Daily Archives: July 9, 2010

Local South Carolina Presbyterian Ministers: Debate overshadows larger issues

Two local Presbyterian ministers took the view that the debate over human sexuality and church polity obscured larger, more pressing issues.

What’s more, they said, by voting either for or against a policy change, the church makes a complicated subject that requires thoughtful discussion into a black-and-white matter that’s got a winning side and a losing side.

The Rev. Spike Coleman, of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in West Ashley, said many members of his church don’t follow General Assembly proceedings, or the debate of gay marriage and ordination, very closely.

“Not that it’s not an important issue,” he said. “For some people it’s very important, I realize that, but for most members they’re worried about their jobs and families and children.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

AP: Presbyterians continue to be divided over non-celibate same sex unions

A split decision from Presbyterian leaders on two gay-friendly measures guarantees even more debate among the U.S. church’s members on an issue they’ve been divided over for years.

Delegates to the Presbyterian church’s convention in Minneapolis voted Thursday for a more liberal policy on gay clergy but decided not to redefine marriage in their church constitution to include same-sex couples. Approval of both measures could have made the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) one of the most gay-friendly major Christian churches in the U.S.

Even the more liberal stance on gay clergy faces more debate before it can become church policy. A majority of the church’s 173 U.S. presbyteries must approve it. Two years ago ”” after years of efforts by supporters ”” a similar measure was sent out to presbyteries but died when 94 of them voted against it.

Both of Thursday’s votes were close. Fifty-one percent of delegates voted to shelve the proposal to redefine marriage as being between “two people” instead of between “a man and a woman,” just hours after 53 percent of them voted to allow non-celibate gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

NY Times Mexico City Journal: Speaking God’s Language, With a Gangster Dialect

Frederick Loos was cussing like a sailor the other night, which was surprising given that he is a Roman Catholic priest and his foul-mouthed discourse was delivered from the pulpit to hundreds of faithful gathered before him.

He spoke of God, the need to serve him and how he can transform lives. But interspersed in his sermon was the most colorful of street Spanish, which brought smiles to the faces of many of the gang members, addicts and other young people pressed in tight to listen.

“When you go to China you have to speak Chinese,” the priest explained afterward, slipping out of his vestments. “If you’re speaking to kids you use their idioms. I don’t think God is offended if it brings them closer to him.”

Those enmeshed in Mexico’s thriving drug culture ”” users and traffickers alike ”” have an unusual relationship with the church. Sniffing glue and making the sign of the cross might not appear to go together any more than killing and the catechism. But for many believers in modern-day Mexico they do.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Mexico, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Mohamed El-Erian: The Real Tragedy of Persistent Unemployment

June’s employment report was disappointing. Though the national unemployment rate fell slightly””it’s now at 9.5% from 9.7% in May””the report reveals deep structural problems that go beyond the number of those who remain without jobs.

Almost half of unemployed Americans have been without a job for over six months. The average duration of unemployment, which hit a post-World War II record many months ago, continues to go up. Last month it clocked in at 35 weeks. Unemployment is particularly severe among the young: A quarter of Americans between 16 and 19 years old in the labor market are without a job.

The longer it takes to understand and address these issues, the more likely the U.S. will get stuck in a protracted low growth/high unemployment trap. In addition to considering the welfare cost of substantial joblessness, policy makers should keep in mind the following four facts….

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Facebook Makes Headway Around the World

Facebook, the social network service that started in a Harvard dorm room just six years ago, is growing at a dizzying rate around the globe, surging to nearly 500 million users, from 200 million users just 15 months ago.

It is pulling even with Orkut in India, where only a year ago, Orkut was more than twice as large as Facebook. In the last year, Facebook has grown eightfold, to eight million users, in Brazil, where Orkut has 28 million.

In country after country, Facebook is cementing itself as the leader and often displacing other social networks, much as it outflanked MySpace in the United States. In Britain, for example, Facebook made the formerly popular Bebo all but irrelevant, forcing AOL to sell the site at a huge loss two years after it bought it for $850 million. In Germany, Facebook surpassed StudiVZ, which until February was the dominant social network there.

With his typical self-confidence, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s 26-year-old chief executive, recently said it was “almost guaranteed” that the company would reach a billion users.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization

USA Today Front Page–The human genome: Big advances, many questions

Already, genetic analysis is a commodity sold on the Internet for as little as $500. Each day, more people submit DNA for analysis ”” just as the students did for their class ”” and confront perplexed doctors with profound and frequently unanswerable questions about what the results mean.

That’s because most genomic information is awash in uncertainty, Kim says. Few diseases are caused by a single, readily identifiable gene; most result from the interplay of genes and a host of other factors, from lifestyle to the environment.

That researchers still have so far to go in their effort to understand the workings of the genome may come as a surprise to many who perceived Clinton’s White House announcement, followed three years later by news that the final genome sequence was virtually complete, as the climax of the quest.

In fact, the completion of the Human Genome Project was more of a milestone along the road to understanding than it was a mission accomplished. Most scientists regard the achievement as a launching pad for revolutions in biology and related technologies that are just now getting underway.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology