Daily Archives: September 21, 2015

(NYT) Drug Goes From $13.50 a Tablet to $750, Overnight

Specialists in infectious disease are protesting a gigantic overnight increase in the price of a 62-year-old drug that is the standard of care for treating a life-threatening parasitic infection.

The drug, called Daraprim, was acquired in August by Turing Pharmaceuticals, a start-up run by a former hedge fund manager. Turing immediately raised the price to $750 a tablet from $13.50, bringing the annual cost of treatment for some patients to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“What is it that they are doing differently that has led to this dramatic increase?” said Dr. Judith Aberg, the chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She said the price increase could force hospitals to use “alternative therapies that may not have the same efficacy.”

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

Gavin Ashenden responds to the London Times Editorial on the Anglican Primates Meeting

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture

(PBS Blog) Race relations in U.S. at a low point in recent history, new poll suggests

In the year following the death of Michael Brown, America has seen its share of racial disquiet. The Aug. 9, 2014, shooting death of the black teenager at the hands of a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked weeks of protest, and drew attention to a brand new civil rights campaign for the modern era: Black Lives Matter.

The organization, and the phrase itself, has been the center of controversy and tension since it gained nationwide attention last year. Candidates on the 2016 presidential campaign have stumbled while trying to find the perfect pitch in addressing its significance.

On the evening of June 17, 2015, America once again was forced to confront racial tensions with the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, nearly a year after Brown’s death.

It is with this backdrop that PBS NewsHour and Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion conducted a survey of Americans that illustrates the contrast in opinions along racial lines about the opportunities available today for African Americans.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Pope Francis in the U.S.

Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. on Tuesday, September 22nd, for five busy days in Washington, New York and Philadelphia. Managing editor Kim Lawton asks American Catholics about the beliefs that shape the Pope’s view of the world, and Tom Roberts, editor-at-large of National Catholic Reporter, and Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute of Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America, join host Bob Abernethy in the studio for a conversation about their expectations for the Pope’s trip.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Patheos) Tim Suttle–The MegaChurch is Like An Athlete On Steroids

If the church is the body of Christ, then the megachurch is like an athlete on steroids.

Every major city has a bevy of churches drawing between 5k-25k people. To get a body to grow that big leaders have to use some sort of performance enhancer. These things””typically models, strategies, and techniques gleaned not from the gospel or the Christian narrative, but from the world of business and the narrative of consumer capitalism””serve as performance enhancers that help create enormous congregations with huge facilities and hundreds of programs.

The impact of these practices is akin to using performance-enhancing drugs. They actually alter the form and function of the body, causing real and serious long-term consequences for the church universal.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Evangelicals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sports, Theology

Dr Will Strange: The Church in Wales steps back from Same-Sex Marriage

…Why is this a step back from same-sex marriage in the Church in Wales? Up until September 17th there appeared to be a strong tide of opinion in the Church in Wales running towards changing our marriage discipline. To some it seemed irresistible. But things have changed. After the Governing Body and the ballot, it is not realistic to expect a Bill to be brought forward by the Bishops in the immediate future. Quite apart from the hard evidence that it would fall short of the numbers required under Bill procedure, the Archbishop’s observation is fully justified: this is a highly divisive issue which has engaged passions even more than the debate over women bishops, and in which further action would do no more than create an acrimonious stalemate.

That is not to say the debate is finished. Those pressing for change will be disappointed that they did not persuade Governing Body on this occasion and they will no doubt hope to carry the fight on. They have strong support in all three houses and the ballot revealed the important fact that they have the majority of Bishops behind them, something which had never been shown publically before or acknowledged officially.

But significantly, and surprisingly to many of us, the Governing Body of a province which is often regarded as one of the most liberal in the Anglican Communion has found its own voice and shown that it can be faithful to the teaching of scripture and to the witness of tradition. We have to pray that the province as a whole can remain so in the days ahead.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales

GAFCON Chairman's September Pastoral Letter on Saint Matthew's Day

My dear brothers and sisters,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our precious Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

I continue to thank God for the global family of the GAFCON movement and as we stand together to restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion, I believe that we are recovering what it truly means to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Today, we give thanks for St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist for whom discipleship was costly. The call of Jesus was the point where he abandoned his love of money because he knew God had not abandoned him. Matthew, the despised tax collector, experienced the grace of God as he was given a new purpose in life and a new community to be part of.

Real discipleship will be marked by sacrifice and by love for Jesus Christ, and if we truly love Jesus Christ, we will love another and we will work together love the lost. It is therefore very sad that the Archbishop of Canterbury is calling a meeting of Primates to see if the Communion can be saved by making relationships between its Churches more distant rather than closer.

A statement in response to the Archbishop’s invitation can found on the GAFCON website. Let me simply say here that a global Communion embracing widely different cultures should strengthen its member Churches by mutual wisdom to see where adaptation becomes compromise, each Church being submitted to the revelation of Jesus Christ as we have it in Scripture as our final authority in all times and in all places. Instead, it has become clear over the last twenty years that the Communion is becoming a source of weakness as Churches which have rejected the truth as Anglicans have received it spread false teaching, yet continue to enjoy full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Our GAFCON movement believes in a much richer vision. We seek to unite. We recognise and embrace those who sacrifice for the sake of the gospel, not only those who persevere in the face of violent persecution but also those who persevere despite being marginalised and even forced out of their traditional spiritual homes by the rise of false teaching in the Church. To them we say ”˜You are not alone’ as we join together to make Christ known.

I am very encouraged to see this commitment to true discipleship bearing fruit in various ways as our movement matures and I want to highlight a recent initiative…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates

(C of E Blog) Why Archbishop Welby is challenging young Christians to spend ”˜a year in God's time'

The reality is a little different, but ”“ I believe ”“ even more exciting. The Community is open to young Christians from around the world, from every part of the church, and with every kind of professional background or ambition. Whether they are already, or plan to be, working in banking, education, politics or the media, or they sense a call to serve the church, the programme offers the same opportunity: to experience a monastic lifestyle focused on Jesus Christ, and to do that while actively serving in the world.

Today in a special service at Lambeth Palace, the first members of the Community of St Anselm will promise to spend the next year living by a Rule of Life that the ancient monastics would have recognised.

They will be committing to a year of prayer, study, rigorous self-examination and committed fellowship with one another. But they will also be committing to live out this loving life of Christ in local communities, serving those on the margins and in most need.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Young Adults

(Telegraph) Charles Moore-Nothing has changed in 25 years to ease my concerns about Islam

That name itself is the fiercest, most raw expression of the problem which was already bothering me. We would not, in modern times, want to live in a country called “Christian State”, and few Christians would suggest it. Most Muslims, luckily, do not admire the bloodthirsty regime trying to plant its flag in the most troubled corners of the Middle East, but significant numbers do see a faith-run, faith-defined state as the ultimate goal in this life. They therefore do not believe in secular law, freedom, pluralism or, except in limited form, the rights of unbelievers.

So the sad fact is that nothing in the past quarter-century has undermined the basic argument ”“ as opposed to my tasteless expression of it ”“ which I put forward then. Indeed, the opposite.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Matthew

We thank thee, heavenly Father, for the witness of thine apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of thy Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through 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 the Pastor's Prayerbook

Almighty God, who alone gavest us the breath of life, and alone canst keep alive in us the holy desires thou dost impart; We beseech thee, for thy compassion’s sake, to sanctify all our thoughts and endeavours; that we may neither begin an action without a pure intention nor continue it without thy blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of the mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, we may in heart be inspired by thy wisdom, and in work be upheld by thy strength, and in the end be accepted of thee as thy faithful servants; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock! Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before E’phraim and Benjamin and Manas’seh! Stir up thy might, and come to save us!

–Psalm 80:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Charleston church hosts PBS town-hall conversation on aftermath of Emanuel AME killings

The discussion, which will be condensed into an hourlong broadcast, touched on a wide range of issues, including racial disparities in education, health care, wealth, the judicial system and politics.

Former North Carolina state Sen. Malcolm Graham, whose sister Cynthia Hurd was killed in the shooting, rebuffed what he described as generalizations of forgiveness made about the families of the victims that suggested that forgiveness was something they had all expressed.

“The attack was an attack on a race of people. It was an attack on humanity. … I have a forgiving spirit,” Graham said, pausing for a beat before landing his point. “I do not forgive.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Christian Today) Archbishop Welby launches monastic community at Lambeth Palace

Young people and their families gathered in the Archbishop’s Chapel at Lambeth Palace today to celebrate the launch of the community of St Anselm; a monastic-style year-long programme focused on prayer and service to the poor.

It was a relaxed affair; though featuring a number of sombre prayers of commitment and traditional hymns, the service was undoubtedly a celebration – punctuated with worship songs from countries around the world, choral arrangements by the St Martin’s Voices were met with bongo drums. The 36 new community members – all aged between 20 and 35 – come from five continents and countries as far flung as Kenya and Australia, and parts of the service were conducted in French, Spanish and Swedish. As Archbishop Justin Welby called each member by name, they stood to acknowledge their new role, declaring “I am here” in their native language; echoing the words of Moses in Exodus 3 which was read at the beginning of the service.

Welby began his sermon with his trademark jovial style. Noting that many bishops have been consecrated in the chapel, he said to appreciative laughter, “this is a place where people have gone from here to suffering, to martyrdom, and here we are today…I’m sorry, that’s probably a bad illustration.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer, Young Adults

(F Things) Mark Bauerlein–Prayer in the Facebook age

Here and elsewhere, the people press and beseech, and Jesus needs a respite.

But, of course, the isolation has a positive content. It’s not about getting away from others but about going toward something else. Jesus isn’t alone. He’s with the Father. Prayer can happen in company. Church worship is corporate prayer. But there must be times when a soul petitions the Father in solitude. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone,” but Jesus’s example shows the periodic necessity of making God your only companion. Too often the world draws you away from him, and so you must slough off your circumstances and address him by yourself, oriented toward nothing else, no outside distractions or commitments. The first commandment is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Loving your neighbor comes second.
We are in danger of losing these replenishing, corrective moments of solitary faith. Silence and seclusion are harder to find, and fewer people seek them out. You find a lone bench in the park on a fall afternoon, gaze up at the sky through the branches, and begin the Rosary only to have a power walker march by barking into an invisible mic. It’s not just the noise, it’s his connection to absent persons, as if to say that being in one place alone with the Lord is insufficient.

Social media is the culprit. Text­ing, selfies, updates, chats, snapchats, tweets, multiplayer games, blogs, wikis, and email enable people to gossip, boast, rant, strategize, self-promote, share, collaborate, inform, emote, and otherwise connect with one another anywhere and all the time. The volume is astounding. Earlier this year, Facebook boasted 1.23 billion active users, while late last year Twitter’s 200 million users sent 400 million tweets per day. According to Nielsen Media, a teen with a mobile device sends or receives on average around 3,300 text messages per month, in addition to logging 650 minutes of phone calls.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology