Daily Archives: October 12, 2010

AP–Pope takes Vatican's biggest step to revive Christianity

Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday outlined his most tangible initiative yet to try to revive Christianity, creating a Vatican office for re-evangelizing Europe and other traditionally Christian regions where the faith is falling by the wayside.
In an official decree, Benedict said the new office would work with bishops to promote church doctrine, use modern communication methods to get the church’s message out and mobilize missionary-type activities using members of religious orders and new religious movements.

But even on its first day of existence, the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization ran into an all-too-typical Vatican snag: The four-page decree instituting the office was issued only in Latin and Italian, even though the pope announced the office’s creation four months ago.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

U.S. Alarmed by Harsh Tone of China’s Military

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met his Chinese counterpart, Liang Guanglie, in Vietnam on Monday for the first time since the two militaries suspended talks with each other last winter, calling for the two countries to prevent “mistrust, miscalculations and mistakes.”

His message seemed directed mainly at officers like Lt. Cmdr. Tony Cao of the Chinese Navy.

Days before Mr. Gates arrived in Asia, Commander Cao was aboard a frigate in the Yellow Sea, conducting China’s first war games with the Australian Navy, exercises to which, he noted pointedly, the Americans were not invited.

Nor are they likely to be, he told Australian journalists in slightly bent English, until “the United States stops selling the weapons to Taiwan and stopping spying us with the air or the surface.”

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

Bishop Alan Wilson (Guardian): Book of Common Prayer, part 7: The joy of being a miserable sinner

It is not easy in the age of the soundbite, to convey what original sin actually meant to Augustine or Cranmer. Christians have sometimes isolated it and turned it into a form of designer self-loathing. Original sin is only a component in Augustine’s bigger narrative around baptism. Glass-half-full people will point out that in his scheme of Grace and Salvation, all you actually have to do to deal with the worst of original sin is dunk the baby.

What remains thereafter can be rather positive. Societies based on Augustinian theology have, in fact, cheerfully accomplished all kinds of technical and aesthetic lovely things. What remains after original sin has been dealt with, in Augustine’s scheme by baptism, is a pervasive awareness of imperfection and fallibility, with the humility to say “there but for the grace of God go I”. Paradoxically, some of the highest achieving societies in the world have Augustinian roots, Lutheran or Catholic.

However gloomy and distasteful it is to drive by a motorway pile-up, a degree of honest fear, combined with acknowledgement that a car is perpetually crashable, not perfectly invincible, seems to make drivers better not worse. It characteristically enhances rather than inhibits performance.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

Kevin Hassett–Post Office Shows Where U.S. Is Headed

A 2007 GAO study looked at the Postal Service’s use of facilities, and concluded that, “A 2005 contractor assessment of 651 randomly selected postal facilities revealed that two- thirds of these facilities were in less than “acceptable” condition, including 22 percent that were rated “poor.” Inspection of one facility in Dallas led the inspector to recommend that the building be immediately evacuated.

The decaying buildings provide a handy visual clue to the quality of service. Unfortunately, we don’t know how bad the service is, because the Postal Service collects data on its own service quality, but it refuses to make the data public. Isn’t it nice that your tax dollars pay for data that you’re not allowed to see?

The Postal Service’s ability to lose mail is, of course, legendary. Here is an example of how bad it has become: last week the American Postal Workers Union had to postpone their national election of officers because so many of the ballots were lost in the mail.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The U.S. Government

Tuesday Mental Health Break–Inspired Bicycles in and Around Edinburgh

Wonderful stuff-watch it all.

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

New Haven Episcopal Church program inspires interns’ service

A group of young adults are living at Christ Church on Broadway but working in the city that surrounds it, extending the tradition of service on which the parish was founded in 1854.

The new program is called St. Hilda’s House, and Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will dedicate it at a High Mass at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The seven first-year interns are volunteering at St. Martin de Porres Academy, Christian Community Action, the Your Place youth center at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Chapel on the Green, Community Soup Kitchen and Christ Church, serving lunch, coordinating volunteers, leading after-school teen activities and holding Bible study.

Most, but not all, are considering becoming priests.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Presiding Bishop, TEC Parishes, Young Adults

South Carolina Tax on services causes uproar

Top state business leaders, lawmakers and small-business owners from a hodgepodge of industries are fuming over the S.C. Department of Revenue’s efforts to charge a tax on services.

A report in Saturday’s Post and Courier of a North Charleston business that waters plants and now faces a hefty tax bill for its services raised concern among other small business owners who service and repair items — heating and air-conditioning systems, computers, cars — prompting them to call on state lawmakers and trade associations for help.

“We’re just flabbergasted,” said S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce President Frank Knapp. “I didn’t know this existed.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government

Episcopal Diocese of Oregon organizes a gathering to address the Doctrine of Discovery

On the eve of Columbus Day, when some Americans will remember the Italian explorer kindly and others won’t, the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon is calling attention to the Doctrine of Discovery, the philosophy that fueled European claims to the riches of the New World without regard for the indigenous people who already lived there.

At its 2009 General Convention, the Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly to repudiate the doctrine and called for its elimination from “contemporary policies, programs and structures.” In Portland, the Rev. Albert Krueger, First Nations missioner and vicar of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in North Portland, is organizing a gathering Sunday so people can learn more about the doctrine and its implications globally and here in Oregon.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Europe, General Convention, History, Law & Legal Issues

(Bloomberg) Obama May Try to Woo Business to Improve Relations

In some cases business leaders say they have been more ignored than harmed. IBM said it would analyze health-care spending, at no cost to the government, to hunt out fraud, Sam Palmisano, the company’s CEO, said at a conference in New York on Sept. 14. The White House wouldn’t sign on to the plan.

“We offered to do it for free to prove a point, and they turned us down,” Palmisano said. “Our recommendations weren’t aligned with the priorities of the administration. Their priority was not to reduce fraud and improve productivity. It was to increase coverage.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

Remembering The U.S.S. Cole, A Decade After The Naval Destroyer Was Attacked

[Today]…is the tenth anniversary of the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. On Oct. 12, 2000, the Aegis Guided Missile Destroyer pulled into the Port of Aden, in Yemen.

As it refueled, two al-Qaida recruits approached the vessel in a small boat that was loaded with explosives. They blew a 40-foot-wide hole in the side of the ship, killed 17 Americans, and wounded dozens more.

Take the time to listen to what happened from people who were there at the time–radio at its best–KSH (Hat tip:Elizabeth)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Parish Ministry, Terrorism, Yemen

A Blog to Check out: Wondering Fair

Check it out carefully.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Blogging & the Internet, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Bishop of Winchester Intends to Retire in May 2011

The Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt, the Bishop of Winchester, has announced that he intends to retire in May 2011. He has led the Anglican Diocese of Winchester for 15 years. The announcement has been read out today in churches across the Diocese, which serves the majority of Hampshire, east Dorset and the Channel Islands.

Bishop Michael has a packed schedule and will continue to be active in the Diocese and fulfilling his local, national and international roles, including in the House of Lords, until he retires. There will be a special service marking this at Winchester Cathedral on 7 May 2011. A range of events reflecting and celebrating Bishop Michael’s long and distinguished ministry will take place in the weeks leading up to his retirement.

The Archbishop of Canterbury intends to appoint the Bishop of Basingstoke, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock as his Commissary during the Vacancy in See. This means that Bishop Peter together with senior colleagues will take responsibility for leading the Diocese of Winchester during the vacancy process.

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

LA Times–Three share Nobel Prize in economics

A trio of economics scholars, including an MIT professor whose nomination to the Federal Reserve board has been held up in the Senate, won the Nobel Prize in economics on Monday for their studies of markets and how mismatches between buyers and sellers can contribute to such problems as high unemployment.

Peter A. Diamond of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and fellow American Dale T. Mortensen, a professor at Northwestern University, will share the $1.5 million award with Christopher A. Pissarides, a British and Cypriot citizen who teaches at the London School of Economics.

The three men pioneered and developed models that help explain, among other things, why there are so many jobless people even as there are a large number of job openings ”” a problem that is particularly relevant today as the United States and other developed countries grapple with stubbornly high unemployment.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, our Judge and Saviour, set before us the vision of thy purity, and let us see our sins in the light of thy holiness. Pierce our self-contentment with the shafts of thy burning love, and let that love consume in us all that hinders us from perfect service of thy cause; for as thy holiness is our judgment, so are thy wounds our salvation.

–William Temple

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amit’tai, saying, “Arise, go to Nin’eveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.

–Jonah 1:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Bloomberg) Foreclosure Freeze May Slow U.S. Homebuyers on Legal Worry

A halt in home foreclosures at the largest U.S. mortgage firms may sideline buyers worried about legal issues, further depressing sales at a time when distressed properties account for almost a quarter of all transactions.

Revelations of mistakes in foreclosure proceedings are causing buyers to have misgivings about property titles, the right of home possession, said Richard DeKaser, chief economist at Woodley Park Research in Washington. Confidence in the legality of repossessions will cut foreclosure sales more than a reduction of available properties because the market already is flooded with repossessed homes, he said.

“The legal problems we’re seeing will hit sales as people worry about the legitimacy of the process,” DeKaser said. “The implications are that there’s been shoddy work.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

The Hindu on Rowan Williams' Visit–Time to move on, Archbishop Says

Expressing satisfaction that the recent Ayodhya verdict was received calmly by the people of India, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said here on Saturday that it was time for people to “move on” now.

The Archbishop, who is on a 16-day-visit to India at the invitation of the Communion of Churches in India, started his tour from the city that he had “long wished to visit as a student, especially after reading about the good work done here for the poor”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, India

The Calcutta, India, Telegraph on Rowan Williams' Visit–Sermon short and sweet

The world’s most influential Christian leader after the Pope made Sunday mass special for the city’s churchgoers, delivering sermons soaked in simplicity and sending out a message of goodwill and hope that came from the heart rather than the pulpit.

Metro tracked Rowan Williams through a busy second day in town when he presided over church services on either side of noon, interacted with the congregation and visited homes for the aged and HIV-affected children….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, India

(Zenit) Jesús Colina–Talking Much, Listening Little: The "Original Sin" of Catholic Communicators

It is curious, but the Web 2.0 industry has “robbed” from Christian language the model of communication it pursues: the community. And community is communion. The Church has created communities for 2,000 years. Now, the great marketing success on the Web 2.0 depends on the capacity to create “communities,” which later are reduced to groups of common interest to which it is possible to sell products of specialized announcers, who today are the ones who pay the most.

If, in communicating on the Internet the Church does so as Church-communion, if her “community” life is reflected on the Web, then she will also be able to build “community” on the Internet. For the surfer visiting her services, it will become something almost evident to enter into contact with the diocese’s closest reality, which can be his own parish, Caritas’ service, or the diocesan choir.

When a Church communicates on the Internet as communion, in community, the reality moves from being virtual to something real, as it puts the surfer in contact with the real life of the diocese, parish or community. And it is then that the greatest interactivity is achieved, when from the virtual reality one moves to “encounter,” which is, when all is said and done, what changes a person’s life.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Media, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NY Times) Grown-Up, but Still Irresponsible

They have sex with friends, acquaintances and people they’re casually dating. Many have never been tested for H.I.V. or any other sexually transmitted disease, but they rarely use condoms. Who are they?

The irresponsible scoundrels are not teenagers but 50-something singles, according to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, one of the most comprehensive national sex studies in almost 20 years, carried out at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University.

It turns out that “friends with benefits” ”” a sexual partner who is “just a friend,” and neither a soulmate nor a romantic interest ”” isn’t just for teenagers and college students anymore, and maybe it never was. Young adults may have given the practice a new name, but it probably started during the ’60s sexual revolution, when the middle-aged Americans of today were young themselves.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Men, Middle Age, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women