Daily Archives: August 10, 2011

Church leaders launch Call to Action and Appeal for famine victims

Ecumenical faith leaders in Africa today launched a Call to Action and Appeal for the people affected by famine in the Horn of Africa.

The move came after a two day meeting in Nairobi led by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa and involving the All Africa Council of Churches the Lutheran World Federation, WCC-EHAIA, FECCLAHA, LWF, OAIC, WSCF, EAA, ACT Alliance and World Vision, brought together by the Anglican Alliance for development relief and advocacy.

As the first Africa regional ecumenical and interdenominational gathering in response to the food insecurity and humanitarian crisis, the group paid tribute to the heroic work of the humanitarian agencies, churches and others who had saved millions of lives working in difficult circumstances to meet the needs of people fleeing drought, famine and war.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Poverty

Local paper–End of rent aid has woman, others concerned about future

Kathryn Meadowcroft said she knows what it’s like to live in a homeless shelter, and now she is worried that she might have to return there next month.

Three years ago she was able to move out of the shelter after several months and into an attractive, one-bedroom unit in Seven Farms Apartments, a low-income complex, on Daniel Island.
Her move was made possible because of a little-known federal subsidy that Lowcountry housing advocates tapped to help more local residents find a decent home.

However, on Aug. 31, the program — known as the Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program — will expire because of budget cuts.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(AP) No shame for religious killings in Indonesian town

When Dani bin Misra was released from prison last week after serving just three months for smashing in the skull of a member of a Muslim sect, this conservative Indonesian town let out a triumphant cry.

“He’s a hero!” Rasna bin Wildan said of the teenage killer.

The ferociousness of the attack, captured on video and circulated widely on the Internet, guaranteed no one from the Ahmadiyah group would dare set foot in Cikeusik again, the 38-year-old farmer said as others nodded in agreement.
Their reaction is part of a wider wave of intolerance against religious minorities that is challenging Indonesia’s image as a beacon of how Islam and liberalism can coexist.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Indonesia, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Violence

(ENI) London vigil walkers call for peace as violence spreads

With the smell of smoke and wail of sirens in the background, about 200 to 300 people from a range of faiths on the evening of 8 August gathered for a prayer and a walk to the center of Tottenham, north London, scarred by a weekend of rioting.

Called a “Vigil of Hope,” the walk took place in an atmosphere of escalating violence in London and other cities in Britain. A 26-year-old man was reported killed in Croydon, south of London and hundreds have been arrested as business and shops were burned and looted in a third day of violence. Prime Minister David Cameron recalled Parliament and vowed to put an additional 10,000 police officers on the streets to quell outbreaks in London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Bristol.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Gallup–U.S. Economic Confidence Plunges in Past Two Weeks

Americans’ economic confidence plunged to -53 in the week ending Aug. 7, a level not seen since the recession days of March 2009. This deterioration coincided with the final wrangling over the U.S. debt ceiling and Standard and Poor’s downgrade of the United States’ debt rating. Economic confidence is now far worse than the -43 of two weeks ago and the -34 of a month ago.

Read it all and take a look at those graphs.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Psychology

Oliver Hartwich–Setting a European time bomb

If the experience of previous ECB interventions is anything to go by it is only a matter of time until we see larger-scale ECB operations, potentially accompanied by a European Financial Stability Facility (and later European Stability Mechanism) bailout. This is how it happened in the cases of Ireland and Portugal. ECB measures have always been announced as ways to prevent further, more costly rescue packages. The strategy never worked because in the end we got both. It won’t work this time, either.

It is remarkable how far the ECB has now moved from its initial Bundesbank-like philosophy of independence and monetary stability. These were not just soap-box oratories but supposedly law. The EU Treaty defines the ECB’s role very clearly: “The primary objective of the European System of Central Banks [the ECB and eurozone central banks] shall be to maintain price stability.” And the ECB “shall be independent in the exercise of its powers and in the management of its finances. Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and the governments of the Member States shall respect that independence.” If only!

Maybe the ECB somehow manages to conform to the letter of the law. It certainly doesn’t to its spirit….

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, Italy, Spain, Stock Market

Bishop of Oxford to lead pilgrimage on Twitter

Enjoying a refreshing pilgrimage has never been more accessible or affordable, as the Bishop of Oxford issues an invitation to join him on pilgrimage via ‘tweets’ on the Twitter website. His progress – along with inspirational prayers taken from the new book Pocket Prayers for Pilgrims and useful links to information on his chosen destinations – will be read on mobile phones and computers free of charge by all who follow the Church of England’s national Twitter identity c_of_e at http://twitter.com/#!/c_of_e.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Wash. Post editorial) A misguided lawsuit targets the ”˜World Trade Center cross’

Searching for survivors amid the rubble that was the World Trade Center, workers 10 years ago unearthed two steel beams joined together at right angles. The 17-foot cross ”” to some, a sign of comfort and faith in the most nightmarish of times ”” became part of the story of New York City’s recovery from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. To omit it from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum ”” as a misguided lawsuit seeks to do ”” is tantamount to ripping out a page of history.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the current financial situation

From here:

Lord God, we live in disturbing days:
across the world,
prices rise,
debts increase,
markets are in turmoil,
jobs are taken away,
and fragile security is under threat.
Loving God, meet us in our fear and hear our prayer:
be a tower of strength amidst the shifting sands,
and a light in the darkness;
help us receive your gift of peace,
and fix our hearts where true joys are to be found,
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Spirituality/Prayer, Stock Market

Chris Sugden–Notes from John Stott's Funeral

Judge David Turner, for twenty years a churchwarden at All Souls, spoke so well that some of us felt like applauding at the end. He began by recalling John’s written instructions when he went to the College of St Barnabas in 2006 whose carers were present and were warmly thanked. “I do not wish to cling to life. I have a living hope of a yet a more wonderful life beyond death. I do not wish to be unnecessarily hindered from entering it.” Today’s funeral was “supremely an au revoir moment….”

{He] recalled one particular meeting he arrived at at All Souls having been dive-bombed by a seagull on his way to the church. He went into the meeting still wiping the considerable mess off his suit and muttering “wretched seagull.” John responded: “ A herring-gull or maybe a black-headed gull, but a mere seagull it was not. Dear brother, you have been judged for your ignorance.” Cue laughter in the aisles.

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

Addiction: What gets us hooked?

“My destructive side has grown a mile wide,” she sang on her first album in 2003. The cause of Amy Winehouse’s death has not yet been confirmed, but her struggles with drug addiction, and more recently alcoholism, mean most people will be shocked if a link isn’t found.

But have you ever wondered why one person can drink like a fish for years and never become an alcoholic, while for others, like Winehouse, a tipple or 10 can begin the slide into dependency? Why can one person take that first disgusting drag of a cigarette (for that first drag is always disgusting) and say never again, while for others it becomes the start of nicotine dependence, still the most common addiction in the world?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Psychology

London riots: A message from the Bishop of London

From here:

“The events of the past few days in London are appalling – but not wholly unexpected. Whatever the real motivations of those who have brought violence to our streets, there will be a proper time for sober analysis and an assessment of the role of gang culture in the capital.

“For now, the other side of the story of violence and looting is the swift response of communities across London in clearing up the debris and caring for the victims of what has happened. Our churches are already at the forefront of this.

“The Bishop of Edmonton last night attended a vigil for peace in Tottenham, at the heart of where the troubles began, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with local politicians and other Christian leaders in calling for an end to the violence.

“Nearby, St Mary the Virgin on Lansdowne Road has been helping those whose homes and businesses have been affected, including distributing meals and providing hot water and mobile phone charging for those left without electricity, to ensure they can remain in touch with loved ones.

“As trouble reached East London yesterday evening, Bishop Adrian and Father Rob Wickham were on the streets helping those they could as panic spread through Hackney. Many others among you have been helping in similar ways across the Diocese.

“The situation is unpredictable and it is important that we keep in touch and support one another with prayer and practical assistance.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

The year's best astronomy photos

Check them out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Laurence

Almighty God, who didst call thy deacon Laurence to serve thee with deeds of love, and didst give him the crown of martyrdom: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, following his example, may fulfil thy commandments by defending and supporting the poor, and by loving thee with all our hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to begin the Day

Eternal God, who hast taught us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds: Help thy soldiers to fight the good fight of faith, refusing the weapons of the devil and the world, and overcoming hatred with love, evil with goodness, falsehood with truth, and so extending the victory of the cross; through him who triumphed thereon, even thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 1And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.” And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”

–Mark 10:17-23

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AP) Boy or girl? A simple test raises ethical concerns

Though not widely offered by U.S. doctors, gender-detecting blood tests have been sold online to consumers for the past few years. Their promises of early and accurate results prompted genetics researchers to take a closer look.

The authors say the results suggest blood tests like those studied could be a breakthrough for women at risk of having babies with certain diseases, who could avoid invasive procedures if they learned their fetus was a gender not affected by those illnesses. But the study raises concerns about couples using such tests for gender selection and abortion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Theology

(Time) The Great Riot of London: The Stakes for David Cameron

After three nights of escalating violence, arson and looting which have left parts of London looking like a war zone, Prime Minister David Cameron has one pressing question to answer from citizens looking to him for reassurance and action: “Who controls Britain’s streets?”

Throughout Monday night and the early hours of Tuesday morning the answer to that question appeared to be “the mob.” It certainly was not the police, politicians or local community leaders, all of whom were overwhelmed by the unprecedented scale of the violence and the speed with which it escalated and spread, first, from one London borough to another and then, perhaps inevitably, to other cities including Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol.

If Cameron cannot offer a different answer to the question, one that reassures people that government ministers and the police have control, then the consequences for his leadership could be far reaching and, ultimately, even lethal.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults

Divided Federal Reserve says likely to keep rates low through mid-2013

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday sharply downgraded its outlook for the American economy and took the extraordinary step of signaling that it would hold short-term interest rates at exceptionally low levels “at least through mid-2013.”

The move marks the first time that the U.S. central bank has pegged a specific timetable to a pledge on its benchmark interest rate, the federal funds rate, which has been near zero since late-2008.

But the decision came with three dissenting votes from Fed committee members, reflecting concerns about the threat of runaway inflation down the road.

Read it all.

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

(ENS) Storytelling breathes new life into biblical texts

Never underestimate the power of a well-told story.

The Rev. Adam Bartholomew was converted to biblical storytelling when the Rev. Thomas Boomershine asked him to serve as his audience while he prepared an audiotape of Mark’s Passion narrative as part of his dissertation at Union Theological Seminary in New York, where both were students in the 1970s. First Boomershine read the narrative. Then he told it.

“I was absolutely astonished at the difference. That converted me,” said Bartholomew, a former United Church of Christ minister and now Episcopal priest-in-charge at Church of the Ascension in Mount Vernon, New York .

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Adult Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture