Daily Archives: May 5, 2011

Few accurately monitor calories

Calories may count, but most people aren’t counting them.

Only 9% of people in the USA can accurately estimate the number of calories they should eat in a day, and 9% keep track of their calories every day.

People have plenty of excuses for not tracking: They say it’s extremely difficult, and they lack the interest, knowledge and focus. Some say they’re not convinced that it matters all that much.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine, Psychology

Thomas Friedman–bin Laden gone, but what about bin Ladenism?

Yes, the bad guys have been dealt a blow across the Arab world in the last few months ”” not only Al Qaeda, but the whole rogues’ gallery of dictators, whose soft bigotry of low expectations for their people had kept the Arab world behind. The question now, though, is: Can the forces of decency get organized, elected and start building a different Arab future? That is the most important question. Everything else is noise.

To understand that challenge, we need to recall, again, where Bin Ladenism came from. It emerged from a devil’s bargain between oil-consuming countries and Arab dictators. We all ”” Europe, America, India, China ”” treated the Arab world as a collection of big gas stations, and all of us sent the same basic message to the petro-dictators: Keep the oil flowing, the prices low and don’t bother Israel too much and you can treat your people however you like, out back, where we won’t look. Bin Laden and his followers were a product of all the pathologies that were allowed to grow in the dark out back ”” crippling deficits of freedom, women’s empowerment and education across the Arab world.

These deficits nurtured a profound sense of humiliation among Arabs at how far behind they had fallen, a profound hunger to control their own futures and a pervasive sense of injustice in their daily lives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Asia, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

(CEN) Canadian ”˜no’ to communion without baptism

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada has rejected calls to permit those not baptized to be allowed to receive the “sacrament of the holy Eucharist.”

At the close of their April 11-15 meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario the bishops reaffirmed the church’s canons and traditional practice stating only those baptized would be permitted to receive. “We do not see this as changing for the foreseeable future,” the bishops said.

The bishops’ debate follows a March 7 “Guest Reflection” published in Canada’s Anglican Journal by Dr. Gary Nicolosi who argued for a relaxation in the church’s Eucharistic discipline as a way of attracting more people to church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Eucharist, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(NOR) Ralph Loomis–The Overthrow of Moral Authority

Shortly after September 11, 2001, I was in a classroom addressing students at a Midwestern Catholic college, where I was a professor. Reuters News Service had run a story stating that it would not refer to the 9/11 attacks as “terrorist” because one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. I asked the students if they agreed. They did. I said I assumed then that they did not think the attacks were morally wrong. Their reply was that the attacks were wrong, but not morally wrong. What then did they mean by “wrong,” I asked. Did they mean “psychologically disturbing,” “politically incorrect”?

[This and another] personal experience[]… serve to illustrate in microcosm the ideological shift that has taken place in the U.S. over the course of the past forty years ”” a shift toward an ever more pronounced secularism that is depriving us of the moral authority required for integrity and self-government, both personal and corporate.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology

RNS–Vatican Praises Bloggers as Church’s ”˜Public Opinion'

In his opening remarks, the Vatican’s top spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, conceded that he himself was not a blogger but that his life has “changed” since he started receiving an “informal” digest of Catholic blogs every morning.
Lombardi said the Vatican will launch a multimedia news portal (www.news.va) in the coming months to harness the potential of expanding social networks. Catholic bloggers, he added, are influential because they give voice to “the public opinion in the Church.”

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(WSJ) Signs Point to Pakistan Link to bin Laden

U.S. and European intelligence officials increasingly believe active or retired Pakistani military or intelligence officials provided some measure of aid to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, allowing him to stay hidden in a large compound just a mile from an elite military academy.

The suspicions cast light on where the U.S. is expected to focus as it investigates who might have helped bin Laden hide in plain sight in Abbottabad, a town about 40 miles from the capital Islamabad.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Pakistan, Terrorism

David Leonhardt–On the Economy, A Mission Not Yet Accomplished

It’s obviously been a good week for the Obama administration. But it comes at a dangerous time, for both the administration and the economy. The excitement over tracking down Osama bin Laden could end up making the president and his advisers less panicked over the state of the economy. And they should be a little panicked.

For the second straight year, the recovery seems to be at risk of stalling. The economy grew at an annual rate of only 1.8 percent last quarter ”” eerily similar to the 1.7 percent growth last spring, just when job growth started slowing down. Fully 80 percent of people say the economy is in fairly bad or very bad shape, according to a New York Times/CBS Poll last month. More people say it’s getting worse than getting better, the opposite of a few months ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(RNS) Minister moms split between pulpit and toilet training

Despite the growing acceptance of a woman in the pulpit, congregants often worry about how the church will deal with her absence when her baby is born. When Cornwell took eight weeks of maternity leave, she arranged for others to fill in on Sunday mornings.

“You always have this issue if the young woman you hire ”¦ gets pregnant, then who’s going to take care of their church?” said Adair Lummis, a sociologist at Hartford Seminary who has studied women clergy.

The Rev. Tonya Vickery of Cullowhee Baptist Church in Cullowhee, N.C., said she and her co-pastor husband split parenting and pastoral duties between them, with each of them baptizing one of their two daughters.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Women

(AP) Islamic world quiet as bin Laden age closes

For some, the account of bin Laden’s death during a U.S. raid early Monday on his Pakistan compound is still too much to accept. One post on a militant website asks: “Has the sheik really died?”

But a more complex explanation for the relative quiet on the Muslim streets lies, in fact, on those same streets.

The pro-democracy uprisings across the Arab world suggest to many that al-Qaida’s clenched-fist ideology has little place for a new generation seeking Western-style political reforms and freedoms ”” even though al-Qaida offshoots still hold ground in places such as Yemen and Pakistan.

Read it all.

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

(CEN) ”˜We need more younger clergy,’ says retiring Bishop of Winchester

Speaking to The Church of England Newspaper about his retirement, announced last October, the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt said that more work needed be done in encouraging young men and women away from well-paid City jobs to roles which society really needs, such as being a priest, teacher or nurse.

In addition, the Bishop said that in looking back on his years in General Synod and in the House of Lords he said he regretted much of the arguing about gender and sexuality issues but believed he was there for a purpose to defend a conservative position.

He also said the Church of England should not “slither off” and become like the majority of the US Episcopal Church, which would be the end of the Church of England.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Young Adults

China Creates New Agency For Patrolling The Internet

A powerful arm of China’s government said Wednesday that it had created a new central agency to regulate every corner of the nation’s vast Internet community, a move that appeared to complement a continuing crackdown on political dissidents and other social critics.

But the vaguely worded announcement left unclear whether the new agency, the State Internet Information Office, would in fact supersede a welter of ministries and other government offices that already claim jurisdiction over parts of cyberspace.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, China, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology

Morning Praise for the Easter Season

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for all who believe in Him; to whom with thee, O Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, be ascribed all honour and glory, dominion and power, now and for evermore.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

–1 John 2:28

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

BBC–Should photos of Bin Laden's corpse be released?

Before the president’s announcement, it was reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Robert Gates were advising him not to.

They fear that the photos might make the US look like it is revelling in Bin Laden’s death, and spark reprisals in the Arab world.

That’s a view expressed by one of the people who has seen the photos, Republican Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He’s worried their release could endanger US troops.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Pakistan, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Terrorism

Fleming Rutledge–Osama bin Laden: "an unhappy business"

These are some of the thoughts I wrote down ten years ago:

If Osama bin Laden is killed, instead of celebrating in the streets, we should greet the news with:

–Solemn thanksgiving to God alone
–Awe that such a monstrously wicked mind was among us and is now gone
–Repentance for the state of the world that such a killing should be necessary
–Sober awareness of the power of Death over us all
–Certainty that each one of us, no less than bin Laden, will come before the throne of judgment of our righteous God
–Recognition that although this appeared to be necessary, it is an unhappy business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with (Ecclesiastes)
–and finally, a sober understanding that Sauron will rise again.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Asia, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Eschatology, Pakistan, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Terrorism, Theology

H. Allen Orr on Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape

[Sam] Harris was trained as a neuroscientist and received his doctoral degree from the University of California at Los Angeles in 2009. He is best known as the author of two previous books. In 2004, he published The End of Faith, a fierce attack on organized religion. The book, which propelled Harris from near obscurity to near stardom””he has appeared on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and The O’Reilly Factor””is one of the canonical works of the New Atheist movement, along with Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion (2006) and Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell (2006). Harris seemed mostly to play the part of polemicist in the movement. He possesses a sharp wit and an even sharper pen, and his attacks on mainstream religion had a scorched-earth intensity. In 2006, Harris followed this up with Letter to a Christian Nation, an uncompromising response to his Christian critics.

In his latest book, The Moral Landscape, Harris shifts his sights somewhat. He is now concerned with the sorry state of moral thinking among both religious and secular people in the West. While the former are convinced that moral truths are handed down from on high, the latter are perpetually muddled, frequently believing that morals are relative, the product of arbitrary tradition and social conditioning. Harris hopes to sweep aside both kinds of confusion, convincing his readers that objective moral truths exist and that we possess a (properly secular) means for discovering them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology