Daily Archives: August 4, 2011

In Afghanistan, the disabled find they have a voice

Like many Afghans with similar disabilities, [Amina] Azimi fretted over her future, knowing the hardships she would face in a country where the disabled are often discriminated against in schools and the workplace. That is, when they can find a job.

“After it happened I thought I was useless and the rest of my life meaningless,” she says, recalling the attack some 15 years ago during the height of the Afghan civil war.

Today, Azimi, 26, has found a purpose: She uses the radio to boost the fortunes of people with disabilities in a country where prejudices against such people are ingrained in the culture and the number of disabled people has grown significantly because of three decades of near-constant conflict.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Health & Medicine, Media, Psychology, War in Afghanistan

An FT Magazine Piece on the Church of England

Looking round the Minster, I wondered if the highly sophisticated and intelligent people reciting the Creed really believed everything they were saying. Everyone was in full voice; I failed to spot anyone with their fingers crossed. But the answer seemed to be: not exactly.

“What we’re doing is identifying back to a distant past,” explained Michael Sadgrove, the Dean of Durham. “When we say he descended to Hell, I think, if people identify with it at all, they’re identifying with a tradition. The Latin for Nicene Creed is Symbolum Nicaenum. And I think these statements of faith have a symbolic function.

“I don’t think the way to understand them is to dissect them clause by clause. The fundamental of Christian faith is that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Christians will argue for ever about how you put boundaries round that.” It was a former bishop of Durham, David Jenkins, who most clearly, and controversially, articulated the revisionist view of gospel truth. His heirs are more circumspect but not necessarily in major disagreement.

Read it all.

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

(CEN) Archbishop Akinola says ”˜no’ to Sharia banking

Archbishop Akinola called on the Church of Nigeria and “all other well-meaning Nigerians to wake up and appreciate the situation.”

“Well-meaning Nigerians must resist all of this by all lawful means and the National Assembly must see the whole thing as an affront” to the Nigerian constitution “which states unambiguously that no particular religion shall be adopted as state religion.”

“Government must take decisive action and promptly cancel everything about the proposed Sharia banking,” the archbishop said, imploring Christians to “rise to defend our faith which is currently on trial” from pro-Muslim government policies and violent Islamist terror attacks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

In Ottawa Old, New realities clash over homeless

Centre 454 has long been associated with the Anglican Church. The group provides social services to the homeless, helping them with everything from dental appointments to applying for financial programs. They offer a cup of coffee and a place for those living on the streets to socialize when shelters are closed during the day.

For a quarter of a century, the centre was housed at the St. Alban’s Anglican Church and had its own entrance at 454 King Edward St….

An internal rift with the Anglican Church led to the centre being summarily dismissed from the parish, and its home has been at a decidedly dismal storefront on the east end of Murray Street.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Poverty

(CNN) Ex-CIA official sounds alarm about hackers' next targets

[Cofer Black]… referenced last year’s Stuxnet computer worm, which some researchers think was designed to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“I’m here to tell ya … the Stuxnet attack is the Rubicon of our future,” he said. “I don’t necessarily understand how this was executed, but the important points are (that) it was really expensive, so a nation-state had to be involved.”

Hacking, once see as “college pranks,” has moved “into physical destruction of a national resource,” he said. “This is huge.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(BBC) Italy 'to default' but Spain may 'just' escape

Debt-laden Italy is likely to default, but Spain might just avoid it, according to the British think tank, the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

With the countries weighed down by debt, the think tank modelled “good” and “bad” economic scenarios for both.

It found that Italy will not avoid default unless it sees an unlikely big jump in economic growth.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Italy, Politics in General, Spain, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(CNS) Immigration is 'key to American renewal,' says Los Angeles Archbishop Gomez

U.S. Catholics have a responsibility to bring a “faith perspective” to the current immigration debate and to keep in mind the “whole story” of immigrants’ role in this country’s history, said Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez during a talk at the Napa Institute July 28 in Napa.

“When we understand immigration from this perspective, we can see that immigration is not a problem for America. It’s an opportunity. It is a key to our American renewal,” he said.

The archbishop was one of several speakers during the July 28-31 annual conference sponsored by the Napa Institute, an organization that promotes Catholic thought and apologetics.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Women Show Deep Drop in Church Attendance, Barna Survey Says

No population group among the sixty segments examined has gone through more spiritual changes in the past two decades than women. Of the 14 religious factors studied, women have experienced statistically significant changes related to 10 of them. Of those transitions, eight represent negative movement ”“ that is, either less engagement in common religious behaviors or a shift in belief away from biblical teachings.

Five of the six religious behaviors tracked showed significant change.

–Church attendance among women sank by 11 percentage points since 1991, declining to 44%. A majority of women no longer attend church services during a typical week.
–Bible reading has plummeted by 10 percentage points, declining from half of all women reading the Bible during a typical week (excluding that done during church events) to just four out of ten doing so today (40%)….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Women

(New Yorker) Nicholas Schmidle–Getting Bin Laden

On April 18th, the DEVGRU squad flew to Nevada for another week of rehearsals. The practice site was a large government-owned stretch of desert with an elevation equivalent to the area surrounding Abbottabad. An extant building served as bin Laden’s house. Aircrews plotted out a path that paralleled the flight from Jalalabad to Abbottabad. Each night after sundown, drills commenced. Twelve SEALs, including Mark, boarded helo one. Eleven SEALs, Ahmed, and Cairo boarded helo two. The pilots flew in the dark, arrived at the simulated compound, and settled into a hover while the SEALs fast-roped down. Not everyone on the team was accustomed to helicopter assaults. Ahmed had been pulled from a desk job for the mission and had never descended a fast rope. He quickly learned the technique.

The assault plan was now honed. Helo one was to hover over the yard, drop two fast ropes, and let all twelve SEALs slide down into the yard. Helo two would fly to the northeast corner of the compound and let out Ahmed, Cairo, and four SEALs, who would monitor the perimeter of the building. The copter would then hover over the house, and James and the remaining six SEALs would shimmy down to the roof. As long as everything was cordial, Ahmed would hold curious neighbors at bay. The SEALs and the dog could assist more aggressively, if needed. Then, if bin Laden was proving difficult to find, Cairo could be sent into the house to search for false walls or hidden doors. “This wasn’t a hard op,” the special-operations officer told me. “It would be like hitting a target in McLean”””the upscale Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C.

This is not short but it is well worth the time. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Pakistan, Science & Technology, Terrorism, The U.S. Government

Undersea mission: Charleston cutters help retrieve cocaine from sub-type craft

Two Charleston-based Coast Guard cutters helped in the recovery of 15,000 pounds of cocaine from a submarine-type craft in what’s believed to be the first time the stealth vessels increasingly favored by drug runners have been spotted in the Caribbean.

The Cutters Oak and Gallatin both took part in the effort to find and secure the wreck after the semi-submersible’s crew scuttled the boat in 75 feet of water near the Honduran-Nicaraguan border.

The crew of the Oak located the sunken vessel on the sea floor while the Gallatin participated in security and the overall effort, officials said.

Read it all from the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Politics in General

Joy in the Midst of Terror–Joe Carter talks to Canon Andrew White of Saint George's, Baghdad

You have concerns that most pastors can’t begin to fathom. How does working under such extraordinary conditions affect ordinary ministry?

So many of our brothers and sisters here in Baghdad have been killed, kidnapped, or tortured even in the last few months. Members of my staff have also been killed. Just this morning, I was trying to sort out post-hospital care for our former chief of security, who recently had a leg blown off.
We cope because the Lord is always with us. When you are where the Lord wants you to be, he always enables you to cope. Look at Daniel. He had not planned to come into exile in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. God still provided him with all that he required. He had not intended to be an interpreter of dreams, but God gave him the knowledge to do all that he needed and enabled him to serve with joy.
In the same way, I had no intention of coming to Iraq. But God brought me here 13 years ago, and now there is nowhere in the world I would rather be. Even in the midst of terror and persecution, we have the joy of the Lord.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Iraq, Middle East, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Into thy hands, O Lord, we commend ourselves and all who are dear to us this day. Be with us in our going out and in our coming in. Strengthen us for the work which thou hast given us to do. And grant that, filled with thy Holy Spirit, we may walk worthy of our high calling, and cheerfully accomplish those things that thou wouldest have done; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–F. T. Woods

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks; and fear fell upon them all; and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew and prevailed mightily.

–Acts 19:17-20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Europe’s Banks Struggle With Weak Bonds

…another type of contagion is causing concern: the risk of problems spreading to big banks, especially in Italy and Spain.

The growing vulnerability of the giant banks in these two countries is spurring investor fears that Europe’s latest bid to get a handle on its festering debt crisis, adopted just a few weeks ago, has come up short.

The banks own so many bonds issued by their home countries that they are being weakened as the value of those bonds falls, amid concerns that the cost of government borrowing could become too expensive for Italy and Spain to bear.

Now there are signs that these concerns are, in turn, making it harder and costlier for the banks to borrow money to finance their day-to-day operations, a troubling trend that, at the worst, could lead to liquidity problems.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, Italy, Spain, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector

State-Sponsored Cyberattack Targeted More Than 70 Organizations Worldwide

A series of cyberattacks that targeted more than 70 organizations in 14 countries throughout the last five years was uncovered by Internet security firm McAfee, Vanity Fair reported Tuesday.

The attacks, discovered by McAfee Vice President of Threat Research Dmitri Alperovitch, and nicknamed “Operation Shady Rat,” are thought to be state-sponsored.

While the victims varied widely in size and location, Vanity Fair reports that the majority of them (49) were U.S.-based organizations and that defense contractors (13) were the most targeted….

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

A.S. Haley–Making Heresy Pay: the Episcopal Church's Hired Expert

In each of its multiple lawsuits against departed parishes and dioceses, ECUSA usually files a sworn statement (“affidavit” or “declaration”) from Prof. Robert Bruce Mullin, who teaches at its General Theological Seminary in New York. Required discovery disclosures in some of the lawsuits have finally given opponents a handle on the degree of bias which Dr. Mullin brings to his task. Without mincing any words, let me come right to the point:

Over forty months from September 2007 through December 2010, ECUSA has paid Prof. Mullin, over and above his salary at GTS, a total of $672,020.00 in hourly fees. ECUSA has also paid to reimburse him for a further $8,487 in expenses he incurred in his researches, including travel to various locations to have his deposition taken, or to testify at trials.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

(WKSU) Episcopal Churches split in Ohio

For Christ Church in Hudson, the split came from within. Half the congregation left in 2003 after an openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, was ordained in New Hampshire. They set up a new church across town, Holy Trinity Anglican.

At the same time, entire congregations of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Akron and St. Luke’s in Fairlawn left the Diocese of Ohio. The pastor of St. Luke’s, Mike Kraynak says Robinson’s ordination was one of several concerns.

“One thing I believe is really tragic is the gay community gets blamed sometimes because it makes headlines — that this separation is about homosexuality. Our decision to leave the Episcopal Church was really a result of several decades of drifting apart of theological understandings, such as the divinity of Christ, or the nature of salvation”¦”

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Parishes, Theology