Daily Archives: August 23, 2011

Go figure–an earthquake in Virginia! (5.9)

Check it out.

Posted in Uncategorized

Report: Majority of Congress with no education in business

Almost 80 percent of lawmakers have no academic background in business or economics, even as Congress grapples with deficits, unemployment and other economic issues of tremendous complexity, according to an independent analysis released Tuesday.

The Employment Policies Institute (EPI) found that only 8.4 percent of lawmakers majored in economics or a related field, while just 13.7 percent studied topics related to business or accounting.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Maggie Gallagher–Defend Marriage: Moms and Dads Matter

…our current marriage culture is in serious trouble. According to a new Brookings Institution report by two major family scholars (Brad Wilcox and Andrew Cherlin), “the sexual disorder that marked the underclass in the sixties has moved up the class ladder well into Middle America.”

The study discovered that by the late 2000s, “moderately educated American women were more than seven times as likely to bear a child outside of marriage as compared with their college-educated peers.” While college-educated mothers showed a six-percent rate of nonmarital births, the rate of nonmarital births for moderately educated mothers was closer to the rate for mothers that do not have high school degrees””44 percent and 54 percent, respectively.

Add to these statistics that 43 percent of moderately educated young adults between ages 25 and 44 report that “marriage has not worked out for most people they know,” while only 17 percent of highly educated young adults report this.

Read it all.

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

(CBS' 60 Minutes) Archbishop Timothy Dolan: New face of the church?

To accomplish his mission, his main weapon seems to be that indefinable quality called charm.

Dolan is hard to miss: this burly, overweight, cherubic Irish-American charges through life like a holy bulldozer, his brow gleaming, hands reaching.

It’s a laugh a minute, hugging, glad-handing and backslapping everyone from street cops to big-time donors.

He’s a tireless promoter of all things Catholic, and always ready to refuel.

“Did you always have, dare I say, the gift of the gab?” Safer asked….

Read it all (a video also is available)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Time Magazine) Rembrandt Changed our Image of Christ

During Rembrandt’s long, tumultuous career, something happened that changed his thinking about the depiction of Jesus. When Rembrandt was in his early 40s, he shifted from turbulent scenes from the Gospel, full of sharp light and emphatic gestures, to smaller, contemplative groupings. Was the change connected to the loss in 1642 of his beloved wife Saskia, just 30 years old, and the death in infancy of three of their four children? Was the shift tied to his mounting problems with money? Long the acknowledged master of rich surfaces and roiling tableaux, Rembrandt in middle age appears to have gone in search of a consoling Christ, quieter, more meditative, somebody who would listen.

You can plot the evolution of his thinking in two versions he produced of The Supper at Emmaus, depicting an episode from the Gospel of Luke in which a pair of disciples on the road to a village outside Jerusalem are joined by a stranger….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Art, Christology, History, Religion & Culture, Theology

(ABC) Battle for Libya: Rebel Forces Loot Gadhafi's Armory

Large numbers of rebel fighters are retreating into Libya’s western towns and cities to regroup with weapons looted from Moammar Gadhafi’s armory while others continue to clash with the Libyan leader’s regime as the battle for Tripoli enters its third day.

Rebels broke into Bab al-Azizya, the main military compound in Tripoli, and reportedly filled several pick-up trucks to the brim with munitions and supplies. Rebel soldiers told ABC News that they plan to return to their bases then go back to Tripoli to attack Gadhafi’s loyalists one more time in an attempt to seal victory….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Libya, Politics in General

This coming Sunday Pilgrims Follow in the Footsteps of St Paulinus

On Sunday 28 August, walkers will set out across Yorkshire on a newly discovered pilgrimage trail that will retrace the footsteps of the 6th century saint, Paulinus all the way to York…

These modern day pilgrims ”“ some from as far away as Sweden and New Zealand – will launch the first pilgrimage along the Paulinus Way next Sunday (28 Aug) when they leave Todmorden for the seven day trek along the 65 mile route through Halifax, Dewsbury, Wakefield, Leeds and Tadcaster to be greeted at the end by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu in York Minster on Sunday 4 September.

This new pilgrimage trail is the culmination of a three-year project by teacher and academic Tina Clayton, from Todmorden into the little-known figure of St Paulinus, the first Bishop of York, who converted many northern Britons to Christianity in the early seventh century.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

Joel Bakan–The Kids Are Not All Right

…the issues confronting parents today can’t be dismissed as mere generational prejudices. There is reason to believe that childhood itself is now in crisis….

the 20th century also witnessed another momentous shift, one that would ultimately threaten the welfare of children: the rise of the for-profit corporation. Lawyers, policy makers and business lobbied successfully for various rights and entitlements traditionally connected, legally, with personhood. New laws recognized corporations as legal ”” albeit artificial ”” “persons,” granting them many of the same legal rights and privileges as human beings. In an eerie parallel with the child-protective efforts, “the best interests of the corporation” was soon introduced as a legal precept.

