Daily Archives: August 23, 2010

From the Please do not Try this at Home Department

AFP–Thousands of vehicles were bogged down Monday in a more than 100-kilometre (62-mile) traffic jam leading to Beijing that has lasted nine days and highlights China’s growing road congestion woes.

Posted in Uncategorized

Tom Krattenmaker–What if the end isn't near?

… 33-year-old Nashville resident [Tyler Wigg-Stevenson] has assembled a surprising corps of allies and endorsers more than twice his age and known for their hawkish ways of yore, including retired U.S. senator Sam Nunn and Reagan-era secretary of State George Shultz.

Less encouraging is the shape of the initial resistance Wigg-Stevenson often encounters as he travels around the country urging Christians to join the nuclear abolition cause ”” a mind-set that coaxes many believers to accept, even welcome, the imminent end of the world. As signaled by the runaway success of the Left Behind books, end-time expectations hold undeniable sway in evangelical America, which makes long-term investments in a better future seem utterly beside the point.

Thankfully, Wigg-Stevenson and many new-breed evangelicals like him are refusing the kind of end-times bait that lets believers off the hook ”” off the hook of inspired social action that can make their faith a powerful blessing to their society and their time.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Eschatology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

Housing Fades as a Means to Build Wealth, Analysts Say

Housing will eventually recover from its great swoon. But many real estate experts now believe that home ownership will never again yield rewards like those enjoyed in the second half of the 20th century, when houses not only provided shelter but also a plump nest egg.

The wealth generated by housing in those decades, particularly on the coasts, did more than assure the owners a comfortable retirement. It powered the economy, paying for the education of children and grandchildren, keeping the cruise ships and golf courses full and the restaurants humming.

More than likely, that era is gone for good.

“There is no iron law that real estate must appreciate,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist for the real estate site Zillow. “All those theories advanced during the boom about why housing is special ”” that more people are choosing to spend more on housing, that more people are moving to the coasts, that we were running out of usable land ”” didn’t hold up.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance

In A Striking Shift, Small Investors Flee the Stock Market

Renewed economic uncertainty is testing Americans’ generation-long love affair with the stock market.

Investors withdrew a staggering $33.12 billion from domestic stock market mutual funds in the first seven months of this year, according to the Investment Company Institute, the mutual fund industry trade group. Now many are choosing investments they deem safer, like bonds.

If that pace continues, more money will be pulled out of these mutual funds in 2010 than in any year since the 1980s, with the exception of 2008, when the global financial crisis peaked.

Small investors are “losing their appetite for risk,” a Credit Suisse analyst, Doug Cliggott, said in a report to investors on Friday.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Personal Finance, Stock Market

Shay Gaillard on expository preaching

….let me tell you why I think the lectionary is insufficient for shaping “Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age” or whatever your vision of discipleship is:

1. The whole Bible is not read in the Sunday lectionary.

2. Difficult texts are eliminated from the lectionary.

3. Controversial texts are eliminated from the lectionary.

4. Lectionary texts are a set up for preachers to think isogetically about preaching; in the same way, lectionary reading also allows the congregation to go for years without hearing biblical texts in their contexts.

5. The traditional idea of lectionary preaching from the previous generation makes one of two mistakes. It either only preaches from the Gospel texts thus eliminating the 2 Tim. 3:16 understanding of Scripture. There are people who can go for years or a lifetime without hearing a sermon on the Old Testament. The other mistake of lectionary preaching is to try and force a common thread through the four (or three) readings that does not exist exegetically. For every sermon I preach on a biblical text, there are supporting texts. The lectionary readings tend to force the preacher towards finding that support in the appointed texts.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

WSJ Front Page–Facing Budget Gaps, Cities Sell Parking, Airports, Zoo

Cities and states across the nation are selling and leasing everything from airports to zoos””a fire sale that could help plug budget holes now but worsen their financial woes over the long run.

California is looking to shed state office buildings. Milwaukee has proposed selling its water supply; in Chicago and New Haven, Conn., it’s parking meters. In Louisiana and Georgia, airports are up for grabs.

About 35 deals now are in the pipeline in the U.S., according to research by Royal Bank of Scotland’s RBS Global Banking & Markets. Those assets have a market value of about $45 billion””more than ten times the $4 billion or so two years ago, estimates Dana Levenson, head of infrastructure banking at RBS. Hundreds more deals are being considered, analysts say.

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

A.S. Haley–The Via Media Movement: No Orthodoxy — We're Episcopalian!

We see in this set of facts, as early as 2004, a recurring pattern. While professing to honor diversity — and indeed, to seek “unity in diversity” — the groups allied with Via Media have always taken root only in those dioceses led by orthodox clergy who stoutly resisted the ordination to the episcopacy of individuals in a noncelibate relationship outside of Holy Matrimony as defined (and still defined) by the Book of Common Prayer. For thus upholding the rubrics of the BCP, they have been accused of fomenting schism within ECUSA, sued, deposed and hounded from the Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Anglican Identity, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, Theology

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Digest

Read it all and consider becoming a regular reader via the information provided here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Media, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Libby Little on the suffering of being called to a dangerous Place of Ministry

In today’s world of instant access to news, mission agencies may feel compelled to “do something” when danger arises. Although the Bible gives examples of varying responses to danger, the mission agencies’ “something,” more often than not, may be to encourage or order an evacuation. What might have been a God-appointed time to embrace suffering and those who suffer may be prematurely aborted.

According to a United Nations study, “The World at War,” increasing areas of the world are involved in “intrastate wars” where 75 percent of the victims are noncombatants. That figure represents a staggering story of human suffering and enormous needs.

I can remember two occasions when we and others stayed “in the same boat,” as it were, with people caught in conflict and suffering. On one occasion we had to stay; it soon became too late to leave. On the other occasion we had a choice, and we chose to stay.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Evangelism and Church Growth, Missions, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Theology

NPR–'Granny Pods' Keep Elderly Close, At Safe Distance

Of all the elderly people he’s visited, the Rev. Kenneth Dupin remembers a woman named Katie in particular.

Katie had a houseful of treasured memorabilia, and she loved to regale him with stories of Washington high society in the 1950s. But after she was moved to a nursing home, “she started crying,” Dupin says. “I went over to her, and she pulled me down to where I could hear her, and she said, ‘Please take me home.'”

She never did go back home, but after she died, her memory stayed with Dupin. He tells NPR’s Audie Cornish that it got him wondering if there was a way to keep people like Katie out of nursing homes and closer to their families. His idea might seem strange, but “granny pods” are catching on.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

NPR–Walking The Religious Tightrope Of The 'Tenth Parallel'

The 10th Parallel is the line of latitude 700 miles north of the equator. It cuts across central Africa: Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, all the way to the Philippines. More than half of the world’s Muslims live along the parallel, so do most of the world’s Christians.

Journalist and poet Eliza Griswold spent seven years traveling in this region of the world, a place where religious conflict intersects with the growing struggle for land, resources and political power. She examines all of this in a new book called “The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line between Christianity and Islam.”

Eliza Griswold joins me now from our New York bureau. Thanks for being here.

Ms. ELIZA GRISWOLD Author, “The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line between Christianity and Islam”): Thanks for having me, Rachel.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

USA Today–Thousands strain Fort Hood's mental health system

Nine months after an Army psychiatrist was charged with fatally shooting 13 soldiers and wounding 30, the nation’s largest Army post can measure the toll of war in the more than 10,000 mental health evaluations, referrals or therapy sessions held every month.

About every fourth soldier here, where 48,000 troops and their families are based, has been in counseling during the past year, according to the service’s medical statistics. And the number of soldiers seeking help for combat stress, substance abuse, broken marriages or other emotional problems keeps increasing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq War, Psychology, Stress, War in Afghanistan

Anglican priest Kevin Flynn (Ottawa Citizen): How do men and women differ in your faith?

Women have been denied opportunities for development and participation in all spheres of life, including the religious. This has had negative impacts on men and women.

Slowly, painfully, we have been learning to set our sexual stereotypes and prejudices beside the challenges of the Gospel. We are called to a life of justice, compassion, intelligence and patience that takes us beyond our own comfort and interests. While women have always played significant roles in Anglicanism (we are, after all, a Church to which definitive shape was given by a woman — Elizabeth I!), it is only in the last few generations that we have discovered how life-giving it is for them to be involved in leadership and ministry in every order and level of the Church. We can no longer make invidious distinctions between “women in the Church” and “the Church.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Men, Religion & Culture, Women

C.S. Lewis: Footnote to All Prayer

He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring Thou,
And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
Symbols (I Know) which cannot be the thing Thou art.
Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme
Worshiping with frail images a folk-lore dream,
And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address
The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless
Thou in magnetic mercy to Thyself divert
Our arrows, aimed unskillfully, beyond desert;
And all men are idolaters, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.
Take not, oh Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in Thy great,
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And when he had come to Jerusalem he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.

–Acts 9:26-27

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture