Daily Archives: June 20, 2011
The great 20th century Prime Minister, Clement Attlee said that he believed “in the ethics of Christianity but not the mumbo jumbo”. One of the questions for the 21st century is whether the ethics have a sustainable foundation without what Attlee describes as the “mumbo jumbo”.
Professor Wolterstorff of Yale argues in a recent book  Justice Rights and Wrongs that it is not possible. Inalienable and equitable rights were not possible within the accepted moral framework of the ancient world. Full and equal rights in democratic Athens for examples were confined to adult, male, free born citizens. The decision of the Christian ecclesia from the beginning to enrol women, slaves and children in the new Israel was seen as deeply subversive.
This is not to argue for a “Bible-says-it-all-politics” which has been out of fashion since our disastrous flirtation with it 350 years ago. It is simply to recognise that all politics rest on assumptions; myths if you like, properly understood not as fairy tales but as archetypal stories about the human condition. Both our economic activity and our political life must have ground beneath them. Human beings are not just blind globs of idling protoplasm but we are creatures with a name who live in a world of symbols and of dreams and not merely matter.
Charitable giving recovered somewhat last year, according to new estimates by the Giving USA Foundation, but experts are predicting that this year will present more challenges to nonprofit fund-raisers.
Individuals, companies and philanthropic institutions made gifts and pledges totaling an estimated $290.89 billion in 2010, an increase of 2.1 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis over a revised estimate of $284.85 billion the year before.
The increase was the first since 2007, when the recession started and led to the biggest decline in giving in more than 40 years.
Two years into a fitful recovery, unemployed Americans are getting painfully accustomed to the notion that it will take years to bring back the jobs eviscerated by the financial crisis.
In some regions, those years are in danger of turning into a decade. According to a report to be released Monday, nearly 50 metropolitan regions ”” or more than one out of seven ”” are unlikely to bring back all the jobs lost in the recession until after 2020.
Among those areas are Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio; Detroit; Reno, Nev.; and Atlantic City, according to the report commissioned by the United States Conference of Mayors.
Detroit, which lost 323,400 jobs during the recession, and Reno, which lost 36,000 jobs, are not expected to regain all of those positions until after 2021.
Providing aid to those in need, wherever they live, is not about feeling good about ourselves. It is not about pretending we are a global superpower or a moral policeman either, it is about justice. Yes, 0.7% of GDP is more than most other developed nations provide in international aid, but it is still woefully short of what is needed.
I can remember the days when Britain would lead and the rest of the world would follow. We should be proud that we are doing the right thing in the face of selfish opportunism elsewhere. We should allow ourselves to be motivated and guided by the British values of justice and fair play ”“ and may those ideals shine around the globe for all to see.
When it comes to international development, I believe we should unite behind what Andrew Mitchell, the Secretary of State for International Development, is attempting to do in the face of widespread opposition. Regardless of which side of the political divide we may traditionally sit, the battle to end poverty is too important to be sidetracked by the cynicism of others.
The Rev. George D. Young III, bishop-elect of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee…said he was delighted at the vitality of the diocese, which includes Chattanooga, when he first read its profile before applying for the position a year ago.
“What struck me,” he said, “was a sense of it being a very healthy diocese. Good things were happening. I didn’t personally know Bishop [Charles G.] vonRosenberg, but I knew he was well-respected.”
Young said parishioners will find he is measured in tone and deliberative in decision-making.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has expressed his deep anxiety for Christians in the Middle East, but also cautious optimism about possible outcomes of the Arab Spring.
Speaking during an interview with Martha Kearney on BBC Radio 4’s “World at One” programme, the Archbishop expressed his continuing concerns about the fragile situation of Christian minority populations across the Middle East where in places life for Christians was “becoming unsustainable”. The situation had been, and remained, most serious in Iraq. He also spoke of “the haemorrhaging of Christians” from parts of the Holy Land.
Read it all (5 page pdf). I see also that Simon Sarmiento has helpfully provided an html version there if you find that more user friendly.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is to embark on a pastoral visit to the Anglican Church in Eastern Congo as the guest of the Most Revd Henri Isingoma, Primate of the Church of the Province of Congo. Prior to this the Archbishop will visit Kenya where he will be received by the Most Revd. Dr. Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop of Kenya, and have fellowship with the Christian community in the country.
In the course of his visit to Kenya, Dr Williams will join in with the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Nakuru which will include the presentation of certificates to clergy who have completed 25 years of continuous service. He will attend the dedication of a site for the building of the proposed Kenya Anglican University (KAU) near Mount Kenya and visit local development initiatives where churches and their communities are trying to overcome poverty and adapt to climate change ”“ including a successful biogas project in Machakos Diocese. He will also participate in a symposium in Nairobi to discuss the Church’s mission in the 21st century. During the visit he will learn about the role of the Kenyan church in national reconciliation.
Anglican church leaders have written to G20 agriculture ministers to press for measures to combat high food prices ahead of the ministers’ meeting next week.
Control of the speculation in commodity trading that has pushed up food prices for the poorest people in the world, and more support for women farmers who form the majority of subsistence farmers are some of the measures that archbishops from G20 countries have urged their agriculture ministers to support.
The moves have come amidst mounting concern over the price spikes and food insecurity that have left 900 million people around the world hungry. The French President has put food on the agenda for the G20 meeting in November, and next week’s agriculture ministers meeting will seek an agreement on the way forward.
From my father, Ian, I learnt about responsibility. Seeing him get up before the crack of dawn to go and do a hard day’s work and not come back until late at night had a profound impact on me. We all know the feeling when the alarm goes off in the morning, and you just want to keep on hitting the snooze button. One of the reasons we get up is not just because of the responsibility a job carries, it’s also because we want to set the same example to our children as our fathers did to us. My dad, who was disabled, also taught me about optimism ”“ that no matter how bad things are, you can overcome them if you have the right frame of mind. Indeed, if there’s one gift my father gave me that I cannot thank him enough for, it was his ability to always look on the bright side of life.
Church leaders in Nigeria have urged the government to act swiftly in combating terror attacks on Christians.
The murder campaign in the North waged by Islamist Boko Haram sect known as the Nigerian Taliban could ignite a sectarian war in the South with Christians seeking revenge against Muslims, the Anglican Bishop of Awka warned.
Last week, the fundamentalist sect bombed a Roman Catholic Church and a police station in Maiduguri, killing eleven people, while on June 7 a Church of Christ in Nigeria pastor the Rev. David Usman and the church secretary were gunned down by members of the cult. Last week’s murder follows a 2009 attack on Mr. Usman’s church by Boko Haram militants, who burned it to the ground and killed several members of the congregation.
President Assad’s televised address was only his third public speech since the country’s uprising began in March.
“What is happening today has nothing to do with reform, it has to do with vandalism,” Assad told a crowd of supporters at Damascus University. “There can be no development without stability, and no reform through vandalism. We have to isolate the saboteurs.”
He warned that the country’s economy was in trouble.
O God, who hast made thyself known to us as Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity, in order that we may be informed of thy love and thy majesty: Mercifully grant that we may not be terrified by what thou hast revealed of thy majesty, nor tempted to trespass upon thy mercy by what we know of thy love for us; but that by the power of thy Spirit we may be forever drawn to thee in true adoration and worship; who livest and reignest, one God, world without end.
But the high priest rose up and all who were with him, that is, the party of the Sad’ducees, and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the common prison. But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”
…McIlroy definitely put an exclamation point on the topic when he strode to the No. 10 tee at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. He had a nine-shot lead, disaster long left in his wake, but this marked the same spot in the tournament where McIlroy came unglued in the Masters last April. That 10th hole featured a drive McIlroy hooked so far left it landed in somebody’s yard. This No. 10 is a devilish par-3 that has swallowed unsuspecting players.
McIlroy stepped up and dropped his tee shot so gently uphill from the hole that it rolled teasingly toward the cup. It came to rest only inches from a hole in one, McIlroy grinning at it all the way…
While unemployment among the general population is about 9.1 percent, it’s at 16.2 percent African Americans, and a bit higher still for African American males.
CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports that, historically, the unemployment rate for African Americans has always been higher than the national average. However, now it’s at Depression-era levels. The most recent figures show African American joblessness at 16.2 percent. For black males, it’s at 17.5 percent; And for black teens, it’s nearly 41 percent.
NATO acknowledged Sunday that an errant missile had destroyed a civilian home in the Libyan capital in the early morning, saying it may have killed civilians. It was the alliance’s first such admission in the three-month-long campaign of airstrikes against the military forces of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
Reporters taken to the site and a nearby hospital saw at least five bodies, including those of a baby and a child. Libyan officials said at least four more civilians were killed.
The episode was NATO’s second admission of a mistaken strike in two days….
A protest march against Pakistan’s draconian Blasphemy Laws is planned for London on 2 July. Supported by the former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the march will begin in Knightsbridge and head towards Downing Street. In Pakistan, anyone who insults Islam could be subject to a death sentence under current laws.
Nearly half of American dads under 45 this Father’s Day say they have at least one kid who was born out of wedlock. And the share of fathers living apart from children is more than double what it was not so long ago.
In more encouraging news, among married fathers, children are said to be getting more attention from both parents at home than ever before, according to a report from the Pew Research center that highlights the changing roles of parents as U.S. marriage rates and traditional family households fall to historic lows.
For example, college-educated men who tend to marry and get better jobs are more involved with their children than lesser-skilled men struggling to get by.
Read it all (The headline above is the one from the local paper).
I didn’t think much about that until 2006, when I was in eighth grade and my teacher assigned my class a genealogy project. We were supposed to research our family history and create a family tree to share with the class. In the past, whenever questioned about my father’s absence by friends or teachers, I wove intricate alibis: he was a doctor on call; he was away on business in Russia; he had died, prematurely, of a heart attack. In my head, I’d always dismissed him as my “biological father,” with that distant, medical phrase.
But the assignment made me think about him in a new way. I decided to call the U.N.C. fertility center, hoping at least to learn my father’s name, his age or any minutiae of his existence that the clinic would be willing to divulge. But I was told that no files were saved for anonymous donors, so there was no information they could give me.
In the early days of in vitro fertilization, single women and sterile couples often overlooked a child’s eventual desire to know where he came from. Even today, despite recent movies like “The Kids Are All Right,” there is too little substantial debate on the subject. The emotional and developmental deficits that stem from an ignorance of one’s origins are still largely ignored.
I quoted this one to begin adult Sunday school class this morning on Father’s Day. Read it all–KSH (emphasis mine).