for ourselves and our immediate neighbours and our human society is not simply a matter of uncovering mysteries at which we wonder, not simply a matter of finding new means of control. It is surely above all a finding joy in the sheer process of finding, recognising that our unfinished business as human beings is one of the things that gives us fulfilment as human beings. An extraordinary, but a life-giving paradox ”“ joy and fulfilment in not having finished, not having drawn a line, but recognising that another question looms on the horizon; not to have found once and for all the single set of questions whose answer will finish our seeking, but to be gratefully, humbly, and sometimes just a bit jealously, aware that next door another set of questions is in operation bringing a new kind of joy and fulfilment in the unfinished-ness of our business.

Science needs to remain human in that sense, to be self-aware of itself as human science, aware of incompleteness, aware of the joy of non-fulfilment.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

RNS: It's Hats-Off to Female Bishop, and Not In a Good Way

A: When the hat is a bishop’s miter, and belongs to the female head of the Episcopal Church, symbolizing her rank in a church hierarchy dominated by men.

In a public snub that’s being dubbed “mitergate,” Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was told not to wear her miter — a tall, triangular hat — during services in London last Sunday (June 13).

Some observers say it’s a stark sign of how relations have deteriorated between the Church of England, Anglicanism’s mother church, and its headstrong American offshoot, the Episcopal Church. Others call it an attempt by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, to keep conservatives from seceding.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

A.S. Haley: A Canonical Analysis of "Mitregate"

Since there is no law in force allowing a woman to officiate as a bishop in any church of the Church of England, Bishop Jefferts Schori had to apply for a license to officiate as a priest. That statute provides, in relevant part, as follows (bold emphasis added):

(1) If any overseas clergyman desires to officiate as priest or deacon in the province of Canterbury or York, he may apply to the Archbishop of the province in which he desires to officiate for written permission to do so.
. . .
(4) Any permission granted under this section shall be registered in the registry of the province.
(5) An application for a permission under this section shall be made on a form approved by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
(6) It shall be an offence against the laws ecclesiastical, for which proceedings may be taken under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963 for any overseas clergyman to officiate as priest or deacon in the province of Canterbury or York otherwise than in accordance with a permission granted under this section, and for any clergyman knowingly to allow such an offence to be committed in any church in his charge.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Women

Mary Kenny (Irish Independent): (John) Gormley must not stifle the bishops over civil unions

In no uncertain terms, Green Party leader John Gormley has told the Catholic Church to zip its lip in the matter of gay unions in the Civil Partnership Bill. Mr Gormley reprimanded Bishop Christy Jones of Elgin — an ecclesiastical spokesman on family matters — for his opposition to the same-sex clause in the legislation. Gormley opined that we had “left the era of church interference behind us”.

However, a bishop is as entitled to articulate an opinion as anyone else. It would be a poor democracy indeed — it would be an authoritarian state, like East Germany — if a Christian bishop were prevented from preaching the Gospel as he saw fit.

Moreover, bishops also have constituencies and if you want to check that out, just turn up at Sunday Mass — or, more especially, a funeral — in any part of rural Ireland. Actually, politicians generally so well recognise the constituencies of bishops that they even collect money for their political parties at the gates of these locations of Sunday worship.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, England / UK, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality

Fiona Harvey reviews Paul Collier's new book "The Plundered Planet"

A good portion of the book is given over to setting out the problems. This is not as dry as it sounds; Collier has a good line in the wry anecdote, the telling statistic and judicious use of research studies. He makes complex economic theories accessible to the lay reader in a briskly chatty style.

Early on, Collier tells us he is breaking fresh ground. He faces two opposing armies: the environmentalists, characterised as deluded romantics, and the traditional economists, or ostriches as he calls them, who bury their heads in their theories without paying heed to the plunder of the real world around them.

Collier is right to portray aspects of the green movement as foolishly romantic, and many mainstream economists as too doctrinaire….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Books, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Theology

Church of England House of Bishops: Marriage after divorce and the ordained ministry

1. In a teaching document (Marriage- issued in 19991) the House of Bishops affirmed that “Marriage is a pattern that God has given in creation, deeply rooted in social instincts, through which a man and a woman may learn love together over the course of their lives.” In an introduction the then archbishops noted that “Lifelong marriage itself represents an unchanging ideal, and one which is the bedrock of a rapidly changing society.”

2. In the teaching document the House went on to explore the Church of England’s approach to the pastoral and other issues that arise when, sadly, marriages break down. It noted that, “The scope of God’s holiness is the scope of his mercy, and the more we are ready to open ourselves to the demand, the more we will know of his generosity, forgiving us where we have failed and granting us success where we thought we were bound to fail.”

3. Those called to serve the Church in holy orders are expected to be an example of godly living to those among whom they minister. Before people are selected for training with a view to ordination they are required to give information and assurances about their personal lives and, where relevant, marital history.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I will sing of thy steadfast love, O LORD, for ever; with my mouth I will proclaim thy faithfulness to all generations. For thy steadfast love was established for ever, thy faithfulness is firm as the heavens.

–Psalm 89:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture