Daily Archives: October 6, 2012

Interfaith website relaunched in Egypt in spirit of CMS pioneers

Orient and Occident online magazine seeks to promote not just coexistence but cooperation with Muslims.
It was Egyptian media that brought the appalling “Innocence of Muslims” trailer to the wider attention of Muslims around the world. The consequences have been tragic to watch.
The country has also seen all-too-regular violent clashes between local Muslim and Christian communities, that have got no better since Egypt’s revolution.
In this difficult atmosphere, the Diocese of Egypt, under the leadership of Bishop Mouneer Hanna Anis, has relaunched a magazine online that was first started by two pioneering CMS missionaries more than 100 years ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Egypt, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Media, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

(WSJ) Hiring Notches Modest Gains in September

The U.S. unemployment rate fell sharply in September to its lowest level since January 2009, suggesting that summer job growth was stronger than previously thought and providing new fodder for a presidential race that has focused on competing views of the nation’s economic health.

Data released Friday portrayed a labor market that has perked up a bit since the spring but is still growing modestly. The unemployment rate slid to 7.8%, the Labor Department said, falling below 8% for the first time since President Barack Obama’s inauguration. The rate has fallen half a percentage point since July, when it was 8.3%.

Read it all. Mish did an excellent job in his analysis. Blog readers know I prefer U-6, which I consider the most representative rate–it stayed the same month over month–KSH

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Fulcrum) Sean Doherty–Same-Sex Partnerships and Christian Discipleship

Most of my comments in this article are in a theological vein (in keeping with Matthew’s original article). But theology cannot be separated from pastoral practice and experience in this or any area. My own journey is as a Christian who experiences same-sex attraction but who has chosen to move away from a gay identity, and I have written about this here.

This means that I know from absolutely first-hand experience that the church’s prohibition of same-sex sexual activity is not based on prejudice but is based precisely on love. I have never experienced homophobic treatment in the church. Rather, the church accepted and nurtured me, and encouraged me in my vocation as a clergy person and theologian, just as it also gave me guidance and direction about how to order my life and relationships. In my experience, unconditional acceptance of me as a person and clear moral teaching about how I should live were two sides of the same coin.

This is not to deny the existence of homophobia in the church, and that remains something which we must confront and condemn. But the view that same-sex sexual activity is wrong is not in itself homophobic.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Paul White Tries to Defend the Umpire's Blown Call in Last night's game–I argue why he is wrong

You can read Paul White’s attempted defense here. Next, please make sure to read the whole rule in full which you can find there. You will note that Mr. White quotes neither the full text of the rule nor even the whole paragraph of the rule’s explanation.

Here is why he is wrong:

(1) The last two sentences of the rule explanation (not quoted by Mr. White) state–“The infield fly is in no sense to be considered an appeal play. The umpire’s judgment must govern, and the decision should be made immediately.” The call is to be immediate. It was not. Watch the replay as many times as you like.

(2) Note also White’s correct summary of the purpose of the rule–“The rule exists so an infielder doesn’t purposely drop the ball so he can get force outs for a double or triple play.” Does anyone serious believe, based on where the ball actually was on the field, that a double or triple play could have been attempted much less achieved? Also note that the argument that the runners were protected anyway since they both advanced a base does not work because on a ball this deep they would have advanced 1/2 to 2/3 of the way on the fly ball before going back if it were caught–thus what happened to the runners would have happened anyway which provides no protection whatsoever.
(3) Note next the exact text of the explanation as given by White–“The umpire must rule also that a ball is an infield fly, even if handled by an outfielder, if, in the umpire’s judgment, the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder.” The key word is the word “easily,” and this was not a play that fits that definition, it could be made, and made with difficulty, indeed one of the reason why the call was made so late was because the infielder and outfielder were so close together which only happens when an infielder is way into the outfield. It could NOT have been handled “easily.” Also, the reason the umpire’s call was in no way immediate is because all the way until the very last seconds it was not clear whether the infielder or the outfielder was going to make the play.

(4) Finally I defy Mr. White to examine all the times this rule has been applied and to find how many similar balls THIS FAR INTO THE OUTFIELD were ever subject to the infield fly rule being called. Rules to be applied properly must be applied similarly in similar circumstances. No fan if his or her team were the other team would have felt this was a fair or reasonable application of this rule, both in terms of its actaul language, and especially its intent–KSH.

Update: Hal Bodley of mlb.com has it right:

But in 54 years of covering Major League Baseball, I’ve never seen the fly rule called when a fielder isn’t under the ball. The infield fly is a complicated rule, designed to prevent infielders from intentionally dropping a popup with more than one runner on base to perhaps get an extra out.

It wasn’t even close in this case. As Holliday charged in, Kozma, his glove outstretched, took a few steps back, deeper into the outfield.

.Another update: Alex Hall disagrees.

Yet one further update:According to an ESPN article:

To put Friday’s controversial play into context, in the past three seasons, there were six infield flies that were not caught in the majors, according to Baseball Info Solutions, the longest measured at 178 feet.
Friday’s infield fly was measured at 225 feet from home plate, according to Baseball Info Solutions.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Men, Sports

(WSJ) America's Prescription Addiction Crisis

Jaclyn Kinkade, a 23-year-old doctor’s-office receptionist and occasional model, was a casualty of America’s No. 1 drug menace when she overdosed and died, alone, in a tumbledown clapboard house in Dunnellon, Fla.

The drugs that killed her didn’t come from the Colombian jungles or an Afghan poppy field. Two of the three drugs found in her system were sold to Ms. Kinkade, legally, at Walgreen Co. and CVS Caremark shops, the two biggest U.S. pharmacies. Both prescription drugs found in her body were made in the U.S.””the oxycodone in Elizabeth, N.J., by a company being acquired by generic-drug giant Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., and the methadone in Hobart, N.Y., by Covidien Ltd., another major manufacturer. Every stage of their distribution was government-regulated. In addition, Ms. Kinkade had small amounts of methamphetamine in her system when she died.

The U.S. spends about $15 billion a year fighting illegal drugs, often on foreign soil. But America’s deadliest drug epidemic begins and ends at home. More than 15,000 Americans now die annually after overdosing on prescription painkillers called opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention””more than from heroin, cocaine and all other illegal drugs combined.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Psychology

Esquire: Two of the top 20 new American restaurants are in the Charleston, South Carolina, area

The accolades continue to pile up for Charleston area restaurants.

Esquire magazine has named two local dining establishments to its 2012 list of “Best New Restaurants.” Only 20 establishments nationwide made the list.

The Macintosh on King Street, opened by the Indigo Road restaurant group in September 2011, and Carter’s Kitchen in Mount Pleasant, which opened in February, landed on the annual list compiled by food critic John Mariani.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy

(Telegraph) Fraser Nelson–Faithless Britain is still a country of compassion and principles

It is harder than ever to claim, as the Prime Minister does, that Britain is still a Christian country. It was at the time when Baroness Thatcher stood outside No 10 and recited the prayer of St Francis of Assisi, to offer reassurance about her intentions. Two thirds of Brits were Christian then, and phrases such as “where there is discord, may we bring harmony” had wide resonance. Those were the days where friends parted using phrases like “God bless” and hedged future plans with “God willing”. But over the past three decades Britain has been losing its religion at a precipitous rate ”“ as Ed Miliband has worked out.

There was almost no comment, let alone fuss, about the section of the Labour leader’s speech where he proclaimed that he had no religion. This, in itself, is something of a milestone. When Neil Kinnock spoke about his atheism, he was monstered, as if this were evidence of his otherness. In fact, he was at the vanguard of a growing secularist trend. Today religion has become, if anything, a handicap to those governing modern Britain. Tony Blair judged it best to keep quiet about his faith. David Cameron has declared a Christianity-lite, one that comes and goes like “Magic FM in the Chilterns”.

But this week, Ed Miliband wanted to tell the world about his creed. He is not a man for synagogues or churches, he said, but is emphatically a man of faith. “Not a religious faith,” he said, “but a faith none the less. A faith, I believe, many religious people would recognise….”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Europe, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Secularism

Bishop Nick Baines on the recent Exhibition of photographs in Bradford Cathedral

…[this past Wednesday] evening saw the launch of an exhibition in Bradford Cathedral of fantastic photographs. The gallery includes black and white as well as colour pictures of scenes from the street in Durban, South Africa, and Burundi. They illustrate the reality of young lives blighted by homelessness, hopelessness and hunger ”“ hunger for love, security and friendship. The are also examples of simple joy, playfulness and humour. So far, so good.

Then, as you hear the stories of those portrayed, you realise some of them are already dead.

Streetaction is a small charity working with slim resources to work with partners to offer some street children hope of a future.

Read it all and make sure to check out the Streetaction website. The Bradford Cathedral website includes this description:

Street Action Exhibition–An exhibition by professional photographers of children on the street of Burundi, South Africa and Kenya. Street Action works in partnership with local organisations to tackle the complex needs of children living on the streets with no parental or adult care.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Burundi, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Kenya, Parish Ministry, Poverty, South Africa, Teens / Youth

Panka Mishra: What Will Asia’s Ascendance in the 21st Century Bring?

Globalization combined with mass immigration has helped unleash new forms of hybridity and cultural diffusion. Hollywood may spell cultural imperialism to the French, but its empire has stalled in India, whose indigenously produced films cater to a large diaspora as well as domestic audiences. Similarly, Al Jazeera, Japanese comics, Taiwanese pop music and Turkish soaps have carved their own spheres of influence in large parts of the world.

World religions, too, have been transformed in the age of mass mobility and communications. Islam has gone D.I.Y. in the hands of televangelists preaching to Muslims who live without the consolations of traditional authority in urban areas of Europe and America. Christianity, rapidly declining in Europe, has a new lease on life among enterprising Chinese and Latin Americans.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Globalization, History, Religion & Culture

(NY Times) German Catholic Church Links Tax to the Sacraments

It is a paradox of modern Germany that church and state remain so intimately tied. That bond persists more and more awkwardly, it seems, as the church’s relationship with followers continues to fray amid growing secularization.

Last week one of Germany’s highest courts rankled Catholic bishops by ruling that the state recognized the right of Catholics to leave the church ”” and therefore avoid paying a tax that is used to support religious institutions. The court ruled it was a matter of religious freedom, while religious leaders saw the decision as yet another threat to their influence on modern German society.

With its ruling the court also dodged the thorny issue of what happens when a parishioner formally quits the church, stops paying taxes, but then wants to attend services anyway. The court said that, too, was a matter of religious freedom, a decision that so rankled religious leaders fearful of losing a lucrative revenue stream that they made clear, right away, that taxes are the price for participation in the church’s most sacred rituals: no payments, no sacraments.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Discover) Painkilling chemicals with no side effects found in black mamba venom

The black mamba has a fearful reputation, and it’s easy to see why. It can move at around 12.5 miles (20 kilometres) per hour, making it one of the world’s fastest snakes, if not the fastest. Its body can reach 4.5 metres in length, and it can lift a third of that off the ground. That would give you an almost eye-level view of the disturbingly black mouth from which it gets its name. And inside that mouth, two short fangs deliver one of the most potent and fast-acting venoms of any land snake.

Combined with its reputation for aggression (at least when cornered) and you’ve got a big, intimidating, deadly, ornery serpent that can probably outrun you. It’s not the most obvious place to go looking for painkillers.

But among the cocktail of chemicals in the black mamba’s venom, Sylvie Diochot and Anne Baron from the CNRS have found a new class of molecules that can relieve pain as effectively as morphine, and without any toxic side effects. They’ve named them mambalgins.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale

Almighty God, who didst plant in the heart of thy servants William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale a consuming passion to bring the Scriptures to people in their native tongue, and didst endow them with the gift of powerful and graceful expression and with strength to persevere against all obstacles: Reveal to us, we pray thee, thy saving Word, as we read and study the Scriptures, and hear them calling us to repentance and life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Son of God, who by thy lowly life hast made manifest the royalty of service: Teach us that it is better to give than to receive, better to minister than to be ministered unto, after thine own example, who now livest and reignest in the glory of the eternal Trinity, world without end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Ba’als, and burning incense to idols. Yet it was I who taught E’phraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of compassion, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one, who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. They shall return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. The sword shall rage against their cities, consume the bars of their gates, and devour them in their fortresses. My people are bent on turning away from me; so they are appointed to the yoke, and none shall remove it. How can I give you up, O E’phraim! How can I hand you over, O Israel! How can I make you like Admah! How can I treat you like Zeboi’im! My heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger, I will not again destroy E’phraim; for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come to destroy.

–Hosea 11:1-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Cardinals advance after win over Braves

It was tumultuous and exhausting. What did you expect from wild card vs. wild card except something wild.

The St. Louis Cardinals resumed their preposterous ways in the postseason with a 6-3 loser-goes-home, Game 7 type victory over the Atlanta Braves, but not before the home fans, accused for years of being too sedate, erupted in disgust over a blown call by the umpires in the bottom of the 8th helped ruin and Atlanta rally.

Read it all. It was a truly terrible call by the umpires–KSH

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports