Daily Archives: August 29, 2011

Dean Nelson on John Polkinghorne, God, Science and Doubt

It may be OK, finally, for people to admit that they don’t know things for sure ”” whether it’s about quarks, light, God or the best way forward for the nation’s economy.

At 80, Polkinghorne doesn’t let his own doubts keep him from believing, any more than he let his doubts about quantum physics keep him from solving problems. He still prays, still celebrates the Eucharist, still believes in some kind of life eternal.

As for belief in God, “It’s a reasonable position, but not a knock-down argument,” he said. “It’s strong enough to bet my life on it. Just as Polanyi bet his life on his belief, knowing that it might not be true, I give my life to it, but I’m not certain. Sometimes I’m wrong.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Books, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Turkish Government to Return Seized Property to Religious Minorities

The Turkish government said it would return hundreds of properties that were confiscated from religious minorities by the state or other parties over the years since 1936, and would pay compensation for properties that were seized and later sold.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the announcement on Sunday to representatives of more than 150 Christian and Jewish trusts gathered at a dinner he hosted in Istanbul to break the day’s Ramadan fast. The government decree to return the properties, bypassing nationalist opposition in Parliament, was issued late Saturday.

The European Union, which Turkey has applied to join, has pressed the country to ease or eliminate laws and policies that discriminate against non-Muslim religious groups, including restrictions on land ownership….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Turkey

The Slow Disappearance of the American Working Man

As President Barack Obama puts together a new jobs plan to be revealed shortly after Labor Day, he is up against a powerful force, long in the making, that has gone virtually unnoticed in the debate over how to put people back to work: Employers are increasingly giving up on the American man.

If that sounds bleak, it’s because it is. The portion of men who work and their median wages have been eroding since the early 1970s. For decades the impact of this fact was softened in many families by the increasing number of women who went to work and took up the slack. More recently, the housing bubble helped to mask it by boosting the male-dominated construction trades, which employed millions. When real estate ultimately crashed, so did the prospects for many men. The portion of men holding a job””any job, full- or part-time””fell to 63.5 percent in July””hovering stubbornly near the low point of 63.3 percent it reached in December 2009. These are the lowest numbers in statistics going back to 1948. Among the critical category of prime working-age men between 25 and 54, only 81.2 percent held jobs, a barely noticeable improvement from its low point last year””and still well below the depths of the 1982-83 recession, when employment among prime-age men never dropped below 85 percent. To put those numbers in perspective, consider that in 1969, 95 percent of men in their prime working years had a job.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Men

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Digest

You can find it here. Please consider becoming a habitual reader if you are not at present and pass on the link to your friends.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Banks Confront a Leaner Future as Profits Fall

Battered by a weak economy, the nation’s biggest banks are cutting jobs, consolidating businesses and scrambling for new sources of income in anticipation of a fundamentally altered financial landscape requiring leaner operations….

Even as they cut payrolls, banks are exploring ways to generate revenue that could translate to higher costs for consumers. Among the possibilities are new fees for automatic deductions from checking accounts that pay utility and cable bills, according to people involved in the discussions.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Local Paper Faith and Values Section–N. Charleston Methodist pastor tends to her flock and family

Moms who are ministers face the same challenges as working moms everywhere, with a couple of twists. Time demands can be extraordinary — on call 24 hours a day, and no Sundays off — and raising kids in a church can be akin to parenting on center stage.

Hudson-Jacoby and her husband, Mike, have two sons, ages 8 and 5, and a 3-year-old daughter. She said most of that pressure is self-imposed.

“It’s pressure I put on myself,” said the 37-year-old University of South Carolina graduate and native of Lancaster. “But I’ve rarely felt it from the people in the congregation. I have to be really intentional not to have different expectations of my own children than I do from other children.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Children, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Women

(NY Times) Gretchen Morgenson–The Rescue That Missed Main Street

For the last three years we have been told repeatedly by government officials that funneling hundreds of billions of dollars to large and teetering banks during the credit crisis was necessary to save the financial system, and beneficial to Main Street.

But this has been a hard sell to an increasingly skeptical public. As Henry M. Paulson Jr., the former Treasury secretary, told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission back in May 2010, “I was never able to explain to the American people in a way in which they understood it why these rescues were for them and for their benefit, not for Wall Street.”

The American people were right to question Mr. Paulson’s pitch, as it turns out. And that became clearer than ever last week when Bloomberg News published fresh and disturbing details about the crisis-era bailouts.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Federal Reserve, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Theology

Monday Morning Mental Health Break–Polish Acrobats

Wow–watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Poland, Sports

(CEN) Timothy Dudley-Smith–A life that impacted the whole world

On the death of Earnshaw-Smith the churchwardens made strong representations to the Crown, as patron, that their young curate should succeed him. For the next 25 years John Stott produced at All Souls a model of the life and witness of a local church which was copied eagerly across the world. He developed his own gifts as pastor and evangelist, preacher and expositor. It is hard now to realize how innovative was his approach, even while making every allowance for the privileged position held by such a church.

Soon he found himself responding to urgent invitations to employ these gifts on a wider canvas. His university missions, starting with Oxbridge but extending to many continents, showed how fruitful was his prayerful determination to reach the heart and will by first engaging the mind. It was while conducting a string of such missions in North America that he spent one Christmas with Billy Graham and his young family, cementing a relationship of mutual affection and respect that was to bear fruit in their partnership in Lausanne Movement, and prove lifelong.

Scripture was the basis of his teaching. To him preaching began with exposition and moved on to application in its God-given role of proclaiming Christ, calling to repentance and faith, and building up the church as a mature, worshipping, witnessing and serving fellowship. Half-reluctantly, faced with the pressures of the day, faithful exposition led on to a defence of the faith, and so also to proclaiming Biblical standards of morality and behaviour, courageous and indeed painful as such a role often proved to be. If forced to choose, he would style himself an evangelical who was also an Anglican; but he held steadily and with affection to the Biblical foundations of his Church, resisting calls (such as in the famous debate with his friend Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones) to leave. He resisted, too, with equal firmness what he saw as unbalanced emphases in the neo-Pentecostalism of the day.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Globalization, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

Tom Wright in Salisbury on YouTube

A worthwhile potential resource–check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of John Bunyan

God of peace, who didst call John Bunyan to be valiant for truth: Grant that as strangers and pilgrims we may at the last rejoice with all the faithful in thy heavenly city; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Oh God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light riseth up in darkness for the godly; Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldest have us to do, that the Spirit of Wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see light, and in thy straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

–B.C.P.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who didst make us for thy service: Help us to train ourselves to be good servants by ready obedience, punctual fulfillment of duty, and strict honour in our, dealings with one another; so that whenever the time shall come, thou shalt deem us worthy to do the work to which thou hast called us. Grant this for Jesus Christ’s sake.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” said also, “Do not kill.” If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment.

–James 2:10-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Libya 'won't hand over' Lockerbie bomber Megrahi

Leaders of rebel forces that deposed Col Muammar Gaddafi in Libya have said they do not intend to allow the extradition of the Lockerbie bomber.

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted in connection with the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland in 1988.

Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison two years ago on health grounds.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Libya, Politics in General, Scotland, Terrorism