Daily Archives: November 26, 2010

(First Things) George Weigel: No More Appeasement of Radical Islam

The murder of more than 50 Catholics by jihadists during Sunday Mass in Baghdad on Oct. 31 is the latest in a series of outrages committed against Christians by Islamist fanatics throughout the world: Egypt, Gaza, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Sudan and on the list goes. The timing of the attack on Baghdad’s Syriac Catholic cathedral was striking, however, for it came shortly after the conclusion in Rome of a special Synod on the Middle East. During the Synod, very little was said about Islamist persecution of Christians; indeed, every effort was bent to show the Catholic Church sympathetic to Muslim grievances, especially with regard to the politics of the Middle East.

This strategy of appeasement has always struck me as unwise. The al Qaeda-affiliated jihadists’ answer to the Synod””the Baghdad murders””has now proven the strategy deadly. Appeasement must stop.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Iran, Iraq, Iraq War, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

One Family’s Fall From Affluence Is Swift and Hard

[This]… luxurious world was fueled by a check Mr. Martin received in 1998 for $14 million, his share of the $600 million sale of Martin Media, an outdoor advertising business begun by his father in California in the 1950s. After taxes, he kept about $10 million.

But as so often happens to those lucky enough to realize the American dream of sudden riches, the money slipped through the Martins’ fingers faster than they ever imagined.

They faced temptations to indulge, with the complexities and pressures of new wealth. And a pounding recession pummeled the value of their real estate and new financial investments, rendering their properties unaffordable.

The fortune evaporated in little more than a decade.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Stewardship, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Church Times on Church of England General Synod: Easy ride for Covenant and Big Society

After a debate in which concerns about the content and implementa­tion of the Covenant were raised, all three Houses of the Synod voted overwhelmingly for the motion: “That the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant be considered.”

In the House of Bishops, 39 voted in favour, none against, with one abstention; in the House of Clergy, 145 voted in favour, and 32 against, and 11 abstained; in the House of Laity, 147 voted in favour, and 25 against, and eight abstained.

Introducing a debate on the Big Society on Tuesday, the Bishop of Lei­cester, the Rt Revd Timothy Stevens, said that the programme had begun to unleash a new wave of energy in the Churches for practical social action. The Synod enthusiastically welcomed the con­cept of the Big Society as an opportunity for the Church and a way of emphasising work that is already being done.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

CEN: Canterbury rejects African call to postpone Dublin primates meeting

The Archbishop of Canterbury has rejected Africa’s call to suspend the Dublin primates meeting, a spokesman for Dr. Rowan Williams’ tells The Church of England Newspaper, and the meeting will go on as scheduled.

On Nov 17 Lambeth Palace confirmed that Dr. Williams had received a letter from CAPA chairman Archbishop Ian Earnest. This letter raised a “concern about the planning process for the Primates’ Meeting and request[ed] that it be postponed.”

“However, given the closeness of the time, and the fact that the majority of Primates have already indicated that they will attend, the Archbishop of Canterbury is not minded to postpone the meeting whose date was set two years ago,” the Lambeth Palace statement said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Global South Churches & Primates

Sheila C. Bair: Will the next fiscal crisis start in Washington?

Even as work continues to repair our financial infrastructure and get the economy moving again, we need urgent action to forestall the next financial crisis. I fear that one will start in Washington. Total federal debt has doubled in the past seven years, to almost $14 trillion. That’s more than $100,000 for every American household. This explosive growth in federal borrowing is a result of not just the financial crisis but also government unwillingness over many years to make the hard choices necessary to rein in our long-term structural deficit.

Retiring baby boomers, who will live longer on average than any previous generation, will have a major impact on government spending. This year, the combined expenditures on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are projected to account for 45 percent of primary federal spending, up from 27 percent in 1975. The Congressional Budget Office projects that annual entitlement spending could triple in real terms by 2035, to $4.5 trillion in today’s dollars. Defense spending is similarly unsustainable, and our tax code is riddled with special-interest provisions that have little to do with our broader economic prosperity. Overly generous tax subsidies for housing and health care have contributed to rising costs and misallocation of resources.

Unless something is done, federal debt held by the public could rise from a level equal to 62 percent of gross domestic product this year to 185 percent in 2035. Eventually, this relentless federal borrowing will directly threaten our financial stability by undermining the confidence that investors have in U.S. government obligations….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: EU rescue costs start to threaten Germany itself

Credit default swaps (CDS) measuring risk on German, French and Dutch bonds have surged over recent days, rising significantly above the levels of non-EMU states in Scandinavia.

“Germany cannot keep paying for bail-outs without going bankrupt itself,” said Professor Wilhelm Hankel, of Frankfurt University. “This is frightening people. You cannot find a bank safe deposit box in Germany because every single one has already been taken and stuffed with gold and silver. It is like an underground Switzerland within our borders. People have terrible memories of 1948 and 1923 when they lost their savings.”

The refrain was picked up this week by German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble. “We’re not swimming in money, we’re drowning in debts,” he told the Bundestag.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Germany, Ireland, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, Taxes

(Washington Post) Where young bell ringers go to learn the ropes

At one end of the 20-foot rope is Tessa Lightfoot, a 13-year-old American teenager topping the scales at 90 pounds. At the other, directly above her head, is a British-made bronze bell weighing more than a quarter of a ton.

Together, they make beautiful . . . silence.

