Monthly Archives: September 2011

(WSJ) A New York City Church Puts Faith in Court

The debate over church use of city public-school space has been chugging through the courts since the mid-1990s. The Supreme Court has heard several high-profile cases on schools and religious life in recent years, but justices haven’t yet ruled on whether worship services should be allowed on school property.

That could make the Bronx church’s case a strong candidate for the docket, said Emily Gold Waldman, an associate professor of law at Pace Law School.

“The Supreme Court has decided a number of cases leading up to this issue,” Ms. Waldman said. “There’s still the open question of ‘what about pure religious worship?’ That’s what makes it different.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, City Government, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer for the Feast Day of St. Michael and All Angels

O everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the ministries of angels and men in a wonderful order: Mercifully grant that, as thy holy angels always serve and worship thee in heaven, so by thy appointment they may help and defend us on earth; 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, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Our God, we believe in thee, we hope in thee, and we love thee, because thou hast created us, redeemed us, and dost sanctify us. Increase our faith, strengthen our hope, and deepen our love, that giving up ourselves wholly to thy will, we may serve thee faithfully all the rest of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’ “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.” And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

–Matthew 7:22-29

Posted in Uncategorized

(The Hill) Man arrested in ”˜step-by-step’ plot to blow up Capitol, Pentagon

The FBI arrested and charged a man Wednesday for allegedly plotting to blow up the Capitol and the Pentagon.

The 26-year-old Massachusetts man, Rezwan Ferdaus, was arrested as part of an FBI sting operation in which he was made to believe he was working with members of al Qaeda, who were actually undercover agents.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Terrorism

(Agence France-Press) Christians top target of abuse: Vatican

Christians are the number one target of persecution around the world, the Vatican’s foreign minister told the UN summit on Tuesday.

“The lack of respect for religious freedom represents a threat to security and peace,” Dominique Mamberti, Vatican secretary for external relations, told the UN General Assembly.

“We are seeing an increase in intolerance for religious reasons and unfortunately we note that Christians are the religious group which suffer the most persecution because of their faith,” said the cardinal.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) David Wessel: Political Stalemate Holds Economy Hostage

There is an optimistic scenario for the U.S. economy: Europe gets its act together. The pace of world growth quickens, igniting demand for U.S. exports. American politicians agree to a credible compromise that gives the economy a fiscal boost now and restrains deficits later. The housing market turns up. Relieved businesses hire. Relieved consumers spend.

But there are at least two unpleasant scenarios: One is that Europe becomes the epicenter of a financial earthquake on the scale of the crash of 1929 or Lehman Brothers 2008. The other is that Europe muddles through, but the U.S. stagnates for another five years, mired in slow growth, high unemployment and ugly politics.

No one would intentionally choose the second or third, yet policy makers look more likely to stumble into one of those holes than find a path to the happier ending.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Globalization, History, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(LA Times) Household robots are moving from science fiction to reality

Willow Garage, a start-up in Menlo Park, Calif., has designed a robot called the PR2 that bears some resemblance to “The Jetsons'” beloved Rosie. It’s still under development, but already the PR2 can fold clothes, fetch a drink from the fridge, set the table and even bake cookies.
The robot’s backers aren’t ready to say just how soon the PR2 will hit the mainstream market. Right now it costs too much, does too little and is too slow to be of interest to most consumers. But to many experts, the idea of a skilled and intelligent household robot finally is drawing near.

“The technology is much closer than most people think,” said Andrew Ng, an associate professor of computer science at Stanford University. “We’re not yet there, but I think that in less than a decade the technology will exist to have a useful household robot.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Digital technology brings new life to Dead Sea Scrolls

For decades after they were discovered in a cave, the Dead Sea Scrolls were allowed to be examined closely only by fewer than a couple dozen scholars and archaeologists.

Now, with infrared- and computer-enhanced photography, anyone with a computer can view these 2,000-year-old relics, which include the oldest known copies of biblical text and a window on the world and times of Jesus.

High-quality digitized images of five of the 950 manuscripts were posted for free online for the first time this week by Google and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where the scrolls are housed. The post includes an English translation and a search feature to one of the texts, the Great Isaiah Scroll.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, History, Israel, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

About the Faith–St. Peter and St. Paul Episcopal Church, El Centro, California

We however, because of selfishness, have turned away from the Father, desiring only our own will, when we want it, no matter how much it may hurt others or the creation. This is called sin, and it is a rejection of the love of God. God in His love allows us to be as selfish as we wish, but not in His presence. When we sin, we turn our backs on God, and separate ourselves from Him. That sin also separates us from becoming part of the purpose of God for this universe, thus making our lives pointless and short. We live now in such a world — evil in part, pleasant in part, but pointless — it is a prison of our own making.

But God has never stopped loving us. Using His Spirit, he inspired men and women around the world to reach for Him, for Meaning, for Understanding — and this has resulted in world religions — every culture has produced its own religion based on its partial understanding of God. Of all these religions, the one that understood the best about God was Judaism; so He worked with their prophets, priests, and leaders to grow that understanding, until a point was reached that would allow God to reach out to us, to come to us, and to be understood. At that point in time, God entered our world, the world of humanity, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, took our flesh and was born among us — we called Him Jesus.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes, Theology

(FT) Tax plan raises fears for Europe business

Introducing a financial transaction tax across the European Union would wipe out or displace up to 90 per cent of derivatives transactions and hit the bloc’s economic output by almost 1.8 per cent over the long term, according to an official impact assessment.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Update: “Trade groups hit EU’s ‘misguided’ transaction tax” has some early response, including this:

Julie Patterson, director of authorised funds and tax at the Investment Management Association, warned that such a tax would “penalize ordinary long-term savers” and would drive institutional fund managers out of Europe.
She said: “Ordinary European investors will get hit, while the very high net worth individuals and institutional funds will just move their business outside of Europe.

“The tax would happen at every level. It isn’t just the investment banks selling something and the fund or individual buying it. It’s on every party in the chain.”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Thisday) Nigerian Archbishop Okoh Speaks on Marriage and Slipping Sexual Standards

“It’s through marriage that people should enter into true sexual life. It’s not the process of re-inventing the third person because God did not invent the marriage between two same-sex persons as the cases in homosexuality and lesbianism.” He admonished those practising it to repent and come out of it because it’s evil.

The cleric argued that if God considered that yet another man was what Adam needed as companion and help mate in the Garden of Eden, He would have created another man, not a woman for Adam, stressing that, “He did not do that but rather created a unique person in the form of a woman different from the man.”

He lamented that there is moral decadence pervading the labyrinth of society in so much a way that hitherto despicable acts like lesbianism and homosexuality are gradually being decorated with public appeal and now receiving tolerance and even applause in today’s society.

Read it all (another from the long queue of should-have-already-been-posted material.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops in 'Big Bible Study' at Worcester Cathedral

Archbishop Bernard Longley, the Archbishop of Birmingham, joined Bishop John Inge, Anglican Bishop of Worcester, in a joint ‘Big Bible Study’, in Worcester Cathedral on 24 September, as part of the celebrations to mark the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible.

Catholics from parishes in the Archdiocese of Birmingham joined with members of Anglican parishes from across Worcestershire and Dudley as well as Christians from other traditions.

More than 200 people looked together at four versions of the chosen scripture reading – “On the Road to Emmaus” – taken from the Jerusalem Bible, New Revised Standard Version, New International Version, and the Authorised Version or King James Bible.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Lutheran pastor appointed dean of Canadian Anglican diocese

In an historic move, the Anglican diocese of Rupert’s Land has appointed a Lutheran pastor ”“ the Rev. Paul Johnson ”“ as dean of the diocese and incumbent for St. John’s Cathedral in Winnipeg.

This is the first time that a Lutheran pastor has been appointed dean in an Anglican cathedral in Canada. A dean is the priest in charge of a cathedral (“mother church”) and occupies a senior position in a diocese.

The Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) have been in full communion since 2001, which means that their clergy may serve in one another’s churches.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Ecumenical Relations, Lutheran, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

As Episcopal Priest, Steve McCarty can serve the mind, body and soul

Steven “Steve” McCarty seems to gravitate to careers that require weekend work ”” first in law enforcement and the National Guard, and now as an ordained Episcopal priest.

“We’ve had vacations canceled because of the state police. I’ve had leaves canceled. It seems like I’ve always worked weekends,” McCarty said.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(CBS) Americans get too much health care, doctors say

At a time when many Americans say they’re having trouble getting good health care, a new survey of doctors said just the opposite.

A poll of 627 primary care physicians showed that nearly half believe their patients in their medical practice are getting too much unnecessary care, prompting the survey’s authors to call for reform of the industry.

The survey – published in the September 26 issue of the Archives of internal Medicine – showed that only 6 percent of doctors felt patients received too little care.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine

(RNS) Judaism without God? Yes, say American atheists

For an atheist, Maxim Schrogin talks about God a lot.

Over lunch at a Jewish deli, he ponders the impulse to believe ”” does it come from within or without? Why does God permit suffering? Finally, he pulls out a flowchart he made showing degrees of belief, which ranges from unquestioning faith to absolute atheism. He stabs the paper with his pen.

“This is where I fall,” he said. “Zero.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Michiko Kakutani reviews Michael Lewis's new book “Boomerang”

In “Boomerang” Mr. Lewis captures the utter folly and madness that spread across both sides of the Atlantic during the last decade, as individuals, institutions and entire nations mindlessly embraced instant gratification over long-term planning, the too good to be true over common sense.

Greece, Mr. Lewis writes, ran up astonishing debts ”” from high-paying government jobs and generous pensions, as well as waste, bribery and theft ”” that came to “about $1.2 trillion, or more than a quarter-million dollars for every working Greek.” In just the last 12 years, he says, “the wage bill of the Greek public sector has doubled, in real terms” with the average government job now paying almost three times the average private sector job. Those who work in jobs classified as “arduous” can retire and start collecting pensions, he adds, “as early as 55 for men and 50 for women”; more than 600 Greek professions have somehow managed “to get themselves classified as arduous: hairdressers, radio announcers, waiters, musicians, and on and on and on.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Germany, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Vanderbilt University nondiscrimination policy called unfair to religious groups

Vanderbilt University’s review of student organizations’ obedience to its nondiscrimination policy has some students, professors and outside advocates saying the university itself is the one doing the discriminating.

Vanderbilt has asked “a dozen or so” student groups, including five religious ones, to come into compliance with the policy, which says the Nashville school doesn’t discriminate against individuals based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Those groups, which the university declined to identify, have been given provisional status for the time being but could ultimately lose access to Vanderbilt funding and facilities if they don’t comply.

“We are committed to making our campus a welcoming environment for all of our students,” Vanderbilt said in a statement after declining to make administrators available for interviews Monday.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, TEC Bishops

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We beseech thee, O Lord, to give us more love to thee, more joy in our worship, more peace at all times, more longsuffering, more kindness of heart and manner. Grant us the grace of meekness and the power of self-control. May we know something of what it is to be filled with the Holy Ghost; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Only take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if any one sees you, a man of knowledge, at table in an idol’s temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.

–1 Corinthians 8:9-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Living Church) Bishop William Franklin responds to Ephraim Radner

…I appreciate the cautions about this linking of conciliarism too easily to Anglican provincial autonomy that Professor Radner makes me aware of. What are we to do in the 21st century with the international vision of Christian fellowship that was so much a part of the idealistic program of the medieval canonists who crafted conciliarism? What new structures might allow us to realize more deeply what it means to be members of the worldwide body of Christ? The Episcopal Church is no longer a “national church” but is made up of a family of nations, most of which do not share the English heritage of 18th-century American Anglicans (and in some nations the Episcopal Church in fact overlaps with another autonomous Anglican province). How can the 18th-century adaptation of conciliarism to one republic serve an international church that is no longer confined to one continent? The debate about the Anglican Covenant, which enters a new stage now as we prepare for the 2012 General Convention, is an opportunity for the whole people of God to engage prayerfully the issues concerning the constitutional structures of the body of Christ that Professor Radner and I have raised.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, Instruments of Unity, Theology

R.R Reno–Whither Marriage?

A successful, long-term defense of traditional marriage will require a renewal of our moral and social imaginations. We must continue to fight to preserve marriage in the courtrooms, legislatures, and polling booths. But these are largely holding actions. Until sexual discipline comes to seem humanizing rather than alienating, most Americans will find traditional sexual mores off-putting, and even those who endorse traditional norms will continue to downplay them in the public square””and in the pulpit. In a far more complicated way, the same holds for gender roles, childbearing, and child rearing. Until our common culture reaffirms the essential and inevitably social significance of the difference between men and women, as well as the role of fertility in sex and marriage, Americans will fail to grasp the skull-thumping obviousness of male”“female union as the essential feature of marriage.

Proponents of same-sex marriage like to pronounce it “inevitable.” Their confidence is based on the progressive conceit that modernity always and everywhere weakens and dissolves the power of traditional norms and practices. But this is not true. During the nineteenth century the social influence of Christianity in America grew dramatically. Victorian England saw a profound remoralization of society. And the diffusion of modern economic systems, science, and technology throughout the globe in recent decades has not led to the diminishment of religious passions, as so many predicted, but instead their increase. History is not a ratchet that turns in only one direction.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, History, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Psychology, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Women

(FT) Germany and the eurozone: Besieged in Berlin

When Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, met Pope Benedict in Berlin last week, it appears that their conversation focused more on Mammon than on God.

“We spoke about the financial markets and the fact that politicians should have the power to make policy for the people, and not be driven by the markets,” Ms Merkel said after the talks. “This is a very, very big task in today’s time of globalisation.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Spenser Simrill–We are Created for Community

One of the formative experiences of my journey with Jesus Christ, was living in an intentional community from 1974-1978 at Koinonia Farm in Americus Georgia. While we lived there, Habitat for Humanity was born at Koinonia. This experience profoundly shaped my understanding of God and our purpose in the world.

I learned we are created for community to be in communion and with each other to share our deepest longings for the Holy One and to pass the love and mystery of Christ along to others.

We are created to belong and we cannot belong by ourselves.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Parishes, Theology

More Gloom Lies Ahead for Cities, Report Says

Nearly a third of the nation’s cities are laying off workers this year. More than half have canceled or delayed infrastructure projects. And two out of five have raised their fees.

The catalog of service cuts and fee increases comes as America’s cities are bracing for what they expect will be their fifth straight year of declining revenues, according to a survey of city finance officers to be released on Tuesday by the National League of Cities.

One of the main culprits is the property tax, which many cities and local governments rely on heavily. Property tax collections, which are usually quite resilient, are projected to fall by 3.7 percent this year ”” their second year in a row of declines ”” as tax assessments belatedly catch up with the lower property values left behind by the battered real estate market. Sales tax collections are projected to be slightly higher this year, but income tax collections are projected to be slightly lower, as unemployment and lower wages take their toll in many places.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., City Government, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Politics in General, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Urban/City Life and Issues

Tommy Tipton Leaving the Diocese of Upper South Carolina as Canon

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

International Anglican Youth Network meets in Hong Kong

Understanding the need for the continued support of young people in the Anglican Communion, and aligning with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement that a good educational system in a healthy society is one that builds character and virtue, the IAYN seeks to urge provinces to commit themselves to the further development of youth ministries through:

a) Developing opportunities and programs for youth leadership
b) Continuing to educate young people on what it means to be a Christian in the Anglican tradition
c) Appointing a committed and engaged youth officer to participate in the International Anglican Youth Network, and
d) Contributing financially to the work of the International Anglican Youth Network

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Teens / Youth

Bishop of Barbados: Anglican church alive and well

The Bishop told Starcom Network Inc. yesterday it was a matter of people choosing which Sunday to attend church.

“I think the Anglican Church in Barbados is healthy,” he said. “The strength is there on the ground, in the parishes. What we normally have in our church is sometimes persons choosing which Sunday, or which hour on a Sunday, they would attend. So you would never get all of them at the same time in the same place.”

Holder, who is also Archbishop of the West Indies, said this had been a regular practice by members of the Anglican faith “for a long time”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, West Indies