Daily Archives: May 11, 2011

Benedict XVI Warns Against "Liquid" Society

In this address, the Pontiff spoke about the “liquid” culture, a concept coined by Polish philosopher Zygmunt Bauman, who between 1971 and 1990 was a professor of sociology at the University of Leeds, England.

European society, said the Holy Father, is submerged in a liquid culture; in this regard, he pointed out “its ‘fluidity,’ its low level of stability or perhaps absence of stability, its mutability, the inconsistency that at times seems to characterize it.”

He noted that Bauman attributes the birth of the “liquid” society to the consumerist model. The philosopher stated that its most profound impact has been felt in social relations, and, more in particular, in relations between man and woman, which have become increasingly flexible and impalpable, as manifested by the present concept of love reduced to a mere passing sentiment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Thomas Friedman–There is still big Trouble in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia

So Osama bin Laden was living in a specially built villa in Pakistan. I wonder where he got the money to buy it? Cashed in his Saudi 401(k)? A Pakistani subprime mortgage, perhaps? No. I suspect we will find that it all came from the same place most of Al Qaeda’s funds come from: some combination of private Saudi donations spent under the watchful eye of the Pakistani Army.

Why should we care? Because this is the heart of the matter; that’s why. It was both just and strategically vital that we killed Bin Laden, who inspired 9/11. I just wish it were as easy to eliminate the two bad bargains that really made that attack possible, funded it and provided the key plotters and foot soldiers who carried it out. We are talking about the ruling bargains in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which are alive and well.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Pakistan, Politics in General, Saudi Arabia, Terrorism

Robert Samuelson: The upside of the housing bust

If you’re a 20-something or even younger, your economic future is at best clouded. Your taxes will almost certainly be higher than today’s; your public services (schools, police, sanitation, defense, scientific research) will almost certainly be lower. Paying for old people, covering rising health costs, repairing dilapidated roads and servicing government pensions and the huge federal debt will squeeze take-home pay. Is there any hope for economic gains?

Well, yes ”” and from a surprising source. Housing. Say what?…

housing’s troubles may have a silver lining. If you’re a homeowner, the steep fall in prices is calamitous. But if you’re a future buyer, it’s a godsend. What we’re seeing is a massive wealth transfer from today’s older homeowners to tomorrow’s younger homeowners.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Young Adults

(RNS) Chaplains Say Navy Wedding Policy Confuses a Fraught Debate

A recent Navy memo that would permit military chaplains to officiate at same-sex marriage ceremonies upon repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy is creating tension amid an already fractious debate.

“It is absolutely deplorable,” said the Rev. Billy Baugham, executive director of the International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers. “It is a total surprise to us in the sense that we did not know it would really come to this.”

The chief of Navy chaplains announced in an April 13 memo that training materials for the expected repeal have been changed to allow chaplains to officiate at some same-sex ceremonies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Military / Armed Forces, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

An ENS Story–California high court returns property dispute to trial court

The California Supreme Court on May 5 returned to a lower court the lawsuit involving a seven-year property dispute between the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and a breakaway Newport Beach church.

The court, in a 6-1 decision, said that St. James Anglican Church, which disaffiliated from the Episcopal Church in 2003, can present arguments to show that the church and the property are owned by the congregation and not by the Los Angeles diocese and Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Departing Parishes

Peter Smith–Presbyterians clear way for ordaining non-celibate gays, lesbians

The denomination “has talked about, prayed about, worked, discussed, discerned for 35 years,” …[the Rev. Ann Deibert] said. “It feels like an enormous gift and a breath of the Spirit. What it means is we are recognizing the gifts and graces of God in more and more people.”

But the Presbyterians for Renewal, a Louisville-based coalition of evangelical churches, lamented “this unfaithful action” in a statement.

“In a lot of presbyteries, evangelical folks didn’t show up in enough numbers that it swung some votes,” added its executive director, the Rev. Paul Detterman. “How opposing sides can work together without compromising their core identities under the same denominational canopy is the question of the day.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

An LA Times story on the Presbyterian Vote

A debate that has raged within the Presbyterian Church for more than three decades culminated Tuesday with ratification of a measure allowing the ordination of gay and lesbian ministers and lay leaders, while giving regional church bodies the ability to decide for themselves.

With the vote of its regional organization in Minnesota, the Presbyterian Church USA became the fourth mainline Protestant church to allow gay ordination, following the Episcopal and Evangelical Lutheran churches and the United Church of Christ. The Minnesota vote was closely followed by one in Los Angeles.

“This is an important moment in the Christian communion,” said Michael Adee, a Presbyterian elder who heads an organization that fought for gay ordination. “I rejoice that Presbyterians are focusing on what matters most: faith and character, not a person’s marital status or sexual orientation.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

David Brooks–The Missing Fifth

…energy has always been…[America’s] saving feature.

So Americans should be especially alert to signs that the country is becoming less vital and industrious. One of those signs comes to us from the labor market. As my colleague David Leonhardt pointed out recently, in 1954, about 96 percent of American men between the ages of 25 and 54 worked. Today that number is around 80 percent. One-fifth of all men in their prime working ages are not getting up and going to work.

According to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States has a smaller share of prime age men in the work force than any other G-7 nation. The number of Americans on the permanent disability rolls, meanwhile, has steadily increased. Ten years ago, 5 million Americans collected a federal disability benefit. Now 8.2 million do. That costs taxpayers $115 billion a year, or about $1,500 per household. Government actuaries predict that the trust fund that pays for these benefits will run out of money within seven years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Men, Psychology

John Gray–Evangelical Atheism, Secular Christianity

An atmosphere of moral panic surrounds religion. Viewed not so long ago as a relic of superstition whose role in society was steadily declining, it is now demonised as the cause of many of the world’s worst evils. As a result, there has been an explosion in the literature of proselytising atheism.

The abrupt shift in the perception of religion is only partly explained by terrorism. The 9/11 hijackers saw themselves as martyrs in a religious tradition, and western opinion has accepted their self-image. And there are some who view the rise of Islamic fundamentalism as a danger comparable with the worst that were faced by liberal societies in the 20th century.

For Dawkins and Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and Martin Amis, Michel Onfray, Philip Pullman and others, religion in general is a poison that has fuelled violence and oppression throughout history, right up to the present day. The urgency with which they produce their anti-religious polemics suggests that a change has occurred as significant as the rise of terrorism: the tide of secularisation has turned.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Blog Reader Open Thread–best Anglican *parish* Websites

What are the best *parish* websites in the Episcopal/Anglican realm do you think? The more specific you can be about why you like them the more helpful this will be–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

Plans announced for GAFCON 2 and London and Africa offices

In a 13 point statement issued after their Nairobi meeting, the Council said “if we are offer adequate support to our member provinces, sustain our various initiatives, and strengthen our communications capabilities we must add capacity to our current secretariat.”

A Chairman’s office would be established in Nairobi, Kenya and a GAFCON Global Coordination office would be established in London under the direction of the Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Missionary Bishop of the Church of Nigeria, serving as Deputy Secretary and Executive Director.
The meeting discussed the challenges confronting the Anglican Communion and the Primates said they were “disappointed that those who organized the Primates meeting in Dublin not only failed to address these core concerns but decided instead to unilaterally reduce the status of the Primates’ Meeting. This action was taken with complete disregard for the resolutions of both Lambeth 1978 and 1998 that called for an enhanced role in ”˜doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters’. We believe that they were seriously misled and their actions unacceptable.”

“We continue to be troubled by the promotion of a shadow gospel that appears to replace a traditional reading of Holy Scriptures and a robust theology of the church with an uncertain faith and a never ending listening process. This faith masquerades as a religion of tolerance and generosity and yet it is decidedly intolerant to those who hold to the “faith once and for all delivered to the saints”.

Read it all and do take the time to read the entire 13 point statement at the bottom of the link.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lamb of God, Son of the Father, who hast taken away the sin of the world, and art alive for evermore: Grant us the faith that doubts not thy word, and trusts where it cannot see; that taking hold upon thy promises, we may rest in thy love and rejoice in thy mercy, now and always.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and every one who loves the parent loves the child. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

–1 John 5:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Yuniesky Betancourt Makes an Incredible Double Play Last Night

Watch it all and a version is there also.

Also, I found a good written description there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

Presbyterian Outlook– Fidelity-chastity just two votes away from extinction

So far, 85 presbyteries have voted to support Amendment 10-A, which would delete from the PC(USA) constitution the requirement that candidates for ordination practice “fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.” Instead it affirms in more general terms that “[s]tandards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life” and that “[g]overning bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.”

Sixty-two (62) presbyteries have disapproved the amendment.

Compared to the last round (in 2008-09) of voting on that proposed change, eighteen (18) presbyteries have now switched from opposition to support, while just three (3) presbyteries have withdrawn their support.
Passage of the amendment requires 87 affirmative votes, including a minimum of net nine presbyteries to switch from opposition to support, so the net change so far of 15 presbytery votes indicates an almost unstoppable trend toward passage, which is likely to occur within the next week.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

A NY Times Article on the Coming Presbyterian Vote

With a vote in Minneapolis, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is expected to pass a measure on Tuesday afternoon allowing openly gay people in same-sex relationships to be ordained as ministers, elders and deacons.

Although Presbyterians have been debating the issue since 1978, the news will most likely come as a surprise to many church members. Only two years ago, a majority of the church’s regions, known as presbyterys, voted against ordaining openly gay candidates.

This time, 19 of the church’s 173 presbyterys so far have switched their votes from no to yes. The Twin Cities presbytery, which covers the Minneapolis and St. Paul region, is expected to cast the deciding vote at its meeting on Tuesday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

(ENI) Christian-Muslim clashes in Egypt leave 12 dead, Coptic churches burnt

Christian and Muslim clashes in Egypt have left 12 people dead, 238 injured and two Coptic churches in Cairo burned, the state media reported.

Faith and political leaders condemned the weekend violence, which was triggered by rumors that a woman who had converted to Islam was being detained at the sixth-century Coptic Church of St. Mena in the working-class neighborhood of Imbaba in northwest Cairo.

It’s the worst sectarian violence since protests in February overthrew Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s long serving president, and the clashes are presenting fresh challenges to the military-led government.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence