Daily Archives: November 17, 2011

(WSJ) European Banks Resort to Potentially Risky Swaps to Generate Liquidity

European banks, increasingly concerned about their ability to access funding, are devising complex and potentially risky new deals that enable them to continue borrowing from the European Central Bank.

The banks’ moves, which include behind-the-scenes swapping of assets among financial institutions, could heighten risk across Europe’s already fragile financial system, say some senior industry officials and regulators.

They also are a sign that struggling banks across Europe are preparing for a period of prolonged reliance on financial lifelines from the ECB. The Continent’s intensifying financial crisis has made it difficult for many banks to obtain funding from customary market sources.

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, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector

(Living Church) Bishop Questions King’s College Chaplaincy

The fall term at King’s University in Halifax began on a sour note for students and faculty who worship at the college chapel. The Bishop of Nova Scotia sent a letter to the president of the university stating that the diocese could no longer fund a full-time chaplaincy.

And Bishop Sue Moxley went further: “There have been suggestions that this model of chaplaincy is no longer appropriate, that the style of worship is antiquated and the chapel maintains a male-dominated clergy.”

Students, staff and faculty as well as the chaplain himself have all expressed grave concerns about the bishop’s letter.

Read it all.

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

Economic downturn forces many in Spartanburg, S.C., to seek help for the first time

Fixing a painful toothache isn’t in the budget of Brandon Crew, a 24-year-old maintenance worker and father to be.

Neither is food.

Earning $300 per week working at a local hotel, Crew said he and his girlfriend are barely “scraping by….”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Poverty, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A NCR Article on the American Ordinariate Announcement

“My phone has not stopped ringing with people who are thrilled [about the announcement],” said Father Christopher Phillips, a former Episcopal priest who is pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement, an Anglican-use parish in San Antonio, Texas. Father Phillips came into the Catholic Church 30 years ago under the provision.

“Many of us in the community of former Anglicans have been waiting and asking, ”˜When will it happen?’” he said. “Now we have a date that the Holy Father has approved. It makes it official. If I were to die today, I’d die happy, because I got to see this happen.

“For me, and for many of us who came into the Church years ago, this is the final maturity. When we came into the Church, I said, ”˜We don’t know what will happen to us, but we are building for a new generation.’ Now that generation is here. In 500 years, we’ll be reading about this in the history books.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(CNA) Pope’s visit seen as possible counter to African secularization

With only days to go before the Pope arrives in the African country of Benin, Bishop Barthélemy Adoukonou says he hopes Benedict XVI’s visit to his homeland will help Africa resist secularization.

“Some within the secularized culture of the West are trying to direct all mankind in the same direction, and (it’s) the wrong direction,” the secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture told CNA Nov 15.

Bishop Adoukonou said the influence of secularism is “a great injustice against other cultures, including our African culture, which is very much open to God.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Benin, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Notable and Quotable

When asked your religion, you write “devout musician.” Does that mean you pray to Angus Young?

It’s not a frivolous answer. I’m essentially agnostic. I don’t have a problem with God. I have a problem with religion. I’ve chosen to live my life without the certainties of religious faith. I think they’re dangerous. Music is something that gives my life value and spiritual solace.

You’re 60 and agnostic. Do you think about death?

Of course I do. Am I afraid of it? No, I’m intrigued by it. I’m not ready for it yet. But in many ways, acknowledging that sense of mortality enriches the life you have left. My dad and I had the same hands. I hadn’t really noticed that until he was on his deathbed, and I mentioned it. And he said, “You used your hands better than I did.” My dad was a milkman. And I realized that was probably the first compliment he’d ever paid me, and that was kind of devastating. I suppose I included it in this book because I wanted to assess whether in the 25 years since he died I used my hands well.

–The Musician Sting (Gordon Sumner) in the November 21, 2011,Time Magazine, page 64

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Music, Parish Ministry, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture

As New Graduates Return to Nest, Economy Also Feels the Pain

Every year, young adults leave the nest, couples divorce, foreigners immigrate and roommates separate, all helping drive economic growth when they furnish and refurbish their new homes. Under normal circumstances, each time a household is formed it adds about $145,000 to output that year as the spending ripples through the economy, estimates Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

But with the poor job market and uncertain recovery, hundreds of thousands of Americans like Ms. [Hollis] Romanelli (and her boyfriend, who also lives with his parents) have tabled their moves. Even before the recession began, young people were leaving home later; now the bad economy has tethered them there indefinitely. Last year, just 950,000 new households were created. By comparison, about 1.3 million new households were formed in 2007, the year the recession began, according to Mr. Zandi. Ms. Romanelli, who lives in the room where she grew up in Branford, Conn., said, “I don’t really have much of a choice,” adding, “I don’t have the means to move out.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Young Adults

Archbishop of Canterbury's sermon at Westminster Abbey – 400th anniversary of the King James Bible

I’ve mentioned hearing as well as reading. It’s easy to forget that when the 1611 Bible was first published it was not yet a volume that everyone could be expected to own. Like its Reformed predecessors, Tyndale’s Bible, the Geneva Bible, the Bishops’ Bible””and unlike its Catholic parallel, the Rheims/Douai version””it was meant to be read aloud. And that means that it was meant to be part of an event, a shared experience. Gathered as a Christian community, the parish would listen, in the context of praise, reflection and instruction, to Scripture being read: it provided the picture of a whole renewed universe within which all the other activities made sense. It would not be immediately intelligible by any means, but it marked out the territory of God’s work of grace. It affirmed, with St Paul in II Corinthians, that the landscape of the world was illuminated by the new and radical act of God in Jesus Christ, so that the standards of this world and society were shown to be under judgement; yet it also affirmed that this illumination was something it took time to get used to, time to find words for, and that the clay pots of custom and ritual were both necessary and problematic ”“ and that this was simply how human beings heard and echoed the Word. ”˜How can man preach Thy eternal Word?’ asked George Herbert a couple of decades after 1611; ”˜he is a brittle, crazy glass.’ But, as that great poem of Herbert’s goes on to claim, even in fragile material God’s story can be sealed and printed, and the light come through.

So to celebrate the Bible of 1611 is not to genuflect before a timeless masterpiece, to salute a perfect translation; the translators would have been both baffled and embarrassed by any such idea. It is to recognize the absolute seriousness with which they sought to find in our language words that would pass on to us hearers and readers in the English tongue the almost unbearable weight of divine intelligence and love pressing down on those who first encountered it and tried to embody it in writing

Read it all(my emphasis).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Living Church) Benjamin Grizzle–Occupy Stewardship

Occupiers’ primary outrage seems to be against poor stewardship. They use the language of “increasing inequality,” but more precisely they may object to the unreliable correlation between productivity and compensation. Few resented Steve Jobs his wealth, given the value created by Apple, but who does not resent golden parachutes paid out to senior executives of unprofitable, much less failed, companies? Occupiers will garner powerful and unexpected allies ”” big shareholders, hedge funds, and activist investors ”” if they use this language of just stewardship rather than a resentful Robin Hood rhetoric.

In trying to uncover the causes of today’s crisis, occupiers would also do well to apply their axe to the roots of the problem, which an even cursory study of economic history would reveal is hardly the prominent branch of banker malevolence. During the last Great Depression, people and governments wanted to consume more and grow faster than their productivity allowed. If you are unwilling to accept the financial limits of your own productivity, you borrow. But from whom? Contrary to populist belief, the private sector is not generally eager to lend to parties lacking income, assets or collateral. Consequently, ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt created “government sponsored entities” (like Fannie Mae), GSEs and their ballooning balance sheets have encouraged new loans to parties the “greedy banks” would not generally have lent to of their own volition. These GSEs promise to buy much of the debt generated by politically evocative but generally not creditworthy groups ”” veterans, students, low-income and first-time homebuyers, farmers in a rapidly industrializing economy. While a case can certainly be made for using government to encourage constructive behavior or to help disadvantaged groups, there are ways to do this without so profoundly distorting the economy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Church music wars battle for souls with song

In many U.S. churches today, worship musicians bang the drums for God and singers croon as if Christ were their boyfriend.

Bye-bye to Be Thou My Vision, a sixth-century Irish hymn with century-old English lyrics. Godspeed, Amazing Grace.

Nearly 50% of Protestant churches now say they use electric guitars or drums in worship, up from nearly 35% in 2000, according to the recently released Faith Communities Today study of 14,000 congregations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

A U.S. Marine Base for Australia Irritates China

President Obama announced Wednesday that the United States planned to deploy 2,500 Marines in Australia to shore up alliances in Asia, but the move prompted a sharp response from Beijing, which accused Mr. Obama of escalating military tensions in the region.

The agreement with Australia amounts to the first long-term expansion of the American military’s presence in the Pacific since the end of the Vietnam War. It comes despite budget cuts facing the Pentagon and an increasingly worried reaction from Chinese leaders, who have argued that the United States is seeking to encircle China militarily and economically.

“It may not be quite appropriate to intensify and expand military alliances and may not be in the interest of countries within this region,” Liu Weimin, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in response to the announcement by Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Australia / NZ, China, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Politics in General

(RNS) Roman Catholic Bishops Stay Mum on Economic Turmoil

Twenty-five years ago, as the U.S. faced an economic crisis and a fierce debate over cutting taxes for the wealthy and limiting benefits for the poor, Catholic bishops issued a landmark statement on social justice that became the touchstone for religious opposition to “trickle down” economics.

This week, as America faces even worse economic circumstances and engages in the same fierce debate over budget priorities, the bishops gathered here for their annual meeting focused on a handful of internal matters and geared up for fights against gay marriage and abortion.

The bishops did not take note of the document’s anniversary””or its core teachings. That shift has dismayed those who believe that this is a moment for the hierarchy to announce the church’s views on the economy with the same vigor that it promotes other causes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Hugh of Lincoln and Robert Grosseteste

Holy God, our greatest treasure, who didst bless Hugh and Robert, Bishops of Lincoln, with wise and cheerful boldness for the proclamation of thy Word to rich and poor alike: Grant that all who minister in thy Name may serve with diligence, discipline and humility, fearing nothing but the loss of thee and drawing all to thee through Jesus Christ our Savior; who liveth and reigneth with thee in the communion of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We give thee thanks, O God our Father, for the good work which thou hast begun in us, in that thou hast called us to the knowledge of thy grace and faith in thee; and we pray thee so to continue thy work in us that our lives may be strengthened for thy service in the fellowship of the gospel, and our love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment, to thy praise and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There shall no more be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him; they shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads. And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever.

–Revelation 22:1-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Tobias Haller–Anglican Disunion: The Issues Behind “the Issue”

But matters are proceeding apace. The world is changing. The Global South objected to the consecration of a gay bishop with a partner, but Gene Robinson is no longer alone in that category even in the US House of Bishops (If he ever really was…). They objected to the idea of bestowing a blessing on a same-sex couple, and yet now in many states of this Union, including our own, the church is not only bestowing its blessing, but either seriously considering or already solemnizing the civil status of marriage.

In short, the process of organic development is afoot, it is not going to stop, and reception is or isn’t happening as I speak. In the meantime, the mainstream via media of the Episcopal Church is steadily reasserting our understanding of our authority to vary”” to live out the variety of rites in our own context, which is very different from that in much of the Global South. As I learned intimately and personally at the conversation I attended in South Africa just a few weeks ago. The people in those places represented at that conference are free to maintain their various rules and traditions, suitable as they are for their contexts. I will say more in the open discussion about the extent to which the friction between the North and South has been exacerbated by misunderstanding and misinformation. But it is my sincere hope that corrections to those misunderstandings, and better information, through the mandated listening process and the Continuing Indaba ”” in both of which I have been involved ”” will assist to lessen the friction and perhaps even help calm the storms that have swept through our beloved Anglican Communion ”” not just the issue, but the issues behind the issues of Anglican disunion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Rob Renfroe on the United Methodist Bishops Statement–What we wish the Bishops would have said

The statement was the direct result of a letter sent by 59 leading pastors to all active bishops, asking the Council to address the then 900 pastors who had pledged to perform gay marriages, contrary to the Discipline….

Since the letter was sent, more than 2,500 pastors have added their names to the letter and more than 12,000 laypersons have signed an even more pointed statement at the website
www.faithfulumc.com. As reticent as the Council has been in the past to address the topic of homosexuality in any sort of unified way””even as it was tearing the church apart””it is obvious that the letter and the 14,500 signatures were effective in motivating the Bishops to do what they should have done long ago.
We are grateful to the Council for issuing a statement and to the thousands of United Methodists who asked them to do so.

So we have a statement. That’s the good news. The statement itself””well, that’s another story. In a 21-sentence document, two sentences deal with upholding the Discipline.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology

Mike Krzyzewski Wins Number 903

When it was all over, Mike Krzyzewski pushed through the crowd of photographers surrounding him to find Bob Knight, his former coach and the man whose record he had just broken. The two embraced courtside, laughing, before Krzyzewski disappeared back into the throng.

“I just told him”¦ ”˜Coach, I’m not sure people tell you this, but I love you, and I love what you’ve done for me, and thank you,’” Krzyzewski said. “And he says, ”˜Boy, you’ve done pretty good for a kid who couldn’t shoot.’ I think that meant he loves me too.”

Wonderful picture–read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Men, Sports, Young Adults

Washington National Cathedral, still bearing quake scars, reopens

Bells pealed, the choir sang and tourists snapped pictures ”” of scaffolding and cracked limestone. For the first time since the August earthquake, Washington National Cathedral opened to the general public Sunday, although it was still clear the earth had moved beneath the national landmark.

More than 2,000 worshipers gathered for the first service with the Episcopal church’s new bishop of Washington, Mariann Edgar Budde. Also present were dozens of curiosity seekers and tourists eager for a look at the quake-damaged cathedral, which had been closed since Aug. 23.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry