Daily Archives: February 8, 2011

Notable and Quotable

A professor at Notre Dame once lamented to me that the parents he encounters don’t worry that their kids will engage in sexual activity during their undergraduate career. Rather, they fret that students will come home engaged to be married. Forty years ago, who could have imagined that parents would want their children to prolong their “wild” years and put off the responsibilities of grown-up life?

–Naomi Schaefer Riley in a review of Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecke’s new book “Premarital Sex in America,” Commentary (February 2011), p.59

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Young Adults

Dean Baker–The FCIC forgets the housing bubble

The problems with the FCIC’s report, released at the end of January, stem from the Commission’s very inception: it was focused on the wrong topic. The FCIC investigated risky investments, lax regulation, excessive leverage. And it downplayed the more mundane, but vastly more important, collapse of the housing bubble.

The FCIC was set up to investigate a sidebar rather than the real story. Given the definition of its mission, the Commission did a reasonably good job. However, its 662-page report is a distraction from the real reasons why 25 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed, or have given up looking for work altogether. The real story doesn’t require 662 pages; it can easily be summed up in a few paragraphs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

(NPR) Adam Haslett–Spare And Sublime: A Monastery's Spell Of 'Silence'

[The book is called]…called A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor, and I quickly fell under its spell.

At a mere 95 pages, it is a short read, yet nothing about it makes you want to rush. In the mid-1950s, Fermor, an English travel writer who as a young man once walked from Holland to Turkey, became interested in the life of monks. He decided to visit several Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries in France. A Time to Keep Silence is the record of those visits and it accomplishes something that few books do: It replicates in style and rhythm the very experience that it seeks to describe. The writing is spare, exactingly precise, and then occasionally quite beautiful, just as the life of the monks we hear about are pared down, highly concentrated, and every now and then sublime. In short, it’s a book about the contemplative life that delivers the reader into a contemplation of his or her own.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

South Carolina budget crisis hits welfare checks

Gov. Nikki Haley managed to eliminate one of the three agency budget deficits she inherited, in part, by slashing 20 percent out of welfare-to-work checks provided to South Carolina’s neediest families.

Haley announced Monday that her team was able to wipe out a projected $29 million deficit at the Department of Social Services. But as the Republican governor finishes her first month on the job, two of her Cabinet agencies still are predicting that they’ll run out of money before the budget year ends June 30.

Read it all.

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

(LA Times) Egypt's Coptic Christians fear life without Mubarak

The morning bells of All Saints Church beckon worshipers a little later these days, and Mass is celebrated more frequently.

The schedule shift for the early service has come in response to the government-imposed overnight curfew. The extra services? Coptic Christians in Egypt’s second-largest city say they have a lot of reasons to pray amid the nation’s ongoing turmoil.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(The Portal) Aidan Nichols, OP: What I think about the Ordinariate

The pioneers who are going forward at this early stage are, for the sake of the goal, taking a brave step into the unknown. I find it entirely understandable the many Anglo-Catholics baulk at the prospect. Those who, despite having pictures of the Pope in their clergy-houses, sacristies or even churches, cannot imagine ever moving into another ”˜part of the Lord’s vineyard’ (as Pusey put it) need to be clear, however, that achieving tolerated status within the Church of England (a.k.a. The Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda) is not what the Oxford Movement was about….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(NY Times) Reuel Marc Gerecht–How Democracy Became Halal

…the [Muslim] Brotherhood, like everyone else, is evolving. It would be a serious error to believe that it has not sincerely wrestled with the seductive challenge of democracy, with the fact that the Egyptian faithful like the idea of voting for their leaders.

In 2007, members of the Brotherhood released, withdrew and unofficially re-released a political platform ”” the first ever for the organization ”” in which an outsider can see the Brothers’ philosophical struggle with the idea of parliamentary supremacy and the certainty that faithful Muslims may legislatively transgress Holy Law. The Brothers themselves didn’t know how much free rein to give to their compatriots ”” they, like everyone else, are moving in uncharted waters.
The Brotherhood is trying to come to terms with the idea of hurriya, “freedom.” In the past, for the Muslim devout, hurriya had denoted the freedom of a believer to worship God; for the Arab nationalist, the word was the battle cry against European imperialism. Today, in Egypt and elsewhere, hurriya cannot be understood without reference to free men and women voting. The Brothers are trying to figure out how to integrate two civilizations and thereby revive their own. This evolution isn’t pretty. But it is real.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Eureka Street) Martin Laverty– The future shock of aged care

Those younger than the Baby Boomer generation may have missed the release of a Productivity Commission aged care report. Pre-Baby Boomers may wrongly have thought it doesn’t impact them.

Anyone who has had to find an aged care home for a loved one will tell you the system is a maze. It’s hard to access, and hard to find a way through. It’s not able to give everyone what they want.

The reason younger people should worry is that if they have family members, chances are they’ll take a crash course in aged care navigation if, without warning, a family member needs care urgently….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Australia / NZ, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(National Post) Charles Lewis–'Religions just don't compete' in Canada, says sociologist

Competition, innovation and entrepreneurialism, all qualities normally associated with business, may explain why the United States is more religious than Canada, and determine the future of organized religions in our country, says a leading sociologist.

“In the United States there is a lively marketplace and competition because Americans are not worried about saying they have absolute truths,” said Reginald Bibby, a University of Lethbridge professor who specializes in religious trends and is the author of the soon-to-be released Beyond The Gods and Back.

“It’s really non-Canadian to think we’re going to claim truth over another group. So religious groups in Canada just don’t compete intensely with each other, and what they do instead is service their own customers.”

Read it all.

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

(BBC) It is Official–South Sudan backs independence

On Monday, the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission announced in Khartoum that 98.83% of the voters had backed independence.

“Those who voted for unity were 44,888, that is, 1.17%. Those who voted for separation were 3,792,518, that is, 98.83%,” commission head Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Politics in General, Sudan

The Archbishop of York questions bank bonus payments and 'gambling casinos'

The Archbishop of York: The noble Lord, Lord Myners, normally speaks with great sense and clarity on matters of money, but the question is not that banking is not an honourable profession. People who work in the banks are people of good will and good respect, and they do a very good job. The first question is about bonuses. People in this country find the bonus culture indefensible. The second question is about the gambling casinos around banking. Will they get rid of those gambling casinos? Many people say they do not like them. The question that the noble Lord asked the Minister about Lehman Brothers and deposit accounts in Germany illustrated the point. Some people say that that is not the honourable business of banking. Anybody who is having a go at banking is saying not that banking is not an honourable profession or that bankers are not very able people doing a good job but that these bonuses and the gambling casinos taint the entire profession of banking.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(Anglican Journal) Sonia Hinds–Black and Anglican in Canada

On Feb. 27, St. Paul’s Bloor Street, diocese of Toronto, will celebrate Black heritage in the Anglican Church of Canada with a unique annual service. This year””which the United Nations has declared International Year for People of African Descent””marks the 15th anniversary of the special Anglican service, planned by the diocese’s Black Anglicans Coordinating Committee and held every February during Black History Month. Each year, hundreds of Anglicans, many of them Blacks, come to give thanks to God for the rich heritage of Blacks in Canada and for the many gifts they share. Always in the presence of a Toronto-area bishop, this inspiring service of prayer and praise to God includes story-telling, drumming, dancing and preaching.

As a baptized member of the Christian church and as a Black Anglican priest in the diocese of Toronto, I view this milestone occasion as an opportunity for theological reflection. I invite all my sisters and brothers to join me in conversation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

(Living Church) Faith McDonnell: Iranian Church Grows Amid Persecution

Few realize that after the Islamic Revolution, from the late 1970s through the 1980s, Iran’s Anglicans were the most severely persecuted Christians. Iranian Anglicans worshiped in Farsi, which angered Islamists wanting to portray Christianity as a Western, imperialist religion. More important, many Anglicans were converts from Islam.

The first post-revolution martyr was an Anglican priest, the Rev. Arastoo Sayyah. Islamists cut the throat of this Muslim convert in his office in Shiraz, southwest Iran, on Feb. 19, 1979, and confiscated the property of the church he led.

In October of the same year, the Rt. Rev. Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, also a Muslim convert, and his wife, Margaret, survived an assassination attempt in their bedroom. Dehqani-Tafti was the first Persian Anglican bishop.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Iran, Middle East, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord, because being compassed with infirmities we oftentimes sin and ask for pardon: Help us to forgive as we would be forgiven; neither mentioning old offences committed against us, nor dwelling upon them in thought, nor being influenced by them in heart; but loving our brother freely, as thou freely lovest us; for Christ’s sake.

–Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lo’is and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you. Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.

–2 Timothy 1:5-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture