Daily Archives: August 20, 2013

(CBC) In Manitoba, Converting old churches into homes

“Everyday there’s someone who comes into the store [and asks], ‘Do you know who is selling the church?’ And I said, ‘You’re looking at her’ and then the questions come, they give me their names and numbers,” Shanoha said.

[Denise] Shanoha said some, like her, want to turn the old church into a business, but she added that others have expressed interest in converting it into a residence.

Converting old churches into homes is happening in other Manitoba communities, like in Garson, where a century-old limestone building was purchased by Paul Bilsky in 2004.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Religion & Culture

(WSJ RT Economics Blog) Work or Welfare: What Pays More?

The report, by Michael Tanner and Charles Hughes, is a follow-up to Cato’s 1995 study of the subject, which found that packages of welfare benefits for a typical recipient in the 50 states and the District of Columbia not only was well above the poverty level, but also more than a recipient’s annual wages from an entry-level job.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, State Government, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Religion and Liberty) The Moral Crisis of Crony Capitalism–An interview with Peter Schweizer

R&L: Why did you want to write this book? Tell us what crony capitalism means to you and give us a sense of its greatest threat.

Peter Schweizer: I wanted to write the book because for years I’ve been involved in policy and the philosophical debate in D.C. concerning the growth and size of government. I’ve come to the conclusion that while that debate is important and needs to continue to take place, the bottom line is that whether conservatives or liberals are in charge, the government continues to expand.

We’ve got to change the incentive structure that exists in Washington, and that incentive structure is driven by cronyism, where the state and private sector intersect. If I were to define crony-capitalism, I really use the term cronyism because I don’t think that it speaks of capitalism per se, but cronyism is essentially where economic decisions in terms of who accumulates wealth and who doesn’t, is not based on merit, it’s not based on economic prowess or success or meeting needs in the marketplace. It’s based on political connections and relationships whereby you are able to either manipulate the state to your advantage, and to the disadvantage of your competitors.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Globe and Mail) Lorna Dueck–Jesus as we’d like him to be

Richard Ascough, professor of religious studies at Queen’s University, told me that, “From what I can see, Aslan accepts as historical the passages that fit his construction of Jesus and discards the ones that don’t, which results in a book that is historically suspect, as are most other [Jesus] books that have gone before it.”

Prof. [Reza] Aslan told The Washington Post that the criticism came from his having a foot in both creative writing and religion. “I like to go back and forth,” he acknowledged….He might as well have said, “Welcome to the bricolage of life!” Bricolage is that cultural trend to create a self-satisfying mosaic of our interests….Aslan is now a Muslim, but certainly a hard-core self-definer, inventing his own boundaries. “It’s not that I think Islam is correct and Christianity is incorrect,” he told the Post. “It’s that all religions are nothing more than a language made up of symbols and metaphors to help an individual explain faith.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Christology, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

A CNN Video Report–Why Millennials Are Leaving The Church

Watch it all (slightly under 7 minutes).

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

(RNS) Church of England under fire for potential fracking profits

First it was payday lending; now fracking.

Last month, the Church of England acknowledged and regretted investing millions of pounds in a company that financially backs England’s leading payday lending company, Wonga. The company charges exorbitantly high percentage rates for loans that usually target the poor.

Now the church is under fire for taking an interest in fracking.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(SL Tribune) At church, Mormons, Catholics and others are distracted by digital devices

Tyler Woolstenhulme might be loath to admit it but sometimes he’s not paying attention in church. He will happily confess that he’s not the only one.

The 31-year-old Mormon has more than once sat in the pew of his Sandy ward and let his mind wander. When that happens, he pulls out his iPhone 4 and sometimes plays his puzzle game, “1to50.” Or maybe he texts his friends across the aisle.

“I take the time in church to catch up with people I haven’t contacted in a while,” he said. “I text friends or family.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology, Theology

Death Over Dinner Convenes As Hundreds Of Americans Coordinate End Of Life Discussions Across U.S.

At 45, Laura Sweet has thrown plenty of dinner parties. The routine has become familiar: Pick a date, email invites, fire up a few favorite dishes, pour some wine and let the conversations flow.

But for the former hospice volunteer who lives in Walnut Creek, Calif., the dinner she’ll host in her apartment on Saturday is bound to stand out….

The meal’s theme: death.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(BBC Magazine) How does a polyamorous relationship between four people work?

Imagine one house, with four people, but five couples. How does it work, asks Jo Fidgen.

Charlie is talking excitedly about a first date she went on the night before.

Next to her on the sofa is her husband of six years, Tom. And on the other side of him is Sarah, who’s been in a relationship with Tom for the last five years. Sarah’s fiance, Chris, is in the kitchen making a cup of tea.

The two women are also in a full-blown relationship, while the two men are just good friends. Together, they make a polyamorous family and share a house in Sheffield.

Read it all.

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

Food for Thought from Bernard of Clairvaux on his Feast Day

We read in the gospel that when the Lord was teaching his disciples and urged them to share in his passion by the mystery of eating his body, some said: This is a hard saying, and from that time they no longer followed him. When he asked the disciples whether they also wished to go away, they replied: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

I assure you, my brothers, that even to this day it is clear to some that the words which Jesus speaks are spirit and life, and for this reason they follow him. To others these words seem hard, and so they look elsewhere for some pathetic consolation. Yet wisdom cries out in the streets, in the broad and spacious way that leads to death, to call back those who take this path.

–Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church History, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bernard of Clairvaux

O God, by whose grace thy servant Bernard of Clairvaux, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord, make me conscious of Thy holiness and majesty: teach me to know and do Thy will: pour into my heart such love towards Thee, that, loving Thee above all things, I may obtain Thy gracious promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–The Pastor’s Prayerbook

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 121

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Please Do not Try this at Home Dept.: Intruder strangled by nurse was hit man hired by her husband

When Susan Kuhnhausen returned home from work one day earlier this month, she encountered an intruder wielding a claw hammer. After a struggle, the 51-year-old nurse fended off her attacker by strangling him with her bare hands.

Neighbors praised the woman for her bravery, and investigators said they believed the dead man ”” Edward Dalton Haffey ”” was burglarizing Kuhnhausen’s home.

But after an investigation, police now say the intruder Kuhnhausen strangled was apparently a hit man hired by her estranged husband ”” Michael James Kuhnhausen Sr. ”” to kill her.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Theology

(Behind the Storefront) Forever 21 under fire for shifting full-time employees to part time

A leaked memo from Forever 21 said it’s reducing “a number of full-time non management positions,” including stock associates, sales associates, store maintenance associates, accessory specialists and cashiers. Effective on Sunday, they would have been reclassified as part-time employees, with the memo adding their hours will not exceed 29.5 hours per week. Those employees’ existing medical, dental, vision and other voluntary plans will end on Aug. 31 and they won’t be accruing paid time off.

Ahead of the Affordable Care Act mandate requiring companies with at least 50 employees to provide health care coverage to full-time employees (anyone working at least 30 hours a week), Forever 21”²s latest move has ignited a heated debate on social media.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology