Daily Archives: September 4, 2012

Wonderful Essay–Steve Almond: Why Does Anyone Root for Incompetent, Failing Teams?

As I prepare to immerse myself in another season of ill-fated devotion, there is a question I can’t shake: Why? Not why do the Raiders keep losing, but why does anyone follow an incompetent, perpetually failing team? It’s a question that resonates across an entire nation of fanatics, from the frigid Cheeseheads of Wisconsin to the yodeling herds of Texas, from the mile-high multitudes to the bellowing masses of New York.

In offering explanations, the afflicted tend to stress the laudable aspects of sport. It’s perfectly natural, we note, to admire the grace and strength of our finest athletes. Their contests reconnect us to the unscripted physical pleasures of childhood. They simplify and lend moral structure to a world that feels increasingly chaotic. And they allow men, in particular, a common language by which to express deep emotions (rage, disappointment, joy) that might otherwise feel forbidden ”” as well as activating our ancient yearning for tribal affiliation.

Unfortunately, these reasons don’t quite justify the more pathological practitioners of fandom. By which I mean hard cases like me, who spend decades rooting for teams that almost invariably stomp our hearts. To understand this species of devotion requires the invocation of Omar Little, the mystical Robin Hood figure of “The Wire.” As he puts it, “A man’s gotta have a code.”

This is a must not miss from forlorn Oakland Raiders fan Steve Almond in a recent New York Times magazine–read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology, Sports

West Africa set to have two provinces, two Archbishops

The Church of the Province of West Africa has revealed that it is holding a special synod at the end of the month to adopt a constitutional change that will see the creation of two provinces with two archbishops.

The Provincial Secretary, The Revd Canon Fr Anthony Eiwuley, said today that the Church will be meeting at Cuttington University in Liberia September 27-29 for a special synod.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Province of West Africa, Anglican Provinces

(APM's Marketplace) Housing, jobs and retirement stay on voters' minds

Here we are, smack dab in the middle of convention season. Cue the balloons. The Republicans had their turn last week, the Democrats come next. And there are plenty of personal finance issues being aired by the two guys who want to be president. But what are the issues voters are most interested in?

Marketplace’s David Gura recently traveled through both states hosting this year’s conventions as part of our coverage of the how all the tub-thumping plays out where it really matters: the economy.

Gura started down the I-4 corridor, which cuts through Daytona Beach, Orlando and site of the Republican Convention, Tampa. That highway has a high concentration of undecided voters. Some view it as the line between the more conservative north and more liberal south.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Pensions, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Social Security, The U.S. Government

St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Celebrates 175 years

Charles Large has sat through a lot of Sunday services in 79 years as a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
In 1933, at 10 years old, Large joined St. Luke’s renowned boys choir, and this year, he and the rest of the congregation will celebrate the church’s 175th anniversary.
The church plans to commemorate the milestone in September with a concert, a workshop and a celebration of the Holy Communion followed by a reception.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

***Important Blog Open Thread–what are the Best Show(s) or Movie(s) you have watched recently?***

The more specific you can be the more helpful it will be for the rest of us. We are especially interested in material others might not be aware of that you have found moving or interesting. What specifically brought this to mind is an off handed reference in my most recent sermon to my wife and I particularly liking English and Scottish mysteries. I was then asked about by several parishioners which mysteries and how did we get them–KSH?

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Books, History, Movies & Television, Theatre/Drama/Plays

Today in History September 4th

You can check here and there. This is what stood out to me:

1802–A French aeronaut dropped eight-thousand feet equipped with a parachute.

1939– The Nazis marched into Czestochowa, Poland, two days after they invaded Poland.

1951–President Truman addressed the nation from the Japanese peace treaty conference in San Francisco in the first live, coast-to-coast television broadcast.

1984–Brian Mulroney’s landslide victory in general elections in Canada.

1985–The first pictures of the wreck of the Titanic are released 73 years after the liner sank with the loss of 1,500 lives.

What stood out to you–KSH?

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

(Zenit) John Flynn–The Debate Over Same-Sex 'Marriage'

The debate over same-sex “marriage” continues to be a hot topic in many countries. This week the New Zealand parliament voted in favor at the first reading of a bill that if eventually approved will legalize same-sex “marriage.”

Legislation has also been introduced into the parliament of the Australian state of Tasmania to legalize same-sex “marriage.” In Scotland the government is planning to approve it and last Sunday at Masses a pastoral letter from the bishops was read out, urging people to defend marriage as being between and a man and a woman. Meanwhile, in the United States the support for marriage voiced by the owner of a fast food chain, Chick-fil-A, has stirred up considerable controversy.

The contrasting opinions on this topic were well covered in a recent book that pits two opposing views: “Debating Same-Sex Marriage,” (Oxford University Press) by John Corvino and Maggie Gallagher.

Corvino is a professor of philosophy at Wayne State University in Detroit and Gallagher is the co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage and the author of several books on marriage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Books, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Guardian) Christian girl hailed as 'daughter of nation' by senior Pakistani cleric

The Christian girl who was allegedly framed for blasphemy by her local mullah has been hailed as a “daughter of the nation” by one of Pakistan’s most senior Islamic clerics, who also vowed to guarantee her safety if she is eventually released from prison.

The heavyweight support for Rimsha Masih from the chairman of the All Pakistan Ulema Council, a grouping of Islamic clerics, is being seen as a remarkable turn of events in a country where individuals accused of insulting Islam are almost never helped by powerful public figures.

In a fiery press conference at a central Islamabad hotel, Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, flanked by other senior clerics, demanded all the organs of the Pakistani state come together to investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest last month of a girl who it is claimed has Down’s syndrome.

Read it all.

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

Human rights 'agenda' is new totalitarianism, Bishop Nazir-Ali Warns judges

Human rights are becoming a new form of totalitarianism, being used to drive Christians out of public life and even their jobs, European judges will be warned next week.

Laws originally designed to protect basic freedoms are instead being used to strip British society of its Christian foundations while upholding the rights of minorities, they will hear.

The warning, from a prominent Church of England bishop, comes as part of a landmark case on religious freedom in Britain to be heard at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg next week.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology

Kendall Harmon's Sermon from Sunday–Thinking about work from a Christian perspective

Listen to it all if you so desire (give the audio 30 seconds at the beginning to right itself).

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sermons & Teachings

(New Humanist) Raymond Tallis–The case for assisted dying

Some claim that palliative care, combined with psychological and spiritual support, can address all the problems of all dying patients. This ignores a clinical reality, in which some patients, despite the best palliative care, still have bad deaths, with some resorting to dreadful journeys to Dignitas to end their suffering. International experience also confirms that palliative care and assisted dying are not either/or options. For the last ten years, assisted dying has been legal in Oregon under the Death with Dignity Act. Of the 50 states of the USA, Oregon has amongst the best palliative care and nearly 90 per cent of those seeking assisted dying do so from within those services.

The claims that assisted dying would inhibit the development of palliative care services, and would break down trust between doctors and patients, are unsupported by international evidence. So, too, are nightmare scenarios conjured by opponents in which decriminalisation of assisted dying places us on a slippery slope that would lead to the involuntary euthanasia of people who do not want to die. The Dutch experience, frequently misrepresented by those against assisted dying, has shown how liberalisation of the law has the reverse effect. Rates of non-voluntary euthanasia (i.e. doctors actively ending patients’ lives without having been asked by them to do so) have decreased. The present clinical, ethical and legal fudge in the UK, where some patients’ deaths are hastened with no regulatory framework, is more dangerous.

Even more absurd is the claim that to accede to someone’s request for assisted dying is to devalue human life….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Generation Smartphone–Its role as constant companion, coach, and guardian has only barely begun

It’s the year 2020 and newlyweds Tom and Sara are expecting their first child. Along with selecting the latest high-tech stroller, picking out a crib, and decorating the nursery, they download the “NewBorn” application suite to their universal communicator; they’re using what we’ll call a SmartPhone 20.0. Before the due date, they take the phone on a tour of the house, letting the phone’s sensors and machine-learning algorithms create light and sound “fingerprints” for each room.

When they settle Tom Jr. down for his first nap at home, they place the SmartPhone 20.0 in his crib. Understanding that the crib is where the baby sleeps, the SmartPhone activates its sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) application and uses its built-in microphone, accelerometers, and other sensors to monitor little Tommy’s heartbeat and respiration. The “Baby Position” app analyzes the live video stream to ensure that Tommy does not flip over onto his stomach””a position that the medical journals still report contributes to SIDS. Of course, best practices in child rearing seem to change quickly, but Tom and Sara aren’t too worried about that because the NewBorn application suite updates itself with the latest medical findings. To lull Tommy to sleep, the SmartPhone 20.0 plays music, testing out a variety of selections and learning by observation which music is most soothing for this particular infant….

While this scenario is, of course, science fiction, many of the technologies I’m describing are here today in research labs or even in app stores. So the reality of a SmartPhone 20.0, along with its envisioned NewBorn suite, are not far off.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, History, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth, Theology

The Episcopal Bishop of Western Kansas reflects on General Convention 2012

For months and months this past spring and early summer we of the Episcopal Church heard much about what would happen at our General Convention which ended a couple of weeks ago. Some would have had us believe that the church would collapse. There were all sorts of dire predictions of this or that happening. In the end some of those issues and some of the well-publicized resolutions passed, and some didn’t. After the convention there were a couple of well-publicized articles pronouncing the death-knell of the Episcopal Church. And, in my opinion, the demise of the church is very much overstated. The problem with the church is not the church, but many within the church who see only things temporal, and lose touch with the things eternal.

What many in the church these days seem to overlook is that the church is not ultimately guided by the General Convention, the national staff or the Presiding Bishop. At its core the church is not guided by Bishops or laity. At its core the church is eternal and divine — the Bride of Christ, the Body of Christ. The General Convention of the Episcopal Church is over. Some were happy with the results, some were not, and some were just confused. For the most part the Convention probably will not have all that much affect on you and me. So, as I say, the convention probably will not affect you or me all that much. So, let’s bring our discussion back down to our level….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

Gail Rautman's recent sermon on the end of John 6 at Village Church, Milwaukee

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”

Do you also wish to go away?

I considered this question during my years as a seminary student when I came to realize and understand the ELCA’s stance on homosexuality and the policies that supported that stance. In the late 1990s, when I was a student, gays and lesbians were not allowed to serve as pastors nor was there any support from the ELCA to bless same-sex unions. Could I become a pastor in a church with such policies and positions? As many of you know, I had a mentor in junior high and high school, a Lutheran pastor, whose homosexuality was revealed only when he revealed that he had AIDS. The congregation where he was serving decided to keep him on as their pastor until he was no longer able to serve, even though they would have had every right ”” under ELCA policies at the time ”” to dismiss him. Could I become a pastor in a church that had such a right and which, on many other occasions, acted on that right? Would becoming a pastor in the Lutheran church imply full support of the ELCA’s stance, becoming complicit in a system that denied gays and lesbians the opportunity to answer God’s call to serve as pastors in this church? Would becoming a pastor in this church mean becoming a part of a system that kept people like my mentor in the closet, that denied blessings to those who were in love, that perpetuated the cycle of ignorance and fear?

Do you also wish to go away?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Lutheran, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Gracious God, whose blessed Son set forth thy love towards mankind, in his miracles of healing and mercy, making both the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak: Grant that our ears may be opened to thy Word, and our tongues loosed to proclaim it to others, and to further the spreading of thy gospel among all nations; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Euchologium Anglicanum

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