Daily Archives: February 22, 2011

(USA Today) Stephen Prothero–In changing Egypt, where will faith fall?

I hope that our leaders will be modest enough to see how (and how often) what we have done or left undone in the Middle East has backfired on us. We have spent trillions of dollars and spilled untold blood in a seemingly endless effort to bring democracy, American style, to Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet Egyptians ”” citizens of a nation with more people than Iraq and Afghanistan combined ”” won the right to write their own future in just 18 days and with little to no U.S. help.

These facts alone should humble us.
Yet I also hope that we do not trade hubris for paralysis. In the face of the ironies of Egyptian history, I must confess to being tempted to leave things elsewhere in the hands of fate or providence ”” to say with my Muslim friends, “Inshallah,” or with my Christian friends, “Thy will be done.”

But as Niebuhr reminds us, “we must exercise our power.” We must do so, however, in the absence of the hubris that characterized our past foreign policies….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Theology

Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter

Like any aspiring filmmaker, Michael McDonald, a high school senior, used a blog to show off his videos. But discouraged by how few people bothered to visit, he instead started posting his clips on Facebook, where his friends were sure to see and comment on his editing skills.

“I don’t use my blog anymore,” said Mr. McDonald, who lives in San Francisco. “All the people I’m trying to reach are on Facebook.”

Blogs were once the outlet of choice for people who wanted to express themselves online. But with the rise of sites like Facebook and Twitter, they are losing their allure for many people ”” particularly the younger generation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Science & Technology

Trinity Episcopal Church in Albany celebrates 200 years

Workers at Trinity Episcopal Church in August delicately removed the fractured spires from the steeple and secured the shattered balustrades around the bell tower.

A lightning bolt from a swift afternoon storm fried the landmark’s highest point and rippled through its 200-year-old frame.

While assessing the damage, Phillip Pearson, the church’s treasurer, spotted a freshly charred strip of floorboard along the bell tower’s base. The lightning sparked a small flame, but the fire somehow had put itself out.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

220th S.C. Convention Focuses on Growth, Expansion and the Gospel; Resolutions Pass

The 220th Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina was held February 18-19, 2011 at the Parish Church of St. Helena’s in Beaufort.

Two resolutions, both of which passed at the previous convention, passed again, by more than the required two-thirds margin in both the clergy and lay orders, amending the Diocesan Constitution. The first resolution removed the accession clause to the Canons of the Episcopal Church, and the second, enabled the Convention to meet more frequently than annually, if needed. These resolutions seek to protect the Diocese from any attempt at un-Constitutional intrusions in our corporate life in South Carolina and were in response to the revisions to the Title IV Canons of the Episcopal Church.

The vote on the resolutions, however, was not the focus of the Convention. The Rev. Ian Boyd, Associate Rector of Trinity, Myrtle Beach was overheard saying, at the close of the gathering, “Of all the conventions I’ve attended this is the one that got me the most excited about doing the work of the church.”

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Posted in Uncategorized

New Hacking Tools Pose Bigger Threats to Wi-Fi Users

You may think the only people capable of snooping on your Internet activity are government intelligence agents or possibly a talented teenage hacker holed up in his parents’ basement. But some simple software lets just about anyone sitting next to you at your local coffee shop watch you browse the Web and even assume your identity online.

“Like it or not, we are now living in a cyberpunk novel,” said Darren Kitchen, a systems administrator for an aerospace company in Richmond, Calif., and the host of Hak5, a video podcast about computer hacking and security. “When people find out how trivial and easy it is to see and even modify what you do online, they are shocked.”

Until recently, only determined and knowledgeable hackers with fancy tools and lots of time on their hands could spy while you used your laptop or smartphone at Wi-Fi hot spots. But a free program called Firesheep, released in October, has made it simple to see what other users of an unsecured Wi-Fi network are doing and then log on as them at the sites they visited.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of Eric Liddell

God whose strength bears us up as on mighty wings: We rejoice in remembering thy athlete and missionary, Eric Liddell, to whom thou didst bestow courage and resolution in contest and in captivity; and we pray that we also may run with endurance the race that is set before us and persevere in patient witness, until we wear that crown of victory won for us by Jesus our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, England / UK, Missions, Scotland, Spirituality/Prayer, Sports

(USA Today) Foreclosures stretch to an average 17 months, may get longer

The average U.S. borrower in the throes of foreclosure hasn’t made a mortgage payment in 17 months, up from nearly 11 months two years ago ”” and the time frame may get even longer.

Banks and mortgage servicers, who collect payments for lenders, are taking more time to complete foreclosures because of huge volumes of defaulted mortgages. Other factors include time-consuming reviews for loan modifications and additional delays that followed revelations late last year about improperly filed foreclosure documents in tens of thousands of cases.

Last year, the number of days that the average borrower in foreclosure went without making a payment stretched from 410 in January to 507 in December, says LPS Applied Analytics, which tracks 37 million mortgages. Before the foreclosure crisis, the norm was more like 250 days, says Herb Blecher, LPS senior vice president.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Psychology, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Anglican Catholics out to evangelise through Ordinariate

The Anglican Ordinariate which aims to be established in Australia by Pentecost is about evangelising, not preserving some pure form of Anglicanism, one of its leading figures said, reports the Record.

Bishop Harry Entwistle of Perth (pictured), one of 50 disaffected Anglicans who met on the Gold Coast earlier this month to gauge “how many and who” will join the Ordinariate, said the Ordinariate’s aim will be that of the universal Church ”“ to bring people into relationship with God.

Bishop Entwistle, who will address a Festival this Saturday at Holy Family Catholic Parish in Como to “introduce the Anglican Ordinariate for Australia”, said it has always been believed that the Ordinarate will begin “with smallish numbers who will then try to grow and evangelise”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Canadian Archbishop visits Belleville and sees same sex unions views as still polarized

On the subject of same sex unions, the primate admitted to the parishioners that views on that issue are still polarized among Canadian Anglicans, but there is a growing “middle” that consists of people who are more tolerant.

“The middle has a greater capacity to embrace the differences we have,” he said.

He said the issue has sparked heated debates between the heads of the church, with some priests being open to inclusiveness while others view the openness of the church as a “slippery slope.”

“Not every priest is going to be comfortable doing this,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(NY Times) N.F.L. Players Shaken by Dave Duerson’s Suicide Message

Football’s ramifications so concerned the former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson that, after deciding to kill himself last Thursday, he shot himself in the chest, apparently so that his brain could remain intact for similar examination.

This intent, strongly implied by text messages Duerson sent to family members soon before his death, has injected a new degree of fear in the minds of many football players and their families, according to interviews with them Sunday. To this point, the roughly 20 N.F.L. veterans found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy ”” several of whom committed suicide ”” died unaware of the disease clawing at their brains, how the protein deposits and damaged neurons contributed to their condition.

Duerson, 50, was the first player to die after implying that brain trauma experienced on the football field would be partly responsible for his death.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Middle Age, Psychology, Sports, Suicide

(USA Today) JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon sees good times in 2011

Q: How do you characterize the economy right now?

A: The economy is getting stronger every day, and I would say it’s rather broad-based, and hopefully this will continue. That’s true globally. It’s good for America when the rest of the world grows, because you can sell more to the rest of the world. Large corporations are in very good shape, have plenty of capital and are starting to expand. But we also see the same thing from middle market-sized companies and small businesses. Our small-business lending is up 37% this year. Other banks are also seeing more loan demand in middle markets and small business.

Q: What about foreclosures in the pipeline? How do you see that playing out, and why hasn’t the housing market participated in this recovery?
A: The mortgage pain is just a terrible story. Too many mortgages were badly done. I’m not talking about us. But foreclosures haven’t quite peaked yet. We’re probably halfway or two-thirds through the problem….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God, who hast taught us that thy Word is a lantern unto our feet and a light unto our path: Grant that we, with all who devoutly read the holy Scriptures, may realize our fellowship one with another in thee, and may learn thereby to know thee more fully, to love thee more truly, and to follow more faithfully in the steps of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God blessed for evermore.

–Bible Reading Fellowship

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And…[Naomi] said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if even death parts me from you.”

–Ruth 1:15-17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NY Times) Warplanes and Troops Besiege Protesters in Libyan Capital

The faltering government of the Libyan strongman Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi struck back at mounting protests against his 40-year rule, as security forces and militiamen backed by helicopters and warplanes besieged parts of the capital Monday, according to witnesses and news reports from Tripoli.

By Monday night, witnesses said, the streets of the capital, Tripoli, were thick with special forces loyal to Colonel Qaddafi as well as mercenaries. They shot freely as planes dropped what witnesses described as “small bombs” and helicopters fired on protesters, making further demonstrations against the government impossible for the moment.

Hundreds of Qaddafi supporters took over Green Square after truck loads of militiamen arrived and opened fire on protesters, scattering them from the square. Residents said they now feared even to emerge from their houses.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Libya, Politics in General, Violence

(MaCleans) John Parisella–In honour of Presidents Day

Tough presidential decisions have been made in the course of history around the world that have improved the lot of many in the world. Overall, the two-party system has produced men (and, hopefully soon, women) of stature, though only few of true greatness out of the 44 who have served.

What is truly inspiring and worth honouring this President’s’ Day is the stability and vibrancy of the world’s most successful democracy, and the importance of role the occupants of the office of the presidency have played in building it. Happy Presidents Day to my American friends.

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

Valerie Strauss–A Presidents' Day quiz

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

The Bishop of Upper South Carolina calls for a special convention on April 8-9

In light of our call to continue and deepen our disciplined practice of open dialogue, I am, with the full support of the Diocesan Executive Council, calling a special, non-legislative convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina. The purpose of this 1st Theological Council of the Episcopal Church in Upper South Carolina is to engage in substantive biblical and theological dialogue on norms for how we are in relationship with one another and to practice these norms in a dialogue on human sexuality.

How will we go about this dialogue?

Our first priority will be to ensure a safe, secure, and open environment that will keep us mindful of our unity in Christ Jesus. The introduction to the proposed Anglican Covenant, as well as The Rule of St. Benedict, provides helpful scriptural guidance for being together in this way. We will ground our dialogue in a rhythm of prayer and worship, flowing from meals, to worship, to spoken meditation, to reflection, to small group discussion, and then to plenary discussion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

(Daily Mail) Your marital status is not relevant to us now, Church of England tells clergy

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Irish Times) In Ireland, Forgiveness sought for 'sins' of Roman Catholic Clergy

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston Seán O’Malley yesterday washed the feet of a representative number of victims of clerical child sex abuse in “an act of humble service” at Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral.

At the beginning of a moving 90-minute liturgy “of lament and repentance”, prepared in the main by abuse victims themselves, Archbishop Martin and Cardinal O’Malley both prostrated themselves in silent prayer before the altar which was dominated by a large, bare, wooden cross, symbolising the cross of Jesus Christ.

Most of the readings, which included excerpts from the Ryan and Murphy reports, were by victims or relatives of abuse victims. A woman victim read from Matthew’s gospel about Jesus and children, and his words that “anyone who is the downfall of one of these little ones . . . would be better drowned in the depths of the sea.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

Bishop Mark Lawrence Addresses the 220th South Carolina Diocesan Convention

To begin to think seriously about church planting is to begin to reframe the opportunities that lie before us. Imagine the vitality that would be released if two of our congregations in the four deaneries which have the greatest unchurched demographics (Beaufort, West Charleston, Charleston and Georgetown) planted two new congregations or satellites in the next five years. What new life would emerge within our communities and within the Diocese of South Carolina from eight new congregations or even twice that number? I believe this can be done even during a season of economic downturn. We often get fixated upon buildings and property. But for many in our present culture it is not the aesthetics of the building which attracts; it is the dynamism of the preaching, worship and fellowship which wins the heart of the unchurched person. Certainly we cannot leave entirely behind the need for property and buildings; a drab setting blesses no one’s heart. But if we can focus upon reaching the lost I believe the issues of property and building will emerge in many cases as quite secondary to the winning of the seeker and the transformation of his or her life in Christ. This change from building church plants to growing missional communities is a concept we need to embrace more fully. This will have the dynamism of a movement rather than the often stagnating effect of tending an institution.

The Diocese has in recent years held to the model of established parishes being planters of new churches or congregations. This has worked well in such places as The Cross, Bluffton where a satellite congregation was established at the Buckwalter Campus. So also with Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island in the planting of a satellite at Daniel Island and their future plan of a third satellite congregation at ”˜Ion in the Mount Pleasant. Such vision is inspiring. Others like St. Paul’s Summerville, St. James’, James Island, St. John’s, Johns Island, and Christ Church, Mount Pleasant because of adjacent land were able to build ministry centers, essentially planting “congregations” on campus. There has been no lack of vision and creativity among us. Today, two of our congregations in the Georgetown deanery have begun initiatives as well. Trinity, Myrtle Beach, under the leadership of Rob Sturdy and Iain Boyd, has initiated a church plant in the Carolina Forest community. This is making good progress. The Rev. Wilmot Merchant and the people of St. Stephen’s, North Myrtle Beach with the help of the Congregational Development Committee purchased property in the Loris area for a potential church plant in the future. They are presently making a strong witness for Christ by their volunteer work in Loris Elementary School therein making a difference in children’s lives. It will also work as a relational base from which to plant a congregation in the future. Nevertheless, elsewhere we have lagged behind, and others have seized the day””God will have his witnesses ”“ with or without us.

The future of two other initiatives is more complicated and raises the question of Diocesan leadership in planting or acknowledging more complex cases. The Well By the Sea at Market Commons, in the area between Surfside and Myrtle Beach, is a “congregation” that has already outgrown its rented facilities and is at a crossroads….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Data, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Parishes