Daily Archives: December 18, 2012

On Facebook,the Bad With the Good

Like many women these days, Aran Hissam, 35, of Melbourne, Fla., posted the news that she was pregnant on Facebook. On the morning of an ultrasound last year, she debated on the site whether to learn the baby’s sex, musing “to peek or not to peek?”

When she failed to post an update later that day, friends started to contact her. Ms. Hissam decided to return to Facebook to share the news that her unborn baby, a girl, had been found to have fetal hydrops and given no chance of survival.

“I wanted to communicate the news to get people off my back,” Ms. Hissam said in a telephone interview recently. Although her husband was at first surprised that she would share such emotional news publicly, she said, Facebook seemed like one of the least difficult ways to get the word out.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Theology

Calgary bishop warns congregation that the city’s newest Catholic church isn’t really Catholic

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary is warning its congregants away from a new church it believes is wrongly identifying itself as Catholic.

The St. Pius X Society ”” Catholic traditionalists who broke from the mainstream during the church reforms of the late ’60s ”” has purchased a Catholic church in the city’s Southwest.

The group, which believes in holding Latin Mass according to older liturgical rites, is renovating the building and plans to open it after a blessing ceremony to be held on Dec. 27.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(LA Times) Computers that will see, hear, smell: Next, world domination?

IBM’s 5 in 5 — a list of five innovations that could change the world in five years — focuses on how computers are developing the ability to taste, touch, hear, see and listen just like humans do, except way better.

It is kind of exciting and kind of terrifying, but mostly just really cool.

For example, Hendrik Hamann, a research manager of physical systems for IBM, describes a smartphone that could use a computerized nose to “smell” if we are sick. Forget the thermometer and the doctor’s visit — we will simply breathe into our cellphones to find out if we have the flu.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Science & Technology

(Zenit) Father John Flynn–Christianity Declines in England: Adapt or Evangelize?

The publication of the data led to an interesting contrast in reactions. A Dec. 11 report published on the Christian Today Web site quoted a spokesman for the Catholic Church, who described the fall in the number of Christians as a “challenge….”

The spokesman cited the address by Pope Benedict XVI at Westminster Cathedral during his visit in 2010, “How much we need, in the Church and in society, witnesses of the beauty of holiness, witnesses of the splendour of truth, witnesses of the joy and freedom born of a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

An editorial published in the Dec. 12 edition of London’s Times newspaper was in sharp contrast. It also used the words of challenge, saying that: “The decline in Christian affiliation is a challenge to the Church.” It proposed a very different solution to that proposed by the Pope. Christianity, the editorial said: “should respond by embracing modernity.”

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

(NY Times Op-Ed) Ross Douthat–The Loss of the Innocents

In Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s famous novel, Ivan is the Karamazov brother who collects stories of children tortured, beaten, killed ”” babes caught on the points of soldiers’ bayonets, a serf boy run down by his master’s hounds, a child of 5 locked in a freezing outhouse by her parents….

It’s telling that Dostoyevsky, himself a Christian, offered no direct theological rebuttal to his character’s speech. The counterpoint to Ivan in “The Brothers Karamazov” is supplied by other characters’ examples of Christian love transcending suffering, not by a rhetorical justification of God’s goodness.

In this, the Russian novelist was being true to the spirit of the New Testament, which likewise seeks to establish God’s goodness through a narrative rather than an argument, a revelation of his solidarity with human struggle rather than a philosophical proof of his benevolence….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Children, Education, Theodicy, Theology

(CNS) The good, bad, and the ugly: Church can't shy away from Twitter's Wild West

With Pope Benedict XVI’s new presence on Twitter, people from all over the world can now post papal messages with just the push of an on-screen button.

While many have welcomed the pope’s foray into the virtual world, his @Pontifex handles and “reply-able” posts have also meant that rude and crude comments have come with the mix.

Twitter is “an open communications platform,” and the Vatican has readily embraced what the full-fledged exercise of freedom of speech entails, said Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which organized and runs the pope’s eight language-based Twitter accounts.

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

Acts of Kindness abound in support of Newtown, Connecticut

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Animals, Children, Marriage & Family, Rural/Town Life, Violence

(New Yorker) Raffi Khatchadourian–Decades after a risky experiment, a scientist lives with secrets

Colonel James S. Ketchum dreamed of war without killing. He joined the Army in 1956 and left it in 1976, and in that time he did not fight in Vietnam; he did not invade the Bay of Pigs; he did not guard Western Europe with tanks, or help build nuclear launch sites beneath the Arctic ice. Instead, he became the military’s leading expert in a secret Cold War experiment: to fight enemies with clouds of psychochemicals that temporarily incapacitate the mind””causing, in the words of one ranking officer, a “selective malfunctioning of the human machine.” For nearly a decade, Ketchum, a psychiatrist, went about his work in the belief that chemicals are more humane instruments of warfare than bullets and shrapnel””or, at least, he told himself such things. To achieve his dream, he worked tirelessly at a secluded Army research facility, testing chemical weapons on hundreds of healthy soldiers, and thinking all along that he was doing good.

Today, Ketchum is eighty-one years old, and the facility where he worked, Edgewood Arsenal, is a crumbling assemblage of buildings attached to a military proving ground on the Chesapeake Bay. The arsenal’s records are boxed and dusting over in the National Archives. Military doctors who helped conduct the experiments have long since moved on, or passed away, and the soldiers who served as their test subjects””in all, nearly five thousand of them””are scattered throughout the country, if they are still alive.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Science & Technology, Theology

Robert Duncan Preaches at Ugandan Enthronement

Referencing John 21:18, Archbishop Duncan spoke directly to the new primate and his wife and the vocation of this new stage of ministry.

“Becoming Archbishop means going where you do not plan to go. You are to have the mind of Christ in a very new way. The Lord Jesus is speaking to you as He spoke to Peter. You Stanley, and Mama, are to die and to live. Many days you will be carried where you do not want to go. You will be Christ’s servant more than ever now, as you seek to serve Him by being the servant of the servants of God.”

The sermon also reflected the deep friendship between the two men which began some eight years ago when Archbishop Ntagali visited Pittsburgh before his consecration.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(BBC) A Virus rebuilds heart's own pacemaker in animal tests

A new pacemaker has been built inside a heart by converting beating muscle into cells which can organise the organ’s rhythm, US researchers report.

The heartbeat is controlled by electrical signals and if these go awry the consequences can be fatal.

Scientists injected a genetically-modified virus into guinea pigs to turn part of their heart into a new, working pacemaker.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(Living Church) Fleming Rutledge–Actors and Preachers

In the church, this is the season of Advent. It’s superficially understood as a time to get ready for Christmas, but in truth it’s the season for contemplating the judgment of God. Advent is the season that, when properly understood, does not flinch from the darkness that stalks us all in this world. Advent begins in the dark and moves toward the light ”” but the season should not move too quickly or too glibly, lest we fail to acknowledge the depth of the darkness. As our Lord Jesus tells us, unless we see the light of God clearly, what we call light is actually darkness: “how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23) Advent bids us take a fearless inventory of the darkness without and the darkness within.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who didst send thy messengers and prophets to prepare the way of thy Son before him: Grant that our Lord when he cometh may find in us a dwelling prepared for himself; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who came to take our nature upon him that he might bring many sons unto glory, and now with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these things, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to arouse you by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. And I will see to it that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

–2 Peter 1:12-21

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

AB Mouneer Anis: A Groaning and Divided Egypt

14 December 2012

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
(Psalm 121:1-2)

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

Advent greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

I cannot tell you how much I am heavy-hearted because of what is going on in my beloved country Egypt. Many Egyptians were expecting that after the 25 January Revolution in 2011 there would be no exclusion for any citizen or groups because of their political or religious stance. Sadly, we are still groaning for this equality…

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Posted in Uncategorized

(USA Today) Schools across nation react to the shooting

As schools nationwide welcomed students back on the first day after Friday’s deadly shooting in Newtown, Conn., teachers and parents began walking the fine line between grief and normalcy, openness and vigilance.

Uncertainty was in the air a week before Christmas holidays, and many parents asked themselves a basic question: Should I even send my kid to school?

“My feelings were actually not even bringing her at all,” said Joanne Nichols, who dropped her granddaughter off at Skyland Elementary School in Greenville, S.C. Citywide, principals and administrators got instructions to be highly visible as students arrived, but Nichols said she thought schools should be on lockdown all week.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Education, Marriage & Family