Monthly Archives: August 2011

From the Morning Bible Readings

When Solomon had finished building the house of the LORD and the king’s house and all that Solomon desired to build, the LORD appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3And the LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before me; I have consecrated this house which you have built, and put my name there for ever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time. And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my ordinances, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel for ever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘There shall not fail you a man upon the throne of Israel.’

–1 Kings 9:1-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Episcopal Diocese of New York Nominees for Coadjutor Announced

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

Canadian Bishop marks church's 'new beginning' after Rift

After an almost decade-long rift among Anglicans that led to a breakaway group trying and failing to gain control of a Windsor church, Rev. Robert Bennett says the diocese is ready to move on and “regrow.”

Bennett, the bishop of Huron, conducted a healing mass at St. Aidan’s on Sunday along with seven local Anglican priests.

“This is a time where we’re just celebrating hopefully a new beginning,” he said before mass. “People have to get on with things.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

(RNS) Religious Leaders Laud King in Memorial Service

An earthquake and a hurricane may have interrupted plans to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the nation’s capital but religious leaders and civil rights veterans on Saturday (Aug. 27) said King’s legacy is unshakable. The interfaith service was the last official event to mark the dedication of the new King memorial on the National Mall after Hurricane Irene caused officials to postpone Sunday’s official dedication.

“If Martin Luther King was anything else, he was an obedient servant of the Lord,” said King’s daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, who was 5 when her father became a modern-day martyr in the fight for civil rights.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Dean Nelson on John Polkinghorne, God, Science and Doubt

It may be OK, finally, for people to admit that they don’t know things for sure ”” whether it’s about quarks, light, God or the best way forward for the nation’s economy.

At 80, Polkinghorne doesn’t let his own doubts keep him from believing, any more than he let his doubts about quantum physics keep him from solving problems. He still prays, still celebrates the Eucharist, still believes in some kind of life eternal.

As for belief in God, “It’s a reasonable position, but not a knock-down argument,” he said. “It’s strong enough to bet my life on it. Just as Polanyi bet his life on his belief, knowing that it might not be true, I give my life to it, but I’m not certain. Sometimes I’m wrong.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Books, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Turkish Government to Return Seized Property to Religious Minorities

The Turkish government said it would return hundreds of properties that were confiscated from religious minorities by the state or other parties over the years since 1936, and would pay compensation for properties that were seized and later sold.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the announcement on Sunday to representatives of more than 150 Christian and Jewish trusts gathered at a dinner he hosted in Istanbul to break the day’s Ramadan fast. The government decree to return the properties, bypassing nationalist opposition in Parliament, was issued late Saturday.

The European Union, which Turkey has applied to join, has pressed the country to ease or eliminate laws and policies that discriminate against non-Muslim religious groups, including restrictions on land ownership….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Turkey

The Slow Disappearance of the American Working Man

As President Barack Obama puts together a new jobs plan to be revealed shortly after Labor Day, he is up against a powerful force, long in the making, that has gone virtually unnoticed in the debate over how to put people back to work: Employers are increasingly giving up on the American man.

If that sounds bleak, it’s because it is. The portion of men who work and their median wages have been eroding since the early 1970s. For decades the impact of this fact was softened in many families by the increasing number of women who went to work and took up the slack. More recently, the housing bubble helped to mask it by boosting the male-dominated construction trades, which employed millions. When real estate ultimately crashed, so did the prospects for many men. The portion of men holding a job””any job, full- or part-time””fell to 63.5 percent in July””hovering stubbornly near the low point of 63.3 percent it reached in December 2009. These are the lowest numbers in statistics going back to 1948. Among the critical category of prime working-age men between 25 and 54, only 81.2 percent held jobs, a barely noticeable improvement from its low point last year””and still well below the depths of the 1982-83 recession, when employment among prime-age men never dropped below 85 percent. To put those numbers in perspective, consider that in 1969, 95 percent of men in their prime working years had a job.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Men

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Digest

You can find it here. Please consider becoming a habitual reader if you are not at present and pass on the link to your friends.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Banks Confront a Leaner Future as Profits Fall

Battered by a weak economy, the nation’s biggest banks are cutting jobs, consolidating businesses and scrambling for new sources of income in anticipation of a fundamentally altered financial landscape requiring leaner operations….

Even as they cut payrolls, banks are exploring ways to generate revenue that could translate to higher costs for consumers. Among the possibilities are new fees for automatic deductions from checking accounts that pay utility and cable bills, according to people involved in the discussions.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Local Paper Faith and Values Section–N. Charleston Methodist pastor tends to her flock and family

Moms who are ministers face the same challenges as working moms everywhere, with a couple of twists. Time demands can be extraordinary — on call 24 hours a day, and no Sundays off — and raising kids in a church can be akin to parenting on center stage.

Hudson-Jacoby and her husband, Mike, have two sons, ages 8 and 5, and a 3-year-old daughter. She said most of that pressure is self-imposed.

“It’s pressure I put on myself,” said the 37-year-old University of South Carolina graduate and native of Lancaster. “But I’ve rarely felt it from the people in the congregation. I have to be really intentional not to have different expectations of my own children than I do from other children.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Children, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Women

(NY Times) Gretchen Morgenson–The Rescue That Missed Main Street

For the last three years we have been told repeatedly by government officials that funneling hundreds of billions of dollars to large and teetering banks during the credit crisis was necessary to save the financial system, and beneficial to Main Street.

But this has been a hard sell to an increasingly skeptical public. As Henry M. Paulson Jr., the former Treasury secretary, told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission back in May 2010, “I was never able to explain to the American people in a way in which they understood it why these rescues were for them and for their benefit, not for Wall Street.”

The American people were right to question Mr. Paulson’s pitch, as it turns out. And that became clearer than ever last week when Bloomberg News published fresh and disturbing details about the crisis-era bailouts.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Federal Reserve, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Theology

Monday Morning Mental Health Break–Polish Acrobats

Wow–watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Poland, Sports

(CEN) Timothy Dudley-Smith–A life that impacted the whole world

On the death of Earnshaw-Smith the churchwardens made strong representations to the Crown, as patron, that their young curate should succeed him. For the next 25 years John Stott produced at All Souls a model of the life and witness of a local church which was copied eagerly across the world. He developed his own gifts as pastor and evangelist, preacher and expositor. It is hard now to realize how innovative was his approach, even while making every allowance for the privileged position held by such a church.

Soon he found himself responding to urgent invitations to employ these gifts on a wider canvas. His university missions, starting with Oxbridge but extending to many continents, showed how fruitful was his prayerful determination to reach the heart and will by first engaging the mind. It was while conducting a string of such missions in North America that he spent one Christmas with Billy Graham and his young family, cementing a relationship of mutual affection and respect that was to bear fruit in their partnership in Lausanne Movement, and prove lifelong.

Scripture was the basis of his teaching. To him preaching began with exposition and moved on to application in its God-given role of proclaiming Christ, calling to repentance and faith, and building up the church as a mature, worshipping, witnessing and serving fellowship. Half-reluctantly, faced with the pressures of the day, faithful exposition led on to a defence of the faith, and so also to proclaiming Biblical standards of morality and behaviour, courageous and indeed painful as such a role often proved to be. If forced to choose, he would style himself an evangelical who was also an Anglican; but he held steadily and with affection to the Biblical foundations of his Church, resisting calls (such as in the famous debate with his friend Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones) to leave. He resisted, too, with equal firmness what he saw as unbalanced emphases in the neo-Pentecostalism of the day.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Globalization, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

Tom Wright in Salisbury on YouTube

A worthwhile potential resource–check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of John Bunyan

God of peace, who didst call John Bunyan to be valiant for truth: Grant that as strangers and pilgrims we may at the last rejoice with all the faithful in thy heavenly city; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Oh God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light riseth up in darkness for the godly; Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldest have us to do, that the Spirit of Wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see light, and in thy straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who didst make us for thy service: Help us to train ourselves to be good servants by ready obedience, punctual fulfillment of duty, and strict honour in our, dealings with one another; so that whenever the time shall come, thou shalt deem us worthy to do the work to which thou hast called us. Grant this for Jesus Christ’s sake.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” said also, “Do not kill.” If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment.

–James 2:10-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Libya 'won't hand over' Lockerbie bomber Megrahi

Leaders of rebel forces that deposed Col Muammar Gaddafi in Libya have said they do not intend to allow the extradition of the Lockerbie bomber.

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted in connection with the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland in 1988.

Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison two years ago on health grounds.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Libya, Politics in General, Scotland, Terrorism

Huntington Beach's Ocean View team wins the Little League World Series

Nick Pratto connected for a two-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the sixth inning to lead Huntington Beach’s Ocean View team to the Little League World Series championship.

Ocean View beat Hamamtsu City, Japan, 2-1, and became the seventh team from California to win the title.

Both teams had scored in the bottom of the third inning, and the game stayed tied until Pratto’s decisive single into right-center field.

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

(Der Spiegel) Rolf Schieder–Germany's Unhealthy Obsession with Islam

Muslims in Germany have been accused of many things, from threatening the feminist cause to trying to destroy German society through “demographic jihad.” It isn’t the Muslims that are the problem, however, but rather our obsession with Islam.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

The Economist–How to avoid a double dip

In 2008 the world economy was saved from depression by a bold and co-ordinated plan to shore up banks and counter the slump with fiscal and monetary stimulus. Today there is no boldness (the euro-zone crisis is the epitome of politicians doing too little too late). There is no co-ordination. And, to the extent that policies have a common theme, it is the wrong one: politicians across the rich world are taking too short-term a view of fiscal austerity””a bout of budget-cutting which will only increase the risk of another recession.

It does not have to be this way. Echoing the spirit of 2008, policymakers could adopt a co-ordinated strategy to boost growth. Two priorities stand out. First, a recalibration of fiscal and (in some places) monetary policy. Second, a big push on supply-side reforms, from freeing trade to slashing red tape.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Europe, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

(NY Times) Thomas Friedman–America Needs to Get Its Act Together

… let me say that in English: the European Union is cracking up. The Arab world is cracking up. China’s growth model is under pressure and America’s credit-driven capitalist model has suffered a warning heart attack and needs a total rethink. Recasting any one of these alone would be huge. Doing all four at once ”” when the world has never been more interconnected ”” is mind-boggling. We are again “present at the creation” ”” but of what?….

As for America, we’ve thrived in recent decades with a credit-consumption-led economy, whereby we maintained a middle class by using more steroids (easy credit, subprime mortgages and construction work) and less muscle-building (education, skill-building and innovation). It’s put us in a deep hole, and the only way to dig out now is a new, hybrid politics that mixes spending cuts, tax increases, tax reform and investments in infrastructure, education, research and production. But that mix is not the agenda of either party. Either our two parties find a way to collaborate in the center around this new hybrid politics, or a third party is going to emerge ”” or we’re stuck and the pain will just get worse.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Africa, Asia, China, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Libya, Middle East, Taxes, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Michael Prodger (FT)–Amy Waldman’s debut novel is the most successful yet at making sense of 9/11

Ten years on and a greater sense of perspective as to the meaning of those two aeroplanes in a sunny New York sky is now possible, so the appearance of the best 9/11 novel to date shouldn’t come as a surprise. What is a surprise, though, is that The Submission is a debut novel. In it Amy Waldman deals not with the attack itself but with the knots in which the US has tied itself in the aftermath.

This is a counter-factual fiction that starts with the competition to design a memorial to sit at Ground Zero, a site that is “a memorial only to America’s diminished greatness”. The carefully selected jury argues its way through the anonymous submissions to a winner. It settles on a design for a geometrical garden, with steel trees and a wall inscribed with the names of the dead ”“ something calming, imperishable, regenerative. The jurors’ relief at negotiating the high profile and fractious process is judderingly cut short when the chairman opens the envelope containing the name of the designer: Mohammad Khan. Or, as one juror spouts, …[“%$%$#$%^%$%] It’s a …[*&^&^%] Muslim!”

That the winner of this most sensitive of all commissions could be a co-religionist of the attackers seems at first a trick of malign fate and then sends the jury into a tailspin. Should they abide by their decision and present it as an example of US democracy, inclusiveness and forgiveness or choose another design to assuage the outrage of not just the bereaved families but of the millions of Americans who would see a Muslim winner as an insult to the dead and a symbol of their country’s ultimate humiliation?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, History, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

Local Paper Faith and Values: Q&A with Greg Surratt, (Local Megachurch) Seacoast's senior pastor

Q: Seacoast is a highly successful and very large church with several campuses. As your congregations grow, how do you ensure that spiritual growth keeps up? How do you cater to the individual needs of your members?

A: Jesus was very clear about who was responsible for doing what in his instructions to the disciples. He said that he would build the church and we were to make disciples. If we will do our job, he will do his. Our job at Seacoast is not to grow the church. Our job is to make disciples. Disciple-making is done one-on-one, one-on-two, etc. We take that seriously. We try to make disciples by huddling small groups of leaders who in turn huddle others, helping them to hear the voice of God in their lives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–MLK National Memorial

[FRED] DE SAM LAZARO: This unveiling comes at a time of serious political polarization in this country. Do you think that the monument has the potential any way to provide some healing in that divide?

[THE REVEREND DR. ROBERT] FRANKLIN: I believe so, and I certainly hope so. Dr. King was a man of healing and reconciliation even in the context of calling for justice. American politics is broken today, and Dr. King’s message, his life, his values and virtues can offer us a strategy for healing what is broken. It means political opponents must never dehumanize each other. They must speak truth to power, but they must also be willing to negotiate as well as confront, and I think the King memorial will be an inspiration and a reminder that that reconciliation is possible in America.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Marilynne Robinson's 2011 Principal Address at Holy Cross

I will tell you something you may not hear elsewhere. You live at a wonderful time in a wonderful country. I feel as strongly as anyone that everything could be much better, and ought to be better. But one of the pleasures of my self-defining life, my life as writer and teacher, is that I have read history, and I have traveled to and talked with people in those regions of America considered by many in this country to be alien territory. I have taken from history an awareness of the human tendency toward destructiveness and bitter violence. We share this tendency, certainly. But, in terms of our national life, we have cultivated an ethic of civil peace which has allowed for the flourishing of a great many wonderful communities and institutions. At the moment this ethic is under great stress, a fact that makes it all the more important to acknowledge it and recognize its value….

It is easy to be disappointed, exasperated, with our religious culture, with blandness here and intemperance there, with fads and hypocrisies and a general failure to inculcate tradition. So it can come as a surprise to learn that on balance America gives religion a good name, that religion is associated through us with ethical seriousness among other things, and that its importance among us is considered by many to be enviable.

For those of us who are religious in any way or degree, the fact that much of the world, and certainly the secularized Western world, looks to us to see how religion is lived out, implies responsibility of a very high order….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Theology

Scranton, Penna., Temple performs same-sex marriage ceremony for South Carolina Couple

The Rev. Peter D’Angio, rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, said the Episcopal church ruled in 2009 to allow same-sex blessing ceremonies on a national level.

In states that legally recognize gay marriages, episcopal churches are allowed to perform the actual marriage ceremony when the bishop in that district gives the OK, he said.

“I think religion has a part to play in same-sex blessings,” the Rev. D’Angio said. “People have the desire for a member of the clergy, whatever religion, to invoke God’s blessing on their relationship.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), State Government

A Look Back to 1961–Episcopal Bishops Vote Unanimously to Approve Merger Steps

“I am quite speechless,” remarked the Presiding Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Arthur Lichtenberger of New York.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

The 10 best places to live in the U.S.

See how many you can guess and then check out the slideshow.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., City Government, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Psychology