Daily Archives: November 7, 2010

The China Boom in students at American Universities

While China’s students have long filled American graduate schools, its undergraduates now represent the fastest-growing group of international students. In 2008-9, more than 26,000 were studying in the United States, up from about 8,000 eight years earlier, according to the Institute of International Education.

Students are ending up not just at nationally known universities, but also at regional colleges, state schools and even community colleges that recruit overseas. Most of these students pay full freight (international students are not eligible for government financial aid) ”” a benefit for campuses where the economic downturn has gutted endowments or state financing.

The boom parallels China’s emergence as the world’s largest economy after the United States. China is home to a growing number of middle-class parents who have saved for years to get their only child into a top school, hoping for an advantage in a competitive job market made more so by a surge in college graduates. Since the 1990s, China has doubled its number of higher education institutions. More than 60 percent of high school graduates now attend a university, up from 20 percent in the 1980s. But this surge has left millions of diploma-wielding young people unable to find white-collar work in a country still heavily reliant on low-paying manufacturing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Education, Globalization, Young Adults

Jonathan Rauch o nthe Virtues of Divided Government in the current American Climate

A grand victory for Republicans in the 2010 midterm election? Yes, of course. But also no. In all three of the most recent earthshaking midterm elections ”” 1994, 2006 and now 2010 ”” the same candidate won: divided government.

That is not a coincidence. In the last two decades, a strong and persistent pattern has emerged, one that will dominate our politics for some time to come, because it is rooted in two important political realities. First, the public strongly prefers divided government. Second, it has every reason to.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, History, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

BBC–Pope Benedict consecrates Barcelona's Sagrada Familia

Pope Benedict XVI has consecrated Antoni Gaudi’s unfinished church, the Sagrada Familia, as a basilica in the Spanish city of Barcelona.

The Pope sprinkled holy water on the altar before a congregation of more than 6,500 people.

Gaudi’s greatest work has been under construction for more than a century, and will not be finished before 2026.

The current chief architect said he hoped the Pope’s visit would provide the boost needed to finish the work.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Spain

A Boston Globe Story on Gene Robinson's Announced Retirement

The first openly gay Episcopal bishop, whose consecration instigated a global religious controversy, announced today that he would take early retirement, citing stress from the experience.

Bishop V. Gene Robinson will be 65 when he steps down in January 2013, seven years below the mandatory retirement age for Episcopal bishops.

Robinson announced his plans at the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire in Concord. He said he gave the two-year transition to give the diocese enough time to find and elect a new bishop who will then be subject to approval from the national church.

“Since the very beginning, I have attempted to discern God’s will for me and for you, and this decision comes after much prayer and discernment about what God wants for us at this time,” Robinson said in his prepared remarks.

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Update: A New York Times article is there.

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

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC)

(Austin Statesman) Alberta Phillips–Catholic church's politics are distancing African Americans

The exodus of black Catholics is happening as the church advances an agenda that puts life in the womb above life in the ‘hood; above children who are already born and in need of health care, safe neighborhoods, good schools, spiritual guidance and parents who earn enough to make a way for their families.

Certainly protecting life in the womb is important. Black Catholics get that. (I have contributed to Texas Right to Life, but not to Planned Parenthood.) But the church’s fixation on abortion is crowding out nearly all other issues. Feed the poor? That can wait. Fix disparities in education and health care? Take a back seat. Deal with racism? Not our problem. The message to Catholic voters has been that it’s better to cast ballots for xenophobes or race-baiters who oppose abortion than back tolerant folks who support it. But this election cycle, the church took it up a notch with a campaign against gay marriage.

So a week before the Nov. 2 election, Catholic Action for Faith and Family sent out a news release with a directive from U.S. Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke that told American Catholics that we were duty-bound to vote, but we “never can vote for someone who favors absolutely the right to choice of a woman to destroy a human life in her womb or the right to a procured abortion.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Utah Episcopalians get new “sumo” bishop

Amid the pageantry and rousing hymns of a centuries-old liturgy to consecrate a new bishop, hundreds of Utah Episcopalians learned something Saturday about their new, slightly built shepherd:

Bishop Scott Hayashi’s avatar ”” the figure he chooses to represent him ”” is a sumo wrestler.

“That tells you all kinds of things about your new bishop,” mused the Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, the bishop of Chicago whom Hayashi served as a canon the past five years.

Lee preached the sermon to the 700 Episcopalians, 25 visiting bishops and leaders of other Salt Lake City faiths who gathered at The Grand America Hotel. But he also primed those in Hayashi’s flock for what to expect of the church’s 11th bishop.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Utah's Episcopal Diocese celebrates its new bishop

Watch it all (a video of approximately 2 1/3 minutes).

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

CEN–Episcopal Church in cash crunch

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council has authorized its finance office to seek a $60 million line of credit to support the church’s operations. The loan will be secured by a mortgage on the church’s headquarters at 815 Second Avenue in New York, and by offering as collateral its unrestricted endowment funds.

The Oct 23-25 meeting in Salt Lake City of the church’s governing council between meetings of its General Convention also voted to cut its budget by 5 per cent next year in response to a $2.1 million shortfall in income.

A memorandum from the church’s Finance Office to the 38 council members stated that diocesan contributions to the national church were expected to be $700,000 below budget, while cuts in spending at the national church offices were expected to depress income also.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, House of Deputies President, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, TEC Data

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We pray, O Lord, for thy blessing upon all who strive to excel in building up of thy Church in every land. Take from them all pride and self-conceit, all thought of worldly advancement. May their wills be wholly surrendered unto thee; fill them with thy Spirit, that they may go forth inspired with zeal for thy glory, in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

So with yourselves; since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

–1 Corinthians 14:12

Posted in Uncategorized

Gene Robinson announces his upcoming retirement

New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, whose openness about his homosexuality has divided the worldwide Anglican Church, announced today he is retiring. Robinson cited, among other things, the burden of that international schism.

“The fact is, the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family and you,” Robinson, 63, said this afternoon at the close of the diocese’s annual convention. “Death threats, and now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as Bishop, have taken a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband Mark”¦and in some ways you.”

Robinson, of Weare, won’t step down until January 2013, when he is 66, but to retire by then, Robinson had to begin the process today by announcing his intentions. He said evangelizing to the “unchurched” and “de-churched” will be his priority during his remaining time in the diocese and after his retirement. Robinson has been vocal about gay equality on state, national and international stages and said that will continue.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC)

ENS: Church Publishing to cut 40 percent of its workforce, close Denver office

Church Publishing Inc. (CPI) plans to reduce its workforce by 40 percent and close its Denver, Colorado, office, beginning Dec. 31.

CPI is an affiliate company of the Church Pension Group (CPG), which manages the Episcopal Church Pension Fund for lay and clergy employees, among other operations. The Nov. 3 announcement was made in a letter to all CPG employees, said Dennis Sullivan, CPG president, in a Nov. 5 telephone interview with ENS.

In the letter, Sullivan said that the changes to CPI are in response to the economics of the publishing industry and do not reflect the financial strength of CPG, nor the fund, “both of which remain in solid financial condition.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Books, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

Young Leaders Reflect on CapeTown 2010

12 Cities | 12 Conversations – Cape Town 2010 from ConversationGatherings on Vimeo.

It is a good question they are asking: What can the American church learn from leaders in other regions of the world?

Watch it all.

Update: Skye Jethani identifies those in the video discussion here.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Globalization, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, South Africa, Young Adults

Learning in Dorm, Because Class Is on the Web

Like most other undergraduates, Anish Patel likes to sleep in. Even though his Principles of Microeconomics class at 9:35 a.m. is just a five-minute stroll from his dorm, he would rather flip open his laptop in his room to watch the lecture, streamed live over the campus network.

On a recent morning, as Mr. Patel’s two roommates slept with covers pulled tightly over their heads, he sat at his desk taking notes on Prof. Mark Rush’s explanation of the term “perfect competition.” A camera zoomed in for a close-up of the blackboard, where Dr. Rush scribbled in chalk, “lots of firms and lots of buyers.”

The curtains were drawn in the dorm room. The floor was awash in the flotsam of three freshmen ”” clothes, backpacks, homework, packages of Chips Ahoy and Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries.

The University of Florida broadcasts and archives Dr. Rush’s lectures less for the convenience of sleepy students like Mr. Patel than for a simple principle of economics: 1,500 undergraduates are enrolled and no lecture hall could possibly hold them.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Young Adults

ENS–West Missouri diocese elects Martin Scott Field as eighth bishop

he Very Rev. Martin Scott Field was elected Nov. 6 as 8th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri, pending required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.

Field, 54, rector of St. Paul’s Church in Flint, in the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan, was elected on the third ballot out of a field of two nominees. A third candidate withdrew after the second ballot.

Field received 89 of 143 votes cast in the lay order and 53 of 103 clergy votes at the election, held during the 121st annual convention meeting of the diocese at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City. A total of 52 votes was needed to elect in the clergy order and 72 in the lay order.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

St. George’s ACA Church in Arkansas takes a first step in uniting with the Roman Catholic Church

By entering into full communion, the parish will enjoy sacramental unity with the Roman Catholic Church but will retain its Anglican identity and liturgy.

The congregation of 28 parishioners is a member of the Anglican Church in America, which is part of the Traditional Anglican Communion and not recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

It is also not part of the Episcopal Church, the American branch ofthe Anglican Communion.

The Anglican Church in America has about 100 parishes across the country but only one in Arkansas. Individual parishes can make the decision to ally themselves with the Roman Catholic Church if they wish, Hall said.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Continuum, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Dollar Drops Most in Four Weeks as Fed to Pump Money into Financial System

The dollar fell the most in four weeks against the currencies of six major trading partners after the Federal Reserve said it will pump more money into the U.S. financial system to spur inflation and employment.

The greenback slid versus 15 of its 16 major counterparts after the Fed said it will buy $600 billion of U.S. Treasuries through June. It pared losses after data yesterday showed payrolls grew more than forecast. The Australian and Canadian currencies reached parity with the dollar as investor appetite for higher-yielding assets rose before leaders of the Group of 20 nations discuss currency policy in Seoul next week.

“The global market dynamic is still supporting dollar weakness,” said Sacha Tihanyi, a currency strategist at Bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto, Canada’s third-largest lender. “The Federal Reserve’s statement may be favorable for the U.S. economy, but it’s unfavorable for the U.S. dollar.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Currency Markets, Economy, Federal Reserve, Globalization, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Stanley Fish–Religion and the Liberal State Once Again

The key distinction underlying classical liberalism is the distinction between the private and the public. This distinction allows the sphere of political deliberation to be insulated from the intractable oppositions that immediately surface when religious viewpoints are put on the table. Liberalism tells us that religious viewpoints should be confined to the home, the heart, the place of worship and the personal relationship between oneself and one’s God.

When the liberal citizen exits the private realm and enters the public square, he or she is supposed to leave religious commitments behind and function as a stripped-down entity, as an abstract-not-full personage, who makes political decisions not as a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim but as what political scientist Michael Sandel calls an “unencumbered self,” a self unencumbered by ethnic, racial, gender, class or religious identities.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church/State Matters, Law & Legal Issues, Philosophy, Politics in General, Religion & Culture