Daily Archives: March 17, 2011

(RNS) Adventists Grow as Other Churches Decline

Rest on the Sabbath. Heed Old Testament dietary codes. And be ready for Jesus to return at any moment.

If these practices sound quaint or antiquated, think again. They’re hallmarks of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the fastest-growing Christian denomination in North America.

Newly released data show Seventh-day Adventism growing by 2.5 percent in North America, a rapid clip for this part of the world, where Southern Baptists and mainline denominations, as well as other church groups are declining. Adventists are even growing 75 percent faster than Mormons (1.4 percent), who prioritize numeric growth.

Read it all.

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

(Living Church) Finding Words to Pray for Japan

This is the 91-word prayer [Jennifer] Phillips composed:

Merciful God, in your hands are the caverns of the earth and the heights of the hills: our times also are in your hands. Hear our prayers for those suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan; soothe those in distress; watch over those trapped and hoping for rescue; comfort the bereaved; strengthen those who labor to help others, lift up those who cannot help themselves; and in every danger be their very present help by the power of your Holy Spirit; we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Japan, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Spirituality/Prayer

Church outraged over threats to Anglican Bishop of Pretoria

“On Tuesday morning, 15 March 2011, five men armed with guns arrived at Bishop Seoka’s Pretoria home, declaring their intention to kill the bishop and his wife,” the SACC said on Thursday.

“The bishop and his wife were not at home at the time, but the intruders returned later in the day looking for them.”

The men “made remarks” that suggested that they were watching the movements of the bishop and his wife, the SACC said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Violence

Kingdom, Greeting Gulf Soldiers, Is Seen as New Front on Sunni-Shiite Divide

The tiny Island of Bahrain could become a battleground for regional influence between two historical rivals””with Saudi Arabia backing Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy, and Iran supporting the Shiite opposition.

A coalition of about 2,000 soldiers deployed by Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf states, part of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, rolled into Bahrain’s capital Monday to help restore order and save a government challenged by an opposition seeking an end to the monarchy. It was the first time Gulf countries deployed troops to an Arab nation to settle an internal dispute.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Bahrain, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Saudi Arabia

Morning Quiz–the cost of Iodine Packets (14 pills)

According to the Economist, before the Japan Earthquake, the previous cost was 10 dollars.

Where was it pricing recently? No researching or googling; try a real guess.

Posted in Uncategorized

(NY Times) Specter of Rebel Rout Helps Shift U.S. Policy on Libya

The prospect of a deadly siege of the rebel stronghold in Benghazi, Libya, has produced a striking shift in tone from the Obama administration, which is now pushing for the United Nations to authorize aerial bombing of Libyan tanks and heavy artillery to try to halt the advance of forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

The administration, which remains deeply reluctant to be drawn into an armed conflict in yet another Muslim country, is nevertheless backing a resolution in the Security Council that would give countries a broad range of options for aiding the Libyan rebels, including military steps that go well beyond a no-flight zone.

Administration officials ”” who have been debating a no-flight zone for weeks ”” concluded that such a step now would be “too little, too late” for rebels who have been pushed back to Benghazi. That suggests more aggressive measures, which some military analysts have called a no-drive zone, to prevent Colonel Qaddafi from moving tanks and artillery into Benghazi.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(Telegraph) David Frum–Libya: Barack Obama is in no hurry to see Gaddafi go

The Obama administration may not care to admit it, but it did make a decision, and one of benefit to Gaddafi. Why? One factor was surely Obama’s preference for a less activist foreign policy in general.

But there were special considerations in Libya, and they were clearly stated in a piece by General Wesley Clark for the Washington Post last Friday. The former US commander in Kosovo and a 2004 Democratic presidential candidate wrote: “We don’t have a clearly stated objective, legal authority, committed international support or adequate on-the-scene military capabilities, and Libya’s politics hardly foreshadow a clear outcome.”

The key phrase here is “Libya’s politics”. For the past few days, Washington policy circles have been worrying over a piece of research circulated last week: “On a per capita basis ”¦ twice as many foreign fighters came to Iraq from Libya ”“ and specifically eastern Libya ”“ than from any other country in the Arabic-speaking world. Libyans were apparently more fired up to travel to Iraq to kill Americans than anyone else in the Middle East. And 84.1 per cent [74] of the 88 Libyan fighters ”¦ who listed their hometowns came from either Benghazi or Darnah in Libya’s east.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, House of Representatives, Libya, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Terrorism, Violence

(Telegraph) Japan earthquake: the children who have lost their parents

Many of the children taking refuge at the Kama Elementary School, on the eastern fringes of the town of Ishinomaki, are playing in the corridors or helping their parents scrub mud-coated boots in the filthy water of the school pool.

But the atmosphere in the room on the third floor, where 30 children whose parents simply disappeared when the tsunami swept through the town, is very different.

Viewed through the window, the children sit more still and are apparently engrossed in books or card games. They are watched over by other relatives or teachers and we are not allowed to enter or speak with them. Understandably, they do not want their charges to have more reminders of the disaster that has befallen them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Japan, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

(ACNS) A Pastoral Letter from Bishop John Hiromichi Kato, diocese of Tohoku

Five days ago, on March 11 at 2:46 PM, there was a major earthquake followed by a tsunami and fires. Now we are facing potential disaster caused by the malfunction of nuclear power plant. On the day of earthquake it was snowing. Today it is expected to get colder. The tsunami and the fires it caused have made us miserable. We are now experiencing a lack of food supply. Over the past five days there have been as series of worrying aftershocks. Essential services are disrupted, particularly the phones with many people unable to recharge their cell phones. There is now a petrol shortage in the immediate area. We were simply not prepared for problems on this scale. In the central part of Sendai City there does not appear to be major damage to the buildings; it almost appears as if there is no problem, but in reality the lack of essential services–gas, electricity and water–is particularly hard for people.

What we are experiencing in our city does not compare to what we have seen in the media, particularly those areas directly impacted by the tsunami. According to the Asahi newspaper, life for the between 400,000 to 500,000 people living in temporary shelters is getting worse. The affected area is very wide and diocesan staff have not been able to visit all areas.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Japan

(NPR) Study: Diet May Help ADHD Kids More Than Drugs

Hyperactivity. Fidgeting. Inattention. Impulsivity. If your child has one or more of these qualities on a regular basis, you may be told that he or she has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. If so, they’d be among about 10 percent of children in the United States.

Kids with ADHD can be restless and difficult to handle. Many of them are treated with drugs, but a new study says food may be the key. Published in The Lancet journal, the study suggests that with a very restrictive diet, kids with ADHD could experience a significant reduction in symptoms.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Centre in the Netherlands, writes in The Lancet that the disorder is triggered in many cases by external factors ”” and those can be treated through changes to one’s environment.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Europe, Health & Medicine, Psychology, The Netherlands

U.S. Is Urged to Raise Teachers’ Status

To improve its public schools, the United States should raise the status of the teaching profession by recruiting more qualified candidates, training them better and paying them more, according to a new report on comparative educational systems.

Andreas Schleicher, who oversees the international achievement test known by its acronym Pisa, says in his report that top-scoring countries like Korea, Singapore and Finland recruit only high-performing college graduates for teaching positions, support them with mentoring and other help in the classroom, and take steps to raise respect for the profession.

“Teaching in the U.S. is unfortunately no longer a high-status occupation,” Mr. Schleicher says in the report, prepared in advance of an educational conference that opens in New York on Wednesday. “Despite the characterization of some that teaching is an easy job, with short hours and summers off, the fact is that successful, dedicated teachers in the U.S. work long hours for little pay and, in many cases, insufficient support from their leadership.”

Read it all.

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

(ENI) Japanese churches respond to earthquake-tsunami disaster

Churches across Japan are responding with prayers, donations, and relief operations to the impacts of the March 11 earthquake and its subsequent tsunamis and nuclear power plant accidents.

As of March 16, more than 3,700 people were confirmed dead, more than 7,800 missing, and about 2,000 injured, according to the National Police Agency. More than 400,000 people have been evacuated from the disaster zones in northeastern Japan. The earthquake also damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where workers have been struggling to contain radiation leaks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Japan, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Patrick

Almighty God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Ireland, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O thou who hast taught us that we are most truly free when we lose our wills in thine: Help us to attain to this liberty by continual surrender unto thee; that walking in the way which thou hast prepared for us, we may find our life in doing thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Gelasian Sacramentary

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest remains, let us fear lest any of you be judged to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them; but the message which they heard did not benefit them, because it did not meet with faith in the hearers.

–Hebrews 4:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture