Daily Archives: March 11, 2011

(WSJ) Nader Hashemi: The New Mideast Will Still Mix Mosque and State

The uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have been widely described as secular rebellions led by middle-class, tech-savvy young people seeking economic and political justice. Protests have generally called for democratic, not Islamic politics, and for the rule of law, not Shariah law. Islamists were late to join the crowds, and they have participated only as one group among many. Because of all this, most Westerners have embraced the revolts. We should not, however, assume that the protesters seek to build replicas of the societies that exist in the West.

That assumption is erroneous because the Arab world is only beginning to debate basic questions of civic and political life””especially what role religion should play in government.

Westerners should avoid the so-called problem of transference: the natural tendency to assume that our historical experience is universal. It is misguided to assume that because the West””after centuries of bloodshed and experimentation””arrived at a broad consensus around democracy and secularism, so has the rest of world. The historical experience of Arab and Muslim societies has been qualitatively different.

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

(ACNS) The Anglican Communion responds to the Japanese earthquake

Churches and agencies of the Anglican Communion have begun to plan how best to respond to the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami impacting countries across the Pacific Ocean.

The Secretary of The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan) Shinya Samuel Yawata told ACNS this morning that the Provincial office is waiting to learn the extent of the destruction in northern Japan. He said he had not yet heard from any other dioceses, but wanted the rest of the Communion to know that the NSKK Province office is still functioning.

“Unfortunately we have not heard from people of northern Japan except from the news on the Internet. All phone lines are down because of heavy usage so we do not know much about what is going on. Viewing the Internet we can see that damage is substantial and already many deaths have been reported.”

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia, Japan

(NY Times) Revolts Raise Fear of Migration in Europe

The turmoil in Libya and elsewhere in the region has toppled or undermined North African dictators who negotiated a web of benefits from Europe, including aid and diplomatic standing, in return for stopping immigrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean.

Without the assistance of those leaders, many in Europe worry that they will face new waves of illegal immigration not only from the liberated areas in the north, but from much of sub-Saharan Africa as well.

The immigrants would arrive at a time when much of Europe ”” struggling with high unemployment and lethargic economies ”” is already awash with anti-immigrant sentiment, and many countries say they are simply incapable of absorbing poor migrants.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Egypt, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Libya, Middle East, Politics in General, Tunisia

(CEN) Diocese of Lincoln chided for its silence over 1994 abuse arrest

The Diocese of Lincoln failed to inform the Diocese of Massachusetts that one of its priests had been arrested for child abuse while serving as a vicar in Skegness.

The Rev. Franklin E. Huntress, Jr., relinquished his priestly orders rather than face a church trial last month after the Diocese of Massachusetts began an investigation into charges the 77 year old retired priest had molested a child in 1974.

During the course of its investigation, the diocese learned Mr. Huntress had been arrested by police for abusing a child in 1994 while service as vicar of St. Matthew’s Church in Skegness, Lincs. No charges were filed against the American vicar as the family did not want the child to testify in court. However, church investigators concluded the allegations were true after reading the police report and speaking to the officers involved, said Canon Mally Lloyd, the Bishop of Massachusetts’s assistant.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, Theology

Church Times–We will make you a priority, English Primates tell young people

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York and more than 30 bishops committed themselves to making young people a priority in the Church of England, when they attended a conference held in Sheffield last week.

The Regeneration Youth Summit took place at St Thomas’s, Phila­delphia Campus, on Thursday of last week, and was organised by the Church Army, the Archbishop of York Youth Trust, and a group of young people, including Sam Follett, aged 20, the youngest member of the General Synod.

More than 120 people aged from 15 to 21, and about 30 youth workers, discussed ways of better equipping the Church to reach out to young people. All delegates were invited to sign a pledge committing to the work of the Church and young people.

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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

BBC's Radio Four Today Programme–Departing Anglicans' 'painful journey'

From the BBC programme description:

Hundreds of traditionalist Anglicans intending to join the special section of the Roman Catholic church for disaffected Anglicans are to worship for the first time in Roman Catholic churches.
Father Ed Tomlinson will lead his 70 parishioners from their old church in Tunbridge Wells to the new Catholic Church in Pembury to celebrate Mass on Ash Wednesday. He explains the reasons for the migration.

Listen to it all (about 3 1/2 minutes).

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

(USA Today) For teachers, many ways and reasons to cheat on tests

In 2008, teacher assistant Johanna Munoz helped her Orlando-area fourth-graders on the state achievement test.

