Daily Archives: January 28, 2014

(Wired) Google’s Grand Plan to Make Your Brain Irrelevant

[Google’s] DeepMind acquisition closely follows…[the company’s] $3.2 billion purchase of smart thermostat and smoke alarm maker Nest, a slew of cutting-edge robotics companies, and another AI startup known as DNNresearch.

Google is looking to spread smart computer hardware into so many parts of our everyday lives ”” from our homes and our cars to our bodies ”” but perhaps more importantly, it’s developing a new type of artificial intelligence that can help operate these devices, as well as its many existing web and smartphone services.

Though Google is out in front of this AI arms race, others are moving in the same direction. Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft are doubling down on artificial intelligence too, and are snapping up fresh AI talent. According to The Information, Mark Zuckerberg and company were also trying to acquire DeepMind.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Theology

Archbishop Welby interviewed on Sexuality and the Anglican Communion with Transcript

I think, where there’s differences, at the moment, as I say, the Church of England’s view on same sex marriage is very, very clear and my own view on that is very, very clear. In this country we also need to be very, very clear about our profound opposition to homophobic behavior. And we are working on, and if I am really honest, struggling with the issue of how we recognize the love that exists between people who have a same-sex orientation; and who are committed to each other, and how that is recognized.

Now the Anglican Communion has set clear rules about that, and it’s a disagreement within the Communion that will continue for some time. My own view on same-sex marriage is one thing; my own view on same-sex unions is I recognize, again I have said in public, the immense quality and profound love and commitment of many same-sex unions. I don’t think that marriage is the appropriate way forward.

AAC: The BBC program “Hard Talk” interviewed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on some of the issues challenging the Anglican Communion. Below is a video of the interview as well as a partial transcript [which starts 13 and a half minutes in]


Justin Welby:…What am I doing? I am trying to ensure that people meet, listen to each other, hear what each other are saying, understand each other properly, and learn afresh, where it’s not happening, to love one another as Christ commands us.

Zeinab Badawi: But you have yourself put yourself in one particular camp, and so can you really have this dialogue with an open mind, when for example you were quoted in the Daily Telegraph newspaper in August last year saying:

“we have seen changes in the idea of sexuality, sexual behaviour which quite simply mean we have to face the fact that the vast majority of people under 35 think we are plain wrong and wicked, and equate it [i.e. I suppose homophobia] to racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice.”

So you clearly have indicated that you really adhere to one side of the argument, perhaps something which could be described as a more Western liberal interpretation.

Watch and Read it all and the transcript is copied below thanks to the American Anglican Council [Update: See also the interview with Iain Dale here]

JW: No, what I was doing there was commenting on the changing culture, not on my personal position, on the issue. The changing culture is undeniable. It is a simple fact of the world in which we live.

ZB: but not if you are in Africa, if you are under 35 and in Africa….
___________________________________________
Zeinab Badawi: OK, where do you stand on the issue of gay priests and same-sex marriage for instance? I mean, what is your own personal view?

Justin Welby: My personal view has been stated very clearly in the House of Lords. I do not support the idea of same sex marriage, and I hold the teaching of the Church of England which has not changed to any degree at all, that marriage is a lifelong union of one man with one woman.

ZB: Do you think that this issue could really tear the church apart?

JW: Yes, of course it could. It’s ”“ as I say there’s never been a moment at which the church hasn’t had disagreements over this ”“ the first Lambeth Conference in the 19th Century was called to deal with very massive disagreements within the church on another issue.

I think, where there’s differences, at the moment, as I say, the Church of England’s view on same sex marriage is very, very clear and my own view on that is very, very clear. In this country we also need to be very, very clear about our profound opposition to homophobic behavior. And we are working on, and if I am really honest, struggling with the issue of how we recognize the love that exists between people who have a same-sex orientation; and who are committed to each other, and how that is recognized.

Now the Anglican Communion has set clear rules about that, and it’s a disagreement within the Communion that will continue for some time. My own view on same-sex marriage is one thing; my own view on same-sex unions is I recognize, again I have said in public, the immense quality and profound love and commitment of many same-sex unions. I don’t think that marriage is the appropriate way forward.

_____________________________________________________________________
Partial Transcript ”“ BBC News Hard Talk Interview 27th January

(beginning at 13 mins 30 secs in ”“ to 24 mins 33 secs)

ArchbishopJustin Welby [JW]

Zeinab Badawi [ZB]

ZB: Talking about Nigeria ”“ 80 million Anglicans there ”“ and a different issue, the issue of gay priests and same-sex marriage. The Church of Nigeria, Kenya, Malawi have said ”“ look, we really are not happy about what’s happened on this matter ever since the Church of Canada allowed same-sex marriage in 2002 and the church in the United States ordained Gene Robinson as a bishop in 2003, there’s been what you can describe as the traditionalist wing of the Anglican church and the liberal wing. What are you doing to reconcile these two wings?

JW: Well first of all, news headline: People from 145 different countries from even more different cultures and traditions don’t all agree with each other on everything. I mean it’s not exactly startling that we have disagreements.

What I am trying to do is to ”“ not to get everyone to agree, because I don’t think we are going to agree. It is to try and transform bad disagreement to good disagreement. There is some very good disagreement. There are headlines, and you could have added a number of other countries to the list.

ZB: of course, I was just giving you a couple, yes

JW: people like Uganda, who feel very, very strongly about this.

There are countries like this where, in the church here, we are struggling with the issue and we are not of one mind over it ”“ and it’s going to take time.

What am I doing? I am trying to ensure that people meet, listen to each other, hear what each other are saying, understand each other properly, and learn afresh, where it’s not happening, to love one another as Christ commands us.

ZB: But you have yourself put yourself in one particular camp, and so can you really have this dialogue with an open mind, when for example you were quoted in the Daily Telegraph newspaper in August last year saying:

“we have seen changes in the idea of sexuality, sexual behaviour which quite simply mean we have to face the fact that the vast majority of people under 35 think we are plain wrong and wicked, and equate it [i.e. I suppose homophobia] to racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice.”

So you clearly have indicated that you really adhere to one side of the argument, perhaps something which could be described as a more Western liberal interpretation.

JW: No, what I was doing there was commenting on the changing culture, not on my personal position, on the issue. The changing culture is undeniable. It is a simple fact of the world in which we live.

ZB: but not if you are in Africa, if you are under 35 and in Africa.

JW: No, but at the time I was talking in the context of the Same Sex Marriage Act and how that has changed. But at the same time the House of Lords in the debate on the Same Sex Marriage Act, in the second reading, I said I disagreed with the, what was then the bill, is now the Act, and spoke against it very clearly in the House and we were overwhelmingly defeated. But the realities of a change in Western culture are beyond any debate at all, and a church that fails to acknowledge that the culture around it is changing, doesn’t mean it changes what it does, but if it simply says is willfully blind to the change around it, it is being foolish.

ZB: But the fact is, that’s what is putting you or the church in the West at odds with, as we said, the church in Africa because they accuse the church in Canada, and in England, and in the United States of producing revisionist forms of the Christian faith that are unrecognizable to the majority of Anglicans worldwide. That’s what the leaders of the Anglican Church in Nigeria and Kenya said in October 2012, so there it is very very clearly..

JW: They also said it in November 2013 when I was with them, in Nairobi

ZB: ”¦there you are

JW: As I say, it is not news that we have disagreement, nor is it something that particularly worries me that we have disagreement

ZB: OK, where do you stand on the issue of gay priests and same-sex marriage for instance? I mean, what is your own personal view?

JW: My personal view has been stated very clearly in the House of Lords. I do not support the idea of same sex marriage, and I hold the teaching of the Church of England which has not changed to any degree at all, that marriage is a lifelong union of one man with one woman.

ZB: Do you think that this issue could really tear the church apart?

JW: Yes, of course it could. It’s ”“ as I say there’s never been a moment at which the church hasn’t had disagreements over this ”“ the first Lambeth Conference in the 19th Century was called to deal with very massive disagreements within the church on another issue.

I think, where there’s differences, at the moment, as I say, the Church of England’s view on same sex marriage is very, very clear and my own view on that is very, very clear. In this country we also need to be very, very clear about our profound opposition to homophobic behavior. And we are working on, and if I am really honest, struggling with the issue of how we recognize the love that exists between people who have a same-sex orientation; and who are committed to each other, and how that is recognized.

Now the Anglican Communion has set clear rules about that, and it’s a disagreement within the Communion that will continue for some time. My own view on same-sex marriage is one thing; my own view on same-sex unions is I recognize, again I have said in public, the immense quality and profound love and commitment of many same-sex unions. I don’t think that marriage is the appropriate way forward.

ZB: OK ”“ so Civil Partnerships for gay priests for instance ”“ is fine, the ban, that’s all right?

JW: Civil Partnerships are permitted by the Church of England for same sex couples ”“ of both priests, both laity and ordained

ZB: But the priests have to remain celibate?

JW: Er, that is the rule of the Church of England

ZB: Which is going to be pretty difficult to enforce ”“ but anyway

JW: There are plenty of difficult rules to enforce

Posted in * Admin, * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Featured (Sticky)

Rich Kienzle offers a wonderful video survey of the Pete Seeger's career through his music

There will be ample of obituaries and elegiac biographies of Pete Seeger, who died yesterday at age 94. Happily he enjoyed considerable honors over the past decade, before and after his 90th birthday in 2009. I’d rather let the music do the job. Here are some carefully selected clips with a bit of context….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Music

An Ordination Sermon Last Month from Lord George Carey in Sarasota, Fla.

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die”.

These words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer convey a strong resonance with our service this evening.

We gather to share in the ordination of three wonderful human beings- Charleston, David and Jason. We surround them and their families with our love and, we as a congregation, commit ourselves to supporting them not only now, but also into the future.

”˜Whom shall I send and who will go for us?’

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

Mollie Hemingway–Sole Survivor Of A Harrowing Religious Cleansing Operation Has A Message For You

Late in the evening of November 28 last year, Habila Adamu was at home with his wife and kids in the Yobe state of Northern Nigeria when visitors stopped by. He opened the door, shocked to find gunmen wearing robes and masks.

They demanded he step outside and they peppered him with questions. What was his name? Habila Adamu. Was he a member of the Nigerian police? No. Was he a soldier? No. Was he a member of the state security service? No. He told them he was a businessman.

OK, are you a Christian?” they asked.

“I am a Christian,” Habila said.

Initially fearful, Habila came to terms with the realization that it was the day of his death. He began praying for strength, forgiveness and salvation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Archbishop Welby welcomes religious leaders from Central African Republic

Archbishop Justin hails religious delegation’s ”˜friendship and cooperation’ against backdrop of escalating violence in the Central African Republic

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby welcomed a high-level delegation of religious leaders from the Central African Republic to Lambeth Palace yesterday to hear about the current crisis in their country, in which one million people have fled their homes.

Archbishop Justin received the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bangui, Dieudonné Nzapalainga and Imam Omar Kabine Layama, who along with the Revd Nicolas Guérékoyamé Gbangou, President of the Alliance of Evangelicals of Central African Republic (CAR), have recently been touring their country to battle sectarian narratives and promote peace and tolerance.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Central African Republic, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(NBC) Tuesday Morning Encouragement–Despite cancer, best Friends in first grade stay together

When Zac Gossage, 6, lost his hair to chemotherapy treatments for leukemia, he cried to his mother that he didn’t want to go to school.

Luckily, he has a friend in 7-year-old Vincent Butterfield.

When Vincent’s first grade teacher told their class at Central Elementary School in Union, Mo. that Zac had leukemia, Vincent told his dad he wanted to shave his head.

Read it all and if you have time the video is wonderful. Also, another link for the video if necessary may be found there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

***Professor John C. Lennox's sermon: "Why Should I Believe the Eternal World Is Real?" (2 Peter 1)

You can find the link to listen to it all here; note you can listen by clicking the link or download by clicking the blue “download” word underneath the black line. Professor Lennox preached at Saint Helena’s, Beaufort, S.C. on Sunday.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Eschatology, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AP) Pete Seeger, Troubadour And Activist, Dies At 94

Seeger ”” with his a lanky frame, banjo and full white beard ”” was an iconic figure in folk music. He performed with the great minstrel Woody Guthrie in his younger days and marched with Occupy Wall Street protesters in his 90s, leaning on two canes. He wrote or co-wrote “If I Had a Hammer,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.” He lent his voice against Hitler and nuclear power. A cheerful warrior, he typically delivered his broadsides with an affable air and his banjo strapped on.

“Be wary of great leaders,” he told The Associated Press two days after a 2011 Manhattan Occupy march. “Hope that there are many, many small leaders.”

With The Weavers, a quartet organized in 1948, Seeger helped set the stage for a national folk revival. The group – Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman – churned out hit recordings of “Goodnight Irene,” “Tzena, Tzena” and “On Top of Old Smokey.”

Seeger also was credited with popularizing “We Shall Overcome,” which he printed in his publication “People’s Song,” in 1948. He later said his only contribution to the anthem of the civil rights movement was changing the second word from “will” to “shall,” which he said “opens up the mouth better.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Music, Parish Ministry

(Reuters) U.S. frees tech companies to give more spying data

U.S. technology companies may give the public and their customers more detail about the court orders they receive related to surveillance under an agreement they reached on Monday with the Obama administration.

Companies such as Google Inc and Microsoft Corp have been prohibited from disclosing even an approximate number of orders they received from the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. They could give only an aggregate number of U.S. demands that combined surveillance court orders, letters from the FBI, subpoenas in run-of-the-mill criminal cases and other requests.

The deal frees the companies to say, for example, approximately how many orders they received in a six-month period from the surveillance court.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Psychology, Science & Technology

For Thomas Aquinas' Feast Day– Archbishop Michael Miller Speaks on Aquinas and Universities

..fidelity to Thomas also demands that a Catholic university teach theology as a divine science, and not religious studies, a human one dependent on rational inquiry alone. Even though the core beliefs of Christianity are revealed and held by faith, students have to be informed of what they are. Aquinas never suggests that explaining the content of the articles of faith will bring about a response of faith, but he does think that we need to be told them. Theology courses at a Catholic university propose sacra doctrina. They set out what Christ taught in the Gospels, since he “is the first and chief teacher of spiritual doctrine and faith”. Consequently, a Catholic university should be a place in where special attention is given to ensuring that students learn from theologians who propose the teaching of Christ as historical and authoritative.

Authentic Christian faith does not fear reason “but seeks it out and has trust in it”. Faith presupposes reason and perfects it. Nor does human reason lose anything by opening itself to the content of faith. When reason is illumined by faith, it “is set free from the fragility and limitations deriving from the disobedience of sin and finds the strength required to rise to the knowledge of the Triune God”. The Holy Father observes that St Thomas thinks that human reason, as it were, “breathes” by moving within a vast horizon open to transcendence. If, instead, “a person reduces himself to thinking only of material objects or those that can be proven, he closes himself to the great questions about life, himself and God and is impoverished”. Such a person has far too summarily divorced reason from faith, rendering asunder the very dynamic of the intellect.

What does this mean for Catholic universities today? Pope Benedict answers in this way: “The Catholic university is [therefore] a vast laboratory where, in accordance with the different disciplines, ever new areas of research are developed in a stimulating confrontation between faith and reason that aims to recover the harmonious synthesis achieved by Thomas Aquinas and other great Christian thinkers”. When firmly grounded in St Thomas’ understanding of faith and reason, Catholic institutions of higher learning can confidently face every new challenge on the horizon, since the truths discovered by any genuine science can never contradict the one Truth, who is God himself.

Read it all from 2010.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Thomas Aquinas

Almighty God, who hast enriched thy Church with the singular learning and holiness of thy servant Thomas Aquinas: Enlighten us more and more, we pray thee, by the disciplined thinking and teaching of Christian scholars, and deepen our devotion by the example of saintly lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who art the God of peace, mercifully grant that, as much as lieth in us, we may live at peace with all men and women; and if our outward peace be broken, yet do thou preserve peace in our hearts; through him who is the Prince of peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

–Hebrews 9:11-14

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Inside Toronto Profiles St. George’s-on-the-Hill Anglican church

“Welcome. God’s Peace to All who enter this place,” reads Rev. Canon John Wilton’s message posted on a sign near the church’s front doors.

Wilton took over as interim pastor two years ago following a controversy in which the Anglican diocese removed the church’s former rector.

Its parishioners come from all walks of life. Some reside in the area and have been members of the congregation for a half-century. Others live in neighbourhoods across Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville and Stouffville. Many are former members of St. Agnes’ Long Branch, which the Diocese closed several years ago, and of Christ Church Mimico, lost in recent years to fire.

Most of the parish’s leadership are 15- to 20-year congregants.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues