Daily Archives: March 1, 2011

(USA Today) The secret to a long life isn't what you think

Prescription for a long life: Work hard. Don’t retire early.

The idea that your job or your boss is leading you to an early grave is one of several myths debunked in an analysis of a 90-year study that followed 1,528 Americans. Among other myths: be optimistic, get married, go to church, eat broccoli and get a gym membership.

Researchers Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin report their conclusions in a new book, The Longevity Project. “Everybody has the ideas ”” don’t stress, don’t worry, don’t work so hard, retire and go play golf,” says Friedman, a psychology professor at University of California-Riverside. “We did not find these patterns to exist in people who thrived.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine, Middle Age, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(NY Times) Pension Funds Strained, States Look at 401(k) Plans

Lawmakers and governors in many states, faced with huge shortfalls in employee pension funds, are turning to a strategy that a lot of private companies adopted years ago: moving workers away from guaranteed pension plans and toward 401(k)-type retirement savings plans.

The efforts come as the governors of Wisconsin and Ohio, citing dire budget problems, are engaged in bitter showdowns with public-employee unions over wages, pensions and collective bargaining rights.

The new plans allow states to set a firm, upfront limit on the amount they will contribute and leave it up to the employee and the financial markets to make the money grow. In a traditional pension system, the employer promises a certain benefit, then must find a way to pay for it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Pensions, Personal Finance, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(WSJ) Gerald Seib–Power is Flowing out of Washington and to the States

The federal government isn’t simply bleeding money. Because of its addiction to red ink, it’s bleeding power, which is starting to flow away from the nation’s capital and out to the states. This is the little-recognized reality behind the remarkable political upheaval being seen in state capitals.

Republican governors such as Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, New Jersey’s Chris Christie and Indiana’s Mitch Daniels are pursuing their own controversial fiscal policies out of what they consider financial necessity; they have budgets to balance, and little time and few options to do the job. But governors of both parties also have less reason to wait and hope for help from a federal government that, with overwhelming budget deficits, is losing its ability to offer financial goodies to the states.

For decades, the implicit deal between Washington and state capitals has been that the feds would offer chunks of cash, and in return would get commensurate influence over the states’ social policies. Now that flow of federal goodies has begun what figures to be a long-term decline, as the money Washington has available to pass around to the states is squeezed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Budget, Economy, History, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, State Government, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

ANIC parishes reach settlement with Diocese of Ottawa (III): Anglican Journal Article

A three-year dispute between the diocese of Ottawa and two historic churches that left the Anglican Church of Canada over the blessing of same-sex unions has ended. A negotiated settlement will divide assets between the two parties.

In 2008, the parishes of St. Alban the Martyr and St. George’s voted to join the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC), saying the Anglican Church of Canada “no longer adhered to the clear teaching of Scripture.”

As part of the agreement, the diocese will disestablish the parish of St. George’s and sell the property to ANiC. Once the sale is completed by March 1, the property will be renamed St. Peter & St. Paul’s Anglican Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

ANIC parishes reach settlement with Diocese of Ottawa (II): ANIC Press Release

After months of negotiation, two Ottawa parishes of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) ”“ St Alban’s the Martyr and St George’s ”“ have reached a negotiated settlement with the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Ottawa.

The settlement will be effective 1 July 2011 and will entail:
Ӣ both congregations changing their church names
”¢ the people of St George’s retaining their church building in the heart of Ottawa
”¢ the people of St Alban’s relinquishing their building
Ӣ a further undisclosed division of assets between the parishes and the diocese.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

ANIC parishes reach settlement with Diocese of Ottawa (I): Diocesan Press Release

After months of negotiations, the Diocese of Ottawa has reached an agreement with the leaders of two congregations that have left the Anglican Church of Canada. The agreement was approved by Diocesan Council on January 16 and recently by the vestries of the two congregations.

In 2008, clergy and congregations in the historic churches of St. Alban’s and St. George’s in downtown Ottawa voted to join the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) because of their opposition to the direction the Diocese and national church were taking, especially in regard to the blessing of same-sex civil unions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(Reuters) Call to extend Catholic-Jewish amity to Islam

The historic reconciliation between Jews and Roman Catholics over the past 40 years should be extended to Muslims to deal with the challenges of the 21st century, a senior Jewish official has said.

The regular dialogue the two faiths have maintained since the Catholic Church renounced anti-Semitism at the Second Vatican Council, should be “a model for transformed relations with Islam,” Rabbi Richard Marker told an interfaith conference.

Marker addressed the opening session on Sunday evening of a meeting reviewing four decades of Catholic-Jewish efforts to forge closer ties after 1,900 years of Christian anti-Semitism and to ask how the dialogue can progress in the future.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Judaism, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Rising costs of basics such as gasoline, food and utilities have area residents thinking cutback

The sales tax rate increases today in Charleston County by a penny for every dollar spent, putting more strain on recession-weary consumers who have been watching the price of basic necessities rise and rise again.

County residents voted in November to tax themselves — and the county’s many tourists — a bit more in order to fund school construction projects, but the increase kicks in at an unfortunate time.

Gasoline prices are up nearly 10 percent from just a month ago; the federal inflation measure that tracks food prices posted its largest increase in two years in January; and in most areas, water and electricity rates have been marching up, as well.

Read it all from today’s local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Personal Finance

South Carolina 14-year-old who runs business called Handykid is named Entrepreneur of Year

Making repairs and negotiating deals comes naturally to 14-year-old Jerome Smalls.

The Zucker Middle School eighth-grader learned how to fix things from his grandfather, Papa, who’s made a career in construction- related jobs, and Smalls’ knack for business is innate.

He combined the two skills to launch a business, The Handykid, and he spent most of last summer doing odd jobs for his North Charleston neighbors and family friends….

Read it all from the front page of yesterday’s local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Personal Finance, Teens / Youth

(Bloomberg) Morgan Stanley Hacked in China-Based Attacks That Hit Google

Morgan Stanley, the world’s top merger adviser, experienced a “very sensitive” break-in to its network by the same China-based hackers who attacked Google Inc.’s computers more than a year ago, according to leaked e-mails from a cyber-security company working for the bank.

The e-mails from the Sacramento, California-based computer security firm HBGary Inc., which identify the first financial institution targeted in the series of attacks, said the bank considered details of the intrusion a closely guarded secret.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, China, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Science & Technology

(Telegraph) Foster parent ban: 'no place’ in the law for Christianity, High Court rules

There is no place in British law for Christian beliefs, despite this country’s long history of religious observance and the traditions of the established Church, two High Court judges said on Monday….

The judges underlined that, in the case of fostering arrangements at least, the right of homosexuals to equality “should take precedence” over the right of Christians to manifest their beliefs and moral values.

In a ruling with potentially wide-ranging implications, the judges said Britain was a “largely secular”, multi-cultural country in which the laws of the realm “do not include Christianity”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

David Mills on Chestnut Hill College, a faculty member, the Roman Catholic Faith and the Media

The college seems to have.. [let go this faculty member] in response to an e-mailed complaint from a local lawyer, who pointed out that “Having someone like Jim St. George teach theology at a Catholic college perpetrates a fraud on parents who send their daughters and sons to Chestnut Hill for a Catholic education.” He sent it to Cardinal Rigali as well as officials at the college and the Daily News’ columnist.

St. George says that he told the college about his church but not his sexual behavior when he was first interviewed, though he did not try to hide it. In an official statement, the college’s president says he didn’t tell them about his church and that they didn’t know about his homosexuality.

St. George’s group is one of those many little groups that splinter or flake off large bodies like the Catholic Church, keeping some of the substance and many of the trappings””its seminary is called “Immaculate Conception”””but making adjustments to the difficult parts, almost invariably the moral teachings. This one has just seven parishes, though it features one archbishop, two bishops, one monsignor, two “very reverends,” and two plain “reverend fathers,” some of whom in addition to St. George have “partners.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Ben Witherington–Where is the Real Jesus? A Vertical Jesus in a World of Horizontal Analysis

When a modern person puts those four accounts into their mental cusinarts with no understanding of ancient genre of literature, and based entirely on a contextless reading of the Gospels, if by context we mean the ancient contexts””- stuff happens. Bad stuff. The evidence is distorted not clarified. Now the irony is that this happens just as assuredly with the modern secular historian who fails to take the lead from the ancient genre of the documents, but rather prefers the modern discipline of form or source criticism, just as assuredly it takes place, when Billy Bob Proverb mushes all these things into his red letter brain.

I want to suggest as clearly as I can that the four canonical Gospels are portraits of Jesus, not snapshots, they’re more like Monets four paintings of the front of Rouen Cathedral than they are like four black and white photos of Ted Williams taken at various angles in Fenway on the same day by four different photographers, and if one fails to analyze the document according to the type or kind of information it is trying to give you””- you’ve made a category mistake, a huge one.

Now the art historian examining those four Monet paintings knows perfectly well that he is looking at the real historical Rouen cathedral, but through the interpretive lens of impressionistic approaches to painting, which were concerned with light and the difference light makes in the way things appear to us. Impressionism reminds us that in fact reality is not in the eye of the beholder, for the eye can be deceived, any more than meaning is in the eye of the beholder. Yes, Virginia there are definitely meanings in those texts, but it is also true that we are active readers of the texts.

Read it all.

Posted in Christology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Madison Weighs in on the Wisconsin Budget Battle debate

Should one support or oppose the legislation which regulates union procedures? The Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC) has chosen a neutral stance because the present dilemma comes down to either a choice for the common good, of sacrifice on the part of all, at times that pose immense economic threats, both present and future on the one hand, and on the other hand, a choice for the rights of workers to a just compensation for services rendered, and to the upholding of contracts legally made. As Catholics, we see both of these horns of the dilemma as good, and yet the current situation calls many of us to choose between these two goods. Thus the WCC has taken a neutral stance, and this is the point of Archbishop Listecki’s recent statement, which I have echoed.

The question to which the dilemma boils down is rather simple on its face: is the sacrifice which union members, including school teachers, are called upon to make, proportionate to the relative sacrifice called for from all in difficult economic times? In other words, is the sacrifice fair in the overall context of our present situation?

At a time when all are called to sacrifice, this question requires a weighing of the relative sacrifice which all are called upon to make, so that a judgment about just proportions can be made by each one of us.

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

A Prayer for the Feast day of Saint David of Wales

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant David to be a faithful and wise steward of thy mysteries for the people of Wales: Mercifully grant that, following his purity of life and zeal for the gospel of Christ, we may with him receive the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of Wales, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who dost sow the good seed of thy Word in the lives of men: We beseech thee to make us like those who in an honest and good heart, having received the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

–2 Corinthians 11:1-3

Posted in Uncategorized

(WSJ) Pentagon Repositions Naval Forces Off Libya

The Pentagon is repositioning warships and planes in the waters off Libya to be ready to enforce a no-fly zone or deliver humanitarian aid, military officials said Monday.

By shifting Naval and air forces in the Mediterranean, the U.S. is preparing the groundwork for possible intervention in the civil war that has engulfed Libya. In recent days, U.S. military leaders have been planning for a range of options, in the event the White House steps up the U.S. response.

“I think it’s safe to say as part of that we’re repositioning forces to be able to provide for that flexibility once decisions are made…to be able to provide options and flexibility,” Col. David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters on Monday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Libya

Local Newspaper Editorial–Inflation? No cause for alarm?

The World Food Bank recently released a report saying food prices world-wide are now at “dangerous levels,” having gone up 29 percent in the past year alone. This clearly could contribute to political instability and push millions of people into poverty.

In actuality, it already has. It is no accident that the revolution now sweeping the Arab world primarily is centered in countries that import much of their food.

Food inflation should come as no surprise to those who shop at supermarkets in the United States, where checkout-counter shock is endemic. Grocers and wholesalers say it is not their fault. Farmers say they should not be blamed, for their costs have skyrocketed, too. Well, then, who or what is responsible?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Federal Reserve, Globalization, The U.S. Government

(RNS/ENI) Displaced New Zealand Churches Mourn Their Dead

Worshippers gathered outdoors on Sunday (Feb. 27) after an earthquake ravaged New Zealand’s second-largest city, meeting in unfamiliar churches and next to damaged buildings to reflect, pray, mourn and give thanks.

The death toll from the Feb. 22 quake reached 147 on Sunday, and is expected to double as dozens were trapped in wreckage. The entire central city was cordoned off as hundreds of rescuers continue to find bodies in the rubble.

“It’s going to be a very poignant day for a lot of our people today, as they reflect … on our values,” Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker wrote in the New Zealand Herald. “It’s a day of everybody reaching out. We need to keep our spirits up.”

Read it all.

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

(BP) Glenn T. Stanton: The Christian divorce rate myth (what you've heard is wrong)

Here’s the truth….

Many people who seriously practice a traditional religious faith — be it Christian or other — have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population.

The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice. Couples who regularly practice any combination of serious religious behaviors and attitudes — attend church nearly every week, read their Bibles and spiritual materials regularly; pray privately and together; generally take their faith seriously, living not as perfect disciples, but serious disciples — enjoy significantly lower divorce rates than mere church members, the general public and unbelievers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Media, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Living Church) Erastianism Debate Rears its Head in the U.K.

Church-state tensions in the United Kingdom became headline news twice in February. Early in February a group of senior members of Parliament, fearful that legislation paving the way for women bishops might fail in General Synod, indicated that they would use parliamentary powers, if necessary, to see it through.

MP Frank Field filed an Early Day Motion calling on the government to remove the Church of England’s exemption from equality laws if the plan for women bishops fails in Synod. Various advocates of women in the episcopate welcomed this gesture, but others expressed concern that it would set an unhelpful precedent and open the way for the Parliament to impose other unwanted requirements.

Lynne Featherstone, the government’s Equalities Minister, announced plans Feb. 14 to allow religious buildings to be used as venues for celebrations of civil partnerships. She also announced plans to review current distinctions between marriage and same-sex unions. It made visible once more the deep divisions that exist in British society over sexuality.

Read it all.

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