Daily Archives: July 8, 2015

C of E Response to Sunday trading announcement

A spokesman from Church House, Westminster, said: “The Church of England has always maintained that a common day of rest is important for family life, for community life and for personal well-being. Increased Sunday trading will inevitably lead to further erosion of shared leisure time when a majority of people can count on being able to do things together. It will have an impact on community activities of many kinds, amateur sport, contact across extended families and religious observance. It seems quite contrary to the objectives of the Big Society, which once helped to shape policy and which the Church of England enthusiastically supported. Any further erosion of shared community life, whether that is driven by central or local government, will be detrimental to all of us.”

Bishop Colin added: “Clearly we await with interest to see what the Chancellor is actually proposing but it would be very sad for many people if Sundays were to become just like every other day of the week in terms of shopping. Even with the current levels of shop-opening there is something different about Sundays for most people ”“ and certainly for most families ”“ with its change of pace and we would be unwise as a society to encourage that to disappear.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(London Times) Make concessions by tomorrow or you’re out, Greece told

The German Red Cross said today it was willing to rush medical and other humanitarian aid to Greece as the country’s economy teetered on the brink of collapse.

“We are ready in every respect,” spokesman Dieter Schutz told Leipziger Volkszeitung newspaper. “Pensioners, the poor, the sick and refugees” have been hit hardest, he said.

Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, who will chair the summit said: “I have no doubt that this is the most critical moment in the history of the EU. This will affect all Europe also in the geopolitical sense.”

President Hollande of France, the most optimistic of eurozone leaders on finding a solution, said: “What is at stake is the place of Greece within the EU and therefore the eurozone.”

Read it all (requires subsciption).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

A recent Ordination sermon by the Venerable Karen Gorham, Archdeacon of Buckingham

R S Thomas, who died in 2000, was a priest and a poet, described as lacking charity and patience, and known for his crabbiness, his poetry however captures some of the realities around about life and faith, about pondering some of the deeper things of life, as we do in a service such as this one.

I wonder whether you have had a Romeo or Juliet moment? Balancing gravel in your hand, throwing it up at a window, wondering if it will be heard? Maybe it actually happened for you, the window really and literally opened and someone responded to your voice. Or, maybe sometime in your life, you have called out, perhaps in prayer, just wondering if anyone is there at all.

The poem is an illustration of faith in most of our lives today, some of us detecting the slight movement of a curtain, be it a hunch, a mysterious coincidence or a curious inquisitiveness to push at the door, or throw that stone up at the window, just to see what might happen.

Today, that curtain has moved that bit more noticeably for all of us as we observe faith in action. As these candidates respond to God’s call on their lives by being ordained. 25 being ordained in services here today, and of many hundreds being ordained across the country over the last few weeks.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

(NYT) South Sudan’s Fourth Anniversary Offers Little to Celebrate

For more than 18 months, South Sudan has been torn asunder by a civil war, with towns deserted and in ruins, villages burned to the ground, hundreds of thousands displaced and thousands dead.

But it may not be the battle of arms that poses the most immediate threat to the survival of Mr. Kiir’s government.

It may be the shattered economy.

Western officials say that the government nearly ran out of money in May and that it is being kept afloat only by printing currency at a seemingly unsustainable rate and by a recent loan from a Middle Eastern nation, perhaps Qatar.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Sudan, Theology

(Tablet) Cardinal Nichols and R. Church turns to Alpha leader to kick-start parishes

The Catholic Church in England and Wales is turning to the pioneer of the Alpha course to inspire parishes to evangelise.

The Revd Nicky Gumbel, vicar at the Holy Trinity Brompton church in South Kensington, London, is due to address 850 diocesan representatives at Proclaim ’15, a national Catholic evangelisation gathering in Birmingham on Saturday.

The Alpha course is a 10-week introduction to Christianity borne out of the charismatic Evangelical movement and is now used by more Catholic churches worldwide than Anglican ones.

Clare Ward, home mission adviser to the bishops’ conference said Mr Gumbel had been invited to help parishes shift their mentality “from maintenance to mission”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Gallup's The Queue) The Rising Presence of Smartphones in American Life

The smartphone has become a focal part of our day, in both our work life and our personal life. It has become a vital component of the business arena. We use it to communicate with others, make purchases, follow the news, access entertainment and keep us on time for our daily appointments.

This week on Gallup.com, we explore the rising ubiquity of smartphones in the U.S. today. We will report results from a special survey of more than 15,000 smartphone users’ habits, including how often Americans use their smartphones and whether they think it has made their lives better. How often do they buy items with a smartphone, or do they prefer a computer for online purchases? Do they use it to manage their finances? When a new smartphone comes out, do users need to upgrade right away or can they wait until their current phone stops working?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Science & Technology, Sociology, Theology

(Local Paper) Charleston SC rated best destination in U.S. and Canada

Readers of Travel + Leisure ranked Charleston as the No. 1 city to visit in the U.S. and Canada in its 2014 World’s Best Awards announced Wednesday.

Charleston landed the No. 2 slot in the publication’s top 10 list of best cities in the world overall. Kyoto, Japan, took the leading spot by a fraction.

Cities are given numeric scores based on readers’s ratings of sights and landmarks, culture and arts, restaurants and food, people, and value.

“We believe that Charleston encapsulates the authentic travel experience for which Travel + Leisure readers are looking,” said Dan Blumenstock, director of hotel operations of Fennel Holdings and chair of the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “That readers ranked Charleston the best city in the U.S. and Canada is a testament to Charleston’s viability as a world-class destination for travelers.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * South Carolina, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Media, Politics in General, Travel

(NBC) Pregnant and Hooked: How One Program Helps Heroin Addicts

News that rates of heroin use doubled among women over the past decade doesn’t surprise Shea, who’s 26 and pregnant. She’s also a newly clean addict.

It also doesn’t surprise the staff at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Perinatal Addiction Treatment program in New Hampshire, where Shea got help to reduce the odds of giving birth to an addicted baby.

“I came to treatment because I wanted to get well and I wanted to take care of my son and I wanted to get the chance to be a mother,” Shea, who asked that her last name not be used, told NBC News.

Shea got off heroin with the help of the program ”” set up to help women get clean before they give birth, so their babies won’t be born addicted.

Read it all (video well worthwhile).

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

(W Post) Heroin deaths have quadrupled in the past decade

Primed by widespread use of prescription opioid pain-killers, heroin addiction and the rate of fatal overdoses have increased rapidly over the past decade, touching parts of society that previously were relatively unscathed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

The death rate from overdoses nearly quadrupled to 2.7 per 100,000 people between 2002 and 2013, CDC Director Tom Frieden said during a telephone news conference Tuesday. In 60 percent of those cases, the cause of death was attributed to heroin and at least one other drug, often cocaine, according to Chris Jones, lead author of the report and a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Public Health Strategy and Analysis.

But it is the highly addictive pain-killing opioids, prescribed and sometimes over-prescribed by physicians who are not highly trained in pain management, that concerns officials most, Frieden said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine

(NPR) Lacking Votes, California Assembly Shelves Assisted Suicide Bill

Recognizing they lacked votes in a key Assembly committee, authors of legislation that would have allowed terminally ill Californians to legally end their lives pulled the bill Tuesday morning.

Senate Bill 128, the End of Life Option Act, had already cleared the state Senate, but faced opposition in the Assembly Health Committee. That included a group of southern California Democrats, almost all of whom are Latino, after the archbishop of Los Angeles increased its advocacy efforts in opposition to the bill.

“We continue to work with Assembly members to ensure they are comfortable with the bill,” said a joint statement from Sens. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and Bill Monning, D-Monterey, and Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton. “For dying Californians like Jennifer Glass, who was scheduled to testify today, this issue is urgent. We remain committed to passing the End of Life Option Act for all Californians who want and need the option of medical aid in dying.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology

(CC) Philip Jenkins–Megachurches in Singapore

Over the past three years, a major church scandal has unfolded in the island state of Singa­pore (literally, the “Lion City”). The target of investigation is the mighty City Harvest mega­church, which claims more than 20,000 adherents. Found­ing pastor Kong Hee has been accused of diverting at least $20 million to support his wife’s pop music career. Several other church leaders have been implicated in alleged cover-ups.

At first sight such a scandal might seem unremarkable. Sadly, clergy on all continents sometimes fail to live up to their principles, and churches often lack accountability.

What is astonishing is the existence of megachurches in Singapore, and their enormous popularity. This fact challenges much of what we commonly think we know about the nature of Chris­tianity outside its traditional Euro-American heartlands. It also raises basic questions about the process of secularization….

Most of the usual explanations for Christian expansion in Asia fall flat in the case of Singapore.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Evangelicals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Singapore, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer for the Home to begin the Day from the Pastor's Prayer Book

O Lord our God, Who hast bidden the light to shine out of darkness, Who hast again wakened us to praise Thy goodness and ask for Thy grace; accept now, in Thy endless mercy, the sacrifice of our worship and thanksgiving, and grant unto us all such requests as may be wholesome for us. Make us to be children of the light and of the day, and heirs of Thy everlasting inheritance. Remember, O Lord, according to the multitude of Thy mercies, Thy whole Church; all who join with us in prayer, all our brethren by land or sea, or wherever they may be in Thy vast kingdom who stand in need of Thy grace and succour. Pour out upon them the riches of Thy mercy, so that we, redeemed in soul and body, and steadfast in faith, may ever praise Thy wonderful and holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

–1 Samuel 16:7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT Well Blog) Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll on Children

Excessive use of computer games among young people in China appears to be taking an alarming turn and may have particular relevance for American parents whose children spend many hours a day focused on electronic screens. The documentary “Web Junkie,” to be shown next Monday on PBS, highlights the tragic effects on teenagers who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake.

Chinese doctors consider this phenomenon a clinical disorder and have established rehabilitation centers where afflicted youngsters are confined for months of sometimes draconian therapy, completely isolated from all media, the effectiveness of which remains to be demonstrated.

While Internet addiction is not yet considered a clinical diagnosis here, there’s no question that American youths are plugged in and tuned out of “live” action for many more hours of the day than experts consider healthy for normal development. And it starts early, often with preverbal toddlers handed their parents’ cellphones and tablets to entertain themselves when they should be observing the world around them and interacting with their caregivers.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

(Independent) We should all remember Ken Livingstone's emotional 7/7 speech

I have no doubt whatsoever that this is a terrorist attack. We did hope in the first few minutes after hearing about the events on the Underground that it might simply be a maintenance tragedy. That was not the case. I have been able to stay in touch through the very excellent communications that were established for the eventuality that I might be out of the city at the time of a terrorist attack and they have worked with remarkable effectiveness. I will be in continual contact until I am back in London.

I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.

That isn’t an ideology, it isn’t even a perverted faith – it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I’m proud to be the mayor of that city.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, City Government, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Terrorism, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence