Daily Archives: August 29, 2013

(NBC) One Minnesota Ad agency gives workers 500 paid hours to pursue their passions

“I think people were stunned more than anything else,” says Stuart D’Rozario, president and executive creative director at Minneapolis advertising agency Barrie, D’Rozario, Murphy.

Last spring, as the agency headed toward a cyclical lull in business, the agency partners gathered their employees and gave them something quite remarkable — time.

D’Rozario’s message to his workers: “You have 500 hours of your life back, figure out what you’re passionate about and go and do it.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Theology

(IBD) GE's New Battery Research Could Drive Electric Cars Farther

General Electric and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are developing a new water-based battery that could provide an upgrade to electric cars like Tesla’s Model S and Nissan’s Leaf and even reduce their price tags.

The proposed battery uses water-based solutions of inorganic chemicals that would provide high-energy density and make energy discharge and recharge safer, GE said. A short video of the technology can be seen here.

“Our flow battery could be just one-fourth the price of car batteries on the market today, while enabling roughly three times the current driving range. The DOE wants a battery that can power a car for 240 miles; we think we can exceed that,” said GE’s Grigorii Soloveichik, the project leader, in a statement.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Science & Technology, Travel

(CC) Steve Thorngate opposes Matthew Yglesias' idea of taxing all churches

…the tax laws in question don’t apply to churches alone; they apply to a whole class of charitable organizations””organizations that share certain qualities that aren’t about sectarianism. The Supreme Court cited the breadth of this category when it upheld the tax exemption for churches in 1970. The Court also cited with approval its understanding that state governments see all such 501(c)(3) organizations as having “a harmonious relationship to the community at large,” as being “beneficial and stabilizing influences in community life.”

Obviously, this is just one perspective on what churches are, and a rather optimistic one at that. But there’s no question that lots of churches do at least this. And this is an official reason the government has given for continuing to allow charities to be tax exempt: because they serve the general welfare of the community.

It follows that a charity shouldn’t exist to back one side in a zero-sum contest within that community. [Matthew] Yglesias seems to think this is pretty much what churches do””they save souls from following that other, wrong religion””so we should just tax them already. I

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Taxes

Notable and Quotable–George Friedman of Stratfor argues "Obama's Hands Tied on Syria"

From Barrons [it may also be found here]:

When [President Barack] Obama proclaimed his red line on Syria and chemical weapons, he assumed the issue would not come up. He made a gesture to those in his administration who believe that the United States has a moral obligation to put an end to brutality. He also made a gesture to those who don’t want to go to war again. It was one of those smart moves that can blow up in a president’s face when it turns out his assumption was wrong. Whether al Assad did launch the attacks, whether the insurgents did, or whether someone faked them doesn’t matter. Unless Obama can get overwhelming, indisputable proof that al Assad did not — and that isn’t going to happen — Obama will either have to act on the red line principle or be shown to be one who bluffs. The incredible complexity of intervening in a civil war without becoming bogged down makes the process even more baffling.

Obama now faces the second time in his presidency when war was an option. The first was Libya. The tyrant is now dead, and what followed is not pretty. And Libya was easy compared to Syria. Now, the president must intervene to maintain his credibility. But there is no political support in the United States for intervention. He must take military action, but not one that would cause the United States to appear brutish. He must depose al Assad, but not replace him with his opponents. He never thought al Assad would be so reckless. Despite whether al Assad actually was, the consensus is that he was. That’s the hand the president has to play, so it’s hard to see how he avoids military action and retains credibility. It is also hard to see how he takes military action without a political revolt against him if it goes wrong, which it usually does.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Science & Technology, Theology, Violence

(WSJ) U.S. Fears Aleppo Is Next for Chemical Weapons Strike

Obama administration officials believe that they must respond quickly to the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons, or else the regime will deploy them again in Syria’s largest city, now a key stronghold of the opposition.

“Aleppo would probably be one of the likely targets,” said a senior administration official.

The military strikes being considered by the administration are primarily aimed at deterring further use of chemical weapons by Syria as well as by other nations that retain substantial stocks of such weapons, such as North Korea.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Violence

([London] Times) A Chance provided to find persecuted ancestors who refused to join the C of E

Details of the millions of people who risked persecution for refusing to join the Church of England have been made available online.

Beatings and thrashings were once commonplace for religious rebels and, by the 19th century, tens of thousands of people had been put to death by beheading, hanging or burning.

Archive records showing the full extent of non-conformist courage have been published in digital form to mark the 200th anniversary of the 1813 Doctrine of the Trinity Act, seen as the landmark acceptance of non-conformity.

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

(Church of England) Prayers for Syria

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Middle East, Spirituality/Prayer, Syria

(ANS) Muslim Mob Injures Church Leaders, Choir Members in Nigeria

[The] Rev. Isaac Onwusongaonye of St. James Anglican Cathedral, of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), told Morning Star News that at about 6 p.m., as he and six other church leaders were meeting for Bible study preparation and the choir was about to begin rehearsal, a church member told them that someone was arguing with the young man in charge of the church-run water borehole, Peter Aleku.

“When we enquired of the water seller what happened, he said that a girl, a (Muslim) neighbor, came and bought water worth 20 naira (1 US cent) and did not pay,” Onwusongaonye said.

He added, “Shortly after, the girl’s sister came and fetched water worth 5 naira and paid 20 naira and demanded 15 naira in change. But the water seller told her that, for the change, to meet her sister who bought water earlier and did not pay.”
The girl was upset and told her mother about the exchange, the clergyman said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

An Appreciation of John Bunyan by Charles D. Bell (1883)

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Books, Church History, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

C.S. Lewis for John Bunyan Day

Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it. Nowadays most people hardly think of Prudence as one of the “virtues.” In fact, because Christ said we could only get into His world by being like children, many Christians have the idea that, provided you are “good,” it does not matter being a fool. But that is a misunderstanding. In the first place, most children show plenty of “prudence” about doing the things they are really interested in, and think them out quite sensibly. In the second place, as St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary, He told us to be not only “as harmless as doves,” but also “as wise as serpents.” He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim. The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not. The fact that what you are thinking about is God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old. It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have. The proper motto is not “Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever,” but “Be good, sweet maid, and don’t forget that this involves being as clever as you can.” God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all. But, fortunately, it works the other way round. Anyone who is honestly trying to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened: one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself. That is why an uneducated believer like Bunyan was able to write a book that has astonished the whole world.

—-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (my emphasis)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Church History, Theology

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of John Bunyan

God of peace, who didst call John Bunyan to be valiant for truth: Grant that as strangers and pilgrims we may at the last rejoice with all the faithful in thy heavenly city; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Doxology to Begin the Day

To God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheds the love of God abroad in our hearts; to the one true God be all love and all glory, for time and for eternity.

–Thomas Ken (1637-1711)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

–Psalm 18:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

President Obama Weighs ”˜Limited’ Strikes Against Syrian Forces

President Obama is considering military action against Syria that is intended to “deter and degrade” President Bashar al-Assad’s government’s ability to launch chemical weapons, but is not aimed at ousting Mr. Assad from power or forcing him to the negotiating table, administration officials said Tuesday.

A wide range of officials characterized the action under consideration as “limited,” perhaps lasting no more than one or two days. The attacks, which are expected to involve scores of Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from American destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, would not be focused on chemical weapons storage sites, which would risk an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe and could open up the sites to raids by militants, officials said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Syria, Theology, Violence

(SHNS)Terry Mattingly–Anglican warfare and Holy Communion for dogs

It seems that strange and dramatic events of this kind happen year after year in the global Anglican Communion ”” truly one of God’s gifts to headline writers.

It appears unlikely this trend will change anytime soon. Recently, in a burst of candor in Mexico, the current Archbishop of Canterbury harkened back to the English Civil War and quoted sobering advice from Bishop Jeremy Taylor, who was executed in 1645 by the Puritan parliament.

The Most Rev. Justin Welby noted that Taylor warned: “It is unnatural and unreasonable to persecute disagreeing opinions. … Force in matters of opinion can do no good, but is very apt to do hurt.”

These are hard words in an era in which England’s shrinking flock of Anglicans is still fighting over female bishops and, across the Atlantic, the shrinking flock of Episcopalians continues to fight over non-celibate gay bishops. Meanwhile, leaders in the growing Global South churches of Africa and Asia are calling for repentance and doctrinal discipline.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture