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.

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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.

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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.”

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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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which is sown in them. And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

–Mark 4:13-20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gallup–Americans Still Exercising Less Than Before Financial Crisis

Americans’ levels of exercise have tapered off slightly in 2011, after partially rebounding in 2010, and are still not as high as in 2008. The 53.4% of adults who reported exercising for at least 30 minutes three or more days per week in June trails the 54.3% in the same month in 2008.

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

London's Police Chief Quits Amid Scandal, Rebekah Brooks Arrested

The U.K. capital’s top police official resigned Sunday, and the former chief of News Corp.’s U.K. newspaper unit was arrested, as the country’s tabloid newspaper scandal raced uncomfortably into the top ranks of Britain’s law-enforcement and media worlds.

Late Sunday, the head of London’s Metropolitan Police Service, known as Scotland Yard, resigned due largely to connections between the police and the phone-hacking scandal. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Stephenson cited intense media scrutiny and the hiring of a former News Corp. tabloid editor to advise police on public relations; that editor, Neil Wallis, was arrested in connection with the criminal investigation last week.

Sir Paul’s resignation came hours after U.K. police arrested Rebekah Brooks, News Corp.’s former top U.K. newspaper official and a key figure in the rapidly evolving investigation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Politics in General

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Religious Leaders and the Budget Debate

[BOB] ABERNETHY: But the common good. This idea of the common good, very important in religious and ethics. How do you define it? And who says what the common good is?

[JIM] WALLIS: Well, this week we’ve organized 5,000 pastors to say let’s look at the real people in our congregations and our communities, what’s going to happen to them as opposed to the Washington, D.C. question, who’s up who’s down, who’s going to be the Speaker of the House next time, who’ll win the next election. The common good is about the real people, the people we have to always take into account. And pastors, I think, I wanted to talk to people whose job it is to have re-read the Bible. To get to, to focus on who the real people are here.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, European Central Bank, Globalization, Medicare, Religion & Culture, Social Security, Taxes, The Banking System/Sector, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Japan Wins the Women's World Cup

They never gave up–congratulations to them.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Japan, Sports, Women

Darren Clarke Claims the Claret Jug

Clarke, 42 years old, of Northern Ireland, was the clear local favorite. He has won 14 times on the European Tour and will almost certainly one day be the European Ryder Cup captain.

But he’d never won a major, despite playing in 53 of them before this week, including 19 previous British Opens, and there was a prevailing sense that this may be his last, best chance. After shooting opening rounds of 68, 68 and 69, he said Saturday that he was playing some of the best golf of his life.

Read it all.

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

Geek Theologian–Wired magazine founder Kevin Kelly talks to Christianity Today

Amid the din of warnings about modern technology’s impact on the soul, Kevin Kelly sounds like the happy evangelist from Geekdom. “[W]e can see more of God in a cell phone than in a tree frog,” the Wired magazine cofounder claims in his most recent book, What Technology Wants. A provocative title, to be sure, introducing a more provocative thesis: All human artifacts, from words to wheels to Wikipedia, together act like a living, breathing organism that reflects something of the Divine. “Technology has its roots in God’s work through the universe,” Kelly told CT associate editor Katelyn Beaty as she sat down with the San Francisco native at this year’s Q conference, where Kelly was speaking. He believes that as participants in the technium””Kelly’s word for this tech-ecosystem”””when we try to increase the options in the world, we are part of something godly.”

Kelly came to Christ in 1979, when he got locked out of a Jerusalem hostel and ended up sleeping on a stone slab in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He talked with CT about the Amish, his vision of heaven, and why he doesn’t own a smart phone.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Al Mohler–Ever Hear of the First Amendment? An Argument to Watch

I am not worried that IRS agents are about to descend on the nation’s churches, mosques, and synagogues to force a new government-endorsed theology on our places of worship. I am very concerned, however, that this kind of argument, left unaddressed, implies a power that the government does not and should not possess.

More than that, I can only wonder how an article addressing religious liberty concerns can be passed for publication in a national newspaper like USA Today while failing even to mention the First Amendment. Of course, Christians do not ground religious liberty in the U.S. Constitution, but in the fact that every single human being bears the image of God. Nevertheless, Americans enshrine and protect that liberty by the means of our national charter of liberties. No serious argument about matters of religious freedom in the United States can be made without reference to that charter and its First Amendment.

Asra Nomani just called for the IRS to dictate theology to the nation’s churches, synagogues, and mosques. It was published in plain view in USA Today. Did anyone notice what was missing?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

(USA Today) Asra Nomani–End gender apartheid in U.S. mosques

Daniel Dalton, 46, a non-profit attorney in Farmington Hills, Mich., says the IRS has taken the position “it’s not going to look at ecclesiastical, doctrinal issues.” He grew up in the Missouri Lutheran Church, which limits women’s roles in leadership positions. “I don’t understand it. I don’t agree with it,” says Dalton. “But that’s a doctrinal issue.”

I understand the difficulties in having the state intervene in worship issues. I believe in a separation of church and state, but I’ve come to the difficult decision that women must use the legal system to restore rights in places of worship, particularly when intimidation is used to enforce unfair rules.

In our protest movement, we haven’t yet won national enforcement of gender equity in mosques. But we reached our youth….

Read it all.

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