A clash between these two newly created legal entities ”” children and corporations ”” was, perhaps, inevitable. Century-of-the-child reformers sought to resolve conflicts in favor of children. But over the last 30 years there has been a dramatic reversal: corporate interests now prevail. Deregulation, privatization, weak enforcement of existing regulations and legal and political resistance to new regulations have eroded our ability, as a society, to protect children.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

Preaching a Healthy Diet in the Deep-Fried Delta

For over a decade from his pulpit here at Oak Hill Baptist in North Mississippi, the Rev. Michael O. Minor has waged war against obesity and bad health. In the Delta this may seem akin to waging war against humidity, but Mr. Minor has the air of the salesman he once was, and the animated persistence to match.

Years into his war, he is beginning to claim victories.

The National Baptist Convention, which represents some seven million people in nearly 10,000 churches, is ramping up a far-reaching health campaign devised by Mr. Minor, which aims to have a “health ambassador” in every member church by September 2012. The goals of the program, the most ambitious of its kind, will be demanding but concrete, said the Rev. George W. Waddles Sr., the president of the convention’s Congress of Christian Education.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

Pope to the young 'apostles of the 21st century'

His first words to them after a welcoming address by the Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Ruoco Varela, were “I hope you were able to sleep a little last night”, to the young people’s applause. Then with the procession of bishops and priests to the sweeping white stage, upon which a simple altar was shaded by the outstretched branches of an artificial golden tree, the closing ceremony of this week of prayer, song, meditation and encounter begun.

“We cannot encounter Christ and not want to make him known to others.” Pope Benedict told them in his homily. “So do not keep Christ to yourselves!”. The entire homily was drawn from the Sunday Gospel, Mathew 16, from Christ’s question to the apostles: “But who do you say that I am?”.

“Faith is more than just empirical or historical facts; it is an ability to grasp the mystery of Christ’s person in all its depth”, he said. And then looking out on the horizon of young men and women, religious and lay, that extended before his gaze, the Pope said to them , “today Christ is asking you the same question”. “Respond to him with generosity and courage, as befits young hearts like your own”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Europe, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Spain, Teens / Youth, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We give thee thanks, O heavenly Father, who hast delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of thy Son; grant, we pray thee, that as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his presence abiding in us he may raise us to joys eternal; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are mad; your great learning is turning you mad.” But Paul said, “I am not mad, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking the sober truth. For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak freely; for I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time you think to make me a Christian!” And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am–except for these chains.”

–Acts 26:24-29

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

New York City Reports Increase in Allegations of Cheating by Educators

Annual allegations of test-tampering and grade-changing by educators have more than tripled since Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took control of New York City’s school system, outpacing a broader increase in complaints of adult misconduct in schools during the same period, according to the special commissioner of investigation.

The commissioner, Richard J. Condon, attributed the rise both to the expansion of the school system ”” its budget has more than doubled, to $24 billion from $11.5 billion when he took office in 2002, and the number of schools has grown to 1,700 from 1,200 ”” and to the higher stakes attached to standardized tests and classroom grades. The city’s performance bonuses, teacher evaluations, school progress reports and decisions on closings are all increasingly tied to student performance.

“When you start giving money to the schools to do well, that’s another incentive to appear to do well if you are not doing well,” said Mr. Condon, a plain-spoken former New York police commissioner. “If a lot of the evaluation is based on how the students do, that’s an incentive for the teachers to try to help the students do well, even in ways that are unacceptable.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Theology

(Vancouver Sun) Who is the favorite thinker of Reappraising Christians?

If you wondered if the thousands of clergy of the liberal United Church of Canada are always reading the Bible, or, alternatively, tend to steamy sex novels, the truth has been revealed in a worthwhile survey.

The respected United Church magazine, The Observer, surveyed a bunch of their clergy across the country and came up with the top 25 spiritual thinkers they’d recommend to the denomination’s roughly 500,000 members.

It’s the kind of thing I’d like to see done by a lot of religious organizations, from Catholic to Pentecostal, Buddhist to Sikh. Favorite authors says a lot about a group or a person.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Books, Canada, Religion & Culture, Theology

(USA Today) A Decade later, the Spiritual impact of 9/11 stays

…statistics indicate most people were not so drastically reshaped and motivated by the Sept. 11 experience. A Pew Research poll in December 2001 found that those who said they prayed or worshiped more in the aftermath of the attacks were people who already were the most religious.

Indeed, the number of people who are “unchurched” — who have not attended a service or event other than a wedding or funeral in the last six months — increased from 24% in 1991 to 37% in 2011, according to two decades of studies by George Barna, founder of the Christian research firm The Barna Group. What never wavers: Nearly all Americans, about 95%, consistently say they believe in God or a higher power.

And that moves to the forefront during a crisis, says David Kinnaman, president of The Barna Group and author of a new book, You Lost Me.

Read it all.

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