Daily Archives: June 1, 2014

After 5 Months of Sales, Colorado Sees the Downside of a Legal High

Five months after Colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales, the battle over legalization is still raging.

Law enforcement officers in Colorado and neighboring states, emergency room doctors and legalization opponents increasingly are highlighting a series of recent problems as cautionary lessons for other states flirting with loosening marijuana laws.

There is the Denver man who, hours after buying a package of marijuana-infused Karma Kandy from one of Colorado’s new recreational marijuana shops, began raving about the end of the world and then pulled a handgun from the family safe and killed his wife, the authorities say. Some hospital officials say they are treating growing numbers of children and adults sickened by potent doses of edible marijuana. Sheriffs in neighboring states complain about stoned drivers streaming out of Colorado and through their towns.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

(FT) Edward Luce–The middle class is frozen out of the Tepid US recovery

The bond markets have grasped something that continues to elude many economists. We live in a confused world. Yet the underlying story is simple. The US middle continues to hollow out, even as the economy continues to grow.

But the latter’s upside is limited by the crisis in the former. Unless the middle class starts to post healthy income gains, we will be stuck in what has been annoyingly named the “new normal”.

Neither the Democratic nor the Republican party ”“ nor most of their European counterparts ”“ appears to have an answer. President Barack Obama pushes for a higher minimum wage, which would certainly help the poorest sections of the US labour force. But it would do nothing to fix the central problem. And Republicans keep arguing for lower taxes on the wealth creators. Ditto. They have argued each other to a standstill.

Both parties might find it instructive to look north to Canada, which has endured its harshest winter in 20 years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Senate, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Pascal's Memorial from his Night of Fire in 1654

The year of grace 1654

Monday, 23 November, feast of Saint Clement, Pope and Martyr, and of others in the Martyrology.
Eve of Saint Chrysogonus, Martyr and others.
From about half past ten in the evening until half past midnight.

Fire
‘God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob,’ not of philosophers and scholars.
Certainty, certainty, heartfelt, joy, peace.
God of Jesus Christ.
God of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
‘Thy God shall be my God.’

Read it all; this was also quoted in this morning’s sermon by yours truly

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, France, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

Charles Spurgeon on Being Heralds of the Unsearchable Riches of Christ

If a herald were sent to a besieged city with the tidings that no terms of mercy would be offered, but that every rebel without exception should be put to death, I think he would go with lingering footsteps, stopping by the way to let out his heavy heart in sobs and groans; but if he were commissioned to go to the gates with the white flag to proclaim a free pardon, a general act of amnesty and oblivion, surely he would run as though he had wings on his heels, with a joyful quickness, to tell his fellow citizens the good pleasure of their merciful king. Heralds of Salvation, you carry the most joyful of all messages to the sons of men! When the angels were commissioned for once to become preachers of the Gospel, and it was but for once, they made the sky ring at midnight with their choral songs, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” They did not moan out a sorrowful dirge as of those proclaiming death, but the glad tidings of great joy were set to music, and announced with holy mirth and celestial song. “Peace on earth; glory to God in the highest” is the joyous note of the Gospel””and in such a key should it ever be proclaimed.

.–From his sermon preached on Ephesians 3 on April 14,1867, and quoted by yours truly in this morning’s sermon

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

Evensong service creates peaceful environment in Calgary Anglican church

Christ Church in Calgary is one of a very few Anglican churches in Western Canada that continues the practice of holding the service of Choral Evensong on a regular basis.

Its final one for this year will be held Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

“Choral Evensong is a quiet, reflective service of sacred choral music with readings from the Bible,” says Margaret Newman, director of music for the church located at 3602 8th St. S.W.

Read it all.

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

(AP) North Korea sentences Baptist missionary to life in prison

North Korea said Saturday it has sentenced a South Korean Baptist missionary to hard labor for life on charges that he spied and tried to set up underground churches, the latest in a string of missionaries to run into trouble in the rigidly controlled North.

North Korean state media said the missionary was tried Friday and admitted to anti-North Korean religious acts and “malignantly hurting the dignity” of the country’s supreme leadership, a reference to the ruling Kim family. The rival Koreas have different English spelling styles for Korean names, so the North called the missionary Kim Jong Uk, but Seoul has previously referred to him as Kim Jung Wook.

Christian missionaries have been drawn over the years to totalitarian North Korea, which tolerates only strictly sanctioned religious services. North Korean defectors have said that the distribution of Bibles and secret prayer services can mean banishment to a labor camp or execution

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Missions, North Korea, Politics in General, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Meriam Yahya Ibrahim's Lawyer tells channel 4 reports about release are 'absurd'

A senior Sudanese official has told the BBC and other media outlets that Ms Ibrahim would be freed in a few days, but her lawyer told Channel 4 News that this was “absurd” and that the family has not been told there was any chance of her release from jail.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(Faith McDonnell) If True, Meriam Ibrahim's Release a Testament to the Power of Prayer and Advocacy

If true, this is a testament to the power of advocacy, as well as an answer to the prayers of many around the world. Trust and verify comes to mind. Too often, the U.S. government has trusted the promises and declarations of Khartoum, and while the U.S. has acted according to the “carrots” it has promised for good behavior, Khartoum’s failed to honor its promises. Hopefully, this is not the case with the pending release of Ibrahim. The U.S. offered no incentives to Khartoum to release Ibrahim, but her imprisonment drew international outrage. Khartoum felt the sting and decided that the reward of pardoning Ibrahim outweighs the approval of the hard-core Islamists who want her dead.

Ibrahim’s release will be only the beginning of the push to halt the draconian implementation of Sharia law. Advocates understand that they cannot relax the pressure on the Islamic Republic of Sudan.

Read it all.

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

(Independent) Meriam Ibrahim 'to be freed' after death sentence for marrying a Christian man

Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, who was sentenced to death in Sudan after she married a Christian man, is to be freed, a Sudanese foreign ministry official has said.

The decision comes after the Sudanese government faced mounting pressure from the international community over her “barbaric” treatment.

Abdullahi Alzareg, an under-secretary at the foreign ministry, said the county was committed to protecting the woman and guaranteed religious freedom.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, whose blessed Son, our great High Priest, has entered once for all into the holy place, and ever liveth to intercede on our behalf: Grant that we, sanctified by the offering of his body, may draw near with full assurance of faith by the way which he has dedicated for us, and evermore serve thee, the living God; through the same thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

–Church of South India

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Mid”²ian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here am I.” Then he said, “Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
Then the Lord said, “I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Per”²izzites, the Hivites, and the Jeb”²usites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring forth my people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God upon this mountain.”

–Exodus 3:1-12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

"Young people constantly blow me away with their deep desire for some good news"

So often, when faced with their own limits, the young people I meet turn to music. They turn to the artists who can articulate (perhaps more clearly than they can) precisely what they’re feeling. So how do we engage?

It all starts with listening. It always starts with listening. Listening to young people, listening to their music and listening to the struggles and joys of their daily lives.

What comes next is the hard part: accompanying young people in the midst of the pains and struggles of everyday life, and welcoming them into the story we call our own: the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

I said earlier that this is hard. But it shouldn’t be. In fact, in my experience, it isn’t hard at all. Looking for companions when forced to confront the limits of human existence, young people constantly blow me away with their deep desire for some good news. We’re good-news people. We’ve got plenty to share.

And yet we need to start by listening.

Read it all from the Anglican Journal.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Canada, Music, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Teens / Youth, Theology, Youth Ministry

(Tennessean) Nashville stripper ministry is answer to pastor's wife's prayer

Erin Stevens isn’t that kind of evangelist who stands outside the strip club with her bullhorn, yelling at the customers to repent or face the flames.

She’s inside the lobby with the strippers, feeding them a catered dinner twice a month, giving them Mary Kay Cosmetics gift sets and quietly slipping her cellphone number into their hands.

She brings no Bibles. No tracts. No lectures.

Just love and an unusual mission given to her by God two years ago, she says, after she spent 21 days fasting and praying for a building for nondenominational Friendship Community Church in Mt. Juliet. Friendship, launched by her husband, Todd Stevens, in 2006, has more than 1,000 members but still meets in Lakeview Elementary School’s rented auditorium.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Soteriology, Theology, Women

(NYT) Fixed Soccer Matches Cast Shadow Over World Cup

FIFA’s investigative report and related documents, which were obtained by The New York Times and have not been publicly released, raise serious questions about the vulnerability of the World Cup to match fixing. The tournament opens June 12 in Brazil.

The report found that the match-rigging syndicate and its referees infiltrated the upper reaches of global soccer in order to fix exhibition matches and exploit them for betting purposes. It provides extensive details of the clever and brazen ways that fixers apparently manipulated “at least five matches and possibly more” in South Africa ahead of the last World Cup. As many as 15 matches were targets, including a game between the United States and Australia, according to interviews and emails printed in the FIFA report.

Although corruption has vexed soccer for years, the South Africa case gives an unusually detailed look at the ease with which professional gamblers can fix matches, as well as the governing body’s severe problems in policing itself and its member federations. The report, at 44 pages, includes an account of Mr. [Ibrahim] Chaibou’s trip to the bank, as well as many other scenes describing how matches were apparently rigged.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, South Africa, Sports, Theology

(Barna) What Americans Are Watching on TV in 2014

On average, women (3.4 hours, median) watch more TV than men (3.0 hours). And, as a rule, TV watching increases with age. Elders, adults who are 69 and older, watch an average of 4.4 hours per day, while Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) watch an average of 3.8. Gen-Xers (born between 1965 and 1983) and Millennials (born 1984 to 2002) watch fewer hours: 2.5 and 2.7 hours, respectively.

Practicing Christians tend to watch more television than non-Christians. Practicing Catholics watch an average of 3.5 hours per day and practicing Protestants watch an average of 3.1 hours. By contrast, adherents to faiths other than Christianity watch 2.6 hours of TV per day and those of no faith, which includes self-identified atheists and agnostics, watch 2.7 hours. Interestingly, church attendance seems to make little difference in the number of viewing hours. Those who attended church within the past week, those who attended within the past month and those who have not attended at all within the past six months all watch an average of 3.2 hours per day.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Sociology