Daily Archives: June 22, 2011

(RNS) Orthodox Jewish Basketball Player Allowed to Cover Her Arms

The international basketball federation has decided to permit an Orthodox Jewish basketball player to cover her arms during competitions in accordance with her religious beliefs.

FIBA made the decision several weeks after point guard Naama Shafir, a member of the Israeli national women’s basketball team, said she would be unable to play in the sleeveless regulation jerseys worn by all players

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sports

(AP) Vatican lends iPods to pilgrims

The Vatican is betting an iPod beats “Shush!” in lowering the tour guide noise level in basilicas.

It will even lend you one for free to try to prove its point.

From a tiny booth in the back of St. John in Lateran, the Holy See’s pilgrim agency has been quietly asking tourists if they want to tour Rome’s oldest basilica with an iPod in hand loaded with an app specially designed to access the place’s art, architecture and Christian history.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Italy, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

CBO outlook on long-term debt worsens

New figures released Wednesday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) show debt rising to 190 percent of the gross domestic product by 2035.

The annual long-term budget outlook forecasts a surge in public debt this year that will rise to 70 percent of GDP by the end of fiscal 2011, compared to 62 percent by the end of 2010.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Great Site for Gasoline Prices Nationwide in the U.S.

Check it out if you have not seen it. I had occasion to show it to a friend this morning who was moaning about the over 4 dollars he was paying in Connecticut, whereas whereas where I am in South Carolina we have the 3.30’s and 3.40’s/gallon–KSH.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources

Bishop of Egypt calls on Christians to lobby for 'Spiritual Democracy' in the Middle East

Bishop Mouneer outlined his concerns for the church in a region that has seen popular uprisings against repressive governments.

The bishop said: ”˜If the Middle East is heading towards Islamic-based states with the application of the Sharia Law, the challenges facing Christians will include more restrictions on freedom. If the Middle East is heading towards real democracy based on the rights of citizenship, then Christians will have more options to be involved in building the future of the countries.’

In response to a question regarding what the international community could do, Bishop Mouneer said: ”˜The international community needs to ensure that citizens everywhere enjoy their full human rights. Governments that fail to provide these rights need to be challenged by the UN….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Bob Duncan's Address to the ACNA Provincial Council

We are now 22 dioceses stretching from Arctic Canada to the Rio Grande, and from Newfoundland to California. Three new dioceses were organized in preparation for this meeting of Provincial Council: the Mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas and the Southwest. A fourth, Cascadia ”“ originally built from congregations that had been under Recife and from congregations of the Reformed Episcopal Church ”“ sought change of status from diocese-in-formation to diocese. One Diocese has asked this Council for discharge, for recognition that its call as a diocese has been completed. The Diocese of the Holy Spirit grew out of the Missionary Convocation of Uganda. All of its congregations and clergy have now been dispersed to other dioceses and a remarkable chapter in our early history is closing. Holy Spirit’s bishop, John Guernsey, has been elected Bishop of the Mid-Atlantic, a diocese principally formed by parishes that had been under Nigeria (chiefly in CANA’s Anglican District of Virginia). But Mid-Atlantic also draws in some congregations that had been part of Southern Cone and others part of Uganda. In microcosm we see the transition from our early history of global protection and sponsorship toward domestic geographical coherence.

There are many evidences of God’s favor toward us, not because we deserve it, but because we continue to work so hard to align ourselves with His will. As this Provincial Council meets, I am announcing a re-organization of my team of advisors (my “cabinet”) to reflect where we are headed, rather than where we have been. This change is like the change represented in the diocesan stories just told. The Lead Bishops of the Common Cause Partnership ”“ representing all the jurisdictions and organizations out of which the Anglican Church in North America was gathered ”“ were the original Executive Committee of the Anglican Church in North America. Last June the transition was made to an Executive Committee of six clergy and six laity, chaired by the Archbishop. Yet because we are ”“ in the best Anglican fashion ”“ to be “episcopally led and synodically governed” [Lambeth Conference, 1930] the need for wisdom from Lead Bishops representing our jurisdictional and organizational roots caused me to retain a body that had literally led us together into unity. They ceased to be the Province’s Executive Committee, but became the Archbishop’s Cabinet.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

(Lifesite) ”˜Europe is dying’ U.S. Population expert tells Senate Hearing

The commission heard that the pattern of demographic decline will likely have significant social, economic and security consequences for countries throughout the region. States will become increasingly dependent upon foreign workers in the coming decades, while there will be a dramatic decrease in the pool of potential recruits for military service, resulting in mounting social tensions “as demonstrated by clashes in some participating States in recent years,” according to Smith.

“It is alarming and sad to see xenophobic and ultranationalist violence fueled by one nation’s perceptions of long-term decline vis-a-vis another group,” Smith said.

“Likewise with the economy,” Smith continued. “It is far from clear how, in many of the most rapidly declining countries, how economic growth can be sustained by a declining population – or, to touch on the most pressing specific, how the numerically smaller younger generations will even begin to provide for the larger older generations.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, Europe, History, Marriage & Family

(NY Times) Cost of Wars a Rising Issue as Obama Weighs Troop Levels

Spending on the war in Afghanistan has skyrocketed since Mr. Obama took office, to $118.6 billion in 2011. It was $14.7 billion in 2003, when President George W. Bush turned his attention and American resources to the war in Iraq.

The increase is easy to explain. When Mr. Obama took office, he vowed to aggressively pursue what he termed America’s “war of necessity” (Afghanistan) and to withdraw from America’s “war of choice” (Iraq). He has done so; the lines on Iraq and Afghanistan war spending crossed in 2010, when the United States spent $93.8 billion in Afghanistan versus $71.3 billion in Iraq, according to the Congressional Research Service.

But the White House is keenly aware that the president is heading into a re-election campaign; with the country’s jobless rate remaining high, topping 9 percent, his poll numbers on his handling of the domestic economy have plummeted.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, House of Representatives, Iraq War, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, War in Afghanistan

Baseball: South Carolina ties NCAA record after 7-1 win over Virginia

How About that University of South Carolina Baseball Team?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Education, Sports, Young Adults

War Evolves With Drones, Some Tiny as Bugs

Two miles from the cow pasture where the Wright Brothers learned to fly the first airplanes, military researchers are at work on another revolution in the air: shrinking unmanned drones, the kind that fire missiles into Pakistan and spy on insurgents in Afghanistan, to the size of insects and birds.

The base’s indoor flight lab is called the “microaviary,” and for good reason. The drones in development here are designed to replicate the flight mechanics of moths, hawks and other inhabitants of the natural world. “We’re looking at how you hide in plain sight,” said Greg Parker, an aerospace engineer, as he held up a prototype of a mechanical hawk that in the future might carry out espionage or kill.

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

A Justin Terry Sermon–"Heeding the Call of the Trinitarian God"

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Seminary / Theological Education, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

(Irish Times) Pakistan's religious minorities suffer under blasphemy laws

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws were introduced in the 1980s. Though they were supposed to be used to protect the religious sensitivities of the country’s Muslim majority, in practice they are often used to persecute religious minorities.

In 2009 almost 100 people were charged with blasphemy, including 67 Ahmadi Muslims and 17 Christians.

Many of those accused or suspected of blasphemy have been assaulted or tortured. Some people detained in prisons on blasphemy charges have been killed by fellow inmates or prison wardens. Others suspected of blasphemy, but not under arrest, have been unlawfully killed without the police taking any action to protect them.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(AJC) Episcopal priest and former Vietnam POW helps veterans

Hurtling through the dark but missile-streaked skies over Hanoi in 1972 after his B-52 bomber was shot down, Robert Certain was pretty sure he was going to die, just like three of the men in his plane had, and remembers praying for his parachute not to open rather than dying in captivity.

Then a 25-year-old Air Force navigator, the Rev. Certain is now the 63-year-old senior priest of St. Peter and St. Paul Episcopal Church in east Cobb, but war is still very much on the mind of the retired colonel.

Now, though, he thinks more about helping the military personnel returning from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Episcopal Church (TEC), Iraq War, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, War in Afghanistan

(USA Today) Holding off the Taliban in remote outpost

The troops here at Honaker Miracle have received a regular barrage of attacks, more than a dozen in less than two months, some lasting several hours.

During one attack, a mortar round hit a crane used to tow disabled armored vehicles and set it ablaze, reducing the vital piece of equipment to a charred hulk.

“They tested us during the first part of the deployment, a lot in May,” said Kalaher from his office where an all-white Taliban flag, removed from a nearby mountainside, hangs from the ceiling. “We set a precedent that we are not afraid to shoot back.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, War in Afghanistan

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Alban

Almighty God, by whose grace and power thy holy martyr Alban triumphed over suffering and was faithful even unto death: Grant to us, who now remember him with thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to thee in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of life; 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 art seeking in every age for loyal spirits ready to obey the heavenly vision: Grant that our ears may be open to thy voice, that when thou dost call us, we may answer gladly and readily, Here am I, send me; for the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists murmured against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Proch’orus, and Nica’nor, and Ti’mon, and Par’menas, and Nicola’us, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands upon them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.

–Acts 6:1-7

Posted in Uncategorized

(UMNS) Trial of Same Sex Partnered Methodist Minister who Broke Church Law gets under way

For the seventh time in 20 years, The United Methodist Church will wrestle with the issue of homosexuality in a public church trial.

The Rev. Amy DeLong, a lesbian clergy member of the Wisconsin Annual (regional) Conference, faces two charges of violating church law and the possibility of losing her ministerial credentials this week. Her trial begins June 21 at Peace United Methodist Church in Kaukauna, Wis.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

(FT) Martin Wolf–Time for common sense on Greece

The question about the prospects for Greece is not whether the country will default. That is, in my view, as near to a certainty as any such thing can be. The question is whether a default would be enough to return the economy to reasonable health. I strongly doubt it. The country seems too uncompetitive for that. A default is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for a return to economic health….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Taxes, The Banking System/Sector

Archbishop Rowan Williams' sermon to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nakuru Diocese, Kenya

‘If we read on in this Letter to the Hebrews, we find there some very specific, very clear guidelines about moving on and growing up as believers. And we find also the warning that living in this way will not always make us popular. If we seek to make friends out of strangers, perhaps some people will attack us for being disloyal to our own folk. If we try to live honourable lives in marriage, perhaps some others will make fun of us or be angry with us for not following the easy ways of self-indulgence. If we stand out against corruption and money-grabbing or land-grabbing, we may offend powerful people. But in all this, God is with us. He demands that, as grown-up Christians, we should be honest about the problems of our society and seek to show a better way.’

Read or better yet listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics