Daily Archives: March 2, 2015

(Bloomberg) More Than Half of Americans Are in So Much Pain They Can't Sleep

The U.S. is a country of gaps. The wage gap. The wealth gap. And now, the sleep gap. Ӭ

The dividing line: Pain. Having chronic or fleeting pain in the prior week caused 57 percent of Americans a significant loss of sleep, according to the 2015 Sleep in America poll, released Monday by the National Sleep Foundation.

People with chronic pain said they got 42 minutes of sleep less than they needed every night. It’s a vicious cycle: Pain makes it hard to sleep, less sleep exacerbates pain.

Missing 42 minutes of sleep wouldn’t be a big deal if sleep weren’t so connected with overall well-being. People who rated their health and quality of life very good or excellent in the survey slept an average of 15 to 30 minutes longer than those who said it was good, fair or poor.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, sees its first church–Holy Trinity Anglican–built in 50 years

The church near the corner of Peace and Blount streets looks as though it could have been there for centuries, with its peaked roof and mottled brick walls ”“ except for the insulating wrap that still sheaths half its exterior.

It’s the first new church building to be built in downtown Raleigh for half a century.

“We wanted to build a transcendent space,” said the Rev. John Yates III, his breath hanging beneath the arching steel bones of the sanctuary. To his left, a construction worker rode an accordion lift to finish the details of a window that reached toward the 60-foot ceiling.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church formed about a decade ago, splitting off from the national Episcopal church alongside scores of other groups.

Read it all from the News and Observer..

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Architecture, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

Edward Chorley–The Episcopal Church's Prayer Book of 1789

The General Convention of 1789 met at Philadelphia on July 8, with the States of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina represented by clerical and lay deputies. For the first time in the history of the American Church a bishop–William White of Pennsylvania–was present at a General Convention. Bishop Seabury, smarting under some question as to the validity of his consecration by Scotch bishops, was absent, as was also Provoost, Bishop of New York “detained by indisposition.” There was no representation from the dioceses of New England. By this time the need for the unity of the church was pressing and the convention was adjourned till September “for the purpose of settling articles of union, discipline, uniformity of worship, and general government among all the churches in the United States.”

When the adjourned Convention met, Bishop Seabury was present together with deputies from Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, this being the first time the New England churches were represented in General Convention. Certain modifications were made in the Constitution to meet the views of New England, and on October 2 it was finally adopted. The Convention then separated into two houses–the House of Bishops and the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies.

The way was now open to proceed to the adoption of a Book of Common Prayer for the American Church. Immediately a difference of opinion manifested itself. The Bishops held that the English Prayer Book was still the Liturgy of the American Church and that “it should be taken as the book in which some alterations were contemplated.” On the other hand, the Deputies took the position “that there were no forms of prayer, no offices and no rubrics until they should be formed by the Convention now assembled.” Hence they appointed committees to “prepare” the various offices.

The revision covered a period of thirteen days….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, --Book of Common Prayer, America/U.S.A., Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, TEC Bishops

A Look Back to 2007–Trevin Wax interviews Tom Wright

Trevin Wax: Could you give us a brief definition of “the gospel”?

N.T. Wright: I could try taking a Pauline angle. When Paul talks about “the gospel,” he means “the good news that the crucified and risen Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and therefore the Lord of the world.” Now, that’s about as brief as you can do it.

The reason that’s good news”¦ In the Roman Empire, when a new emperor came to the throne, there’d obviously been a time of uncertainty. Somebody’s just died. Is there going to be chaos? Is society going to collapse? Are we going to have pirates ruling the seas? Are we going to have no food to eat? And the good news is, we have an emperor and his name is such and such. So, we’re going to have justice and peace and prosperity, and isn’t that great?!

Now, of course, most people in the Roman Empire knew that was rubbish because it was just another old jumped-up aristocrat who was going to do the same as the other ones had done. But that was the rhetoric.

Paul slices straight in with the Isaianic message: Good news! God is becoming King and he is doing it through Jesus! And therefore, phew! God’s justice, God’s peace, God’s world is going to be renewed.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Upcoming TEC House of Bishops Meeting Announces its Theme

The theme of the gathering will be Fostering a culture of curiosity, compassion and courage in Christ.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

(JE) Mark Tooley–Mainline Protestant Decline and Hope

This year is an ignominious anniversary for Mainline Protestantism, commemorating a half century of continuous decline since their membership peaks in the early 1960s. Fifty years ago one of every six Americans belonged to the Seven Sisters of Mainline Protestantism. Today it’s one of every 16 and plunging. Membership has dropped from 30 million to 20 million during a time when Americas population has nearly doubled. And it did so despite Gallup Poll’s insistence that overall church attendance has remained essentially the same for about the last 80 years.

In our current post denominational age, many question why this decline matters. Who cares about the Mainline except the dwindling and increasingly aged members who remain? After all, haven’t evangelical churches, especially nondenominationals, plus Catholicism, more than filled the void? Wasn’t it time for the Mainline to leave the stage, having more than played its part in American and Christian history across 4 centuries? And in the end, didn’t they deserve their own demise?

The answers are yes and no.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, History, Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Theology, United Church of Christ

(NYT magazine) After Boris Nemtsov’s Assassination, ”˜There Are No Longer Any Limits’ in Russia

On Russian social media, liberal Moscow has struggled to wrap its head around something that seemed like it simply couldn’t happen, until it did. It had been years since Nemtsov, a rising star in Yeltsin-era politics, had been the standard-bearer of Western liberalism, and he could be a silly bon vivant. But he was deeply intelligent, witty, kind and ubiquitous. He seemed to genuinely be everyone’s friend; when I lived in Moscow as a journalist, he was always willing to jaw over endless glasses of cognac. And he was a powerful, vigorous critic of Vladimir Putin, assailing him in every possible medium, constantly publishing reports on topics like the president’s lavish lifestyle and the corruption behind the Sochi Olympics.

