Daily Archives: December 6, 2010

Tom Krattenmaker (USA Today)–Amid bomb plot, soul-searching in Portland

Anger, fear, contempt ”” these are understandable emotions when people learn of a would-be act of terrorism at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in their own downtown. I’ve gone through those, and a fair bit of sadness, too ”” sadness that a kid from our community would allegedly want to smash a happy scene to a million bits, sadness that no one set him straight, and sadness that my Muslim friends are feeling even more under the gun than before.

In the understandable rush to make sense of the nonsensical, people grasp for their ideologies: The Muslims are out to get us! Law enforcement has it in for minorities! What emerges for me is no rallying cry but some emphatic words of caution. Let’s be careful about picking our scapegoats and leaping to our favorite over-generalizations. And, especially, let’s choose responses that don’t hurt an already-bad situation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-Up

Ninth grade was supposed to be a fresh start for Marie’s son: new school, new children. Yet by last October, he had become withdrawn. Marie prodded. And prodded again. Finally, he told her.

“The kids say I’m saying all these nasty things about them on Facebook,” he said. “They don’t believe me when I tell them I’m not on Facebook.”

But apparently, he was.

Marie, a medical technologist and single mother who lives in Newburyport, Mass., searched Facebook. There she found what seemed to be her son’s page: his name, a photo of him grinning while running ”” and, on his public wall, sneering comments about teenagers he scarcely knew.

Someone had forged his identity online and was bullying others in his name….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Teens / Youth

Mary Tanner's recent Sermon at the C of E General Synod

Synodical government was a visionary initiative. It established definitively the voice of the laity in the governance of our Church, providing a place where laity and clergy, together with the bishops, meet to discern, to express consensus and to legislate. It embodied the important principle that the whole Church has responsibility to guard and transmit the faith and to discern how to express that faith afresh in each generation. This guiding principle of our English Reformation, reflected in synodical government today, is something precious, something to celebrate.

And yet, as we begin this new quinquennium we know that our synodical system is ”“ and probably always will be, like the institution of the Church itself ”“ in need of reform and renewal. English parliamentary processes can have a negative effect, tending to polarisation, parties divided against one another, a culture of winners and losers. Thank goodness the call to the Synod ”“ ”˜decide’ ”“ now replaces the former absurd practice of a bewigged lawyer crying ”˜divide’ ”“ just when the Synod was testing for consensus, testing for the mind of Christ. Humorous, if it weren’t so misleading. So where might you look for guidance on how to conduct your life in Synod?

When I asked myself this question the Council of Jerusalem came into my mind. Of course this can’t be a precise blue-print to copy but it may suggest clues on how you might go about your business….

Read it all (Hat Tip: General Synod Blog).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Ross Douthat–The Changing Culture War

This week, the National Marriage Project is releasing a study charting the decline of the two-parent family among what it calls the “moderately educated middle” ”” the 58 percent of Americans with high school diplomas and often some college education, but no four-year degree.

This decline is depressing, but it isn’t surprising. We’ve known for a while that America has a marriage gap: college graduates divorce infrequently and bear few children out of wedlock, while in the rest of the country unwed parenthood and family breakdown are becoming a new normal. This gap has been one of the paradoxes of the culture war: highly educated Americans live like Ozzie and Harriet despite being cultural liberals, while middle America hews to traditional values but has trouble living up to them.

But the Marriage Project’s data suggest that this paradox is fading. It’s no longer clear that middle America does hold more conservative views on marriage and family, or that educated Americans are still more likely to be secular and socially liberal.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

Delay in Korea Talks Is Sign of U.S.-China Tension

President Obama and President Hu Jintao of China talked by telephone on Monday about North Korea, culminating 13 days of effort by the White House to persuade China’s leaders to discuss a crisis that many experts fear could escalate into military action.

Administration officials say they have no evidence Mr. Hu was ducking the call, which the Chinese knew would urge them to crack down on their unruly ally, a step Beijing clearly is highly reluctant to take amid a leadership succession in North Korea. White House officials insisted that the long delay was simply the result of scheduling problems.

But in Beijing, both Chinese and American officials and analysts have another explanation: the long silence epitomizes the speed with which relations between Washington and Beijing have plunged into a freeze. This year has witnessed the longest period of tension between the two capitals in a decade. And if anything, both sides appear to be hardening their positions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, North Korea, South Korea

CBS' 60 Minutes: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's Take On The Economy

[Scott] Pelley: How would you rate the likelihood of dipping into recession again?

[Ben] Bernanke: It doesn’t seem likely that we’ll have a double dip recession. And that’s because, among other things, some of the most cyclical parts of the economy, like housing, for example, are already very weak. And they can’t get much weaker. And so another decline is relatively unlikely. Now, that being said, I think a very high unemployment rate for a protracted period of time, which makes consumers, households less confident, more worried about the future, I think that’s the primary source of risk that we might have another slowdown in the economy.

Pelley: You seem to be saying that the recovery that we’re experiencing now is not self-sustaining.

Bernanke: It may not be. It’s very close to the border. It takes about two and a half percent growth just to keep unemployment stable. And that’s about what we’re getting. We’re not very far from the level where the economy is not self-sustaining.

The debate on Capitol Hill this week is over whether to extend the Bush tax cuts, which would likely increase the budget deficit.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Federal Reserve, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Taxes, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The September 2008 Proposed Henry Paulson 700 Billion Bailout Package, The U.S. Government

Roger Balk on Faith and the Future of Canada

The possibility of creating a civil society on the basis of the revolution of the 1950’s no longer exists. In the presence of a multi-religious new immigrant society with a variety of cultural and ethnic roots, the presence of a significant secular minority which wants to rule out the active role of religions in the new developing Quebec society which is challenged by a plurality of those who wish to maintain its Christian roots and here I include Protestants and jews outside of the ultra orthodox the dream that French language alone is capable of creating a civil society is questionable at best.

So what does this have to with our long standing commitment to the sin business? Well, we have to acknowledge that the conversation in which we are involved is between good guys. We have to present our nation and its values in a language which is able to go beyond the terms and posturing that I want to call missionary. Those coming as immigrant[s] must be made aware that their move is not geographic but will require a re-examination of their cultural identity and practices. The church, here in the inclusive sense I just mentioned, must be prepared to step back to the extent its vision is of a multi-religious society and stated in a way which makes clear its role in the flourishing of the human enterprise. It needs to affirm the triumphant secularity of the founders of the revolution which I would add in an historical note is dramatically similar to that of the founding fathers of the United States. We need to accept that our belief in social values involves commitment and discipline that the sin business used to promulgate but can no longer deliver. We need to listen to the cries coming from multitude of quarters from those concerned that the current state of affairs is not sustainable….

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, History, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

Remembering Frank Colquhoun (1909-1997)

Frank Colquhoun was a much respected evangelical priest and popular author in the Church of England. He wrote or edited 26 books of prayers as well as guides to preaching, hymns, the gospels and moral problems. He was also for a time editor of The Churchman and editorial secretary of the World’s Evangelical Alliance.

His patient, gentle, conciliatory character gave him hundreds of friends in his south country and London parishes and also during his work as a cathedral canon. For six years, from 1966 to 1972, he was Principal of the Southwark Ordination Course, that radical experiment pioneered by Bishop Mervyn Stockwood and Bishop John Robinson.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

The Bishop of Liverpool's Environment Agency Lecture

I was recently in America. It’s a country I love but it was depressing. All the energy for legislating on climate change has drained away. Those once leading the debate are now silent, the deniers have turned up the volume. The Administration has stalled on this vital subject. The President said in his State of the Union speech “the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy”. If that’s true (and I believe it is) then America has already begun to cede its premier place in the world economy.

The Chinese are already talking about the economic downturn as “the North Atlantic Crisis”. And according to the Pew Centre Research “China is emerging as the world’s cleanest energy powerhouse”. It has already become the world’s leading investor in renewables aiming for 15% of its energy to be generated through renewables by 2020. It has designated 5 provinces and 8 cities as China’s Low Carbon Pilots, representing 350 million people, 27% of the population and one third of the economy. The centre of gravity is shifting from West to East not just for the World Economy but for the Green Economy.

Future historians will ponder long and hard on why the North Atlantic nations fell so easily on their swords and pressed the self-destruct button.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Energy, Natural Resources

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas

Almighty God, who in thy love didst give to thy servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness on land and sea: Grant, we pray thee, that thy Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O great and glorious God, holy and immortal, who searches out the policies of nations and tries the hearts of men: Come, we pray thee, in judgment, upon the nations of the world; come and bring to destruction all that is contrary to thy holy will for mankind, and cause the counsels of the wicked to perish. Come, O Lord, into our hearts, and root out from them that thou seest, and we cannot see, to be unlike the Spirit of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Harold Anson

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we wake or sleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

–1 Thessalonians 5:8-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ENS) Diocese of Northern Michigan elects Rayford Ray as 11th bishop

The Rev. Rayford Ray was elected Dec. 4 as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan, pending required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church.

Ray, 54, a member of the Episcopal Ministry Support Team in the Diocese of Northern Michigan, was elected on the second ballot of a special convention from a field of three nominees. A fourth nominee, the Rev. Nigel Taber-Hamilton, rector of St. Augustine’s in-the-Woods Episcopal Church, Freeland, Washington, had earlier asked that his name be withdrawn from consideration.

Read it all.

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

(DJ) China To Overtake Germany As No. 3 Ad Market In 2011

The global advertising market should continue to recover steadily over the next three years driven by markets such as China, which is expected to overtake Germany as the world’s third-largest ad market in 2011, according to the latest forecast from Publicis Group SA’S (PUB.FR) ZenithOptimedia.

Advertising spending in China is expected to grow 51% over the next three years to reach $34.24 billion in 2013, said Zenith.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Europe, Germany, Globalization, Media

Ghanian Anglican Church members urged to sacrifice to increase membership

Professor Kwasi Nsiah-Gyabaah, immediate past Rector of Sunyani Polytechnic, on Saturday said sacrifice, financial and material resources and total devotion were necessary to improve on the dwindling membership of the Sunyani diocese of the Anglican Church. He said structural reform, unity, patriotism and commitment constituted the requisite essentials of the Anglican Church “to propagate the gospel, rescue the perishing and win souls for Christ”. Prof. Nsiah-Gyabaah was speaking on the theme: “Let Us Rise and Build,” to climax a five-day programme and fund-raising to mark the first anniversary of Rt. Rev. Dr. Festus Yeboah Asuamah, third Bishop of the Anglican diocese of Sunyani.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Province of West Africa, Anglican Provinces, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

BBC–Wikileaks: Saudis 'chief funders of Sunni militants'

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned last year in a leaked classified memo that donors in Saudi Arabia were the “most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”.

She said it was “an ongoing challenge” to persuade Saudi officials to treat such activity as a strategic priority.

The groups funded include al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba, she added.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Terrorism

(Prospect) Alasdair MacIntyre on Money

Although baptised a Presbyterian, from his early twenties MacIntyre abandoned religion for a quarter of a century. He appears to have shared for a time AJ Ayer’s assertion that the only significant propositions are those that can be empirically or scientifically verified. MacIntyre’s conversion to Catholicism in his fifties, he tells me, occurred as a result of being convinced of Thomism while attempting to disabuse his students of its authenticity. Aquinas combined Aristotle’s account of a universe knowable through observation with Christian philosophy, arguing that such a world still required God’s existence as its sustaining creator. An Aristotelian-Thomistic view of society and the world, as set out in After Virtue, offered the best philosophical underpinning for human flourishing, and the only alternative to the fragmentation of modern moral philosophy.

MacIntyre argues that those committed to the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition of the common good must begin again. This involves “capturing the double aspect of the globalising economy and its financial sector, so that we understand it both as an engine of growth and as such a source of benefits, but equally as a perpetrator of great harms and continuing injustices.” Apologists for globalisation, he argues, treat it as a source of benefits, and only accidentally and incidentally a source of harms. Hence, the view that “to be for or against globalisation is in some ways like being for or against the weather.”

MacIntyre maintains, however, that the system must be understood in terms of its vices””in particular debt. The owners and managers of capital always want to keep wages and other costs as low as possible. “But, insofar as they succeed, they create a recurrent problem for themselves. For workers are also consumers and capitalism requires consumers with the purchasing power to buy its products. So there is tension between the need to keep wages low and the need to keep consumption high.” Capitalism has solved this dilemma, MacIntyre says, by bringing future consumption into the present by dramatic extensions of credit.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(The Spirit of Things) The Spiritual and the Secular in Australia

Rachael Kohn: It’s good to have you back on again. You’ve been researching Australia’s religious profile for more than two decades now with a special focus on Christianity. Where would you put Australia compared to other historically Christian societies in the West?

Philip Hughes: Certainly I think that the Christian significance and Christian part of Australia’s identity has been in decline for the last 40 years. Now approximately half of all Australians identify themselves as being Christian. I think there are certainly a lot of Christian faiths still very much influencing our education, influencing our social welfare, influencing our values, but it’s become less explicit.

Rachael Kohn: Tom Frame has famously said that Australia is not a Christian country. Do you agree with his terminology or is it your observation more that Australians don’t champion a strong national story that is Christian?

Philip Hughes: I certainly think that the national Australian identity is not explicitly Christian. On the other hand, the Christian faith is still a choice being made by large numbers of Australians.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Religion & Culture

John Hunwicke: Conditional Ordination for Ordinariate Anglicans?

A good technical case could, it is true, be made for this on the grounds of the Bishop Graham Leonard precedent. But, in his case, the CDF considered the orthodoxy or otherwise of every ‘link’ in the ordinations which led from the Dutchmen to the Bishop who ordained him priest. It cannot be anything other than a profound mistake in practical terms to attempt to clutter up the beginning of an Ordinariate with the sort of paper chases and delays which would be involved. And it would create an invidious divide between most of us and a few worthy priests who, because of age or because they were ordained in other parts of the Anglican Communion, were priested by bishops who had not contracted the Dutch Touch. So, my strong conviction is: NO … just don’t go there….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(FT) US fears Gulf failing to combat terror

The US is worried that Qatar, which last week won the right to host the 2022 soccer World Cup, and Kuwait are not doing enough to combat the financing of al-Qaeda, say officials and leaked diplomatic cables.

The Obama administration expresses fears that the two countries are in effect allowing al-Qaeda to circumvent tighter controls in Saudi Arabia and that pilgrims on the annual Hajj to Mecca also play a big role in funding the group.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Middle East

(FT) Gideon Rachman: What if US influence goes into retreat?

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States was left as the world’s only superpower. But the “unipolar moment” did not last long. By the time Barack Obama entered the White House in January 2009, it was already clear that the era of untrammelled American confidence and power had come to a close. Two major events have undermined the swagger and self-confidence of US foreign policy. The first was the failure to secure clear victories in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The second was the financial and economic crisis that began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September, 2008. These three new books all respond, in different ways, to this new environment:

Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, by Andrew Bacevich

How Wars End: Why We Always Fight the Last Battle, by Gideon Rose

The Frugal Superpower: America’s Global Leadership in a Cash-strapped Era, by Michael Mandelbaum….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Books, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Politics in General, The U.S. Government

Sunday Afternoon Diversion (II): Mike Rowe Of 'Dirty Jobs' Plays 'Not My Job' on NPR's Wait Wait…

This is hysterical and well worth the time–listen to it all (just over 12 minutes).

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

Sunday Afternoon Diversion (I)–Laughing Baby Video

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Children, Humor / Trivia