Daily Archives: May 27, 2011

Michael Nazir-Ali: Hold Fast

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Living Church) John Tang Boyland–Money Is Powerless Before God

Jesus disarms and makes a spectacle of the power of money in the parable of the unjust steward (Luke 16:1-15). A steward accused of embezzlement is told to settle the accounts one last time. He uses the opportunity to “forgive” his master’s debtors and ingratiate himself with them, so he can seek help after his threatened dismissal. The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, ridiculed Jesus. He replied that what people prize can be an abomination in the sight of God.

Let the litigious bureaucracy have the money it wants. We keep the Gospel and proclaim it, in season and out of season. The money the Episcopal Church raises from coerced offerings, from Pyrrhic legal victories or from those who believe its new gospel will do no more to save it on its appointed day of judgment than the wealth of Herod’s temple protected it from Roman soldiers in A.D. 70. In the end, money is of no account, mere dust on the scales.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eschatology, Executive Council, General Convention, House of Deputies President, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, Theology

(WSJ) The 'Real' Truth About Consumer Spending

“Our calculations suggest that nearly all the rise in nominal personal spending in April was due to higher prices,” Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics wrote in a report, “with consumption barely rising in real terms.” No wonder: Unemployment is still high, home prices are falling and federal stimulus like the payroll-tax cut will soon fade. And households are still using income to pay down unsustainably high levels of debt.

“The household balance sheet is still a bit of a mess,” Mr. Ashworth says.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy

Thomas Saving and John Goodman: The Surprising Truth in the Medicare Debate

….suppose the law is implemented just as it’s written. In that case, according to the Medicare Trustees, Medicare’s long-term unfunded liability fell by $53 trillion on the day ObamaCare was signed.

But at what cost to the elderly? Consider people reaching the age of 65 this year. Under the new law, the average amount spent on these enrollees over the remainder of their lives will fall by about $36,000 at today’s prices. That sum of money is equivalent to about three years of benefits. For 55-year-olds, the spending decrease is about $62,000””or the equivalent of six years of benefits. For 45-year-olds, the loss is more than $105,000, or nine years of benefits.
In terms of the sheer dollars involved, the law’s reduction in future Medicare payments is the equivalent of raising the eligibility age for Medicare to age 68 for today’s 65-year-olds, to age 71 for 55-year-olds and to age 74 for 45-year-olds. But rather than keep the system as is and raise the age of eligibility, the reform law instead tries to achieve equivalent savings by paying less to the providers of care.

What does this mean in terms of access to health care? No one knows for sure, but it almost certainly means that seniors will have difficulty finding doctors who will see them and hospitals who will admit them. Once admitted, they will enjoy fewer amenities such as private rooms and probably a lower quality of care as well.

Read it all (also on the Op-ed page of this morning’s Wall Street Journal).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, Medicare, Politics in General, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Theodore Dalrymple–Unsealing the Confessional

What is terrifying in this story is the ease with which people’s words can now be taken down and used in evidence against them. It is technologically possible, and indeed easy, for everyone to conduct the whole of his social life as if it were a series of interviews under caution. All that is necessary is to slip one of the latest mobile phones into one’s top pocket and entrapment can commence.

Of course, there are occasions when entrapment might be justified. If, for example, I thought and had good reason to believe that a group of people were plotting to commit a terrorist atrocity, I should have no hesitation in entrapping them in the way in which Pilkington was entrapped. But it is a poor principle to allow one’s general conduct to be guided or ruled by the most extreme circumstances possible. One is still unlikely in everyday life to come across a terrorist group, for example; there is therefore no reason or excuse to record what, say, the woman behind the post office counter says to one in selling a stamp.

What this man did was dangerous, at least if it is taken as model to be followed or is in any way rewarded, because it so powerfully undermines the trust that is essential to civilised (and sincere and truthful) social and professional intercourse.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology, Religion & Culture

On Memorial Day, a SEAL's family remembers

The quiet little park in Cupertino, Calif., is a world away from the mountains of Afghanistan where a Chinook helicopter was shot down in 2005, killing all aboard ”” including Navy SEAL James Suh.

Most Sundays, including this Memorial Day weekend, visitors to this place of manicured lawns and graceful red maple trees will find James’ father, Solomon, 72, sitting on a bench.

He will be reading a Bible and gazing now and then at bronze sculptures of his son and another Navy SEAL that are the centerpiece of a veterans memorial. James, who died at age 28, is depicted in full battle gear crouching beside a close friend, Matthew Axelson, a Cupertino native who also died in the mountains that day.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military

Tension Marks Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Visit to Pakistan

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Pakistan on Friday in what officials described as an effort to measure Pakistan’s commitment to fighting Islamic extremism after the killing of Osama bin Laden badly strained relations with the United States. It did not appear to go well.

The atmosphere of her initial meetings ”” visibly frosty ”” underscored the tensions between the two countries, which have threatened to lurch into open confrontation since Navy Seals found and killed Bin Laden on May 2 in a military garrison town only 35 miles from here. Mrs. Clinton, the highest ranking American official to visit Pakistan, was joined by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, who arrived separately as part of a carefully orchestrated diplomatic encounter.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Pakistan, Politics in General, Terrorism, War in Afghanistan

Joanne Kaufman–The Church of Oprah

What has helped make her all the things she is? It’s the two things she’s not: a wife and mother. A lot of ambitious women will say they had to make a choice: They could be a CEO or get married and have kids but most assuredly not both. With Oprah it seemed a whole other matter entirely. She’s like the religious leader who forswears marriage and children to better serve her flock. Perhaps she made a sage choice. Unlike many wives, she tended to get the last word. Unlike many mothers, she had countless followers always willing to take her suggestions””be your best self, find your own power””as commandments.

Oprah’s final show made it difficult to avoid ecclesiastical comparisons. “Amazing Grace,” she told her rapturous audience, “is the song of my life.” “This was what I was called to do,” she said at another point. She also referenced the hand of God and the presence of God, offering prayers of gratitude “for the privilege of doing the show,” talking about her “yellow-brick-road of blessings,” and signing off for the last time with hands raised in benediction and a fervent “God be the Glory.” Even the heavenly host might find this host a tough act to follow.

Read it all from the Op-ed page of today’s Wall Street Journal.

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

(CEN) Christian children indispensable for church schools, Bishop Langrish Declares

Church of England Schools must have a “critical mass” of Christian students and teachers to maintain their distinctive ethos, the Bishop of Exeter has told his diocese. Diluting the Christian element of church schools would no longer leave them Christian and would rob them of their unique character.

In a letter released to coincide with the start of term for Devon’s 131 Church of England schools, Bishop Michael Langrish said the church had “always been committed to the education of all children.”

However, the “work of all our Church Schools is grounded in a Christian understanding of the nature of human beings and their relationship both with other people and with God. This understanding finds expression in teaching, in pastoral care, in worship and in the total school ethos” the bishop said in his April 28 letter.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) House of Bishops Divided on Same Sex Partnered Bishops

A checklist has been drawn up that makes it virtually impossible for an openly gay person to become a bishop in the Church of England.

At the same time as the Church of Scotland was opening the door to gay ministers, the C of E’s House of Bishops met in secret to discuss, among other things, legal advice on how to continue to exclude homosexuals from the episcopate in the wake of the Equality Act 2010.

A press spokesman confirmed that the Bishops discussed “issues concerned with episcopal appoint­ments this week, and commissioned further work”. It is understood that the bishops were unable to agree.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Queen Bertha and King Ethelbert

God our ruler and guide, we honor thee for Queen Bertha and King Ethelbert of Kent who, gently persuaded by the truth of thy Gospel, encouraged others by their godly example to follow freely the path of discipleship; and we pray that we, like them, may show the goodness of thy Word not only by our words but in our lives; through Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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

Easter Praise to begin the Day

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for all who believe in Him; to whom with thee, O Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, be ascribed all honour and glory, dominion and power, now and for evermore.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Praise the LORD! O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever! Who can utter the mighty doings of the LORD, or show forth all his praise?

–Psalm 106:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ENS) Prayer vigils send message to Netanyahu: 'Lift the ban on Bishop Dawani'

Episcopalians in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles held silent prayer vigils in protest of Israeli treatment of Palestinians on May 24, the day Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress about the peace process.

They sought to send a message about the Israeli government’s policies towards Palestinians in general and specifically the refusal to grant Anglican Bishop Suheil Dawani a permit to reside in Jerusalem. As bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, Dawani, a Palestinian Christian, oversees congregations and institutions in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Territories.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), Israel, Middle East, Politics in General, Spirituality/Prayer, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

Families, groups step up to help out in the Tornados' Aftermath in Missouri

Businesses, nonprofits and informal groups of friends in southwest Missouri are joining together to offer what help they can to victims of the Joplin tornado.

The generosity pouring into Habitat for Humanity in Springfield has, on a couple of occasions, choked up Eric Allen, director of the ReStore.

He estimated 30-40 people came with donations on Tuesday. Some were low-income families who have received homes through Habitat. Others were tradespeople who regularly make donations to the organization or shoppers who appreciate bargains at the ReStore.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Marriage & Family, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Religion & Culture