Daily Archives: June 23, 2011

(ACNS) Zimbabwe Anglicans not allowed to celebrate at African saint’s shrine

For the second year running, Anglicans in Zimbabwe have been forced to find another place to mark the memorial of African martyr Bernard Mizeki after being denied access to their official shrine.

Last year worshippers, who had travelled from all over the country, were driven away by the Zimbabwe Republic Police despite assurances from the government that they would not be disturbed or harassed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Zimbabwe

(AP) Methodist jury Finds Wisconsin pastor guilty of violating Church order in same gender marriage

Methodist pastors who have increasingly defied a church ban on marrying gays were dealt a setback Wednesday when a colleague was found guilty in a church trial of marrying a lesbian couple in 2009.

A 13-person jury of clergy peers unanimously convicted The Rev. Amy DeLong of Osceola. The jury found the 44-year-old not guilty of a second charge of being a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.” That vote was 12-1.

After the verdicts were announced Wednesday afternoon, church officials began hearing a second round of testimony to help jurors recommend a penalty that could range from suspension to defrocking. At least five DeLong supporters were scheduled to testify.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

U.S. colleges push efforts to draw foreign students

JAKARTA, Indonesia ”” The bang of a ceremonial gong opens festivities in a cavernous downtown office building here, where representatives from 56 U.S. colleges stand ready to peddle their wares.

The University of Cincinnati passes out pennants. At a booth for Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, three young Indonesians talk up their alma mater. And U.S. Embassy officials tout the 95% approval rate in Indonesia for student visas.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Globalization, Young Adults

(ENI) Europe needs more humane treatment of refugees, says expert

The European Union (EU) risks “undermining its core values” unless it treats refugees and asylum-seekers more humanely, according to a senior Protestant expert.

“Two decades ago, most Europeans would never have believed people would be dying on Europe’s borders simply trying to get in,” said Torsten Moritz, executive secretary of the ecumenical Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME). “Yet thousands have died doing just that, especially in the Mediterranean, this year alone. This is really undermining our core values and having a de-humanizing effect on European society.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(C of E) Registration of Civil Partnerships in Religious Premises

The Church of England has today submitted its response to the Government’s consultation on Civil Partnerships in Religious Premises.

A Church of England spokesman said: “Given the decision that Parliament has already taken to amend the Civil Partnership Act 2004 in the Equality Act 2010, the response focuses on the need to assure that the forthcoming regulations continue to provide unfettered freedom for each religious tradition to resolve these matters in accordance with its own convictions and its own internal procedures of governance…

Read it all and the linked speech.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Liverpool to honour servicemen and woman at British Armed Forces Day celebrations

Liverpool will honour its service men and women this Saturday as part of British Armed Forces Day celebrations.

The service, starting at 11am, will take place in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral and aims to show support for the men and women in the armed forces.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Some Greeks Fear Government Is Selling the Nation

They are the crown jewels of Greece’s socialist state, and they are now likely to go to the highest bidder: the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki; prime Mediterranean real estate; the national lottery; Greek Telecom; the postal bank and the national railway system.

And then comes the mandated deeper round of austerity measures, which will slash the wages of police officers, firefighters and other state workers who are protesting in Athens, and raise the taxes of citizens already inflamed by a recession-plagued economy and soaring joblessness.

After winning a pivotal confidence vote on his new cabinet on Tuesday, Prime Minister George Papandreou now has an even tougher task: to carry out a radical remedy of forced auctions and fiscal austerity for a sickened economy already in a deep slump.

Read it all.

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, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Holly Ordway–The Pain and Grace of Longing

Our Lord asks, “which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?”. If I ask, out of the deep longing of my heart, as Our Lord commands us to do, and the answer is No, it is very hard not to think that I have been given a stone.

CS Lewis writes in “The Weight of Glory,”

“”¦ if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

The problem is not that God has said No to the deepest longings of my heart.

The problem is that I have not longed deeply enough.

Our Lord says “If you, then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

I can’t imagine what those good things are, that surpass what I want.

But the poverty of my imagination does not limit the graciousness of my heavenly Father.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Poetry & Literature, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(WSJ) The War Against Girls–Jonathan Last on Mara Hvistendahl's new Book "Unnatural Selection"

Mara Hvistendahl is worried about girls. Not in any political, moral or cultural sense but as an existential matter. She is right to be. In China, India and numerous other countries (both developing and developed), there are many more men than women, the result of systematic campaigns against baby girls. In “Unnatural Selection,” Ms. Hvistendahl reports on this gender imbalance: what it is, how it came to be and what it means for the future.

In nature, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. This ratio is biologically ironclad. Between 104 and 106 is the normal range, and that’s as far as the natural window goes. Any other number is the result of unnatural events.
Yet today in India there are 112 boys born for every 100 girls. In China, the number is 121””though plenty of Chinese towns are over the 150 mark. China’s and India’s populations are mammoth enough that their outlying sex ratios have skewed the global average to a biologically impossible 107. But the imbalance is not only in Asia. Azerbaijan stands at 115, Georgia at 118 and Armenia at 120.

What is causing the skewed ratio: abortion…

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Asia, Books, Children, China, Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Theology

For New Life, Blacks in New York City Head to the South

In Deborah Brown’s family lore, the American South was a place of whites-only water fountains and lynchings under cover of darkness. It was a place black people like her mother had fled.

But for Ms. Brown, 59, a retired civil servant from Queens, the South now promises salvation.
Three generations of her family ”” 10 people in all ”” are moving to Atlanta from New York, seeking to start fresh economically and, in some sense, to reconnect with a bittersweet past. They include Ms. Brown, her 82-year-old mother and her 26-year-old son, who has already landed a job and settled there.

The economic downturn has propelled a striking demographic shift: black New Yorkers, including many who are young and college educated, are heading south.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Census/Census Data, Economy, History, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

(Living Church) Sudanese Bishops Plead for their People

People of the Nuba Mountains region in Sudan are under armed assault from government forces, said the region’s Anglican bishop June 17 during an annual meeting of the American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan.

“As many people have heard, it is really a genocide,” said the Rt. Rev. Andudu Elnail, Bishop of Kadugli and the Nuba Mountains for the Province of the Episcopal Church of Sudan. “There is no food for the people of Kadugli. There is no water.”

President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, a Sunni Muslim who came to power in 1989, wants Christians in the border region to migrate to the southern half of Sudan, which is more hospitable to Christianity and which will establish an independent government July 9.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Politics in General, Poverty, Violence

Presiding Bishop calls for increased investment in food security as G20 Agricultural Ministers meet

(ENS) As agriculture ministers from the Group of 20 (G20) nations meet in Paris, France, this week to discuss how to combat food shortage and soaring prices, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, urging “consideration of the needs of people in developing countries most affected by food insecurity.”

Jefferts Schori, noting that most of the Anglican Communion’s 80 million members live in developing countries, said: “The focus on food at this year’s G20 represents an important recognition by the world’s leaders that rising food prices present a potential crisis for areas of the world most affected by hunger and malnutrition, especially Africa and South and Southeast Asia.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Episcopal Church (TEC), Globalization, Presiding Bishop

Notable and Quotable

Found here:

“These people have lived their lives with borrowed money,” [Attorney Sorrell] Trope said. “They have to stop spending. This isn’t the federal government.”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Politics in General, Sports, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Thou whose eye is over all the children of men, and who hast called them into a kingdom not of this world: Send forth thy Holy Spirit into all the dark places of life. Let him still the noise of our strife and the tumult of the people, carry faith to the doubting, hope to the fearful, strength to the weak, light to the mourners, and more and more increase the pure in heart who see their God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–James Martineau

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his first-born son was Jo’el, and the name of his second, Abi’jah; they were judges in Beer-sheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after gain; they took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint for us a king to govern us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds which they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, hearken to their voice; only, you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

–1 Samuel 8:1-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(LA Times) Max Boot–Staying the course in Afghanistan

The strategic argument for a fast drawdown is premised on the claim that Al Qaeda is already crippled and therefore we have nothing to fear by pulling 10,000 or more troops out of Afghanistan this summer, another 10,000 early next year and 10,000 more by the end of 2012. If White House leaks are to be believed, some senior administration officials concluded that the counterinsurgency campaign launched only last year is a waste of time; all we need to do is rely on targeted air and commando strikes of the kind that have devastated Al Qaeda’s senior leadership in Pakistan.

What that argument misses is the extent to which our presence in Afghanistan enables us to project power into Pakistan. It was from Afghanistan, after all, that the Navy SEALs took off to kill Osama bin Laden. If we pull back in Afghanistan, the Taliban will gain ground and the willingness of the Afghan government to provide us the bases we need will decline. That, in turn, will make it markedly more difficult to keep the pressure on Al Qaeda and prevent it from regenerating itself as it has in the past.

Moreover, we shouldn’t get overly fixated on Al Qaeda….

Read it all.

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

The Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus, Georgia resigns

“For the last several months, the Vestry, the Wardens and I have been working and praying very hard to discern how best to meet the needs of the Parish and do the work we have been given to do in the name of Christ,” the letter [to the parish from the Rev. Rich Martindale] begins.

“At times, that discernment has been exhilarating; other times it has felt like a struggle.

“After consultation with the Bishop of Atlanta, the Wardens, and of course, my dear wife, my own portion of that discernment has led me to understand that the time has come for me to conclude my ministry to and with my friends at Trinity.”

Read it all and you may find the parish website here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

(First Things) Joe Carter–The Dangerous Mind of Peter Singer

Singer has spent a lifetime justifying the unjustifiable. He is the founding father of the animal liberation movement and advocates ending “the present speciesist bias against taking seriously the interests of nonhuman animals.” He is also a defender of killing the aged (if they have dementia), newborns (for almost any reason until they are two years old), necrophilia (assuming it’s consensual), and bestiality (also assuming it’s consensual)….

For far too many years, Singer’s ill-conceived sophistry has been considered and debated by some of our country’s best minds. It’s time to end such silliness. Let’s assign a sophomore philosophy student to rebut his arguments and the rest of academia can move on to squashing the bad ideas being championed by morally and intellectually serious people.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy, Theology

(Reuters) Temporary U.S. debt fix could be worrisome: Moody's

A temporary fix to the U.S. debt problems could be a sign that Washington’s final budget agreement will not be enough to meaningfully cut the nation’s deficit, Moody’s main analyst for the United States warned on Wednesday.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, The Banking System/Sector, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government