Daily Archives: May 19, 2011

(RNS) Churches Asked to Share Pulpits with Muslims

Religious and human rights activists are asking U.S. churches to invite Jewish and Muslim clergy to their sanctuaries to read from sacred texts next month in an initiative designed to counter anti-Muslim bigotry.

The June 26 initiative, called “Faith Shared: Uniting in Prayer and Understanding,” is co-sponsored by the Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First. Leaders of the two Washington-based groups said the event hopes to demonstrate respect for Islam in the wake of Quran burnings in recent months.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Inter-Faith Relations, Religion & Culture

Drugs For Critically Ill In Short Supply–Some Hospitals Consider Rationing

Michael O’Neal is a pharmacist. He purchases drugs for Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He often deals with drug shortages, but this one is bad. O’Neal is concerned about the availability of electrolytes. They are critical to a babies in neonatal intensive care and seriously ill adults.

Electrolytes are administered to a critically ill patient for nutritional support intravenously. They are given to patients who cannot get their nutrition any other way.

O’Neal said he’s concerned that as supplies shrink, measures will have to be taken.
“We are dangerously close, we believe, when we will have to ration care to the critically ill. I would say within days or weeks,” said O’Neal.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

Local paper Front Page–Bomb in Afghanistan kills man known for fun spirit, strong sense of duty

A soldier from North Charleston — whose family said he’d been in Afghanistan for just a few days — was killed along with three other troops Monday when a roadside bomb exploded in the southern part of the country.

The family of Army Pvt. Cheziray Pressley, 21, remembers him as a soldier dedicated to the service and as a son who loved to cut up and make others laugh.

“He was a fun-loving young man,” his father, Raymond Pressley said Wednesday, moments before he was to board a plane destined for Dover, Del., to await the return of his son’s body.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Parish Ministry, War in Afghanistan

Many College Graduates Find a Tough Job Market

The individual stories are familiar. The chemistry major tending bar. The classics major answering phones. The Italian studies major sweeping aisles at Wal-Mart.

Now evidence is emerging that the damage wrought by the sour economy is more widespread than just a few careers led astray or postponed. Even for college graduates ”” the people who were most protected from the slings and arrows of recession ”” the outlook is rather bleak.

Employment rates for new college graduates have fallen sharply in the last two years, as have starting salaries for those who can find work. What’s more, only half of the jobs landed by these new graduates even require a college degree, reviving debates about whether higher education is “worth it” after all.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Young Adults

South Carolina House OKs Amazon deal

After a dramatic turnaround Wednesday in the House, the battle to win a prized tax incentive to lure Amazon.com moves to the state Senate, where the online retailer’s support has not been tested.

A 97-20 tally ”” aided by 49 legislators, mostly Republicans, who switched their vote ”” handed the Seattle-based company a real shot at receiving a five-year exemption from collecting state sales tax on each purchase by South Carolina shoppers. Last month, the House refused to grant the incentive on a 71-47 vote, which halted the project.

The vote came after Amazon sweetened its offer Tuesday night with an additional 751 jobs and $35 million more in investment, said Rep. Kenny Bingham, R-Lexington, who became the House point man in the high-stakes battle.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, State Government

(Vatican Radio) Anglican-Catholic dialogue opens at Bose

The third phase of ARCIC, or Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, starts up on Tuesday at the monastery of Bose in northern Italy.

Nestled in the foothills of the Alps, the monastery, founded on the closing day of the Second Vatican Council in December 1965, is a haven of peaceful reflection and prayer, but also a place of important ecumenical encounters. Within its secluded walls, the two teams of Catholic and Anglican experts are gathered from May 17th to 27th focusing on the theme ”˜Church as Communion ”“ local and universal.’ The discussions will look back at achievements of the previous ARCIC,dialogues and explore pressing ethical issues that are challenging the teaching of both Churches.

To find out more, Philippa Hitchen spoke to the two co-secretaries of the meeting – Msgr. Mark Langham of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and Alyson Barnett-Cowan, head of the Unity, Faith and Order office of the Anglican Communion….

Listen to it all (in the range of 14 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(NPR) Study: Changes Of 1960s Behind Church's Abuse Crisis

…what does explain the rise in abuse? A major reason, she says, was the 1960s.

“There’s a sexual revolution, there’s an increased amount of drug use, there’s an increase in crime, there’s an increase in things like premarital sex, in divorce,” [Karen] Terry says. “In a number of factors, there’s change. And the men who are in the priesthood are affected by these social factors.”

Terence McKiernan calls that the Woodstock defense.

“A lot of us went through the ’60s, and very few of us reacted to the pressures of that interesting decade by sexually abusing children,” McKiernan says.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

(AP) All work, no pay? Spaniards trying to endure it

“There are a lot of people getting up in the morning and going to work and not getting paid,” said Gayle Allard, a labor market expert at IE Business School in Madrid.

It’s a phenomenon seen in eastern Europe as well, with workers in countries like Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia waiting months, in some cases years, for a paycheck from cash-strapped employers. But Spain is one of Europe’s richest countries, one with recent memories of a giddy economic boom ”” so the sight of workers toiling without pay will come as a deeper shock.

Experts say there’s no way to tell how many Spaniards are in such straits. But they say the number is significant and could rise after local elections this month, when debt-ravaged local governments are expected to reveal even bigger budget woes. Thousands of small and midsize companies that employ people like Garcia rely on these governments for contracting work.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Spain

Reasonable and Holy Conversations enlighten St. Paul, Chattanooga this past Advent

What brought 100 parishioners to a Sunday Adult Forum at St. Paul, Chattanooga, for three Sundays in Advent?

“Reasonable and holy conversations” about sexuality, facilitated by members of the Bishop’s Committee on Inclusivity, were the big draw. In the course of three Sundays in December, more than 100 adult parishioners came together for plenary sessions and for 14 small group discussions each Sunday.

Read it all (page 7 of pdf).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes

(Guardian) Michael Nazir-Ali–A true resurrection in Iraq

Across the Tigris, and with strong links to St George’s, is another example of resurrection in Iraq. It is the House of Love, run by Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity. The sisters are from India and Bangladesh, and they have rescued, sometimes from the streets, severely disabled children who have been abandoned by their parents. They are a vivid reminder of Saddam Hussein’s atrocities against his own people. Many of the disabilities have undoubtedly been caused by the dictator’s use of chemical and other prohibited weapons against dissidents and minorities. It is most moving to see how the sisters and their helpers (some from the mothers’ union at St George’s) care for these young ones, many without arms and legs, and how the children respond to the love and friendship. One of the things I would most like them to have is a computer that can be operated with the voice. It would transform their lives.

While politicians, diplomats and soldiers seek to bring some sort of order to society, a gathering of leaders from all the different faiths has succeeded, at least for the time being, in halting the worst violence against Christians and other religious minorities. This has shown many the value of inter-faith dialogue where, without compromising the integrity of any faith, the hard issues of violence, security, freedom of belief and peace can be discussed fully and frankly in face-to-face encounters. There are now plans, with the support of a number of religious leaders ”“ Muslim, Christian and others ”“ to move from “top-down” dialogue to local dialogue in the towns and cities of Iraq about the building of peaceful and secure communities. This could become another sign of Easter in Iraq.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Iraq, Middle East, Religion & Culture

(USA Today) Study: ERs shrink as demand rises

Nearly a third of emergency departments closed over the last two decades, while ER patient visits increased 35% during the same period.

Between 1990 and 2009, the number of hospital emergency departments in non-rural areas in the USA declined by 27%, according to a study in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

“That’s a hefty number, and more than I expected,” says study author Renee Hsia, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “The demand for care has increased and has rapidly outpaced our supply. They’re going opposite directions.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Dunstan

O God of truth and beauty, who didst richly endow thy bishop Dunstan with skill in music and the working of metals, and with gifts of administration and reforming zeal: Teach us, we beseech thee, to see in thee the source of all our talents, and move us to offer them for the adornment of worship and the advancement of true religion; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord Jesus Christ, who art shepherd of thy people, so that they shall not want: We want thee to lead us peacefully to the green pastures and beside the still waters; to restore our souls when we wander from thee; and evermore to guide us in the paths of righteousness, for thy name’s sake.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him.

–Colossians 2:13-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Diocese of Fort Worth–Fort Worth hearing on Thursday

A hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. tomorrow, May 19, in the 141st District Court, to determine the amount of the supersedeas bond that the Diocese will be required to post to avoid having to turn over our properties pending the appeal.

Following our Motion, filed in April, to set the bond at $0 and permit our congregations to continue using and caring for their property, the plaintiffs now have filed what appears to be a request for a bond of “at least $13.5 million.”

As always, please keep the hearing in your prayers, and, if possible, plan to attend. The court is located on the fourth floor of the Family Law Center on Weatherford Street in Fort Worth.

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

Iranian FM says Bushehr nuclear plant is operational

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that the Bushehr power plant is operational, Press TV reported on Wednesday.

“As we have previously announced, Bushehr power plant has reached the criticality stage, meaning it has been successfully launched,” Salehi reportedly said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Science & Technology

(Marketwatch) The higher costs of strategic mortgage default

“A foreclosure walk away is not good for anyone ”” the neighborhood, the consumer, the investor. The more that we see this activity, the more we will see a downward cycle in the housing market,” [Joanne] Gaskin said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Theology

(ACNS) Anglicans prepare for Climate Change conference

The eyes of the world will be on South Africa from Sunday 27 November to Friday 9 December this year. Negotiators and political leaders from around the world will gather in Durban at the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17). With provincial and diocesan programmes around the Communion, particularly in the southern hemisphere, increasingly having to integrate a response to the impacts of climate change within local mission, it is hoped that governments will make firm and urgent commitments to decrease national carbon emissions.

In the Diocese of Natal, the Revd Dr Andrew Warmback is Rector of the Anglican Church of St John the Baptist, Pinetown, where parishioners have planted an indigenous, waterless garden as a ”˜green lung’ for their area, set up recycling facilities and established a vegetable garden in the church grounds to show how a small area can be used to grow food.

Dr Warmback describes how the Anglican Church of Southern Africa is playing a key role in mobilising its own and other faith communities to join together in the work of influencing governments to make these firm commitments in Durban.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Climate Change, Weather

Austen Ivereigh–Why ARCIC is still worth it

There is something rather retro and quaint about the 10-day gathering of 17 Catholic and Anglican bishops and theologians which begins at a monastery in northern Italy today.

Bose is a community of both men and women, made up of both Anglicans and Catholics, founded in the 1970s, when there was talk of Anglican-Catholic unity within a generation.

Although the aim of the third phase of the official Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, or ARCIC (pron. AR-KICK), is, as it has always been, the full and visible unity between the Catholic and Anglican Churches, there is a new sober realism hanging over this gathering.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology