Daily Archives: January 1, 2014

Emma Lazarus (1849–1887)–The New Year

Not while the snow-shroud round dead earth is rolled,
And naked branches point to frozen skies.””
When orchards burn their lamps of fiery gold,
The grape glows like a jewel, and the corn
A sea of beauty and abundance lies,
Then the new year is born.

Look where the mother of the months uplifts
In the green clearness of the unsunned West,
Her ivory horn of plenty, dropping gifts,
Cool, harvest-feeding dews, fine-winnowed light;
Tired labor with fruition, joy and rest
Profusely to requite.

Blow, Israel, the sacred cornet! Call
Back to thy courts whatever faint heart throb
With thine ancestral blood, thy need craves all.
The red, dark year is dead, the year just born
Leads on from anguish wrought by priest and mob,
To what undreamed-of morn?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Poetry & Literature

Today in History–January 1st

You can check here and there. This is what stood out to me:

45 B.C.–Jan 1, The Julian calendar took effect.

1831–William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879), 24-year-old reformer of Massachusetts, began publishing his newspaper The Liberator, dedicated to the abolition of slavery.

1891–An office was opened on Ellis Island, New York, to cope with the vast flood of immigrants coming into the United States.

1908–The 1st time-ball signifying new year was dropped at Times Square, NYC.

1975–The Watergate verdict was guilty when a jury convicted Richard Nixon’s three top advisers on all counts in the Watergate coverup: former attorney general John Mitchell and White House aides Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman.

1978–Newspaper editor flees South Africa; Newspaper editor Donald Woods arrives in London after fleeing South Africa’s apartheid regime.

2002–Celebrations as euro hits the streets; Twelve of the European Union’s 15 countries wake up to life with a new currency as the euro reaches the streets.

What stands out to you?

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History

A List of countries by population

Try to do the top ten in order and the number for the country in which you reside before you look.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Globalization

London Fireworks 2014


[click cogwheel lower right for HD and higher quality]

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons

More Food for Thought as We Begin Another Year–The Thread of Life

[1] The irresponsive silence of the land,
The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
Speak both one message of one sense to me: ””
Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand
Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band
Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
But who from thy self””chain shall set thee free?
What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?””
And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
And sometimes I remember days of old
When fellowship seemed not so far to seek
And all the world and I seemed much less cold,
And at the rainbow’s foot lay surely gold,
And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.
[2] Thus am I mine own prison. Everything
Around me free and sunny and at ease:
Or if in shadow, in a shade of trees
Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds sing
And where all winds make various murmuring;
Where bees are found, with honey for the bees;
Where sounds are music, and where silences
Are music of an unlike fashioning.
Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew,
And smile a moment and a moment sigh
Thinking: Why can I not rejoice with you ?
But soon I put the foolish fancy by:
I am not what I have nor what I do;
But what I was I am, I am even I.

[3]Therefore myself is that one only thing
I hold to use or waste, to keep or give;
My sole possession every day I live,
And still mine own despite Time’s winnowing.
Ever mine own, while moons and seasons bring
From crudeness ripeness mellow and sanative;
Ever mine own, till Death shall ply his sieve;
And still mine own, when saints break grave and sing.
And this myself as king unto my King
I give, to Him Who gave Himself for me;
Who gives Himself to me, and bids me sing
A sweet new song of His redeemed set free;
He bids me sing: O death, where is thy sting?
And sing: O grave, where is thy victory?

–Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Church History, Poetry & Literature, Theology

Saint Augustine–God is "the eternity that is our refuge" as we begin another year

‘Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made: and from age even unto age Thou art’ (v. 2). Thou therefore who art for ever, and before we were, and before the world was, hast become our refuge ever since we turned to Thee. … But he very rightly does not say, Thou wast from ages, and unto ages Thou shalt be: but puts the verb in the present, intimating that the substance of God is altogether immutable. It is not, He was, and Shall be, but only Is. Whence the expression, I Am that I Am; and, I Am ‘hath sent me unto you;’ (Exod. iii. 14.) and, ‘Thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail.’ (Ps. cii. 26, 27.) Behold then the eternity that is our refuge, that we may fly thither from the mutability of time, there to remain for evermore.

–Saint Augustine, from his Exposition on the Book of Psalms, Psalm XC (my emphasis).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Theology

The Gate of the Year

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!”

And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So, I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night…

Read more

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Poetry & Literature

Archbishop Welby gives his first New Year Message for 2014

I know it’s the New Year, and I don’t want to sound like scrooge, but I never make New Year resolutions, I’m just hopeless at them. It’s not that they aren’t a very good thing, it’s just that I know I’m not going to keep them, and I have this vague sense that there’s no point in doing them.

Except there’s one I want to think about this year. I want to suggest this year that each of us makes a resolution to try and change the world a bit where we are.

Nelson Mandela said that dealing with poverty is not an act of charity, it’s an act of justice. He said every generation has the chance to be a great generation, and we can be that great generation.

Read it all and the full message text is there.

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

(Guardian) Barclays manages to win endorsement from the Archbishop of Canterbury

…at a few minutes past 6am, Chris Aldridge obediently announced to a nation of banker-bashers that Jenkins reckons it will take “up to a decade to rebuild people’s trust in his bank following the financial crisis and a succession of scandals”.

That line had been pretty well aired in February when Jenkins smoothed: “I see becoming the ‘go-to’ bank as a five to 10-year journey,” but no matter. It was repeated throughout the show’s three hours as a constant reminder to listeners that ”“ whatever Barclays’ staggeringly broad sins of the past (mis-selling, rigging interest rates, violating sanctions) ”“ it is now firmly on the side of the angels.

For those still too sleepy to grasp the show’s theme of simultaneously serving God and Mammon, there was more to come. Somehow, Jenkins then managed to introduce an endorsement for his bank from the Lord himself ”“ or at least one of his representatives on Earth, in the form of the show’s star guest, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

Blessed and Happy New Year of 2014 to All Blog Readers!

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer for the New Year

O God of new beginnings and wonderful surprises, thank you for the gift of a new year. May it be a time of grace for me, a time to grow in faith and love, a time to renew my commitment to following Your Son, Jesus. May it be a year of blessing for me, a time to cherish my family and friends, a time to renew my efforts at work, a time to embrace my faith more fully. Walk with me, please, in every day and every hour of this new year, that the light of Christ might shine through me, in spite of my weaknesses and failings. Above all, may I remember this year that I am a pilgrim on the sacred path to You. Amen.

–Courtesy of Saint Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, New York

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

Another Prayer for the Feast of the Holy Name

O God, who hast made the most glorious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, thine only-begotten Son, to be exceeding sweet and supremely lovable to thy faithful servants: Mercifully grant that all who devoutly venerate this name of Jesus on earth may in this life receive thy holy comfort, and in the life to come attain thine unending joy; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Sarum Missal

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

A Prayer for the Feast of the Holy Name

O almighty God, who hast given unto thy Son Jesus Christ the name which is above every name, and hast taught us that there is none other whereby we may be saved: Mercifully grant that as thy faithful people have comfort and peace in his name, so they may ever labour to publish it unto all nations; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Scottish Prayer Book

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

–Psalm 103:1-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

An FT Profile–Justine Roberts of Mumsnet

The beauty of the site, [Justine] Roberts explains, is how it goes on growing. More than five million people visit the site every month, almost twice as many as a year ago. While there is an endless supply of young women having babies, those who joined years ago to discuss baby-led weaning (or BLW as Mumsnetters call it) tend never to leave. The stranglehold that the well-educated, part-time mother once had on the site is also loosening.
“You will still find people who are discussing incredibly esoteric PhD subjects on Mumsnet. But you will also find endless conversations about Downton Abbey,” Roberts says.

As for their politics, “screeching conservatism of Middle England” covers it no better than does “Islington, lentil-weaving, eat your own placenta”. There is no point in talking about a Mumsnet election, she says, as Mumsnetters don’t all vote one way. Yet despite such talk of diversity, Roberts spends half her life telling the media what “the community” thinks on an impressively wide range of subjects.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Science & Technology, Theology