Daily Archives: October 13, 2010

The Foreclosure Crisis Investigation–Robo-Signers Wanted: No Experience Needed

In an effort to rush through thousands of home foreclosures since 2007, financial institutions and their mortgage-servicing departments hired hair stylists, Wal-Mart floor workers and people who had worked on assembly lines and installed them in “foreclosure expert” jobs with no formal training, a Florida lawyer says.

Ugh–read it all.

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

Apple awarded 'sexting' patent to prevent youngsters from using ”˜age inappropriate’ messages

The patent, which was filed by Apple in 2008, concerns “systems, devices and methods” for filtering “text-based messages” that contain “objectionable content”.

It aims to ensure youngsters aren’t able to use their iPhones to send text messages that contain swear words or suggestive language, sometimes known as “sexting”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth

(ENS) Michael Drawbaugh–Teaching gives new meaning to the Baptismal Covenant

If you are born into a poor community you have less of a chance of graduating from high school and you may never attend college or trade school. If this is you, this means your school does not have new materials or textbooks, your school may be crowded and stress-filled, and your school may have a reputation for poor performance and low morale. Consequently, new school teachers will be reticent about choosing your school as their first job out of college. Teach for America places dynamic, motivated college graduates in some of our nation’s underprivileged schools. Teach for America trained me and found work for me here in South Dakota. But, only God would make that work holy.

On my confirmation day, I sat in that huge cathedral, ready to make promises I didn’t fully understand. Now in this realm, in my new career of educational leadership, I truly see what it means to seek and serve Christ in all people. For me, it means that every little miracle that shows up at my classroom door represents a sacred mystery. For me, it means if I look closely into the eyes of the student I am teaching, I might catch a glimpse of the divine looking back at me. For me, it means that I will let my hands, feet and legs say my prayers for me and my every act of service will be a hymn of gratitude.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Baptism, Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Another Calcutta, India, Telegraph on Rowan Williams' Visit–Man of God’s way with words

The Archbishop of Canterbury came, he spoke and he conquered with a smile on the second evening of his “mission of goodwill” trip to India.

The principal leader of the Church of England and the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion was the guest of honour during the evening church service at St Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday and the civic reception that followed.

“In the United Kingdom we often have debates on what it means to live in a multicultural society and a secular society. Many believe that to live in a multicultural society is to live in chaos and to live in a secular society is to live in an atmosphere of graveness. Which is close to saying more people from the United Kingdom ought to visit India!” smiled Rowan Williams.

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

SMH–Sydney Anglicans warned church is on its knees

The Anglican Church in Sydney is in diabolical trouble. Already battered by the global financial crisis, the diocese is planning further savage spending cuts.

The archbishop, Peter Jensen, told the annual synod on Monday: “The financial issues are grave.”

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One of the biggest and richest dioceses in Australia, Sydney leveraged its huge investment portfolio in the boom and sold when the market hit rock bottom. After losing more than $100 million, it was forced to halve its expenditure. “There was considerable pain,” the archbishop told the annual gathering of clergy and laity in Sydney. But it wasn’t enough.

“In round terms, it seems possible that the amount of money available ”¦ to support diocesan works in the next few years is going to be reduced from the $7.5 million of 2010 to something like $4 million. Our major rethink of last year was only the beginning.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Economy, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Archbishop Peter Jensen's Presidential Address to the Diocese of Sydney Synod

How do we treat the dying?

We do well. But this is becoming a society which values individual rights above all else and exalts in human wisdom. As a result, once again euthanasia is being demanded. This is a debate about who we are as humans. My fundamental problem with it is that we are sinners and we do not have the moral capacity to administer it. It is the myth of so-called voluntary euthanasia. At a moment in time of adversity and suffering we ask people to make up their minds about termination of a life. We cannot – we can never – know what is going through the mind of the sufferer or of those whose lives will be changed by the death of the patient. No doubt there will be grief; but there can also be relief that I am no longer responsible; there can be pleasure in the knowledge that I stand to inherit; there can be the stress of needing the hospital bed. When the patient is very vulnerable, they are being asked whether
they wish to die early and the ones to whom they look for advice may have reasons for saying yes which are undetectable even to themselves. No system of prior decision making can get around this; nor are we to think that euthanasia will be confined to the elderly or the cancer stricken. We will also have it demanded as a right for the young and the mentally ill. After abortion on demand, this is the next stage in the unjust harvesting of innocent human life, the next and dreadful stage in a culture of expedient death.

The philosophical point in favour [of euthanasia] could not have been expressed more clearly than by the ethicist Dr Leslie Cannold writing in the Sun-Herald. ”˜Opponents of dying with dignity will tell you that the core moral principle in a civilized society is respect for life. This is outdated tosh. The central moral value in a modern multicultural society is autonomy, the right of individuals to determine the course of their own lives and deaths according to their own needs and values.’ This chilling statement has so much tendentious about it that it is hard to know where to begin dissecting it. But note this. Its basic expression, that the central moral value in a modern multicultural society is autonomy, is a boldly sectarian and secularist assertion. It is based on the denial of original sin and it leads to a denial of the full humanity of others, since it asks us to be self-centred.

Read it all (18 Page pdf).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

In Canada Emptier churches at risk

Edna Mitchell has sat in the same pew at St. Matthias Anglican Church every Sunday for the past 85 years, first with her parents and now next to the people she thinks of as her “church family.”

It’s the place where she has sung carols at Christmas, celebrated Easter each spring and taught children the stories of the Bible for more than 50 years.

“It’s my home,” she said….

But the majestic brick building on Chebucto Road in Halifax may be sold once the congregation joins the parish of St. Philip’s, as the number of parishioners steadily declines….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Foley Beach named first bishop of new Anglican diocese of the South

To a standing ovation, and in front of an audience of more than 800, Foley Beach was consecrated on Saturday as the first bishop of the newly formed Anglican Diocese of the South. Beach is the rector of Holy Cross Anglican Church in Loganville.

“It’s a great day for this region and a great day for the Anglican Church in North America,” said Archbishop Robert Duncan, of the Anglican Church in North America, as he brought greetings from the Global Anglican Future Conference Archbishops, a group that represents more than 40 million Anglicans. “Whenever we make a bishop, it is just a great ceremony in which we see what we inherit.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

From the Duke Divinity school Rural Ministry Colloquia: Ministry in the Lonesome Valley

Parish ministry can be a lonely vocation. The “set-apartness” of the pastoral role, the effects of geographical isolation, and the time demands of congregational life can all conspire to make the parish feel like what the old spiritual calls “the lonesome valley.” And yet Jesus walked that same lonesome valley, and, through him, even the loneliness of ministry can become a source of beauty and communion. Hear Jeremy Troxler, director of the Thriving Rural Communities initiative, discuss the loneliness of rural, and all, ministry.

If you have the capacity and interest you can download this presentation via Itunes following the link here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Disciples of Christ, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic

Justin Wolfers–How Marriage Survives

Modern marriages are based not on the economic benefits of playing specialized roles but on shared passions.

This new model of “hedonic marriage” has had an effect on who marries, and when ”” as research I have conducted with my better half, the economist Betsey Stevenson, has documented. In the old days, opposites attracted; an aspiring executive groom would pair up with a less-educated bride. And they would wed before the stork visited and before the couple made the costly investment of putting the husband through business school.

But today, that same young executive would more likely be half of a power couple, married to a college-educated woman who shares his taste in books, hobbies, travel and so on. Indeed, marriage rates for college-educated women rose sharply through the 1950s and ’60s, and have remained remarkably stable since. These women tend to marry after they have finished college and started their careers.

The decline in marriage, it turns out, is concentrated entirely among women with less education ”” those who likely have the least to gain from modern hedonic marriage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Marriage & Family, Men, Psychology, Women, Young Adults

(NY Times) Across the U.S., Long Recovery Looks Like Recession

This is not what a recovery is supposed to look like.

In Atlanta, the Bank of America tower, the tallest in the Southeast, is nearly a fifth vacant, and bank officials just wrestled a rent cut from the developer. In Cherry Hill, N.J., 10 percent of the houses on the market are so-called short sales, in which sellers ask for less than they owe lenders. And in Arizona, in sun-blasted desert subdivisions, owners speak of hours cut, jobs lost and meals at soup kitchens.

Less than a month before November elections, the United States is mired in a grim New Normal that could last for years. That has policy makers, particularly the Federal Reserve, considering a range of ever more extreme measures, as noted in the minutes of its last meeting, released Tuesday. Call it recession or recovery, for tens of millions of Americans, there’s little difference.

Read it all.

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

Notable and Quotable

“The immaculate lawns and beautiful homes are a sort of facade that covers a growing loss of certainty in the future….”

–Robin Boyle, a professor of urban planning at Wayne State University, speaking to Time Magazine about the real situation in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit for a cover story in September entitled “Real Moms of Grosse Pointe”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Eternal God, the fountain of all wisdom and the giver of all grace, who didst send thy Spirit to dwell with our fathers and to lead them into the way of truth: Grant to us that in all our difficulties and dangers we also may be enabled, by the light and power of the same Spirit, to know thy mind and to do thy will, for the glory of thy name and the benefit of thy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Arthur Robinson

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

On their return the apostles told him what they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a city called Bethsa’ida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him; and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and cured those who had need of healing.

–Luke 9:10-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

New Web Code Draws Concern Over Privacy Risks

Worries over Internet privacy have spurred lawsuits, conspiracy theories and consumer anxiety as marketers and others invent new ways to track computer users on the Internet. But the alarmists have not seen anything yet.

In the next few years, a powerful new suite of capabilities will become available to Web developers that could give marketers and advertisers access to many more details about computer users’ online activities. Nearly everyone who uses the Internet will face the privacy risks that come with those capabilities, which are an integral part of the Web language that will soon power the Internet: HTML 5.

The new Web code, the fifth version of Hypertext Markup Language used to create Web pages, is already in limited use, and it promises to usher in a new era of Internet browsing within the next few years. It will make it easier for users to view multimedia content without downloading extra software; check e-mail offline; or find a favorite restaurant or shop on a smartphone.

Most users will clearly welcome the additional features that come with the new Web language.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Law & Legal Issues

Archbishop Rowan Williams MDG sermon at Kolkota Cathedral

…there is still a specific and unique responsibility for Christians. They have received the Spirit in baptism and they have been given the freedom to pray to God as Jesus prayed. And the effect of this gift is that they have been drawn into the Body of Christ. They have been united not just in some sort of human society but in a community, a communion, that makes us all depend on each other so deeply that we cannot even begin to think about our own welfare without the welfare of others. When we read St Luke’s account of the Spirit at work in the birth and baptism and temptation of Jesus and in his ministry in Galilee, what we are really reading about is the beginning of the Church, the birth of the Body of Christ. As we see God’s agenda being proclaimed and lived out in the life of Jesus, we begin to see that as we receive the Spirit we are involved in the same story. We must allow the Spirit to sweep away the fantasies that we use to make ourselves comfortable; we must allow the Spirit to drive us into dark and difficult places where we have to let go of the things that make us feel safe. And then we can live out our baptismal calling, open to one another in the community of Christ’s love, living, each one of us, from the gifts we receive from the neighbour.

The pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals should not just be a matter of solving a number of tough problems about the distribution of wealth. For Christians, these goals should be about growth in the life of the Spirit and thus in the life of a community that, in its own inner workings, shows a pattern of mutual generosity, truthfulness and faithfulness. The goals we speak about are goals for our own common life, not just for the leaders of the nations to implement by their policies. We want as churches to be a community where vulnerable people are safe, where education and nurture are guaranteed, where all have access to justice, where the material world is honoured and properly cared for, where healing is available for all. If we can go on working at becoming that kind of Church, we shall be witnessing to the Millennium Development Goals in more than words. We shall be showing that the human world can really change when the Spirit is at work.

And our prayer for the gift of the Spirit is also a prayer for the gift of integrity and realism day after day.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, India, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics