Daily Archives: July 12, 2011

Sean O'Grady: Ageing Italians on the slow train to ruin

…everyone knows that Italy is on the slow train to ruin. Her public finances have been reasonably well run, but the economic fundamentals are skewed against her. Her poor demographic mean fewer workers ”“ and thus taxpayers and savers ”“ to fund the health and social costs of a greying populous. And, like Portugal and Greece, she is fundamentally uncompetitive, unable to match German levels of productivity and exports.

Il miracolo economico of the 1960s ”“ symbolised by millions of little Fiat 500s pouring out of bustling Turin ”“ was possible because a vast reservoir of underemployed agricultural workers could be lured into the cities. That cannot be repeated.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Italy, Stock Market, The Fiscal Stimulus Package of 2009

Panetta to 'take on' Iran's arming of Iraq

The U.S. will not “walk away” from the challenge of Iran’s stepped-up arming of Iraqi insurgents who are targeting and killing American troops, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday.

“We’re very concerned about Iran and the weapons they’re providing to extremists in Iraq,” he told soldiers on his first visit to Iraq as Pentagon chief.

“We cannot sit back and simply allow this to continue to happen” he said. “This is not something we’re going to walk away from. It’s something we’re going to take on head-on.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Iraq War, Middle East

Archbishop of Canterbury rebukes senior Anglicans in row over Bishop of Dover appointment

Dr Rowan Williams said the Church’s General Synod had “embarrassed” itself by an alleged whispering campaign against the appointment of the Bishop of Dover to a senior internal position.

It represents the latest clash between the Archbishop, the spiritual head of the 80 million-strong worldwide Anglican communion, and Synod members. Last year, Dr Williams suffered a major defeat over plans to allow women to be ordained as bishops.

The latest row centred on the appointment of a new chair of the Church’s business committee, who will help set the agendas for future assembly meetings, which usually take place twice a year.

Read it all and please also peruse the blog comments of Bishop Pete Broadbent about this there.

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

Dudley Clendinen on Ending His Life Because of the Final Struggle with Lou Gehrig's Disease

At the moment, for 66, I look pretty good. I’ve lost 20 pounds. My face is thinner….[but for the disease I have] there is no meaningful treatment. No cure. There is one medication, Rilutek, which might make a few months’ difference. It retails for about $14,000 a year. That doesn’t seem worthwhile to me. If I let this run the whole course, with all the human, medical, technological and loving support I will start to need just months from now, it will leave me, in 5 or 8 or 12 or more years, a conscious but motionless, mute, withered, incontinent mummy of my former self. Maintained by feeding and waste tubes, breathing and suctioning machines.

No, thank you. I hate being a drag. I don’t think I’ll stick around for the back half of Lou.

I think it’s important to say that. We obsess in this country about how to eat and dress and drink, about finding a job and a mate. About having sex and children. About how to live. But we don’t talk about how to die….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

A.S. Haley Responds to Canon Robertson of 815

Frankly, I find it impossible to reconcile the good Canon’s version of our Church’s history with the known facts. There was no “Presiding Bishop” created by the founding documents to be “the head of this new Church”, much less a lead bishop “reflecting the principles of the young republic” — see the details about the gradual establishment of that office, and its subsequent mushrooming into its current form, in this earlier post.

Moreover, the Church of England and its bishops were emphatically not unwilling to “embrace [their] child’s new status.” They simply had to eliminate certain procedural hurdles, and to iron out a few doctrinal differences, before they could proceed with consecrating an American bishop, all as explained (in painstaking detail — which I know for many readers is the bugaboo of this blog) in this post, in which there are full links to all the historical documents. There, one will learn, for example, that far from being unable to “convince Church of England leadership to consecrate indigenous bishops for the fledgling Church”, the Rev. Dr. White was one of the first two American bishops to be consecrated by the then-Archbishop of Canterbury. That august official, together with the Archbishop of York, went to great lengths to accommodate the desire of the “fledgling Church” to have proper bishops to lead it, and to ensure that it was truly a church founded in the image of the Church of England, if not under its jurisdiction.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Identity, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Theology

Local paper Faith and Values Section–Burgeoning North Charleston church expanding its vision

Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston is a little like a small city, focused on nurturing a sense of community, delivering services and worshipping God.

Where most churches offer Bible study sessions that attract perhaps a couple of dozen people who meet in a classroom, Mount Moriah fills its 800-seat sanctuary Wednesday nights with people who want to learn about the Scriptures. Bible study becomes a mini-service….

Membership has surpassed 4,000 (with perhaps 3,200 considered active members), and its sanctuary no longer can accommodate everyone who comes to worship. A spillover room with a big video screen is regularly used.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Baptists, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

(RNS) Church-state Groups Seek Equal Play for Atheist Concert

Three church-state activist groups criticized the Army for allowing an evangelical concert at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg but not making similar provisions for a “Rock Beyond Belief” concert for nonbelievers.

The three groups””Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina””on Tuesday (July 5) complained to the Secretary of the Army about events that appear to give “selective benefits” to religious groups.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

St. Matthew's Anglican Church in Abbotsford says farewell, moves to new site

It was what Rev. Mike Stewart, rector of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, had referred to, in the service that preceded the march, as an “historic occasion.”

The event was the culmination of a years-long battle between St. Matthew’s ”“ as well as three other Vancouver churches ”“ and the Diocese of New Westminster, stemming from the issue of same-sex blessings.

St. Matthew’s broke away from the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) to join the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) in 2008, maintaining that allowing the blessings is contrary to core Anglican doctrine.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

New for Aspiring Doctors, the People Skills Test

Doctors save lives, but they can sometimes be insufferable know-it-alls who bully nurses and do not listen to patients. Medical schools have traditionally done little to screen out such flawed applicants or to train them to behave better, but that is changing.

At Virginia Tech Carilion, the nation’s newest medical school, administrators decided against relying solely on grades, test scores and hourlong interviews to determine who got in. Instead, the school invited candidates to the admissions equivalent of speed-dating: nine brief interviews that forced candidates to show they had the social skills to navigate a health care system in which good communication has become critical.

The new process has enormous consequences not only for the lives of the applicants but, its backers hope, also for the entire health care system. It is called the multiple mini interview, or M.M.I., and its use is spreading. At least eight medical schools in the United States ”” including those at Stanford, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Cincinnati ”” and 13 in Canada are using it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Health & Medicine, Psychology

Gallup–Americans Continue to Keep a Close Hold on Spending

Overall self-reported daily consumer spending in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and online averaged $69 per day during June — unchanged from May, and essentially the same as the $67 average of June 2010.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(BBC) Province wants relaxation of China's one-child policy

China’s richest and most populous province has asked the central government to relax the law that restricts most families to one child.

Guangdong, in south-east China, wants to lead a pilot project that will allow some families to have a second child, according to state media.

The one-child policy has been in effect for 30 years and is facing growing criticism.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, China, Marriage & Family, Politics in General

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, who hast brought us through the darkness of night to the light of the morning, and who by thy Holy Spirit dost illumine the darkness of ignorance and sin: We beseech thee, of thy loving-kindness, to pour thy holy light into our souls; that we may ever be devoted to thee, by whose wisdom we were created, by whose mercy we were redeemed, and by whose providence we are governed; to the honour and glory of thy great name.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question thus in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your pallet and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” –he said to the paralytic– “I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.” And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

–Mark 2:6-12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Author Says Amish Thrift Makes Sense by Saving Cents

The old Lorilee Craker would have picked up a couple of $16 children’s shirts without a second thought, ordered a $20 pizza without checking what’s in the fridge, and sent out her bills a few days late.

The Amish-makeover Lorilee peruses garage sales and finds a lovely $5 oil painting of pears to match her home decor; a $5 bird cage she envisions spray-painted a metallic color, and a $2 Pier 1 Imports bowl, originally priced at $24.99. She then barters to pay a total of $10 for all three items.

She makes pizza-chili with ingredients on hand and is sure to send her payments on time to avoid late fees (which she equates to money tossed into a creek).

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Transcript of the Bishop of Dover and the Archbishop of Canterbury at General Synod Today

(Please note that this was produced by the voluntary hard work of a blog reader. We are incredibly grateful to him/her for his/her efforts since not everyone has been able to listen to the full audio the link for which is available via the Church of England website as linked in the immediately preceding blog post. Readers are welcome to check it against the audio and please if you would be so kind let us know if there are any corrections–KSH).

TRANSCRIPT OF THE UNSCHEDULED ADDRESS TO SYNOD BY THE BISHOP OF DOVER AND THE ADDRESS FROM THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

Bishop of Dover
Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover, number 45 ”“ Chairman, I am grateful for this unusual opportunity to speak. I ask Synod’s forgiveness if what I am about to say strikes hard. It is not intended to do so. Throughout my time on Synod in many different ways, I have tried to be of assistance to our working, and I will continue so to act in the future.

I understand however, that there are some who question the appropriateness of a member of the House of Bishops chairing the Business Committee of this Synod and perhaps, dare I say, even this bishop in particular.

I want to say it is a role which I have not sought. I will not speculate on the reasoning behind these views, partly because I am ashamed to say, many of them have been spoken in the darkness!

I just want to say that I am deeply saddened at the thought that a member of any house of this Synod is somehow disqualified from holding a particular office, merely because he or she belongs to that particular house. Even more so, the thought that somehow belonging to that house, cuts across personal integrity and the loyalty to carry forward a shared task.

Members of Synod, I do not intend to embarrass you any further this morning. I therefore ask the Archbishops’ Council, not to consider me for nomination as Chairman of the Business Committee. If such a nomination cannot gain the consent and confidence of the Synod, I do not believe that this office or any office is worth holding. I would suggest however, that very urgent consideration now be given to the amending of the standing orders of this Synod, so as to find a better and more transparent way of appointing the Chair of the Business Committee, and somehow preventing others finding themselves in that unenviable place in which I now find myself.
[Applause]

Synod Chairman:
In his absence I thank the Bishop. The Archbishop of Canterbury wishes to address the Synod.

Archbishop of Canterbury:
Thank you Chair ”“ Archbishop of Canterbury 001. The Bishop of Dover has spoken very movingly of his, um, perception of and experience of this process.

I do want to remind Synod that the proposal of Bishop Trevor’s name was in no sense an infringement of any standing order or rule of this Synod. Therefore, it is bound to be felt, whatever is intended, as, in some degree, to do with the perception about either the House of Bishops corporately or the Bishop of Dover individually. A perception as Bishop Trevor has said that, in some sense, a position renders someone incapable of discharging such an office with effectiveness and integrity.

If it is the view of Synod, that membership of the House of Bishops precludes someone taking office like this, then Synod needs to say so, after proper and open discussion, and I think we have quite properly been embarrassed by what we have just heard and so we should be.

If it assumed a perspective of a Bishop is inimical to the interests of the Synod as expressed through the Business Committee, that is a perception that needs dealing with, I think rather seriously. I suggest those who think that might be the case, should perhaps read the Ordinal and remind themselves of what bishops are supposed to be there for.

It is also rather disturbing if it is assumed somehow not only that a bishop’s perspective is inimical to the interests of Synod, but that the House of Bishops or the Presidents of the Synod would habitually seek to interfere in the proper business of the Business Committee or the Synod. If that is a perception again I would like to hear it said openly rather than privately.

This morning at the Eucharist we heard an extremely powerful sermon from the Bishop of Chelmsford on the subject of trust among other things, for which I and others are very grateful. We have spoken quite a bit over this weekend about the need to build trust within Synod. I don’t think that we build trust very effectively by acting on the assumption of suspicion.
[No Applause]

Chair:
Thank you Archbishop. Item 18 thus falls [Appointment of the Chair of the Business Committee] and we move directly to legislative business].

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