Daily Archives: October 9, 2012

Darden Restaurants tests limiting worker hours as health-care changes loom

In an experiment apparently aimed at keeping down the cost of health-care reform, Orlando-based Darden Restaurants has stopped offering full-time schedules to many hourly workers in at least a few Olive Gardens, Red Lobsters and LongHorn Steakhouses…In an emailed statement, Darden said staffing changes are “just one of the many things we are evaluating to help us address the cost implications health care reform will have on our business. There are still many unanswered questions regarding the health care regulations and we simply do not have enough information to make any decisions at this time.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance

In Kenya, the Anglican Church Rebrands Its Social Transformation Arm

The social transformation work of the Anglican Church of Kenya is in the process of rebranding from Christian Community Services (CCS) to Anglican Development Services, Kenya (ADSK).

Regional directors, programme managers and other staff of the Anglican Church of Kenya development arm attended a workshop to discuss the way forward of the proposed identity.

The workshop held on 25th and 26th Septem-ber 2012 in Nakuru, was facilitated by Dr. William Ogara from Christian Organizations Research and Advisory Trust of Africa (CORAT).

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces

Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen's last presidential speech before his retirement

We are in a place and time of growing evangelistic opportunity and obligation….Our secure, wealthy and beautiful region is alive with people, especially new people. Many of these people know nothing about Jesus and they need to hear about the way to eternal life. We are here for them. It is as simple as that….

You could say [after looking at the statistic profile of Australia’s spiritual landscape], don’t fret: Our business is to look after the religious needs of the descendants of the English. We are a declining chaplaincy church. Christianity is a religion of consolation rather than salvation.

You had better say: The gospel itself utterly forbids us to think like that. The gospel addresses all men and women without exception in the same tone of voice, with the same demands and the same promises, the same Lord and the same Saviour. It is a matter of salvation, not consolation: of salvation, not of growing our numbers. Any gospel church is aptly described as One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, universal words which embrace all nations and peoples and languages. If our denomination, will not accept the challenge posed by the new and increasingly different world which has come to us, we are not being faithful to the gospel which has formed our churches and saved our souls.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology

R and E Newsweekly–More churches/Faith groups are creating small farms to feed the urban poor

JUDY VALENTE, correspondent: Community activist Nat Turner is surveying a site people rarely see in the battered Ninth Ward of New Orleans. His community garden provides fruits and vegetables to people hard pressed to find fresh produce in these parts.

[NAT] TURNER: Anybody in the neighborhood can come by and some time this morning somebody’s going to stop by and say, “You got any okra? You got any Creole tomatoes? You got some bell peppers? You got whatever?” And some people just come by the garden and if they want to pick it themselves, they can pick it themselves.

VALENTE: New Orleans’ Ninth Ward is what the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls a “food desert.” Food deserts are communities with little or no access to healthy food. For the urban poor, here and elsewhere, grocery shopping is often limited to places like this: higher-priced local convenience stores that are short on fresh healthy food and long on snacks and liquor. The problem extends well beyond New Orleans.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Washington Post Editorial) U.S. needs frank talk about cyberweapons

The Pentagon says cyberspace is an operational domain on par with land, sea, air and outer space, and there is little doubt that a global cyberarms race is getting underway. The United States is already well engaged in this race, as evidenced by reports of the computer worm Stuxnet, used to attack Iran’s nuclear enrichment equipment. But so far these efforts have largely been kept secret and conducted as intelligence operations.

DARPA’s workshop points again to the need for more transparency. The United States still has no open, overarching doctrine to govern a cyberweapons program. A good place to start would be a declaratory policy that would lay out when and under what circumstances offensive weapons such as Stuxnet might be used. After that, an open discussion is needed about rules of engagement for this complex new field, along with additional study of such issues as how and whether the military should protect non-military assets in government and the private sector.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government

(RNS) Mormons lower age for missionaries, setting off changes for parents, women, schools

n a surprising move that promises to transform Mormon social and spiritual dynamics, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday (Oct. 6) announced that it is lowering the age of full-time missionary service to age 18 for men (down from 19) and 19 for women (down from 21).

“The Lord is hastening this work,” LDS apostle Jeffrey R. Holland said at a news conference, “and he needs more and more willing missionaries.”

The church is counting on this change to dramatically increase the ranks of its full-time missionaries, currently more than 58,000 worldwide.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Missions, Mormons, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

Lord Carey's remarks Provoke a Torrent of Reaction

As for example found here, there, there, or there. Tom Chivers reluctantly tries to defend Lord Carey in today’s Telegraph:

Lord Carey, to his credit ”“ and I really, really hate giving Lord Carey credit, because most of the things he says make my skin crawl and/or my toes curl ”“ is rejecting the opportunity to paint his opponents as bigots; he is warning against hurling abusive terms around, including by his own side. In fact, taking the analogy he draws at face value, the “Jews” are advocates of gay marriage, and the “Nazis” are opponents who call them “the true bigots”. He is calling for polite debate. We should be encouraging this, not decrying him.
I don’t want to be too effusive. Flippant Godwin’s Law invocations aside, it’s still hugely insensitive to compare any sort of name-calling to the horrors of the Holocaust; and as a longstanding public figure, Lord Carey should know how incredibly careful he has to be to use any analogy involving the Nazis and the Jews. And, of course, he’s still wrong about so many other things, including his bizarre suggestion that gay marriage will encourage polygamy, or undermine heterosexual marriage.
But he’s not doing what he’s being accused of doing. In fact he’s trying, in the section quoted, to encourage civility. Now’s not the time to shout him down.

For myself, I think a corollary to Godwin’s law applies, you have already lost your point when you invoke this analogy, no matter for what you are trying to argue. It is simply too unusual and important a historical reference to use in debate, especially today (given how much time would be necessary to qualify any such remark and try to set it in proper context). Lord Carey had other ways of making his point–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Telegraph) Lord George Carey attacks plans to legalise same-sex Marriage

David Cameron’s plan to legalise gay marriage risks fuelling “Nazi” persecution of groups who disagree over the reforms, a former Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Lord Carey of Clifton urged the Prime Minister to have “the courage to back down” and abandon moves to legalise same-sex marriages by 2015.

He called for “a sensible debate” on the government’s proposals and warned against name calling by either supporters or critics of reform.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(Independent) Editorial: In choosing a leader, the Church chooses its future

In the past, the Church has divided along the tribal lines of evangelicals, liberals and Anglo-Catholics. The totemic issues which mark its dividing lines ”“ over the acceptability of gay relationships, women priests and now women bishops ”“ are completely settled for the vast majority of the population. Interestingly, there are suggestions that they are now being settled in the Church too; though conservative evangelicals remain implacably opposed to modern views on gender and sexuality, the terms in which they debate have subtly shifted in ways which suggest that it is only a matter of time before liberal tolerance prevails.

Instead, there is a new division inside the Church. It is between those who want a safe pair of hands to keep Anglicans together long enough for the old differences to dissolve and those who want someone who will reimagine the institution for the modern age with a bolder vision of purpose. The choice has significant implications for the rest of society….

….stalemate seems to have been reached in successive secret ballots. Welby is seen as too inexperienced and possibly too conservative and James as too liberal and a bit uninspiring. It may be time for a caretaker until the qualities of the new generation of bishops have become more clear. In the circumstances, the Church should consider the Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones…..

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture

(Globe and Mail) Toronto charts a path to car-free streets

As all children and many adults know, there’s something deeply enticing about playing on the road.

But a growing number of international cities have leveraged the allure of that normally prohibited behaviour to create hugely popular festivals that allow tens of thousands of residents to literally take to the streets with their bikes, blades, boards, wheelchairs and strollers.

During a trip last winter to Guadalajara, Mexico, which played host to the 2011 PanAm Games, downtown councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam found herself swept up in one such event ”“ the Via RecreActiva ”“ that involves closing more than 60 kilometres of roads to vehicular traffic on Sunday mornings, when traffic in the city of 4.3 million is light.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Children, Marriage & Family, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues

Redefining Medicine With Apps and iPads

Dr. Alvin Rajkomar was doing rounds with his team at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center when he came upon a puzzling case: a frail, elderly patient with a dangerously low sodium level.

As a third-year resident in internal medicine, Dr. Rajkomar was the senior member of the team, and the others looked to him for guidance. An infusion of saline was the answer, but the tricky part lay in the details. Concentration? Volume? Improper treatment could lead to brain swelling, seizures or even death.

Dr. Rajkomar had been on call for 24 hours and was exhausted, but the clinical uncertainty was “like a shot of adrenaline,” he said. He reached into a deep pocket of his white coat and produced not a well-thumbed handbook but his iPhone….

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

(USA Today) Cathy Grossman–America is no Longer a Nation of Protestants

[The] Rev. Eileen Lindner, a Presbyterian pastor and editor of the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, observes, “We are still twice as likely to be affiliated with a religion than Europeans, but there is strong evidence that our religious institutions, as we configured them in past centuries, are playing a less significant role in American life.”

Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptists Theological Seminary in Louisville, saw a welcome clarity in the report, even if he didn’t like the new picture in focus.

“Today, there’s no shame in saying you’re an unbeliever, no cultural pressure to claim a religious affiliation, no matter how remote or loose,” Mohler says. “This is a wake-up call. We have an incredible challenge ahead for committed Christians.”

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

Mark Lilla reviews "The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society"

One wonders why Brad Gregory felt compelled to add to our stock of historical fables. He is obviously dissatisfied with the way we live now and despairs that things will only get worse. I share his dissatisfaction and, in my worst moments, his despair. But it enlightens me not at all to think that “medieval Christendom failed, the Reformation failed, confessionalized Europe failed, and Western modernity is failing,” as if each of these were self-conscious “projects” the annual reports of which are available for consultation. Life does not work that way; history does not work that way. Nor does it help me to imagine that the peak of Western civilization was reached in the decades just before the Reformation, or to imagine that we might rejoin The Road Not Taken by taking the next exit off the autobahn, which is the vague hope this book wants to plant in readers’ minds.

Perhaps it’s just that I align myself more closely with Augustine than Gregory does. Though a lapsed Catholic, I share his assumption that the detritus we leave behind in history is a symbol of our fallenness, revealing little more than that. And I see the wisdom of his view that if members of the Church wish to serve it, they must let the past bury itself and concentrate on spreading the Gospel by word and especially deed in the here and now. The Road Not Taken is an empty fantasy, distracting Christians from the only road that ever matters: the one in front of them. Remembering that makes all the difference.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Books, Church History, Europe, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Global Recession Risk Rises

The global economy risks skidding toward recession just three years after pulling out of the previous one, the International Monetary Fund warned, adding that fighting a renewed world-wide downturn will be much more complex than it was in 2009.

“Risks for a serious global slowdown are alarmingly high,” said the IMF’s World Economic Outlook report, which was released here Tuesday ahead of the fund’s annual fall meeting. It was its bleakest assessment of global growth prospects since the 2009 recession.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization

Rowan Williams–The person and the individual: human dignity, human relationships and human limits

In this 1955 essay, [Vladimir] Lossky builds all of that around a very complex and very sophisticated analysis of how Christians, especially in the early centuries, talked about God as trinity and talked about the divine and the human in Jesus. If I had another three hours or so I would try to spell that out a bit further, but it might emerge a little later when we have some questions. The point I want to focus on here is that he is arguing for an essential mysteriousness about the notion of the person in the human world, an essential mysteriousness that one can’t simply deal with by listing it in a number of things that are true about us so that I am intelligent, loving, free and mysterious; which is something about the place I occupy in terms (as I said earlier) of being the point where the lines of relationship intersect. It’s because a person is that kind of reality, the point at which relationships intersect, where a difference may be made and new relations created. It’s in virtue of that that we are able as believers to look at any and every human individual and say that the same kind of mystery is true of all of them and therefore the same kind of reverence or attention is due to all of them. We can never say for example that such and such a person has the full set of required characteristics for being a human person and therefore deserves our respect, and that such and such another individual doesn’t have the full set and therefore doesn’t deserve our respect.

That of course is why – historically and at the present day – Christians worry about those kinds of human beings who may not tick all the boxes but whom we still believe to be worthy of respect, whether it’s those not yet born, those severely disabled, those dying, those in various ways marginal and forgotten. It’s why Christians conclude that attention is due to all of them. What that means, we may still argue a lot about. But the underlying point is quite simply that there is no way of, (as it were), presenting a human individual with an examination paper and according them the reward of our attention or respect only if they get above a certain percentage of marks. Any physical, tangible member of the human race deserves that respect, never mind how many boxes are ticked.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Europe, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Russia, Theology