Daily Archives: June 20, 2011
The great 20th century Prime Minister, Clement Attlee said that he believed “in the ethics of Christianity but not the mumbo jumbo”. One of the questions for the 21st century is whether the ethics have a sustainable foundation without what Attlee describes as the “mumbo jumbo”.
Professor Wolterstorff of Yale argues in a recent book  Justice Rights and Wrongs that it is not possible. Inalienable and equitable rights were not possible within the accepted moral framework of the ancient world. Full and equal rights in democratic Athens for examples were confined to adult, male, free born citizens. The decision of the Christian ecclesia from the beginning to enrol women, slaves and children in the new Israel was seen as deeply subversive.
This is not to argue for a “Bible-says-it-all-politics” which has been out of fashion since our disastrous flirtation with it 350 years ago. It is simply to recognise that all politics rest on assumptions; myths if you like, properly understood not as fairy tales but as archetypal stories about the human condition. Both our economic activity and our political life must have ground beneath them. Human beings are not just blind globs of idling protoplasm but we are creatures with a name who live in a world of symbols and of dreams and not merely matter.
Charitable giving recovered somewhat last year, according to new estimates by the Giving USA Foundation, but experts are predicting that this year will present more challenges to nonprofit fund-raisers.
Individuals, companies and philanthropic institutions made gifts and pledges totaling an estimated $290.89 billion in 2010, an increase of 2.1 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis over a revised estimate of $284.85 billion the year before.
The increase was the first since 2007, when the recession started and led to the biggest decline in giving in more than 40 years.
Two years into a fitful recovery, unemployed Americans are getting painfully accustomed to the notion that it will take years to bring back the jobs eviscerated by the financial crisis.
In some regions, those years are in danger of turning into a decade. According to a report to be released Monday, nearly 50 metropolitan regions ”” or more than one out of seven ”” are unlikely to bring back all the jobs lost in the recession until after 2020.
Among those areas are Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio; Detroit; Reno, Nev.; and Atlantic City, according to the report commissioned by the United States Conference of Mayors.
Detroit, which lost 323,400 jobs during the recession, and Reno, which lost 36,000 jobs, are not expected to regain all of those positions until after 2021.
Providing aid to those in need, wherever they live, is not about feeling good about ourselves. It is not about pretending we are a global superpower or a moral policeman either, it is about justice. Yes, 0.7% of GDP is more than most other developed nations provide in international aid, but it is still woefully short of what is needed.
I can remember the days when Britain would lead and the rest of the world would follow. We should be proud that we are doing the right thing in the face of selfish opportunism elsewhere. We should allow ourselves to be motivated and guided by the British values of justice and fair play ”“ and may those ideals shine around the globe for all to see.
When it comes to international development, I believe we should unite behind what Andrew Mitchell, the Secretary of State for International Development, is attempting to do in the face of widespread opposition. Regardless of which side of the political divide we may traditionally sit, the battle to end poverty is too important to be sidetracked by the cynicism of others.
The Rev. George D. Young III, bishop-elect of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee…said he was delighted at the vitality of the diocese, which includes Chattanooga, when he first read its profile before applying for the position a year ago.
“What struck me,” he said, “was a sense of it being a very healthy diocese. Good things were happening. I didn’t personally know Bishop [Charles G.] vonRosenberg, but I knew he was well-respected.”
Young said parishioners will find he is measured in tone and deliberative in decision-making.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has expressed his deep anxiety for Christians in the Middle East, but also cautious optimism about possible outcomes of the Arab Spring.
Speaking during an interview with Martha Kearney on BBC Radio 4’s “World at One” programme, the Archbishop expressed his continuing concerns about the fragile situation of Christian minority populations across the Middle East where in places life for Christians was “becoming unsustainable”. The situation had been, and remained, most serious in Iraq. He also spoke of “the haemorrhaging of Christians” from parts of the Holy Land.
Read it all (5 page pdf). I see also that Simon Sarmiento has helpfully provided an html version there if you find that more user friendly.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is to embark on a pastoral visit to the Anglican Church in Eastern Congo as the guest of the Most Revd Henri Isingoma, Primate of the Church of the Province of Congo. Prior to this the Archbishop will visit Kenya where he will be received by the Most Revd. Dr. Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop of Kenya, and have fellowship with the Christian community in the country.
In the course of his visit to Kenya, Dr Williams will join in with the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Nakuru which will include the presentation of certificates to clergy who have completed 25 years of continuous service. He will attend the dedication of a site for the building of the proposed Kenya Anglican University (KAU) near Mount Kenya and visit local development initiatives where churches and their communities are trying to overcome poverty and adapt to climate change ”“ including a successful biogas project in Machakos Diocese. He will also participate in a symposium in Nairobi to discuss the Church’s mission in the 21st century. During the visit he will learn about the role of the Kenyan church in national reconciliation.
Anglican church leaders have written to G20 agriculture ministers to press for measures to combat high food prices ahead of the ministers’ meeting next week.
Control of the speculation in commodity trading that has pushed up food prices for the poorest people in the world, and more support for women farmers who form the majority of subsistence farmers are some of the measures that archbishops from G20 countries have urged their agriculture ministers to support.
The moves have come amidst mounting concern over the price spikes and food insecurity that have left 900 million people around the world hungry. The French President has put food on the agenda for the G20 meeting in November, and next week’s agriculture ministers meeting will seek an agreement on the way forward.
From my father, Ian, I learnt about responsibility. Seeing him get up before the crack of dawn to go and do a hard day’s work and not come back until late at night had a profound impact on me. We all know the feeling when the alarm goes off in the morning, and you just want to keep on hitting the snooze button. One of the reasons we get up is not just because of the responsibility a job carries, it’s also because we want to set the same example to our children as our fathers did to us. My dad, who was disabled, also taught me about optimism ”“ that no matter how bad things are, you can overcome them if you have the right frame of mind. Indeed, if there’s one gift my father gave me that I cannot thank him enough for, it was his ability to always look on the bright side of life.
Church leaders in Nigeria have urged the government to act swiftly in combating terror attacks on Christians.
The murder campaign in the North waged by Islamist Boko Haram sect known as the Nigerian Taliban could ignite a sectarian war in the South with Christians seeking revenge against Muslims, the Anglican Bishop of Awka warned.
Last week, the fundamentalist sect bombed a Roman Catholic Church and a police station in Maiduguri, killing eleven people, while on June 7 a Church of Christ in Nigeria pastor the Rev. David Usman and the church secretary were gunned down by members of the cult. Last week’s murder follows a 2009 attack on Mr. Usman’s church by Boko Haram militants, who burned it to the ground and killed several members of the congregation.
President Assad’s televised address was only his third public speech since the country’s uprising began in March.
“What is happening today has nothing to do with reform, it has to do with vandalism,” Assad told a crowd of supporters at Damascus University. “There can be no development without stability, and no reform through vandalism. We have to isolate the saboteurs.”
He warned that the country’s economy was in trouble.
O God, who hast made thyself known to us as Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity, in order that we may be informed of thy love and thy majesty: Mercifully grant that we may not be terrified by what thou hast revealed of thy majesty, nor tempted to trespass upon thy mercy by what we know of thy love for us; but that by the power of thy Spirit we may be forever drawn to thee in true adoration and worship; who livest and reignest, one God, world without end.