Daily Archives: March 7, 2011

Tad de Bordenave has a New Blog

Check it out–nice title: mission omission.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Latest News, Blogging & the Internet, Missions

Even YouTube Can't Silence Radical Cleric

A quick search of YouTube today for “Anwar al-Awlaki” finds hundreds of his videos, most of them scriptural commentary or clerical advice, but dozens that include calls for jihad or attacks on the United States.

The story of You Tube and Mr. Awlaki is a revealing case study in the complexity of limiting controversial speech in the age of do-it-yourself media, as the House prepares for hearings next week on the radicalization of American Muslims.

In eloquent American English or Arabic with English subtitles, Mr. Awlaki can be seen in videos decrying America’s “war on Islam”; warning Muslims why they should “never, ever trust a kuffar,” or non-Muslim; praising the attempt by his “student” to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner; and patiently explaining why American civilians are legitimate targets for killings. Such videos have been posted in multiple copies and viewed hundreds or thousands of times.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Yemen

(NPR) First Latino Archbishop In U.S. Takes To Pulpit

Bishop OSCAR CANTU (Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of San Antonio): I think he recognized that people perceived him as being overly formal, and he lamented that.

[SANDEN] TOTTEN: Bishop Oscar Cantu worked with Gomez for two and a half years at his previous assignment in San Antonio. Cantu says, humor aside, Gomez was known for his devotion to the church, his love of the Green Bay Packers, his lactose intolerance and his decided tolerance for tequila. Gomez studied business at the National University of Mexico and Cantu says he was blessed with a talent for financial planning.

Bishop CANTU: Most clerics run away from the accountants, rather than run to them. He was one who embraced that, you know, of course ’cause, you know, that was part of his background. And he was able to really use that for the good of the church.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Pastor accused of shoving parishioner, 76, at troubled St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Kalamazoo

A simmering, months-long conflict between congregants at Kalamazoo’s St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and church officials reached a boiling point Sunday, with a police report filed against the pastor for allegedly shoving an elderly parishioner.

The Rev. Jay R. Lawlor was accused of pushing Marcia Morrison, 76, whose family owns Morrison Jewelers, during a heated discussion about recent events at the church. A witness said Morrison was not injured in the incident, which occurred immediately after Sunday morning’s service.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety confirmed that a police report was filed. Neither Lawlor nor Morrison could be reached for comment Sunday.

Read it all.

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

Chuck Hough, Canon to the Ordinary in Fort Worth, Announces his Resignation March 31st

Please keep him and Marilyn in your prayers. My understanding is that he is intending to pursue ministry in the Roman Catholic Church, likely under the provisions of the Ordinariate when that all becomes clear.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Roman Catholic, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

S.C. Lowcountry wildlife nurseries depend on federal money, cuts could harm key wetlands

Jason’s Lake is a focal point of the state’s extraordinarily popular Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area, a 50-acre saltwater pool roamed by trophy fish, a catch-and-release haven open to adults when they bring children.

It’s one of the signature habitats that make the recently opened management area the most visited in the state, by far. More than 40,000 people turn out each year to wander the lake, woods, creek, salt marshes and maritime forest beach on Edisto Island, right at the edge of the Charleston suburbs.

“It’s treated almost like a state park,” said Phil Maier, coastal reserves director with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Budget, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Politics in General, State Government, The U.S. Government

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Religious Reaction to Budget Cuts

[KEVIN] ECKSTROM: Right, and it’s biblical language on both sides. The more traditional churches, Catholic bishops and your mainline churches and your Jewish groups are saying, you know, we have a biblical and ethical, moral obligation to care for people who can’t help themselves. On the other side, from the more conservative side, especially from the Tea Party, you have arguments saying that it’s actually immoral to leave debt to future generations. And they sometimes chafe at the notion of, you know, what would Jesus cut? They say, well, Jesus didn’t have opinions on this, you know, that it’s up to us to sort of make the decisions on what to cut. But you get various moral arguments from both sides, and we’re just waiting to see who wins the day.

{KIM] LAWTON: Well, I was at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention this week, and one of their keynote speakers was House Speaker John Boehner, Catholic, who used a lot of biblical language in his speech. He had a very receptive, mostly evangelical audience, and he quoted Scripture. He quoted from Proverbs, “A good man leaves behind an inheritance to his children’s children,” and he said Republicans want to not just be hearers of the word, but doers of the word, another scriptural reference there. And, you know, I found that very interesting, that you had the congressional leadership on the right also trying to seize the biblical and moral language on all of this.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, Poverty, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Senate, The U.S. Government

(The Economist) The Libyan conundrum–Don't let Qaddafi linger

As in all such mind-bending crises, it is best that the UN Security Council validates whatever course is pursued by the world’s beefiest governments, still inevitably led by the West, which, in turn means the United States, backed by Britain and France, its hardiest allies with a modicum of military muscle. The Americans are fearful of becoming embroiled in yet another distant venture. Among the Europeans, only Britain and Italy seem readier for a more robust involvement…. China and Russia, though they voted for UN sanctions on Colonel Qaddafi in the Security Council, presently balk at a no-fly zone, let alone armed intervention by troops. Turkey, a key member of NATO in Mediterranean or Middle Eastern affairs, is so far dead against, too. So, for the time being, it seems, are the majority of Arab governments.

But if the Libyan regime starts killing people in their thousands””and especially if it uses helicopter gunships or aircraft””diplomatic reluctance should melt away. Too often the world has dithered open-mouthed as evil men have slaughtered Darfuris or Rwandans with impunity. Outsiders, led by the UN, must help Libya’s emerging transitional councils with humanitarian aid. The UN Security Council may yet have to be persuaded to restore peace by invoking the ample power of Chapter VII. And if that proves unattainable, the widest possible coalition of the willing, ideally including Libya’s Arab neighbours, must protect Libyan civilians by arming the opposition and defending them from aerial attack.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Energy, Natural Resources, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Libya, Middle East, Politics in General

Time Magazine Cover Story–Are America's Best Days Behind Us?

Fareed Zakaria says yes and David Von Drehle says no. Read both pieces and see what you think.

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

(Des Moines Register) Do Capitol prayers cross the line?

A pastor’s prayer before the Legislature this week asking God’s forgiveness for abortion and beseeching lawmakers to “have courage to rescue those being led away to death” has revived questions about the appropriateness of the daily prayers.

The prayer given by Mike Demastus of the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ also asked lawmakers to honor the institution of marriage.

His words have prompted some lawmakers and proponents of separating religion and government to call on legislative leaders to better enforce prayer standards that call for speakers to refrain from religious and political ideology in their remarks. One legislator wants to forgo the prayers and conduct a moment of silence instead.

Read it all (and don’t miss the guidelines).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, State Government

(AP) Young athlete faces uneasy balance of faith, sports

When 7-year-old Amalya Knapp took the beam at the New Jersey state gymnastics finals last month, her excellent performance symbolized a far more complicated balancing act.

Although she would have ranked fifth in her age group, eligible for a medal, her individual scores were discounted. She was unable to compete on a Saturday because of her Orthodox Jewish family’s observance of the Sabbath.

“I was upset,” Amalya said, “but my mother told me there are decisions you have to make.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sports, Women

(NY Times) Evangelical Pastor Stirs Wrath With His Views on Old Questions

A new book by one of the country’s most influential evangelical pastors, challenging traditional Christian views of heaven, hell and eternal damnation, has created an uproar among evangelical leaders, with the most ancient of questions being argued in a biblical hailstorm of Twitter messages and blog posts.

In a book to be published this month, the pastor, Rob Bell, known for his provocative views and appeal among the young, describes as “misguided and toxic” the dogma that “a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better.”

Such statements are hardly radical among more liberal theologians, who for centuries have wrestled with the seeming contradiction between an all-loving God and the consignment of the billions of non-Christians to eternal suffering. But to traditionalists they border on heresy, and they have come just at a time when conservative evangelicals fear that a younger generation is straying from unbendable biblical truths.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Eschatology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Theology

In Alaska St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church retains its rustic beauty

When Episcopal Bishop Peter Trimble Rowe mushed into Fairbanks in February 1904, he found a certified boom-town. The previous time an Episcopal priest had visited the gold camp, in March 1903, it consisted of E. T. Barnette’s store, a partially-constructed two-story log hotel, two saloons, a half-dozen rough cabins and a few tents.

The earlier priest, under-awed by Fairbanks and its prospects, held church services and promptly returned to Circle City. What a difference a year made. Bona fide big gold strikes were made on several creeks in the fall of 1903, and by 1904 Fairbanks had several thousand residents. Bishop Rowe was warmly welcomed, and with the encouragement and financial support of Fairbanks residents, set in motion efforts that culminated in the building of St. Matthew’s Church and hospital.

Read it all.

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

An Open Letter to the Clergy and People of The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Quebec headed toward ”˜radical option’ on religious minorities, sociologist fears

One of the great thinkers who helped calm Quebec’s reasonable accommodation debate is stirring it up again, saying he fears the province may be headed toward a “radical option” to deal with religious minorities.

Gérard Bouchard, the sociologist who travelled the province with philosopher Charles Taylor to study Quebec’s integration of minorities, said the province still lacks coherent rules to govern accommodation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Perpetua and Her Companions

O God the King of saints, who didst strengthen thy servants Perpetua and Felicitas and their companions to make a good confession, staunchly resisting, for the cause of Christ, the claims of human affection, and encouraging one another in their time of trial: Grant that we who cherish their blessed memory may share their pure and steadfast faith, and win with them the palm of victory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God of love, who hast given us a new commandment through thine only begotten Son, that we should love one another even as thou didst love us, the unworthy and the wandering, and gavest him for our life and salvation: We pray thee to give to us thy servants, in all time of our life on earth, a mind forgetful of past ill-will, a pure conscience, and a heart to love our brethren; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power.

–Hebrews 11:1-3a

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(London Times) Archbishop warns Pakistan to shield Christians from persecution

(This article is based on the piece just preceding it posted on the blog below–KSH)

One prominent figure on Pakistan’s religious Right, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of Jamiat Ulema-iIslam-Fazl, yesterday warned the West not to use international disgust at Mr Bhatti’s murder to put pressure on them to moderate their behaviour. He said: “I have already condemned the killing of Shahbaz Bhatti in the Parliament but it seems as if an international lobby is using such incidents to gain a leverage on religious parties.”

Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, told a memorial service for Mr Bhatti at the weekend that the Government “will try our utmost to bring the culprits to justice”.

But Dr Williams makes clear that patience in Christian-dominated donor countries is wearing out. “To the majority in Pakistan who have elected a Government which, whatever its dramatic shortcomings, is pledged to resist extremism, we have surely to say, ”˜Do not imagine that this can be managed or tolerated’.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Violence

(London Times) Rowan Williams on Pakistan: A truly Islamic state would protect Christians

The protection of minorities of any and every kind is one acid test of moral legitimacy for a government; and such protection is built into Pakistan’s modern identity as an Islamic state with civic recognition for non-Muslims. Many are anxious about Pakistan’s future for strategic reasons. But those of us who love Pakistan and its people are anxious for its soul as well as its political stability. It is heartbreaking to see those we count as friends living with the threat of being coerced and menaced into silence and, ultimately, into a betrayal of themselves. This must not be allowed to happen. They need to know of the support of Christians and others outside Pakistan for their historic and distinctive vision.

Shahbaz Bhatti died, for all practical purposes, as a martyr ”” let me be clear ”” not simply for his Christian faith, but for a vision shared between Pakistani Christians and Muslims. When he and I talked at Lambeth Palace last year, he was fully aware of the risks he ran. He did not allow himself to be diverted for a moment from his commitment to justice for all.

That a person of such courage and steadfastness of purpose was nourished in the political culture of Pakistan is itself a witness to the capacity of that culture to keep its vision alive and compelling. And that is one of the few real marks of hope in a situation of deepening tragedy that urgently needs both prayer and action.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture

China Tracks Foreign Journalists

Western journalists have lately been tolerated in China, if grudgingly, but the spread of revolution in the Middle East has prompted the authorities here to adopt a more familiar tack: suddenly, foreign reporters are being tracked and detained in the same manner ”” though hardly as roughly ”” as political dissidents.

On Sunday, about a dozen European and Japanese journalists in Shanghai were herded into an underground bunker-like room and kept for two hours after they sought to monitor the response to calls on an anonymous Internet site for Chinese citizens to conduct a “strolling” protest against the government outside the Peace Cinema, near Peace Square in Shanghai.

In Beijing, several plainclothes officers planted themselves on Saturday night outside the home of a Bloomberg News correspondent who was severely beaten by security officers the previous week as he sought to cover a similar Internet-inspired protest there. In a telephone interview, the correspondent said that seven officers in two separate cars had trailed him to a basketball game on Sunday, recording his trip on video the entire time.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Media

(NY Times Week in Review) Obama’s Choice: To Intervene or Not in Libya

For President Obama, who told Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi last week that it was time to quit, the bloodshed and terror in Libya have posed a dilemma that sooner or later confronts every modern American president: whether, and how, to intervene with military force in a distant conflict.

This time, the choice has been made even tougher by history, geography and the peculiar circumstances of Libya’s upheaval: a famously ruthless and unpredictable leader willing to do anything to cling to power, in a conflict that seems as much an African civil war as an Internet-fueled youth revolt of the kind that forced out Arab dictators in Egypt and Tunisia.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Libya, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

U.S. Senators Call for No-Flight Zone Over Libya

Despite skepticism from Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, three influential United States senators from both political parties on Sunday called for the United States to consider carving out a no-flight zone in Libya to prevent Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi from massacring the rebels trying to overthrow him.

But the Obama administration continued to resist such appeals.

“Lots of people throw around phrases like no-fly zone ”” they talk about it as though it’s just a video game,” William M. Daley, the new White House chief of staff, said in at appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” television news program.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Libya, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

(NY Times) Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software

Now, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, “e-discovery” software can analyze documents in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost. In January, for example, Blackstone Discovery of Palo Alto, Calif., helped analyze 1.5 million documents for less than $100,000.

Some programs go beyond just finding documents with relevant terms at computer speeds. They can extract relevant concepts ”” like documents relevant to social protest in the Middle East ”” even in the absence of specific terms, and deduce patterns of behavior that would have eluded lawyers examining millions of documents.

“From a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out,” said Bill Herr, who as a lawyer at a major chemical company used to muster auditoriums of lawyers to read documents for weeks on end. “People get bored, people get headaches. Computers don’t.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology

(ABC Rel. and Ethics) Jonathan Lusthaus: Monotheism and Violence

In a more nuanced way, a number of influential scholars, such as Rodney Stark and Regina Schwartz, have also cast monotheism as particularly intolerant towards the “Other” and thus a fertile ground for violence.

But I would like to ask whether there actually is an intrinsic link between monotheism and violence? Is such violence virtually inevitable?

There are a number of points that can be made in response to this question. The first is why is there such a preoccupation with religious and Monotheistic forms of violence, often to the point of dismissing secular violence? Why are violent secular causes often let off the hook?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

Brazil and South Africa more popular – BBC poll

The number of people who see Brazil as having a positive influence in the world is rising rapidly, according to a BBC World Service poll of 27 countries.

The country is now regarded positively by 49%, compared to 40% last year – the largest jump by any of the 16 nations respondents are asked to comment on.

South Africa, host of the 2010 World Cup, posted the second biggest rise.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Brazil, Globalization, South Africa, South America

(NPR) Raising The Retirement Age: Can It Balance Budgets?

As state and federal lawmakers search for ways to reduce government spending, some economists are urging them to raise the retirement age to ease budget pressures.

If Americans were to work longer, they would pay more in taxes, and at the same time reduce the cost of government pensions and Social Security benefits, according to these economists.

But others disagree. They say the fast-moving 21st century economy doesn’t need older workers as much as it needs young workers with the latest job skills.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(The Tablet Editorial) Dangerous days for the Jews

Anti-Semitism still rears its ugly head. The British designer John Galliano, for instance, has just been sacked as head designer of Christian Dior for an alleged anti-Jewish drunken rant in a Paris bar. His instant dismissal was perhaps commercially necessary. But it was morally justified too. At a meeting of the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee in Paris, the city’s Archbishop, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, said anti-Semitism must be “unambiguously exposed as a sin against God and humanity”, as it was “unfortunately, not dead”.

Traditionally across Europe, the most dangerous day of the year for Jews was Good Friday, as some of the prayers and readings used in churches that day could easily become an incitement to anti-Semitism. That changed when the Second Vatican Council decree Nostra Aetate specifically instructed that “the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture