Daily Archives: August 30, 2011

Robert Spaemann–The death of death

Our atheist modern age understands the contrast between life and death as absolute. We search for some palliatives, but they are ineffective. “My life continues in the lives of my children,” we say, but for an individual this is an empty phrase.

We doggedly fight to prolong life, only to find that we cannot win this battle – and are left unable to produce authentic rituals to accompany the end of our existence.

Because our societies have no sense of limits, they strive to eliminate death from our consciousness. More and more often, death takes place in a hidden hospital room. Death is suppressed socially, but the effect is that individuals’ fear of death grows ever greater. Most people nowadays face death never having witnessed the death of someone else!

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

UK Cabinet Minister accidentally reveals Afghanistan documents

Sensitive Government information about Afghanistan was accidentally revealed by Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell today when he left Downing Street with the documents on show.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, England / UK, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan

Saint Andrews in Denver, Colorado, to offer Same Sex Blessings

The parish self-description from their website is:

We are an inclusive, welcoming community with a historic and ongoing commitment to outreach, traditional worship and music shaped by our Anglo-Catholic heritage, and a growing number of children.

.In a recent newsletter rector Elizabeth Randall says:

With the Bishop’s permission and by resolution of the vestry, St. Andrew’s is now a parish where the blessing of same-gender relationships may take place. Blessings are available to active members of the parish, and will use the liturgy provided by the diocese. Couples who are interested in seeking a blessing should contact the rector. Many thanks to the vestry task force who guided our discernment process, and to all those who told their stories and offered their views during this time. This is an important milestone in the life of our community, and I am grateful to share this moment with you.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Parishes

(WSJ) John Steele Gordon–A Short Primer on the National Debt

In absolute numbers, the total public debt as of Aug. 11 was $9.924 trillion, and the intra-government debt was $4.666 trillion, for a total of $14.587 trillion. That’s well over 300 million times the country’s median household income….

The GDP of the United States was $15.003 trillion at the end of the first quarter in 2011. That makes the public debt equal to 66.1% of GDP and the intra-governmental debt 31.1%. Total debt is now 97.2% of GDP and climbing rapidly.

And it’s the climbing rapidly part that is worrisome, not the debt’s current size relative to GDP. Indeed, the debt has been substantially higher by that measure in earlier times. In 1946, in the immediate aftermath of World War II, it was 129.98% of GDP. But while the debt had increased enormously during the war (it had been 50% of a much smaller GDP in 1940), it did not increase substantially over the next 15 years….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, History, Medicare, Politics in General, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(Spectator) Tom Wright–How the Church of England can ”“ and will ”“ endure

Despite two centuries of being told the opposite, in fact, the Church can’t help itself. Secular modernism still likes to pretend that the world runs itself, and that ”˜religion’ has to do with private spirituality and ­otherworldly hope. The Church ”” not least those who want to create a ”˜pure’ type of Christianity, and look either to Rome or to a ”˜biblical’ sect to provide it ”” has often colluded with this secularist shrinking of the task. But the genuinely biblical vision, rooted in the four gospels, is of God already being king of the world, through the victory of Jesus. ”˜All authority in heaven and on earth,’ said Jesus, ”˜has been given to me.’ And on earth. The Church exists to demonstrate what that means.

It exists, in other words, to do and be for the world what Jesus had been for his contemporaries: to bring healing and hope, to rescue people trapped in their own folly and sin, to straighten out the distorted pictures of reality that every age manages to produce, and to enable people to live by, and in, God’s true reality. It exists not to rescue people from the world but to rescue them for the world: to see lives transformed by the gospel so that people can discover a new depth and resonance of what it means to be human, precisely by looking beyond themselves to God, to the beauties and glories of his creation, and to their neighbours, particularly those in need. The Church does this through liturgy and laughter; through music and drug-rehabilitation programmes; through prayer and protest marches; through preaching and campaigning; through soaking itself in the Bible and immersing itself in the needs of the world. When God wants to change the world, he doesn’t send in the tanks (as many, including many critics, think he should). He sends in the meek; and by the time the world realises what’s going on, the meek have set up clinics and schools, taught people to read and to sing, and given them a hope, meaning and purpose….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(SMH) Hugh White–China shifts Pacific waters with its aircraft carrier trials

The Chinese have long understood that America’s sea control in the western Pacific has been the military foundation of its strategic primacy in Asia, and that the US Navy’s carriers are the key. They have therefore focused the formidable expansion of their naval and air forces over the past 20 years on trying to deprive the US of sea control by developing their capacity to sink American carriers. In this they appear to have been strikingly successful, to the point that US military leaders now acknowledge that their sea control in the western Pacific is slipping away.

But for China, depriving America of sea control is not the same as acquiring it themselves. Its naval strategy has focused on the much more limited aim that strategists call ”sea denial”: the ability to attack an adversary’s ships without being able to stop them attacking yours. These days, sea denial can be achieved without putting ships to sea, because land-based aircraft, long-range missiles and submarines can sink ships much more cost-effectively than other ships can. This is what China has done.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Science & Technology

Deadly Christian-Muslim clash in central Nigeria: witnesses

Clashes broke out between Christians and Muslims in tense central Nigeria on Monday, with witnesses reporting a number of deaths as well as vehicles and at least two shops set ablaze.

The head of a search-and-rescue team for the Muslim community in the city of Jos, where the clashes occurred, reported nine dead and 106 people wounded, but there was no official confirmation.

Information commissioner for Plateau state Yiljap Abraham said “there are casualties, but the police will give that later.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

Paul Griffiths–A Call to rediscover the Art of Dying

….Catholic moral theologians at the moment have much more to say about the importance of staving off death than the importance of learning how to welcome it, and this needs to be corrected. If it is not, we will lose Therese’s sense that death can be a matter for rejoicing.

Catholics need to begin to think and teach again, in public, about the ars moriendi, the art of dying.

One way in which this might be done is for the church to educate its wealthy – in American terms, that means anyone with medical insurance and a household income over $100,000 annually – that it might be good for them to die sooner than they do and with less care than they have come to think their right.

There is no reason why the church ought to accept the guidelines of the American Medical Association about such things….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Roman Catholic, Theology

Poll: Few Muslims feel U.S. alienation

There is no rising alienation or anger among American Muslims, despite a feeling that they are being targeted by anti-terrorism government programs, a comprehensive new poll found Tuesday.

The vast majority of Muslim-Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center – 79 percent of respondents – rated their communities as “excellent” or “good” places to live.

Indeed, Muslim-Americans are more likely than two years ago to say that they are satisfied with the current direction of the country – 56 percent are satisfied, compared to 38 percent in 2007, according to the poll – one of the largest ever done on Muslim attitudes in the U.S.

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

(LA Times) A Key September 11th Legacy: more domestic surveillance

Internet entrepreneur Nicholas Merrill was working in his Manhattan office when an FBI agent in a trench coat arrived with an envelope.

It was fall 2004, and federal investigators were using new legal authority they had acquired after Sept. 11, 2001. Merrill ran a small Internet service provider with clients including IKEA, Mitsubishi and freelance journalists.

The agent handed Merrill a document called a National Security Letter, which demanded that he turn over detailed records on one of his customers. The letter wasn’t signed by a judge or prosecutor. It instructed him to tell no one….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Terrorism, The U.S. Government

(Telegraph) Cristina Odone–Nursing is no longer the caring profession

[My 79-year-old mother] found more care amid the cauliflowers and cash registers of John Lewis than in the NHS hospital she was admitted to six months ago. Her calls for water and a commode were ignored; so, too, were her attempts at conversation. Worse still, at one point she found herself lying naked on the bed while the two nurses who were sponging her giggled and spoke in Tagalog.

At least she was spared the nurses who wear red tabards emblazoned with the warning “Do Not Disturb”. But thousands of patients in Kent, Derby and Middlesex are not so lucky. Their nurses are donning the “buzz off” tabards during drug rounds. The aim, according to the NHS Trusts that have introduced the uniform, is to prevent those pesky patients from interrupting nurse during her important tasks. She should not have to stop her form-filling and box-ticking to quench some old biddy’s thirst, for goodness’ sake.

This leaves the patient and their worried relatives wondering, whatever next?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of Charles Chapman Grafton

Loving God, who didst call Charles Chapman Grafton to be a bishop in thy Church, endowing him with a burning zeal for souls: Grant that, following his example, we may ever live for the extension of thy kingdom, that thy glory may be the chief end of our lives, thy will the law of our conduct, thy love the motive of our actions, and Christ’s life the model and mold of our own; through the same Jesus Christ, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, throughout all ages. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops

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

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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