Daily Archives: January 12, 2012

ABC Nightline Print article–Polyamory on Rise Among Divorce-Disgusted Americans

(Please note that observant blog readers may recall we have been covering this for a while, as for example in the Newsweek Cover Story there–KSH).

For the last 10 years, [Jaiya] Ma, 34, has lived with Jon Hanauer. But five years ago, she met Ian Ferguson at a dance class and fell in love.

Now, all three live together with Eamon, her son with Ferguson, at their home in Topanga, Calif.

Hanauer, 49, urged Ma to find a new lover after their relationship stalled and she fell hard for furniture designer Ferguson, who is 44. A year later, she was pregnant with his child.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Polyamory, America/U.S.A., Children, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

Video–ABC Nightline Profile of a Polyamrous Family Raising a Son

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

This was the lead story on Nightline last night–check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Polyamory, America/U.S.A., Children, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

New York Philharmonic Halts Concert because of Continuous Ringing Cellphone

The final movement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony is a slow rumination on mortality, with quiet sections played by strings alone.

During the New York Philharmonic’s performance Tuesday night, it was interrupted by an iPhone.

The jarring ringtone””the device’s “Marimba” sound, which simulates the mallet instrument””intruded in the middle of the movement, emanating from the first row at Avery Fisher Hall.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music, Science & Technology

(SMH) An Australian Article on the coming U.S. Presidential Election that is actually worth Reading

(“US election race baffles the punters” is the title SMH gives it)….

Assuming no imminent foreign policy crisis, the election will depend on two things: whether undecided voters blame the congressional Republicans more than the President for the state of the economy, and how many potential supporters the candidates can motivate to vote….

Voting for a president is also voting for a certain image of America, which explains the jubilation felt by so many when a young African-American with a radical past broke through conventional assumptions. Rekindling that excitement is difficult for Obama, but no one has claimed Romney is a charismatic candidate.

He will, however, be seen as safe, prepared for the job, and able to re-energise American business. Expect a Republican campaign that promises a more aggressive and dominant United States, and remember that American campaigns do not revolve around policy details in the way to which …[Australians] are accustomed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Australia / NZ, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Washington Post) Poll finds Mormons worry about acceptance but embrace differences

The first major independent poll of U.S. Mormons describes a conservative, devout community highly concerned about being accepted even as it embraces beliefs about gender roles, premarital sex and religious commitment that are well outside the mainstream.

The Pew Forum poll, to be released Thursday, offers an unusually detailed look at an American-born religion at a time when voters are craving information about GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, a Mormon who was once a bishop in his church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Mormons, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

An AP story on the recent Legal Ruling in the Episcopal/Anglican Parishes Dispute

The years-long litigation has been expensive for all involved. The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has lost congregations that collectively contributed $10.4 million directly to the diocese in the 20-year period before the dispute erupted.

And the breakaway congregations have spent millions of dollars in legal fees. Warren Thrasher, executive director at Truro, said the 1,200 members of that church alone have spent roughly $2 million on legal bills, raised through a legal defense fund kept separate from the rest of the church’s ministry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, CANA, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia, TEC Departing Parishes

With Enough Bandwidth, Many Join the Band

When Dr. John McClure, a pathologist in Edina, Minn., was pondering his wish list several years ago, he added something a little out of the ordinary: learn to play the bagpipes. But his goal seemed like a long shot after a friend who had been teaching him moved away.

Now he is getting lessons from a top-tier teacher ”” Jori Chisholm, whose résumé includes a first-place award at the 2010 Cowal Highland Gathering in Dunoon, Scotland. Mr. Chisholm lives in Seattle, but distance is no longer a problem ”” Dr. McClure now takes lessons over Skype.

They even squeeze in a lesson sometimes when Dr. McClure, 50, is at work, though he keeps the noise down by using a practice chanter, essentially a pipe without a bag. “I’ve been on call, waiting for a specimen from the O.R., and I’ll do a lesson with Jori,” Dr. McClure said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Music, Science & Technology

CSM–Pakistan's growing civilian-military showdown

Pakistan’s civilian government fired its Defense Secretary Wednesday in a rare show of defiance against the country’s powerful Army, which had earlier publicly rebuked Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and ignited speculation the government may fall.

Retired Lt. Gen. Naeem Khalid Lodhi, a senior bureaucrat seen as close to the Army, was dismissed by the government for “gross misconduct and illegal action.” He was replaced by a bureaucrat close to the prime minister.

It’s not yet clear whether Pakistan’s powerful Army will be sufficiently moved to launch a coup and directly rule the country as it has done for approximately half of Pakistan’s 65 year history. But if Mr. Gilani’s defiance pays off, that could indicate a boost for the country’s democratic institutions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, India, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Politics in General, The U.S. Government

Two Years after the devastating quake, Haitian government struggles with job, housing woes

In the two years since the quake, $4 billion has been spent on reconstruction.

So what did the world get for its money? The answer is, not enough.

Half a million Haitians still live in the large makeshift camps that people fled to when their homes fell down.

The camps are fetid messes of humanity where rapes are common, murders not infrequent and sanitation seriously lacking. These camps aid in the spread of cholera, which still infects about 9,000 people a month.

Read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Haiti, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

Duane Litfin–Clothing Matters: What We Wear to Worship

Over the last several generations, American attire in general has lurched dramatically toward the informal. A feature that quickly dates an old photograph, for instance, is the men wearing fedoras; most today wouldn’t know where to find one. Those who are old enough can remember when travelers got spiffed up to board an airplane. Today’s travelers think nothing of flying in duds they might wear to the gym. Or consider the rise of the term “business casual.” In most parts of the country, though not all, even the corporate setting has grown less formal.

These changes are part of a broad shift toward the convenient and comfortable. It’s a shift we see on display every week in our worship services. In many churches casual wear is de rigueur. It’s easy to imagine how one might look over-dressed there, but less easy, short of immodesty, to imagine being under-dressed. Jeans or shorts, tee shirts or tank tops, flip-flops or sandals: these draw scarcely any attention, while full dresses or a suit and tie appear strangely out of place. Relaxed, even rumpled informality is in; suiting up in our “Sunday best” is out. The question I want to raise here is, What should we make of this shift in worship attire?

Many seem convinced it’s a good thing, because, again, it’s the heart that counts. Yet precisely for this reason””because it’s the heart that counts””I want to suggest that what we wear in our public worship may matter more than we think.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(USA Today) Just 1% of patients drive U.S. health care spending

Just 1% of Americans accounted for 22% of health care costs in 2009, according to a federal report released Wednesday.

That’s about $90,000 per person, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. U.S. residents spent $1.26 trillion that year on health care.

Five percent accounted for 50% of health care costs, about $36,000 each, the report said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Health & Medicine, Medicare, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Aelred of Rievaulx

Almighty God, who didst endow thy abbot Aelred with the gift of Christian friendship and the wisdom to lead others in the way of holiness: Grant to thy people that same spirit of mutual affection, that, in loving one another, we may know the love of Christ and rejoice in the gift of thy eternal goodness; through the same Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who didst manifest thy only begotten Son to the Gentiles, and hast commanded thy Church to preach the gospel to every creature: Bless all thy servants who are labouring for thee in distant lands. Have compassion upon upon all who know thee not, and lead them by thy Holy Spirit to him who is the light of the world, even the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Therefore, holy brethren, who share in a heavenly call, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession. He was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in God’s house. Yet Jesus has been counted worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house has more honor than the house. (For every house is built by some one, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ was faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope.

–Hebrews 3:1-6

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Twitter unhappy about Google's social search changes

Twitter has complained about changes made by Google to integrate its social network Google+ into search results.

The new feature, called Search plus Your World, will automatically push results from Google+ up the search rankings.

Tweeting on the news, Twitter’s lawyer Alex Macgillivray described it as a “bad day for the internet”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Science & Technology

In a unanimous Decision, the Supreme Court seeks to protect Churches Freedom

In what may be its most significant religious liberty decision in two decades, the Supreme Court on Wednesday for the first time recognized a “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws, saying that churches and other religious groups must be free to choose and dismiss their leaders without government interference.

“The interest of society in the enforcement of employment discrimination statutes is undoubtedly important,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in a decision that was surprising in both its sweep and its unanimity. “But so, too, is the interest of religious groups in choosing who will preach their beliefs, teach their faith and carry out their mission.”

The decision gave only limited guidance about how courts should decide who counts as a minister, saying the court was “reluctant to adopt a rigid formula.” Two concurring opinions offered contrasting proposals.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(ENS) Former Bishop Clarence Pope dies in Baton Rouge surrounded by wife, family

[Bishop] Pope was a founder and first president of the Episcopal Synod of America, now Forward in Faith/North America.

[Bishop] Iker, who said that he had lost “a valued mentor and beloved friend,” said Pope “will be remembered first as a loving pastor who cared deeply for his clergy and their families, and second as a defender of the historic faith and order of the catholic church.”

Read it all.

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

(NY Times on the Republican Primary) In South Carolina, Challenges Await on Ideology and Faith

A Republican Party whose more energetic precincts have been gripped throughout the Obama presidency by a desire to expel moderates and upend the establishment will have put itself in the hands of a candidate who, more than anyone in the race, comes out of a moderate, establishment Republican tradition.

But to get there ”” or get there without a protracted battle ”” he will have to fend off efforts by his rivals in South Carolina to emerge as the singular anti-Romney candidate.

With little left to lose, Newt Gingrich and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas are already assailing him as a heartless job killer in South Carolina, a state hit far harder by the economic downturn than Iowa and New Hampshire were.

But just fending off that attack may not be enough. He is also heading smack into an issue that has followed him through his national political career: his Mormon faith and the suspicion many evangelical Christians have of it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Rural/Town Life, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Urban/City Life and Issues