Daily Archives: September 21, 2011

Mark Pinsky–The truth about evangelicals and the media's inability to cover it adequately

“We evangelicals cringe like everyone else at the prominence given to marginal groups labeled with our name,” says the Rev. Joel Hunter, an influential megachurch pastor in Orlando and an ideological centrist. “We know their numbers are small and their influence is grossly exaggerated, but we are not surprised that the majority of common-sense believers are not given equal attention in a society fascinated by extremes.”

Most evangelicals accept some form of evolution and do not subscribe to arcane doctrines, such as “Christian Reconstructionism” and “Dominionism,” that Christians need to rule the world in order to bring about the Second Coming of Jesus. And, contrary to recent writing by some progressive Jews, most evangelicals are comfortable with the notion of theological tolerance and religious pluralism. “The media have been too eager to feature a simpleton image of evangelicals,” says Hunter. “Our part of the faith community is, on the whole, intelligent, accepting of diversity, and wanting the best practical solutions for the common good….”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Media, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

Global Agenda: Undermining of Central Banks Leaves Markets Adrift

This year, volatility has soared and share prices have fallen sharply, in part because few believe there is a Bernanke put, or, for that matter, a Trichet put. It is far from clear that the authorities could stem a new panic, and even less clear that many would be willing to try.

In other words, the slogan for markets as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meet this week in Washington could well be, “You’re on your own. Don’t count on anybody to bail you out.”

The situation is thus drastically different from that of three years ago, when I.M.F.-World Bank meetings served as a forum to find joint strategies to ameliorate the financial crisis that had followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Globalization, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

The Primate of the Church in Wales' Presidential Address

The Welsh Government intends to bring forward legislation soon, where instead of opting in to be an organ donor and therefore signing a card, it will be assumed that everyone is willing to donate their organs after death unless they have opted out. The trouble at the moment is that whereas 90% of the population say that they would be willing to be organ donors, only a third have signed the national register or carry a donor card. So the Government in Wales (but in no other part of the UK) proposes to bring in a law where it will be presumed that you are willing to donate your organs after death unless you have specifically opted not to do so.

One can understand the thinking behind all this. Most European States have more donors per head of population than Britain. In the UK as a whole, there are around 10,000 people waiting at any one time for a new heart, kidney or liver and three people a day die because there is no suitable organ ready for them. The waiting list for a kidney patient is three years whilst heart and liver patients wait on average six months. Organ transplants have a phenomenal degree of success these days and 90% of transplanted organs function really well a year after surgery and patients who have received them can often live for a decade or two.
The Welsh Government, sensitive to the fact that this is quite a radical departure, also proposes what it calls the “soft opt-out option” ”“ relatives will be able to have the right of veto on organ donation. Yet, although all this is admirable in its intention, I feel a bit uneasy, not about organ donations or transplants because there are strict guidelines governing these and gifting organs is a laudable practice, but about presumed consent.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Wales

Tom Friedman–Israel casts itself adrift

I’ve never been more worried about Israel’s future. The crumbling of key pillars of Israel’s security — the peace with Egypt, the stability of Syria and the friendship of Turkey and Jordan — coupled with the most diplomatically inept and strategically incompetent government in Israel’s history have put Israel in a very dangerous situation.

This has also left the U.S. government fed up with Israel’s leadership but a hostage to its ineptitude, because the powerful pro-Israel lobby in an election season can force the administration to defend Israel at the United Nations, even when it knows Israel is pursuing policies not in its own interest or America’s.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Foreign Relations, Israel, Middle East, Politics in General

(ACNS) USPG sends emergency grant to Pakistan as flooding claims lives

The Anglican mission agency USPG has sent an emergency grant to Pakistan where major flooding has submerged villages, claimed lives and destroyed crops.

Continuous heavy monsoon rain has been falling since mid-August, causing flooding in nearly 1,000 villages in the Diocese of Hyderabad.

The Rt Revd Humphrey Peters, Bishop of Peshawar, after visiting the diocese reported: ”˜The entire diocese has suffered from heavy rains. Eight of our churches have badly damaged, and many Christians have lost their houses. There is about six to eight feet of water standing in some of the rural churches.’

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Pakistan

Notable and Quotable

A man once bought himself a cemetery plot and a lawn chair, and then took a week of vacation to sit on the chair at his plot. I don’t think he sat there because the view was pleasant or because he was proud of his new property. He did it because he wanted to see his life from the point of view of his death and his death from the point of view of his life. Ignatian spiritual directors do something similar when they invite Christians to imagine thinking backward from their dying moment to a decision or choice that they’re about to make: If you were looking back from the end of your life, would that decision or choice be from God?

Mortality is a gift of God that helps us look to all our forebears in the faith as exemplars of discipleship; the moment of our dying prompts us to consider how often ethical decisions are made in faithfulness but without certitude. As we anticipate that final moment, we consider our deepest values, our surest beliefs and our ultimate hope. That hope leads us to live with integrity as far as we are able, and to finish our days with reliance upon God’s mercy for everything.

— Clay Oglesbee, Christian Century (September 20, 2011 edition), page 20

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Theology

(BP) Kelly Boggs–Atheist group wanted to rip pages from Bible, so where was the media interest?

I regard the atheist group’s attack on the Bible the same way I view fringe Christian organizations that pull similar stunts. It is nothing more than a crass and pathetic attempt to gain publicity. As such, it really should be ignored.

However, if you compare the news coverage this has garnered with the media attention given Christian groups that have held similar events, the terms hypocrisy and double-standard immediately come to mind.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Local paper: One wrong post or tweet can ruin a reputation … or worse

The tools of communication have changed. Use of social media has exploded, and the new services have influenced the way we interact with one another.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, LiveCast, blogs, gaming sites, online comment forums and many other interactive electronic platforms — they are fast and easy ways to fire off electronic messages, to forgo formalities, to avoid proofreading. And it’s common to reach a multitude with a few key strokes.

With speed and breadth, however, comes risk. As people rely more and more on social media, privacy diminishes and the opportunity to offend increases.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology, Young Adults

(Christianity Today) Caryn Rivadeneira–The Science of Shacking Up [Talking to Glenn Stanton]

Some couples want to “test drive” their relationship before committing to marriage. Does this help or hurt?

Scientists find that cohabitation cuts down on commitment. The message of living together is, “I’d really only like to take part of you. And maybe some time later I’d like to take all of you.” No wonder so many cohabitating couples break up or fall into unhealthy patterns. The relationship defines itself by a holding back of commitment.

People, especially men, who cohabit are less committed to that relationship but also less committed to future relationships. Again, that’s not a preacher’s line or a moralizer’s line. That’s a scientific line. Cohabitating men who go on to marry are significantly less committed to the marriage itself than men who don’t cohabit.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Men, Other Churches, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Women, Young Adults

Morning Quiz–in 1965 govt spending as a % of GDP averaged 28% in Western Europe–now what is it?

In 1965, government spending as a percentage of GDP averaged 28% in Western Europe. Today it hovers just under ____%.

Fill in the blank with your guess. Then go and read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, History, Politics in General

(USA Today) Poll: Economic pessimism deepens

Americans’ pessimism about the economy and its future is deepening, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, and they are increasingly willing to hold President Obama responsible for hard times.

Eight of 10 say the economy is in a recession, and nearly as many say it hasn’t improved over the past year. Even more ominous: Six in 10 predict the economy a year from now will be the same or worse than today, a downturn from the public’s views last year and the year before.

That gloomy outlook, economists say, can become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Matthew

We thank thee, heavenly Father, for the witness of thine apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of thy Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that as a tree is known by its fruit, so we may be recognized as thy children by our obedience to thy will. Help us to put away all hypocrisy and self-seeking, that we may truly set forth thy glory and extend thy kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Leo E. H. Stephens-Hodge

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?” And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Eli’sha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchamber.” And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army; and they came by night, and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was round about the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Eli’sha prayed, and said, “O LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Eli’sha.

–2 Kings 6:11-17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Marketbeat Blog) Republican Leaders Try to Warn Ben Bernanke Off More Fed Action

Read it all and the full letter may be found there.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, Politics in General, Senate, The U.S. Government