Daily Archives: September 1, 2010

A church divided: Diocese, St. John's officials battle over Stockton landmark

The 160-year-old Church of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Stockton is at the center of a lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Joaquin County Superior Court, the latest among several similar legal disputes over parishes that voted in recent years to leave the Episcopal Church USA.

To the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, the lawsuit represents an effort to reclaim assets that were wrongly taken when nearly 50 congregations voted in 2007 to secede, largely in protest over the ordination of women and gays.

But members and leaders of St. John’s – which now is aligned with the more conservative Anglican Church in North America – call the lawsuit a malicious attempt to decimate a congregation and to steal what never belonged to the Episcopal Church in the first place.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

WSJ–Only in Japan, Real Men Go to a Hotel With Virtual Girlfriends

Since the marriage rate among Japan’s shrinking population is falling and with many of the country’s remaining lovebirds heading for Hawaii or Australia’s Gold Coast, Atami had to do something. It is trying to attract single men””and their handheld devices.

In the first month of the city’s promotional campaign launched July 10, more than 1,500 male fans of the Japanese dating-simulation game LovePlus+ have flocked to Atami for a romantic date with their videogame character girlfriends.

The men are real. The girls are cartoon characters on a screen. The trips are actual, can be expensive and aim to re-create the virtual weekend outing featured in the game, a product of Konami Corp. played on Nintendo Co.’s DS videogame system.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, Japan, Men, Women

Archbishop Charles Chaput– Religious Liberty and Catholic Mission in the New Order of the World

The Enlightenment-derived worldview that gave rise to the great murder ideologies of the last century remains very much alive. Its language is softer, its intentions seem kinder, and its face is friendlier. But its underlying impulse hasn’t changed — i.e., the dream of building a society apart from God; a world where men and women might live wholly sufficient unto themselves, satisfying their needs and desires through their own ingenuity.

This vision presumes a frankly “post-Christian” world ruled by rationality, technology and good social engineering. Religion has a place in this worldview, but only as an individual lifestyle accessory. People are free to worship and believe whatever they want, so long as they keep their beliefs to themselves and do not presume to intrude their religious idiosyncrasies on the workings of government, the economy, or culture.

Now, at first hearing, this might sound like a reasonable way to organize a modern society that includes a wide range of ethnic, religious and cultural traditions, different philosophies of life and approaches to living.

But we’re immediately struck by two unpleasant details….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Other Churches, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Anchorage Daily News–New Episcopal bishop of Alaska to be consecrated Saturday

[New Bishop to be] Mark Lattime has been the rector of St. Michael’s Church in Geneseo, N.Y., since 2000 and has served as chaplain at Canterbury Fellowship and as associate rector of R.E. Lee Memorial Church in Lexington, Va.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Method to Grade Teachers Provokes Battles

How good is one teacher compared with another?

A growing number of school districts have adopted a system called value-added modeling to answer that question, provoking battles from Washington to Los Angeles ”” with some saying it is an effective method for increasing teacher accountability, and others arguing that it can give an inaccurate picture of teachers’ work.

The system calculates the value teachers add to their students’ achievement, based on changes in test scores from year to year and how the students perform compared with others in their grade.

People who analyze the data, making a few statistical assumptions, can produce a list ranking teachers from best to worst.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education

Gadhafi Upsets Some Italians by Urging Conversion to Islam

Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi, who holds increasing sway in the Italian economy, upset some Italians by urging conversion to Islam during a three-day visit to the predominantly Roman Catholic country.

Col. Gadhafi held a series of private meetings on Sunday and Monday with some 800 Italian women and a small group of young men organized by a hostess agency and paid for by the Libyan government.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Europe, Islam, Italy, Libya, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A Local newspaper Editorial: Post-Lockerbie shame

The “compassionate release” of a convicted PanAm bomber in 2009 was an affront to justice and to the families of the 270 people who died in Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988. It looks even worse given the perspective that the following year has provided….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., England / UK, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Libya, Politics in General, Scotland, Terrorism

More 'empowered' patients question doctors' orders

In the past, most patients placed their entire trust in the hands of their physician. Your doc said you needed a certain medical test, you got it.

Not so much anymore.

Jeff Chappell of Montgomery, Ala., recalls a visit a couple of years ago to a Charlotte emergency room, near where the family used to live, with his wife, Jacqueline, who has adrenal failure.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Advances Offer Path to Further Shrink Computer Chips

In one of the two new developments, Rice researchers are reporting in Nano Letters, a journal of the American Chemical Society, that they have succeeded in building reliable small digital switches ”” an essential part of computer memory ”” that could shrink to a significantly smaller scale than is possible using conventional methods.

More important, the advance is based on silicon oxide, one of the basic building blocks of today’s chip industry, thus easing a move toward commercialization. The scientists said that PrivaTran, a Texas startup company, has made experimental chips using the technique that can store and retrieve information.

These chips store only 1,000 bits of data, but if the new technology fulfills the promise its inventors see, single chips that store as much as today’s highest capacity disk drives could be possible in five years. The new method involves filaments as thin as five nanometers in width ”” thinner than what the industry hopes to achieve by the end of the decade using standard techniques. The initial discovery was made by Jun Yao, a graduate researcher at Rice. Mr. Yao said he stumbled on the switch by accident.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of David Pendleton Oakerhater

O God of unsearchable wisdom and infinite mercy, who didst choose a captive warrior, David Oakerhater, to be thy servant, and didst send him to be a missionary to his own people and to execute the office of a deacon among them: Liberate us, who commemorate him today, from bondage to self, and empower us for service to thee and to the neighbors thou hast given us; through Jesus Christ, the captain of our salvation; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Thou in whom all things live, who commandest us to seek thee, and art ever ready to be found: To know thee is life, to serve thee is freedom, to praise thee is our souls’ joy. We bless thee and adore thee, we worship thee and magnify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–St. Augustine

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and made an oration to them. And the people shouted, “The voice of a god, and not of man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he did not give God the glory; and he was eaten by worms and died.

–Acts 12:21-23

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Central Valley’s Episcopal Church lawsuits spread to Stockton

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin has filed a lawsuit against the former members of St. John the Evangelist, Stockton. It’s the ninth such lawsuit the diocese has filed against its former congregations that split from the national church to align with a more conservative Anglican order.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

(Living Church) Apolitical Inclusion at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Hollywood

Using a two-sides-of-the-coin approach ”” traditional liturgy and social outreach ”” St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Hollywood, has found success in a transitory neighborhood and an often anti-religious culture. In the process, it has become a model for catechetical training, new-member retention and fundraising.

“If you want snobby ”˜privileged at prayer’ go to Beverly Hills,” said longtime parishioner Michael Ensign. “We’re a funny little outpost at Hollywood and Gardner; a real ship of fools. But we’re clear about who we are. We’re messy and very human, but in messiness is God.”

Ensign has been at the church for 22 years. He is a career actor and veteran of too many movies and television series to list (including Big Love, CSI, and Boston Legal).

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, TEC Parishes