Daily Archives: November 29, 2010

Robert Samuelson: In Ireland's debt crisis, an ominous reckoning for Europe

Europe’s challenge is no longer just economic. It’s also social and political. Cherished values and ideals are under assault. The euro, intended to nurture unity, has bred discord, as countries assign blame and argue over sharing costs. The social contract is being rewritten, with government benefits and protections being cut. In Ireland, the governing coalition seems doomed; one minority party has withdrawn its support.

The rescue of Ireland, as with Greece before, represents a gamble that Europe can arrest growing doubts and win the patience of bondholders and voters: persuading the investors not to continue dumping bonds (those of Ireland and other countries) in panic, which raises interest rates and could precipitate a self-fulfilling financial collapse; and persuading ordinary citizens to tolerate austerity (higher unemployment, lower social benefits, heavier taxes) without resorting to paralyzing street protests or ineffectual parliamentary coalitions. Whether the gamble will succeed is unclear, as are the potentially chaotic consequences if it doesn’t.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Euro, European Central Bank, Ireland, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(USA Today) Amy Welborn–Pope Benedict, the Enigma

How does all of this work together?

There is, it seems, something for everyone in this exhaustive interview ”” something to annoy everyone on every side of these issues, that is as recent events clearly showed. The truth is, though, that for anyone who has been following Benedict and read any of his numerous works over many years, none of this is shocking or a surprise, and it’s all quite consistent.

It only puzzles us when we insist on filtering the pope’s words through our own expectations and ideologies, our own understanding of what religion and rationality and morality must be all about. We’re not starting from the same page, which might explain much of the invective directed at the pope by a curious, but often oblivious, press.

The thing is, he really believes the stuff. Really. He believes that God exists and we exist because God loves us. We’re free to love him back, or not. So the basic job of the church is to be Christ in the world, inviting human beings to find love and truth. To find themselves. As Benedict puts it in Light of the World, the church “communicates the light of Christ.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Globalization, Media, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

NPR–A Scientist's Saga: Give Son The Gift Of Speech

When a parent receives a diagnosis that his or her child has a condition with no known cure or treatment, it may be hard to know where to turn ”” even if the parent is a professional with the expertise to take matters into his own hands.

Dr. Barry Gordon, a neurologist and an experimental psychologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, faced the challenge of both treating and studying his son’s condition. And in doing so, he pushed the limits of scientific research ”” and parental devotion.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology

(Bloomberg) Iran May Have Missiles From North Korea, Cables Posted by WikiLeaks Show

Iran obtained 19 advanced missiles from North Korea, potentially giving the Islamic nation the capability of attacking Moscow and cities in Western Europe, according to embassy cables posted by WikiLeaks.org and provided to the New York Times.

U.S. officials denounced the release, coming on the eve of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s departure for a security conference in the Persian Gulf, as jeopardizing U.S. ties with foreign governments and endangering individuals. WikiLeaks began posting the cables yesterday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, North Korea, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government

A BBC Radio Four Sunday Programme Set of Segments on Recent Anglican Developments

You may find the programme [at present hosted by William Crawley] link here.

The BBC blurb reads in part:

Earlier this week the General Synod voted to press ahead with the Anglican Covenant, a worldwide deal designed to keep Anglicans around the world united. But the traditionalist lobby group, the Global Anglican Future Conference, rejected the Covenant saying it was ‘no longer appropriate’. We’ll be hearing Bishop Martyn Minns, a member of the Secretariat of the Global Anglican Future Conference Primates’ Council and Dr Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne in the Diocese of Salisbury.

There are two segments of particular interest to blog readers. The first starts about 6 minutes in and features comments Guardian report Stephen Bates (it last about four minutes).

The second starts approximately 33 1/2 minutes in. It features those mentioned in the above blurb as well as former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord (George) Carey (the total length of this part is some ten minutes or so).

Listen to it all and note, alas, that this audio is only available for a limited time.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Global South Churches & Primates

A Church Times Article on the Upcoming Anglican Primates Meeting

In the statement, which came out of a meeting of the GAFCON Primates’ Council in Oxford in October, but was released only on Wednesday, five Primates ”” Dr Justice Akrofi of West Africa, Dr Valentino Mokiwa of Tanzania, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, the Most Revd Henry Orombi of Uganda, and Dr Eliud Wabukala of Kenya ”” say they “join with other Primates from the Global South in declaring that we will not be present”.

They acknowledge the Anglican Covenant is “well-intentioned” but say they “have come to the conclusion the current text is fatally flawed”.

In response, Canon Kenneth Kearon, sec retary general of the Anglican Communion, said: “The decision whether to come remains a matter for the Primates.”

The Oxford statement also reveals that GAFCON plans to build partnerships with other denom­inations that “share their con victions”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Global South Churches & Primates

A Special Monday Treat for Advent: Jesus Christ the Apple Tree from Saint John's, Cambridge

If you go to the BBC 3 Programme link here, you can find Elizabeth Poston’s beautiful piece (my favorite) beginning at around 11:55 (it lasts just over three minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Advent, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Parish Ministry, Theology

(BBC) Location is everything: Tech hubs thrive in a supposedly virtual world

It is de rigeur for anyone starting a business today to use keywords like ‘virtualisation’ and scoff at the thought of paying for real estate and overheads.

With laptops, tablets, smartphones and teleconferencing, staff can work for their multi-national from practically any location. And cloud computing – storing information on remote servers rather on local PCs – means that projects can be synced effortlessly, no matter where you are.

But even in the early adopting world of tech, place still seems to play an important role. In New York, there is now talk of a ‘Silicon Alley’ because of all the start-ups. England has its own mini-hub around Cambridge. Germany has Munich.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Psychology, Science & Technology

A Blog Worth Exploring: Liturgical

Check it out.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture

CNN–Government leaders weigh in on WikiLeaks document dump

A day after the whistleblower site WikiLeaks began publishing details from a massive collection of confidential U.S. diplomatic documents, the chorus of criticism from government leaders grew louder Monday.

Top U.S. officials were quick to denounce the publication of the leaked documents Sunday. And the U.K.’s foreign office followed suit Monday, saying it condemned any release of classified documents.
“They can damage national security, are not in the national interest and, as the U.S. [has] said, may put lives at risk,” the office said in a statement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, The U.S. Government

(Politico) WikiLeaks target: American power

The first victims of the leaked cables released Sunday was anyone who shared secrets with American diplomats, especially Arab leaders who saw their private security deals – and their insistence that those deals be kept from their people – published online with undiplomatic bluntness.

But the main effect of the many details of American diplomacy revealed in the thousands of documents obtained and released by WikiLeaks was to deepen the damage to their intended targets: U.S. foreign policy, prestige, and power.

“The impression is of the world’s superpower roaming helpless in a world in which nobody behaves as bidden,” wrote Sir Simon Jenkins in the left-leaning Guardian, one of the publications that were given the documents.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, O Almighty God, that as thy blessed Son Jesus Christ at his first advent came to seek and to save that which was lost, so at his second and glorious appearing he may find in us the fruits of the redemption which he wrought; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God world without end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

–Psalm 1:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Decormyeyes, A Bully, Finds a Pulpit on the Web

Shopping online in late July, Clarabelle Rodriguez typed the name of her favorite eyeglass brand into Google’s search bar.

In moments, she found the perfect frames ”” made by a French company called Lafont ”” on a Web site that looked snazzy and stood at the top of the search results. Not the tippy-top, where the paid ads are found, but under those, on Google’s version of the gold-medal podium, where the most relevant and popular site is displayed.

Ms. Rodriguez placed an order for both the Lafonts and a set of doctor-prescribed Ciba Vision contact lenses on that site, DecorMyEyes.com. The total cost was $361.97.

It was the start of what Ms. Rodriguez would later describe as one of the most maddening and miserable experiences of her life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Theology

Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn Figures Show Decline

[From 1997 to 2007]…the general population grew 8 per cent, and the Anglican population declined 3.8 per cent. During those years, the number of parishes ceasing to offer Sunday School for children almost doubled to 44 per cent and regular church attendance in the diocese declined by about 2.3 per cent.

Though the decline is less than in the Anglican Church nationally, the median age of Anglicans attending Church in Canberra is 54.8, compared with the median age of Canberra’s population of 34.5.

Despite the gloomy outlook, Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn Stuart Robinson said there had been some areas of growth. And there was continuing interest in the priesthood, with 12 ordinations in St Saviour’s Cathedral Goulburn on Saturday.

Read it all and make sure to note the headline the paper gave this story–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces

An American Hero Receives a Holiday Homecoming

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Watch it all-wonderful stuff.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market

U.S. Expands Role of Diplomats in Spying

The United States has expanded the role of American diplomats in collecting intelligence overseas and at the United Nations, ordering State Department personnel to gather the credit card and frequent-flier numbers, work schedules and other personal information of foreign dignitaries.

Revealed in classified State Department cables, the directives, going back to 2008, appear to blur the traditional boundaries between statesmen and spies.

The cables give a laundry list of instructions for how State Department employees can fulfill the demands of a “National Humint Collection Directive” in specific countries. (“Humint” is spy-world jargon for human intelligence collection.) One cable asks officers overseas to gather information about “office and organizational titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cellphones, pagers and faxes,” as well as “internet and intranet ”˜handles’, internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent-flier account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information.”

Read it all.

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

(London Times' Religion Correspondent) Ruth Gledhill's Youtube Channel

There are numerous videos of possible blog reader interest here related to Anglican news–check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Media

Bishop Andrew Burnham’s Final Sermon as Bishop of Ebbsfleet

So what am I leaving behind? 75 parishes ”“ not to mention the couple of dozen parishes I lost in Exeter diocese two or three years ago, a loss which I still notice. The mostly wonderful ”“ and otherwise usually loveable ”“ priests who serve those parishes. Fr X who calls a spade an ”˜effin’ shovel’. Fr Y whose private generosity to me and support has been extraordinary. Fr Z who gets in touch every few months with yet another tranche of candidates for me to confirm. And then there are those people who must be named: Vicky Hayman and Jackie Ottaway in the office, and former staff, who have kept the whole thing going. Alan who has driven me around for nearly ten years and has heard me gently snoring through the ten o’clock news as he has driven me home. Fr Bill, my chaplain, who has left my stuff behind in a whole variety of sacristies but who has gone round the bun fights doing most of the Bishop’s pastoral work for him. The team has been fabulous. And there are others too: His Honour Mr Judge Patrick, who used to give me free legal advice and support but who, now he’s a judge is no longer allowed to. The two or three deans who have kept in touch on the phone more or less every week for ten years. Talking of which I should mention my Council of Priests, which became a Council of Friends. The people of the parishes, showing time and time again a commitment to the Lord and to each other which I have found humbling, instructive, and life-enhancing. Various key lay people ”“ on the Lay Council, running Brean, turning up at Parish Evangelism Weekends ”“ serving with devotion and skill.

I’m also leaving behind the hugely maddening Anglo-catholic movement: its frailty and fearlessness, its humour and its holiness. It is a home for some slightly disreputable characters ”“ and the ministry of Jesus specialised in being at table with slightly disreputable characters. Ten years touring round the West and the South West has had its moments. No time for anecdotes, but there was the time when I stopped at a service station and bought two cups of tea, which I promptly dropped all over ”˜me privates’. From Burnham-on-Sea (Burnham-on-Crouch?) back to Oxford in a sodden suit. What would people have thought had I been on the way there rather than on the way back?

The Anglo-catholic movement has fought a losing battle for 150 years, trying to convince the Church of England that she would be Catholic if only she conformed herself to the Catholic Faith and fully embraced Catholic Faith and Order….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic

Hindu Group Stirs a Debate Over Yoga’s Soul

Yoga is practiced by about 15 million people in the United States, for reasons almost as numerous ”” from the physical benefits mapped in brain scans to the less tangible rewards that New Age journals call spiritual centering. Religion, for the most part, has nothing to do with it.

But a group of Indian-Americans has ignited a surprisingly fierce debate in the gentle world of yoga by mounting a campaign to acquaint Westerners with the faith that it says underlies every single yoga style followed in gyms, ashrams and spas: Hinduism.

The campaign, labeled “Take Back Yoga,” does not ask yoga devotees to become Hindu, or instructors to teach more about Hinduism. The small but increasingly influential group behind it, the Hindu American Foundation, suggests only that people become more aware of yoga’s debt to the faith’s ancient traditions.

Read it all.

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