Daily Archives: May 23, 2012

An announcement from Bonnie Anderson, President of the Episcopal Church House of Deputies

I write to you for two reasons: to thank you for your support, friendship, prayers, challenges, brilliance and love that has inspired and humbled me during these 6 years and second, to let you know that I do not plan to stand for election as President of the House of Deputies for another term.

The reason I am not seeking re-election is a simple one: I want to spend more time with my family. My husband, Glen, is retired. I want to be with him more. Our amazing son, Justin, lives with us and reminds us every single day, by his very existence, that God is a generous miracle maker.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), House of Deputies President

(Time) How al-Qaeda Is Gaining in Its War Against Yemen

Monday’s bloodbath underlined a shift in tactics by the jihadists who are busy trying to transform themselves from a fringe group of militants into a fully-fledged domestic insurgency. “A year ago they [al-Qaeda] were numbered in the dozens, armed with light weapons and scattered here and there,” Jamal Benomar, the United Nations envoy to Yemen, told TIME in Sana’a last week. “Now they are in their thousands with tanks and heavy weapons. For the first time in history al-Qaeda controls territory.”

After pushing out army units and setting up de facto administrations ”” mini-Islamic fiefdoms ”” in the south, AQAP, a group the Pentagon claims are the most deadly in the Middle East, are turning their attention to more ambitious pursuits. From the Red Sea coastal plains of Hodeidah to the craggy valleys of the Hadhromout, AQAP have started dispatching teams to assassinate officials, blow up oil pipelines and kidnap foreigners as a means of financing their insurgency. A Swiss woman, one of two foreign aid workers seized from her car near Hodeidah last month ”” hundreds of miles from al-Qaeda’s southern lairs ”” is now being held in Shabwa province in the south by AQAP fighters who are demanding $60 million for her release. Last week the Bulgarian ambassador’s SUV was sprayed with bullets by kidnappers he eluded in the capital.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Terrorism, Yemen

(ENS) Ronald Pogue–How ”˜Unapologetically Episcopalian’ came to be

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC)

(The Hill) CBO: Recession in 2013 unless Congress acts on fiscal issues

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Tuesday that unless lawmakers act to prevent scheduled tax increases and spending cuts at the end of the year, a recession will likely result in early 2013.

Early next year income taxes are set to go up when the Bush-era tax rates expire. Automatic spending cuts totaling roughly $109 billion triggered by last August’s debt-ceiling deal are set to hit. Meanwhile, payments to physicians under Medicare will be slashed.

CBO projects that these and other elements of the so-called “fiscal cliff” will cause the economy to contract as demand dries up.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

An Indispensable C. S. Lewis Quote to Ponder and then Reponder on Modernity versus the Ancients

There is something which unites magic and applied science while separating both from the ”˜wisdom’ of earlier ages. For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique: and both, in the practice of this technique, are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious.

–C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: Macmillan, 1955 paperback ed. of the 1947 original), pp. 87-88, emphasis mine

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Apologetics, Church History, Philosophy, Theology

(The Nation) Boko Haram suspects kill four in Maiduguri Yesterday

Suspected members of the Boko Haram sect yesterday killed four persons. The victims died when a bomb exploded in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

It was learnt that the Boko Haram suspects threw an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) from a moving vehicle, targeting members of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in a patrol vehicle.

The IED, which narrowly missed the JTF men, exploded a few metres away, killing four persons, some of who were in a moving commercial tricycle.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Terrorism, Violence

(Spectator) David Griswold–Eliza Griswold and the clash of civilisations

The premise of [Eliza] Griswold’s book [The 10th Parallel] is that although there is frequent and bloody tension between Christians and Muslims along the 10th Parallel, especially where resources are scarce, there is no ”˜clash of civilizations’. Rather, there is a competition for souls that is strongest among faiths, as Christians fight for Christians and Muslims fight for Muslims. “There is a proliferation of vibrant forms of religious practice. They look pretty kooky from a distance, but as any good Nigerian will tell you, religion is a market place. And it’s up to everybody to get as many people as possible to fill their Churches and Mosques.”

Enlightened religious organisations of both faiths in southern Nigeria are confronting reactionary groups in the north, groups which believe that vaccinations are poisons and that natural disasters are punishments from God. Meanwhile, Anglicanism and Catholicism are being supplanted along the 10th Parallel by flashy Pentecostals, who preach that God is the surest route to material wealth.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Books, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(SmartMoney) Does Facebook Wreck Marriages?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg changed his status to “married” Saturday and received over one million “likes” from his followers. But the site he founded isn’t always so marriage-friendly. In fact, lawyers say the social network contributes to an increasing number of marriage breakups.

More than a third of divorce filings last year contained the word Facebook, according to a U.K. survey by Divorce Online, a legal services firm. And over 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys say they’ve seen a rise in the number of cases using social networking, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. “I see Facebook issues breaking up marriages all the time,” says Gary Traystman, a divorce attorney in New London, Conn. Of the 15 cases he handles per year where computer history, texts and emails are admitted as evidence, 60% exclusively involve Facebook.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology

(CNS) Signs of hope one year after the Joplin tornado

As the residents of tornado-ravaged Joplin, Mo. mark the one-year anniversary of the disaster that hit their community, a diocesan spokeswoman says they are seeing it as an opportunity for hope and continued recovery.

“We’re looking forward to just getting past the anniversary and continuing on our journey of recovery,” Renee Motazedi, development director for Joplin-area Catholic schools, told CNA on May 21.

“As a faith community we are looking forward to what lies ahead, to the opportunities that may come from such a disaster,” she added. “There’s a lot of hope there.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Rural/Town Life

(RNS) Guidelines seek line between free speech, bullying

When Sally tells Jimmy that he’s going to hell for believing in a false religion, is that Sally exercising her First Amendment right to free expression, or is that Billy getting bullied?

A broad coalition of educators and religious groups ”“ from the National Association of Evangelicals to the National School Boards Association ”“ on Tuesday (May 22) endorsed a new pamphlet to help teachers tackle such thorny questions.

Authored chiefly by the American Jewish Committee, “Harassment, Bullying and Free Expression: Guidelines for Free and Safe Public Schools,” contains 11 pages of advice on balancing school safety and religious freedom.

Read it all and see what you make of the guidelines themselves.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth

Patrick Martin–Egypt’s Christians fear the worst as Islamists poised to win Presidential Election

The Christians of Upper Egypt are sure about two things: First, they really like democracy ”“ the new-found sense that everyone is considered equal (Muslim and Christian, men and women), and second, the prospect of what Wednesday and Thursday’s democratic choice for president may turn out to be scares the devil out of them!

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(NY Times Op-Ed) Andreas Harsono– Indonesia Is No Model for Muslim Democracy

It is fashionable these days for Western leaders to praise Indonesia as a model Muslim democracy. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has declared, “If you want to know whether Islam, democracy, modernity and women’s rights can coexist, go to Indonesia.” And last month Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, lauded Indonesia for showing that “religion and democracy need not be in conflict.”

Tell that to Asia Lumbantoruan, a Christian elder whose congregation outside Jakarta has recently had two of its partially built churches burned down by Islamist militants. He was stabbed by these extremists while defending a third site from attack in September 2010.

This week in Geneva, the United Nations is reviewing Indonesia’s human rights record. It should call on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to crack down on extremists and protect minorities. While Indonesia has made great strides in consolidating a stable, democratic government after five decades of authoritarian rule, the country is by no means a bastion of tolerance.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Indonesia, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Christ, the King of glory, who hast gone up on high that thou mayest fill all things and bestow gifts upon thy Church: We beseech thee to dwell continually with us by thy Holy Spirit, that we may seek those things which are above, where thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father, for ever and ever.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, every one who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy and a pavilion. 6 It will be for a shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

–Isaiah 4:2-6

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AP) Eurozone warned 'severe recession' looming

The 17-country eurozone risks falling into a “severe recession,” the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned on Tuesday, as it called on governments and Europe’s central bank to act quickly to keep the slowdown from dragging down the global economy.

OECD Chief Economist Pier Carlo Padoan warned the eurozone economy could contract by as much as 2% this year, a figure that the Paris-based organization had laid out as its worst-case scenario in November.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * 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, Globalization, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--