Daily Archives: December 11, 2012

(WSJ) Terror fight shifts to Africa

Military counterterrorism officials are seeking more capability to pursue extremist groups in Africa and elsewhere that they believe threaten the U.S., and the Obama administration is considering asking Congress to approve expanded authority to do it.

The move, according to administration and congressional officials, would be aimed at allowing U.S. military operations in Mali, Nigeria, Libya and possibly other countries where militants have loose or nonexistent ties to al Qaeda’s Pakistan headquarters. Depending on the request, congressional authorization could cover the use of armed drones and special operations teams across a region larger than Iraq and Afghanistan combined, the officials said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Nigeria, Terrorism, Violence

Mark Silk –Same-sex marriage to religion: Adapt or else

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Church/State Matters, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Wash. Post) U.S. students continue to trail Asian students in math, reading, science

Students across the United States have made some gains but continue to lag behind many of their Asian counterparts in reading, math and science, according to the results of two international tests released Tuesday.

U.S. fourth-graders’ math and reading scores improved since the last time students took the tests several years ago, while eighth-graders remained stable in math and science. Americans outperformed the international average in all three subjects but remained far behind students in such places as Singapore and Hong Kong, especially in math and science.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Children, China, Education, Globalization

(BBC) Asia 'to eclipse' US and Europe by 2030 – US report

Asia will wield more global power than the US and Europe combined by 2030, a forecast from the US intelligence community has found.

Within two decades China will overtake the US as the world’s largest economy, the report adds.

It also warns of slower growth and falling living standards in advanced nations with ageing populations.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Iraq War, Science & Technology

Roman Catholic Bible Engagement Survey Suggests Need to Support Scripture Use and Literacy

The results of a survey commissioned by the Bible Society, in partnership with the Home Mission Desk of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, suggest that Catholics may need greater help in deepening their knowledge and use of, and prayer with, the Bible each day….

Bishop Kieran Conry, Chair of the Bishops’ Department of Evangelisation and Catechesis, said:….“A large number of Catholics in England and Wales are reading and using the Bible which is encouraging, but there is also a large number who are not. We hope that this weekend’s Catholic Bible Sunday, which falls during the Year of Faith, and the other initiatives being put in place, will equip Catholics to make praying with and reading the Bible part of their day.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Wales

Advent Carol Service from Trinity College Cambridge


From here where the program is available. Use cogwheel lower right to adjust quality of playback.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(New York Times) Laurie Shrage–The End of 'Marriage'

While marriage reform is moving forward in many countries (for example, to extend access to same-sex couples), many prominent legal and political theorists ”” such as Cass Sunstein, Richard Thaler, Martha Fineman, Tamara Metz, Lisa Duggan, Andrew March, and Brook Sadler (to name only some of those who have put their views in writing) ”” are proposing that the institution of marriage be privatized. More specifically, they propose that we eliminate the term “marriage” from our civil laws and policies, and replace it with a more neutral term, such as “civil union” or “domestic partnership.” The state would then recognize and regulate civil unions rather than civil marriage, and people would exchange marriage-like rights and duties by becoming “civilly united.” Some private organizations, such as religious institutions, might still perform and solemnize marriages among their congregants, but these marriages would have no official state recognition.

The primary argument for this change of policy is that the state allegedly has no business regulating marriage, which is a complex cultural and religious practice. However, the state does have an interest in promoting private caregiving within families ”” the care of children, elderly parents and sick or disabled relatives. According to advocates for marriage privatization, the state can better pursue its interest in promoting nongovernmental forms of caregiving by establishing and regulating civil unions for all who qualify, and steering clear of defining, interfering with or regulating “marriage….”

Unfortunately, this proposal has some serious problems. First, “privatizing” marriage will not cause it to disappear ”” it will just leave it to be regulated by private institutions, especially religious and ethnic ones. For many centuries, marriage has been the primary mechanism by which people who are not related “by blood” become relatives, and it is unclear that civil unions will acquire this social power. Many families will then be structured and governed primarily by private marriage customs and practices now freed of state regulation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Al Kimel has a New Blog–Please do Check it out

Read it all. (For more information on Father Kimel, please see this previous post about his decision last year to join the Orthodox Church).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Theology

(ENS) Presiding bishop to visit South Carolina diocese

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

(The State) Lowcountry S.C.congregations wrestle with whether to stay or go

Some Lowcountry Episcopal congregations are still unsure if they will…[choose to reaffiliate] with the national Episcopal church or [stay with]… Episcopal Bishop Mark Lawrence….

Meanwhile, the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, said she will come to Charleston on Jan. 25-26 to preside over a convention to elect a provisional bishop to replace Lawrence, who pulled out of the national church last month, taking a majority of the congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina with him. Lawrence has been outspoken in his opposition to same sex blessings and contends the national church has lost its theological way.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

A Local Article about the Approval of same sex blessings in East Tennessee

The decision to allow same-sex blessings did not surprise St. James Episcopal Reverend John Mark Wiggers.

“Our church was moving in this direction for a while and so I expected this to happen, that we would approve a rite of same-sex blessing,” he said.

He said the church’s evolution has also impacted whether some of it members stay loyal to its teachings.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes, Theology

A Letter from the Bishop of East Tennessee about Same Sex Blessings in that Diocese

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

Louisville, Kentucky, Episcopal Minister to lead the American Cathedral in Paris

The Rev. Lucinda Laird, pastor of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, used to say she would never leave her job ”” unless she got a call to be pastor of the American Cathedral in Paris.

“It’s like saying, ”˜Unless I fly to the moon,’ ” Laird said Friday. “It’s not possible.”

Except it is….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Europe, France, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

In the Diocese of Oklahoma, a Committee is formed to assess a same-sex rites plan

A committee has been formed to create recommendations for how Oklahoma Episcopalians will respond to a same-sex liturgical blessing approved by the Episcopal Church USA earlier this year.

The Rt. Rev. Edward Konieczny, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, said he created the committee of clergy and lay people to ensure that Episcopal parishioners across the state have a say in how the same-sex rites are administered in the diocese. The committee is set to meet for the first time in a retreat Friday through Dec. 15….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Woodcock Foundation ex-chairman, wife charged with wiping out Episcopal-church-affiliated charity

Founded in 1872, Louisville’s Woodcock Foundation has given scholarship money to needy college students for the past 50 years.

With assets that once totaled about $1.5 million, the Episcopal-church-affiliated charity gave away nearly $500,000 in the past five years alone to 60 to 70 students a year.

But now the foundation ”” named after the third bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky, the Right Rev. Charles Edward Woodcock ”” has only $8, and students who were awarded scholarships last year never got their money.

Makes the heart sad–read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, Theology