Monthly Archives: August 2010

For Many, a New Job Means Lower Wages, Studies Find

After being out of work for more than a year, Donna Ings, 47, finally landed a job in February as a home health aide, earning about $10 an hour, with a company in Lexington, Mass.

Chelsea Nelson, 21, started two weeks ago as a waitress at a truck stop in Mountainburg, Ark., making around $7 or $8 an hour, depending on tips, ending a lengthy job search that took her young family to California and back.

Both are ostensibly economic success stories, people who were able to find work in a difficult labor market. Ms. Ing’s employer, Home Instead Senior Care, a company with franchises across the country, has been aggressively expanding. Ms. Nelson’s restaurant, Silver Bridge Truck Stop, recently reopened and hired about 20 people last month in an area thirsty for jobs.

Both women, however, took large pay cuts from their old jobs ”” Ms. Ing worked in the office of a wholesale tuxedo distributor; Ms. Nelson used to be a secretary. And both remain worried about how they will make ends meet in the long run.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Great Shot Roger !!!

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

David Brooks: Nation Building Works

Iraq ranks fourth in the Middle East on the Index of Political Freedom from The Economist’s Intelligence Unit ”” behind Israel, Lebanon and Morocco, but ahead of Jordan, Egypt, Qatar and Tunisia. Nearly two-thirds of Iraqis say they want a democracy, while only 19 percent want an Islamic state.

In short, there has been substantial progress on the things development efforts can touch most directly: economic growth, basic security, and political and legal institutions. After the disaster of the first few years, nation building, much derided, has been a success. When President Obama speaks to the country on Iraq, he’ll be able to point to a large national project that has contributed to measurable, positive results.

Of course, to be honest, he’ll also have to say how fragile and incomplete this success is. Iraqi material conditions are better, but the Iraqi mind has not caught up with the Iraqi opportunity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iraq, Iraq War, Middle East, Politics in General

NPR–Is Believing In God Evolutionarily Advantageous?

For decades, the intellectual descendants of Darwin have pored over ancient bones and bits of fossils, trying to piece together how fish evolved into man, theorizing about the evolutionary advantage conferred by each physical change. And over the past 10 years, a small group of academics have begun to look at religion in the same way: they’ve started to look at God and the supernatural through the lens of evolution.

In the history of the world, every culture in every location at every point in time has developed some supernatural belief system. And when a human behavior is so universal, scientists often argue that it must be an evolutionary adaptation along the lines of standing upright. That is, something so helpful that the people who had it thrived, and the people who didn’t slowly died out until we were all left with the trait. But what could be the evolutionary advantage of believing in God?

[Jesse] Bering is one of the academics who are trying to figure that out. In the years since his mother’s death, Bering has done experiments in his lab at Queens University, Belfast, in an attempt to understand how belief in the supernatural might have conferred some advantage and made us into the species we are today.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, History, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Stephen Conway Announced as the New Bishop of Ely

Following the formal announcement and a press conference with the local media, Bishop Stephen spent the day touring the Diocese visiting some of his future colleagues and parishioners.

After meeting Diocesan Office staff and others he visited a farm in Ramsey. He then went to Hampton, the site of a new church, for lunch with others from the Diocese. In the afternoon he met with a headteacher from one of our church schools, and visited a small innovative hi-tech business and one of the Universities in Cambridge. His day concluded at Ely Cathedral where he joined worshippers for Evening Prayer.

Read it all and enjoy the pictures.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Your Prayers Requested for the election of new Rwandan Archbishop September 17

You may find some information on this here–read it all.

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

Your prayers Requested for a Diocese of South Carolina Clergy Day September 2

It is one part of a very full fall.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

BBC: Iraq 'independent' as US combat operations end

Iraq’s prime minister has said the country is “independent” as the US formally ends combat operations.

Nouri Maliki said the country’s security forces would now deal with all threats, domestic or other.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Iraq War, Middle East

Diocesan-led worship begins at St. Matthew's, Abbotsford after split

The size of the congregation more than met expectations. Some in attendance were visitors whose homes are not in Abbotsford. The service ended at 8:45am. At this initial service of renewed diocesan worship at St. Matthew’s a post service coffee time in the parish hall had not been planned, but members of the ANiC congregation which use the St. Matthew’s church building had thoughtfully set-up tables for a post service coffee time and had made the kitchen available. 17 of those in attendance at the service did go for breakfast/coffee at a nearby restaurant. Organizing and on-site “Coffee Time” will happen in the near future.

