Monthly Archives: May 2014

Mark Tooley–As attractive initially as it may be, Pacifism Does Not Honor Veterans

The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, Vietnam, Korea, World War II and others across history had noble intent and, like all wars, had their share of tragic consequences. Even “good” wars are filled with suffering by the innocent. Wars are morally justified only when the alternatives are even worse.

Veterans in America’s wars, whether the volunteers of the last 40 years, or the draftees of earlier decades, were not “victims.” They were and are Americans who sacrificially served their country. They should be honored, not romanticized, nor condescended to.

Wallis suggests Memorial Day as a time for asking “hard questions about our wars, what we have learned, and whether such painful losses are truly worth the terrible cost.” Perhaps those questions should also include asking what the world might look like absent the service of America’s veterans and the willingness of America to resist aggression and tyranny.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iraq War, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan

(NBC) Bowe Bergdahl, Army Sergeant Held by Taliban Since 2009, Is Released

Bergdahl, 28, was freed in exchange for five prisoners who were held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center and is back in the hands of the U.S. military, the officials said.

Bergdahl disappeared when he reportedly walked away from a U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009, carrying only a compass and a bottle of water. He was the only U.S. service member ever to be held captive by enemy forces in Afghanistan.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Theology, War in Afghanistan

(PA) Meriam Ibrahim 'to be freed' from death row in Sudan

A woman sentenced to death in Sudan after marrying a Christian could be released within days, according to reports.

A senior Khartoum official has told the BBC that Meriam Ibrahim will be freed following worldwide protests about her treatment.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Women

Gloucester diocese to help struggling credit unions

The Diocese of Gloucester has stepped in to help support the two remaining credit unions in Gloucestershire.

The diocese has given struggling Gloucestershire Credit Union £4,000 and is helping another to “grow capacity”.

It follows the launch of the Church of England scheme to promote the use of credit unions over payday lenders.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Atlantic) Christian Leaders May Return to Nicaea: What Does It Mean?

…the specifics are still pretty fuzzy. Will it be a formal ecumenical council, with leaders from the two faiths earnestly trying to reconcile their theological differences? Or will it be just what Bartholomew said””a celebration, full of meaningful dialogue but little actual change? Hard to tell, says Rocco Palmo, the author of the blog Whispers in the Loggia.

“It’s 12 years away,” he pointed out. Trying to predict what will happen in 2025 is like an extreme version of confidently declaring who will be president of the United States in 2016””there’s just no way to know. Plus, Francis and Bartholomew are both in their 70s. Bartholomew said the pair wanted to leave this council “as a legacy to ourselves and our successors,” which seems like an acknowledgment that they could both be dead””or retired””11 years from now.

There’s also the challenge of getting Catholics and Orthodox Christians on board for whatever they want to do. “If the pope wants to do this, the Catholic side will be lined up, but if the ecumenical patriarch wants to, some will come and some will not,” Palmo said. Bartholomew is the archbishop of Constantinople, meaning that he is “the first among equals” in the Eastern Orthodox churches, but he doesn’t have power over other patriarchs.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Stuff) Battle to save Christchurch Cathedral far from over

A group of Anglicans in a small Canterbury community are vowing to take the battle for Christ Church Cathedral to the court of public opinion after a judge lifted a stay on a planned demolition of the 110-year-old building.

Justice Graham Panckhurst released findings on Friday lifting the stay on demolition of the cathedral.

However a small group of Anglicans say the fight is not over.

Akaroa resident Mike Norris organised a group of parishioners to meet and discuss what the decision meant for their battle to restore the cathedral.

“This is the beginning of the next stage of the campaign,” he said. “We have gone through the courts, which has not advanced our cause, now it is time to go through the court of public opinion.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, History, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues

Statement from Bishop Mouneer Anis on the Election of President Sisi of Egypt

Most of the voters went to the poles on the second and third days of voting. However, young people were reluctant to vote because they were worried that the rule of Al Sisi will be similar to that of former President Hosni Mubarak who was also from a military background.

I personally think that President Al Sisi is the right choice at this time because Egypt needs a president who can reestablish the security of the country. Without security, tourism and the economic situation will not improve. The new president has to work hard in order to meet the many challenges that are facing Egypt, including the financial situation and the concerns of those who think that Egypt will be ruled in a military-like way.

