Daily Archives: August 3, 2011

Bill McBride via Derek Thompson–The 4 Scariest Economic Graphs I've Seen This Year

Take a careful look.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Richard Bewes offers an appreciation of the John Stott

Something of the regard in which he was held by Billy Graham surfaced at EUROFEST ”˜75 ”“ a 9-day Bible event involving thousands of young Europeans in Brussels. I was programme chairman, and the highlight among the seminars was expected in the session on ”˜Leadership’ to be led by John. However, before breakfast on the morning in question, I was rung up in my hotel by Mr Graham. “I’m concerned,” he said, “that John Stott has been assigned only one of several seminars to speak at. A man of his stature needs to be heard by us all. Would you mind if, at the close of the plenary Bible study this morning, I announced that the John Stott session is to be plenary, that everyone should be present – and that I will chair it myself?” Of course I agreed, and the announcement was duly made. “And,” added Mr Graham, “I want to make sure you all come with a notebook and pen. I too will be coming with my notebook and my pen!” And sure enough he did, scribbling notes throughout the talk, and whispering urgently for more paper as his own supply gave out. You could only be aware that in this, as in other congresses – such as at Lausanne and Amsterdam – Billy Graham and John Stott together were weaving a world-wide network of truth and trust among Bible believers everywhere. “John!” I enthused, “We had a great session with Sammy Escobar this morning!” It was the 1974 Lausanne Conference, and we were taking a break in the countryside. John was driving the car, with a Ugandan leader, Misaeri Kauma (not yet a bishop) in the front passenger seat. Michael Baughen ”“ by then All Souls Rector – and I were in the back. John had not been present at the meeting, and ”“ as he inevitably did when hearing a positive account of any gathering ”“ duly enquired, “And what were the particular emphases that Sammy was making?” I dug poor Michael Baughen in the ribs. “Go on, Michael, you tell him!”

Read it all.

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

Loss of home equity downsizes retirement for many

Paul Trigili, an information technology professional in Las Vegas, is 65, has back problems and would like to retire at the end of the year. There’s just one thing standing in his way: his house.

Trigili bought his home three years ago for $350,000. At the time, he thought it was a good deal, because the home originally was priced at $450,000. Today, it’s valued at $184,000.

Trigili made a large down payment when he bought the home, so he doesn’t owe more on his mortgage than the home is worth. But his plans to sell his home and use the proceeds for retirement income have been placed on indefinite hold.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Three Thinkers tackle the Question: Drones–Is It Wrong to Kill by Remote Control?

Paul F. M. Zahl, Daniel M. Bell Jr., and Brian Stiltner all offer food for thought, see what you make of it.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Iraq War, Terrorism, Theology, War in Afghanistan

(WSJ) Mormons Duck Political Duel

The Mormon Church is preparing for the 2012 elections with a campaign message of its own: It has nothing to do with orchestrating or promoting the presidential candidacies of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr., both Mormons.

On Thursday, the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, a group of Mormon academics who defend the faith, will wrestle with the challenges presented by the two presidential candidates.

“We not only don’t want to cross the line” between religion and politics, Michael Purdy, director of the church’s media relations office, said in an interview at church headquarters here. “We don’t want to go anywhere near the line.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Mormons, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(USA Today) Medicare, Medicaid tab keeps growing

The costs of the government’s big health care programs are soaring again, expenses not tackled in the agreement President Obama signed into law Tuesday to raise the nation’s debt limit and cut federal spending.

Medicare and Medicaid spending rose 10% in the second quarter from a year earlier to a combined annual rate of almost $992 billion, according to new data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The two programs are on track to rise $90 billion in 2011 and crack the $1 trillion milestone for the first time.

The jump in health care spending is the biggest since the Medicare prescription drug benefit was added five years ago and ends a brief lull in the spending increases that occurred during the economic downturn.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Medicare, The U.S. Government

(Diocese of Chester) 'Unique', a most positive project for young people

A shop in Upton, Wirral, linked to St Mary’s Church, is helping youngsters with their self-image and with ethical choices in clothes and giftware.

‘Unique’ is a shop with a difference, and it is making an impact in the main shopping street of Upton. Trading in Ford Road, it sells high quality, affordable clothes designed and partly made by young local people.

The shop ”“ launched last December ”“ has a firm ethical focus. It promotes healthy body image, and deals with problems of worth and image faced by young people. It also sources fair-trade products and highlights social justice issues.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

(ENI) Norway’s Churches Try to Foster Healing after Attacks

A Norwegian bishop addressing the recent bombing and shooting attacks in Norway said his country has “countered this insane terrorism by demonstrating love and solidarity.”

“We have brought out a social capital we maybe even did not know was there. We must rebuild our trust in human beings as fellow human beings,” said Church of Norway Bishop Tor Singsaas of Nidaros at the opening of the annual St. Olav Festival in Trondheim…[last]Thursday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Norway, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

(Christianity Today) Global Reactions to John Stott's Death

[John] Stott’s transparent, personal approach extended deep into Africa, where David Zac Niringiye, assistant bishop for the Church of Uganda, met Stott during ministry training in the 80s. “When I think of my mentors, John Stott was very significant in encouraging me from the very beginning,” said Niringiye.

“I had just started working in Uganda when I met him at a conference in Nairobi, and a week later I went to hear him speak at the cathedral in Kampala. I was amazed when, upon greeting him, he not only remembered what ministry I worked for, but also my name.”

Read it all.

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

Cardboard Cathedral on the cards For New Zealand?

A cardboard replacement for the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral could become a permanent feature of the new city.

Designs for the proposed temporary “cardboard cathedral” were unveiled in Christchurch yesterday by world-renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban.

The Anglican cathedral would be built with locally produced cardboard tubes erected in an A-shape, with shipping containers used as foundations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry

(NY Times) Somalis Waste Away as Insurgents Block Escape From Famine

The Shabab Islamist insurgent group, which controls much of southern Somalia, is blocking starving people from fleeing the country and setting up a cantonment camp where it is imprisoning displaced people who were trying to escape Shabab territory.

The group is widely blamed for causing a famine in Somalia by forcing out many Western aid organizations, depriving drought victims of desperately needed food. The situation is growing bleaker by the day, with tens of thousands of Somalis already dead and more than 500,000 children on the brink of starvation.

Every morning, emaciated parents with emaciated children stagger into Banadir Hospital, a shell of a building with floors that stink of diesel fuel because that is all the nurses have to fight off the flies. Babies are dying because of the lack of equipment and medicine. Some get hooked up to adult-size intravenous drips ”” pediatric versions are hard to find ”” and their compromised bodies cannot handle the volume of fluid.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine, Somalia, Violence

(The State) A Profile of Matthew Perry RIP, South Carolina Civil Rights Leader

Perry’s style as a litigator and advocate was resolute, dignified, strategic ”” and inexhaustible. As a young black lawyer facing all-white juries and judges, he learned to accept defeat at the trial level while building a record to support his case when appealed to higher courts, where he often won and established significant precedents. Patience and determination were key elements in his approach, often in contrast to lawyers who preferred a louder, bolder approach.

“In life you come to realize that there are some things that you can change and some that you cannot change, at least not immediately; and one of them happens to be racial attitudes,” Perry said in an interview with Columbia College history professor Robert Moore for a 2004 article.

In a conversation with The State last month, Perry acknowledged the phrase “at least not immediately” was key to his thinking. The goal always, he said, was “insist upon the enforcement of rights.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, State Government

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Most loving Father, who willest us to give thanks for all things, to dread nothing but the loss of thee, and to cast all our care on thee who carest for us: Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, and grant that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which thou hast manifested unto us in thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

–William Bright

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And David said, “Is there still any one left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David; and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “Your servant is he.” And the king said, “Is there not still some one of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Am’miel, at Lo-debar.” Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Am’miel, at Lo-debar. And Mephib’osheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David, and fell on his face and did obeisance. And David said, “Mephib’osheth!” And he answered, “Behold, your servant.” And David said to him, “Do not fear; for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father; and you shall eat at my table always.”

–2 Samuel 9:1-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Chinese rating agency downgrades U.S. credit rating after debt limit increase

Chinese rating agency Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. said Wednesday it has cut the credit rating of the United States from A+ to A with a negative outlook after the U.S. federal government announced that the country’s debt limit would be increased.

The decision to lift the debt ceiling will not change the fact that the U.S. national debt growth has outpaced that of its overall economy and fiscal revenue, which will lead to a decline in its debt-paying ability, said Dagong Global in a statement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Budget, China, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Globalization, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(NYRB) James Gleick–How Google Dominates Us

In barely a decade Google has made itself a global brand bigger than Coca-Cola or GE; it has created more wealth faster than any company in history; it dominates the information economy. How did that happen? It happened more or less in plain sight. Google has many secrets but the main ingredients of its success have not been secret at all, and the business story has already provided grist for dozens of books. Steven Levy’s new account, In the Plex, is the most authoritative to date and in many ways the most entertaining. Levy has covered personal computing for almost thirty years, for Newsweek and Wired and in six previous books, and has visited Google’s headquarters periodically since 1999, talking with its founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and, as much as has been possible for a journalist, observing the company from the inside. He has been able to record some provocative, if slightly self-conscious, conversations like this one in 2004 about their hopes for Google:

“It will be included in people’s brains,” said Page. “When you think about something and don’t really know much about it, you will automatically get information.”
“That’s true,” said Brin. “Ultimately I view Google as a way to augment your brain with the knowledge of the world. Right now you go into your computer and type a phrase, but you can imagine that it could be easier in the future, that you can have just devices you talk into, or you can have computers that pay attention to what’s going on around them”¦..”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Books, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Psychology, Science & Technology

Chris Ewing-Weisz–”˜Uncle John’ Stott helped to build a worldwide evangelical movement

Stott was much in demand as a speaker on university campuses. Rather than resorting to emotional appeal, he made a reasoned case that let students encounter the Bible as a divinely inspired message with immediate relevance to contemporary life. He challenged his hearers to listen both to the word of God and to the world around them.

This “double listening” made him a leader and architect of evangelicalism. Invited by Billy Graham to address the International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1974, he helped delegates to see preaching and social action, hitherto frequently contrasted, as equally important and interdependent aspects of the Gospel mandate. This was a defining moment in world evangelicalism, cemented in the Lausanne Covenant, a pivotal document owing much to his pen. Stott continued to broaden evangelical horizons for decades, insisting on responsible engagement with issues from medical ethics to ecology.

Read it all.

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

Anglican Archbishop Wabukala Blames the Government for Food Crisis

Speaking at Kamusinga in Bungoma county, the Archbishop said raging famine in Northern and Eastern Kenya “was the result of government’s failure to plan” and the buck stops with the grand coalition government’s top leadership.

Archbishop Wabukala observed that occurrence of drought was cyclical and government ought to have put in place emergency measures to counter its negative effects on populations in arid and semi arid areas early enough, but did nothing instead leading to the massive starvation being witnessed in the country.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Kenya, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Charity's Mission: Give Money To Poor People

A group of economists is launching a charity with a simple but radical plan: Give money to very poor people, and let them spend it however they want.

The recipients live in rural Kenya, typically in mud huts with dirt floors. They make about $1 a day.

The charity is called GiveDirectly. It’s the outgrowth of relatively new technology, and a very old economic idea.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Personal Finance, Stewardship, Theology