Daily Archives: July 18, 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury fires adviser the Rev George Pitcher over outspoken attacks on coalition

Dr Rowan Williams is understood to have lost confidence in the Rev George Pitcher, his public affairs secretary, and agreed that he should leave his post at the end of the summer.

It is understood the situation came to a head when Mr Pitcher made a crude joke about the Archbishop in the Daily Telegraph’s diary column following criticism of Dr Williams’ attacks on the coalition.

Previously Mr Pitcher had played a key part in arranging the Archbishop’s guest editorship of the New Statesman magazine last month, which Dr Williams used to launch a strident critique of David Cameron’s policies.

Read it all.

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

(USA Today) Mark Pinsky–Could Catholic leader usher in a new Cuba?

Over the past half-century, Fidel and Raul Castro have ensured ”” through exile, purges and execution ”” that no political figure or generation has emerged as their obvious successors. Time and again, the brothers have stacked the ruling Cuban Communist Party with gray hard-liners nearly as old as they are, determined to preserve their revolutionary legacy.

Given this reality, post-Castro Cuba will need someone trusted by all segments of society to help shepherd this nation into a new era, without bloodshed or upheaval. Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of Havana, is that man. The son of a sugar mill worker, Ortega is uniquely equipped to fill any power vacuum.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Caribbean, Cuba, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Der Spiegel) The Sweet Poison of Berlusconi–Italy's Downward Spiral Accelerates

The financial markets see the Italian premier as a burden on Italy and, by remaining in office, he is unsettling investors, writes the Financial Times. Some of Berlusconi’s own supporters now fear that the prime minister and his scandals could irretrievably drive the country into a debt spiral. “Everyone is afraid of the contradictions between what Berlusconi needs for political survival and what the markets need,” says columnist Francesco Sisci.

“Your government is harming Italy,” opposition politician Anna Finocchiaro told the premier last Thursday. “This great country would be much better off without you.”

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(FT) Wolfgang Münchau–Plan D stands for default and death of euro

Five years ago, I was among those who argued that the probability of a collapse of the eurozone was close to zero. Last year, I wrote it was no longer trivial, but small. The odds have risen steadily since, not because of the crisis itself, but the political response. I now would put the odds of a break-up of the eurozone at 50:50. This is not because I doubt the pledge by the European Council to do whatever it takes to save the euro but because I fear it has left things too late. The council may be willing but it will not be able to deliver. As I argued last week, a eurozone bond is the only solution to the crisis. But this gets progressively more expensive, and politically less realistic, once bond spreads of large countries widen.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Portugal, Spain, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(BBC) Computers and the internet are changing the nature of our memory, study shows

Psychology experiments showed that people presented with difficult questions began to think of computers.

When participants knew that facts would be available on a computer later, they had poor recall of answers but enhanced recall of where they were stored.

The researchers say the internet acts as a “transactive memory” that we depend upon to remember for us.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Psychology, Science & Technology

(Vancouver Sun) Gen Y staying at home, delaying marriage and kids: StatsCan

Are they ‘Generation Y Bother’ ”” or are they smarter than their parents?

Members of Generation Y are living with their folks longer and delaying such rites of adulthood as marriage and children, new data show.

One prominent economist said that, far from describing a generation of slackers, the data actually signify how “frighteningly calculating” this current cohort of young adults is.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Children, Marriage & Family, Young Adults

(Living Church) Dean Sam Lloyd: ”˜I’m not in this Business to Step Up’

A cathedral dean rarely chooses to return to a former parish as priest-in-charge, but for the Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III that transition was an answer to prayer. Lloyd, dean of Washington National Cathedral since 2005, will return in October to Trinity Church, Boston, where he was rector from 1993 to 2005.

“My fundamental calling is as a priest ”” a preacher and teacher and pastor,” he said. “And the decision for me was to let go of this large, complex, exciting place” and to focus on a pastoral ministry. While he said that returning to his former parish “was a surprise” and “not part of the plan,” the possibility began to emerge as he thought about and prayed about his perceived calling to return to parish ministry.

“I’m not in this business to step up,” he said. “Every step has been to ask what with my gifts I’m being called to do.”

Read it all.

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

ESPN Video–a Dream realized for Darren Clarke

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ireland, Men, Sports

(Follow on from Previous Post) David Fitch–Stop Funding Church Plants Start Funding Missionaries

This is an idea whose time has come. It is easy, simple, saves money, and I think it seeds the mission of God in N America for generations to come: STOP FUNDING TRADITIONAL CHURCH PLANTS and instead fund missionaries to inhabit contexts all across the new mission fields of N America.

Traditionally denominations have funded church plants. They do this by providing a.) a full time salary plus benefits for three years, and b.) start-up funds for equipment, building rental etc. to a well-assessed church planter (read entrepreneur). The goal is a self-sustaining church in three years paying its own pastor’s salary and assorted sundry costs of running the church’s services. The costs are astounding, perhaps 300-400,000 dollars or more to get a church plant going.

Today, in the changing environments of N American post Christendom, this approach to church planting is insane. For it not only assumes an already Christianized population to draw on , it puts enormous pressure on the church planter to secure already well-heeled Christians as bodies for the seats on Sunday morning. This in itself undercuts the engagement of the hurting, lost peoples God is bringing to Himself in Christ.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Ecclesiology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Missions, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Christianity Today) Jason Hood–The End of Church Planting?

Next year marks the one hundredth anniversary of Roland Allen’s small book Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? In that landmark text in mission studies, Allen argued that Western missionary methods had little in common with Paul’s missionary practices in the New Testament. The apostle and his partners did not establish large, permanent institutions, nor did they stay in one place for a decade or a career.

Allen wrote during the height of Western optimism, paternalism, and colonialism, and it took time for his ideas to gain traction. Yet the book eventually grew in influence and helped spur the shift toward contextualization and indigenization in world mission.

David Fitch wants to do something similar for North American missions and church planting. Fitch is Lindner Professor of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary and the author of several books, most recently The End of Evangelicalism….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Ecclesiology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Missions, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Theology

(NY Times) Across the Nation, Budget Talks Stir Pessimism

…a quick, informal selection of voices from across the country over the weekend found both pessimism and cynicism about the state of negotiations in Washington, resignation about the partisan jousting and more confusion than conniption about what exactly will happen if the president and his Republican opponents cannot make a deal to raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2.

And neither side, they say, looks good.

“They’re all boneheads,” said Steve Ruzika, 55, an entrepreneur from Boca Raton, Fla., who added that while he is politically conservative, he is fed up with both ends of the political spectrum.

“This has been brewing for a long time,” Mr. Ruzika said. “They should have solved it before now.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

ABC Encounter Transcript–Marshall McLuhan, Man of faith

Michael W. Higgins: It is difficult actually to identify him as either conservative Catholic or liberal Catholic. If they think of him at all as Catholic which is not largely the case I think and that is most unfortunate I think because it is to miss one of the major components of his thinking and is constitutive of his life, they tended to think of him as conservative: regular practising Catholic of the old way, fairly conventional, came into the church as he says himself in his twenties on his knees…

Marshall McLuhan: I had no religious yearnings or needs of any sort but I was quite aware of the claims of the church and I wanted to know what the claims were about.

Margaret Coffey: This Encounter shifts McLuhan out of that confining box, to complicate things, not to simplify them. And it’s necessary. At the big Barcelona McLuhan fest in May, no-one talked about McLuhan’s faith. Sociologist Chiara Giaccardi was there from the Catholic University of Milan.

Chiara Giaccardi: I was quite impressed to notice that McLuhan’s Catholic identity was not mentioned at all. And I think this is a very crucial point for the misunderstanding of McLuhan’s thought, because faith for McLuhan is the ground against which the figure of the work can be understood.

The audio of this was posted yesterday. It is a must not miss–read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Media, Philosophy, Religion & Culture

The high cost of eating: With food prices on upward climb, families are learning how to spend less

Your grocery bill isn’t catching much of a break this summer.

The Consumer Price Index for food at home ticked up 0.2 percent from May to June. Although the rise was the smallest of the year, the food-at-home index has jumped 4.7 percent over the past 12 months.

Friday’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was a mixed bag. Prices for meat, poultry, fish, eggs, fruit and vegetables fell slightly from May to June. But other major food groups, including cereal and dairy products, continued to inch up.

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Consumer/consumer spending, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Globalization, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(CEN) Government Cuts ”˜could cost £1m in theological training’ for C of E

A report setting out a road map for theological training in the wake of substantial government cuts was ”˜overwhelmingly carried’ by Synod on Sunday.

The result followed a lively debate on a report by the Ministry Council suggesting areas where the Church could save money.

Introducing the report, the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, said: “Last September, the government announced far-reaching changes to the funding of Higher Education in England. It is not my purpose this afternoon to comment on the broad thrust of those proposals. They have significant consequences for the training of ordinands in the Church of England and also for other forms of formation for ministry.”

He said more than £900,000 per annum was likely to be lost in resources for pre-ordination training from 2012, as a result of cuts to the Higher Education Funding Council….

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant us, O Lord, not to mind earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to cleave to those that shall abide; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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