Daily Archives: July 28, 2010

Krista Tippett (Christian Century): My Grandfather's Faith

My grandfather was the Reverend Calvin Titus Perkins, known by all as C.T. He was a Southern Baptist evangelist””a traveling preacher in Oklahoma, the former Indian Territory. He arrived, when he was a very young boy and it was a very young state, in a covered wagon. That famous dry Oklahoma dust seems embedded in the few black-and-white photos I’ve seen of him and his unkempt, unsmiling siblings. Several of them went on to drink and divorce. He was a man of passion but also a lover of order, a believer in rules. The bare bones Calvinism that flourished on the frontier offered him not only a faith but a way beyond the chaos and poverty he knew as a child.

When I left home at 18 for Brown University””in part because it was farther from Oklahoma than any other school that accepted me””my grandfather epitomized what I felt I had to escape from. His was a small, closed world defined by judgment. I was throwing myself toward possibility, toward life with a liberating small “l.” The Eternal Life that all his theology drove toward was really about the avoidance of death and damnation. As I grew older, this threat utterly lost its sense for me. How could every Catholic and Jew, every atheist in China and every northern Baptist in Chicago, for that matter””every non-Southern Baptist””be damned? Could God be so petty, and heaven so small?

The meanness of the God C.T. preached was contradicted, more poi gnantly, in his own person, though he would never have seen this in himself, nor did I have the words for many years to describe it. He was funny and smart and large-hearted.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Baptists, Children, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

American and Egyptian scholars strive to bridge religion gap

Fifteen young American religious scholars and 14 teaching assistants from Al Azhar University – one of the oldest and most influential Islamic institutions in the world – spent two weeks together this month at Georgetown University in an attempt to bridge the divide between the Muslim world and the United States.

The potpourri of young religious scholars studied the legal foundations of American democracy and religious diversity in the U.S. and met with political figures, including White House advisor Valerie Jarrett and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim American elected to Congress.

“I met people that I love, and I consider them as my brother, my sister, my mother,” said Ibrahim Elbaz, 30, from Mansoura, Egypt.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Egypt, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths

Anglican faction to have a new church in Victoria

A new faction of the Anglican Church is to open today in Victoria, a third offshoot in the fractured church.

St. Mark’s Traditional Anglican Church is to have its first service at 5 p.m. today at St. Ann’s Chapel on Humboldt Street, with its own church location to be announced within the next month.

Just how many people will show up at the service and be part of the congregation isn’t known. But with several local Anglican churches in the region closing and the rift in the church over the episcopal constitution, which was announced last October, there are Anglicans looking for a home, said Canon Stanley Sinclair of St. Mark’s.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Religion & Culture

CEN: Anglican relief agency a step closer

A new Anglican relief agency is a step closer after a Lambeth Palace summit earlier this month.

Participants from across the Anglican Communion met with the Archbishop of Canterbury from July 12-14 to plan how to turn the proposed Alliance into reality.

Professionals from five continents working on advocacy, relief and community development programmes reviewed responses to a public consultation on the foundational document and the issues arising from them, and worked together to chart a way forward for the first few years of the Alliance.

read the whole thing (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Globalization, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care

Church Times Editorial: Big question mark on the Big Society

There are occasions when only one political party can develop a particular theory successfully. These are when that theory runs counter to the party’s traditional line. This is not hard to explain: when a theory’s fiercest detractors belong to a party that suddenly adopts it, self-doubt, combined with party loyalty, mutes their criticism. As David Cameron sets out to win people over to the notion of the Big Society, he will sense behind him the Conservative creed that built up around Lady Thatcher’s most famous quotation: “They are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women, and there are families, and no government can do anything except through people, and people look to themselves first.” Although this is often quoted out of context, it is clear that Mr Cameron is departing from the appeal to self-interest (enlightened or otherwise) that drove Conservatism in the 1980s and ’90s.

But as the Prime Minister moves into uncharted territory ”” uncharted, that is, apart from Communitarianism, the stakeholder programme, perhaps even Socialism ”” he is still enough of a Conservative to know that his Big Society ideal will be made or broken by one thing: money.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

AP: France declares war against al-Qaida

France has declared war on al-Qaida, and matched its fighting words with a first attack on a base camp of the terror network’s North African branch, after the terror network killed a French aid worker it took hostage in April.

The declaration and attack marked a shift in strategy for France, usually discrete about its behind-the-scenes battle against terrorism.

“We are at war with al-Qaida,” Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday, a day after President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the death of 78-year-old hostage Michel Germaneau.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, France, Terrorism

WSJ: Rate Swings Sting Europe's Borrowers

“I just can’t believe it,” Mr. [Dezso] Kocs said, looking around at his current quarters, with empty cardboard boxes used as night stands. “I used to be a business owner. Now I’m a slave.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Eastern Europe, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Europe, Hungary, Personal Finance, Switzerland, The Banking System/Sector

Washington Post: Criminal probe of oil spill to focus on 3 firms and their ties to regulators

A team of federal investigators known as the “BP squad” is assembling in New Orleans to conduct a wide-ranging criminal probe that will focus on at least three companies and examine whether their cozy relations with federal regulators contributed to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, according to law enforcement and other sources.

The squad at the FBI offices includes investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard and other federal agencies, the sources said. In addition to BP, the firms at the center of the inquiry are Transocean, which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig to BP, and engineering giant Halliburton, which had finished cementing the well only 20 hours before the rig exploded April 20, sources said.

While it was known that investigators are examining potential violations of environmental laws, it is now clear that they are also looking into whether company officials made false statements to regulators, obstructed justice or falsified test results for devices such as the rig’s failed blowout preventer. It is unclear whether any such evidence has surfaced.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Law & Legal Issues, The U.S. Government

Fred Quinn: The lessons from video poker

South Carolina had more than 7,500 licensed gambling locations. This number was much higher than Nevada, and the city of Columbia had more licensed locations than Las Vegas. There were more than 37,000 licensed video poker machines ”” roughly one for every 100 people in the state.

The gambling industry was taking in a reported $3 billion a year.

The money came disproportionately from the poor: In a 1997 survey of video poker players, 48 percent reported making less than $20,000 per year.

The cost far outweighed the gain….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Gambling, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Poverty, State Government

National League of Cities Report: Job losses for Local Governments projected to approach 500,000

Unemployment in America is a national crisis. It is also a local crisis. As individuals and families struggle to find work, make ends meet, and keep their homes amid an anemic economic recovery, they increasingly turn to local services for support. Local governments provide job training and assistance, transportation, support services for individuals and families in need, health care and education and afterschool programs that support working families. In many communities, local governments are also one of the primary employers….

Read it all (8 page pdf).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, City Government, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel & Henry Purcell

(Not yet fully but only provisionally approved–KSH).

Almighty God, beautiful in majesty and majestic in holiness, who dost teach us in Holy Scripture to sing thy praises and who gavest thy musicians Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel and Henry Purcell grace to show forth thy glory in their music: Be with all those who write or make music for thy people, that we on earth may glimpse thy beauty and know the inexhaustible riches of thy new creation in Jesus Christ our Savior; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Music, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

–Acts 1:14

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

ENS: Standing Committee members celebrate commitment to transparency

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Momentum for Federal Internet Privacy Rules Builds

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Communications Subcommittee, said Tuesday that he will introduce an online privacy bill that will create standards for how consumer data is collected and used for marketing. It will also give users more control over how their Internet activity and profiles are accessed by advertisers and Web sites.

Kerry’s bill, announced in a news release during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on consumer online privacy, comes after two privacy bills were introduced in the House in recent months that would protect sensitive information such as health and financial data unless expressly volunteered to be collected by users. Kerry said he hopes his bill will be passed at the beginning of the next Congress.

The legislative proposals add momentum to a push by consumer groups to create stronger federal rules for how companies such as Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google can track user activity and place ads based on that information. Facebook faced criticism for creating complex changes to its privacy polices late last year that made some information more available to the public. Apple and AT&T were criticized for a data breach that revealed the network identities of its iPad users. Google said it accidentally snooped on residential Wi-Fi networks around the world as it collected technical information for location-based applications.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Science & Technology, Senate

Pope Benedict XVI On the Our Father

St. Luke hands down the Our Father to us in a briefer form than we find in the Gospel of St. Matthew, which has entered into common use. We are before the first words of sacred Scripture that we have known since childhood. They fix themselves in the memory, they form our lives, they accompany us until our last breaths. They reveal that “we are in no way already complete as sons of God, but we must more and more become so and be so through our ever deeper communion with Jesus. Being sons becomes equivalent to following Christ” (Benedetto XVI, “Gesù di Nazaret,” Milano 2007, p. 168).

This prayer also incorporates and expresses human material and spiritual needs: “Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins” (Luke 11:3-4). It is precisely because of everyday needs and difficulties that Jesus forcefully exhorts: “I say to you: Ask and you shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you. Because whoever asks receives and whoever seeks finds and for whoever knocks it is opened” (Luke 11:9-10). It is not an asking to satisfy one’s own wants but rather to keep alive one’s friendship with God, who — the Gospel always says — “shall give the Holy Spirit to those who ask for him!” (Luke 11:13).

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture