Daily Archives: March 15, 2012

Karzai demands U.S. troops leave village outposts; Taliban suspends peace talks with U.S.

President Hamid Karzai demanded Thursday that the United States pull back from combat outposts and confine its troops to military bases in Afghanistan, an apparent response to Sunday’s shooting rampage by a U.S. staff sergeant.

Meanwhile, the Taliban said it was suspending preliminary peace talks with the United States because of Washington’s “alternating and ever-changing position,” and accused U.S. officials of reneging on promises to take meaningful steps toward a prisoner swap.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, War in Afghanistan

The Episcopal Bishop of Texas' Diocesan Council Address

This year we will send our deputation to General Convention. General Convention is normally a source of some anxiety for people. I am not anxious. I am not fearful. I am not concerned. And, the reason is that for me my faith in Jesus Christ, and my belief in the unique witness of the Episcopal Church to offer Good News is not dependent upon General Convention. It just isn’t….

Let me remind you that your faith in Jesus Christ and your love for this Church and your belief in its worship and witness to Jesus are not going to be changed by an act of General Convention. At General Convention they will pass a liturgy for same sex blessings. They are going to pass it. I will vote against this liturgy. Your deputation will more than likely be divided on the question and in so doing cast a vote against it as well.

On another topic, the Anglican Covenant will come before General Convention for ratification. I will vote in favor of the Covenant. Your deputation will probably be divided. And, Convention will probably not support it. I am working in advance with other bishops to propose a way through our division on the Anglican Covenant…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

(WSJ) Why America's Doctors are Struggling

For a five-doctor practice, the Advisory Board Co., a health-care research firm, projects the total first-year cost at between $126,000 and $346,500, including two added nurses.

The upshot: Doctors fear a squeeze as they try to ramp up changes in tandem with evolving reimbursement schemes. “You’re asking a practice that may be only marginally viable as a business to invest in significant infrastructure,” says Glen Stream, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “Is the payment model going to be there to support that?”
Some doctors aren’t waiting to find out. Instead, they’re going to work for hospitals, which have greater financial resources and, because of their leverage with insurers, are also often paid more than small practices for the same services. The consulting firm Accenture projects that, by 2013, only around a third of doctors in all specialties will own their own practices, down from about 43% in 2009 and nearly half in 2005.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine

Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire announces final Bishop Coadjutor nominees

Read it all and follow the link for more material.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

(The Living Church) Leander Harding on the Witness of the German Church amidst Nazi persecution

The German Church’s accommodation of the Nazi regime reveals an appalling failure of basic Christian preaching and teaching. In [Edmund] Schlink’s understanding the failure of the churches was not so much caused by the persecution as revealed by it. “The forces outside the church showed up what was real in the life of these churches, and what was only an empty shell” (p. 100).

By God’s grace an astonishing renewal of the Church occurred as well. “The renewal began when the Church recognized the enemy’s attack as the hand of God ”¦ and when resistance to injustice became at the same time an act of repentance and of submission to the mighty hand of God” (p. 100). As the contrast with anti-Christian propaganda became more intense “the Church’s ears were re-opened to the Word of God. ”¦ But at the same time God’s Word challenged us, questioned the reality of our own religion, and forced us to recognize God simply and solely in His Word….”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Germany, History, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(USA Today) Army delays alcohol program

Despite high rates of alcohol abuse, the Army has delayed for nearly three years a plan to offer all soldiers access to confidential counseling for drinking problems, a move that leaders in alcohol abuse treatment say is a mistake.

The Army began a pilot program in 2009 for confidential treatment, but it continues debating what to do next because of a high dropout rate.

One in four GIs now have a drinking problem, and alcohol has been linked to record numbers of suicides, sexual assaults and domestic abuse cases, Army research shows.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Alcohol/Drinking, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology

The Full Text of the Email Interchange Between Jeffrey John and the Times' Ruth Gledhill

(Please note that the original blog thread on this was there–KSH).

Of course the procreation of children by two same-sex partners is not possible. But the Church has never seen procreation as a necessity for marriage, and so has always married partners past the age of childbearing. Even in Genesis the first reason given why God created Eve is not childbearing but because ”˜God saw that it was not good for man to be alone’. While the Prayer Book states that marriage was ordained first for ”˜the procreation of children’ the modern marriage service begins by emphasising the quality of relationship between marriage partners ”˜that they shall be united with one another in heart, body and mind.’

So same-sex monogamy seems to me to be spiritually indistinguishable from a marriage between two people who are unable to have children together. Admitting same sex couples to marriage would extend the sacrament, not undermine it. Like the Church’s decision to admit women to the sacrament of ordination, it is a lot less revolutionary than it seems at first sight. The ordination of women has not fundamentally changed the priesthood, but has extended and enriched it. The same would be true of extending the sacrament of marriage to people of the same sex. It is not the physical gender of the people involved that matters, but the quality of their commitment and their response to the call of God.

It is important that you take the time to read through it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Children, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology

John Milbank on Same Sex Marriage and the Future of Human Sexuality

There are two other reasons for the current unprecedented advocacy of gay marriage. The first is the decline of any public recognition of sexual difference and so the significance of sexually asymmetric unions, which I’ve already alluded to. The second, and arguably most important factor, is the technologisation of childbirth, allied to the increased acceptance of the adoption of children by gay couples….

In the realm of public discourse, assertion of sexual difference has become practically unspeakable, despite the fact that it is implicitly assumed and indeed spoken of by most ordinary non-intellectual people in the course of everyday life….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Women

A Good NPR piece on the Economy, Job Growth, and the Federal Reserve

[CHRIS] ARNOLD: In other words, without the rest of the economy doing better, will the recovery in the jobs market stall out?

Lawrence Katz says that idea is troubling, because even the job growth that we’re seeing right now isn’t great and we need it to get much stronger.

[LAWRENCE] KATZ: Even if we had a very rapid recovery, we have a huge distance to go still. We are still 10 million jobs behind. So it would take basically four years of strong job growth to get back to a normally functioning labor market.

ARNOLD: So slower job growth would mean an even longer period of high unemployment and economic hardship for millions of Americans.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Still Teaching at 100 years Old–a wonderfully inspiring story

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Education

(BP) Couple awarded $3M in 'wrongful birth' suit

“In a civil society, there must be better remedies for cases like these,” said C. Ben Mitchell, professor of moral philosophy at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. “Rather than ‘wrongful birth’ suits, a robust social services infrastructure could relieve the burden families feel when they choose to bring disabled children into the world. There are many communities who would be willing to rally around these families if they knew the need.

“At the same time, we must repudiate abortion for disability,” said Mitchell, also a biomedical and life issues consultant for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “The diagnosis of a disability, including Down syndrome, should not be a death sentence for the unborn baby.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NY Times) Keeper of Islamic Flame Rises as Egypt’s New Decisive Voice

For more than a dozen years, Khairat el-Shater guided his family of 10 children, his sprawling business empire and Egypt’s largest Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, all from a prison cell.

Each week, he held court behind prison walls as young Muslim Brothers delivered to him dossiers about the organization that sometimes were as long as 200 pages. His corporate employees paid regular visits for strategic advice about his investments in software, textile, bus manufacturing and furniture companies and other enterprises. And before consenting to the marriages of his eight daughters, he met in prison with each of their suitors. Some of the grooms were prisoners with him, others made the pilgrimage, and five said their vows in his presence, behind bars.

Now Mr. Shater, 62, commands far wider influence.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Scotsman) Susan Macdonald appointed as Dean of the Edinburgh diocese

A former admin worker is to make history by becoming the first female priest appointed as number two to a bishop in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Susan Macdonald, 61, rector of Christ Church, Morningside, will take over from the Very Rev Dr John Armes as Dean of the Edinburgh diocese when he steps up to become the new Bishop of Edinburgh in May.

It is the most senior appointment a woman has yet held in the Scottish Episcopal Church. The church ”“ where women have been ordained since 1994 ”“ agreed in principle to women bishops in 2003. But despite two occasions when a woman has been shortlisted, no female bishop has yet been elected.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Scottish Episcopal Church

(AP) National Cathedral's earthquake repairs to top $50M

It’s where the nation’s capital gathers to mourn, to pray and to seek comfort during tragedies. Now the Washington National Cathedral needs help weathering its own financial emergency.

The church has long been a spiritual center for the nation, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors and worshippers each year. It’s the burial site of President Woodrow Wilson and for Helen Keller. It’s hosted funeral services for Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and other presidents. And during ordeals such as the Sept. 11 attacks, it’s been a place for interfaith reflection.

But the Episcopal cathedral is facing one of the worst financial binds of its 105-year-old history. An earthquake in August severely damaged its intricate stone work and architecture, with repair costs estimated at $20 million. Aside from that damage, the structure faces $30 million in preexisting preservation needs.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Episcopal Church (TEC), Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Parishes

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us, that in thy light we may see light: the light of thy grace today, and the light of thy glory hereafter; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626)

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