Daily Archives: July 23, 2010

Marta Mossburg: Worshippers Looking for a Prophet

For members of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, confirming Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court is not just a matter of law or politics. It is a spiritual imperative for the disillusioned Obama acolytes suffering from post-election politician syndrome.

They need a replacement for the “deep cynicism” decimating the hope Barack Obama generated in supporters prior to the 2008 presidential election, according to one of Berkeley-based NSP’s three leaders, Rabbi Michael Lerner.

The pacifists for open borders, with a penchant for emitting ‘sacred hollers’ in a group setting, are culled mainly from liberal Protestant and Jewish congregations. Members are not required to have any particular religious beliefs. What adherents are asked to do is “to take time out each day to look at this incredible universe, say: Wow! Fantastic! Amazing!”””and chart their path to heaven through politics.

One of NSP’s most sacred causes is the Global Marshall Plan. Introduced in Congress this year, the resolution is styled as “a commitment to peace, social justice and the ecological sanity of our planet.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Christianity Today–Rob Moll interviews Roger Thurow: 'Hunger Can Be Conquered'

Two completely different conversations about food are taking place around the world. One is among the well-fed, who ask themselves, “What should I eat?” The other is among the underfed, who wonder, “How can I keep from starving?”

Christians influence these two conversations significantly, according to Wall Street Journal reporters Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman, authors of Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty(Public Affairs). They believe Christians should better understand that most cases of malnutrition and chronic hunger and nearly all starvation can be prevented if the right reforms are put into place. Rob Moll, an editor at large for Christianity Today, recently interviewed Thurow, now a senior fellow with the Chicago Council of Global Affairs.

Why use moral and theological language in a mainstream book about world hunger?….

Read it all.

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

RNS: Citing Madoff Losses, American Jewish Congress Suspends Operations

The American Jewish Congress, a national advocacy group that has argued for church-state separation on prayer in public schools, has laid off most employees and suspended operations.

The 92-year-old organization lost $21 million of its $24 million endowment to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, which devastated a range of Jewish groups, including Yeshiva University. As with other nonprofits, the economic downturn has also hobbled fundraising efforts, officials said.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Bernard Madoff Scandal, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

Toronto Star: Can a dog receive communion?

St. Peter’s Anglican Church has long been known as an open and inclusive place.

So open, it seems, they won’t turn anyone away. Not even a dog.

That’s how a blessed canine ended up receiving communion from interim priest Rev. Marguerite Rea during a morning service the last Sunday in June.

According to those in attendance at the historical church at 188 Carlton St. in downtown Toronto, it was a spontaneous gesture, one intended to make both the dog and its owner ”“ a first timer at the church ”” feel welcomed. But at least one parishioner saw the act as an affront to the rules and regulations of the Anglican Church. He filed a complaint with the reverend and with the Anglican Diocese of Toronto about the incident ”“ and has since left the church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Animals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

Chris Meney in the SMH: Man and wife? That's best for baby

The recent Australian Institute of Family Studies report highlighting the changing nature of family forms should come as no surprise. The rate of children born outside of marriage has reached one in three births and many more children are now likely to have experienced a series of parent-type relationships before they reach the age of 18.

What should surprise us, however, is the continuing lack of desire from government to institute social policies that support family forms that are in the best interests of children. So much of the debate around family forms is founded in what adults and parents primarily want for themselves. It is worrying that there is no collective social resolve to promote and encourage the natural family, given the proven capacity of this family structure to contribute to child wellbeing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Children, Marriage & Family, Politics in General

With State Budget Under Strain, Maine Giving Social Security Another Look

Just as workers in the private sector participate in Social Security in addition to any pension plan at their companies, most states put their workers in the federal program along with providing a state pension.

Maine and a handful of others, however, have long been holdouts, relying solely on their state pension plans. In addition, most states have excluded some workers ”” often teachers, firefighters and police ”” from the national retirement system and its associated costs, 6.2 percent of payroll for the employer and an equal amount for the worker.

Now, Maine legislators have prepared a detailed plan for shifting state employees into Social Security and are considering whether to adopt it. They acknowledge it will not solve their problem in the short term but see long-term advantages.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Social Security, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Michael Cembalest on the Unfunded Entitlements that are the Heart of the U.S. Budget Crisis

And how might we pay for such absurd obligations? Here’s Cembalest:

* By 2020, the average EU country would need to raise its tax rate to 55 percent of national income to pay promised benefits
* The U.S. could fund its shortfall by doubling the 15.3 percent payroll tax on employers and employees (forever)
* Alternatively, the U.S. could reduce discretionary spending by 80%, on things like education, defense and environmental protection. Why so high? There’s not enough discretionary spending left (the OMB estimates that mandatory spending will make up 71% of government expenditures by 2016)
* Of course, the other option would be the printing press (inflation), which would be worse given how much would be needed

Read it all and take a careful look at those charts.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Budget, Economy, Politics in General, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Church Times: C of E Traditionalists lament ”˜broken promises’

There has been further reaction this week to the debate on women bishops at the General Synod in York, which left opponents to women bishops dis­satisfied
The former Bishop of Rich­borough, the Rt Revd Edwin Barnes, speaking on BBC Radio 4, said that there was “nothing left” for tradition­alists in the Church of England, but he hinted that the Pope’s proposal of an Ordinariate could offer a solution.

“All we have is empty promises, and some of the leaders in the women’s movement have said promises don’t have to be kept, promises are there to be broken; so there’s no trust left at all.

“Coming along with this, of course, has come the Pope’s offer of an Ordinariate, which has been an absolute lifeline, and has given us new hope in a way that nothing else has.”

Read it all.

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

Morning Quiz–Please Answer without researching First

On any given weekend, _____% of U.S. churchgoers attend a megachurch.

Please note–the answer is now posted in the comments below–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I myself am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another. But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God.

–Romans 15: 14-17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

ENI: European theology faculties warn of shift to religious studies

Representatives of European theological faculties and church theological institutes have warned against universities dropping the teaching of theology in favour of religious studies that are seen as a more general approach.

“Theology has a major role to play within the university by countering stereotypes, demonstrating ways of dealing with religious conflict, and working out its own unique specificity in dialogue with other disciplines,” said Orthodox Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, the president of the Conference of European Churches.

He was speaking in the Austrian city of Graz at a meeting of theological faculties in Europe.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Education, Europe, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

The Diocesan Vision for the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York

Read it and ponder it carefully.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, Theology

BBC–The unintended consequences of Facebook

Pre-Facebook, the very phrase “social media consultant” would have produced only blank stares from the typical layman.

Now, people like Marcia Conner make their living advising companies on how to use Facebook and other social networking sites.

“The work I do focuses on helping organisations to use social technologies to connect the people in their organisations,” says Ms Conner, a partner in the Altimeter Group and author of the forthcoming book The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media.

“They are complementary technologies that can be used to get that same sort of community feeling.”

Read it all.

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

Iraq’s Conflict, Reflected in a Family Tragedy

When the Americans arrived, Hamid Ahmad, a former air force warrant officer imprisoned under Saddam Hussein, imagined a new life for his family, freed from the burdens of tyranny. In seven hard years, nothing went as planned.

He spoke good English and believed in America. He got a job, his family says, with the United States military. Late last month, he wound up dead at the hands of his 32-year-old son, who had turned into an insurgent who sought money and purpose in fighting the Americans.

“I didn’t say anything to him,” the son, Abdul, said in an interview as he stood barefoot with a bruised left eye in a jailhouse here in the city, not long after he confessed to the killing. “I just pulled the trigger and shot six or seven bullets.”

He said, “Everybody hated him because he worked for the Americans.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Iraq, Iraq War, Marriage & Family, Middle East