Daily Archives: October 10, 2010

The Economist Leader–The quest for growth may depend on structural reforms

Look at the world economy as a whole, and you could be forgiven for thinking that the recovery is in pretty decent shape. This week the IMF predicted that global GDP should expand by 4.8% this year””slower than in the boom before the financial crisis, but well above the world’s underlying speed limit of around 4%. Growth above trend is exactly what you would expect in a rebound from recession.

Yet this respectable average hides a series of problems. Most obviously, there is the gap between the vitality of the big emerging economies, some of which have been sprinting along at close to 10%, and the sluggishness of many rich ones. Macroeconomic policy is also weirdly skewed: many emerging economies are loth to let their currencies rise to reflect their vigour, even as fragile rich ones are embarking on austerity programmes. And finally there is a crucial missing ingredient just about everywhere: “micro” structural reform, without which current growth rates are unlikely to last.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Europe, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Taxes

Roger Olson: A good new book on Reformed theology

I have to give them credit. Reformed theologians are prolific when it comes to writing about their own tradition. I have in my library (and have read) several excellent volumes expounding the Reformed theological tradition. (E.g., Introducing the Reformed Faith by Donald K. McKim, The Westminster Handbook to Reformed Theology edited by McKim, The Basic Ideas of Calvinism (really a book about Reformed theology in general) by H. Henry Meeter, What Is Reformed Theology? by R. C. Sproul.

The newest addition to my library is Reformed Theology by R. Michael Allen (Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Knox Theological Seminary at Fort Lauderdale, FL [which I think, if I’m not mistaken, was founded by the ministry of the late D. James Kennedy].) Allen’s volume is, in my judgment, the best of the lot. I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in knowing about and understanding one particular strain or flavor of Reformed theology….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Theology

Local Newspaper Editorial–The Sad state of ObamaCare

Bad news isn’t always a surprise. But knowing it’s coming doesn’t always help, either. And now that, as expected, South Carolina now faces a huge new bill due to Obama-Care, our state faces a terrible dilemma.

The president and his allies in Congress promised that their massive health care overhaul would extend coverage to roughly 30 million previously uninsured Americans. The bill’s critics, including S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford, warned that the states would have to cover large new tabs due to the bill’s vastly increased number of people eligible for Medicaid.

The critics were right. Tuesday’s Post and Courier reported that the ObamaCare Medicaid mandate is projected to cost our state “nearly $1 billion over the next decade, even with the federal government covering at least 90 percent of the cost.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, State Government

Terry Mattingly: Passion and Participation Leads to Knowledge

The bottom line: People who hold strong beliefs about faith — positive or negative beliefs — seem to know more about religion than those who are less committed. Passion, not apathy, is what leads to knowledge.

Consider, for example, this crucial Catholic question. In one of the Pew survey’s most surprising findings, 45 percent of Catholics polled did not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine consecrated during the Mass are not merely symbols, but are believed to truly become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. However, nearly 70 percent of white Catholics who attended Mass once a week answered that question correctly.

“We already knew that Catholics who attend Mass every week act differently and even vote differently than other Catholics,” said Smith. “What this survey shows is that Catholics who are more active in their faith think differently than other Catholics, too. … Of course, it isn’t surprising that people who enthusiastically practice their faith also know more about their faith, and even religion in general, than those who do not.”

Read it all.

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

Der Spiegel–Outgoing Security Advisor James Jones Voices Concern on Pakistan

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The main source of this warning is a 36-year-old German member of the radical Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Ahmed Sidiqqi, who was trained in Pakistan and is now being held in American custody in Afghanistan. Why is Pakistan still the main breeding ground of terrorism?

Jones: We have been working very closely with the Pakistani government for a long time now. In some cases the Pakistanis have responded quite well. Their operations in the Swat Valley and South Waziristan, for example, were timely and very effective. At the same time, there has been a very steady message that Pakistan needs to do more to stem terrorism, especially when they know where it is and when officials have information about what the terrorists are doing. If the Pakistanis are going to be a partner in the long term, they have to make a commitment that shows the watching world that they are serious about forms of terrorism.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Should your cooperation with the Pakistani army fail, is there a possibility that Pakistan would become the next military target of the US?

Jones: I am going to take the optimistic view that rational people do rational things and that — with the help of friends and allies and common goals — Pakistan will avoid, or hopefully avoid, that unfortunate eventuality.

Read it all.

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

Elizabeth Smith–Australian Saints Not a Novelty for Anglicans

Memorable holiness comes in many forms. No Christian need ever be short of a role model!

We have early church martyrs like the noblewoman Perpetua, and modern martyrs like Archbishop Janani Luwum of Uganda. We have missionaries like Patrick, mystics like Julian of Norwich and social reformers like Elizabeth Fry and Martin Luther King Jr. We have royal luminaries like Margaret of Scotland and pioneers like Mary Sumner who founded the Mothers’ Union.

We also have some some special Australian Anglican “friends above,” like the Western Australian woman, Georgiana Molloy, and the first Aboriginal Anglican to be ordained, James Noble. Sometimes we commemorate Roman Catholics even when their own church has not officially canonised them. One example in the Australian calendar is Pope John XXIII, who famously called for the winds of change to blow through the Catholic Church in the renewal processes of the second Vatican Council in the early 1960s.

Such is the company of heavenly friends in which Australian Anglicans will count Mary MacKillop….

Read it all.

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

Belle And Sebastian: On 'Love' And Faith

“If you have a thing in your life which is quite obviously the biggest thing that’s happening, you can’t stop thinking about it,” [Stuart Murdoch] tells NPR’s Steve Inskeep. “You really shouldn’t stop talking about it. I want to talk about the things that I’m feeling, and if I have a force working inside of me, and it’s something I think about on an hourly basis, then that’s what I’m going to write about.”

Faith took on a different appearance in Belle and Sebastian’s earlier work. For example, in “If You’re Feeling Sinister,” from the 1996 album of the same name, Murdoch wrote from a more cynical perspective.

“I was writing from the perspective of someone who was trying to work things out,” he says. “And I was kind of mopping up some of the attitudes I had encountered over the previous five or six years. I was a young and fairly hip 19- or 20-year-old punk … knocking about Glasgow, but I went to church. And this was quite an unusual thing. I didn’t see any other hipsters or punks at church.”

Read or better stil listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Music, Religion & Culture, Scotland

A Blessing for the beasts of the Earth at the Cathedral in Cyprus

All creatures great and small are gathering at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Nicosia today as animal loving crowds take their pets along to a special blessing.

Part of a worldwide celebration to mark the recent World Animal Day on October 4, the Saint Francis Blessing of the Animals received a very good response when a similar event was held at the Cathedral a few years back.
World Animal Day was established in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. Since then it has grown to encompass all kinds of animal life and is widely celebrated in countries around the world. October 4 was specifically chosen as World Animal Day as it coincides with the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

“St Francis is usually depicted surrounded by and holding various animals,” says the St Paul’s Cathedral Dean, Father John Tyrrell. “Religious blessings are now very popular in many countries, especially England and North America. People who live on farms out in the country even take their horses down to the nearby chapel.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Animals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

South Carolina topples top-ranked Alabama

South Carolina buried 108 years of snake-bitten history and the nation’s No. 1 team Saturday.

The No. 19 Gamecocks built an 18-point lead and then alternated between giving Alabama chances to come back and taking those chances away before topping the Crimson Tide 35-21 in front of 82,993 fans in Williams-Brice Stadium and a national TV audience on CBS.

The victory capped an improbable trifecta that saw the Gamecocks beat the nation’s No. 1 team in football, men’s basketball and baseball in 2010.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Sports

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.

–1 Corinthians 4:9-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Lured Into a Trap, Then Tortured for Being Gay

He was told there was a party at a brick house on Osborne Place, a quiet block set on a steep hill in the Bronx. He showed up last Sunday night as instructed, with plenty of cans of malt liquor. What he walked into was not a party at all, but a night of torture ”” he was sodomized, burned and whipped.

All punishment, the police said Friday, for being gay.

Read it all from the front page of today’s New York Times.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in Uncategorized

NPR–Images Of N.Y. Islamic Center Meant To 'Educate'

“Because of the national interest in the project, we felt that we should try to really educate people about what this project is all about and a picture speaks a thousand words, as they say,” El-Gamal told NPR’s Scott Simon.

The project will include much more than a mosque. El-Gamal says the nearly 120,000 square-foot center will include a Sept. 11, 2001, memorial, an athletic facility and other features. The facility, he says, is tailor-made for one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in New York state where there are “more strollers than briefcases.”

“All that we’re looking to do is provide a much-needed community center in Lower Manhattan,” he said.

Read or listen to it all.

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

South Carolina tax policy tweak slams Small Businesses

…five years after lawmakers tweaked South Carolina’s sales tax policy, state revenue collectors now say that service providers — people who repair equipment, fix cars and maintain boats, for example — should levy a sales tax on their services.

Charging a tax on those services, which are typically thought to be tax-free, could affect thousands of businesses across the state as the state begins enforcing the policy.

Greenery Gallery is caught in the crossfire. Its bill for five years of back sales taxes came to $41,971.16, a substantial amount for a company that brings in about $500,000 in annual revenue.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes