Daily Archives: August 10, 2012

(BBC) York Mystery Plays given new lease of life

The York Mystery Plays, a theatrical tradition dating back to the 14th Century, have been resurrected in an epic production involving an Olivier Award-winning director and 1,700 enthusiastic local people.

It is with a mixture of pride and exhaustion that the two directors of the York Mystery Plays talk about the numbers of people taking part in their production, which retells Biblical stories on a near-Biblical scale.

There are two casts of 250 amateur performers, with bricklayers appearing alongside lawyers and children with their grandparents, who have between them been rehearsing for six nights a week for the past four months.

Read it all and make sure to enjoy mae sure to enjoy all six pictures.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, History, Religion & Culture, Theatre/Drama/Plays

Afghans Fear U.S. Pullout Will Unplug Key Projects

Here in the cradle of the Taliban movement, Faizulhaq Mushkani sold his land for $600,000 last year to buy equipment to open a packaging factory in a booming industrial park.

The industrial park””powered by military-run electrical generators””is a pillar of the U.S. strategy against the Afghan insurgency. The arrival of reliable electricity in late 2010 revitalized Kandahar. More than 100 new factories have sprouted.

These days, however, Mr. Mushkani and fellow entrepreneurs are grappling with a fatal flaw in their business plans: They expected the Americans to stick around longer. But, now, with U.S. forces preparing to depart Kandahar next year, the American electricity will disappear, too.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan

(ENI/RNS) Top church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch sees Roman Catholic schism ahead

Influential church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch said he believes Christianity faces a bright future, but predicted the Roman Catholic Church will undergo a major schism over its moral and social teaching.

“Christianity, the world’s largest religion, is rapidly expanding — by all indications, its future is very bright,” said MacCulloch, 60, professor of church history at Oxford University and an Anglican deacon. His latest book, “Silence in Christian History,” will be published in the fall by Penguin.

MacCulloch said in an interview that “there are also many conflicts” within Christianity, “and these are particularly serious in the Roman Catholic church, which seems on the verge of a very great split over the Vatican’s failure to listen to European Catholics.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(WSJ) In a New Trend, College Debt Hits Upper-Middle-Income Households Hardest

With their finances strained, some higher-earning parents are making their children pick up more of the tab. Among families earning $100,000 or more, students paid 23% of their college costs in 2012 through loans, income and savings, according to Sallie Mae, up from 14% in 2009; the share covered by parents fell to 52% from 61%.

“The boomers are the first generation shifting the cost of college to their kids,” both through increased student borrowing and reduced taxpayer support for higher education, says Susan Dynarski, a professor of education and public policy at the University of Michigan.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Personal Finance, Theology, Young Adults

(NY Times Magazine) What’s So Bad About a Boy Who Wants to Wear a Dress?

Many parents and clinicians now reject corrective therapy, making this the first generation to allow boys to openly play and dress (to varying degrees) in ways previously restricted to girls ”” to exist in what one psychologist called “that middle space” between traditional boyhood and traditional girlhood. These parents have drawn courage from a burgeoning Internet community of like-minded folk whose sons identify as boys but wear tiaras and tote unicorn backpacks. Even transgender people preserve the traditional binary gender division: born in one and belonging in the other. But the parents of boys in that middle space argue that gender is a spectrum rather than two opposing categories, neither of which any real man or woman precisely fits.

“It might make your world more tidy to have two neat and separate gender possibilities,” one North Carolina mother wrote last year on her blog, “but when you squish out the space between, you do not accurately represent lived reality. More than that, you’re trying to ”˜squish out’ my kid.”

The impassioned author of that blog, Pink Is for Boys, is careful to conceal her son’s identity, as were the other parents interviewed for this article. As much as these parents want to nurture and defend what makes their children unique and happy, they also fear it will expose their sons to rejection. Some have switched schools, changed churches and even moved to try to shield their children. That tension between yielding to conformity or encouraging self-expression is felt by parents of any child who differs from the norm. But parents of so-called pink boys feel another layer of anxiety: given how central gender is to identity, they fear the wrong parenting decision could devastate their child’s social or emotional well-being. The fact that there is still substantial disagreement among prominent psychological professionals about whether to squelch unconventional behavior or support it makes those decisions even more wrenching.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Children, History, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology

Bill Maher reviews Doug Fine's new Book arguing for Legalizing Marijuana in America

The most eye-opening and persuasive parts of the book explore the revenue and benefits to be had from cannabis without a single joint’s being lighted. Throughout human history, cultures from Mongolia to Peru have used the non-psychoactive cannabis plant for food, shelter, clothing and medicine. Early drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper, and the covered pioneer wagons that took America westward were made of cannabis fiber. In 1942, cannabis prohibition was suspended because of a shortage in industrial supply during the war, and the government actually encouraged farmers to grow it, using a propaganda film, “Hemp for Victory.”

The place industrial cannabis is not found yet, Fine points out, is in the above­ground American economy, thanks to its listing as a Schedule I narcotic. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s official stance is that it has no medical value at all: “Smoked marijuana has not withstood the rigors of science ”” it is not medicine, and it is not safe.” O.K., Fine seems to say, but tell that to the doctors with evidence of its ability to shrink tumors and ease the effects of chemotherapy; or to the seniors of Orange County who depend on medical marijuana to treat their arthritis, and the doctor who uses it to treat his glaucoma; or to the 30-year-old Iraq war veteran with the shrapnel injuries who thanks God every day for this drug. It is prescription drugs that are now the leading cause of fatal drug overdoses ”” more than 26,000 each year. Also each year, over 23,000 Americans die of alcohol-related causes. None have died from cannabis alone.

As I said, the issue is loaded. And yet the side that has all the load never seems to win in America….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Books, Consumer/consumer spending, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology, Taxes

(Church Times) Olympians cheer, and care, and give glory to God

Christian households have also enabled the families of foreign athletes to experience “the heart of British home-life” by providing accommodation during the Games, under the Homestay initiative organised by More than Gold.

“Jesus Christ was someone who served people, who met their needs, joined in their celebrations,” Canon Hugh Dibbins, a retired priest, told Radio 4’s Sunday programme this week. “Stories of what happened in the 2012 Olympics are passed on from generation to generation, and contacts continue, even though the Games finish.”

One story likely to make its way across the ocean is the tale of the Madagascan Olympic athletes and their families who landed at Luton with no luggage. On opening the door to guests with only the clothes they stood up in, Sister Anne Spilberg, part of the Homestay scheme, went to Brentwood Roman Catholic Church to ask for help. The immediate donations included 20 bags of clothes.

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

Nigeria drifting toward anarchy, Anglican Primate Warns

The Prelate of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, warned that the country was drifting to anarchy.

He said, “At the rate we are going, the country is drifting fast into anarchy and if people now capitalise on that situation, it will degenerate to dog eat dog.

“If dog eats dog, that is the end of the country. So for me, we go back to government whose responsibility it is constitutionally to provide defence for the people.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

The Rector of Saint James, James Island, S.C., writes the parish

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, Theology

The Vestry of Saint James, James Island, S.C., writes Bishop Mark Lawrence

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, Theology

The Rector of Holy Communion, Charleston. S.C. writes about the Bishop and General Convention 2012

Following the General Convention, most of you heard me read from the pulpit (or have had an opportunity to read) Bishop Lawrence’s letter to the Diocese. In that letter, he stated that The Episcopal Church had now “crossed a line” in terms of changing the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church in such a way that his own personal conscience could not go. Asking for a point of personal privilege, he addressed the House of Bishops, stating the issues on his heart, and then left the Convention floor, returning early with five of the seven Deputies from our Diocese (Fr. John Burwell and Mr. Lonnie Hamilton chose to stay.)

On Wednesday, the Bishop addressed his clergy for the first time directly. We were shown a film giving a pastoral rationale for the changes in Canon Law that allow transgendered persons (those who have been surgically altered from their birthassigned gender) to have full access to all positions in this Church, including ordination to the priesthood (and one would deduce, the episcopate). It seemed to me that this change was far more troubling to our bishop than the proposed rites for same-sex blessing. The same-sex blessing rites are proposed, provisional, and can only be used with the permission of the local diocesan. In other words, Bishop Lawrence is not in any way bound by them. But these canonical changes are permanent, and it was at this point that the bishop simply said to us, I think I have crossed a bridge.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Same-sex blessings, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Laurence

Almighty God, who didst call thy deacon Laurence to serve thee with deeds of love, and didst give him the crown of martyrdom: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, following his example, may fulfil thy commandments by defending and supporting the poor, and by loving thee with all our hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Heavenly Father, who hast given us a commandment, that we should believe on the name of thy Son Jesus Christ, and love one another: Give us also grace to keep this commandment, that we may evermore dwell in thee, and thou in us, in the power of thy Holy Spirit; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.” So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

–John 2:6-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Anglican Diocese of Melbourne) Roland Ashby responds to the Previously Posted Article from the Age

Contrary to Fr Christopher Seton’s reported comments (“New world order as Anglican priests move to a Catholic environment”, The Age, 8/8), the Anglican Church respects those who cannot accept, in good conscience, the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate….Moreover, Fr Seton’s reported assertion “that you’ve got to believe in same-sex marriage” to remain in the Anglican Church is inaccurate and misplaced.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Media, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology