Daily Archives: December 16, 2010

U.S. Rethinks Strategy for the Unthinkable

Suppose the unthinkable happened, and terrorists struck New York or another big city with an atom bomb. What should people there do? The government has a surprising new message: Do not flee. Get inside any stable building and don’t come out till officials say it’s safe.

The advice is based on recent scientific analyses showing that a nuclear attack is much more survivable if you immediately shield yourself from the lethal radiation that follows a blast, a simple tactic seen as saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Even staying in a car, the studies show, would reduce casualties by more than 50 percent; hunkering down in a basement would be better by far.

But a problem for the Obama administration is how to spread the word without seeming alarmist about a subject that few politicians care to consider, let alone discuss. So officials are proceeding gingerly in a campaign to educate the public.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military

David Brooks: Ben Franklin’s Nation

…the change in the global social structure has created a psychological crisis in the U.S. Since World War II, we’ve built our national identity on our rank among the nations ”” at the front with everybody else trailing behind. But in this age of convergence, the world doesn’t have much of a tail anymore.

Some people interpret this loss of lead-dog status as a sign of national decline.

Other people think we are losing our exceptionalism. But, the truth is, there’s just been a change in the shape of the world community. In a world of relative equals, the U.S. will have to learn to define itself not by its rank, but by its values. It will be important to have the right story to tell, the right purpose and the right aura. It will be more important to know who you are.

Americans seem uncertain about how to answer that question. But one answer is contained in [Hans] Rosling’s chart. What is the core feature of the converging world? It is the rise of a gigantic global middle class.

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

(The Australian) Anglican priests joining Rome follow ritual from 500-year-old liturgy

Priests in Australia’s new Anglican Ordinariate will celebrate mass facing east, away from their congregations, using 500-year old liturgies.

Archbishop John Hepworth, Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, said the traditional sacred liturgies — more in the language of Shakespeare than modern vernacular — would be held in parishes in all capital cities, the Gold and Sunshine coasts, Rockhampton and Torres Strait.

The process took a major step forward yesterday when Archbishop Hepworth and Catholic Bishop Peter Elliott announced the establishment of an Australian Ordinariate implementation committee comprising senior Catholic, Anglican and TAC clergy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

An Anglican Journal Article on the British Columbia Reasserter Parishes Appeal to Supreme Court

In November, the British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld a 2009 Supreme Court of B.C. decision that ruled the Anglican diocese of New Westminster should retain possession of four Vancouver-area church properties.

But this week, the congregations that filed the original lawsuit have announced they intend to file an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues

Chris O'Brien–Zuckerberg's well-deserved honor from Time

Considering that you couldn’t turn on your TV, go to the movies or hit the bookstore this year without seeing Mark Zuckerberg, it’s absolutely fitting that the 26-year-old founder of Facebook was named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.”

At the same time it’s astonishing that, at such an early stage of his career, Zuckerberg finds himself on the receiving end of an honor that places him in some remarkable company.

He is the second-youngest to receive the nod, edged out only by 25-year-old Charles Lindbergh in 1927. He becomes only the second recipient from Silicon Valley, following Andy Grove in 1997 — who was honored almost 30 years after founding Intel. Among other tech titans, the list is a short one: Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com in 1999 and Bill Gates in 2005 (though for his charitable works).

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Media, Science & Technology, Young Adults

Notable and Quotable (II)

You have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw””but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported . . . All the things that have deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it””tantalising glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest””if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself””you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say ‘Here at last is the thing I was made for.’ We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want . . . which we shall still desire on our deathbeds . . . Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it””made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.

–C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (my emphasis)

Posted in Anthropology, Eschatology, Theology

Notable and Quotable (I)

It would be very surprising if this religion, so youthful, yet so varied in its historical experience, has now revealed all its secrets.

–Diarmaid MacCulloch, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years (Viking, 2010)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Church History

(RNS) Muslim Women at Center of Suits over Hajj, Headscarves

The federal government has filed suit against an Illinois school district for not allowing a Muslim teacher to make the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and the ACLU has filed suit on behalf of a Georgia woman who was thrown in jail after refusing to remove her headscarf.

U.S. officials on Monday (Dec. 13) sued Berkeley School District 87 in suburban Chicago for denying a Muslim schoolteacher’s request for almost three weeks of paid leave of absence so she could perform the hajj, the pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Gregory Baum Says Interfaith dialogue must face up to modernity

Interreligious dialogue — perhaps especially Catholic-Muslim dialogue — must deal with how world religions confront secular modernity, Canadian theologian Gregory Baum said in a major lecture in Washington Nov. 17.
Catholic dialogue with Jews and Muslims does not contradict the Catholic proclamation of the Gospel, although tensions between dialogue and evangelization are not always easily resolved, he said. “Interreligious dialogue transforms the traditions involved in it: It purifies them and enriches them,” he said.

But if such dialogues are to be authentic, he said, they must also work together to face up to the challenges that classic world religions face in today’s globalized world of technology, finance, trade, and other cultural and secular forces.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology

Bruce Larson on Joy: Let Go of Your Balloon

Some years ago we were doing a renewal conference in a great Gothic cathedral-like Presbyterian church in Omaha. As people came in they were given a balloon filled with helium. They were told to release it at some point in the service when they felt like expressing joy in their hearts””during the anthem, the hymns, the prayers or the sermon. Since they were Presbyterians, they were not free to say “Hallelujah,” or “Praise the Lord.” Letting go of the balloon would represent praise going up to God. So all through the service, brightly colored balloons were rising up to bounce off the ceiling, visual signs of praise to the Lord. But oddly enough, when the service was over, about a third of those balloons were still left unreleased. Those Presbyterians either felt no joy, or, feeling it, could not bring themselves to express it. You may have had parents who have hung onto their balloons. They can’t rejoice at your birth if they are unable to rejoice at all. At John [the Baptist’s] birth, parents and neighbors alike released their balloons.

–Bruce Larson, Luke: The Preacher’s Commentary, Vol. 26 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2002), p.43

Posted in Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast day of Ralph Adams Cram, Richard Upjohn, and John LaFarge

Gracious God, we offer thanks for the vision of Ralph Adams Cram, John LaFarge and Richard Upjohn, whose harmonious revival of the Gothic enriched our churches with a sacramental understanding of reality in the face of secular materialism; and we pray that we may honor thy gifts of the beauty of holiness given through them, for the glory of Jesus Christ; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Architecture, Art, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and most merciful God, who has given the Bible to be the revelation of thy great love to man, and of thy power and will to save him: Grant that our study of it may not be made vain by the callousness or the carelessness of our hearts, but that by it we may be confirmed in penitence, lifted to hope, made strong for service, and, above all, filled with true knowledge of thee and of thy Son Jesus Christ.

–George Adam Smith

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

–Matthew 3:10-12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Margot Eccles (Diocese of Chicago) defends the Los Angeles Consecration–“This is who we are!”

As the ordinations of bishops-elect Diane Bruce and Mary Glasspool approach on May 15, I hope we can all celebrate with them, their families, the Diocese of LA and TEC. At this time, it seems to me, we are living into our Baptismal Covenant and the resolutions ratified at the last General Convention; that we are following the Holy Spirit in calling the best people for particular ministries. We are modeling an Easter life for the greater Communion, and this is indeed who we are!

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Theology

(Living Church) New National Paper–Episcopal Journal– Debuts in February

When Episcopal Life Monthly publishes its last paper edition in January, retired founding editor Jerrold Hames will launch an independent monthly publication to help fill the gap.

Episcopal Journal will debut in February, reaching 50,000 households through printing partnerships with diocesan publications in Bethlehem, Delaware, Eastern Oregon, Easton, Iowa, Long Island, New Hampshire, Nevada, Northern Michigan, San Joaquin, Southwestern Virginia, Vermont and West Tennessee.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media

Andrew Haines–Polyamory in the 21st Century

Polyamory, according to author Deborah Anapol, refers to a set of “lovestyles” wherein individuals are free to engage romantically with any person””or group of people””they wish. In her new book, Polyamory in the 21st Century, Anapol aims to distinguish just what these lovestyles look like, vis-à-vis a popular contemporary “bias [toward] mononormativity.” Subsequently, she suggests the benefits that “sexual fluidity” holds for the future.

Anapol, who is a full-time relationship coach, writes as a “participant observer in the polyamory community,” and her commentary on the intricacies of multi-partner relating spares no details. Drawing from her professional practice, she brings readers right into the high-occupancy bedrooms””or “sex rooms” as they are sometimes called””of today’s most vigorous polyamorites.

Anapol’s account is designed as an all-around apologia of the consensual free love movement and attempts to radically and critically redefine the very meaning of sex. But although it’s intended to be both revolutionary as well as educational, Polyamory in the 21st Century leaves the discerning reader more puzzled than enlightened. The author’s ultimate report, laden as it is with obvious contradictions and vagaries, betrays a quixotic and confused fascination with an incoherent form of living….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Men, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women

The power of a personal invitation ”“ Over 150,000 respond to Back to Church Sunday in the C of E

More than 150,000 people have come back to church since the first Back to Church Sunday in 2004 – enough to fill Wembley Stadium and the Emirates Stadium put together.

Around 3,500 churches from participating denominations welcomed back 51,000 people on Back to Church Sunday 2010 (26th September), which by comparison is more than all those attending worship on a typical Sunday in the Diocese of Oxford.

The Bishop of Hertford, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, said: “For thousands of churches, and tens of thousands of Christians, Back to Church Sunday has become part of what they do each September. It’s the shortest step in evangelism ”“ invite someone you know to something you love ”“ ”˜would you like to come to church with me?’ And year after year, people are responding positively.”

Read it all.

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