Daily Archives: August 6, 2010

John Murray: The 'C' Should Stay in the YMCA

Last month, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) unveiled a new brand strategy to address America’s needs, as well as a name change to “the Y.” After surveying “a cross section of Americans to learn more about the most pressing issues and challenges facing their communities today,” the Y had found that only 51% of Americans were optimistic about the future while 49% were not.

“This is a very important, exciting time for the Y,” said Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of YMCA of the USA. “For 160 years, we’ve focused on changing lives for the better”¦ . People are concerned about the problems facing their communities. Like the Y, they understand that lasting change will only come about if we work together to improve our health, strengthen our families and support our neighbors. Our hope is that more people will choose to engage with the Y.”

Problems? Change? Hope? This “new brand strategy” is a puzzle. While the Y’s written mission still declares putting, “Christian principles into practice through programs,” the newly rolled-out strategy does not mention the change and hope found in Christ.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

Private Growth Is Tepid as U.S. Economy Sheds Jobs Overall

With the American economic recovery hanging in the balance, private employers added 71,000 jobs in July, up from a downwardly revised 31,000 in June but below the consensus forecast of 90,000. The unemployment rate stayed steady at 9.5 percent.

Over all, the nation lost 131,000 jobs in July, but those losses came as 143,000 Census Bureau workers left their temporary posts, the Labor Department said. June’s number was revised dramatically downward to a total loss of 221,000 jobs. The Department of Labor originally reported that the nation lost 125,000 jobs in June.

Figures released last week confirmed that the United States economy slowed down in the spring, and the Department of Labor’s monthly statistical snapshot of hiring pointed toward a stall in hiring this summer, as employers failed to add jobs at the rate they were earlier this year.

It is a very disappointing report–but alas one that is not surprising. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

CEN: ACC faces questions about the legality of its new constitution

The Anglican Consultative Council failed to follow its rules in soliciting approval for its new constitution, critics of the London-based ”˜instrument of communion’ tell The Church of England Newspaper.

Some provinces were never asked to approve the ACC’s new constitution, while others were asked to approve “in principle” a draft version that differed from the final document lodged with the Registrar of Companies for England and Wales on July 10, 2010, while a third group reported that the draft it approved was substantially similar to the one adopted.

The resulting uncertainty has likely resulted in two Anglican Consultative Councils under law: a limited corporation created under English law on July 12, 2010, and an English charitable trust registered in 1978.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Update: You may find the full article there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Global South Churches & Primates

Church Times: Strong opposition to women bishops is needed, says FiF

The Church of England “needs strong Catholic hearts and voices” to defeat the proposed legislation on women bishops, a group of Anglo-Catholic bishops said in an open letter to their constituency last week.

The letter is signed by 15 bishops from Forward in Faith, including the Bishop of Ful­ham, the Rt Revd John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Chichester, Dr John Hind, and the three Provincial Epis­copal Visitors. It urges traditionalists to “engage in the debate and discussion” when the legislation from General Synod goes to the dioceses, which is the next stage in the process.

The Bishops urge their supporters to be “active in the election process for the next quinquennium of the General Synod when the two-thirds majority in each House will be required if the legislation is to pass”.

The Bishops say these are “grave times” for the Church of England. Bringing in women bishops will mean a “disastrous cost to Catholic unity”, and will “not provide room for our tradition to grow and flourish”.

Read it all.

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

Joyce King–Midlife suicides: a societal blind spot

Just days before I was to celebrate another middle-age birthday, I heard on the news that the mayor of an affluent suburb here had killed her 19-year-old daughter before turning the gun on herself. Authorities believe 55-year-old Jayne Peters ”” mayor of Coppell, Texas”” might have planned the murder-suicide based on notes found at her home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers are taking a long look at numbers showing that middle-age adults (45-54) ”” like Peters ”” have the highest suicide rate in the nation for the second year in a row.

Why? In general, researchers see a broad range of factors…..

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Middle Age, Psychology, Suicide

Nicola Moore:U.S. Debt Load Among World's Worst

This year, the U.S. public debt is projected to reach 62 percent of the economy””up from 40 percent in 2008 and nearly double the historical average, according to recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates. The financial crisis and recession drove much of this debt swing, yet larger problems loom in the future.

By 2030, the CBO projects that debt will more than double to 146 percent of GDP.[1] The only good news, if it can be called that, is that the U.S. is not alone. Two recent studies by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) highlight the significance of the global debt challenge and stress the need for governments to aim higher than short-term deficit reductions. For the U.S., one of the most poorly positioned countries, addressing the long-term debt challenge must include prompt reform of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Credit Markets, Economy, Globalization, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, The Banking System/Sector, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Philip Turner (ACI)–The Way TEC Does Business: Let The Buyer Beware!

TEC’s recent history reveals that it now has a standard way of doing business””one that exposes its pleas for dialogue as disingenuous. What is that way? One makes changes in disputed aspects of the life and order of the church by breaking the rules and then calling for conversation rather than “consequences.” This standard way of doing business carries with it its own very idiosyncratic notion of dialogue”“one that, by laying claim to the prophet’s mantle, will not allow the possibility that one could be wrong and one’s opponent right. When TEC acts, TEC acts (according to TEC) in the power of the Holy Spirit; and when TEC speaks, TEC speaks (according to TEC) in the power of the Holy Spirit. To be in opposition, therefore, is to oppose both the Holy Spirit and the justice it is God’s purpose to bring to the world. These are shocking conclusions but, given TEC’s recent history, they are unavoidable conclusions”“conclusions that if ignored by the Instruments of Communion and the member Provinces, will lead to the demise of the Anglican Communion.

TEC’s recent history makes the truth of these charges abundantly plain.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

Dana Mack: Now What for Marriage?

During his testimony, Mr. [David] Blankenhorn noted that granting gay men and women the right to marry would be a gesture quintessentially in the American spirit of equality. Nevertheless, it was a gesture from which he urged the court to demur for the simple reason that two men or two women could not conceive a child together, and that “a child needs a mother and a father.”

To be fair to Mr. Blankenhorn, though he is no expert on same-sex unions, there is a great deal of social-science evidence connecting marriage and the active engagement of two biological parents with child well-being. And there is simply no other way to view the age-old, universal institution of marriage than as rooted in the biological family.

Marriage, like all cultural institutions, evolves; and it may look very different in different cultures. But the institution’s common denominator across time and cultures has been its dedication to the offices of reproduction. The great 20th century cultural anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowsky stated that while marriage is as old as human life, it has never been primarily a romantic, or even an economic, bond. It has been principally an arrangement for bearing children.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Theology

U.S. worried by Karzai's attempt to assert control over corruption probes

Obama administration officials fear that a move by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to assert control over U.S.-backed corruption investigations might provoke the biggest crisis in U.S.-Afghan relations since last year’s fraud-riddled election and could further threaten congressional approval of billions of dollars in pending aid.

The concerns were sparked by Karzai’s decision this week to order a probe of two anti-corruption units that have been involved in the recent arrest of several senior government officials on graft and bribery allegations. Karzai said the investigators, who have been aided by U.S. law enforcement advisers and wiretap technology, were acting outside the Afghan constitution.

Afghanistan’s attorney general said on Thursday that Karzai plans to issue a decree outlining new regulations for the bodies, the Major Crimes Task Force and Special Investigative Unit.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Pakistan, Politics in General, Theology, War in Afghanistan

A Prayer for the Feast of The Transfiguration

O God, who on the holy mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thy well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.” So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

–John 2:6-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to begin the Day

O God, who knowest that we are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but that all our sufficiency is of thee: Assist us with thy grace in all the work which we are to undertake this day. Direct us in it by thy wisdom, support us by thy power; that doing our duty diligently, we may bring it to a good end, so that it may tend to the greater glory of thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

AP: New Constitution for Kenya as 'No' team Concedes

Kenya’s president heralded the passage of a new constitution Thursday as a “national renewal,” after results showed that close to 70 percent of the country had backed the document replacing a British colonial-era draft that inflated the powers of the presidency.

Opponents of the new constitution conceded defeat gracefully, paving the way for a peaceful transition to the new draft document. Ethnically charged violence left more than 1,000 people dead following the disputed 2007 presidential election, raising concerns about the aftermath of Wednesday’s vote.

“The historic journey that we began over 20 years ago is now coming to a happy end,” President Mwai Kibaki told hundreds of supporters in downtown Nairobi, some of whom blew the loud vuvuzela horn made famous during the recent World Cup. “Indeed, may the new constitutional dispensation be our shield and defender.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Kenya, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Anglican Church of South Africa Bishop Donald Harker Resigns Abruptly

The abrupt resignation of the Bishop of George, Donald Harker of the Anglican Church of South Africa, George Diocese, and the forensic investigation into the R6-million missing church funds have stunned the community.

Chapel Warden of the St Aidan’s Wilderness Congregation, Hugh Pharoah said this week that the problems with the George Diocese’s finances have had a devastating impact on both the communities of George and Wilderness where charitable work is being hampered. He said the first priority is to maintain the cottage (a holiday retreat for priests) and the chapel in its existing form. “We get no financial support at all. Money left over after the charities have been supported will help to alleviate the problems that beset the diocese.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces

CNS–Couple's love of motorcycles, Catholic faith come together in ministry

You may see them riding their motorcycles at March for Life rallies, motorcycle rallies, Knights of Columbus and Girl Scout meetings. They look like bikers, but their goal is far different.

“We’re not a motorcycle gang, we’re a motorcycle ministry,” said Hank Stanco, Oklahoma state coordinator of the Catholic Cross Bearers Motorcycle Ministry.

Although Christian motorcycle ministries have been around for a long time, most chapters of the national Christian Motorcyclists Association are connected with Protestant or nondenominational churches. The Catholic version of this evangelical ministry is new.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Travel