Daily Archives: January 17, 2011

(UMNS) Methodist Church celebrations, service honor King

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ”˜What are you doing for others?’”

To commemorate what would have been King’s 82nd birthday, United Methodist congregations across the connection are “taking a day on, not a day off” to reach out to their neighbors in activities ranging from washing the feet of underprivileged children and giving them new pairs of shoes to writing words of encouragement to U.S. military personnel.

The Western North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference, for example, encourages United Methodists to participate in local celebrations, especially hands-on outreach activities that reflect the spirit of the civil rights leader.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(RNS) Clergy Answer King’s 1963 Letter from Birmingham Jail

A coalition of Christian churches answered the Rev. Martin Luther King’s 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” conceding that Americans have often have chosen to be comfortable rather than “prophetic” on racism.

Leaders of Christian Churches Together in the USA, meeting in Birmingham, Ala., said they were “chastened by the unfinished nature” of overcoming racism after visiting Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where a bomb killed four young black girls in 1963.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(The Tennessean) Vanderbilt alters application after abortion clause protest

At issue was the fact that applicants to the nursing program’s women’s health track were asked to sign a letter acknowledging that they would be caring for women who are terminating their pregnancies.

The Alliance Defense Fund argued that the letter suggested residents would be required to participate in abortion procedures in violation of a federal law that says recipients of federal funds cannot require someone to perform or assist in abortions if it violates his or her religious beliefs or moral convictions.

Vanderbilt denied the claim….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Theology

(BBC) Apple boss Steve Jobs takes 'medical leave'

Apple boss Steve Jobs has announced that he is to take “medical leave” from the company.

In an e-mail to employees he said he was taking the break to focus on his health.

He said he would continue as chief executive of Apple and be involved in any major decisions. Day-to-day running of the company will pass to Tim Cook.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(NPR) Depression On The Rise In College Students

Researchers say severe mental illness is more common among college students than it was a decade ago, with most young people seeking treatment for depression and anxiety. A study presented at the American Psychological Association found that the number of students on psychiatric medicines increased more than 10 percentage points over the last 10 years.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Young Adults

A Washington Post Editorial–Martin Luther King and a new reconstruction

The history of black Americans since Emancipation is being revisited by a generation of historians who have found in it a touching and tragic story of aspirations and efforts for education, justice and equality, most of them crushed by overwhelming force and political power. But the most important figure in this reconsideration was not a historian; it was a preacher, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King, celebrated on this day two days after his birthday, came to prominence in the mid-20th century as the foremost figure in what became a new Reconstruction. Part of it was a national drama that included working people boycotting the buses in Montgomery, Ala., because a dignified and determined woman named Rosa Parks had been arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. Then there were the efforts, in different places and by different people, to take a seat at a lunch counter, ride an interstate bus, stay in a motel, register to vote. By the time of Dr. King’s death, little more than a dozen years after the bus boycott, the federal government had legislated open accommodations and protection for the voting rights of all Americans. Racial prejudice, openly expressed, was gradually becoming unacceptable in this country.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Race/Race Relations

A Man on the Street: A Slide Show of Martin Luther King Jr.

In America’s poorest ghettos, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s portrait is one of the most popular subjects of public art. These images, which I have been documenting since 1977, regularly appear on the walls of the liquor stores, auto-repair shops, fast-food restaurants, mom-and-pop stores and public housing projects of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and many other cities across the country. The majority are the work of amateur artists. Though Dr. King is usually front and center, he is often accompanied by other inspirational figures: Nelson Mandela, John Paul II, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Pancho Villa. He is often accompanied by his famous phrase, “I have a dream” ”“ a reminder that in many of the communities where these murals exist, the gulf between hope and reality remains far too wide. — Camilo José Vergara

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Art, History, Race/Race Relations

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Prison/Prison Ministry, Race/Race Relations

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: I Have a Dream

I find it always worthwhile–KSH.

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

A Prayer for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last: Grant that your Church, following the example of your servant Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Antony

O God, who by thy Holy Spirit didst enable thy servant Antony to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil: Give us grace, with pure hearts and minds, to follow thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Thou, who givest to thy children liberally and upbraidest not: Preserve us from all envy at the good of our neighbour, and from every form of jealousy. Teach us to rejoice in what others have and we have not, to delight in what they achieve and we cannot accomplish, to be glad in all that they enjoy and we do not experience; and so fill us daily more completely with love; through him in whom thou hast promised to supply all our need, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Russell Reno: Affirming Authority

“We need authority to be ourselves.” So writes Victor Lee Austin in Up With Authority: Why We Need Authority to Flourish as Human Beings. Yes, that’s quite right, but there’s a further truth as well. We need authority so that we can become more than ourselves.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Diocese of New Westminster Press Release on the new legal Appeal

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

(Vancouver Sun) Vancouver Area Reasserter Anglicans launch Legal appeal

A group of dissidents who split from the Anglican Church of Canada over same-sex marriage blessings has appealed a court decision awarding their Vancouver-area houses of worship to the mainstream church.

Members of the breakaway Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) filed an appeal Friday to the Supreme Court of Canada, after two lower courts ruled their churches– St. John’s, Church of the Good Shepherd, and St. Matthias and St. Luke’s in Vancouver, as well as St. Matthews in Abbotsford — belonged to the Anglican Church in Canada. The properties are worth more than $20 million combined.

Cheryl Chang, special counsel to the ANiC, said allotting the properties to the Diocese of New Westminster means they may sit empty or be vastly underused.

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

(Canadian Press) Reasserter Anglicans take fight to top court

Breakaway members of Anglican churches in B.C. opposed to same-sex blessings want to take their battle over church buildings and bank accounts to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Earlier this week, the group filed an application for leave to appeal to the high court.

The group has lost at the two lower court levels in British Columbia, but its lawyer, Cheryl Chang, said there remain many questions for the Supreme Court to answer.

“If any congregation splits over theological differences, the question that we’re raising for the Supreme Court of Canada is, what do you do in this post-modern, secularized environment?” Chang said.

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

(ANIC) Parishes File Application for Leave to Appeal to Supreme Court of Canada

[Friday].. the Trustees of four Vancouver-area Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) churches filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, the BC Court of Appeal decision (November 15, 2010) which removed their right to use their church buildings and awarded the church properties to the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) Diocese of New Westminster. The four churches are St John’s (Shaughnessy), St Matthews (Abbotsford), Good Shepherd (Vancouver), and St Matthias & St Luke’s (Vancouver).

The Anglican Communion is in the midst of a worldwide split due to deep and profound theological differences between the more liberal and conservative (or orthodox) member churches. ANiC members, while in the minority in Canada, are theologically aligned with the worldwide majority.

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

(Getty Images/AFP) A dog takes its loyalty to the grave in Brazil

All I can do when I look at this is burst into tears–the dog stayed there for two days.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Animals, Brazil, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, South America

David Brooks: Tree of Failure

…this is where civility comes from ”” from a sense of personal modesty and from the ensuing gratitude for the political process. Civility is the natural state for people who know how limited their own individual powers are and know, too, that they need the conversation. They are useless without the conversation.

The problem is that over the past 40 years or so we have gone from a culture that reminds people of their own limitations to a culture that encourages people to think highly of themselves. The nation’s founders had a modest but realistic opinion of themselves and of the voters. They erected all sorts of institutional and social restraints to protect Americans from themselves. They admired George Washington because of the way he kept himself in check.

But over the past few decades, people have lost a sense of their own sinfulness. Children are raised amid a chorus of applause. Politics has become less about institutional restraint and more about giving voters whatever they want at that second. Joe DiMaggio didn’t ostentatiously admire his own home runs, but now athletes routinely celebrate themselves as part of the self-branding process.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Media, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, Theology

(Washington Post) Chinese President Hu looks for 'common ground' with U.S.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, who travels to Washington this week for a state visit after a year marked by disputes and tension with the United States, said the two countries could mutually benefit by finding “common ground” on issues from fighting terrorism and nuclear proliferation to cooperating on clean energy and infrastructure development.

“There is no denying that there are some differences and sensitive issues between us,” Hu said in written answers to questions from The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. He said “We both stand to gain from a sound China-U.S. relationship, and lose from confrontation.”

To enhance what he called “practical cooperation” on a wide range of issues, Hu urged an increase in dialogues and exchanges and more “mutual trust.” He said, “We should abandon the zero-sum Cold War mentality” and, in what seemed like an implicit rejection of U.S. criticisms of China’s internal affairs, said the two should “respect each other’s choice of development path.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

The Economist Leader–The Tucson shootings and the American Blame Game

The tragedy is that gun control is moving in the wrong direction. The Clinton-era ban on assault weapons expired in 2004 and, to his discredit, Mr Obama has done nothing to try to revive it. In 2008 the Supreme Court struck down Washington, DC’s ban on handguns, and in 2010 Chicago’s went the same way; others are bound to follow. In state after state the direction of legislation is to remove restrictions on gun use (those footling bans on bringing weapons into classrooms or churches or bars), rather than to enhance them.

It is fanciful to imagine that guns will ever disappear from America; they are too deeply embedded in its founding myths and its culture. But that does not mean that more effective checks on the mentally unstable are impossible, or that restrictions on the killing power of what can be sold are doomed to failure. Neither of these will happen, though, unless the blame is directed to where it belongs.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, Psychology, Violence

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Sudan Referendum

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: It was an unusual sight at Mass last Sunday [January 9] in the dusty regional capital of Bentiu. There were empty seats. But Father Samuel Akoch didn’t seem to mind, because this was an improbable historic day in Southern Sudan. Most of the absentees were around the corner, lining up for the chance to vote for secession, to create their own nation

REV. SAMUEL AKOCH (Saint Martin de Porres Catholic Church): I know that each of you came here to pray. I also know that each one of us is carrying our voting card in our pocket.

DE SAM LAZARO: And as the service concluded, it took on the fever of a campaign rally. Those voting cards came out and Father Samuel led a bee-line to the polling center, joining hundreds already there. Their ballot choice was as simple as the set-up of this polling center under a tree: Stay as one Sudan or separate into a new republic of South Sudan. That was the overwhelming favorite here. Father Samuel imagined that nation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sudan