According to investigative documents obtained by USA TODAY, Munoz erased wrong answers and whispered corrections while she was helping non-native English speakers with difficult words. She snapped her fingers in a code students understood to mean they should correct an answer.

While the teacher was out of the room, Munoz warned the students “not to tell anyone, not even your parents, what I did.” If they told, she warned, they “would fail fourth grade.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

(Eureka Street) Frank Brennan: In defence of same-sex unions

The messy same-sex marriage debate continues in Australia and in the US. I remain of the view that we should not extend the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions; that we should legislate to recognise same-sex unions; and that we should leave questions about the legal availability of new technologies for the creation of children by same-sex couples for determination at a later date.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Australia / NZ, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Pope Benedict XVI's Homily During Ash Wednesday Mass

We begin today the liturgical season of Lent with the thought-provoking rite of the imposition of ashes, through which we wish to take on the commitment to convert our hearts to the horizons of grace. In general, in common opinion, this time runs the risk of being marked by sadness, by the darkness of life. Instead, it is a precious gift of God; it is an intense time full of meanings in the journey of the Church; it is the itinerary to the Lord’s Easter. The biblical readings of today’s celebration give us indications to live this spiritual experience fully.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic

(RNS) Book Explores Lasting Impact of Vatican II on U.S. Church

Colleen McDannell knew the title of her new book, “The Spirit of Vatican II: A History of Catholic Reform in America,” would be provocative.

Modernists talk of the Catholic Church not living up to “the spirit of Vatican II,” while traditionalists mock the phrase as if it’s a ruse for turning the council on its head.
Yet McDannell says the title was nonetheless perfect for what she wanted to do: Tell the story of how American Catholics negotiated a time of dramatic change in their church.

“There was a spirit, and it was not just a light, frivolous, hippie, mini-skirted-nun type of thing,” said McDannell, a history professor at the University of Utah.

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

(Bloomberg) Asia on Tsunami Alert After Biggest Quake Since 2004 Rocks Northern Japan

The Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan and Papua New Guinea were bracing for possible tsunamis after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the northeast of Japan, sending waves crashing through coastal towns.

The strongest temblor in Japan in at least a century struck at 2:46 p.m. local time 130 kilometers (81 miles) off the coast of Sendai, north of Tokyo. Buildings shook in the capital, and television footage showed a wave of water as high as 10 meters engulfing farmhouses and roads along the coast. Fires broke out in an oil plant and buildings in Tokyo.

Waves traveling as fast as 800 kilometers an hour may be radiating from the epicenter, sparking warnings in countries that lie in their path. The quake is the strongest since a 9.1 magnitude temblor off North Sumatra in Indonesia in December 2004 left about 220,000 people dead or missing in 12 countries around the Indian Ocean.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia, Japan

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son hast taught us that whosoever will be his disciple must take up his cross and follow him: Help us with willing heart to mortify our sinful affections, and depart from every selfish indulgence by which we sin against thee. Strengthen us to resist temptation, and to walk in the narrow way that leadeth unto life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Prayers for the Christian Year

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

–Titus 2:11-14

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

'Kadhafi and his clique must go': Britain and France

France and Britain on Thursday agreed that Libya strongman Moamer Kadhafi “must go” and called on the EU to consider the country’s rebel national council a valid political interlocutor, Sarkozy’s office said.

“To stop further suffering of the Libyan people, Muammar Gaddafi and his clique should leave,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a joint letter to European Union president Herman Von Rompuy.

France earlier recognised the rebels as the country’s rightful representatives.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Europe, Foreign Relations, France, Libya, Politics in General, Violence

(Living Church) Whis Hays–Marshall McLuhan in Egypt

Amid all these commentaries, I have yet to hear anyone speculate on how the communications media that fueled the Arab revolutions will reshape and define the societies and states that emerge from these uprisings. For much of the 20th century such thinking was the realm of Roman Catholic layman and media critic Marshall McLuhan (1911-80). Any student of McLuhan’s (mostly proven) theories would know this: sooner or later the structures that emerge will be rooted in the technological extension of senses implicit in these communications technologies.

McLuhan’s landmark 1964 book Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man presented his primary thesis: the dominant communications medium in any society unconsciously shapes our psychic and social lives irrespective of the content presented through that medium. His still-famous dictum was “The medium is the message.” His insights provoke a number of questions about current events in North Africa. How does mobile phone texting extend our natural capacities? How does it fit into the mélange of graphic and typographic communications technologies used in these cultures? What values are embedded implicitly in these technologies and the process of interacting with them? How does this reshape their consciousness and societies?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Egypt, Globalization, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology