Daily Archives: June 1, 2011

(Christianity Today) The Foot-Washers of Ethiopia

Podo is grotesque. In severe cases, the victim’s feet appear to be turning into cauliflower””horrible, rotting cauliflower””or something that grows under a rock in 20 feet of water. These are nightmare feet, seeming to bubble and melt, producing unbearable odors.

An estimated one million Ethiopians suffer from podo, as do perhaps three million more, mostly Africans. In affected areas””typically mountains with red volcanic soil””1 out of every 20 people have it. A village of 2,000 will have 100 victims, permanently disabled. In certain areas of Ethiopia, the podo infection rate surpasses that of HIV/AIDS.

Though prevalent and severe, the disease was not identified until 35 years ago. Doctors had been diagnosing the symptoms as infectious elephantiasis until a Christian doctor named Ewart Price realized that the diagnosis didn’t fit.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethiopia, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture

Nigeria: Anglican Archbishop Kwashi Advises Jang to Appoint God-Fearing People

Anglican Archbishop of Jos, Rev. Benjamin Kwashi, has advised Gov. Jonah Jang of Plateau to appoint only God-fearing people as commissioners.

Kwashi gave the advice on Sunday in his sermon at the inauguration of Jang and his deputy, Ignatius Longjan, in Jos. He tasked the governor to ensure that he cared for the less privileged during his second term in office. Kwashi also advised Jang to drop some of the commissioners who served in his first term.

“The list of your commissioners would have been ready by now but I advise you to review it.

“Godly people, who feel the plight of the poor, orphans and widows, should be brought on board in your second term to execute your programmes for the people,” Kwashi said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

South Africa's Zuma says Gadhafi won't leave Libya

Moammar Gadhafi insists he will not leave his country, South Africa’s president said Tuesday after he met the embattled Libyan ruler.

South Africa President Jacob Zuma’s office said he had pressed Gadhafi to agree to an African Union proposal for a cease-fire and dialogue to settle the Libya conflict and that the Libyan leader agreed.
“Col. Gadhafi called for an end to the bombings to enable a Libyan dialogue,” it said. “He emphasized that he was not prepared to leave his country, despite the difficulties.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Libya, Politics in General, South Africa

Rowan Williams suggests William Shakespeare was probably a Catholic

William Shakespeare was probably a Catholic, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury in an exploration of spirituality and secularism in the Bard’s plays.

Dr Rowan Williams discussed the themes with Simon Russell Beale, the great Shakespearean actor, in one of the most eagerly-anticipated talks of the Hay Festival.

Little is known of Shakespeare’s life and there is no direct evidence of his religious affiliation, but Dr Williams said he believed him to be a Catholic. “I don’t think it tells us a great deal, to settle whether he was a Catholic or a Protestant, but for what it’s worth I think he probably had a Catholic background and a lot of Catholic friends and associates.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, History, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theatre/Drama/Plays

Schism in Pittsburgh Area Lutheran church raises scriptural, financial concerns

For the Elderton Lutheran Parish, the national church’s 2009 vote to permit some gay clergy appeared to be a final sign that the denomination had pulled up its biblical roots. Last winter it left the 4.5 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for a new Lutheran body, as have seven other congregations from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod. Another four are in the process of voting to leave.

“There is no hostility toward the ELCA. Yes, it was difficult, but it was a matter of understanding who we are as children of God,” said the Rev. Joyce Dix-Weiers, pastor of the two linked congregations in such a remote part of unincorporated Armstrong County that the mailing address is Shelocta, Indiana County.

“The ordination… [question] was the tip of the iceberg. The question of how the church understands scriptural authority was the crux of the problem.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Lutheran, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Rowan Williams Announces the winner of the 2011 Michael Ramsey prize: David Bentley Hart

Dr Williams described David Bentley Hart as “a theologian of exceptional quality – but also a brilliant stylist. This book takes no prisoners in its response to fashionable criticisms of Christianity. But what makes it more than just another contribution to controversy is the way he shows how the most treasured principles and values of compassionate humanism are rooted in the detail of Christian doctrine. I am pleased that we have identified a prize winning book that is so distinctive in its voice. It is never bland. It will irritate some, but it will also challenge and inspire readers inside and outside the church. No one could pretend after reading this that Christian theology was lacking in intellectual and imaginative force or in relevance to the contemporary world.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, Theology

(ENS) Lexington Bishop Stacy Sauls named Episcopal Church's chief operating officer

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops

Pentagon–Cyber Attack can be an Act of War

The Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.

The Pentagon’s first formal cyber strategy, unclassified portions of which are expected to become public next month, represents an early attempt to grapple with a changing world in which a hacker could pose as significant a threat to U.S. nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines as a hostile country’s military.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Science & Technology

(AP) Osama raid avenged CIA deaths, a secret until now

For a small cadre of CIA veterans, the death of Osama bin Laden was more than just a national moment of relief and closure. It was also a measure of payback, a settling of a score for a pair of deaths, the details of which have remained a secret for 13 years.

Tom Shah and Molly Huckaby Hardy were among the 44 U.S. Embassy employees killed when a truck bomb exploded outside the embassy compound in Kenya in 1998.

Though it has never been publicly acknowledged, the two were working undercover for the CIA. In al-Qaida’s war on the United States, they are believed to be the first CIA casualties.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Kenya, Pakistan, The U.S. Government

Cities see rise in rental homes

Almost 4 million homes have been lost to foreclosures the past five years, turning many former owner-occupied homes into rentals.

The shift to rental housing is potentially long-lasting and portends changes for neighborhood stability and how people build wealth, economists say.

“The changes are big but glacial,” says Mark Zandi, economist at Moody’s Analytics.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Politics in General

WSJ–Home Prices Hit Post-Bubble Low

Home prices have sunk to 2002 levels, effectively wiping out almost a decade’s worth of home equity across the U.S. and imperiling the fragile economic recovery as Americans confront the sinking value of their biggest investment.

A closely watched home-price index released Tuesday showed that prices nationwide fell 4.2% in the first quarter after declining 3.6% in the fourth quarter of 2010. Home prices, which slid in March to their lowest level since the start of the 2006-2009 downturn, have tumbled for eight straight months, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index.

“Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee. The report signals “a double dip in home prices across much of the nation,” he said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Website Plug for LearningfromVeterans

Check it out, especially fitting the week of Memorial Day.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Military / Armed Forces

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Justin Martyr

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst find thy martyr Justin wandering from teacher to teacher, seeking the true God, and didst reveal to him the sublime wisdom of thine eternal Word: Grant that all who seek thee, or a deeper knowledge of thee, may find and be found by thee; 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 God, who hast taught us that none should be idle: Grant to all the people of this land both the desire and the opportunity to labour; that, working together with one heart and mind, they may set forward the welfare of mankind, and glorify thy holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Eli’jah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.

–James 5:16-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Libya's Goldman Sachs Dalliance Ends in Losses, Acrimony

In early 2008, Libya’s sovereign-wealth fund controlled by Col. Moammar Gadhafi gave $1.3 billion to Goldman Sachs Group to sink into a currency bet and other complicated trades. The investments lost 98% of their value, internal Goldman documents show.

What happened next may be one of the most peculiar footnotes to the global financial crisis. In an effort to make up for the losses, Goldman offered Libya the chance to become one of its biggest shareholders, according to documents and people familiar with the matter.

Negotiations between Goldman and the Libyan Investment Authority stretched on for months during the summer of 2009. Eventually, the talks fell apart, and nothing more was done about the lost money.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Corporations/Corporate Life, Currency Markets, Economy, Foreign Relations, Libya, Stock Market

(RNS) God at the Root of Terrence Malick’s 'Tree of Life'

As the story goes, [Terrence] Malick began working on the idea for the film 30 or perhaps even 40 years ago. Reportedly, he spent years studying the origins of the universe and related science and technology with scholars. (A Harvard graduate and Rhodes Scholar, Malick taught philosophy at MIT before he started making films.)

Several critics have called “Tree of Life” Malick’s magnum opus, the culmination of all his artistic endeavors. Roger Ebert called the film “a form of prayer,” that created a “spiritual awareness” in the film critic, while eschewing “conventional theologies.”
Malick isn’t talking about his intentions. Notoriously private, he does not grant interviews and kept “Tree of Life” shrouded in secrecy from its inception until its recent screening at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film begins with a quote from one of the more confounding books of the Bible: Job. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Synod of the Church of England Diocese of Europe approves the Anglican Covenant

Voting on the motion that “This Synod approves the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant”

Laity – In favour 20 Opposed 3 Abstentions 0

Clergy – In favour 21 Opposed 1 Abstentions 2

Bishops – In favour 2

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Europe

(A Grain of Sand) Presbyterian ”“ Anglican, There Are Differences

There will be no mass break up of the CofE, they appreciate accommodation as a theological as well as social virtue. A few will go off to Rome, but not many, a few will go independent, but not many, and the church will have a new progressive face. The new centre will not be as tolerant as the old, they will demand obedience and the wings will be gradually squeezed to eccentric irrelevancy.

Not so in Scotland. Admittedly we have seen the anglification of the CofS due to increasing standardisation of viewpoint courtesy of the influence of the media, and a drastic weakening appreciation of and understanding of theology courtesy of our method of training ministers. However, there is a core difference in denominations.
As Malcolm [Duff] points out the centre no longer holds. That viewpoint which evangelicals could once deride as Auld Kirk, traditional, cautious and always seeing problems with anything new or enthusiastic, the view represented by the ex-Moderators in the play pen at the Assembly, has gone. Progressives, always more adroit politically and with greater access to and sympathy from the media have, as with the CofE, taken over the centre ground.

The big difference in denominations is that we have a centrifugal force at our core. In our history principle has usually come before compromise. At times this has been self destructive hair splitting, at other times it has meant awe inspiring faithfulness. The neo-Protestant progressive centre has little understanding of our history. They look south today and see that nothing terribly dreadful has happened or will happen, the CofE will continue under progressive management and a few trouble makers will have disappeared.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Scotland, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Mugabe Ally Escalates Push to Control Anglican Church

Religion, like politics, is often a dangerous business in this country.

As President Robert Mugabe, 87, pushes for an election this year, the harassment of independent churches seen as hostile to his government has intensified.

Truncheon-wielding riot police officers stormed a Nazarene church here in the capital last month to break up a gathering called to pray for peace. Days later, the authorities in Lupane arrested a Roman Catholic priest leading a memorial service for civilians massacred in the early years of Mr. Mugabe’s decades in power.

Mr. Mugabe, a Roman Catholic, recently denounced black bishops in established churches as pawns of whites and the West, singling out for special opprobrium Catholic bishops who have “a nauseating habit of unnecessarily attacking his person,” the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence, Zimbabwe