The ANiC leaders representing their community were cordial and cooperative and did an outstanding job of setting up the Parish Hall for worship. The ACoC congregation were not required to replace chairs or re-organize the space. Arrangements for future Sundays may differ. The ANiC leadership agreed to the use of the piano to add a musical component to the worship and that may come to pass in future weeks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Manchester Evening News–Vicars to be told how to spot sham marriages

Vicars in Greater Manchester are to be coached on how to spot bogus marriages.

The UK Border Agency is issuing guidance to clergy across the north west after a spate of fake weddings were exposed during immigration raids.

In recent months, immigration teams have swooped on a number of suspected sham ceremonies in local register offices following tip-offs that brides and grooms did not even speak the same language.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

RNS–Church court convicts pastor on same sex marriage charges

A Presbyterian court on Friday (Aug. 27) found a retired California pastor guilty of violating church rules and her ordination vows by performing same-sex marriages while it was briefly legal in the state in 2008.

The Rev. Jane Spahr, 68, did not deny presiding at as many as 16 ceremonies, even though her denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA), prohibits ministers from stating, implying or representing same-sex unions as marriages.

The Napa, Calif.-based Permanent Judicial Commission of the Presbytery of the Redwoods found Spahr guilty by a 4-2 vote, concluding she persisted in a “pattern or practice of disobedience.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology

(Guardian) Is the Pope Benedict's media team up to the challenge?

Pope John Paul II was seen as the great communicating pontiff, a man who went out from the Vatican to engage with the world. The message was clear and the symbolism spot on: remember him kneeling to kiss the ground when he came to the UK during the Falklands war in 1982? The present pope, Benedict XVI, could not be more different. A scholarly man who made his way as the previous pope’s enforcer in the Vatican, he is not a natural communicator.

Benedict XVI’s regime has seen several PR disasters: the Regensburg address in 2006, which was widely interpreted as an attack on Muslims, then the suggestion that saving humanity from homosexuality was as important as saving the rainforest, and the decision to pardon Richard Williamson, the Holocaust-denying British bishop.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Media, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne

Everliving God, who didst call thy servants Aidan and Cuthbert to proclaim the Gospel in northern England and endued them with loving hearts and gentle spirits: Grant us grace to live as they did, in simplicity, humility and love for the poor; through Jesus Christ, who came among us as one who serves, and who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Aidan

Everliving God, who didst call thy servants Aidan and Cuthbert to proclaim the Gospel in northern England and endued them with loving hearts and gentle spirits: Grant us grace to live as they did, in simplicity, humility and love for the poor; through Jesus Christ, who came among us as one who serves, and who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

O LORD, I love the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy glory dwells.

–Psalm 26:8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

An Open Letter from Good Samaritan, Paoli to the Church on Bishop Bennison

(Via email–KSH).

An Open Letter to the People of the Episcopal Church, the People of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, Bishop Charles E. Bennison, and the Congregation of the Church of the Good Samaritan

August 30, 2010

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

With sadness and concern we learned of Bishop Bennison’s decision to return as Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. We mourn with any young or vulnerable person; we mourn the fear and anxiety in our own diocese; we mourn damage to the proclamation of the good news; we mourn for those whose faith is shaken and for those who may not arrive at faith. We mourn that his actions, past and current, and decisions in this case bring scandal to the Church and hinder the proclamation of the good news of Christ crucified and resurrected.

Within the examination of all who are to be ordained to the priesthood, the ordinand vows to “do your best to pattern your life (and that of your family, or household, or community) in accordance with the teachings of Christ, so that you may be a wholesome example to your people.” (Book of Common Prayer 532) As bishop, each is required to vow to “defend those who have no helper” (BCP 518) and to be a guardian (BCP 519, 521) to all in a diocese. Among other qualifications, the bishop must be above reproach (I Tim 3:2-7, Titus 1:6-9). Our Lord warned against scandalizing the young (Mt 18:6, Lk 17:2, Mk 9:42-50). The Apostle Paul likewise speaks on the dangers of sexual sin and forbids sheltering any who scandalize the church with such action (1Cor. 5:1-13). Christ’s call is for us to turn away from sin: “”¦ the kingdom of God is near; repent and believe in the good news” (Mk 1:15, Mt 4:17). Holy Scripture proclaims the gravity of the office.

Many have asked Bishop Bennison to step down for the good of the diocese, the wider church and for himself. We join their request and call him to repent of the harm done to individuals and to the witness of the church. A public sign of this repentance would be resignation.

Further, we call ourselves to repent and proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. We urge all members of the congregation of the Church of the Good Samaritan, the diocese, and the Episcopal Church to join us in repentance for our individual sins and for any negligence inside the Church in protecting the vulnerable, scandalizing the young, damaging the witness of the church, and neglecting to proclaim the good news of Christ’s atoning work.
We will celebrate a service for prayer for the state of the church at the Church of the Good Samaritan on Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 7 p.m. All are welcome, and if you are not joining us in person, we invite you to join us in prayer at that time.

In faithfulness and prayer,

Vestry, Church of the Good Samaritan

Bob Anewalt, Tom Connett, Rich Englander, Charlene Fitzwater, Joanne Gillespie, Chuck Gregan, Andrew
Krider, Peter Niedland, Steve Ross, John Searle, Brenda Shantz, R.J. Snell, Mark Stockwell, Ronnie Tousignant

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

Elizabeth Lowry reviews Juliet Nicolson's new book on the aftermath of WWI, "The Great Silence"

“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old”””we are all familiar with Laurence Binyon’s lament for the fallen of World War I. “The Great Silence” is the less-known story of the aftermath of that war: of those who were left and who did grow old. It complements Juliet Nicolson’s earlier account, in “The Perfect Summer,” of the golden period prefacing the outbreak of hostilities, an interlude of prosperity that only served to throw the horror of the conflict and the social disintegration that followed into sharper relief.

Of the five million British servicemen who went out to fight in the European trenches, 1.5 million came back with permanent injuries and disfigurements; others were traumatized in less immediately obvious ways. Taking stock, the Illustrated London News wrote at the time that the war had “destroyed millions of men, broken millions of lives, ruined great cities and hamlets”; it had left “a belt of earth ravaged, crowded the world with maimed men, blind, mad, sick men, flinging empires into anarchy.” Those who did return, anticipating the “land fit for heroes” promised by the British Prime Minister Lloyd George, found that neither glory nor reward were forthcoming. The economy had collapsed, jobs were scarce and housing was in short supply. Once the euphoria following the Armistice had run its course, the silence that descended when the guns finally stopped was largely one of stunned bewilderment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Books, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry

Benjamin Myers–"Theology 2.0: Blogging as Theological Discourse"

Read it carefully and it all (17 page pdf of a journal article from Cultural Encounters).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Religion & Culture, Theology

ACNS–Jan Butter: Seven days in Entebbe – A reflection on the All Africa Bishops Conference

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda

(New Vision) African Bishops condemn corruption

The week-long All Africa Bishops Conference closed yesterday, with the prelates condemning corruption.

“Our political leaders are urged to have a hard look at the style of leadership that has so far engendered corruption, poverty, insecurity and underdevelopment,” the prelates said in a five-page resolution.

The communiqué was read to journalists by the chairperson of the Coalition of African Prelates Association, Ian Ernest, at a briefing attended by other archbishops at the Kampala Serena Conference Centre.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda

SMH: Churches Down Under get opt-out point on same-sex adoption bill

The independent state MP Clover Moore has moved to shore up support for her same-sex adoption bill by giving church adoption agencies the right to refuse services to gay and lesbian couples without breaching anti-discrimination laws.

Ms Moore wrote to MPs on Friday announcing she would amend the bill and reintroduce it to Parliament on Thursday.

She told the Herald she was amending the bill “in line with requests” from church adoption agencies to help ensure its passage through Parliament.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Eboo Patel (USA Today)–Division vs. unity

In the late 19th century, the forces of religious division in America targeted Catholics. Josiah Strong’s book Our Country: Its Possible Future and Present Crisis referred to Catholics as “the alien Romanist” who swore allegiance to the pope instead of the country and rejected core American values such as freedom of the press and religious liberty. The book remained in print for decades and sold nearly 200,000 copies.

In the early 20th century, the forces of religious division in America targeted Jews. Harvard scholar Diana Eck writes, “In the 1930s and early 1940s, hate organizations grew and conspiracy theories about Jewish influence spread like wildfire.” In 1939, Father Charles Coughlin’s Christian Front filled Madison Square Garden with 20,000 people at a vitriolic anti-Semitic event complete with banners that read: “Stop Jewish Domination of America.”

Today, the forces of religious division demonize Muslims….

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Religion & Culture

(Nanaimo Daily News)–People find spirituality outside the mainstream

Bob Lane believes people are searching for more than traditional answers to their spiritual needs.

Canadians are more often looking away from traditional western religions to fulfill those needs.

Lane understands why events like Saturday’s Pagan Pride Day are attracting more and more people every year and why a growing number of young people are not attending traditional churches.

Rev. Brian Evans of St. Paul’s Anglican Church can’t put his finger on why, but agrees a growing number of people in British Columbia are looking elsewhere for spiritual fulfilment.

“All the indicators tell us that we (B.C.) have the highest percentage of people in North America who do not participate in traditional Christian Church practices,” Evans said.

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Religion & Culture

Monday Morning Open Thread–What was the Best Adult Education Class you have ever Attended and why?

I am interested in the following: where was it offered, who taught it, what aids did you use if any (book, video), how long did it last (both the classes themselves as well as the overall course), and, most especially, WHY did it have such a big impact on you? Any other details are of course welcome. Many thanks–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Adult Education, Blogging & the Internet, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

WLOX: People of different faiths gather to remember Katrina in Mississippi

It was a celebration of how people of different faiths can work together for the common good. An interfaith sunrise worship service at Trinity Episcopal Church in Pass Christian recognized the impact that many religious groups have had in hurricane recovery.

Jews, Christians. Muslims and Hare Krishnas were at the sunrise worship service. All believers were welcome.

“That we all serve an awesome God,” said Alice Graham, Mississippi Coast Interfaith Disaster Task Force. “We come to that service of God from different faith traditions. We’re unified in that we serve a God that calls us all into community.”

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Hurricane Katrina, Inter-Faith Relations, TEC Parishes

Mark Helprin (WSJ): The World Trade Center Mosque and the Constitution

Mosques have commemoratively been established upon the ruins or in the shells of the sacred buildings of other religions””most notably but not exclusively in Cordoba, Jerusalem, Istanbul, and India. When sited in this fashion they are monuments to victory, and the chief objection to this one is not to its existence but that it would be near the site of atrocities””not just one””closely associated with mosques because they were planned and at times celebrated in them.

Building close to Ground Zero disregards the passions, grief and preferences not only of most of the families of September 11th but, because we are all the families of September 11th, those of the American people as well, even if not the whole of the American people. If the project is to promote moderate Islam, why have its sponsors so relentlessly, without the slightest compromise, insisted upon such a sensitive and inflammatory setting? That is not moderate. It is aggressively militant.

Disregarding pleas to build it at a sufficient remove so as not to be linked to an abomination committed, widely praised, and throughout the world seldom condemned in the name of Islam, the militant proponents of the World Trade Center mosque are guilty of a poorly concealed provocation. They dare Americans to appear anti-Islamic and intolerant or just to roll over.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, City Government, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

Local Paper front Page–the S.C. Economy along the I-95 corridor: From bad to worse

Every seat in the Clarendon County unemployment office is taken on a typical weekday afternoon, and many of these people won’t find new jobs any time soon. That’s just the way it is here along South Carolina’s poor and rural Interstate 95 corridor.

So far this year, only one job opens for every three people sitting in the seats at the satellite office where folks travel for miles to file unemployment claims and apply for new work.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

Bankers Told Recovery May Be Slow

The American economy could experience painfully slow growth and stubbornly high unemployment for a decade or longer as a result of the 2007 collapse of the housing market and the economic turmoil that followed, according to an authority on the history of financial crises.

That finding, contained in a new paper by Carmen M. Reinhart, an economist at the University of Maryland, generated considerable debate during an annual policy symposium here, organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, which concluded on Saturday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

What Does It Feel Like To Be 75? Say Goodbye To Spry

While reporting my recent series on Aging At Home, I came across a special suit at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. It’s meant to help 20-something engineers feel the aches and limitations of an average 75-year-old so they can design better products for them. Think of it as working like those outfits Superheroes put on, only backward. Of course, I couldn’t resist.

Now, I’m 40-something ”” no spring chicken. But if the crosswalk light is blinking, I can still dash across the street, no problem. Until, that is, MIT researcher Rozanne Puleo starts strapping me into what she calls her Age Gain Now Empathy System.

I pull a harness around my waist and Puleo starts attaching things to it. First, stretchy rubber bands connect from my waist to the bottom of my feet.

“It will limit your hip flexion,” Puleo explains.

Read or listen to it all and make sure to look at the enlarged version of the picture.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Science & Technology

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Department: Learn how to Study!

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Education, Humor / Trivia