Daily Archives: December 4, 2010

Hanukkah, Autism and One Temple’s Run at a Miracle

Nearly 90 people appeared for the service in the temple’s social hall. Sadie sat near the front, near the Torah. She talked with Rabbi Ben, right in the middle of the service, about the best kind of instrument for announcing the new year. And it was O.K., Nancy Crown realized, sitting rows away. It was O.K. ”” Sadie was asking a question in temple, and nobody was shushing her.

Now Hanukkah has arrived, with its evocation of ancient miracles. This Sabbath morning, Sadie and her mother plan to attend the second special-needs worship service at Rodeph Sholom.

There is a phrase often used to describe autistic people ”” “on the spectrum” ”” and it can almost sound like a physical place, somewhere isolated and remote, except maybe when you can feel God, too, on the spectrum.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(NY Times) Leaked Cables Discuss Vast Hacking by a China That Fears the Web

As China ratcheted up the pressure on Google to censor its Internet searches last year, the American Embassy sent a secret cable to Washington detailing one reason top Chinese leaders had become so obsessed with the Internet search company: they were Googling themselves.

The May 18, 2009, cable, titled “Google China Paying Price for Resisting Censorship,” quoted a well-placed source as saying that Li Changchun, a member of China’s top ruling body, the Politburo Standing Committee, and the country’s senior propaganda official, was taken aback to discover that he could conduct Chinese-language searches on Google’s main international Web site. When Mr. Li typed his name into the search engine at google.com, he found “results critical of him.”

That cable from American diplomats was one of many made public by WikiLeaks that portray China’s leadership as nearly obsessed with the threat posed by the Internet to their grip on power ”” and, the reverse, by the opportunities it offered them, through hacking, to obtain secrets stored in computers of its rivals, especially the United States.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, China, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Science & Technology

John Richardson–Christian sexuality is a Jacob's ladder

Perhaps the first thing to clarify is why there should be a specifically “Christian” way of thinking about sex at all. What is it about Christianity that could make a difference? And the answer surely lies in the doctrine of the incarnation.

Christians, as distinct even from Jews (their closest theological neighbours), believe that God has been “embodied”. The word of God, himself God from the beginning, “became flesh and dwelt among us” in the person of Jesus (John 1:14).

Therefore the body, the locus of our sexuality and the vehicle of its expression, is also a vehicle and means of expression of God’s own self. And whatever Christians think about sexuality, it has to be integrated with this specifically Christian understanding.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Philadelphia Inquirer) Differences on the meaning of 'Christmas'

And so, after four days of squabbling, the sign over City Hall’s clutch of seasonal shops blinked on Thursday evening, uncensored.

“Christmas Village” it read once again, with the provocative – and briefly erased – word Christmas restored in large, golden lights.

Mayor Nutter’s decision Wednesday to reverse other city officials, who had changed the name of the shops to Holiday Village, has not entirely calmed the waters.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Religion & Culture

(USA Today) Drugs found in 33% of killed drivers

Bruce Holloway was turning into his driveway in Mount Juliet, Tenn., in April 2009, when he was struck and killed by Brian Duffey.

Duffey was driving 80 mph with alcohol and painkillers in his system, according to police and court records.

“He was already home,” said Holloway’s fiancée, Mary Loving. “It’s so unfair.”

Duffey pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and was sentenced to 22 years. He was one of a growing number of heavily medicated Americans who get behind the wheel every day.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Travel, Violence

Saturday Morning Diversion–Michael Jordan's Top 10 Dunks

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

John Cassidy on the Employment Report–WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

Today’s awful job figures crossed the wires just as I was mulling a post on how the Fed’s policy of pumping money into the bond market””a.k.a. quantitative easing””was showing signs of working. Over the past couple of weeks, a number of indicators have suggested that the economy is picking up a bit: purchases of cars and trucks have jumped significantly, retailers posted solid sales over Thanksgiving, and consumer confidence has rebounded. Even the bombed-out housing market””a direct beneficiary of Fed policy, which is largely aimed at keeping down mortgage rates””has shown signs of life: the number of home sales jumped last month. The U.S. economics team at Goldman Sachs, which has been one of the most pessimistic on Wall Street, just upgraded its forecast for G.D.P. growth in 2011 from 2.0 per cent to 2.7 per cent. That’s still not a great figure””after a recession, economies often expand at a rate of four or five per cent for a couple of years””but the upgrade was a signal that worries of a “double dip” recession were receding.

Then came this morning’s shocker: the economy created just 39,000 jobs in November, compared to 172,000 in October, and the unemployment rate jumped from 9.6 per cent to 9.8 per cent. Health care and temporary help services were the only sectors reporting significant new hiring. Most other sectors reported flat payrolls or reductions. The sectors cutting jobs included retailing and finance, which had appeared to be doing relatively well. What is going on? In ascending order of frightfulness, here are four possibilities….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John of Damascus

Confirm our minds, O Lord, in the mysteries of the true faith, set forth with power by thy servant John of Damascus; that we, with him, confessing Jesus to be true God and true Man, and singing the praises of the risen Lord, may, by the power of the resurrection, attain to eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for evermore.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Eternal God, who has taught us in thy holy Word that love is the fulfilling of the law: Pour into our hearts that best of all thy gifts, that loving our neighbour as ourselves we may live as children of the day and of the light; for the glory of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frank Colquhoun

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God.

–Psalm 20:7

Posted in Uncategorized

US Deficit-Cutting Plan Falls Short of Needed Votes

A bold plan to slash the U.S. budget deficit fell short Friday of winning support needed from a presidential commission to trigger congressional action, but it was expected to help shape future budget debates.

The plan found more backing than many anticipated, from Democrats and Republicans, and parts of it could be used in President Barack Obama’s next budget, due in February, as well as in congressional proposals to follow.

A formal commission vote did not occur, but 11 members said they supported the plan and seven said they did not. It needed 14 votes to be sent to Congress for legislative action.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, Stewardship, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Ron Santo RIP

There will be many measures of the man remembered this weekend and beyond, but perhaps one above many, if not most, should tell you a few things about Ron Santo, who died at 70 Thursday in Arizona….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Sports

Chicago Tribune: Presiding Bishop aims to bridge the chasm between faith and science

As a trained oceanographer, pilot and high-profile prelate, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori seems like the ideal ambassador to bridge the widening chasm between faith and science.

She will step up to that challenge Friday in Chicago when she champions collaboration between the religion and health care communities at two area hospitals.

During a public lecture at Rush University Medical Center, Jefferts Schori is expected to discuss healing ministries that Episcopal congregations have developed around the world. Later that day, she is expected to ordain Stroger Hospital’s first paid trauma chaplain.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Friday afternoon quiz–what is the Birthday of the Ipod?

No looking/googling, etc. Also please note it is the Ipod, not the Iphone or the Ipad.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Science & Technology