Daily Archives: June 13, 2011

US Is in Even Worse Shape Financially Than Greece: Bill Gross

Much of the public focus is on the nation’s public debt, which is $14.3 trillion. But that doesn’t include money guaranteed for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which comes to close to $50 trillion, according to government figures.

The government also is on the hook for other debts such as the programs related to the bailout of the financial system following the crisis of 2008 and 2009, government figures show.

Taken together, Gross puts the total at “nearly $100 trillion,” that while perhaps a bit on the high side, places the country in a highly unenviable fiscal position that he said won’t find a solution overnight.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Globalization, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

What is an Episcopalian?

Read it all and see what you think.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Theology

Amy Sullivan–The sharia myth sweeps America

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Evangelicals Wade into California Circumcision Debate

The National Association of Evangelicals is siding with Jews and Muslims in opposition of a proposed ban on infant male circumcision in San Francisco.

“Jews, Muslims, and Christians all trace our spiritual heritage back to Abraham. Biblical circumcision begins with Abraham,” NAE President Leith Anderson said in a statement. “No American government should restrict this historic tradition. Essential religious liberties are at stake.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Poll: Americans Ambivalent on Abortion

People tend describe themselves as either pro-life or pro-choice. But a new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that the average American still holds conflicting views on abortion nearly 40 years after Roe v. Wade. Evangelicals remain much more opposed to abortion than other Americans, but they, too, often do not fit neatly into pro-life or pro-choice camps.

PRRI Research Director Daniel Cox said, “For some time now, Americans have held a stable tension between two views: majorities both say that abortion is morally wrong and say that it should be legal in all or most cases. The binary ”˜pro-life’ and ”˜pro-choice’ labels don’t reflect this complexity.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Malcolm Guite–A Sonnet for Pentecost

Read it all carefully.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Pentecost, Poetry & Literature

Professor David Wilkinson, Principal of St John's College, Durham University–what is Science For?

Go here and his thoughts begin just past 1 hour and 45 minutes in and last a few minutes.

Please note that Dr. Wilkinson is particluarly well suited to speak to such a topic, since, as he says of himself:

Before working in Durham as a theologian, I was a scientist and then a Methodist minister in inner city Liverpool. My background is research in theoretical astrophysics, where my PhD was in the study of star formation, the chemical evolution of galaxies and terrestrial mass extinctions such as the event which wiped out the dinosaurs. I am a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and have published a wide range of papers on these subjects.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Patrick Allen Preaches on Ascension Day

Jesus is not departing “up to” some higher but other floor in the universe, but to his God and Father upon whom the very existence of the universe depends, and in whom we all “live and move and have our being.” The Ascension is not an abandonment but the beginning of a new and more intimate nearness ”“ his continuing, ubiquitous, always-available presence with us and for us, not to a different and distant point within the universe, but transcending and filling all things. He is Ascended from one particular place to the heavenly, the divine places, far above all rule and dominion and power, as St. Paul says in our epistle, so that he now fills all in all ”“ not an abandonment, but a new and available nearness.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Ascension, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Parishes, Theology

Al Zadig–Are You Desperate for God?

A few weeks ago, we had the privilege of hosting here at St. Michael’s two very hungry men for God: Onesphore Manirakiza and the Rev. Richard Jones. Onesphore, a native of Burundi, Africa, trained as a lawyer before laying it all down in pursuit of his dream to be part of the transformation of Burundi. He is one of the brightest and most influential leaders there, having founded Harvest for Christ ministries. He is fearless, bold, anointed and fruitful. In addition to pioneering evangelism, he is reaching out to the poorest of the poor, the pygmy Batwa, and seeing phenomenal results. Onesphore was here for a conference and much needed rest.

The Rev. Richard Jones was here earlier this month for some rest from his role as Rector of St. John’s Anglican Church near Liverpool, England. Richard is doing some amazing beyond the box ministry in Liverpool and I am convinced we will be reading some of his future works at a later date!

Having spent a good amount of time with both of them while they were here. I was completely inspired to see such hungry entrepreneurs for the Gospel!…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Pastoral Theology, TEC Parishes, Theology

Upstate South Carolina Episcopal churches unite to help Alabama tornado victims

Parishioners from local churches set out Sunday for a mission trip to Alabama.

Four of the eight churches in the Piedmont Convocation of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina were represented by 26 people. They will help assist areas ravaged by tornadoes that claimed lives and destroyed structures in April.

Parishioners will clear debris and do construction work during the week-long mission trip, said the Rev. Fergie Horvath. She coordinates outreach in the Convocation and is a deacon at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

In Greece, Some See a New Lehman

…the comparisons between Greece and Lehman grew more frequent last week as global markets reeled, spurred in part by the view that Germany’s insistence that private investors participate in a second rescue package for Athens would overcome the objections of the European Central Bank.

“It is a valid concern,” said David Riley, head of sovereign ratings at Fitch. “The Rubicon would be crossed ”” we would have a sovereign default event and that can be quite a shock, not just for the peripheral countries but for Spain and beyond.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

At Picnic for Black Mormons, No Sign of Church’s Biased Past

It was last Saturday, and we were sitting with about 300 other Mormons, including dozens of children, at the annual picnic of the Genesis Group, a social organization for black Mormons and their friends. Some were Latino or American Indian, and nearly half were white, the parents and siblings of adopted black children. It was the most racially integrated church event I had ever attended.

Having been introduced to Mormonism by kindly white neighbors in his hometown of Colorado Springs, the teenage Darius [Gray] read his way through much of the scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He had no idea about the racist church policy. His newfound faith was badly shaken.

“I went home and prayed,” Mr. Gray said. “And I received a personal revelation, an inspiration from God: ”˜This is the restored Gospel, and you are to join.’ So the next day, I entered into the waters of baptism. Then the next day I went to church as a member for the first time.” And a little girl addressed him using a certain racial epithet. That was a first, too.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Mormons, Other Faiths, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(Toronto Star) Faithful put poverty on fall election agenda

A coalition of faith-based social justice advocates representing more than 1 million Ontarians wants to make poverty a key issue in next fall’s provincial election.

“In previous elections we have waited in vain for the public debate around poverty and social policy issues,” said United Church Minister Susan Eagle, chair of the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition.

“This time we decided to hold our own all-candidates’ debate for the parties to come forward and give us some information on where they stand on these issues,” she said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(New Statesman) A.N. Wilson–Dante, a poet for all seasons

Yet Dante was the greatest poet of the Middle Ages. It could be argued that he was the greatest of all European poets, of any time or place. But while most non-Italian readers are prepared to take this on trust, they sidestep his work, making him one of the great unreads. In so doing, they leave unsavoured one of the greatest aesthetic, imaginative, emotional and intellectual experiences on offer.

They are like those who have never attended a performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, or of Shakespeare’s Lear; who have never heard a symphony by Beethoven or visited Paris. Quite simply, they are missing out.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Eschatology, Europe, History, Italy, Other Churches, Philosophy, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of G K Chesterton

O God of earth and altar, who didst give G. K. Chesterton a ready tongue and pen, and inspired him to use them in thy service: Mercifully grant that we may be inspired to witness cheerfully to the hope that is in us; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who fillest all things with thy boundless presence, yet makest thy chosen dwelling-place in the soul of man: Come thou, a gracious and willing Guest, and take thine abode in our hearts; that all unholy thoughts and desires within us be cast out, and thy holy presence be to us comfort, light and love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–James Ferguson

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Sama’ria and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1:7-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Dallas wins NBA finals

Posted in Uncategorized

Notable and Quotable

We do not renounce things, then, except for love”¦ Joy is an expression of love. One who loves nothing and nobody cannot possibly rejoice, no matter how desperately he craves joy. Joy is the response of a lover receiving what he loves”¦

The inner structure of real festivity has been stated in the clearest and tersest possible fashion by Chrysostom; ubi caritas gaudet, ibi est festivitas, “where love rejoices, there is festivity”….

Man cannot have the experience of receiving what is loved, unless the world and existence as a whole represent something good and therefore beloved to him….

–Josef Pieper (1904-1997) as found in Josef Pieper: An Anthology (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989; E.T. of the German original), pp. 153, 155

Posted in Uncategorized

Poetry for a Sunday Afternoon–Walt Whitman's Miracles

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of
the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,

Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so
quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with
the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim””the rocks””the motion of the waves””
the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

–Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

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

(Washington Post) American Muslims search for identity 10 years after Sept. 11

Like most American Muslims, [Fawaz] Ismail, who is a buff and hale 50, is not particularly religious. He likes to listen to tapes of Koranic chants at night to relax. But in the past few years, he has struggled with the reality that some Americans take one look at him and think, “Hmm, is he really one of us?”

“I pay my taxes. I love this country. You want to talk about patriotic? I am the definition,” says Ismail, who became an American citizen as a teenager. “I sell the best flags, made in the United States, not in China like a lot of stores sell. I’m all about moderation ”” man, I like Fleetwood Mac.”

Late at night, Ismail has a cup of chamomile tea with anise seed to try to get to sleep. It can be a struggle, just as it is for many of his Muslim friends.

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

Time Magazine Cover Story–What U.S. Economic Recovery?

There may be $2 trillion sitting on the balance sheets of American corporations globally, but firms show no signs of wanting to spend it in order to hire workers at home, however much Washington might hope they will. Meanwhile, the average American is feeling poorer by the week. “If one looks at unemployment and housing, it’s clear that for all practical purposes, we have yet to fully get out of recession,” says Harvard economist Ken Rogoff, summing up what everyone who doesn’t live inside the Beltway Bubble is thinking. While the White House’s official 2011 growth estimate, locked in before Japan and the oil shock, is still 3.1%, most economic seers are betting on 2.6%. That’s not nearly enough to propel us out of an unemployment crisis that threatens to create a lost generation of workers who can’t find good jobs and may never find them. Welcome to the 2% economy.

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

The Economist on Greece's debt crisis–Bail-out 2.0

The new plan’s biggest shortcoming, however, is its attitude to Greece’s debt. The original rescue plan assumed that, starting in 2012, Greece would issue new bonds to pay off maturing ones. With such market access now out of the question, the new bail-out envisages more loans from the EU and IMF, along with some “voluntary” participation by private bondholders. Germany would like the maturities of all Greek bonds to be stretched by seven years. The European Central Bank has long resisted any such debt “reprofiling”, though it seems to be warming towards an informal promise by some creditors, such as Greek banks, to buy more government bonds when their existing ones mature.

The practicality of such an informal promise is doubtful. And it won’t solve the debt problem. When the new plan ends Greece will still owe more than it can possibly pay. More of that debt will be to official creditors, especially if the private bondholders play only a token role now. Restructuring at that point will be more costly for other governments and the IMF.

The rescuers think buying time reduces the risk of contagion from a Greek debt restructuring to other euro-zone countries. But the pall of an unsolved Greek mess will continue to hang over the euro zone, just as it has done for the past year…

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Germany, Greece, The Banking System/Sector