Daily Archives: January 13, 2015

(Independent) Facebook knows you better than your own family

A study of more than 86,000 users of Facebook has demonstrated the power of intelligent machines to predict an individual’s character based on what they have listed as their “likes”.

Researchers said the day when computers are able to judge a person’s personality accurately has almost arrived, and even suggested that science fiction films like Her, based on a man’s attachment to an intelligent computer, are closer than we think.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Theology

Diocese of Lincoln to begin a 'Year of Discipleship' on January 18th

2015 will be for Lincoln Diocese a ‘Year of Discipleship’, where our emphasis will be on helping one another to grow as followers of Jesus; to become more faithful, joyful and confident. A variety of events and resources are being planned, and the information will be released on his as dates and venues are confirmed.

The Year of Discipleship begins on January 18th, when all congregations are encouraged to commit themselves to the journey. There is a short ‘Liturgy of Commitment’ which can be used during your usual worship: you might like to use it at the end of the Eucharist in place of the prayer of offering our souls and bodies to God, or for you it might fit better somewhere else.

Read it all and see what you make of the resources.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Adult Education, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Theology

(Telegraph) C of E cannot carry on as it is unless decline ”˜urgently’ reversed say Archbps

The Church of England will no longer be able to carry on its current form unless the downward spiral its membership is reversed “as a matter of urgency”, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have warned.

It could face a dramatic shortage of priests within a decade as almost half of the current clergy retire, according to the Most Rev Justin Welby and Dr John Sentamu.

Meanwhile dwindling numbers in the pews will inevitably plunge the Church into a financial crisis as it grapples with the “burden” of maintaining thousands of historic buildings, they insisted.

Read it all.

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

(BBC) Is the Church of England's role in UK political issues appropriate?

Britain is not a secular state, with Anglican Bishops sitting in the House of Lords, and the church makes regular forays into British domestic politics.

But some say it is too partisan on occasions and too involved in domestic politics.

Watch it all (3 minutes and 20 seconds, approx.).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Gallup) Americans Become More Positive About Jobs in January

Serving as another indication of the public’s perceptions of an improving economy, 45% of Americans now say it is a good time to find a quality job, up from 36% in December, and as high as this indicator has been since May 2007.

Gallup has asked Americans about their views of the job market on a monthly basis since August 2001, when 39% of Americans agreed that it was a good time to find a quality job. These views became less positive through 2003, but then turned the corner. By January 2007, 48% said it was a good time to find a quality job — the highest Gallup has recorded. Positive views of the job market began to drop that year and dropped further with the onset of the Great Recession, reaching the all-time low of 8% in November 2009 and again in November 2011. Since 2012, these attitudes have been recovering, breaking through the 30% line in 2014 for the first time in six years, and jumping to 45% this month.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology

(Xinhua) Unknown gunmen kill church official in Kenya's Mombasa

Meanwhile, church leaders in Mombasa have condemned the killing of the church official. Anglican Church of Kenya Bishop Boniface Kalu said the government should pursue the killers and brought them to book.

He called for protection of all church leaders especially in Mombasa where unknown assailants have been targeting churches and Christians.

“As we condemn this heinous act we are at the same time asking the government to provide protection to churches and their leaders because they have become targets by criminals,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Kenya, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Theology, Violence

(AP) European Jews Haven't Felt This Threatened Since World War II, Experts Say

The killing of four French Jews at a kosher market in last week’s terror attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris has deepened the fears among European Jewish communities shaken by rising anti-Semitism and feeling vulnerable due to poor security and a large number of potential soft targets.

In the wake of the attacks, which follow deadly strikes on a Belgian Jewish Museum and a Jewish school in southwestern France, Israeli leaders have called on European Jews to immigrate to the Jewish state. But European Jews are deeply ambivalent about leaving, and their community leaders, along with top politicians, have urged people to stay in their homelands.

“The European Jewry is the oldest European minority and we have our experience of surviving under all possible circumstances,” Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, told The Associated Press. “We will not give up our motherland, which is called Europe. We will not stop the history of European Jewry, that is for sure.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, France, Judaism, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(GR) Terry Mattingly–Why are 'Christian movies' so bad?

…we’re talking about, well, you know ”“ “Christian movies.” The kinds of movies that resemble fundraising letters aimed at people in niche pews. Yes, Hollywood makes some preachy movies, too. That’s a topic for another day, another podcast.

But why are those “Christian movies” so bad? Another Christian in the Hollywood mainstream, David “Home Improvement” McFadzean once offered up this brutal quote: The typical “Christian movie” is very similar to a porno movie. “It has terrible acting. It has a tiny budget. And you know exactly how it’s going to end.”

Ouch. Anyway, this was the topic that loomed in the background this week as “Crossroads” host Todd Wilken and I discussed my recent Universal syndicate column about the Angelina Jolie movie version of “Unbroken,” which was based on parts ”“ wait for it ”“ of the amazing “Unbroken” bestseller by Laura Hillenbrand.

Read it all.

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

(Sahara Reports) Nigerian Anglican Cleric Claims APC Is "Islamic Party"

As Nigerians prepare for the February 2015 general elections, a cleric of the Anglican Communion in Delta state, Venerable Felix Okonkwo has cautioned Christians to be wary of the All Progressive Congress (APC) saying it is an “Islamic party” with fanaticism as its mantra.

In his sermon during a special thanksgiving service in honour of Ifeanyi Okowa, the governorship candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in Delta State, Ven. Okonkwo told the congregation: “As Christians we have a right to our faith, Nigeria belongs to all of us. If you look at the party, you will agree with me that it is out to promote and propagate the ideas of Islamism. We cannot support such a party. If you go through APC you will know that they have nothing good for this country. Their business is to kill and destroy.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

R Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama–Intl Support needed on Boko Haram

Listen to it all from the BBC World service (about 3 minutes and 40 seconds).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Islam, Nigeria, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Economist Daily Chart–Exodus from Syria

The statistics on Syria’s civil war are horrifying. Since March 2011 around 200,000 people have been killed and 6.5m people have become internally displaced. A new report from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, published on January 7th, brought another grim figure: Syria has overtaken Afghanistan to become the biggest source of refugees in the world. More than 3m Syrians, or one in eight of its population, had fled the country by the end of June 2014, the most recent date for cross-country comparisons. In the six months since, another 300,000 have left.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Theology

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Social Media Ethics

PROFESSOR JAMES GRIMMELMAN: When you start experimenting on people, you start manipulating their environment to see how they react, you’re turning them into your lab rats.

CHRISTIAN RUDDER: The outrage that greeted that particular experiment far outstripped its practical implications.

DANAH BOYD: Why the controversy blew up at the time and in the way that it did is that we’re not sure we trust Facebook.

LUCKY SEVERSON, correspondent: There were tremors of ethical outrage when a major scientific journal revealed that the social media site Facebook had conducted experiments, altering what customers see on their own pages. The outrage was voiced across all forms of media, both traditional ones and digital outlets like YouTube.

Read or watch and listen to it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Hilary of Poitiers

O Lord our God, who didst raise up thy servant Hilary to be a champion of the catholic faith: Keep us steadfast in that true faith which we professed at our baptism, that we may rejoice in having thee for our Father, and may abide in thy Son, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; thou who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from E M Goulburn

O Almighty God, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto thee, as our reasonable service: Hear us, we beseech thee, as we now come to thee in the name of Jesus Christ; and give us grace that we may dedicate ourselves wholly to thy service, and henceforth live only to thy glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But I through the abundance of thy steadfast love will enter thy house, I will worship toward thy holy temple in the fear of thee.

–Psalm 5:7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture