Daily Archives: November 28, 2010

NY Times–Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels

The anticipated disclosure of the cables is already sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment, and could conceivably strain relations with some countries, influencing international affairs in ways that are impossible to predict.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and American ambassadors around the world have been contacting foreign officials in recent days to alert them to the expected disclosures. A statement from the White House on Sunday said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.”

“President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal,” the statement said. “By releasing stolen and classified documents, WikiLeaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Media, Science & Technology

(Guardian) US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomatic crisis

Among scores of disclosures that are likely to cause uproar, the cables detail:

”¢ Grave fears in Washington and London over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, with officials warning that as the country faces economic collapse, government employees could smuggle out enough nuclear material for terrorists to build a bomb.

Ӣ Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government, with one cable alleging that vice president Zia Massoud was carrying $52m in cash when he was stopped during a visit to the United Arab Emirates. Massoud denies taking money out of Afghanistan.

”¢ How the hacker attacks which forced Google to quit China in January were orchestrated by a senior member of the Politburo who typed his own name into the global version of the search engine and found articles criticising him personally….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General

CS Lewis on Hope

Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither. It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters. Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you. You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more -food, games, work, fun, open air. In the same way, we shall never save civilisation as long as civilisation is our main object. We must learn to want something else even more.

Mere Christianity, Book 2, Chapter X, quoted in this morning’s sermon

Posted in Eschatology, Theology

Notable and Quotable

“Some of the smallest and least powerful animals become perfectly terrible when they are taking care of their offspring. And do you think that the everlasting God will bear to see his children maligned, slandered, and abused, for their following of him?”

–C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Michael Valpy says the Church in Canada Needs to change how she communicates

Throughout his presentation, [Michael] Valpy referred to articles written by McGill University professor Dr. Margaret Somerville, discussing her views on the need for greater religious input into public policy.

Somerville has written extensively about the importance for the moral and ethical teachings of the church to have a place in the public sphere.

He said Somerville believes that “Canadians wrongly have given religion a pink slip. Abandoned from the arena of public discourse, dismissed religious voices and views from the public sphere, public square over the last 20 years.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Religion & Culture

In Tasmania Anglicans are attracting people from all walks of life for ministry

From Gen Ys to grannies, the Anglican Church in Tasmania is attracting people from all walks of life keen to take on ministries.

Seven new church leaders were ordained yesterday by Anglican Bishop of Tasmania John Harrower during a special service at St David’s Cathedral in Hobart….

Bishop Harrower said there had been a steady stream of new Anglican Church leaders ordained over recent years.

“We are blessed with men and women of wide experience and different gifts, younger and older, who are taking up the challenge of serving their church and local community in these new roles….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Cole Moreton: The Church of England must relinquish its association with power and pomp

…look beyond the pomp and what you actually see is a group of men clinging to the royal skirts while their institution falls to pieces. This really is the endgame for the Church of England as we know it. I don’t mean the break-up of the worldwide Anglican Communion, although that too seems likely. African leaders have refused to sign up to a new covenant that was meant to prevent a cataclysmic split over homosexuality.

I’m talking about something close to home, a far more important issue than warring clergy. It’s about all of us in England and in Britain, whose language, laws, culture and lives have been shaped by a deal that lasted for 500 years.

The Church of England was made keeper of the nation’s soul, with countless special privileges, in return for stating that a succession of monarchs were appointed directly by God.

The trouble is, we just don’t believe in that stuff any more….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

Michael Rankin on why Little Things are not Little Things in the Kingdom of God

An old nursery rhyme (composed by that prolific writer, Author Unknown) reads:

“For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.
For want of a horse, the rider was lost.
For want of a rider, the battle was lost.
For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.
And all for want of a nail.”

The tiniest of details often generate unexpectedly large results. If the littlest detail is right, the results can be wonderfully good: David the shepherd boy needed only one small stone from a creek bed to topple a giant more than nine and one-half feet tall. If the littlest detail is bad, unthinkable disaster can occur: Adam and Eve ate a couple of pieces of fruit and destroyed the world as they then knew it.

Anyone who has ever worked in accounting or computer programming knows the true magnitude of small details. A pair of digits transposed, or a single decimal point out of place, can create an accountant’s worst nightmare. A single incorrectly typed character can derail an intricate computer program. (My programming knowledge is next to nonexistent, but I manually generate most of the HTML code for the Web sites I develop. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed one incorrect key and disabled an entire Web page!)

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Posted in Pastoral Theology, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty Father, fountain of light and salvation, we adore thine infinite goodness in sending thy only begotten Son into the world that, believing in him, we may not perish but have everlasting life; and we pray thee that, through the grace of his first advent to save the world, we may be made ready to meet him at his second advent to judge the world; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

–Matthew 25:10-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Mullen: Iran diplomacy must be 'realistic' about country's intentions

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that Iran is clearly on a path to building nuclear weapons and that military options have been on military leaders’ minds “for a significant period of time.”

But Adm. Mike Mullen, in an interview to air this weekend on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” said that diplomacy remained the No. 1 strategy for reining in a nuclear program that Tehran claims is for peaceful energy purposes.

“I still think it’s important we focus on the dialogue, we focus on the engagement, but also do it in a realistic way that looks at whether Iran is actually going to tell the truth, actually engage and actually do anything,” Mullen said.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General, The U.S. Government

Christipher Howse: The global phenomenon that will never be lost in translation

Like the Tower of London and its attendant ravens, the Authorised Version of The Bible stands as a monument at the heart of the English-speaking world. We may not often look inside, but we are glad it is there. Like the Tower too, Americans seem particularly keen on it, and we speak reverently of its ageless magnificence while remaining vague on the detail.

In the first decade of the 17th century, it took the new king James from Scotland to hammer out a Bible that endured. “It is one of the first British things to be made,” points out the Glasgow-born Neil MacGregor, fresh from his A History of the World in 100 Objects. “It was made by the whole island to be used by the whole island.”

Now it is used by the whole globe, as though God really were an Englishman. If the last Harry Potter sold 44 million, The Bible has sold 2.5 billion some say, or six billion, say others.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Press Association: Hitchens defeats Blair in Canadian religion debate

Tony Blair told an audience member at a debate yesterday that his religious beliefs did not play a role in his decision to support the US invasion of Iraq – but the votes went 2-1 the way of his opponent, Christopher Hitchens.

The former prime minister said it was true that “people commit horrific acts of evil in the name of religion”. But Mr Blair, who converted to Catholicism in 2007, said it was also true that religion inspires acts of extraordinary good.

And he said it was important not to condemn all people of religious faith because of the “bigotry or prejudice shown by some”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

Despite wizardly ways, Harry Potter is a good Christian, claims former Yale theologian

In “God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy in an Ivy League Classroom” (Unlocking Press), …[Danielle Tumminio] explores how readers often overlook Christianity in J.K. Rowling’s work.

When Tumminio, who holds three degrees from Yale and is an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church, taught Christian Theology and Harry Potter at the Ivy League university during 2008 and 2009, the course drew a religiously diverse group of students, including an Indian Christian, a Kenyan Episcopalian and a Chinese atheist.

The Harry Potter expert says she structured her forthcoming book the way she did her class: by exploring Christianity’s influence on Rowling’s themes of evil, sin and resurrection.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Religion & Culture