Daily Archives: January 26, 2011

(WSJ) The Number of Religious Facilities Unable to Pay Their Mortgage Is Surging

Residential and commercial real-estate owners aren’t the only ones losing their properties to foreclosure. The past few years have seen a rapid acceleration in the number of churches losing their sanctuaries because they can’t pay the mortgage.

Just as homeowners borrowed too much or built too big during boom times, many churches did the same and now are struggling as their congregations shrink and collections fall owing to rising unemployment and a weak economy….

“Churches are the next wave in this economic crisis,” says Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., president and founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a non-profit civil-rights group, who works with pastors around the country to help churches negotiate better terms with their bankers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Washington Post Editorial) Egypt's unstable regime

“Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people,” Ms. Clinton said.

The secretary’s words suggested that the administration remains dangerously behind the pace of events in the Middle East….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

NPR Marketplace–Internet running out of digital addresses

KAI RYSSDAL: I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you probably use at least one of the following: a smartphone, a laptop or an iPad. And that’s in addition to the desktop computer you use maybe at home and one at the office.

Each and every one of those devices has something called an Internet Protocol address, or an IP address. It’s a little bit like a phone number that lets you dial up the Internet. And you know how sometimes a place runs out of phone numbers and has to add area codes to make calls go through? In about a week, the most common type of IP addresses are going to run out as well.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Science & Technology

A WSJ Editorial on GE and President Obama–The Great Misallocators

Government “investments”””Mr. Obama’s favorite word last night””are by definition made for political purposes, rather than for their highest potential return. They are allocated by politics rather than by prices. In our view, that 4% of GDP a year could have contributed far more to economic recovery had it stayed in private hands.

But even if you believe that such spending prevented a depression, it makes no economic sense to keep those resources under political sway now that the recovery is underway. Would you rather have Congress allocating that 4% of GDP, or millions of individuals deciding among Apple, Gilead Sciences, or the next great idea?

The path back to faster growth, more jobs and a more competitive U.S. economy does not travel through more political mediation. Nor does it lie in endlessly easy Fed policy in a misguided attempt to refloat the housing bubble or revive the financial boom. A better economy requires policies that reward work and innovation, while letting capital flow to the companies and individuals with the best ideas. They might even be GE’s.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The U.S. Government

A Washington Post Editorial–"But where will the money come from?"

Now that bipartisan commission has reported, but Mr. Obama didn’t fully endorse any of its recommendations. To the contrary, he promised more jobs for teachers and construction workers. He warned against “slashing” Social Security benefits. Corporate tax reform is fine, but if it’s revenue-neutral, it only postpones – and makes more politically difficult – the task of narrowing the nation’s deficit.

So what happens now? Maybe some members of Congress will display the courage the president has lacked. Maybe Mr. Obama, in the budget he proposes next month, will grapple more realistically with the hard choices than he did Tuesday night. But even if he does, how can he expect public support if he hasn’t made the case? From the man who promised to change Washington, it seemed all too drearily familiar.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

The 2011 Mere Anglicanism Conference – "Biggest and Best Ever"

“Sumptuous” Is the word the Rev. Dr. Peter Moore used to describe this years’ Mere Anglicanism Conference held January 20-22 at St. Philip’s Church in Charleston. Over 200 participated in the sixth annual Conference held, this year, in honor of the 12th Bishop of South Carolina, the Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison.

“Over half a century ago Dr. ”˜Fitz’ Allison began preaching, teaching, and writing about the Word of God’s Grace in ways that are still bearing fruit in Anglicanism today,” said Conference organizer and retired Dean of South Carolina, the Very Rev. William McKeachie. “This year’s Mere Anglicanism Conference, the biggest and best ever, was the church’s way of saying, ”˜Thank you,’ to this amazing bearer and sharer of God’s Grace.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Analysis, Church History, Theology

NPR Marketplace–The challenges facing education

WENDY KOPP: I mean I think all of us feel such urgency to stop this problem, and it is a true crisis, that we kind of lurch from one big idea to another. And the reality is that, you know, when we look at what is happening in the schools that are putting whole buildings full of kids on a path to graduate from college at the same levels as kids in much more privileged communities, when we really understand what’s happening there, what we realize is, this is about a group of people — teachers, school leaders — who have embraced the different mandate, and who are then pouring themselves into this work with the same level of energy, the same level of discipline that we would find in any high-performing organization where we’re trying to reach ambitious outcomes. And I think we tend to kind of try to oversimplify the problem. I mean if only it was as easy as pouring more funding into this.

[KAI] RYSSDAL: You have actually a great example in the book. It’s in the chapter incidentally called “Silver Bullets and Silver Scapegoats.” You have this example, it’s this school of the future in Philadelphia. $62 million facility, technology provided by Microsoft, everything that the kids can want. And yet, on the Pennsylvania assessments, the school fails miserably.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Education

Local Paper editorial–Obama corrects course

Certainly this president faces a serious hurdle in presenting himself as a champion of fiscal responsibility. With strong Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, he has presided over the two largest federal deficits in U.S. history. He also pushed through a bewildering health care overhaul of unknown long-term cost.

Public alarm over that trend played a key role at the ballot box in November as Republicans gained 63 seats and control of the House and significantly reduced Democratic control of the Senate.

Yet the president sounds as if he got the voters’ message. Yes, last night’s speech mentioned too many initiatives that would cost too much money. No, his budget-freeze plan would not cut spending as deeply as the return to 2008 levels proposed by the Republican House leadership. Still, his overall focus has correctly moved in the frugal direction.

Too bad some other prominent Democrats aren’t backing that shift….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

(NY Times) Obama Pitches Global Fight for U.S. Jobs in Address

President Obama challenged Americans on Tuesday night to unleash their creative spirit, set aside their partisan differences and come together around a common goal of outcompeting other nations in a rapidly shifting global economy.

In a State of the Union address to a newly divided Congress, Mr. Obama outlined what he called a plan to “win the future” ”” a blueprint for spending in critical areas like education, high-speed rail, clean-energy technology and high-speed Internet to help the United States weather the unsettling impact of globalization and the challenge from emerging powers like China and India.

“The rules have changed,” he said.

But at the same time he proposed budget-cutting measures, including a five-year freeze in spending on some domestic programs that he said would reduce the deficit by $400 billion over 10 years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

The Full Text of President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech

We must never forget that the things we’ve struggled for, and fought for, live in the hearts of people everywhere. And we must always remember that the Americans who have borne the greatest burden in this struggle are the men and women who serve our country. (Applause.)

Tonight, let us speak with one voice in reaffirming that our nation is united in support of our troops and their families. Let us serve them as well as they’ve served us — by giving them the equipment they need, by providing them with the care and benefits that they have earned, and by enlisting our veterans in the great task of building our own nation.

Our troops come from every corner of this country — they’re black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. (Applause.) And with that change, I call on all our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation. (Applause.)

We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools, changing the way we use energy, reducing our deficit — none of this will be easy. All of it will take time. And it will be harder because we will argue about everything….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, The U.S. Government

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Timothy and Titus and Silas

Just and merciful God, who in every generation hast raised up prophets, teachers and witnesses to summon the world to honor and praise thy holy Name: We give thanks for the calling of Timothy, Titus and Silas, whose gifts built up thy Church in the power of the Holy Spirit. Grant that we, too, may be living stones built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God now and for ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant to thy servant, O God, to be set on fire with thy love, to be strengthened by thy power, to be illuminated by thy Spirit, to be filled with thy grace, and to go forward by thine aid; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible readings

We ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified.

–Galatians 2:15-16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Very Important: Transcript of Mouneer Anis' Q and A at the Mere Anglicanism Conference in Charleston

[Transcript starts 34 mins and 17 seconds into video]

Moderator: At this time I think we can open up the floor so that other people have an opportunity to ask some questions ”“ Bishop Dickson

Q: Very quickly ”“ I think most of us here agree with the vast majority of what has been said here today. There is one thing that Archbishop Anis said that sticks with me and I felt this has been the focus we should have, and that’s with the phrase ”˜we need a joint commitment to read and interpret together’. My question is: What then? What then as a Communion do we do? We don’t just come together and have conferences like we have been doing at Lambeth. When do we do something to support the truth that we’re proclaiming? And I would like to raise the question: If this is not indeed the time to call for a general council within the Anglican Communion? And I suggest that the strength of that could be found in the African church. Now I would just appreciate your reaction to that.

Moderator: I would love to respond to that but I have no power and no authority to do such a thing, but Archbishop Anis you do, so would you like to respond?

Archbishop Anis: I agree that it is time now to take the lead. The Church in Africa and the Global South, not only them, but also the orthodox Anglicans from around the world need to take the lead.
In the last 10 years or so we have been reactive and spent a lot of time in reacting to what The Episcopal Church is doing and the wrong things that are happening in the Anglican Communion. I think we need now to take the lead, and we really look at the gathering of the bishops and the Primates of the Global South, with those bishops from dioceses that are orthodox in the West, as a Conciliar body. So that is, is going to happen, and that is happening now. This is a Conciliar body. We need to be like a faithful remnant that keeps the Word, that keeps the centrality and the authority of the Word in the middle of the Anglican Communion. We don’t have to bother much now with what is going on around us. We have to move forward and do things.

And I have said that several times before, that the orthodox church in Egypt was a small, oppressed, displaced church at the time when the Arians took over and became powerful; and in 625 AD the Arians disappeared, and don’t ask me why they disappeared, they disappeared. Even the Coptic Orthodox don’t know how they disappeared. But the faithful remnant are the ones who are strong now; ready to pay the price for their faith and taking a great lead in the Middle East. So we have to. I agree with you.

Q: I agree that we need a reformation of the great ministry of preaching the Word both in season and out of season, but we are also desperately in need of a ministry of presence. I was one of those who was privileged to enjoy the conference in Jerusalem, one of the great highlights of my life – to see bishops, archbishops, clergy, laity from all over the world in the first five minutes of the conference be drawn into the Spirit, and to be singing in the Spirit, together ”“ many of whom had never spoken in tongues or sung in the Spirit before, and weren’t even sure what it was that was happening. But there was such joy in that time together. The thing that made Lambeth 2008 so hard was that that presence was curiously absent and I could not help but wonder how much Lambeth 2008 would have been enriched by the presence of those who were in Jerusalem ”“ how the presence of our current House of Bishops in The Episcopal Church could be enriched by a vital, determined and unapologetic presence of orthodox bishops. Since the early days of Episcopalians United and the many other groups that have formed, we as orthodox have remained reactionary and our reactionism has made us determined to withdraw our presence, rather than to advance the presence of the Kingdom and to advance the proclamation of the Word. It has not served the Gospel well, I don’t believe. How can we determine to be present and the same time have fellowship one with another that strengthens and encourages us, and at the same time holds the rest of the church accountable?

Archbishop Anis: In Lambeth 2008, I attended Lambeth 2008; I didn’t believe in withdrawal. But unfortunately I was faced by the fact that meetings like this are manipulated, orchestrated ”“ orchestrated in a way that nothing happens. And I felt now that it’s a waste of time when you go to a place where the results and the outcome is already decided; and there is no consultation in order to ”˜own’ the agenda of a meeting like this, it’s cooked! – pre-cooked thing! And it is very sad, very sad, that this is happening.

But once things are done differently, I would like to assure you, you will find us right at the heart of any of the meetings even if there are people who have different views, have revisionist agendas, we are not afraid of these people, as long as the process is fair, honest, and it is not like a hidden agenda kind of thing. If there is this honesty of the process, then no one can fear to speak the truth in the presence of others.

That is why as the Secretary now of the Global South, Honorary Secretary, I want to respond to those people who say that about 10 Primates are not attending the coming Primates Meeting; they are saying they are boycotting. That is far from the truth. We are not boycotting at all the meeting. We did ask that the recommendations of the previous meetings should be followed through otherwise our meeting would be meaningless. We decided things, we recommended things, and now, time to have decisions. And we got this invitation to sit in two separate rooms, which is a joke! It’s a joke to sit in two separate rooms. And we wanted to ”“ there was not enough consultation, in order to feel that we ”˜owned’ this meeting to go to ”“ but yes, I agree one hundred percent, and that is behind our attendance to 2008. Some other people were aware of the process much better than us and they didn’t come to Lambeth.

[Our thanks to Kevin Kallsen at Anglican TV and a faithful T19 reader who provided this for us–KSH].

Also available Video and Transcript of Archbishop Anis’ talk at Mere Anglicanism to which he refers

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

CSM–A Nobel Peace Prize winner finds spiritual values in planting trees

In 2004 [Wangari] Maathai was honored with a Nobel Peace Prize for her work founding the Green Belt Movement, which enlists villagers, and especially women, to improve their local environment.

Since then, she’s concluded that people’s values are what motivate them. If the values are good ones, good actions will follow. Hence it’s importance for people to tap their spiritual traditions for guidance in caring for the environment, she says.

“I saw that if people have [good] values, they can sustain what they are doing,” says Maathai in a recent interview at a New York City hotel not far from the United Nations, where she’s addressed the General Assembly in the past.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Religion & Culture

Andrew Goddard–Actions and consequences: Reflections on the state of the Anglican Communion

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s authority is inevitably also diminished by these events, especially when his invitation to fellow Anglican primates to gather to take counsel is one which, because of who is invited, a significant number of Primates cannot in conscience accept. It is clear that, barring a miracle, there cannot again be a Primates’ Meeting in which the Archbishop of Canterbury gathers all Anglican primates from across the Communion: either the Presiding Bishop of TEC is not invited as a primate in full and equal standing or a significant number of Primates will not attend. Although some of those associated with GAFCON have spoken openly of a non-Canterbury communion, this is, thankfully, something which few are actively seeking. It is, nevertheless, increasingly obvious that this will be the next pressure point on the trajectory which has been travelled since 2003 and increasingly rapidly since 2007-8. There needs, therefore, to be a recognition that if the Instruments are unable to make themselves “fit for purpose” and the see of Canterbury continues to prove unable or unwilling to act in ways that secure the unity in truth of the Anglican Communion then God in his providence may raise up one or more other Anglican metropolitans who are able to fulfil at least some of Canterbury’s traditional responsibilities in relation to the majority of the Communion.

It is a biblical principle that we reap what we sow. The actions of North American provinces since 2003, the actions in response from other provinces and the actions (and subsequent inaction) of Primates’ Meetings have reaped quite a whirlwind. Whatever happens in Ireland there will be further consequences as a result and for some Anglicans those consequences will be painful ”“ there are no painless ways forward from our current situation. The danger is that actions this week will produce consequences that simply harden rather than constructively address the impasse over sexuality, further erode the Instruments’ authority and alienate the majority of the world’s Anglicans. Such consequences would also undermine the covenant as the best long-term means of providing commitments and agreed structures to prevent the repetition of the last eight years and place the Communion on a firmer footing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

An ACNS Release on the Primates Meeting

Read it all, it is a very odd release which includes alleged reasons for non-attendance–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates

For Funerals Too Far, Mourners Gather on the Web

…now the once-private funerals and memorials of less-noted citizens are also going online.

Several software companies have created easy-to-use programs to help funeral homes cater to bereaved families. FuneralOne a one-stop shop for online memorials that is based in St. Clair, Mich., has seen the number of funeral homes offering Webcasts increase to 1,053 in 2010, from 126 in 2008 (it also sells digital tribute DVDs).

During that same period, Event by Wire, a competitor in Half Moon Bay, Calif., watched the number of funeral homes live-streaming services jump to 300 from 80. And this month, the Service Corporation International in Houston, which owns 2,000 funeral homes and cemeteries, including the venerable Frank E. Campbell funeral chapel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, said it was conducting a pilot Webcasting program at 16 of its funeral homes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology