Daily Archives: May 18, 2011

C of E Statement on Government white paper on House of Lords reform

Commenting on the Government’s proposals, Rt Rev Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester and Convenor of the Lords Spiritual said:

“Some reform of the Lords is overdue, not least to resolve the problem of its ever-increasing membership. But getting the balance of reform right, so that we retain what is good in our current arrangements, whilst freeing up the House to operate more effectively and efficiently, is crucial.

If the test of any reform is that it helps serve parliament and the nation better, in proposing to replace the House of Lords with a wholly or largely elected second chamber, the case has not been made. That case would require a clear redefinition of the primary purpose and function of the Upper House.

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

In Consumer Behavior, Signs of Gas Price Pinch

High gasoline prices have not derailed the economic recovery, but that’s small comfort to Loraine Greene. A customer relations manager in the Hudson Valley of New York, Ms. Greene spent the weekend packing up to move to a rental house much closer to work.

At $4 a gallon, gas is too expensive to justify the 50-mile round-trip commute.

“The option was either to sell my truck and get something smaller, or to try to get closer to work,” said Ms. Greene. She chose to move. The new house is just eight miles from the office.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Personal Finance

Liverpool Cathedral service remembers blitz victims

The 70th anniversary of the blitz on Liverpool is to be marked by a service at the Anglican cathedral later.

The Dean of Liverpool, the Very Reverend Justin Welby, and the city’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Hazel Williams, will be among those attending.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Episcopal Church (TEC), Europe, History, TEC Parishes

(BBC) Scottish Episcopal Church considers female bishop election

A Scottish Anglican priest will learn later if she has become the first female bishop of a major UK church.

The Rev Canon Dr Alison Peden is on a shortlist of five hoping to be elected Bishop of Brechin in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Dr Peden stood for election to be a bishop in 2010 but failed in her bid.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Scottish Episcopal Church

(Living Church) Restarting Spiritual Theology

A 400-page book on pneumatology (theology of the Holy Spirit) by a systematic theologian may sound like an unlikely candidate for international acclaim. But the Rev. Dr. Robert D. Hughes III, author of Beloved Dust: Tales of the Spirit in the Christian Life (Continuum, 2008), has already won the inaugural des Places-Libermann Award in Pneumatology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and the book has been shortlisted for the 2011 Michael Ramsey Prize.

Hughes is professor of systematic theology and Norma and Olan Mills Professor of Divinity at the University of the South’s School of Theology.

“I was very grateful for that kind of recognition,” Hughes said in an interview with The Living Church. “It meant someone was reading the book and getting it.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Books, Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

Historic Woodhaven New York Episcopal Church to close

The impending closure of the beloved 111-year-old Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Woodhaven is sending shadows across a community whose residents worry the diocese could sell the site to someone with little reverence for the historical building and the cemetery behind it….

According to a message in the church’s May 8 service bulletin, the rector, the Rev. Tracey Williams, will continue to live on site until plans for the sale of the church are finalized. Diocese officials did not say when they expect to sell the church, nor to whom. They said the building will be deconsecrated during the last service.

“This action has been taken after many years of faithful ministry in the midst of a declining population and dwindling resources,” the Rev. Lawrence Provenzano, bishop of the Long Island diocese, wrote in a recent e-mail to supporters.

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

Matt Reynolds–America as a Christian Nation? Cherry-Picking from the Past

Sensible Christians understand that America’s past, present, and future are inexplicable apart from Christianity. Just as sensibly, if sometimes hyperbolically, they discern among American elites widespread indifference and hostility to this reality. In emphasizing the purveyors of Christian nation fantasies, [John] Fea lets these elites off the hook a little too easily.

But this is a forgivable offense. Sufficient unto the day is the revisionism thereof. If Fea succeeds in dislodging this nettlesome speck from the Christian eye, he can tackle the secularist beam some other time.

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

(CNS) Dublin archbishop says Catholics not passing on faith to young people

Irish society is not just suffering from the sex abuse scandal but from a failure to pass on the faith to the younger generation, said the archbishop of Dublin.

“We have to completely, radically change the way we pass on the faith,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told Catholic News Service May 16. “Our parishes are not places where evangelization and catechesis are taking place.”

The archbishop traveled to Washington to present the Order of Malta Inaugural Lecture, “Faith and Service: the Unbreakable Bond.” During his speech and in remarks to CNS beforehand, he spoke of the declining practice of the faith in Dublin — 18 percent of Catholics regularly attend Sunday Mass — and of the need to give young people responsibility in the parish to reinvigorate them.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Adult Education, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Teens / Youth, Theology, Young Adults, Youth Ministry

David Brooks–Nice Guys Finish First

The story of evolution, we have been told, is the story of the survival of the fittest….[and] this is partially true…Yet every day, it seems, a book crosses my desk, emphasizing a different side of the story. These are books about sympathy, empathy, cooperation and collaboration, written by scientists, evolutionary psychologists, neuroscientists and others. It seems there’s been a shift among those who study this ground, yielding a more nuanced, and often gentler picture of our nature.

The most modest of these is “SuperCooperators” by Martin Nowak with Roger Highfield. Nowak uses higher math to demonstrate that “cooperation and competition are forever entwined in a tight embrace.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Psychology, Science & Technology

Angela Merkel Blasts Greece over Retirement Age, Vacation

Keeping debt under control, Merkel said in a speech at an event held by her party, the conservative Christian Democratic Union, in the western German town of Meschede, isn’t the only priority. “It is also important that people in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal are not able to retire earlier than in Germany — that everyone exerts themselves more or less equally. That is important.”

She added: “We can’t have a common currency where some get lots of vacation time and others very little. That won’t work in the long term.”

There are indeed significant differences between retirement ages in the two countries. Greece announced reforms to its pension system in early 2010 aimed at reducing early retirement and raising the average age of retirement to 63. Incentives to keep workers in the labor market beyond 65 have likewise been adopted. Germany voted in 2007 to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 over the next several years.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Greece

Diocese of Adelaide–Beating Gambling at its Own Game

Christine Bell, Manager of Salisbury Services, says gambling counselling is a highly specialised field. “Gambling counselling is a relatively young industry, only 15 years old,” she said. “Drug and alcohol counselling is well established over many decades, with many therapeutic inter-ventions being well tested and researched.” Christine says many people in the community don’t see gam-bling as a social problem, as it has often been seen as part of our recreational history. For a large percentage of people in our com-munity this can be so, however others see the opportunity to win ”˜large’ amounts of money which they believe can enhance their lives in many ways. “Gambling can become a problem for people, and this is usually seen around the time when it stops being fun,” Christine said.

“Many gamblers find it hard to control the time and money spent on gambling. “Part of the counselling is to find out what the client is look-ing for when they go into the gambling venue. Some go in with the expectation of losing a certain amount – problem gamblers go in expecting to win.” Once the motivation to gamble has been established the process of addressing the issues under-pinning the gambling activities and finding alternative activities begins. The problem is not just expecting to win on that occasion but also the need to win back or “chasing” prior losses.

Problem gamblers are often chasing losses to get their money back and when this does not happen they can feel desperate and guilty about it. Christine says only a small per-centage of people experiencing problems seek professional help. Many clients have to ”˜hit rock bottom’ or come close to it before they will seek help. The main reasons why gam-blers do not seek professional help are the social stigma as-sociated with having a problem, denial of a problem and people believing they can handle the problem themselves.

Read it all (article on page 4 of the pdf).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Gambling, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who broughtest again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the glorious Prince of Salvation, with everlasting victory over sin and the grave: Grant us power, we beseech thee, to rise with him to newness of life, that we may overcome the world with the victory of faith, and have part at last in the resurrection of the just; through the merits of the same risen Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

–Luke 6:35-38

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Roman Catholic Church Report Cites Social Tumult in Priest Scandals

A five-year study commissioned by the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops to provide a definitive answer to what caused the priest sexual abuse crisis has concluded that neither the all-male celibate priesthood nor homosexuality are to blame.

Instead, the report says, the abuse occurred because priests who were poorly prepared and monitored, and were under stress, landed in the midst of the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s. Known incidents of sexual abuse of minors by priests rose sharply during those decades, the report found, and the problem grew worse when the church’s hierarchy responded by showing more care for the perpetrators than the victims.

The “blame Woodstock” explanation is the same floated by bishops and Pope Benedict XVI since the church was engulfed by scandal in the United States in 2002 and in Europe in 2010.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Post-Gazette) Vatican's new sex abuse rules called inadequate

“It’s a step forward. … It’s an acknowledgement that the problem is universal,” said Nicholas Cafardi, a law professor at Duquesne University, former chairman of the National Review Board that advises the U.S. bishops on the issue, and author of “Before Dallas,” a book on the canonical history of sex abuse in the church.

“But I certainly would caution that we had guidelines in 1992 in the United States, and guidelines on their own did not solve the problem.”

Each bishops’ conference has until May 2012 to write and submit guidelines to the Vatican.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology