Daily Archives: August 30, 2010

Eboo Patel (USA Today)–Division vs. unity

In the late 19th century, the forces of religious division in America targeted Catholics. Josiah Strong’s book Our Country: Its Possible Future and Present Crisis referred to Catholics as “the alien Romanist” who swore allegiance to the pope instead of the country and rejected core American values such as freedom of the press and religious liberty. The book remained in print for decades and sold nearly 200,000 copies.

In the early 20th century, the forces of religious division in America targeted Jews. Harvard scholar Diana Eck writes, “In the 1930s and early 1940s, hate organizations grew and conspiracy theories about Jewish influence spread like wildfire.” In 1939, Father Charles Coughlin’s Christian Front filled Madison Square Garden with 20,000 people at a vitriolic anti-Semitic event complete with banners that read: “Stop Jewish Domination of America.”

Today, the forces of religious division demonize Muslims….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Religion & Culture

(Nanaimo Daily News)–People find spirituality outside the mainstream

Bob Lane believes people are searching for more than traditional answers to their spiritual needs.

Canadians are more often looking away from traditional western religions to fulfill those needs.

Lane understands why events like Saturday’s Pagan Pride Day are attracting more and more people every year and why a growing number of young people are not attending traditional churches.

Rev. Brian Evans of St. Paul’s Anglican Church can’t put his finger on why, but agrees a growing number of people in British Columbia are looking elsewhere for spiritual fulfilment.

“All the indicators tell us that we (B.C.) have the highest percentage of people in North America who do not participate in traditional Christian Church practices,” Evans said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Religion & Culture

Monday Morning Open Thread–What was the Best Adult Education Class you have ever Attended and why?

I am interested in the following: where was it offered, who taught it, what aids did you use if any (book, video), how long did it last (both the classes themselves as well as the overall course), and, most especially, WHY did it have such a big impact on you? Any other details are of course welcome. Many thanks–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Adult Education, Blogging & the Internet, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

WLOX: People of different faiths gather to remember Katrina in Mississippi

It was a celebration of how people of different faiths can work together for the common good. An interfaith sunrise worship service at Trinity Episcopal Church in Pass Christian recognized the impact that many religious groups have had in hurricane recovery.

Jews, Christians. Muslims and Hare Krishnas were at the sunrise worship service. All believers were welcome.

“That we all serve an awesome God,” said Alice Graham, Mississippi Coast Interfaith Disaster Task Force. “We come to that service of God from different faith traditions. We’re unified in that we serve a God that calls us all into community.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Hurricane Katrina, Inter-Faith Relations, TEC Parishes

Mark Helprin (WSJ): The World Trade Center Mosque and the Constitution

Mosques have commemoratively been established upon the ruins or in the shells of the sacred buildings of other religions””most notably but not exclusively in Cordoba, Jerusalem, Istanbul, and India. When sited in this fashion they are monuments to victory, and the chief objection to this one is not to its existence but that it would be near the site of atrocities””not just one””closely associated with mosques because they were planned and at times celebrated in them.

Building close to Ground Zero disregards the passions, grief and preferences not only of most of the families of September 11th but, because we are all the families of September 11th, those of the American people as well, even if not the whole of the American people. If the project is to promote moderate Islam, why have its sponsors so relentlessly, without the slightest compromise, insisted upon such a sensitive and inflammatory setting? That is not moderate. It is aggressively militant.

Disregarding pleas to build it at a sufficient remove so as not to be linked to an abomination committed, widely praised, and throughout the world seldom condemned in the name of Islam, the militant proponents of the World Trade Center mosque are guilty of a poorly concealed provocation. They dare Americans to appear anti-Islamic and intolerant or just to roll over.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, City Government, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

Local Paper front Page–the S.C. Economy along the I-95 corridor: From bad to worse

Every seat in the Clarendon County unemployment office is taken on a typical weekday afternoon, and many of these people won’t find new jobs any time soon. That’s just the way it is here along South Carolina’s poor and rural Interstate 95 corridor.

So far this year, only one job opens for every three people sitting in the seats at the satellite office where folks travel for miles to file unemployment claims and apply for new work.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

Bankers Told Recovery May Be Slow

The American economy could experience painfully slow growth and stubbornly high unemployment for a decade or longer as a result of the 2007 collapse of the housing market and the economic turmoil that followed, according to an authority on the history of financial crises.

That finding, contained in a new paper by Carmen M. Reinhart, an economist at the University of Maryland, generated considerable debate during an annual policy symposium here, organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, which concluded on Saturday.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

What Does It Feel Like To Be 75? Say Goodbye To Spry

While reporting my recent series on Aging At Home, I came across a special suit at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. It’s meant to help 20-something engineers feel the aches and limitations of an average 75-year-old so they can design better products for them. Think of it as working like those outfits Superheroes put on, only backward. Of course, I couldn’t resist.

Now, I’m 40-something ”” no spring chicken. But if the crosswalk light is blinking, I can still dash across the street, no problem. Until, that is, MIT researcher Rozanne Puleo starts strapping me into what she calls her Age Gain Now Empathy System.

I pull a harness around my waist and Puleo starts attaching things to it. First, stretchy rubber bands connect from my waist to the bottom of my feet.

“It will limit your hip flexion,” Puleo explains.

Read or listen to it all and make sure to look at the enlarged version of the picture.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Science & Technology

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Department: Learn how to Study!

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Education, Humor / Trivia

Notable and Quotable

You want me to tell you why God is to be loved and how much. I answer, the reason for loving God is God Himself; and the measure of love due to Him is immeasurable love.

–Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad; and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a large company was added to the Lord.

–Acts 11:22-24

Posted in Uncategorized

Policy Options Dwindle as Economic Fears Grow

It increasingly seems as if the policy makers attending like physicians to the American economy are peering into their medical kits and coming up empty, their arsenal of pharmaceuticals largely exhausted and the few that remain deemed too experimental or laden with risky side effects. The patient ”” who started in critical care ”” was showing signs of improvement in the convalescent ward earlier this year, but has since deteriorated. The doctors cannot agree on a diagnosis, let alone administer an antidote with confidence.

This is where the Great Recession has taken the world’s largest economy, to a Great Ambiguity over what lies ahead, and what can be done now. Economists debate the benefits of previous policy prescriptions, but in the political realm a rare consensus has emerged: The future is now so colored in red ink that running up the debt seems politically risky in the months before the Congressional elections, even in the name of creating jobs and generating economic growth. The result is that Democrats and Republicans have foresworn virtually any course that involves spending serious money.

The growing impression of a weakening economy combined with a dearth of policy options has reinvigorated concerns that the United States risks sinking into the sort of economic stagnation that captured Japan during its so-called Lost Decade in the 1990s.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc), Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Philip Jenkins (Christian Century): Who's counting China?

I was perilously close to becoming an agnostic””at least about certain statistics. Specifically, I really didn’t know the data on Christians in China, and for a while I was not sure if anyone did. Only now, perhaps, do we have the glimmerings of an answer to one of the most pressing questions in global religion: just how many Chinese Christians are there?

This question matters enormously because of China’s vast population””now over 1.3 billion””and its emerging role as a global superpower. If Christians make up even a sizable minority within that country, that could be a political fact of huge significance.

Some years ago, veteran journalist David Aikman suggested that China’s Christian population was reaching critical mass and that Christianity would achieve cultural and political hegemony by 2030 or so. Writing in First Things last year, Catholic China-watcher Francesco Sisci agreed that “we are near a Constantinian moment for the Chinese Empire.” If we could say confidently that China today had, say, 100 or 150 million Christian believers, that would also make the country one of the largest centers of the faith worldwide, with the potential of a still greater role in years to come.

But what can we actually say with confidence when honest and reliable authorities differ so widely on the basic numbers?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, China, Globalization, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

(Daily Nation) Love your culture, say African bishops

The second All African Bishops conference ended yesterday with the primates calling on Africans to stick to their culture and reject Western ways tearing the church a part.

While addressing a press conference yesterday, the clergy men, led by Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, said Western cultures like homosexuality should be shunned. He said they will not change their stand on homosexuality, saying the practice is against the scriptures.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Pastoral Theology, Theology

U.S. Iraq Commander Fears Political Stalemate

The outgoing commander of American forces in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, said Sunday that a new Iraqi government could still be two months away and warned that a stalemate beyond that could create demands for a new election to break the deadlock that has lasted since March.

While General Odierno said he believed negotiations had picked up and would prove successful, he predicted politicians still required “four to six to eight weeks.”

“That’s a guess,” he said in an interview at his headquarters, whose plaster roof is still engraved with the initials of Saddam Hussein. “If it goes beyond 1 October, what does that mean? Could there be a call for another election? I worry about that a little bit.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iraq, Iraq War, Middle East