Please pray for Egypt and the new President so that we cross over this difficult time into more stability.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Father in heaven, by whose grace the virgin mother of thine incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping thy word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to thy will; through the same 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 Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Gracious Lord, we remember that thou didst accompany thy two disciples as they journeyed to Emmaus. Do thou go with us, O Lord, on our journey through this world. Guide us, uphold us, strengthen us; make our hearts to burn within us; and evermore manifest thyself to our souls in gracious and heavenly power. For thine own name’s sake we ask it.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.

–Psalm 87:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Christchurch Cathedral demolition not imminent per Anglican Church

The High Court has permitted the deconstruction of the earthquake-damaged Christchurch Cathedral, but the Anglican Church says it won’t happen any time soon.

Justice Graham Panckhurst yesterday lifted a stay against the Anglican Church taking the iconic stone building down before it had committed to building a new cathedral.

It wants to reduce it to a height of two to three metres and build another cathedral in Cathedral Square, but that was fought by the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry

Bartholomew: With Francis, we invite all Christians to celebrate the first synod of Nicaea in 2025

On his return from Jerusalem , where he met with Pope Francis at the Holy Sepulchre, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, has revealed an important appointment for unity between Catholics and Orthodox: a gathering at Nicaea in 2025, where the first real ecumenical council of the undivided Church was celebrated.

Speaking exclusively with AsiaNews, Bartholomew says that together with Pope Francis “we agreed to leave as a legacy to ourselves and our successors a gathering in Nicaea in 2025, to celebrate together, after 17 centuries , the first truly ecumenical synod, where the Creed was first promulgated”.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(NPR) Today's Heroin Addict Is Young, White And Suburban

Heroin was once the scourge of the urban poor, but today the typical user is a young, white suburbanite, a study finds. And the path to addiction usually starts with prescription painkillers.

A survey of 9,000 patients at treatment centers around the country found that 90 percent of heroin users were white men and women. Most were relatively young ”” their average age was 23. And three-quarters said they first started not with heroin but with prescription opioids like OxyContin.

In contrast, when heroin first became popular in the ’60s and ’70s, most users were young minority men who lived in cities. “Heroin is not an inner-city problem anymore,” says , a psychiatrist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who led the study.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Teens / Youth, Theology, Young Adults

(WSJ) Shmuly Yanklowitz: Why This Rabbi Is Swearing Off Kosher Meat

As an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, I am deeply committed to keeping kosher. Even as a teenager, I took pride in the strict rules governing food preparation in the kashrut tradition””like the separating of milk and meat, and the strict supervision preventing the consumption of such things as blood or bugs””thinking it raised simple consumption to a higher ethical and spiritual plane.

Many have also long believed that kosher certification conveys greater healthfulness. That was especially the case in the era before government food inspection. During the period of the “New Immigration” (1880-1920), when East European Jews were crowded into neighborhoods such as New York City’s Lower East Side, kosher laws were seen as preventing illness, in contrast with nonkosher food such as pork, which was often contaminated with trichinosis, and other foods that were prepared without supervision. But the most important aspect of keeping kosher is that for centuries it has helped the Jewish people remain spiritually alive.

It pains me to say this, but given what I have learned in recent years, I cannot pretend anymore that kosher meat, poultry and dairy is any healthier or ethical than nonkosher food. I still promote how kashrut in its pure form aims to morally and spiritually elevate us, but the authentic realization of this timeless ritual is vanishingly rare.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) More and More homeowners are borrowing against their properties

A rebound in house prices and near-record-low interest rates are prompting homeowners to borrow against their properties, marking the return of a practice that was all the rage before the financial crisis.

Home-equity lines of credit, or Helocs, and home-equity loans jumped 8% in the first quarter from a year earlier, industry newsletter Inside Mortgage Finance said Thursday. The $13 billion extended was the most for the start of a year since 2009. Inside Mortgage Finance noted the bulk of the home-equity originations were Helocs.

While that is still far below the peak of $113 billion during the third quarter of 2006, this year’s gains are the latest evidence that the tight credit conditions that have defined mortgage lending in recent years are starting to loosen. Some lenders are even reviving old loan products that haven’t been seen in years in an attempt to gain market share.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology