Daily Archives: November 26, 2011

Katharine Jefferts Schori's Sermon at the Diocese of Missouri Convention Eucharist

Read it all.
Perhaps this link will work: http://www.diocesemo.org/news/2011/11/19/presiding-bishop-katharine-preaches-at-convention-eucharist/

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Presiding Bishop, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Support Builds for a Plan to Rein In Medicare Costs

Though it reached no agreement, the special Congressional committee on deficit reduction built a case for major structural changes in Medicare that would limit the government’s open-ended financial commitment to the program, lawmakers and health policy experts say.

Members of both parties told the panel that Medicare should offer a fixed amount of money to each beneficiary to buy coverage from competing private plans, whose costs and benefits would be tightly regulated by the government.

Republicans have long been enamored of that idea. In the last few weeks, two of the Republican candidates for president, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, have endorsed variations of it.

The idea faces opposition from many Democrats, who say it would shift costs to beneficiaries and eliminate the guarantee of affordable health insurance for older Americans. But some Democrats say that ”” if carefully designed, with enough protections for beneficiaries ”” it might work.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, Medicare, Personal Finance, The U.S. Government

Richard Mouw–Mormonism has theological differences with Christianity, but a Mormon can be president

I have read most of those books [that argue that Mormonism is a cult], and I have studied and taught about cults for many years. I have also spent the last dozen years meeting with Mormons – scholars and church leaders – to engage in lengthy theological discussions. These dialogues have included several other prominent evangelical Christian leaders.

Based on these conversations and my own careful study, I do not believe Mormonism is a cult. However, I am not convinced that Mormon theology deserves to be classified as Christian in the historic sense of that word. I have serious disagreements with my Mormon friends about basic issues of faith that have eternal consequences. These include issues regarding the nature of God, the doctrine of the Trinity and the character of the afterlife. But I have also learned that in some matters we are not quite as far apart as I once thought. In any case, such theological differences don’t preclude a Mormon from being a viable presidential candidate, in my view.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Mormons, Office of the President, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Another Start-Up, but This One Is a Church

Aaron Monts, pastor of Ikon Christian Community in San Francisco, stood before his flock on a recent Sunday, resplendent in his version of churchly garb: a tan hoodie, plaid shirt and sneakers.

Mr. Monts spoke about the Occupy Wall Street protests, making a comparison to the Gospel of Luke and Jesus’s devotion to the poor. “If we lived out what Jesus preached,” he said, “there would be a revolution.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(SMH) Marriage and city living key to longevity: Report

We are living longer than ever, but being indigenous, single or divorced or living outside a city increases your chance of an early death.

The latest life tables from the Bureau of Statistics show an Australian girl born today can expect to live until 84, and even longer if she survives her relatively dangerous first year. An indigenous Australian girl can expect 10 years less. A boy born today can expect 79 years; an indigenous boy 11 years less.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Australia / NZ, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Urban/City Life and Issues

(AP) Woman pepper sprays other Black Friday shoppers

A woman trying to improve her chance to buy cheap electronics at a Walmart in a wealthy suburb spewed pepper spray on a crowd of shoppers and 20 people suffered minor injuries, police said Friday.

The attack took place about 10:20 p.m. Thursday shortly after doors opened for the sale at the Walmart in Porter Ranch in the San Fernando Valley.

Read it all.

Update: there is still more on this here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Psychology

Focusing on the Jewish Story of the New Testament

Christianity might have stayed just a fascination [for Amy-Jill Levine], but for an unfortunate episode in second grade: “When I was 7 years old, one girl said to me on the school bus, ”˜You killed our Lord.’ I couldn’t fathom how this religion that was so beautiful was saying such a dreadful thing.”

That encounter with the dark side of her friends’ religion sent Dr. Levine on a quest, one that took her to graduate school in New Testament studies and eventually to Vanderbilt University, where she has taught since 1994. Dr. Levine is still a committed Jew ”” she attends an Orthodox synagogue in Nashville ”” but she is a leading New Testament scholar.

And she is not alone. The book she has just edited with a Brandeis University professor, Marc Zvi Brettler, “The Jewish Annotated New Testament” (Oxford University Press), is an unusual scholarly experiment: an edition of the Christian holy book edited entirely by Jews. The volume includes notes and explanatory essays by 50 leading Jewish scholars, including Susannah Heschel, a historian and the daughter of the theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel; the Talmudist Daniel Boyarin; and Shaye J. D. Cohen, who teaches ancient Judaism at Harvard.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Education, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NPR) Emily Dickinson Takes Over Tucson

Emily Dickinson is all over Tucson, Ariz. Reading, lectures, classroom lessons ”” it’s all part of the Big Read Project, a National Endowment for the Arts project devoted to “inspiring people across the country to pick up a good book.” In Tucson, people aren’t just picking up Dickinson’s poetry books ”” they’re celebrating her in reading, dance and even desserts.

“You don’t want to put somebody up on a pedestal and pay homage … that’s not very interesting,” says Lisa Bowden with a laugh. Bowden is a publisher and poet, and the organizer of Big Read Tucson.

One of her ideas was to hold open recording sessions for anyone to read Dickinson’s poetry and letters. Restaurants and coffee houses then play those recordings to stimulate conversation and creativity.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Poetry & Literature, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Isaac Watts

God of truth and grace, who didst give Isaac Watts singular gifts to present thy praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for thy Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing thy praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord Jesus Christ, who still today dost tread the busy thoroughfares of life in readiness to heal and save: Open our eyes that we may recognize thy presence; open our hearts that we may trust thy love for us; open our lips that we may joyfully confess thee before men; we ask it for thy dear name’s sake.

–L. E. H. Stephens-Hodge

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

–1 Peter 4:12-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Congratulations to LSU

There were moments in the first half when it seemed it was going to be a closer game than it was.

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

Sheldon Garon–Why We Spend, Why They Save

Christmas is nearly upon us. Americans, once again, are told that it’s our civic duty to shop. The economy demands increased consumer spending. And it’s true. The problem is that millions of lower- and middle-income households have lost their capacity to spend. They lack savings and are mired in debt. Although it would be helpful if affluent households spent more, we shouldn’t be calling upon a struggling majority to do so. In the long run, the health of the economy depends on the financial stability of our households.

What might we learn from societies that promote a more balanced approach to saving and spending? Few Americans appreciate that the prosperous economies of western and northern Europe are among the world’s greatest savers. Over the past three decades, Germany, France, Austria and Belgium have maintained household saving rates between 10 and 13 percent, and rates in Sweden recently soared to 13 percent. By contrast, saving rates in the United States dropped to nearly zero by 2005; they rose above 5 percent after the 2008 crisis but have recently fallen below 4 percent.

Unlike the United States, the thrifty societies of Europe have long histories of encouraging the broad populace to save….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Economy, Europe, Globalization, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector

Luke Bretherton–Hospitality, not Tolerance: Civil Society and Inter-Faith Relations

I would suggest that the conversation in ethnically diverse and cosmopolitan cities such as London – and to a lesser extent Sydney and Melbourne – needs to move beyond advocating working “side-by-side,” and instead should discuss what it means to be part of a robust civil society within which religious groups undertake shared political action in pursuit of goods in common – not to mention where such action may well involve conflict with the priorities and policies of government and business corporations in pursuit of a critical yet constructive relationship with both.

Real encounter, dialogue and understanding is, I would suggest, best generated as a by-product of shared civic action, because in such shared civic action the focus is neither on face-to-face encounter nor even on simply working side-by-side.

Rather, the focus is rightly on the pursuit and protection of goods in common – or, to put it another way, it is through the relationships that emerge between people of different faiths and none, as they identify and uphold the things they love and hold dear, that something genuinely worthwhile emerges.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, England / UK, Inter-Faith Relations, Philosophy, Religion & Culture

Oklahoma State Wide Receiver Justin Blackmon Befriends a Special Nine Year Old Girl

Watch it all–caught it by accident early this morning and it made me cry–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Sports, Young Adults