Daily Archives: December 12, 2012

Be prepared to see a new insurance fee in health overhaul law

Your medical plan is facing an unexpected expense, so you probably are, too. It’s a new, $63-per-head fee to cushion the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The charge, buried in a recent regulation, works out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, employers say. Most of that is likely to be passed on to workers.

Employee benefits lawyer Chantel Sheaks calls it a “sleeper issue” with significant financial consequences, particularly for large employers.

Read it all from the front page of yesterday’s local paper.

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, The U.S. Government

(Radio Times) Archbishop Rowan Williams–Love's fresh start and Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral is a huge, unmistakeable physical fact: it simply stands there, quietly letting us know how deeply these issues mattered to people not so unlike us. It reminds us that there were some who thought them a matter of life and death ”“ like Thomas Becket, who died as a result of protesting against the king’s absolute claims. Less dramatically, it reminds us of those generations of monks who fervently believed that the best thing they could do for the world was to hold it steadily in prayer, in a daily rhythm of simple living and concentrated quietness.

You can’t fail to recognise that at the very least it’s a great open space for us to come into and discover new things about our human life and possibilities. And Christmas itself is about the arrival of a person whose words and actions and sufferings make that sort of space for us all. It isn’t about the arrival of a new philosophy ”“ or even just a new religion. The compassion that is shown by Jesus is something that takes us as we are and gives us freedom to ask the hardest questions; freedom to grow up, confident that at every stage of our lives we are welcomed and understood and affirmed. Freedom to face our shadows and betrayals as well, because we know that love can always make a fresh start with us.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Christology, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Apps for Children Fall Short on Disclosure to Parents, Report Says

Several hundred of the most popular educational and gaming mobile apps for children fail to give parents basic explanations about what kinds of personal information the apps collect from children, who can see that data and what they use it for, a new federal report says.

The apps often transmit the phone number, precise location or unique serial code of a mobile device to app developers, advertising networks or other companies, according to the report by the Federal Trade Commission, released Monday. Regulators said such information could be used to find or contact children or track their activities across different apps without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Theology

Pope hits 1M followers as he tweets: ”˜Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you…’

Pope Benedict XVI hit the 1 million Twitter follower mark on Wednesday as he sent his first tweet from his new account.

In perhaps the most drawn out Twitter launch ever, the 85-year-old Benedict pushed the button on a tablet brought to him at the end of his general audience Wednesday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

(USA Today) Cathy Grossman–Who's Mom? Legally, biologically, it's no easy answer

In a classic 1960 children’s book, a baby bird toddles up to one critter after another asking, “Are you my mother?”

For some babies today, there’s no simple answer ”” biologically or legally.

Advances in artificial reproductive technologies, mean a baby could have three “mothers” ”” the genetic mother, the birth mother and the intended parent, who may be a woman or a man.

Mother here may not be mother there. Mother now may not be mother later. Statutes on surrogacy, adoption, divorce and inheritance vary state by state, court by court, decision by decision. For non-traditional couples, the patchwork of laws makes it even more complex. New York allows gay marriage but forbids surrogacy, while Utah permits surrogacy but bans gay marriage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Sexuality, State Government, Theology

(Living Church) Church Publishing Launches eBook Editions of the 1979 BCP

Church Publishing Incorporated has launched new eBook editions of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer to accommodate a variety of applications and most eReader platforms, including all versions of Kindle and Apple’s iBooks.

“We’re not the first to offer an electronic edition of the Book of Common Prayer, but we wanted to offer the best version possible in multiple formats to cover the widest range of liturgical needs,” said Brother Karekin Yarian, Church Publishing’s project manager of eProducts.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Science & Technology

(Church of England) Census 2011 – England remains a faithful nation

The Church of England …[yesterday] welcomed the publication of the latest Census figures which confirmed that Christianity remains the largest religion in England in 2011, with 31.5 million people (59.4 per cent of the population) self-identifying as Christians.

“These results confirm that we remain a faithful nation,” said the Rev Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Archbishop’s Council. “England remains a country where the majority of the nation actively identifies the role that faith plays in their life. Clearly we welcome the fact that Christianity remains the most populous faith in England – with six in ten people identifying themselves as Christian. When all faiths are taken together, people of faith account for two-thirds of the nation – two in every three people identify themselves as having a faith.

“Obviously the fall in those choosing to identify themselves as Christians is a challenge….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

(RNS) Christianity in Britain losing ground to Islam, secularism

New figures from the 2011 Census show that the number of people who identify as Christians in England and Wales has fallen by 4 million over the last 10 years.

The data shows that numbers fell from 37.3 million in 2001 to 33 million last year.

The statistics came as the outgoing archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, claimed that English cathedral congregations are growing dramatically, challenging the claim made by secularists that the Church of England is fading in Britain.

Read it all. For links to the Office of National Statistics data, please go here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(NY Times) Jere Longman–Messi’s Brilliance Transcends His Numbers

It was Pep Guardiola, the former manager of Barcelona, who once suggested that Lionel Messi should be observed instead of dissected. He is, after all, widely considered the world’s greatest soccer player, not a biology project.

“Don’t try to write about him,” Guardiola said. “Don’t try to describe him. Watch him.”

On Sunday, Messi set an international record by scoring his 86th goal in a calendar year, for both Barcelona and the Argentine national team, delivering an average of one goal every four days, more frequently than a starting pitcher takes the mound, as often as Starbucks opens a new store in China.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, History, Men, South America, Spain, Sports

Wednesday Morning Mental Health Break–See Lionel Messi score all 86 of his Goals This Season

Watch it all. Simply stunning.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, History, Men, South America, Spain, Sports

(Telegraph) Churches face challenge on same-sex unions

The Coalition… [Monday] announced new proposals to legalise same-sex weddings in churches, synagogues and other faith organisations that choose to opt in.
The Church of England and the Church in Wales are to be explicitly banned by law from holding same-sex weddings under the Bill.
Maria Miller, the equalities minister, promised that “watertight” protections would prevent religious organisations from being forced to conduct same-sex weddings against their wishes.
However, she admitted that the Government was powerless to prevent campaigners bringing legal action against churches in an attempt to overturn the safeguards.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Sexuality

Bishop of Leicester responds to Government consultation on equal marriage

Marriage is not the property of the Government nor is it the property of the Church, the Rt Rev Tim Stephens, Bishop of Leicester, reminded Parliament in a response to the Government statement on equal marriage in the House of Lords, today.

While the forms and legalities around marriage had evolved over time, he said, one fundamental feature had remained the same throughout: that marriage is a union of one man and one woman, a social institution that pre-dates both Church and State and has been the glue that has bound countless successive societies together.

The Bishop asked for assurances that, for example, teachers would not be disciplined for upholding traditional religious teachings and that proper time would be given for consultation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Irish Roman Catholic) Bishop (John) Buckley's Pastoral Letter on the Right to Life

Human life is sacred and precious. Every human being must be treated with the greatest respect. This is true at every moment of life, from its first beginnings to its natural death. In the womb we grow and develop as full human beings, not as potential human beings. We read in the Old Testament: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I sanctified you” (Jeremiah 1:5).

The child in the womb must enjoy the same rights as all other people, among which is the unassailable right of an innocent person to life. This includes our responsibility as a society to defend and promote the equal right to life of a pregnant mother and the innocent and defenceless child in her womb when the life of either of these persons is at risk. They have an equal right to life. The Catholic Church has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of the mother. In situations where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may put the life of her baby at risk, such treatments are morally permissible, provided that every effort has been made to save the life of both the mother and her baby.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ireland, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(BBC) Vermont Mountain School limits Facebook ties for teens

The current generation of school-age students spend more time online than any other. But what happens when they are asked to live and interact without mobile phones and with limited internet for a few months?

At the Mountain School in rural Vermont, 45 students from across the US find out each term what life is like without the technological advantages offered by their life at home.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and most merciful God, who has given the Bible to be the revelation of thy great love to man, and of thy power and will to save him: Grant that our study of it may not be made vain by the callousness or the carelessness of our hearts, but that by it we may be confirmed in penitence, lifted to hope, made strong for service, and, above all, filled with true knowledge of thee and of thy Son Jesus Christ.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer