Monthly Archives: February 2011

(All Africa) Anglican Church in Nigeria Holds Committee Meeting in Owerri

All is now set for the standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria(Anglican Communion) holding in Owerri, Imo State capital from March 1-5.

The twice in a year event, which is the executive arm of the General synod of the Church of Nigeria, would be Presided over by the Primate, His Grace, The Most Rev’d. Nicholas Okoh. No fewer than 1000 delegates including 14 Archbishops and 165 Bishops are expected to congregate at the Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord (CATOL) in the Eastern Heartland of this ecclesiastical brainstorming event.

Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province and Bishop of Orlu, His Grace, Most Rev’d Bennett Okoro PhD disclosed these facts to journalists, at the Bishop’s Bourne Owerri, during the pre-event briefing.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria

(Reuters) World raises pressure on Libya, rebels hold key towns

Foreign powers accelerated efforts to help oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Monday as rebels fought government forces trying to take back strategic coastal cities on either side of the capital Tripoli.

Gaddafi’s forces have been trying for days to push back a revolt that has won over large parts of the military, ended his control over eastern Libya and is fending off government assaults in western cities near Tripoli.

It is difficult for reporters to move around western Libya and reports of fighting were hard to verify independently.

Read it all

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Libya

(RNS) Islam Dominated Religion Coverage in 2010

Islam was the most frequent topic of religion news coverage in 2010, as the media doubled the amount of time and space devoted to religion compared to 2009.

An analysis by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that more than 40 percent of religion coverage centered on three issues: plans to build an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, a Florida pastor’s threat to burn the Quran, and commemorations of the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Read it all

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

Erskine Bowles ”¨and Alan Simpson–Congress, the president need to step up to painful choices ahead

The president is right ”” if America is to be competitive in this new knowledge-based global economy, we must invest in education, infrastructure and high-value-added research in a fiscally responsible manner.

But House Republicans are also right ”” spending is out of control, and there is no way possible to address our burgeoning debt without real spending cuts. That means finding ways to make government perform more efficiently, while scaling back or even eliminating certain government functions altogether.

Yet by focusing primarily on domestic discretionary spending, neither plan goes at all far enough to deal with our medium- or long-term fiscal challenges.

With the Fiscal Commission, we spent 10 months closely studying the cold, hard facts. Together, we came to the unavoidable conclusions that the problem is real, the solution will be painful, there is no easy way out and everything must be on the table.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Department: A Child's email to Santa

I’m sorry for putting all that Ex-lax in your milk last year, but I wasn’t sure if you were real. My Dad was really mad.

–Bri, age 7, via emailsanta[dot]com, as quoted in Reader’s Digest, December 2010/January 2011 edition, p. 181

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

Canon Giles Fraser tells Ruth Gledhill why the Church should celebrate same sex marriage

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(AP) Scammers posing as soldiers on Facebook

Con artists are targeting women on Facebook in what’s becoming an all-too-common ruse: They steal photos of soldiers to set up profiles, profess their love and devotion in sappy messages — and then ask their victims to cut a check.

Army Sgt. James Hursey, 26, discharged and sent home from war in Iraq to nurse a back injury, found a page with his photos on Facebook — on a profile that wasn’t his. It was fake, set up by someone claiming to be an active-duty soldier looking for love.

Military officials say they’ve seen hundreds of similar cases in the past several years. Some of the impersonators have even used photos of soldiers who have died overseas.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Theology

M. Rex Miller Interviewed by Homiletics–The Church in an Emerging Digital Culture

HOMILETICS: Do you feel that you’re an outsider peering through the window at the church, or that you’re positioned within the church context and thus able to critique it?

MILLER: A little bit of both. My degree is in theology. The reason why I didn’t go into full- time ministry is that I found that the people who were going into ministry had a subculture that really wasn’t connected to the outer culture. And I was more interested in finding practical bridges between the two, because I found a lot more truth in the business world, and a lot more of the principles of change being expressed in the business world than in the church world. So I could almost go from one world to the other with the values I had as a believer and still be able to distill the essential elements of change and truth in the business world and then import them back into the church in practical ways.

HOMILETICS: So are we looking at a church in crisis?

MILLER: Major crisis. The decline of some segments of the church is well documented. Now even the Willow Creeks, Saddlebacks and other event-driven churches are starting to feel the stress fractures of their model.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(NY Times) Oscar Coronation for ”˜The King’s Speech’

“The King’s Speech,” the period drama about King George VI of Britain and his vocal coach, won best picture and three other trophies at the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday night. But in many ways the Oscars played out like the more populist and less prestigious Golden Globes: veering in multiple directions as voters sprinkled their attention among a half-dozen pictures, with no film walking away with a commanding sweep.

“The King’s Speech” did not make its presence felt until late in the night, with an unexpected victory for Tom Hooper as best director. David Seidler won for his original screenplay for this film, while Colin Firth took the best-actor prize.

“I have a feeling my career’s just peaked,” said Mr. Firth, who went on to joke that he was “experiencing stirrings” somewhere in the upper abdominal region, “which are threatening to transform themselves into dance moves.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

(WSJ) Google Revamps to Fight Cheaters

Google Inc., long considered the gold standard of Internet search, is changing the secret formula it uses to rank Web pages as it struggles to combat websites that have been able to game its system.

The Internet giant, which handles nearly two-thirds of the world’s Web searches, has been under fire recently over the quality of its results. Google said it changed its mathematical formula late Thursday in order to better weed out “low-quality” sites that offer users little value. Some such sites offer just enough content to appear in search results and lure users to pages loaded with advertisements.

Read it all.

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

(Telegraph) Libya: As world debates fresh steps to evict Gaddafi, more towns fall to rebels

Even as diplomats in Geneva have begun discussions on fresh measures to push Muammar Gaddafi out of power, rebels have overrun several of the Libyan strongman’s strongholds in the western part of the country.

Libyan rebels established a transitional national council to coordinate administration in several cities seized from the Gaddafi regime, and have called on the army to help them take Tripoli, the capital.

The cities now controlled by the opposition include al-Zawiyah, less than 30 miles west of Tripoli, where thousands have taken to the streets to welcome visiting journalists. There was no sign of Libyan security services, who had waged bitter battles with anti-government forces in the town last week, leading to at least 35 deaths.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Libya, Politics in General, Violence

Possible Lenten 2011 Resource–The Pope's new Book: “Jesus of Nazareth. Part Two. Holy Week…”

There is a website on the book here–check it out. Due to appear the second week of March 2011.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Christology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

James Breig–Oscar Actors of Faith

In the long history of movie making, actors and actresses have won Oscars for playing many different sorts of roles: gangsters (Marlon Brando in The Godfather) and kings (Charles Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII); peasants (Luise Rainer in The Good Earth) and princesses (Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday); real-life geniuses (Paul Muni in The Story of Louis Pasteur) and fictional serial killers (Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs).
A few of the golden statuettes have also been presented to performers who played outstanding Catholics, even saints, or appeared in films that centered on Catholicism.

Presented chronologically, here is a roster of Academy Award winners in the categories of best actors and actresses, and best supporting actors and actresses, who were rewarded on earth for portraying those who had their eyes on heaven….

Read it all and take a guess and see how many you can get first before looking.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who hast commanded that no man should be idle: Give us grace to employ all our talents and faculties in the service appointed to us; that whatsoever our hand findeth to do, we may do it with our whole might; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–James Martineau

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

–2 Corinthians 10:3-6

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Reuters) Rising oil prices could stall states' recoveries

Rising oil prices could trample prospects for economic recovery in many states, three governors warned on Sunday, as a leading economist said they also threaten the country’s economic comeback.

“Oil prices — I hope don’t go any higher,” said Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. “But everywhere now one hears there’s more than a minor risk they’re going to go a lot higher.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Foreign Relations, Libya, Middle East, Politics in General, State Government

(SMH) In New Zealand Churches provide strength and support

Christchurch is broken and will never be the same, and people would need to offer strength and support to each other for ”many, many months”, a minister told his flock.

”We need to be kind to one another, and patient with one another,” he said.

Reverend Mark Chamberlain, the vicar of St Barnabas Anglican Church in Fendalton Road, told about 250 people gathered in chilly morning shade outside the cracked and unsafe 1925 stone church yesterday that when he was appointed, ”I never dreamed of being called upon to lead you in your grief”.

”I’m just beginning to realise the depth of that grief.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care

The Archbishop or York holds a Vigil for Claudia Lawrence

A candlelit Vigil is to be held in York Minster on Sunday 27th February to mark the 37th Birthday of Claudia Lawrence, the York chef who has been missing for nearly two years.

It will start with an informal procession from the Mansion House, St.Helen’s Square at 2.30 pm, entering the West Doors of the Minster at 2.45 pm for the short Vigil at the High Altar where candles will be lit. Both the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and the Dean of York, The Very Revd Keith Jones will officiate.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care

(Sun. Tele.) Archbishop Rowam Williams says the Church will resist Government moves on gay marriage

Dr Rowan Williams has refused to be drawn on the issue publicly, but has broken his silence to tell MPs he is not prepared for the Coalition to tell the Church how to behave.

He told a private meeting of influential politicians that the Church of England would not bow to public pressure to allow its buildings to be used to conduct same-sex civil partnerships.

The comments are the first time he has spoken since the Coalition unveiled plans to allow religious buildings to be used to conduct homosexual partnership ceremonies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

Libyan Rebels Tighten Ring of Armed Control Near Tripoli

Zawiya, Libya–In this city 30 miles west of Tripoli, hundreds of people rejoiced in a central square on Sunday, waving the red, black and green flag that has come to signify a free Libya and shouting the chants that foretold the downfall of governments in Tunisia and Egypt: “The people want to bring down the regime.”

Rebels, in control of the city, had reinforced its boundaries with informal barricades, and military units that had defected stood guard with rifles, six tanks and anti-aircraft guns mounted on the backs of trucks. In the central square here, a mosque was riddled with enormous holes, evidence of the government’s failed attempt to take back this city on Thursday. Nearby lay seven freshly dug graves belonging to protesters who had fallen in that siege, witnesses said.

“We are really suffering for 42 years, and people are asking here for the same things as other people of the world ”” they want the real democracy,” said Ahmed El-Hadi Remeh, an engineer standing in the square. He and other residents told how they had used stones to repel the government’s forces.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Libya

New Zealand Bishop Victoria Matthews Interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Sunday Programme

From the BBC Programme introduction:

It was Christchurch’s second major tremor in five months, and New Zealand’s deadliest natural disaster for 80 years. As the death toll from last week’s earthquake continues to rise, Victoria Matthews, the Anglican Bishop of Christchurch talks to Edward about how the shattered community are trying to rebuild their lives.

The interview starts one minute in–listen to it all (a little over 4 3/4 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Heather Armstrong: Queen of the Mommy Bloggers

The washing machine at Heather Armstrong’s Salt Lake City home ”” as millions of her followers already know ”” is a Maytag. To be specific, it’s a Performance series 4.4-cubic-foot-I.E.C.-capacity front-load steam washer that retailed for $1,599 and that she and her husband, Jon, bought on sale for $1,300, plus the 10-year warranty. They made the purchase near the end of her second pregnancy, a pre-emptive strike against the mountain of soiled onesies that accumulate when a newborn joins the family.

As her followers also know, that machine stopped working a week after it was installed. Instead of washing clothes, it produced electronic error messages. By that time, the summer of 2009, the baby was home, the laundry was piling up and 10 days of waiting for a part turned into 10 more days of waiting for another part, and June became July which became August, which is when Armstrong threatened to bring the wrath of the Internet down on Maytag.

She is one of the few bloggers who wield that kind of clout. Typically, there are 100,000 visitors daily to her site,, where she writes about her kids, her husband, her pets, her treatment for depression and her life as a liberal ex-Mormon living in Utah. As she points out, a sizable number also follow her on Twitter (in the year and a half since she threatened Maytag, she has added a half-million more). She is the only blogger on the latest Forbes list of the Most Influential Women in Media, coming in at No. 26, which is 25 slots behind Oprah, but just one slot behind Tina Brown.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Children, Marriage & Family, Women

The Archbishop of Milwaukee's Statement Regarding the Rights of Workers and the Value of Unions

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

The Episcopal Bishop of Milwaukee's Message on Middle East / Madison Events

Read it all.

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

Perpectives on Wisconsin (II): Charles Krauthammer–Rubicon, A river in Wisconsin

In the private sector, the capitalist knows that when he negotiates with the union, if he gives away the store, he loses his shirt. In the public sector, the politicians who approve any deal have none of their own money at stake. On the contrary, the more favorably they dispose of union demands, the more likely they are to be the beneficiary of union largess in the next election. It’s the perfect cozy setup.

To redress these perverse incentives that benefit both negotiating parties at the expense of the taxpayer, Walker’s bill would restrict future government-union negotiations to wages only. Excluded from negotiations would be benefits, the more easily hidden sweeteners that come due long after the politicians who negotiated them are gone. The bill would also require that unions be recertified every year and that dues be voluntary.

Recognizing this threat to union power, the Democratic Party is pouring money and fury into the fight. Fewer than 7 percent of private-sector workers are unionized. The Democrats’ strength lies in government workers, who now constitute a majority of union members and provide massive support to the party. For them, Wisconsin represents a dangerous contagion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Perpectives on Wisconsin (I): David Brooks–Make Everybody Hurt

…let’s try to put aside the hyperventilation. Everybody now seems to agree that Governor Walker was right to ask state workers to pay more for their benefits. Even if he gets everything he asks for, Wisconsin state workers would still be contributing less to their benefits than the average state worker nationwide and would be contributing far, far less than private sector workers.

The more difficult question is whether Walker was right to try to water down Wisconsin’s collective bargaining agreements. Even if you acknowledge the importance of unions in representing middle-class interests, there are strong arguments on Walker’s side. In Wisconsin and elsewhere, state-union relations are structurally out of whack.

That’s because public sector unions and private sector unions are very different creatures. Private sector unions push against the interests of shareholders and management; public sector unions push against the interests of taxpayers. Private sector union members know that their employers could go out of business, so they have an incentive to mitigate their demands; public sector union members work for state monopolies and have no such interest.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(RNS) Religious Voices Enter Wisconsin Union Debate

The pro-union rallies in Wisconsin have a retro feel to them — particularly for people of faith.

Clergy and faith-based groups were historically on the front lines of the American labor movement, but priorities shifted with the rise of the religious right and the weakening of unions.

In the Wisconsin protests over the governor’s budget proposal to reduce collective-bargaining rights for teachers and other public-sector employees, however, religious voices have re-entered the fray.

Groups like Faith in Public Life and Interfaith Worker Justice have mobilized coalitions that include Protestants and Muslims, in addition to the Catholics and Jews that dominated pro-union efforts in previous generations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture

PBS's Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Religion and Worker Justice

KEVIN ECKSTROM (Editor, Religion News Service): Yeah, you’ve really seen, I think, in the last couple weeks a revival of this message from religious groups that we haven’t heard in a long time, this sort of solidarity with workers and with union rights. You know, with all the talk in recent years about abortion and gay marriage and health care even, we haven’t heard much about unions from many churches, especially the Catholic Church, which has been a longtime supporter of organized labor.

[BOB] ABERNETHY: Long tradition of support of labor.

ECKSTROM: Right, and that’s really come back this week.

KIM LAWTON (Managing Editor, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly): And I think that’s surprised a lot of people, because the church, the Catholic Church, had been perceived as really focusing more on issues like abortion, and so to see them come out and take a stand to say, yeah, we understand there are tough budget decisions, but workers’ rights and human dignity and the common good of all, including workers, is important, and the ability to organize is also a moral value, and that’s what the bishops were saying.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology

The Economist–The West has to deal with tyrants, but it should do so on its own terms

When strongmen are vulnerable, as now, the priority is to push them towards reform and away from violence. Barack Obama, America’s president, was right to stand behind the protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and now Libya. America’s army chiefs were right to use their influence to restrain Egypt’s armed forces from shooting into the crowds…. And if Mr Qaddafi uses his air force to kill large numbers of his own people, the world would be right to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya.

But most of the time strongmen are not vulnerable, and then the judgment becomes more complicated. Libya, with all its cruelty and its tragic violence this week, shows why.

The ostracism of the 1990s failed to shift Mr Qaddafi from power, despite its moral clarity. But it did help persuade him that he stood to gain from engaging with the world. That opened the door to some shabby deals. The release of one of Mr Qaddafi’s terrorists from a British jail, the sale of weapons to Libya and the elevation of a dictator into a statesman at the G8 all looked unwise at the time. Today they look despicable.

Read it all.

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

An African White Lion Cub Picture

What a shot–check it out.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals