Daily Archives: April 27, 2011

(Telegraph) Andrew Gilligan–Islamist extremism: so did we cure the problem?

There is a reason why Britain, in the words of one French official, is and remains the “Pakistan of the West”, an incubator, entrepot and exporter of Islamic radicalism. There is a reason why, according to MI6, we face a “unique” threat from home-grown extremists. There is a reason why Britain is the only country in the Western world to have been subjected to a successful suicide terror attack by its own citizens. These things have happened, in part, because the last government, and Britain’s security establishment, got its policy just about as wrong as it was possible to get. We were harsh where we should have been liberal ”“ and liberal where we should have been harsh.

Control orders, the push for three months’ detention without charge, random and blanket stop-and-search, and Britain’s complicity in torture did little or nothing to restrain terrorism. But they undermined the rule of law for which we are fighting, angered middle-of-the-road Muslims and gave the extremists priceless fuel for their favourite narrative, “Islam under attack”.

At the same time, we were crazily indulgent of some of the world’s most dangerous Islamist radicals….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

(USA Today) Reliance on Uncle Sam hits a record

Americans depended more on government assistance in 2010 than at any other time in the nation’s history, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data finds. The trend shows few signs of easing, even though the economic recovery is nearly 2 years old.

A record 18.3% of the nation’s total personal income was a payment from the government for Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, unemployment benefits and other programs in 2010. Wages accounted for the lowest share of income ”” 51.0% ”” since the government began keeping track in 1929.

The income data show how fragile and government-dependent the recovery is after a recession that officially ended in June 2009.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

(FT) US Banks Warn Obama on Soaring Debt

A group of the largest US banks and fund managers stepped up the pressure on Congress and the Obama administration to reach a deal to increase the country’s debt limit, saying that even a short default could be devastating for the financial markets and economy.

The warning over the debt limit is the strongest yet to come from Wall Street, highlighting growing nervousness among investors about the US political system’s ability to forge a consensus on fiscal policy.

The most pressing budgetary issue confronting Congress and the Obama administration is the need to raise the US debt ceiling, which stands at $14,300 billion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Globalization, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc), Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

(ACNS) The Archbishop of Canterbury on the Royal Wedding

Speaking in a short film produced by Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury talks about the sense of hopefulness and generosity which lie at the heart of marriage, and what this also tells us about the ”˜mystery’ and ”˜delight’ which can be found in this life-time commitment. Dr Williams, who will be conducting the marriage ceremony at Westminster Abbey on Friday 29th, also describes the sense of privilege he feels about his own role in the royal wedding:

“Any priest or minister conducting a wedding is bound to feel a huge sense of privilege. You’re invited into some intimate places in people’s lives. You’re invited to take part in a very significant moment, a moment of hope; a moment of affirmation about people’s present and future. And I’ve felt very privileged to be part of this event for those reasons. Here are young people sending a message of hopefulness, sending a message of generosity across the world. And it’s my privilege to be able to bless that in the name of God, to witness it in the name of God”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Politics in General

(NY Post) Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey's bid to become Episcopal priest is rejected

McGreevey — who shocked the nation in 2004 when he announced he was a “gay American” and stepped down from office — has been denied his bid to join the priesthood of the Episcopal Church, The Post has learned.

Church leaders, who have long embraced gay parishioners and clergy, were bothered by McGreevey’s bitter divorce, sources told The Post.

“It was not being gay but for being a jackass — [McGreevey] didn’t come out of the whole divorce looking good,” said a source with the Episcopal Diocese of Newark.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

In Japan, Jail, Disgrace, and the end of a brave new business World

An intensely toxic court case which shattered Japanese society, ended today with a 30-month prison sentence for a man who was once the country’s most prominent entrepreneur….

Mr [Takafumi] Horie’s eradication as a political and corporate trailblazer also marked the beginning of the end of prime minister Junichiro Koizumi’s supposedly reformist era.

It was a five-and-a-half year stint in which the charismatic politician persuaded both Japan and the outside world that he had placed the country on a new tack. Retrospective analysis of his period in power suggest his practical impact had been almost entirely undone by about 2009.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Japan, Theology

In Lowcountry South Carolina, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church teens carry crosses

Fifteen teens and youth minister, Oeland Camp, from St. Paul’s, Summerville walked 4.4 miles from Summerville’s town square to the I-26 overpass and back carrying wooden crosses Saturday. Cole Sanders, an 18-year-old Pinewood Preparatory student came up with the idea after seeing the “famous man who carries his cross across town.”

“I thought ”˜Why don’t I do that?’” Sanders said. “I told all my friends and this happened.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Episcopal Church (TEC), Holy Week, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes, Youth Ministry

Shiba Inu Puppy Cam

This is just wonderful–check it out.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

David Brooks–The Big Disconnect in America

There are structural problems in the economy as growth slows and middle-class incomes stagnate. There are structural problems in the welfare state as baby boomers spend lavishly on themselves and impose horrendous costs on future generations. There are structural problems in energy markets as the rise of China and chronic instability in the Middle East leads to volatile gas prices. There are structural problems with immigration policy and tax policy and on and on.

As these problems have gone unaddressed, Americans have lost faith in the credibility of their political system, which is the one resource the entire regime is predicated upon. This loss of faith has contributed to a complex but dark national mood. The country is anxious, pessimistic, ashamed, helpless and defensive.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Psychology, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, whose blessed Son did as in this season rise again for us, victorious over sin and the grave: Grant that we, being risen with him, may set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth; that when he who is our life shall appear, we may also appear with him in glory; through the same our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at that gate of the temple which is called Beautiful to ask alms of those who entered the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, with John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention upon them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and walked and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

–Acts 3:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A look at the US Dollar/Swiss Franc Chart over Five and Twelve Years

[Here is the Bloomberg Headline: Swiss Franc Reaches Highest In At Least 40 Years Versus Dollar]

This is painful and sad and (go under the chart to the time box and click “max” all the way to the right) for an even longer term perspective check this out.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Budget, Currency Markets, Economy, Europe, Politics in General, Switzerland, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

(WSJ) Beijing Police Detain Group of Christians

Police in Beijing detained more than 30 evangelical Christians as they attempted to gather outdoors for Easter services and confined about 500 to their homes, continuing a broad crackdown on dissent that has also targeted lawyers, bloggers and human-rights activists.

Church leaders as well as U.S.-based ChinaAid, a group that tracks cases of religious persecution of Christians in China, confirmed at least 34 worshipers were detained in northwest Beijing’s Haidian district. It was the third time in recent weeks that police have detained church members as they attempted to gather for services.

The recent crackdown comes during a period of heightened tension in Beijing as anonymous online calls for a “Jasmine Revolution” have set the country’s security apparatus on edge. Ai Weiwei, the widely known artist and activist, is in police custody on what authorities describe as an investigation into “economic crimes.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, China, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Archbishop John Sentamu–Easter, A Time for Refreshment and Renewal

It is wonderful that 2000 years on from the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we still have so many people eager to start a new life following Him ”“ and that they are courageous enough to publicly declare this in a packed city centre.

Easter should be a time of great joy and celebration. As you open your Easter Eggs on Sunday think not only of God’s Son who rose from the dead, but also think about the new generation of disciples who make great sacrifices to follow the call being made from deep within their hearts.

We are an Easter people, and alleluia is our song!

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter

Tom Wright–Can We Believe in the Resurrection?

The reality which is the resurrection cannot simply be “known” from within the old world of decay and denial, of tyrants and torture, of disobedience and death. But that’s the point. The resurrection is not, as it were, a highly peculiar event within the present world, though it is that as well; it is the defining, central event of the new creation, the world which is being born with Jesus.

If we are even to glimpse this new world, let alone enter it, we will need a different kind of knowing, a knowing which involves us in new ways, an epistemology which draws out from us not just the cool appraisal of detached quasi-historical or scientific research, but the whole-person engagement for which the best shorthand is “love.”

That is why, although the historical arguments for Jesus’s bodily resurrection are truly strong, we must never suppose that they will do more than bring people to the very questions faced by Peter, or Thomas, or Paul: the questions of faith, hope and love.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, CoE Bishops, Easter, Eschatology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Living Church) Brazil’s Anglicans Face a Challenging Future

Archbishop Maurico José Araújo de Andrade is a genial huggy-bear of a man who has been called to the helm of the Episcopal Church of Brazil in uncertain times.

Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest country, both by mass (8.5 million square miles) and population (more than 200 million people). Most Brazilians call themselves Roman Catholic, but these days Pentecostals worship in about equal numbers. The presence of high-profile Pentecostals on the national football team is just one sign that the star of Pentecostalism continues to rise.

Roman Catholic parishes in Brazil are large, plentiful and highly visible. Most stay open all the time. Dotted all over cities and towns are tiny chapels of various Pentecostal affiliations. In the daytime they tend to be shuttered, but they come alive at night as people punctuate boisterous sermons with amens and pray fervently for promised material blessings.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Brazil, South America

God's bankers: How evangelical Christianity is taking a hold of London’s financial institutions

The relationship between faith and finance runs deep. Quaker-run banks such as Barclays ”“ founded three centuries ago on Lombard Street ”“ survived when many of their peers crumbled during the crashes of the mid-1700s precisely because of the Christian ethics that underpinned their businesses. More recently, Stephen Green stepped down as chairman and chief executive of HSBC to take holy orders. And over the past decade, a specific type of evangelical Christianity has taken hold of the Square Mile, although only recently has it dared speak its name (at least in City circles). Foremost among them is the Alpha course, whose extraordinary expansion has been funded in part from the deep pockets of former Lazard chairman Ken Costa. k

Founded at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) in Knightsbridge in 1991, Alpha has grown from an initial four churches to operate in more than 55,000 locations in 164 countries. It is estimated that more than 16 million people have taken the course worldwide. Jonathan Aitken, Geri Halliwell, Sir Ian Blair and Bear Grylls are all regulars.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector