Daily Archives: June 10, 2011

(RNS) Americans See Room to Disagree but Remain Faithful to Religion

Significant majorities of Americans say it is possible to disagree with their religion’s teachings on abortion and homosexuality and still remain in good standing with their faith.

The findings, released Thursday (June 9) in a detailed survey by Public Religion Research Institute, held true for major religious groups, including Catholics and white evangelical Protestants.

The findings reflect the complicated tasks faced by Catholic bishops to discipline politicians who stray from church teaching, or evangelical groups that try to toe a traditional line as cultural values shift around them.

Read it all.

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

(BBC) Voyagers ride 'magnetic bubbles'

Computer modelling based on the Voyager insights suggests the edge of our Solar System is a froth of activity, like “an agitated jacuzzi”, said Eugene Parker from the University of Chicago, US.

Magnetic field lines carried in the “wind” of material coming off our star are breaking and reconnecting.

This process is sculpting the wind into discrete bubbles that are many tens of millions of kilometres wide.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

(FT) High US unemployment forecast to persist for years

The US will still face high unemployment in 2020 except in “the most optimistic scenario for job creation”, according to a new report to be published on Friday.

America needs to create 21m new jobs to keep up with population growth, say analysts at the research arm of consultancy McKinsey, but that will only happen if the economic trends of the last decade are reversed.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in Uncategorized

Companies Spend on Equipment, Not Workers

Companies that are looking for a good deal aren’t seeing one in new workers.

Workers are getting more expensive while equipment is getting cheaper, and the combination is encouraging companies to spend on machines rather than people.

“I want to have as few people touching our products as possible,” said Dan Mishek, managing director of Vista Technologies in Vadnais Heights, Minn. “Everything should be as automated as it can be. We just can’t afford to compete with countries like China on labor costs, especially when workers are getting even more expensive.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(CEN) Central Africa clarifies provincial position on Christian Sexual Standards

Homosexual relations are a sin, the Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Central Africa said last week, releasing a statement clarifying the province’s stand on the issue dividing the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Albert Chama also said that his church’s continued interaction with those portions of the Anglican Communion that have sought to normalize same-sex relations should not be construed to mean the Central African church had endorsed the innovation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of Central Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Church Times Article on Rowan Williams' New Statesman Article Criticsing the Government

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Lord Tebbit, the former Conservative minister who described the Church of England’s 1985 Faith in the City in report as “Marxist”, said: “No one would dispute the right of the Archbishop to make comments of a political kind in this area; it’s part of his job, I think, to do so. And he’s quite right there are policies of the Coalition for which nobody seemed to vote and policies for which people voted which are not being carried through by the Coalition. But that’s the problem of coalition.”

Speaking on the same programme, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, said that Dr Williams was acting as “a critical friend” of the Government, and raising “issues which are of concern to the constituencies we represent.

“What he’s saying is . . . it has come to be [that] we have a speed and scale of change which is sometimes hard to cope with.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Washington Times) With nurse shortage looming, America needs shot in the arm

The problem, however, is not a lack of Americans who want to be nurses. It’s finding the schools that can teach them.

“There’s definitely a lot of people interested in nursing,” said Robert Rosseter, spokesman for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

“The number of students who met all the requirements but weren’t admitted was over 67,000 students last year [in U.S. nursing programs],” he said. “People do want in, but there just aren’t enough seats.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

William Oddie–the Pope has now turned the BCP (well, quite a bit of it) into a Catholic liturgy

When I became a Catholic 20 years ago, it all seemed to me suddenly a rather ridiculous thing to do. Evensong was profoundly Anglican and therefore Protestant: how could you Catholicise it by sticking on to the end of it a “Benediction” celebrated with a monstrance containing an invalidly consecrated host? The whole thing was an illusion, irredeemably defective (what an ecclesial snob one could suddenly become). But what has happened to Evensong now? Now, it is the ordinariate’s evening office: it has the Pope’s blessing and validation: now it is effectively a Catholic liturgy, duly recognised and authorised. What I looked down on, the Pope has now affirmed, making me feel suddenly very foolish.

What the Pope, God bless him, has actually done is to re-appropriate a liturgy whose origins were in the first place entirely Catholic. As the Anglo-Catholic liturgist and divine Percy Dearmer (a friend of G K Chesterton) pointed out, the first Anglican Prayer Book “was not created in a vacuum, but derives from several sources. First and foremost was the Sarum Rite, or the Latin liturgy developed in Salisbury in the 13th century, and widely used in England. Two other influences were a reformed Roman Breviary of the Spanish Cardinal Quiñones, and a book on doctrine and liturgy by Hermann von Wied, Archbishop of Cologne.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Can you write a Memoir in only 6 words?

Six-Word Memoirs: Video Story from SMITHmag on Vimeo.

This is wonderfully inspired! The website is here but BE WARNED–it is totally hypnotizing and addictive.

Posted in Uncategorized

Russell Moore–On Christian Courtship and the Awkward Question of Sexual History

Courtship for the Christian, after all, isn’t a means of entertainment; it’s about discerning whether someone would make a good husband or wife. But the discussion is fraught with peril because it is tied up with deeper conversations about Christianity itself, about the tensions between law and grace, between justice and forgiveness.

The sexual past of a potential future spouse is important to know about because of the nature of marriage as a one-flesh union (Gen. 2:23”“24; Eph. 5:28”“33). Biblically speaking, marriage is not a partnership between two individuals who have compartmentalized off parts of their lives. The Apostle Paul dismisses any such notion with his radical statement that a husband’s sexuality does not belong to him but to his wife (1 Cor. 7:4), and vice-versa. In a very real sense, your spouse’s sexual past becomes part of your story, too.

Of course, the act itself, disconnected from the conjugal vow, does not create a marriage; otherwise, there would be no concept of “fornication” in the Scriptures. Even so, in the Christian perspective, there is no such thing as a casual sexual encounter….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology

(BBC) Aberdeen church could 'break away' over decision to allow same sex Partnered Ministers

An Aberdeen church is expected to break away from the Church of Scotland following the decision to allow the appointment of gay ministers.

Gilcomston South Church in Union Street will formally vote on the issue at a later date.

The Kirk’s General Assembly last month voted to allow the induction of some gay ministers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Robert Alberti Chimes in

Mark Shea points us here to see a letter to the editor which begins thus:

The lowest temperature this year was minus 22 in January, while on Tuesday, the high was 103 — a range of 125 degrees. We Minnesotans take that incredible diversity in stride like few other places in the world…..

Now consider–this is “the Letter of the Day” the paper says. What is he arguing for? Guess before you click–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Weather

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Ephrem of Edessa

Pour out upon us, O Lord, that same Spirit by which thy deacon Ephrem rejoiced to proclaim in sacred song the mysteries of faith; and so gladden our hearts that we, like him, may be devoted to thee alone; 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, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer of Adoration for the Ascension

Blessed art thou, O Lord God Almighty, the Ancient of Days, who hast set thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord upon the glorious throne of thy kingdom, exalted far above all peoples, all places, all times, eternally; that he who hath worn our flesh, and borne our manhood into the holy of holies, should henceforth pour down heavenly gifts upon his brethren, and be both our righteous judge and most merciful intercessor; to whom with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Spirit, one God, be ascribed all might, majesty, dominion, and praise, now and for ever.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken. “I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them.

Ezekiel 34:23-27

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) UN nuclear watchdog refers Syria to Security Council

The UN nuclear watchdog is to report Syria to the Security Council over its alleged covert nuclear programme.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) voted to rebuke Syria on claims of an undeclared nuclear reactor.

The structure, which Syria has maintained was a non-nuclear military site, was destroyed by Israel in 2007.

Read it all.

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

(PA) Prime Minister David Cameron rejects Archbishop's Criticism

Mr Cameron hit back by insisting the Government was acting in a “good and moral” fashion.

Speaking during a visit to Northern Ireland, he said: “I am absolutely convinced that our policies are about actually giving people a greater responsibility and greater chances in their life, and I will defend those very vigorously.

“By all means let us have a robust debate but I can tell you, it will always be a two-sided debate.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(SHNS) Terry Mattingly–An Orthodox bridge to the evangelical world

…recent ecumenical contacts by [Hilarion Alfeyev, the] high-profile representative of the Moscow Patriarchate[,] is evidence that times are changing. Time after time, during meetings with evangelical leaders and others here in America, Hilarion has stressed that it is time for Orthodox leaders to cooperate with traditional Catholics, evangelical Protestants and others who are trying to defend ancient moral truths in the public square.

“I am here in order to find friends and in order to find allies in our common combat to defend Christian values,” said the 44-year-old archbishop, who became a monk after serving in the Soviet army. He also speaks six languages, holds an Oxford University doctorate in philosophy and is an internationally known composer of classical music.

For too long, Orthodox leaders have remained silent. The goal now, he said, is to find ways to cooperate with other religious groups that want to “keep the traditional lines of Christian moral teaching, who care about the family, who care about such notions as marital fidelity, as giving birth to and bringing up children and in the value of human life from conception until natural death.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Evangelicals, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

Priest abandons Church of England in same sex wedding protest

A former Ludlow priest today revealed he is turning his back on the Church of England so he can lead the weddings of gay and mixed-religion couples.

Mark Townsend, from Leominster, said he had grown tired of the “creakiness and backwardness” of the church so he will join the Open Episcopal Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(USA Today) Decisions loom on Afghanistan

Faced with a decision on how quickly to draw down troops, President Obama spoke by videoconference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday as his nominee for ambassador to Afghanistan cautioned against walking away from its 10-year-old war.

The U.S. must “ensure that the country doesn’t degenerate into a safe haven for al-Qaeda,” Ryan Crocker told skeptical lawmakers at his Senate confirmation hearing.

The White House, meanwhile, challenged the findings of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee probe of U.S. aid in Afghanistan. The panel’s Democrats issued a report saying that nearly $19 billion in aid over a decade has generated waste and corruption and been of limited success.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Pakistan, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, War in Afghanistan