Daily Archives: April 11, 2011

Gas Prices Climbing Toward $5 Per Gallon

Ugh–check it out.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources

(USA Today) Girls are maturing faster than ever, and doctors are not sure why

A week-long series on the changing face of childhood.

Claudia and Joe’s baby girl has been racing to grow up, almost from the moment she was born. Laila sat up on her own at 5 months old and began talking at 7 months and walking by 8½ months.

“All of our friends told us to cherish every moment,” Claudia says. “When I started planning her first birthday party, I remember crying and wondering where the time had gone.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Sexuality, Women

(BBC) Europe's future lies under Africa, scientists suggest

Europe may be starting to burrow its way under Africa, geologists suggest.

The continents are converging; and for many millions of years, the northern edge of the African tectonic plate has descended under Europe.

But this process has stalled; and at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) meeting last week, scientists said we may be seeing Europe taking a turn.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Energy, Natural Resources, Europe, History, Science & Technology

(NPR) 150 Years Later, America's Civil War Still Divides

On April 12, 1861, the first shots of the Civil War rang out in South Carolina.

Confederate forces, firing on the Union garrison at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, helped launch a four-year war that would kill more than 620,000 soldiers.

It’s been nearly 150 years since the war began. But even now, the city of Charleston is still figuring out how to talk about the war and commemorate the anniversary.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., History, Military / Armed Forces, Race/Race Relations

New church to become community hub in Acton

… it has been quite a long time coming. Oaktree started in 1993, as Church of England project to explore a new way of being a church. It has been meeting in a café at Twyford School for the last 5 years. “At last” says the Church’s minister Mark Aldridge, “Oaktree now has the base it needs to pursue the projects closest to its heart.”

Those include projects addressing some of Acton’s core social needs, like the Oaktree-based branch of CAP (Christians Against Poverty), a free debt-advice service which can negotiate with creditors, work out realistic budgets and sets itself the ambitious target to get even those in deep debt trouble out of debt within five years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry

Fleming Rutledge–The twelve-minute sermon, challenged

Read it all. Indeed. To this I would only add John Stott’s memorable “sermonettes produce Christianettes” (if in fact it originated with him)–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) French Veil Ban Takes Effect

France’s new ban on Islamic face veils was met with a burst of defiance Monday, as several women appeared veiled in front of Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral and two were detained for taking part in an unauthorized protest.

France on Monday became the world’s first country to ban the veils anywhere in public, from outdoor marketplaces to the sidewalks and boutiques of the Champs-Elysées.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy set the wheels in motion for the ban nearly two years ago, saying the veils imprison women and contradict this secular nation’s values of dignity and equality. The ban enjoyed wide public support when it was approved by parliament last year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, France, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Women

Half of Yorkshire’s charities and voluntary groups set to shed staff

Nearly half the charities and voluntary groups in Yorkshire are expecting to reduce staff numbers over the coming weeks as funding cuts bite, a new study suggests.

Almost 50 per cent of the “third sector” organisations which responded to a survey by Involve Yorkshire and Humber ”“ an umbrella group representing charities across the region ”“ said they were planning to reduce their workforce over the next three months to help to cut their costs.

The study represents yet another blow to David Cameron’s Big Society project, with critics having warned for months that cuts to local authority budgets would have a fatal knock-on effect for many charities which rely on councils for much of their fnding.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Economy, England / UK, Politics in General

Church in Wales running out of space to bury its dead

Wales is running out of space to bury its dead and needs a co-ordinated policy to tackle the issue seriously.

That’s one of the stark facts the Church in Wales is highlighting in a series of briefing notes about its work to candidates standing for the Welsh Assembly election.

It estimates that two-thirds of the Church’s 1,000 burial grounds will be full in 10 years’ time and calls for a Government Commission to look into provision across Wales.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

Archbishop Okoh's Opening Address to the Anglican Church of Nigeria Standing Committee

The delegation was well received by the Nigerian High Commission in London. There was a brief meeting and an interactive section. The group also visited the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace. Our message:

The need to allow Nigerians to worship “the Nigeria way” in abandoned Church buildings or allow them a scheduled time in parish Churches where they could express themselves unreservedly in worship, to save us from the unceasing and intense bleeding of our young executive Anglicans moving over to the New Generation Churches due to what they describe as “cold” worship style. Our request was viewed positively by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England. We also visited the Lord Bishop of London and the Bishop of Southwark. Other places visited include Manchester and Birmingham. In summary the Archbishop requested us to put our proposal into writing. He assured us that it is a practical proposal. We addressed a group of Nigerians of different age brackets in London, Manchester and Birmingham and had a special session with representatives of Nigerian Clergy in the UK. Our visit was said to be timely. But a few had their reservations.

Another issue which has emerged in this visit is the status, sponsorship and future of the Nigerian Chaplaincy in the UK. At the moment they are enjoying the last part of the generosity of the CMS, and the grace and benevolence of St. Marylebone. These are issues requiring urgent attention.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of George Augustus Selwyn

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant George Augustus Selwyn, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the peoples of New Zealand and Melanesia, and to lay a firm foundation for the growth of thy Church in many nations. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land evangelists and heralds of thy kingdom, that thy Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Thanks be to thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which thou hast given us, for all the pains and insults which thou hast borne for us. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may we know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, now and for evermore.

–Saint Richard of Chichester

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as in a besieged city. I had said in my alarm, “I am driven far from thy sight.” But thou didst hear my supplications, when I cried to thee for help. Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but abundantly requites him who acts haughtily. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!

–Psalm 31:21-24

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Charles Schwartzel wins the Masters

Four birdies in a row to close it. Wow.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, South Africa, Sports

(Daily Nation) Kenyan politicians warned against hate speech

Leaders have been told to stop politicising the Ocampo Six trials and warned against public utterances likely to rekindle violence in the country.

Anglican Church Archbishop Eliud Wabukala on Sunday told a congregation at the All Saints Cathedral that inflammatory statements could lead to anarchy as Education minister Sam Ongeri warned against hate speech.

“The Ocampo Six and ICC trials should not be politicised. This is a foundation for chaos in the General Election,” Dr Wabukala warned.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Kenya, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Fort Worth Diocese to make direct appeal to Texas Supreme Court

From here:

Following the sever-and-stay order issued April 5 by the 141st district court, leaders of the Diocese and Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth will file a Notice of Appeal with the trial court early in the week of April 11. We will dispute the court’s ruling that all our property is held in trust for TEC; on the contrary, the property is held for the benefit of the local congregation, as our Constitution and Canons plainly state.

Our attorneys anticipate making the appeal directly to the Texas State Supreme Court. It is within the Court’s discretion to take the case directly, or to require that we go first to the intermediate Court of Appeals. Since all parties agree that the case will come inevitably before the high court, we hope to save both the time and expense of an intermediate appeal as we seek resolution to the litigation brought against us, which has been so distracting from our mission for the past two years.

As an additional result of the April 5 order, all discovery in the case is now on hold. The plaintiffs’ proposed property inspections will not be carried out. Nor will the judge’s Feb. 8 order to surrender our property be enforced during this period: Our congregations will not be evicted from their churches for the duration of this process, if ever.

We give thanks for the opportunity to appeal our case, and we continue to pray for our attorneys as we move on to this very important phase of the litigation.

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

WSJ: The contradictory faces of political Islam in post-Mubarak Egypt

“All Egyptians now think they are Che Guevara, Castro or something,” says Essam el-Erian, a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, bursting into laughter. “This is democracy.”

Amid this political ferment, the Brotherhood is an exception: a well-funded, organized and established force. Founded in 1928, it’s also the grandaddy of the Mideast’s political Islamist movements. The Brotherhood was banned from politics 57 years ago and focused on business, charity and social ventures. But the secretive fraternity always aspired to power.

Now free elections due later this year offer the Brotherhood their best opportunity. The group says it believes in “Islamic democracy,” but what does that really mean? I spent a week with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and it turns out the answers are far from monolithic, though often far from reassuring.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Independent) Paul Vallely: The overwhelming power of music

It is not clear what makes Nick Clegg cry. His office declined to elaborate on his aside in his New Statesman interview with Jemima Khan. The eight pieces he chose for Desert Island Discs recently offered a typical politician’s balanced ticket to imply the widest electoral appeal. Presumably the Chopin Waltz in A Minor, which his wife played when she was pregnant with their first son, is a more obvious candidate than his selections from Prince, Radiohead and David Bowie. But there is always the chance that Johnny Cash’s grim hominy homily “Sunday Morning Coming Down” could tweak the tear ducts in a self-pitying way.

Does it matter? Plato would say so. Music for the father of philosophy is not a neutral amusement but a vehicle for nobility, dignity, temperance, chastity. It has a moral character, and its style can influence those who embrace it. Scruton is interesting on this too. In a culture where pop stars are first among celebrities, idolised by the young and courted by politicians, something of their message will rub off on the laws passed by the politicians who admire them. “If the message is sensual, self-centred, and materialistic… then we should not expect to find that our laws address us from any higher realm,” he says.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

The Economist Leader–Current plans to raise the retirement age are not bold enough

Put aside the cruise brochures and let the garden retain that natural look for a few more years. Demography and declining investment returns are conspiring to keep you at your desk far longer than you ever expected.

This painful truth is no longer news in the rich world, and many governments have started to deal with the ageing problem. They have announced increases in the official retirement age that attempt to hold down the costs of state pensions while encouraging workers to stay in their jobs or get on their bikes and look for new ones.

Unfortunately, the boldest plans look inadequate. Older people are going to have to stay economically active longer than governments currently envisage; and that is going to require not just governments, but also employers and workers, to behave differently.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Economy, Europe, Pensions, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Social Security, The U.S. Government