Daily Archives: December 3, 2010

(WSJ) Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper: Presbyterians Against Israel

In 2008, the World Council of Churches convened a group of Protestant and Catholic theologians to review the underpinnings of Christian attitudes toward Israel. (No Jews were invited.) The group published the so-called Bern Perspective, which, among other things, instructed Christians to understand all biblical references to Israel only metaphorically.

This understanding denies the connection between today’s Jews and Moses, Jeremiah and Isaiah. It marks a return to “replacement theology,” the medieval view that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plan and that all biblical references to Israel refer to the “new Israel”””that is, to Christians. For centuries, that view was the theological basis for denying rights to Jews in Church-dominated Europe.

In 2009, on the first day of Chanukah (which Jews again celebrate this week), a group of Christian Palestinians issued the Kairos Palestine Document, which was immediately published on the World Council of Churches website. The document calls for a general boycott of Israel and argues that Christians’ faith requires them to side with the “oppressed,” meaning the Palestinians. It speaks of the evils of the Israeli “occupation,” yet is silent on any evils committed by Palestinians, including the Hamas terrorists who now govern the Gaza Strip.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Israel, Middle East, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

BBC Interview w/Lord Carey et al–transcripts as Given by Pageantmaster to Titusonenine

Please go here and read all 3 comments/transcripts.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

SMH–Macho boys' club 'cost Anglicans millions'

A reckless ”boys’ club” inside the Anglican Church has been blamed for the Sydney diocese’s catastrophic losses during the global financial crisis, amid calls for greater involvement of women on the diocese’s boards.

The rector of the church’s Hunters Hill parish, Philip Bradford, said the presence of women on all-male Anglican boards would have brought a more cautious approach to investments that cost the church $160 million during the downturn.

But the diocese buried the motion for the equal representation of women on boards at the Sydney synod, he said, and did not debate the matter.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Credit Markets, Economy, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Stewardship, Stock Market

U.S. Added 39,000 Jobs in November, Unemployment Rose to 9.8%

Employers added fewer jobs than forecast in November and the unemployment rate unexpectedly increased, vindicating the Federal Reserve’s decision to pump more money into the economy to spur growth.

Payrolls increased 39,000, less than the most pessimistic projection of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, after a revised 172,000 increase the prior month, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The jobless rate rose to 9.8 percent, the highest since April, while hours worked and earnings stagnated.

More jobs are needed to sustain the holiday-season gains in consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, into the new year. Payrolls aren’t growing fast enough to lower the jobless rate, one reason why Fed policy makers announced a new round of monetary stimulus.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

CEN–Irish bishop to Carlisle vicarage

The Church of Ireland’s Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry has written to his diocese announcing that he will be stepping down from office in January after 12 years to serve as vicar of Appleby-in-Westmoreland, Cumbria, leader of the Heart of Eden Team Ministry and Honorary Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Carlisle.

In his pastoral letter of Nov 21, Dr. Richard Henderson thanked the clergy and laity of his West of Ireland diocese, writing: “It has been an immense privilege to be among you all.”

“Having been Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry for over twelve years, with our children now grown up, and having reflected deeply on the gifts I can best offer, I have felt led increasingly to return to parish life and substantially to non-episcopal ministry,” the bishop said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church of Ireland, Parish Ministry

(DNA Info) General Theological Seminary Sells Off History to Pay Debts

For the nearly 200-year-old General Theological Seminary, which has the bulk of its campus between Ninth and Tenth Avenues and 20th and 21st Streets, the deal was a matter of survival, spokesman Bruce Parker said Thursday.

The institution carries $41 million in debts, a quantity that nearly prevented it from opening for classes this fall, according to Parker. The sale, to the Brodsky Organization, would fully cover those debts, said Parker, who could not provide the total price tag for the deal.

The properties the Seminary is selling off include a residential building known as Chelsea 2, 3, 4, a portion of the schoolyard currently used as a tennis court, and 422 W. 20th Street. The school currently fills the buildings with a mix of dormitories and offices.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Stewardship, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Church Times: Lord Carey launches campaign for ”˜persecuted’ Christians

The Bishop of Croydon, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, also countered the campaign’s arguments, speaking on Channel 4’s 4thought.tv. He said that Christians who could not carry out a particular job if it was in conflict with their faith had a choice whether to do it, but this did not amount to persecution.

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said that the campaign was in­dicative of “in­creasingly desperate attempts to work up a victim narrative of ”˜Christianophobia’”, which has “no basis in reality”.

But Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of Christian Concern, said that she daily encountered Chris­tians “who find themselves in trouble in the workplace as a result of living out their Christian faith”.

Read it all.

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

CEN–Gafcon rejects the covenant in blow to Archbishop

While the statement was released on the same day as General Synod debated the Covenant, the timing of the release was not intended to sway discussion in England, a spokesman told CEN.

The “Oxford Statement” required weeks of refining and was passed from archbishop to archbishop before it was ready for release, a Gafcon secretariat spokesman said.

Sources within the Gafcon movement tell CEN the Oxford Statement should not be read as an outright rejection of the Covenant, but as a vote of no confidence in the current draft that vests authority in the Anglican Communion “Standing Committee”.

On November 1, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali encapsulated the thinking of many of the Gafcon leaders, telling CEN the new Section IV of the Covenant was “quite different” from what had been prepared by the Covenant design team, and “produces a new kind of ecclesial animal” in the Standing Committee. “We have had a spate of resignations” from the Standing Committee “that calls into question its on-going credibility,” he noted. Yet the Standing Committee will “make recommendations” about discipline.

Read it all.

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

(WSJ) California Pollution: Made in China?

Scientists have long known that pollution and dust from China travels over the Pacific to the western United States. What they haven’t been able to figure out is how much. Until now.

In a paper published in the latest issue of the scholarly journal Environmental Science and Technology and picked up by Chemical & Engineering News, a team of geochemists announced that they have developed a method for tracing fine airborne particulate pollution (also known as PM2.5 because the particles are less than 2.5 microns wide) with origins in East Asia by testing for a specific lead isotope, 208Pb, found in greater concentrations in coal and metal ores from the region.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Science & Technology

(USA Today) God knows, we lie about going to church

[Philip Brenner, University of Michigan research fellow with the Institute for Social Research]…plowed through 400 surveys and time diaries across four decades with three quarters of a million respondents in 13 nations to find that Americans exaggerate their church attendance more than anyone else.

About 23% of Americans actually do attend church “regularly” (two or three times a month or more) according to time diaries (in which people account for 24 hours of recent activity). But 35% to 45% say they attend regularly when asked on surveys….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(USA Today) Boomer divide: Generation gap spans 19 years

“Someone coming of age in 1950 lives through JFK, the soaring rhetoric of Martin Luther King, the Mickey Mouse Club and Leave It to Beaver,” says Steven Gillon, resident historian of the History Channel and author of Boomer Nation. “After 1960, their memories are Watergate and oil embargo.”

Yet, they have been lumped into one demographic behemoth (77 million) that has guided marketing decisions, transformed history and politics and reshaped entertainment sensibilities for more than six decades.

As the nation marks the 65th birthday of the first Boomers beginning next month, the millions born at the tail end of the generation are feeling a disconnect.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Middle Age, Psychology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst warn us to prepare for the day when thou shalt come to be our judge: Mercifully grant that being awake from the sleep of sin, we may always be watching and intent upon the work thou hast given us to do; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure. For thou dost not give me up to Sheol, or let thy godly one see the Pit. Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.

–Psalm 16:8-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Subsisting on Arsenic, Microbe May Redefine Life

Scientists said Thursday that they had trained a bacterium to eat and grow on a diet of arsenic, in place of phosphorus ”” one of six elements considered essential for life ”” opening up the possibility that organisms could exist elsewhere in the universe or even here on Earth using biochemical powers we have not yet dared to dream about.

The bacterium, scraped from the bottom of Mono Lake in California and grown for months in a lab mixture containing arsenic, gradually swapped out atoms of phosphorus in its little body for atoms of arsenic.

Scientists said the results, if confirmed, would expand the notion of what life could be and where it could be. “There is basic mystery, when you look at life,” said Dimitar Sasselov, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and director of an institute on the origins of life there, who was not involved in the work. “Nature only uses a restrictive set of molecules and chemical reactions out of many thousands available. This is our first glimmer that maybe there are other options.”

Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA astrobiology fellow at the United States Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., who led the experiment, said, “This is a microbe that has solved the problem of how to live in a different way.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Science & Technology

Press Association: Lord Carey backs Christianity campaign

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has claimed that Christians of “deep faith” are being penalised as he launched a campaign aimed at speaking up for Christian values in public life.

Lord Carey gave his backing to the Christian Concern Not Ashamed Day, urging Christians to “wear their faith with pride” in the face of alleged attempts to “airbrush” them from public life.

“Christianity is a public religion, always has been and always will be,” he said. “What we believe in is of paramount importance to our nation and were we to lose it, then I have no idea what will happen to the Christian faith in this country.”

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

Persistence of Unemployment Likely to Test the U.S.

The longer people stay out of work, the more trouble they have finding new work.

That is a fact of life that much of Europe, with its underclass of permanently idle workers, knows all too well. But it is a lesson that the United States seems to be just learning.

This country has some of the highest levels of long-term unemployment ”” out of work longer than six months ”” it has ever recorded. Meanwhile, job growth has been, and looks to remain, disappointingly slow, indicating that those out of work for a while are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Even if the government report on Friday shows the expected improvement in hiring by business, it will not be enough to make a real dent in those totals.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner