Daily Archives: September 16, 2014

(Bloomberg) Fewer Millennial Moms Show U.S. Birth Rate Drop Lasting

Janna Weaver is proud she’s managed to keep her bamboo plant alive for more than a year. She’s not quite ready for a pet yet, and a child? “Definitely not anytime soon.”

“I want to know who I am before I bring someone else into the equation,” said Weaver, 25, who has a master’s degree in exercise physiology and moved with her boyfriend to Dallas in July. “The longer I wait and the more established I am, the more I’ll be able to provide for the family.”

More U.S. millennial women, those born after 1980, are holding off on motherhood, which bodes well for their economic and social mobility and that of their future children, according to recent research. Odds are that lower U.S. birth rates are here to stay, even if some of the recession-induced decline reverses, said Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Women, Young Adults

(Christian Today) Jeffrey John could become Church of England bishop

He was appointed Dean of St Albans in 2004 and two years later he and his partner Rev Grant Holmes entered into a civil partnership.

Dr John was shortlisted last year for Exeter but the vote went narrowly against him, even though his performance at interview was outstanding. His name was also withdrawn previously from the Southwark diocesan appointment process because of opposition from the conservative wing.

The shortlisting of Dr John once again is an indication that the Church is taking seriously its pledge to “listen” to the gay community. Last year the Church dropped its prohibition on gay clergy in civil partnerships becoming bishops, which effectively removed the bar against the elevation of clergy such as Dr John, who are openly gay but live within the guidelines stipulated by the Church, which demands celibacy and, controversially, forbids its gay clergy from marrying their partners.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(First Things) Richard Mouw–Why we Need Heretics

When the Serpent tempted Eve in Genesis 3, he told her that she could be her own god. That claim is false, but in its own way it is profoundly illuminating. Two chapters earlier in Genesis we are informed that Adam and Eve were created in God’s “image” and “likeness.” Human beings are “like” God in an extremely important way: they are “imagers” of the true God. Only an “imager” of God can make the fatal move of trying to be a god. My favorite heretics are thinkers who perversely acknowledge that subtlety of the serpentine deception.

The great John Courtney Murray put it nicely in his marvelous book, The Problem of God. These kinds of thinkers insist on bringing explorations of the human condition back to the “biblical mode.” He admired them for the way they directly pose for us the fundamental questions: “Which is the myth and which is the reality? Is the myth in Nietzsche or in the New Testament? . . . Is it in Sartre of Paris or in Paul of Tarsus?”

Sartre seems to have gone out of style in contemporary intellectual circles, and Nietzsche has mainly been taken over by the “literary criticism” folks. Maybe this is a good time to bring them back into the broader conversation. Perspectives that are both false and illuminating are in short supply these days.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christology, Church History, History, Religion & Culture, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

(VOX) US soldiers are more likely to kill themselves than be killed in combat

The withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan means that fewer American soldiers are in harm’s way. But new data from the Department of Defense suggests that the drawdown has done little to solve the serious problem of military suicides. The rate of military self-inflicted deaths has stayed roughly the same even as combat deaths have fallen.

Last year alone, 475 active service members took their own lives according to a report published last week by the Department of Defense. In the same year, 127 soldiers lost their lives in the line of duty reported icasualties.org ”” a website that has been documenting war deaths since the Iraq War in 2003. That’s the lowest level since 2008.

The same Department of Defense report said that 120 personnel took their own lives in the first quarter of 2014, a rate of nearly one soldier every day. That compares with 43 soldiers who lost their lives on the front line between January 1 and September 11, 2014.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Suicide, Theology

(CBN) The Plight of Christians in Iraq

Christian fathers told to convert to Islam or watch their children lose their heads.

Christians fleeing their communities shot, their dead bodies lined up on the ground, then rolled over by a bulldozer as their loved ones watch.

These are just some of the stories Canon Andrew White and Dr. Sarah Ahmed shared at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Monday.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(JS) Straddling traditions, a new Milwaukee Area Anglican parish connects with city, history

What unites members of this fledgling congregation, many of whom have migrated from evangelical Christian churches, is not necessarily ritual and dogma. It is the church’s mission, based on a passage from the Book of Jeremiah, to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city” in which they live.

“What draws them together is the love of the neighborhood, and the desire to be in mission here,” said Ryan Boettcher, one of Christ Redeemer’s three lay pastors, who lives in Riverwest with his wife and infant son. “There’s this community vision that our welfare as a church is so tied to the neighborhood that, unless our neighborhood is flourishing, we can’t see our church as flourishing.”

Christ Redeemer, which has grown to about 45 families, worships in rented space at the Holton Youth + Family Center, at 510 E. Burleigh St. It is one of about 500 new churches planted by the Anglican Church in North America…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Parish Ministry, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Telegraph) Songs of Praise 'depressing' says Gogglebox vicar

The Rev Kate Bottley, star of Gogglebox, Channel 4’s fly-on-the-wall show, has criticised BBC1 show Songs Of Praise for being ”depressing” and ”like a piece of soggy quiche”.

The vicar, who has become an unlikely TV favourite since appearing on the cult show, praised presenters Aled Jones and Diane Louise Jordan, and said that the Sunday teatime show was ”great for those who can’t get out to church.”

But she hit out at the ”over-exaggerated mouth movements, as if the singers are trying to chew a toffee at the same time”, and the congregations, adding: ”I’ve never seen an Anglican church so full on a Sunday evening ….and with such a huge variety of ages.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Movies & Television, Music, Parish Ministry, Theology

South Carolina Rector Marcus Kaiser's Sermon from this past Sunday–"The Devil is Real"

Take the time to listen to it all (an MP3 file). You can read more about read more about Marcus there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theodicy, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Bloomberg) How a Dying Grandmother Shaped Japan’s End-of-Life Debate

After I published a story about my grandmother’s dilemma on July 24 last year, I received hundreds of emails and letters from readers worldwide. Some wrote about struggles they’d experienced with their relatives. Others were anxious about their parent-care challenges ahead.

“I have never cried when reading a Bloomberg story,” wrote one reader. “I am going to make sure to talk with my grandmother about what she wants when she reaches that point.”

The story was also read by medical professionals. Kojiro Tokutake, a Japanese gastroenterologist, shared his story about his own internal conflict about the value of tube feeding. His experiences formed the basis of another story that I published.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Asia, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Japan, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NPR) Will Scotland Vote To Cut The Cord?

In the Edinburgh rain, a striking number of voters have recently changed their minds. Michael Constantine says he and his parents all switched sides.

“My dad, he was a ‘no,’ ” says Constantine, 25. “In the past two months, he’s become a ‘yes.’ And then my mum was a ‘no’ initially. She became a ‘yes.’ ”

All three of them used to support keeping the U.K. intact. Now, they plan to vote for Scottish independence. Constantine says he wasn’t so much drawn to the ‘yes’ campaign; it’s more that unity drove him away.

“The ‘no’ campaign, the scaremongering and the fear they’re putting into people, really upset me,” Constantine says.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General, Scotland, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Ninian of Galloway

O God, who by the preaching of thy blessed servant and bishop Ninian didst cause the light of the Gospel to shine in the land of Britain: Grant, we beseech thee, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show forth our thankfulness by following the example of his zeal and patience; 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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who knowest our necessities before we ask, and our ignorance in asking: Set free thy servants from all anxious thoughts for the morrow; give us contentment with thy good gifts; and confirm our faith that according as we seek thy kingdom, thou wilt not suffer us to lack any good thing; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Augustine

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in thy tent for ever! Oh to be safe under the shelter of thy wings!

–Psalm 61:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

([London] Times) Isis lures US women with cash-for-babies promise

Police are trying to track down young women whom they believe have been lured over the internet to travel to Syria by Islamic State (Isis) with the promise of cash for babies.

At least three Somali families in Minneapolis have female members who have disappeared in the past six weeks. They are all from the St Paul area of the city. At the end of last month, a 19-year-old Somali woman from St Paul, who left home saying that she was attending a bridal shower, instead flew to Turkey and joined Isis in Syria.

On Friday, Shannon Conley, 19, from Colorado, pleaded guilty to trying to travel to the Middle East to enrol in Isis. She was arrested at Denver International airport in April with a one-way ticket and had been recruited online by a male militant in Syria.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

(NYT Op-ed) Roger Cogen–Are we in the Midst of The Great Unraveling?

It was the time of unraveling. Long afterward, in the ruins, people asked: How could it happen?

It was a time of beheadings. With a left-handed sawing motion, against a desert backdrop, in bright sunlight, a Muslim with a British accent cut off the heads of two American journalists and a British aid worker. The jihadi seemed comfortable in his work, unhurried. His victims were broken. Terror is theater. Burning skyscrapers, severed heads: The terrorist takes movie images of unbearable lightness and gives them weight enough to embed themselves in the psyche.

It was a time of aggression. The leader of the largest nation on earth pronounced his country encircled, even humiliated. He annexed part of a neighboring country, the first such act in Europe since 1945, and stirred up a war on further land he coveted. His surrogates shot down a civilian passenger plane. The victims, many of them Europeans, were left to rot in the sun for days. He denied any part in the violence, like a puppeteer denying that his puppets’ movements have any connection to his. He invoked the law the better to trample on it. He invoked history the better to turn it into farce. He reminded humankind that the idiom fascism knows best is untruth so grotesque it begets unreason.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General, Russia, Scotland, Theology, Ukraine