Daily Archives: July 18, 2010

Local Paper Faith and Values Section: Many believe faith affects physical, mental wellness

The Rev. Joseph Darby had been losing some weight according to his doctor’s advice, but when the dieting stopped and the weight loss didn’t, he grew concerned.

The diagnosis of cancer came as a shock, and the senior pastor of Charleston’s Morris Brown AME Church momentarily forgot about such things as grace and love and awe and forgiveness.

He cursed.

Then he considered his faith and family, his congregation, his community.

“We’ll deal with it,” he told himself. “Your life is not just in your hands. There is a higher power that is infinitely powerful and knows best.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

A BBC Radio 4 Sunday Audio Segment: Anglicans Debate Wedding Music

Bishop Stephen Platten of Wakefield and Dean Colin Slee of Southwark debate appropriate choices for music at weddings. The segment begins at about 20 minutes and 50 seconds in and lasts about 5 minutes.

Go here to find the audio link (only available 6 more days).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Music

The Tablet: Marching orders–The General Synod and women bishops

The Church of England has always prided itself on its inclusiveness and its ability to accommodate a wide range of often conflicting views under one big tent. But for four days last weekend, the age-old policy failed when the General Synod met in the bleak concrete bowl of the University of York’s Central Hall to decide upon the ordination of women bishops.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York wanted to make special provision for those members opposed to women bishops but were narrowly defeated. The failure of the measure suggests that Synod will only stretch so far and no further to accommodate minority groups.

Drs Rowan Williams and John Sentamu gambled that mainstream synod members would be reluctant to vote against them and that their intervention would help prevent the split in the Church they so desperately hoped to avoid. But this time things were different.

Huddled around tables after enjoying a generous dinner, or walking deep in conversation around the university grounds, these mainstream Anglicans, it was clear, were in defiant mood.

“The vast majority of us are in favour of women priests. You either have them or you don’t,” said one elderly lay member, adding, “We’re fed up with making allowances for the minority. The Church must move forward.”

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Women

Catholic Herald: Synod vote pushes Anglo-Catholics towards Ordinariate

The largest Anglo-Catholic group in the Church of England is expecting an exodus of thousands of Anglicans to Catholicism after a decision to ordain women as bishops without sufficient concessions to traditionalists.

Stephen Parkinson, director of Forward in Faith ”“ a group that has about 10,000 members, including more than 1,000 clergy ”“ said that a large number of Anglo-Catholics are considering conversion to the Catholic faith.

His comments came after the General Synod, the national assembly of the Church of England, voted at a meeting in York to approve the creation of women bishops by 2014 without meeting the demands of objectors.

A statement from Forward in Faith advised members against hasty action, saying now was “not the time for precipitate action”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Women

The Economist on America's Banking Sector: Curate's eggs

First the good news. All three of the banks reporting this week (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup) beat analysts’ expectations, for what that is worth. And all saw a clear improvement in their loan books, with non-performing loans and charge-offs (of loans viewed as no-hopers) both falling””at JPMorgan, for instance, by 3% and 28% respectively compared with the previous quarter. This has allowed the banks to release some of their loan-loss provisions, the reserves they set aside to cover soured credit.

This looks like more than just a flash in the pan. Citigroup’s net loan losses have now fallen for four straight quarters. That said on a conference call with journalists its chief financial officer, John Gerspach, was considerably more optimistic about emerging markets than America, where mortgage losses could remain stubbornly high. Brian Moynihan, BofA’s chief executive, said loan quality is improving faster than he had expected.

And the bad news? Demand for loans remains slack. Bankers are becoming “very worried” about asset growth in the medium to long term, says one consultant.

Worse, their securities and investment-banking businesses are no longer making money hand over fist, as they did in the first quarter and for much of last year…

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

PBS' Religion and Ethics Weekly: Ethical Eating

VALENTE: Many Americans are getting back to the garden. These students in Cedar Grove, North Carolina brave intense summer heat as they learn to grow fruits and vegetables in a community garden.

STUDENT: You can just pull it right out, and just rinse ”˜em off and you can eat ”˜em.

KATE FORER: Right here we have sweet potatoes, that are doing fabulously, as you can tell.

VALENTE: Kate Forer, who manages the garden, is also an ordained minister.

FORER: Having the experience of planting a seed and having the faith that it’ll grow into a plant that will eventually sustain me is a spiritual experience. And ultimately I really, really feel like food is a sacred gift from God and that’s something that we tend to forget about in our culture.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

Tyler Cowen: What Germany Knows About Debt

In many countries, including the United States, there are calls for the government to spend more to jump-start the economy, and to avoid the temptation to cut back as debts mount.

Germany, however, has decided to cast its lot with fiscal prudence. It has managed rising growth and falling unemployment, while putting together a plan for a nearly balanced budget within six years. On fiscal policy and economic recovery, Americans could learn something from the German example.

Twentieth-century history may help explain German behavior today. After all, the Germans lost two World Wars, experienced the Weimar hyperinflation and saw their country divided and partly ruined by Communism. What an American considers as bad economic times, a German might see as relative prosperity. That perspective helps support a greater concern with long-run fiscal caution, because it is not assumed that a brighter future will pay all the bills.

Even if this pessimism proves wrong more often than not, it is like buying earthquake or fire insurance: sometimes it comes in handy. You can’t judge the policy by asking whether your house catches on fire every single year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Europe, Germany, History, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

As Facebook Users Die, Ghosts Reach Out

Courtney Purvin got a shock when she visited Facebook last month. The site was suggesting that she get back in touch with an old family friend who played piano at her wedding four years ago.

The friend had died in April.

“It kind of freaked me out a bit,” she said. “It was like he was coming back from the dead.”

Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, knows a lot about its roughly 500 million members. Its software is quick to offer helpful nudges about things like imminent birthdays and friends you have not contacted in a while. But the company has had trouble automating the task of figuring out when one of its users has died.

That can lead to some disturbing or just plain weird moments for Facebook users as the site keeps on shuffling a dead friend through its social algorithms.

Facebook says it has been grappling with how to handle the ghosts in its machine but acknowledges that it has not found a good solution.

Read it all.

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

Hywel Williams: the church should scrap the absurd post of bishop altogether

The Reformation cut the English church away from Rome, and in doing so it destroyed any credibility so far as the apostolic succession was concerned. Despite the removal, sometimes by murder, of England’s Catholic bishops, it was still important to pretend that it could be ecclesiastical business as usual. The Virgin Mary had disappeared, but the Tudor monarchs were prayed for in the Prayer Book and they could replace the Queen of Heaven. Even today, the Anglican hierarchy remains one of the last places of refuge for those who take the royal family at all seriously.

Bishops really came into their own from the 16th century onwards in England because they were supposed to show that the CofE, though it had no pope, was still respectably antique ”“ and therefore worthy of obedience ”“ despite the loss of that Roman link. Fussiness about episcopacy is in fact Anglicanism’s implicit acknowledgment that it does not actually have the kind of historic authority it would like to have.

Greater honesty about itself should lead the Church of England to get rid of bishops altogether and rejoice in the freedom that comes with being a sect. But that would involve the abandonment not just of pretension but also of a career structure that means too much to too many Anglican minds.

Read it all.

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

Housing Bubble Leaves $4 Trillion Hangover: Chart of the Day

The bursting of the U.S. housing bubble has left homeowners buried under about $4 trillion of excess mortgage debt, according to Dhaval Joshi, the chief strategist at RAB Capital.

Read it all and take the time to read the longer analysis here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Al Qaeda goes viral: The terrorists' latest recruiting device: an English language Internet magazine

Earlier this month, the full version of Inspire, a new English language journal, surfaced on the Internet. It’s publisher? The Yemen-based terrorist organization, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Although al Qaeda has long employed the Web, DVDs and video games to reach mass audiences, the sophistication and provocative nature of this publication suggests it is intended to “go viral”””or spread rapidly among many Internet users””in the English speaking world, especially in the United States.

Many in the West will ridicule Inspire’s boring sermons and awkwardly written stories, such as one that tries to portray joining “jihad” as a summer camp, or another with Osama bin Laden’s views on global warming. Commentators will undoubtedly condemn the journal’s reprehensible article “How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.” They’ll also say that the publication’s naming of certain Americans as targets is a public relations gaffe.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Media, Terrorism