Tessa heaves gamely up and down on the rope as the 627-pound bell, swinging madly through 360 degrees of arc, makes not so much as a ding. During ringing class in the bell tower of Washington National Cathedral, the clappers are stopped as a courtesy to nearby residents.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Music, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes, Teens / Youth

Anglican and Catholic Archbishops register for historic Sudan referendum

(ACNS) In a spirit of fraternity, The Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan and the Catholic Archbishop of Juba registered together at Hai Jalaba referendum registration centre today. But registering, they now qualify for voting on Referendum Polling Day scheduled for 9 January 2011. Accompanying them was the presidential advisor on Religious Affairs, H E Tijwok Adheaguer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Sudan

Lincoln Caplan: Thanksgiving Scripture

In 1936, with the Great Depression persisting, the governor of Connecticut issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation so inspiring that people in the state learned it by heart as if it were scripture. It was common then to memorize stirring speeches and other texts, but not public decrees. The proclamation’s message and 2010’s turmoil make this a very good year to re-read the document.

The governor was Wilbur Cross, and he wrote the proclamation himself. He was an esteemed Shakespeare scholar and had just retired from Yale after an impressive career as an English professor and luminary. At the age of 68 in 1930, by a tiny margin, he won an encore career in politics. His appeal as governor shows what we are missing today….

In a period more trying than our own, Cross did for Connecticut what no leader seems able to do for America today. He buoyed hearts with reassuring words about shared blessings ”” “the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government

A Letter from the Pilgrims planning their trip to Plymouth, 15 December 1617

(To Sir Edwin Sandys, a founder of the Virginia Colony)

As for the present you rightly behold [God] in our endeavors, so shall we not be wanting in our parts (the same God assisting us) to return all answerable fruit and respect unto the labor of your love bestowed upon us….

1. We verily believe and trust the Lord is with us, unto whom and whose service we have given ourselves in many trials; and that He will graciously prosper our endeavors according to the simplicity of our hearts therein.
2. We are well weaned from the delicate milk of our mother country, and inured to the difficulties of a strange and hard land, which yet in a great part we have by patience overcome.
3. The people are, for the body of them, industrious and frugal, we think we may safely say, as any company of people in the world.
4. We are knit together as a body in a most strict and sacred bond and covenant of the Lord, of the violation whereof we make great conscience, and by virtue whereof we do hold ourselves straitly tied to all care of each other’s good and of the whole, by every one and so mutually.
5. Lastly, it is not with us as with other men, whom small things can discourage, or small discontentments cause to wish themselves at home again….

These motives we have been bold to tender unto you, which you in your wisdom may also impart to any other[s]…. We take our leaves, committing your persons and counsels to the guidance and direction of the Almighty.

Yours much bounden in all duty,
John Robinson, [Pastor, and] William Brewster, [Elder]

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

The Mayflower Compact, 1620

In the name of God, Amen.

We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, king, defender of the faith etc.:

Having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia;

Do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and of one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid;

And by virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the eleventh of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.

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

Praise to Begin the Day

Blessing and honour, and thanksgiving and praise,
more than we can utter,
more than we can conceive,
be unto thee, O holy and glorious Trinity,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
by all angels, all men, all creatures,
for ever and ever.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

As he was now drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

–Luke 19:37-40

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

George Herbert: The Thanksgiving

Oh King of grief! (a title strange, yet true,
To thee of all kings only due)
Oh King of wounds! how shall I grieve for thee,
Who in all grief preventest me?
Shall I weep blood? why thou has wept such store
That all thy body was one door.
Shall I be scourged, flouted, boxed, sold?
‘Tis but to tell the tale is told.
‘My God, my God, why dost thou part from me? ‘
Was such a grief as cannot be.
Shall I then sing, skipping, thy doleful story,
And side with thy triumphant glory?
Shall thy strokes be my stroking? thorns, my flower?
Thy rod, my posy? cross, my bower?
But how then shall I imitate thee, and
Copy thy fair, though bloody hand?
Surely I will revenge me on thy love,
And try who shall victorious prove.
If thou dost give me wealth, I will restore
All back unto thee by the poor.
If thou dost give me honour, men shall see,
The honour doth belong to thee.
I will not marry; or, if she be mine,
She and her children shall be thine.
My bosom friend, if he blaspheme thy name,
I will tear thence his love and fame.
One half of me being gone, the rest I give
Unto some Chapel, die or live.
As for thy passion – But of that anon,
When with the other I have done.
For thy predestination I’ll contrive,
That three years hence, if I survive,
I’ll build a spittle, or mend common ways,
But mend mine own without delays.
Then I will use the works of thy creation,
As if I us’d them but for fashion.
The world and I will quarrel; and the year
Shall not perceive, that I am here.
My music shall find thee, and ev’ry string
Shall have his attribute to sing;
That all together may accord in thee,
And prove one God, one harmony.
If thou shalt give me wit, it shall appear;
If thou hast giv’n it me, ’tis here.
Nay, I will read thy book, and never move
Till I have found therein thy love;
Thy art of love, which I’ll turn back on thee,
O my dear Saviour, Victory!
Then for thy passion – I will do for that –
Alas, my God, I know not what.

–George Herbert (1593-1633)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Poetry & Literature

They Shall Not Be Forgotten: Two Videos of Soldiers Far from Home on Thanksgiving 2010

Check them out at Mudville Gazette: the marines at Camp Leatherneck and then the soldiers and airmen at Kandahar.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq War, War in Afghanistan