Daily Archives: May 24, 2011

Abortion rates fall, except among poor women

Abortion rates fell among most groups of women from 2000 to 2008, but rose for those classified as poor, finds an analysis conducted by the non-profit Guttmacher Institute and published Monday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The rate for poor women increased 18%, while the national rate dropped 8%, finds Guttmacher, which has been tracking abortions since 1974.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Poverty, Theology, Women

Federal Reserve Board Member Elizabeth Duke–Research, Policy, and the Future of Financial Education

The financial crisis and the slow recovery from it has obviously had a dramatic impact on the financial decisions made by American families. Many now have fewer financial resources and limited options. The pace and timing of their saving and investing life cycle has also been disrupted….

In addition, starting salaries for recent college graduates have also declined, which means that young Americans who are employed will have fewer resources for saving and investing than their predecessors. Young people are living with their parents longer, which helps conserve their limited resources but likely places a strain on their parents’ budgets.

Also troubling is research showing that many consumers who should be saving for retirement instead have been forced to take hardship withdrawals from their 401(k) plans….

Read it all.

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

(California Catholic) Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin selects new leader

Delegates to a special May 14 convention in Fresno, where the diocese is headquartered, chose Rev. Eric Menees, rector of the Anglican Church of the Resurrection in San Marcos, as the new diocesan bishop following two ballots.

Bishop-elect Menees will replace current Bishop John-David Schofield, who will retire in October.

“We are extremely grateful for the dedication of Bishop Schofield and are thankful for the Spirit-led deliberations among the people of the San Joaquin Diocese to elect a Godly leader to continue to grow the flock,” said the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, in a prepared statement released on May 20. “Bishop-elect Menees has shown that he has a true passion for the Gospel and a servant’s heart. I am confident the Diocese of San Joaquin will be greatly blessed while in his care. Our prayers are with Bishop-elect Menees and the whole diocese.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

Canada Scores very Highly in the Global Better Life Index

All in all, Canadians are a pretty comfortable and happy lot.

The country ranks at or near the top in many of 11 well-being indicators in a new quality of life index, unveiled Tuesday by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Only Australia topped Canada.

“Overall, I think Canada seems to be a pretty good place to be,” said Matthias Rumpf, an OECD spokesman in Washington. “But,” he cautioned, “it shouldn’t make them complacent about everything.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Economy, Education, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Psychology

(Christian Century) Ronald A. Wells–Episcopal future: Is Anglican reconciliation possible?

The Episcopal Church in the United States (EC), like other denominations, has been in crisis over human sexuality. What is different for the EC is that it faces, in its debates, the question of whether or not its vocation is to be an American Protestant denomination or to be part of the worldwide Anglican Communion in which national particularity is submerged for the sake of common witness.

In June 2010 EC Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori issued a pastoral letter that was a direct challenge to the archbishop of Canterbury and by extension to the Anglican Communion, of which Archbishop Rowan Williams is at least titular head. At stake is whether or not his headship can, or ought, to be more than titular; and if so, what would that mean?…

In truth, some EC leaders (some bishops, cathedral deans and theology professors) have in recent years largely eschewed the heavy lifting of systematic and moral theology, preferring the more applied genres in which the key matters turn toward the psychological, therapeutic and pastoral, as well as toward calls for social justice. A few years ago a book was published with the title The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, which said that the evangelical movement in the U.S. had not so much forgotten how to think, but that it was intended to do without deep thinking. If there were a new book, “The Scandal of the Episcopal Mind,” the conclusions might be disarmingly similar. The rise to prominence of liberal theology in the EC came along with disinclination toward theological depth, as well as a desire to ally the denomination with the more “progressive” American denominations. As one senior bishop told me, in choosing “justice” as the talisman for all actions and featuring inclusiveness as the badge of this new orthodoxy, the EC had taken a thin slice of theology””and of justice.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Analysis, America/U.S.A., Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Globalization, Instruments of Unity, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

(IBD) Slow Growth Normal For Post-Financial Crisis Recoveries

Is history repeating itself?

Recent data suggest the current economic recovery is both sluggish and slowing, with unemployment stubbornly high.

But that’s entirely consistent with the pattern of most global and country-specific financial crises.

A detailed study of three global contractions and 15 country-specific financial crises has found GDP growth, unemployment and housing prices all suffered for a decade or more.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Few suitable choices for Scottish worshippers who want to find new theological home

For those Kirk members who feel compelled to leave the Church following today’s vote, the question of where they go is littered with potential problems, both theological and practical. If, as it would seem, it is more likely those in the traditionalist wing of the Church walk, then there are two options.

The first is to splinter entirely and form themselves into an entirely new presbyterian church. Such an outcome would be similar to that of the Disruption in 1843, when the Kirk split over the Church’s relationship with the state, resulting in the formation of the Free Church of Scotland….

The second path would see members of the Kirk moving to the Free Church of Scotland, which holds a staunchly conservative view on homosexuality….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Department: Dave Barry's Piece on a Coughing Issue

Recently some people stuck a needle into my arm, then put me into a tightly confined space and ordered me to hold my breath repeatedly for nearly an hour. This was not an abduction; I paid them to do these things to me.

Why? I’ll tell you why: karma.

Karma is the ancient Indian belief that what goes around comes around. For example, if you kill a mosquito, that mosquito’s soul will be angry at you, and it will wait patiently ”” for decades, if necessary ”” for the chance to be reincarnated as the Comcast customer-service representative you reach by phone when your cable goes out during the Super Bowl. You’ll know it’s the mosquito, because there will be a slight whine in the representative’s voice when he tells you he’s placing you on hold.

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Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

Baptized as a Dad–How parenthood brought faith and a change of lifestyle

For Ben baptism was all about making a commitment. He said: “The words that were said in the children’s baptism made me realise that you couldn’t be a Christian without making a commitment. It was a personal thing on one level, but it is also a public statement that you’re going to follow Christ.”

Shortly after he was baptised Ben started going to church every week and soon stepped into the role of Sunday School leader. He realised that he had very little knowledge about his faith and the Anglican church, so five years ago he enrolled on the Bishop’s Certificate (a course run by Southwell and Nottingham Diocese) and then trained as a Reader.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Children, Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Commodities boom may be fuelling global hunger, warns Christian Aid

Pension funds and other institutional investors that have poured billions of pounds into commodity index funds could be unwittingly fuelling a rise in global hunger, says a new report from Christian Aid.

Such investments in indices of commodities bundled together have become increasingly popular in recent years following deregulation and the bursting of the dot.com bubble.

Food price rises led World Bank President Robert Zoellick last month to warn: ”˜We are one shock away from a full blown crisis.’ Cereal prices, which are of crucial importance to the world’s poorest people, hit a record high in recent weeks on the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s price index. Even with inflation taken into account, the rate was 5.5 points above the previous record in mid-2008, when food riots broke out in more than 30 countries.

Read it all and you may find the full report there (pdf).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Globalization, Stock Market

(BBC) Where are India's millions of missing girls?

India’s 2011 census shows a serious decline in the number of girls under the age of seven – activists fear eight million female foetuses may have been aborted in the past decade. The BBC’s Geeta Pandey in Delhi explores what has led to this crisis.

Kulwant has three daughters aged 24, 23 and 20 and a son who is 16.

In the years between the birth of her third daughter and her son, Kulwant became pregnant three times.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Health & Medicine, India, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Women

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Jackson Kemper

Lord God, in whose providence Jackson Kemper was chosen first missionary bishop in this land, that by his arduous labor and travel congregations might be established in scattered settlements of the West: Grant that the Church may always be faithful to its mission, and have the vision, courage, and perseverance to make known to all peoples the Good News of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Missions, Seminary / Theological Education, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast promised in thy holy gospel that thy disciples shall know the truth, and the truth shall make them free: Give us, we pray thee, the Spirit of truth, sent by thee and leading to thee, that we may find the truth in finding thee, who art the Way, the Truth, and the Life, for ever and ever.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

–Romans 12:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A BBC Article on the Church of Scotland vote Today

The Church of Scotland has voted to allow the possible selection of gay and lesbian ministers in the future.

The controversial issue was being debated at the Kirk’s General Assembly.

A theological commission will now be set up and will report in 2013 before a final decision on the issue of gay ordination is taken.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Scotland, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Kelvin Holdsworth–What the Church of Scotland decided today

What the Assembly agreed today was this:

Resolve to consider further the lifting of the moratorium on the acceptance for training and ordination of persons in a same-sex relationship, and to that end instruct the Theological Commission to prepare a report for the General Assembly of 2013 containing:
(i) a theological discussion of issues around same-sex relationships, civil partnerships and marriage;
(ii) an examination of whether, if the Church were to allow its ministers freedom of conscience in deciding whether to bless same-sex relationships involving life-long commitments, the recognition of such lifelong relationships should take the form of a blessing of a civil partnership or should involve a liturgy to recognise and celebrate commitments which the parties enter into in a Church service in addition to the civil partnership, and if so to recommend liturgy therefor;
(iii) an examination of whether persons, who have entered into a civil partnership and have made lifelong commitments in a Church ceremony, should be eligible for admission for training, ordination and induction as ministers of Word and Sacrament or deacons in the context that no member of Presbytery will be required to take part in such ordination or induction against his or her conscience; and to report to the General Assembly of 2013.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Scotland, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Church of Scotland News Summary of What Happened Today

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has voted to continue dialogue on same-sex relationships and the ministry following the Special Commission report today.

After several hours of debate, commissioners voted by 351 to 294 to adopt deliverance 7B, which means a move towards the acceptance for training, induction and ordination of those in same-sex relationships for the ministry.

The Assembly also voted to allow ministers and deacons in same-sex relationships ordained before 2009 to be inducted into pastoral charges by 393 to 252.

A theological commission will be set up to bring recommendations to the 2013 General Assembly, as well as considering whether ministers should have freedom of conscience to bless civil partnerships and possible liturgy for such occasions.

As nothing has been formally enacted, the proposals do not need to consult the Kirk’s 46 presbyteries under the Barrier Act, but it does mark a significant departure from the Church’s traditional teaching, as acknowledged by the Commission’s report.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Scotland, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Lord Hodge's Address on Behalf of the Special Commission on Same-Sex Relationships and the Ministry

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Scotland, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

The Church of Scotland Report on Same Sex Relationships and Ministry

Read it all (over 30 page pdf).

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Scotland, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

(The Tablet Editorial) Dangers of Clericalism

To be against clericalism is not the same as being anticlerical. The latter signifies strong secular resistance to the Catholic Church’s social and political power. Clericalism is about an excessive emphasis on the role of the clergy in the Church’s internal affairs. It implies clerical elitism, the superiority of the priesthood over the laity. Anticlericalism, as a concept in Continental European politics, is some way past its sell-by date. But clericalism is very much still in currency as a key concept in analysing the cultural factors that gave rise to the clerical sex-abuse scandal inside the Catholic Church. It has almost become de rigueur for church leaders to say they are against clericalism in this context.

Clericalism was dealt a heavy blow by the emphasis in the teaching of Vatican II on the priesthood of all believers and on common baptism. But there is evidence of a clericalist backlash among some of those undergoing training for the priesthood or recently ordained….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Roman Catholic, Theology