How could such a prominent politician ”” a founder of the opposition Solidarity Party, a sitting member of the Yaroslavl city parliament ”” be gunned down so brazenly, within steps of the Kremlin? “We didn’t kill members of government,” Gleb Pavlovsky, an independent political consultant who used to work for Putin, told me over the phone. “It’s an absolutely new situation.” Olga Romanova, a prominent opposition activist and a close friend of Nemtsov, said, “There are more cameras in that spot than there are grains in a packet of grain.” When I called her last night, she had just come from the scene of the crime, where her friend still lay on the ground, surrounded by laughing policemen. “It’s the first time I’ve seen a very close person murdered, lying on the pavement,” she said. “It’s terrifying.”
Continue reading the main story

Putin promptly called Nemtsov’s mother to offer his condolences and threw what seemed like the entire Ministry of Internal Affairs on the case. Yet we can be sure that the investigation will lead precisely nowhere.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Russia, Theology

(FT) Wolfgang Münchau–Europe puts future at risk by playing it safe

…look where Greece has ended up after five years of crisis resolution. It has had one of the worst performances in economic history; yet we have just concluded an extension of the same policy.

Can this be sustainable? The pragmatists in Europe’s chancelleries say they can roll over loans indefinitely at very low interest rates. Economically, this is the equivalent of a debt writedown; yet politically it is easier to deliver because you do not need to recognise losses. The equivalent statement in a military conflict would be: if you renew a ceasefire often enough, you end up with peace.

This type of argument is not only immoral and dishonest. It also does not work. While you play this game of ex­tend-and-pretend, the real economy implodes: austerity has caused a meltdown in income and employment. Monetary policy mistakes caused a fall in eurozone-wide inflation rates that made it impossible for Greece and other periphery countries to improve the competitiveness they lost in the early years of monetary union.

If the EU deals with Ukraine in the same way it dealt with Greece, you can expect to see a parallel development in a few years.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Greece, Politics in General, Russia, The Banking System/Sector, Ukraine

Nearly 400 to Gather for Upcoming Annual Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina

The Diocese of South Carolina will hold its 224th Annual Convention in Charleston, March 13-14. Nearly 400 clergy and delegates representing 53 churches across the eastern and coastal part of South Carolina will participate.

“We have so much to celebrate as a diocese,” said the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, 14th Bishop of the Diocese. “Coming together at the Convention gives time to express our gratefulness to God, celebrate the life and growth in our congregations and move forward in spreading the Gospel and shaping Anglicanism in the 21st century.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Chad

Almighty God, whose servant Chad, for the peace of the Church, relinquished cheerfully the honors that had been thrust upon him, only to be rewarded with equal responsibility: Keep us, we pray thee, from thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, and ready at all times to give place to others, (in honor preferring one another,) that the cause of Christ may be advanced; in the name of him who washed his disciples’ feet, even the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from B. F. Westcott

O Eternal God, who hast taught us by thy holy Word that our bodies are temples of thy Spirit: Keep us, we most humbly beseech thee, temperate and holy in thought, word and deed, that at the last we, with all the pure in heart, may see thee and be made like unto thee in thy heavenly kingdom; through Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord…

–Romans 1:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Robert Fulford: No matter how much Muslims despise it, the truth is that ISIS has grown out of their

It offends many Muslims that their religion is connected automatically to the terrorism and cold-blooded massacres that are currently creating chaos in Iraq, Syria and Libya. They believe that terms like “Islamic terrorism,” “Jihadism” and “Islamo-fascism” carry an unfair implication that all Muslims are likely to support such crimes.

“Stop saying these words, they hurt,” a Toronto imam, Hamid Slimi, urged the federal government at a recent conference. He’s the former chairman of the Canadian Council of Imams, currently at work on a global campaign, Muslim Messengers of Peace.

Everyone can sympathize with law-abiding, peace-loving Muslims when they feel accused by implication of atrocities committed far away by people with whom they have no real connection except their religion. But the connection is not as distant as they might like to think.

Read it all from the National Post.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Economist) Caliphate calling–How ISIS appeals to women

…propagandists for jihad describe life under IS and wartime domesticity. Ms Mahmood gloats about microwaves and milkshake machines seized from non-believers. But they also express the pain of leaving families and the feeling of being very foreign in the Middle East. In a series called “Life of a Muhajirah [emigrant]”, a pregnant woman posts a picture of her ultrasound and worries that her husband will be become a shahid (martyr), though she accepts that this may be God’s will.

By establishing a caliphate, IS, unlike previous jihadist groups, is attempting to build a state. That has opened up roles for women. Fighting, though, is off-limits. “Women in the Islamic State”, a document published in January by an all-female unit of IS known as the al-Khansaa Brigade (translated into English by the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think-tank in London), explains that women should be mothers and homemakers, while men are by nature restless; “if the roles are mixed the basis of humanity is thrown into a state of flux and instability.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

(WSJ) Dave Barry: The Greatest (Party) Generation

…the list of things we’re not supposed to do anymore gets longer all the time. I recently encountered an article headlined:

IS YOUR HANDSHAKE AS DANGEROUS AS SMOKING?

The answer, in case you are a complete idiot, is: Of course your handshake is as dangerous as smoking. The article explains that handshakes transmit germs, which cause diseases such as MERS. MERS stands for “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome,” a fatal disease that may have originated in camels. This is yet another argument, as if we needed one, against shaking hands with camels. But the article suggests that we should consider not shaking hands with anybody.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, History, Humor / Trivia, Marriage & Family, Psychology