Daily Archives: December 7, 2011

Economic Troubles in Europe and U.S. Start to Affect Asia

Economic growth in much of Asia remains robust, the Asian Development Bank said. But trade and financial activity have already started to be eroded by the turmoil in Europe, and they risk being undermined further if the European debt crisis evolves into a full-blown financial and economic crisis like the one spurred by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008.

“Things are changing very rapidly ”” not just weekly and daily, but hourly,” Iwan J. Azis, head of the development bank’s office of regional economic integration, said at a news conference in Hong Kong, as he presented the bank’s latest update on emerging East Asian nations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, America/U.S.A., Economy, Europe, Globalization

(RNS) Charitable Giving Up Slightly Year Over Year but Still Ailing

Charitable giving is trickling back up as the economy heals, but it could take years to return to pre-recession levels, nonprofit leaders say.

Giving totaled $291 billion in 2010, according to the 2011 annual report by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. That’s up 3.8 percent from 2009 and follows two consecutive years of declines.

This year shows little change. Charity Navigator, a Glen Rock, N.J., organization that evaluates nonprofits, anticipates donations will be flat during the holiday season.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Economy, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Notable and Quotable

Advent, the four Sundays that lead up to Christmas, is a shot-silk season. There is the purple of penitence and preparation. There are the great themes of the Last Things ”” death and judgment, Hell and Heaven; the ultimate choices and sharp reminders of the frailty of our human life. There is hope and longing for a new Heaven and a new Earth, for the coming of God’s kingdom of justice, righteousness and peace. As one Advent hymn puts it: “When comes the promised time, when war shall be no more, Oppression, lust and crime, shall flee thy face before?” We remember that the ancient confession of Christian faith, the Nicene Creed, ends with the words “we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” The word translated “look for” is not a casual glancing up, but is much more urgent ”” “we wait with longer expectation for”, scanning the horizon of history for God’s new and eternal life, and the new and just ordering of human society.

–The Right Rev. Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, in a recent [London] Times piece

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, CoE Bishops

Ken Peck–I Remember Pearl Harbor–Sort Of

In late summer of 1941, my mother and I set off on a journey from upstate New York to Honolulu, Hawaii. I was four months old and my parents’ first-born. She was twenty-seven years old, recently released from a tuberculosis sanitarium,and set on getting us close as she could to my father in his first assignment as a new Navy chaplain, aboard the USS Curtiss at Pearl Harbor. She had gone to the town library to look for Hawaii in an atlas; she had no idea where it was….

Read it all from the latest Anglican Digest (pages 19-20).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Local paper Front Page–Navy signalman vividly recalls 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor

Q: What do you remember about the instant the bombs starting falling?

A: I was sitting on the side of my bunk putting my shoes on. All of a sudden I heard an explosion in the distance. I could hear people running up and down in the dark. I heard another explosion and the running got faster. Then a guy leaned down a hatch and yelled “The Japs are attacking.”

Here is a Quiz before you read further: how long do you think it took him by his estimate to get word to his family that he was ok?

Take a guess and then check out the rest.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Aging / the Elderly, Defense, National Security, Military, History

(Boston Globe) As ranks dwindle, a Pearl Harbor vet carries on

[George] Hursey, originally from North Carolina, was 21 years old at the time of the Dec. 7 attack. Hursey and the 130 others in his unit – Battery G of the 64th Coast Artillery – jumped into action when the strikes began at 7:55 a.m.

“Nobody was scared,’’ he said. “We had a job to do. It’s what we were trained to do….’’

Hursey worries that national leaders have forgotten past events like Pearl Harbor, which he believes leads to events like the terrorist attacks of 2001.

“The worst thing that happened to this country is 9/11,’’ he said. “Soldiers are supposed to die, we get paid for it. There were so many people who weren’t supposed to die in those attacks.’’

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry

70 Years Ago Today–Pearl Harbor Still a Day for the Ages, but a Memory Almost Gone

For more than half a century, members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association gathered here every Dec. 7 to commemorate the attack by the Japanese that drew the United States into World War II. Others stayed closer to home for more intimate regional chapter ceremonies, sharing memories of a day they still remember in searing detail.

But no more. The 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack will be the last one marked by the survivors’ association. With a concession to the reality of time ”” of age, of deteriorating health and death ”” the association will disband on Dec. 31.

“We had no choice,” said William H. Eckel, 89, who was once the director of the Fourth Division of the survivors’ association, interviewed by telephone from Texas. “Wives and family members have been trying to keep it operating, but they just can’t do it. People are winding up in nursing homes and intensive care places.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, History, Japan, Military / Armed Forces

(RNS) U.S., Cuban church leaders seek ”˜normalized relations’

Church leaders from ecumenical councils in the U.S. and Cuba wrapped up a five-day meeting in Havana on Friday (Dec. 2) with a call for “normalized relations” between the two countries.

“We declare the following shared conviction: that the half century of animosity between our countries must end,” said a joint statement issued by the National Council of Churches and the Council of Churches of Cuba.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Caribbean, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Haiti, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

State Government at its Worst–Some Consider Raising Limits on the Amount one Can Gamble

A key vote in Missouri Wednesday will decide whether to relax measures aimed at keeping gambling addicts out of casinos, the latest push by a cash-strapped state to make gambling restrictions less stringent.

The Missouri Gaming Commission is deciding whether to scrap a voluntary lifetime blacklist for problem gamblers and replace it with a five-year suspension. That would allow nearly 11,000 self-banned gamblers back into the state’s 12 riverboat casinos. The self-exclusion list, implemented in 1996, has been a centerpiece of Missouri’s efforts to manage gambling addiction, and has been emulated in at least eight other states””usually without the lifetime ban.

Several states have sharply increased betting limits since legalizing gambling. Colorado changed its maximum bet in 2009 to $100 from $5, and allowed casinos to operate 24 hours a day. Previously, they were required to close from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. South Dakota raised maximum bets in 2000, and Florida last year eliminated its limit altogether.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Report Backs phased-in driving privileges for Teens–It could save 2,000 lives a year

“We knew that when states pass good laws, lives are saved and a lot of money is saved. We’d just never done the analysis,” says John Ulczycki of the National Safety Council, which researched the issue for the Allstate Foundation.

The report comes as Congress prepares to consider a multiyear highway and transit-spending bill. Advocates of graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws are pushing to include funding for about $25 million a year in incentives for states to strengthen GDL programs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Teens / Youth, Travel

(Daily Star) Franz Magnis-Suseno–Will religious tolerance in Indonesia continue?

Violence against Christians in Indonesia frequently makes news headlines. However, acts of violence targeting Christians should not obscure the fact that the majority of Indonesia’s Christian communities live and worship free from fear and interference in a Muslim majority country, and that religious conversion has never been prohibited.

In the past few years, however, the level of religious freedom has declined. The government must have the courage to stop this trend and protect Indonesia’s religious minorities to continue to uphold religious freedom.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Indonesia, Religion & Culture

(Independent) Open relationships: Love without strings

“Open marriage destroyed Ashton and Demi’s relationship!” cried one tabloid. “Did Ashton and Demi have an OPEN MARRIAGE?” spat another. When Hollywood couple Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore split last month amid rumours of having an alternative union, the press had a field day. The astonishment and bewilderment over a couple engaging in such a lifestyle was screamed from the front pages.

We live in a society that is more sexually liberated than ever before, yet open relationships ”“ a relationship in which both partners are allowed to have sex with other people ”“ still have the propensity to shock. It is one of the last remaining taboos.

Kutcher and Moore are not the only high-profile couple to allegedly reject monogamy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Psychology, Theology, Women

The Archbishop of Canterbury asks ”˜What Would Jesus Do?’ in the Christmas issue of Radio Times

Faced with what looks like a simple challenge about whether you pay taxes to the Roman Emperor or not, he famously shrugs it off, saying, ”˜Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give God what belongs to God.’

In other words: don’t just imitate me: think. What’s the exact point at which paying taxes to the Empire gets in the way of serving God? What’s the exact point at which involvement in the ”˜empire’ of capitalist economy compromises you fatally?

It may not be easy to answer this straight away, so don’t expect to become a hero of conscience overnight. And, just to rub it in, there are other places in the Bible where Jesus prods us to ask ourselves about our motives before we embark on grand gestures. Are we doing this for the sake of the real issue ”“ or for an audience?

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Ambrose of Milan

O God, who didst give to thy servant Ambrose grace eloquently to declare thy righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of thy Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering thy Word, that thy people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, O Lord, that we may love to read thy holy Word, wherein is wisdom, wherein is the royal law, wherein are the living oracles of God; and may so read therein that we may know and love and serve thee better; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.

–Matthew 23:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Bloomberg View) Jeffrey Fear–The Long Shadow of German Hyperinflation

Hyperinflation didn’t lead to the rise of Hitler, but it undermined the legitimacy of the democratic Weimar Republic.

Millions of disaffected middle-class voters soon drifted to various splinter parties on the right. The center hollowed out, and subsequent coalition governments ruled on a tolerated-minority basis. German politics never really regained its balance in the mid-1920s, a time of relative economic stabilization — and then came the Great Depression, government austerity packages and, ultimately, the rise of the Nazis.

Never again, the thinking goes today. And rightly so. But the fate of the euro zone depends on which historical lesson one draws from this episode. Are there circumstances in which monetizing government debt is appropriate — or not?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Germany, History, Politics in General

Newcastle Cathedral parish loan fails

Newcastle’s Anglican Cathedral parish has been urged to become ”˜”˜entrepreneurial’’ after a failed attempt at a $100,000 lifeline to keep it afloat in 2012. Fund-raising options including charging visitors to view Newcastle from the cathedral tower could be considered, along with cutting at least $60,000 from its budget.

Diocese trustees, including former MP John Price and former Lake Macquarie mayor John Kilpatrick, refused last week to issue an episcopal certificate, or diocese guarantee, for a $100,000 bank loan, just weeks after questions at a synod about $43million in outstanding loans across the diocese.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Economy, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Nearly the Entire Anglican Mission HoB Resigns from Rwandan HoB

Read it all (two pdfs).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Other Churches