Daily Archives: March 4, 2011

(WSJ) Small Tech Gets Religion

When Jim Elliston, a former nondenominational pastor, decided to start a technology company in 2007, he turned to a customer he knew best””the church””to win initial business.

Mr. Elliston says his firm, Clover Sites Inc., of Newbury Park, Calif., has since sold its website templates and Web-hosting services to more than 4,500 churches in the U.S. He also counts those institutions’ members among his company’s clientele, crediting referrals for providing a steady stream of leads.

He started out promoting his business by placing an ad in a booklet for an annual church-leader conference. From there, he says the business started growing through word of mouth. Some 95% of his business now comes from churches.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC)

C of E–new Confirmation resources inspired by the power of the big screen

Moving Images, Changing Lives by Sarah Brush and Phil Greig uses popular films to engage young people creatively with the themes and ideas associated with Confirmation and discipleship via a course of 11 sessions.

There are clips from more than 30 films, including Star Wars: A New Hope (where Obi Wan Kenobi faces Darth Vader in combat), Bruce Almighty, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (showing the reanimation of life on earth), Big Fish, The Miracle Maker, Notting Hill, The Matrix, Dogma, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Dolores Umbridge’s speech), The Passion of the Christ and The Life of Brian. All lead to discussions, the study of Scripture, fun ice-breakers and prayer.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Youth Ministry

(IBD) Healthy Consumer Relying On $1 Trillion Worth of Government Support

Nearly two years into recovery, American households are still leaning heavily on the crutch of government ”” more specifically, government borrowing….

new personal income data from the Commerce Department, which include the impact of the recent 2-percentage-point payroll-tax cut, provide a window into the extraordinary support that the federal government is providing to consumers.

Three props to personal income ”” higher social insurance benefits, lower tax payments and higher government wages and benefits ”” are adding just shy of $1 trillion to personal income on an annualized basis relative to pre-recession levels.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(NY Times) Police Departments Turn to Volunteers

Hamstrung by shrinking budgets, the police say the volunteers are indispensable in dealing with low-level offenses and allow sworn officers to focus on more pressing crimes and more violent criminals.

“We had the option to either stop handling those calls or do it in a different manner,” said Fresno’s police chief, Jerry Dyer, whose department has lost more than 300 employees in recent years. “I’ve always operated under the premise of no risk, no success. And in this instance, I felt we really didn’t have very much to lose.”

Other chiefs facing budget problems are also using volunteers. In Mesa, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb, 10 of them have been trained to process crime scenes, dust for fingerprints and even swab for DNA. In Pasadena, Calif., a team of retirees is combating identity theft ”” and, apparently, their own ennui.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Guardian) Pakistani Christians protest after assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti

Hundreds of Christians have taken to the streets of Pakistan in protest at the assassination of the minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, who was gunned down outside his home on Wednesday.

As the government declared three days of mourning, demonstrations were held across Punjab, where the Christian community is concentrated, with protesters burning tyres and demanding justice.

Such a show of anger is rare among Pakistan’s Christian minority, who enjoy little political power and are more often in the news as victims of violence from Muslim extremists. One of the largest crowds gathered in Gojra, in Punjab, where nine Christians were killed ”“ seven of them burned alive ”“ in 2009.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(BBC) Pope Benedict: Jewish people not guilty for Jesus' death

Pope Benedict has rejected the idea of collective Jewish guilt for Jesus Christ’s death, in a new book to be published next week.

Tackling an issue that has led to centuries of persecution, the Pope argues there is no basis in scripture for the Jewish people to be blamed.

The Catholic Church officially repudiated the idea in 1965.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CEN) Independence will not divide the Sudanese church, bishops say

A divided nation will not lead to a divided church, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan said last month in a statement released at the close of their Feb 11-12 meeting in Juba.

Official results of Southern Sudan’s January independence referendum showed that 98.83 per cent of the South voted for secession from the Khartoum government. The vote means that Africa’s newest nation will receive its formal independence on July 9, 2011. However, key issues remain unresolved, and must be negotiated between the north’s National Congress Party (NCP) and the south’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

In their first meeting since the independence vote, the Sudanese Bishops outlined the challenges facing the two nations and their church. South Sudan risked becoming a “failed state,” the bishops said, unless reforms promoting free markets and open government were implemented, and the border disputes with the north were settled.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Religion & Culture, Sudan

Anglican Alliance director asks UK Government to rethink plans to cut spending to poorest nations

The UK government’s aid arm the Department for International Development (DFID), in its report “Changing Lives, Delivering Results” has proposed cutbacks in funding for some multilateral agencies, and also cuts in spending to some developing countries. Director of the Anglican Communion’s Anglican Alliance for Development, Relief and Advocacy Sally Keeble has today asked for a meeting with DFID officials to go through details of the proposed cuts which would have a serious impact on people in some very poor countries.

In a letter to Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, she writes: “In particular the decision not to fund work in Burundi, Lesotho, Niger, Cameroon, Angola and the Gambia puts pressure on some of the poorest countries, which have very particular challenges in terms of size, geography and in some instances conflict. Lesotho, for example, has suffered major loss of its adult population through HIV and Aids and its geography makes economic diversification problematic.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Globalization, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Religious leaders gather in Sheffield to talk to young people

Leaders from the Church of England have gathered in Sheffield to meet over 150 young people.

The Bishop of Sheffield, Right Reverend Dr Steven Croft attended the event at St Thomas’ Church in Hillsborough alongside Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.

The event, called ‘Regeneration’ was a summit led by young people aged between 15 and 21-years-old, giving them an opportunity to talk about how young people feature in the churches agenda.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Young Adults, Youth Ministry

An Archbishop of York PR on the Regeneration Summit

More than 100 young people are preparing to meet with Church of England bishops at a national summit in Sheffield where the future of the church will be discussed.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, will be attending the Regeneration Youth Summit on March 3rd along with more than 25 bishops and 30 youth leaders.

Regeneration is being led by young people, aged between 15 and 21 years old, and offers them a unique opportunity to meet with bishops on their terms. Throughout the day they will seek to make the future generation a priority for the Church of England and discuss in small groups how the church can better equip, resource and reach young people in the UK.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Young Adults, Youth Ministry

(The Economist) A sense of False [Internet] Security

In 2007 software was released which could intercept bits of data used by websites to identify a user from anyone on the same public Wi-Fi network. Session tokens, as these bits are called, are generated after a login, in which a secure connection is used just long enough to allow the entry of a username and password before the web browser is redirected back to an unsecured version of the website. By grabbing hold of these, impostors were able to “sidejack” a Gmail account or other services that his victim had accessed. With access to email, an attacker could visit popular sites, reset a user’s password and use email to retrieve login information. Following a flurry of sidejacking activity Google began the process, which ended up taking several years, of tweaking most of its services to provide SSL/TLS as an option (though not a requirement).

A smattering of technical know-how was needed to sidejack””and the sidejacker had to be in close proximity of a sufficient number of users to make it worthwhile. Two developments have changed that equation. First, the release of a proof-of-concept plug-in for the Firefox browser, called Firesheep, made worldwide headlines last October. With a couple of clicks, even the most unsophisticated user could take over the identity of anybody else on the same network that happened to be browsing any of a few dozen popular websites. (Mr [Charles] Schumer fingered Firesheep in his public appearance.) Second, the growth of smartphones and tablets with Wi-Fi connectivity””along with the spread of free networks in America””dramatically increased the number of proximate targets. A few years ago a sidejacker (or “sniffer”) might have had access to a handful of laptops from which to siphon data; now hundreds of smartphones and slates can be logged on to such networks at any given time.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Politics in General, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government

A.S. Haley–Rushing to Judgment: a Spurious TEC Defense of Title IV (Part III)

Notice how the conclusion does not even begin to follow from the premise. Because the Constitution does not circumscribe the authority of the Presiding Bishop does not mean either (a) the authority must be unlimited; or (b) that General Convention has the power to define the authority of that office — or to add to, or detract from, its authority on its own. And since duty flows from (and is defined by) authority, having the power to prescribe duties appropriate to the authority that has been given is not the same as having the power to create new authority by creating new “duties.”

Can anyone today seriously argue that the office of the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA is without any limits on its authority? The Title IV Task Force II seems to think so — and they defend their extension, sub rosa, of metropolitical authority to that office on the ostensible ground that such authority is “nothing new,” because General Convention “has never considered that office to be limited as the Runyan & McCall paper states.”

Only persons who were determined to ignore the evolutionary history of the office of Presiding Bishop could make such an outlandish statement….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Analysis, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

Friday Morning Quiz–What is the share of new mortgage loans backed by the U.S. government?

Out of a possible 100% what percentage do you think it is?

You have to guess before you look.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Banking System/Sector, The U.S. Government

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God of love, who dost give to each of us our appointed work: Help us steadfastly, and as in thy sight, to fulfill the duties of our calling; so that when our Lord shall take account of us, we may be found his good and faithful servants and enter into his eternal joy; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Westminster Prayers

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