Daily Archives: February 22, 2011

(USA Today) Stephen Prothero–In changing Egypt, where will faith fall?

I hope that our leaders will be modest enough to see how (and how often) what we have done or left undone in the Middle East has backfired on us. We have spent trillions of dollars and spilled untold blood in a seemingly endless effort to bring democracy, American style, to Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet Egyptians ”” citizens of a nation with more people than Iraq and Afghanistan combined ”” won the right to write their own future in just 18 days and with little to no U.S. help.

These facts alone should humble us.
Yet I also hope that we do not trade hubris for paralysis. In the face of the ironies of Egyptian history, I must confess to being tempted to leave things elsewhere in the hands of fate or providence ”” to say with my Muslim friends, “Inshallah,” or with my Christian friends, “Thy will be done.”

But as Niebuhr reminds us, “we must exercise our power.” We must do so, however, in the absence of the hubris that characterized our past foreign policies….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Theology

Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter

Like any aspiring filmmaker, Michael McDonald, a high school senior, used a blog to show off his videos. But discouraged by how few people bothered to visit, he instead started posting his clips on Facebook, where his friends were sure to see and comment on his editing skills.

“I don’t use my blog anymore,” said Mr. McDonald, who lives in San Francisco. “All the people I’m trying to reach are on Facebook.”

Blogs were once the outlet of choice for people who wanted to express themselves online. But with the rise of sites like Facebook and Twitter, they are losing their allure for many people ”” particularly the younger generation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Science & Technology

Trinity Episcopal Church in Albany celebrates 200 years

Workers at Trinity Episcopal Church in August delicately removed the fractured spires from the steeple and secured the shattered balustrades around the bell tower.

A lightning bolt from a swift afternoon storm fried the landmark’s highest point and rippled through its 200-year-old frame.

While assessing the damage, Phillip Pearson, the church’s treasurer, spotted a freshly charred strip of floorboard along the bell tower’s base. The lightning sparked a small flame, but the fire somehow had put itself out.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

220th S.C. Convention Focuses on Growth, Expansion and the Gospel; Resolutions Pass

The 220th Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina was held February 18-19, 2011 at the Parish Church of St. Helena’s in Beaufort.

Two resolutions, both of which passed at the previous convention, passed again, by more than the required two-thirds margin in both the clergy and lay orders, amending the Diocesan Constitution. The first resolution removed the accession clause to the Canons of the Episcopal Church, and the second, enabled the Convention to meet more frequently than annually, if needed. These resolutions seek to protect the Diocese from any attempt at un-Constitutional intrusions in our corporate life in South Carolina and were in response to the revisions to the Title IV Canons of the Episcopal Church.

The vote on the resolutions, however, was not the focus of the Convention. The Rev. Ian Boyd, Associate Rector of Trinity, Myrtle Beach was overheard saying, at the close of the gathering, “Of all the conventions I’ve attended this is the one that got me the most excited about doing the work of the church.”

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Posted in Uncategorized

New Hacking Tools Pose Bigger Threats to Wi-Fi Users

You may think the only people capable of snooping on your Internet activity are government intelligence agents or possibly a talented teenage hacker holed up in his parents’ basement. But some simple software lets just about anyone sitting next to you at your local coffee shop watch you browse the Web and even assume your identity online.

“Like it or not, we are now living in a cyberpunk novel,” said Darren Kitchen, a systems administrator for an aerospace company in Richmond, Calif., and the host of Hak5, a video podcast about computer hacking and security. “When people find out how trivial and easy it is to see and even modify what you do online, they are shocked.”

Until recently, only determined and knowledgeable hackers with fancy tools and lots of time on their hands could spy while you used your laptop or smartphone at Wi-Fi hot spots. But a free program called Firesheep, released in October, has made it simple to see what other users of an unsecured Wi-Fi network are doing and then log on as them at the sites they visited.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of Eric Liddell

God whose strength bears us up as on mighty wings: We rejoice in remembering thy athlete and missionary, Eric Liddell, to whom thou didst bestow courage and resolution in contest and in captivity; and we pray that we also may run with endurance the race that is set before us and persevere in patient witness, until we wear that crown of victory won for us by Jesus our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, England / UK, Missions, Scotland, Spirituality/Prayer, Sports

(USA Today) Foreclosures stretch to an average 17 months, may get longer

The average U.S. borrower in the throes of foreclosure hasn’t made a mortgage payment in 17 months, up from nearly 11 months two years ago ”” and the time frame may get even longer.

Banks and mortgage servicers, who collect payments for lenders, are taking more time to complete foreclosures because of huge volumes of defaulted mortgages. Other factors include time-consuming reviews for loan modifications and additional delays that followed revelations late last year about improperly filed foreclosure documents in tens of thousands of cases.

Last year, the number of days that the average borrower in foreclosure went without making a payment stretched from 410 in January to 507 in December, says LPS Applied Analytics, which tracks 37 million mortgages. Before the foreclosure crisis, the norm was more like 250 days, says Herb Blecher, LPS senior vice president.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Psychology, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Anglican Catholics out to evangelise through Ordinariate

The Anglican Ordinariate which aims to be established in Australia by Pentecost is about evangelising, not preserving some pure form of Anglicanism, one of its leading figures said, reports the Record.

Bishop Harry Entwistle of Perth (pictured), one of 50 disaffected Anglicans who met on the Gold Coast earlier this month to gauge “how many and who” will join the Ordinariate, said the Ordinariate’s aim will be that of the universal Church ”“ to bring people into relationship with God.

Bishop Entwistle, who will address a Festival this Saturday at Holy Family Catholic Parish in Como to “introduce the Anglican Ordinariate for Australia”, said it has always been believed that the Ordinarate will begin “with smallish numbers who will then try to grow and evangelise”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Canadian Archbishop visits Belleville and sees same sex unions views as still polarized

On the subject of same sex unions, the primate admitted to the parishioners that views on that issue are still polarized among Canadian Anglicans, but there is a growing “middle” that consists of people who are more tolerant.

“The middle has a greater capacity to embrace the differences we have,” he said.

He said the issue has sparked heated debates between the heads of the church, with some priests being open to inclusiveness while others view the openness of the church as a “slippery slope.”

“Not every priest is going to be comfortable doing this,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(NY Times) N.F.L. Players Shaken by Dave Duerson’s Suicide Message

Football’s ramifications so concerned the former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson that, after deciding to kill himself last Thursday, he shot himself in the chest, apparently so that his brain could remain intact for similar examination.

This intent, strongly implied by text messages Duerson sent to family members soon before his death, has injected a new degree of fear in the minds of many football players and their families, according to interviews with them Sunday. To this point, the roughly 20 N.F.L. veterans found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy ”” several of whom committed suicide ”” died unaware of the disease clawing at their brains, how the protein deposits and damaged neurons contributed to their condition.

Duerson, 50, was the first player to die after implying that brain trauma experienced on the football field would be partly responsible for his death.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Middle Age, Psychology, Sports, Suicide

(USA Today) JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon sees good times in 2011

Q: How do you characterize the economy right now?

A: The economy is getting stronger every day, and I would say it’s rather broad-based, and hopefully this will continue. That’s true globally. It’s good for America when the rest of the world grows, because you can sell more to the rest of the world. Large corporations are in very good shape, have plenty of capital and are starting to expand. But we also see the same thing from middle market-sized companies and small businesses. Our small-business lending is up 37% this year. Other banks are also seeing more loan demand in middle markets and small business.

Q: What about foreclosures in the pipeline? How do you see that playing out, and why hasn’t the housing market participated in this recovery?
A: The mortgage pain is just a terrible story. Too many mortgages were badly done. I’m not talking about us. But foreclosures haven’t quite peaked yet. We’re probably halfway or two-thirds through the problem….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God, who hast taught us that thy Word is a lantern unto our feet and a light unto our path: Grant that we, with all who devoutly read the holy Scriptures, may realize our fellowship one with another in thee, and may learn thereby to know thee more fully, to love thee more truly, and to follow more faithfully in the steps of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God blessed for evermore.

–Bible Reading Fellowship

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And…[Naomi] said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if even death parts me from you.”

–Ruth 1:15-17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NY Times) Warplanes and Troops Besiege Protesters in Libyan Capital

The faltering government of the Libyan strongman Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi struck back at mounting protests against his 40-year rule, as security forces and militiamen backed by helicopters and warplanes besieged parts of the capital Monday, according to witnesses and news reports from Tripoli.

By Monday night, witnesses said, the streets of the capital, Tripoli, were thick with special forces loyal to Colonel Qaddafi as well as mercenaries. They shot freely as planes dropped what witnesses described as “small bombs” and helicopters fired on protesters, making further demonstrations against the government impossible for the moment.

Hundreds of Qaddafi supporters took over Green Square after truck loads of militiamen arrived and opened fire on protesters, scattering them from the square. Residents said they now feared even to emerge from their houses.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Libya, Politics in General, Violence

(MaCleans) John Parisella–In honour of Presidents Day

Tough presidential decisions have been made in the course of history around the world that have improved the lot of many in the world. Overall, the two-party system has produced men (and, hopefully soon, women) of stature, though only few of true greatness out of the 44 who have served.

What is truly inspiring and worth honouring this President’s’ Day is the stability and vibrancy of the world’s most successful democracy, and the importance of role the occupants of the office of the presidency have played in building it. Happy Presidents Day to my American friends.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Canada, History, Office of the President, Politics in General