Daily Archives: November 25, 2011

Warren Kozak: Remembering the Terror in Mumbai

Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg were a typical Chabad couple””devout, devoted to the Rebbe’s principles, and with a strong sense for self-sacrifice for their fellow Jews. They also suffered from personal tragedy. Their first child was born with Tay-Sachs disease, a genetic disorder that took his life at the age of two.

In another community, the violent deaths of such a young and promising couple might have sent shivers through the leadership, prompting them to pull other emissaries from the field. But Chabad’s leadership did the opposite, immediately sending another couple to take their place.

“It was almost instantly reflexive for some, especially from knowing Gabi and Rivki,” observes Rabbi Chanoch Gechtman, who together with his wife Leah now runs the Chabad House in Mumbai. “Great darkness must be challenged with bright light.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, History, India, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

Floyd Norris–It Shouldn’t Take a Panic to Spur Responsibility in the Eurozone Crisis

Of course, simply offering blank checks to the profligate is not a good solution either. But the current way the European Central Bank is acting may be the worst of all worlds. By buying government bonds while insisting it will soon stop, it is sending the message that bondholders had better sell quickly.

By contrast, if the bank made a promise to buy all the bonds that were offered to it ”” backed by its ability to print money ”” it might have to buy few bonds.

There is a real risk of moral hazard in central bank bailouts. The theory offered by Bagehot in the 19th century called for banks to make loans on securities that are of high quality and will be liquid when the panic passes, but not on low-quality securities. Telling the good from the bad during a panic is not always easy.

But we have until now assumed that a central bank would find bonds issued by its own government to be good paper, and investors could act accordingly.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

C of E: Tens of thousands respond to invitations to Back to Church Sunday

Congregations increased by nearly a quarter at more than 4,200 churches on Back to Church Sunday on 25th September 2011 ”“ an average of 19 extra people per church.

Overall 18 per cent of participating churches reported that nearly 14,000 extra people attended church on Back to Church Sunday 2011 in Great Britain; over 10,000 of these attended Church of England churches. Based on these numbers it could be estimated that:

An extra 77,000 people attended church on Back to Church Sunday 2011 (over 58,000 in the Church of England)
Since the first Back to Church Sunday in 2004, nearly 230,000 people have come back to church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

A NY Times article on Gratitude, Psychology and Thanksgiving

Contemplate a higher power. Religious individuals don’t necessarily act with more gratitude in a specific situation, but thinking about religion can cause people to feel and act more gratefully, as demonstrated in experiments by Jo-Ann Tsang and colleagues at Baylor University. Other research shows that praying can increase gratitude.

Go for deep gratitude. Once you’ve learned to count your blessings, Dr. [Robert] Emmons says, you can think bigger.

“As a culture, we have lost a deep sense of gratefulness about the freedoms we enjoy, a lack of gratitude toward those who lost their lives in the fight for freedom, a lack of gratitude for all the material advantages we have,” he says. “The focus of Thanksgiving should be a reflection of how our lives have been made so much more comfortable by the sacrifices of those who have come before us.”

Read it all.

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

Fantastic Stuff–Military Reunions–Dogs Welcoming Home Their Owners from Deployment

You just have to love it, watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Children, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces

GetReligion Critiques the recent Charleston, S. C., Newspaper piece on the Episcopal Fracas

The article entitled “S.C. Episcopal Diocese releases property claim” fails on several levels. It manages to be credulous and one-sided. It does not examine the veracity of claims put forward by one party in the dispute, and neglects to mention the opposing arguments. It lacks context while the narrative arc of the story is so slanted as to make it appear to be a press release. Let me be clear that I am not commenting on the issue being reported in this story….

Bishop Mark Lawrence speaks, but his words are interspersed with the reporter’s opinion as to the meaning of the facts and law so as to leave the impression the bishop is a bit of a crank and that he and the diocese are the aggressors. This may be the view of one party, but it is far from being settled as fact….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons

([London] Times) Clergy demand the right to claim unfair dismissal

Clergy could find themselves granted full employment rights for the first time under two test cases currently going through employment tribunals.

Clergy are often referred to, incorrectly, as employees of God but since records began they have been regarded in law as self-employed office-holders.

In the Church of England the Rev Mark Sharpe is demanding the right to sue for constructive dismissal after claiming he was driven from his parish by a campaign of “intimidation from toxic parishioners”.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

What We Were Confronted by In Yesterday's Worship–The 1559 BCP Exhortation

Dearly beloved in the Lord, ye that mind to come to the holy Communion of the body and blood of our Saviour Christ, must consider what Saint Paul writeth to the Corinthians, how he exhorteth all persons diligently to try and examine themselves, before they presume to eat of that Bread and drink of that Cup. For as the benefit is great, if with a true penitent heart, and lively faith we receive that holy Sacrament; (for then we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood; then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us; we be one with Christ, and Christ with us;) So is the danger great, if we receive the same unworthily. For then we be guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ our Saviour; we eat and drink our own damnation, not considering the Lord’s body; we kindle God’s wrath against us; we provoke him to plague us with divers diseases, and sundry kinds of death. Therefore if any of you be a blasphemer of God, an hinderer or slanderer of his Word, an adulterer, or be in malice, or envy, or in any other grievous crime, bewail our sins, and come not to this holy Table; lest, after the taking of that holy Sacrament, the devil enter into you, as he entered into Judas, and fill you full of all iniquities, and bring you to destruction both of body and soul. Judge therefore yourselves, brethren, that ye be not judged of the Lord; repent you truly for your sins past; have a lively and stedfast faith in Christ our Saviour; amend your lives, and be in perfect charity with all men; so shall ye be meet partakers of those holy mysteries. And above all things ye must give most humble and hearty thanks to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for the redemption of the world by the death and passion of our Saviour Christ, both God and man; who did humble himself, even to the death upon the Cross, for us miserable sinners, which lay in darkness and shadow of death; that he might make us the children of God, and exalt us to everlasting life. And to the end that we should alway remember the exceeding great love of our Master and only Saviour, Jesus Christ, thus dying for us, and the innumerable benefits which by his precious blood-shedding he hath obtained to us; he hath instituted and ordained holy mysteries, as pledges of his love, and continual remembrance of his death, to our great and endless comfort. To him therefore, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, let us give (as we are most bounden) continual thanks; submitting ourselves wholly to his holy will and pleasure, and studying to serve him in true holiness and righteousness all the days of our life. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Pastoral Theology, Sacramental Theology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of James Otis Sargent Huntington

O loving God, by whose grace thy servant James Huntington gathered a community dedicated to love and discipline and devotion to the holy Cross of our Savior Jesus Christ: Send thy blessing upon all who proclaim Christ crucified, and move the hearts of many to look unto him and be saved; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, give us grace, we beseech thee, to walk worthy of thee, so as to be pleasing in thy sight; that being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of thee, we may be made meet at last to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit…

–1 Peter 3:13-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

On Giving Thanks

One day near the middle of the last century a minister in a prison camp in Germany conducted a service for the other prisoners. One of those prisoners, an English officer who survived, wrote these words:

“Dietrich Bonhoeffer always seemed to me to spread an atmosphere of happiness and joy over the least incident, and profound gratitude for the mere fact that he was alive”¦ He was one of the very few persons I have ever met for whom God was real and always near”¦ On Sunday, April 8, 1945, Pastor Bonhoeffer conducted a little service of worship and spoke to us in a way that went to the heart of all of us. He found just the right words to express the spirit of our imprisonment, and the thoughts and resolutions it had brought us. He had hardly ended his last prayer when the door opened and two civilians entered. They said, “Prisoner Bonhoeffer, come with us.” That had only one meaning for all prisoners”“the gallows. We said good-bye to him. He took me aside: “This is the end; but for me it is the beginning of life.” The next day he was hanged in Flossenburg.”

I read it every year on this day and every year it brings me to tears–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Europe, Germany, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

George Herbert: The Thanksgiving

Oh King of grief! (a title strange, yet true,
To thee of all kings only due)
Oh King of wounds! how shall I grieve for thee,
Who in all grief preventest me?
Shall I weep blood? why thou has wept such store
That all thy body was one door.
Shall I be scourged, flouted, boxed, sold?
‘Tis but to tell the tale is told.
‘My God, my God, why dost thou part from me? ‘
Was such a grief as cannot be.
Shall I then sing, skipping, thy doleful story,
And side with thy triumphant glory?
Shall thy strokes be my stroking? thorns, my flower?
Thy rod, my posy? cross, my bower?
But how then shall I imitate thee, and
Copy thy fair, though bloody hand?
Surely I will revenge me on thy love,
And try who shall victorious prove.
If thou dost give me wealth, I will restore
All back unto thee by the poor.
If thou dost give me honour, men shall see,
The honour doth belong to thee.
I will not marry; or, if she be mine,
She and her children shall be thine.
My bosom friend, if he blaspheme thy name,
I will tear thence his love and fame.
One half of me being gone, the rest I give
Unto some Chapel, die or live.
As for thy passion – But of that anon,
When with the other I have done.
For thy predestination I’ll contrive,
That three years hence, if I survive,
I’ll build a spittle, or mend common ways,
But mend mine own without delays.
Then I will use the works of thy creation,
As if I us’d them but for fashion.
The world and I will quarrel; and the year
Shall not perceive, that I am here.
My music shall find thee, and ev’ry string
Shall have his attribute to sing;
That all together may accord in thee,
And prove one God, one harmony.
If thou shalt give me wit, it shall appear;
If thou hast giv’n it me, ’tis here.
Nay, I will read thy book, and never move
Till I have found therein thy love;
Thy art of love, which I’ll turn back on thee,
O my dear Saviour, Victory!
Then for thy passion – I will do for that –
Alas, my God, I know not what.

–George Herbert (1593-1633)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Poetry & Literature

Thanksgiving: America’s Religious holiday

In an age in which students can get suspended for wearing religious T-shirts to school and pre-game prayers have been dropped lest they offend someone, it is a wonder the Supreme Court has not ruled Thanksgiving unconstitutional. It is, after all, an official recognition of religion.

To deny Thanksgiving’s religious basis is to ignore the spark that ignited the Pilgrims’ productive labors. They worked hard, and the bounty this work created was the product of human exertion. But their efforts were not entirely motivated by a desire for prosperity.

In his 1995 book, “Creating the Commonwealth,” historian Stephen Innes argues that the secret to Massachusetts Bay’s economic success ”” for which the colonists gave thanks ”” was its religious underpinning. “Massachusetts Bay was a commonwealth that flourished in large part because its notion of redemptive community endowed economic development with moral, spiritual, and religious imperatives,” he wrote. “The settlers’ providentialism ”” the belief that they were participating in the working out of God’s purposes ”” made all labor and enterprise ”˜godly business,’ to be pursued aggressively and judged by the most exacting of standards.”

The Pilgrims did not work only to feed, clothe, and house themselves. They worked to glorify God, and work so motivated produced abundant profits”¦.”

–The New Hampshire Union Leader in 2004

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

Music for Thanksgiving (III): Alleluia by Ralph Manuel

The group is the University of Utah Singers performing under the direction of Brady Allred.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music