Daily Archives: May 25, 2011

India boosts bid to rival China in Africa

If it wasn’t already clear, India’s announcement of $5 billion in development deals in Africa should certainly put to rest any question of whether India is dedicated to doing business on the African continent over the long haul.

The pledge of development aid to African countries ”“ essentially a fund to help African countries to meet their development goals ”“ stands in stark contrast to Africa’s largest single trading partner, China.

While China trades large infrastructure projects (built mostly by Chinese labor) for access to African raw materials, India spends money on training Africans to develop their own countries. And while Indian countries certainly have come into Africa as investors, Indian diplomats are quick to stress that the relationship between India and African countries is more one of equal partners.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Asia, China, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Foreign Relations, Globalization, India, Politics in General

Vatican Radio–Sts. Cyril and Methodius: evangelizing civilization

The spirit and example of Cyril and Methodius is not only to be praised as a piece of a bygone age.

“For the peoples of Europe,” said Poe Benedict, “these two great saints remind us that their unity” – the unity of Europe – “will be more solid if it is based on common Christian roots.” The Pope identified Christianity as a central and defining element in Europe’s complex history, and discussed how the Christian faith has shaped the culture of the Old Continent, saying that this faith, “is intertwined with its history,” to such a point that the history of Europe is not comprehensible without reference to the events that marked the first great period of evangelization, and the centuries in which Christianity assumed a growing role.

The Pope went on to discuss how, in the present day, Europeans are called to commit themselves to creating the conditions for a deep, cohesive and effective cooperation among peoples – a cooperation that cannot be based on an appeal to purely economic interests, but must rather rely on those authentic human goods​​, which have their foundation in universal moral law written on the heart of every man.

“It is important, therefore,” said Pope Benedict, “that Europe also grow in the spiritual dimension, in keeping with the best angels of the history,” of Europe’s peoples.

Read and or listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Anglican TV Interviews Archbishop Gregory Venables

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011

(Zenit) Ethicists Note Faults in Spain's End of Life Law

Carlos Álvarez, spokesman of a Dignified Life campaign being promoted by the ethicists, noted a “lack of protection” for both patients and doctors who oppose a directly-induced death.
For example, the group pointed out weaknesses in regard to regulation wording on sedation, which is presented as a right.
“To exact it as a right and to oblige the doctor to prescribe it might endanger the patient’s life — given that there are cases in which sedation is counter-indicated — and, in any case, it obliges the professional to obey criteria that are foreign to professional ethics,” the organization noted.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Europe, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Spain

(WSJ) Public Schools Charge Kids for Basics, Frills

Karen Dombi was thrilled when her three oldest children were picked for student government this year””not because she envisioned careers in politics, but because it was one of the few programs at their public high school that didn’t charge kids to participate.

Budget shortfalls have prompted Medina Senior High to impose fees on students who enroll in many academic classes and extracurricular activities. The Dombis had to pay to register their children for basic courses such as Spanish I and Earth Sciences, to get them into graded electives such as band, and to allow them to run cross-country and track. The family’s total tab for a year of public education: [ ].

“I’m wondering, am I going to be paying for my parking spot at the school? Because you’re making me pay for just about everything else,” says Ms. Dombi, a parent in this middle-class community in northern Ohio.

You need to guess how much it cost them for 3 children for one year; then read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Education, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(New Scientist) A dangerous faith in computers

Silicon Valley in the 1990s. Excitement filled the air. Hopeful entrepreneurs drove fast cars to their shiny workplaces, where they discussed the boundless possibilities arising from the technological explosion unfolding before their eyes. They progressed in leaps and bounds towards their utopia: a self-stabilising network of human beings who could be free of state control and country borders.

Whence came that dream? And whither did it lead? In his new series, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, British documentarian Adam Curtis, famed for his incisive and sometimes controversial socio-political works, marries his indisputable knowledge of economic and political history with insights into the way that computers have shaped not only our world, but our world view.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Movies & Television

(Spectator) Theo Hobson–Time to take the Church more seriously

It is one of the most important religion stories for a decade or so. The Church of England seems to have changed its mind on church schools. A few days ago, the Bishop of Oxford, the Right Reverend John Pritchard, who is also chairman of the Church’s board of education, said he wanted just 10 percent of places reserved for church attenders. It’s a total turn-around. For a decade the Church has bullishly defended the system, and dismissed dissenters as traitors to the cause.

What happened? The C of E has realized that the popularity of its schools is bad for its image. How can this be? The popularity of church schools is due to their success, and why should success be a cause for shame?…

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(RNS) First Lady Seeks Help for Military Families

First lady Michelle Obama has asked religious leaders to join her initiative to assist military families by increasing programs to support veterans and the families of military members deployed far from home.

“The faith community has been a strong bedrock for me as first lady,” she told religious and community organization leaders on Wednesday (May 18). “So I would be remiss if I didn’t bring this issue to you as well, and ask for your support, your leadership, and your guidance.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Indiana Lutheran Parish church splits over Decision backing Clergy in Same Sex partnerships

For orthodox theologians such as Larry Gember, pastor of St. James Lutheran Church in Greenfield, the ELCA’s decision went a step too far.

“The primary issue is not sexuality,” Gember, 59, said Wednesday. “It’s that the authority of Scripture is being undermined.”

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Bede

Heavenly Father, who didst call thy servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to thy service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of thy truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make thee known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning; who abidest steadfast as the stars of heaven: Give us grace to rest upon thy eternal changelessness, and in thy faithfulness find peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

–Romans 13:8-14

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Scotsman) Kirk split looms as members vote to back ministers in Same Sex partnerships

The depth of the split between the progressive and traditionalists appeared during a debate over the section that would allow the induction of ministers and deacons “ordained before May 2009 who are in a same-sex relationship”.

Traditionalists claimed that the section was a “Trojan horse” which could pull the church apart.

The Rev Andrew Coghill, of the Presbytery of Lewis, described the section as a “hand grenade”. He said: “I believe it will be ruinous for unity of the church, potentially multiplying homosexual inductions the length and breadth of the country. The church almost pulled apart over one such induction.”

Read it all.

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

Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina Statement of Mission 2012 Draft #1

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Missions, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Parishes

Response to the Anglican Covenant, prepared by the Deputation of the Diocese of New Jersey

Some see few positive consequences of signing on to the proposed Covenant. True, it would perhaps show some institutional humility and a willingness to “continue the conversation” with other member churches of the Communion. But we are continuing to do this now without the Covenant: Bishop Councell noted that there were three archbishops from other Communion members in attendance at the recent House of Bishops meeting. And Episcopal Church dioceses continue companion-diocese and other relationships with other dioceses throughout the Communion. Perhaps endorsing the Covenant would only furnish a perception of willingness to stay in the Communion -a willingness that is already there in actuality.

Many are worried about the negative consequences of endorsing the Covenant. Among these consequences are the establishment of a new unnecessary hierarchy, the loss of diversity within the Communion, the loss of connection to churches that may not endorse the Covenant, destruction of the Anglican ethos, the forced abandonment of GLBTQ Anglicans, attenuation of the voice of the laity in the life of the Communion, and by putting decision-making in the hands of the Standing Committee, the hierarchical structure will reduce the incentive for churches with differing views to communicate one-to-one, as they do now. And finally, to the extent that representatives from The Episcopal Church may end up on the Standing Committee acting under Covenant Section 4.2, we may participate in being an instrument of oppression of another church within the Communion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

(NY Times Letter from Europe) Germany, Poland and Russia Searching for a Way to Share History

Here, the students witnessed the establishment of a German-Polish-Russian forum designed to encourage a rapprochement among three countries with fundamentally different historical narratives of World War II.

Any such process would ultimately mean Russia confronting its past, particularly Stalinist crimes and the gulags, and reassessing its role as victim and victor during and after World War II. It would also mean Russia embracing the European idea of dealing with memory and the past, now so much a part of the European identity.

“Being European is about being aware of what we did,” said Ivan Krastev, historian and chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Foreign Relations, Germany, History, Poland, Politics in General, Russia

(Guardian) Yemen locked in power struggle as escalation of fighting leaves 38 dead

Security forces loyal to Yemen’s president Ali Abdullah Saleh were locked in fierce gun battles on Tuesday in the capital Sana’a with guards from the country’s most powerful tribal federation whose leader is backing protesters’ demands for an end to the premier’s 33-year rule.

At least 24 soldiers and 14 tribesmen were killed and 24 injured in the skirmishes, dimming the prospects for a negotiated solution to Yemen’s political impasse.

The shootout, which pitted Saleh’s central security forces against guards of Sadiq al-Ahmar, head of the Hashid tribal federation from which Saleh also hails, took place in sandbagged streets surrounding Ahmar’s fortified compound, near several government ministries and the ruling party’s headquarters.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Violence, Yemen