Daily Archives: January 16, 2012

Why you Simply Must be Watching PBS' "Downton Abbey"

Watch it all. It is only just over a minute; you can find a way to watch last season if you missed it and thereby catch up–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, History, Movies & Television

Kennedy, Clyburn offer inspiration at King event in Charleston, S.C., Yesterday

Patrick Kennedy, 44, served eight terms in Congress, ending his political career last January. He heads “The Next Frontier,” a campaign to raise money for brain-disorder research.

“I guess the phrase, ‘We all stand on the shoulders of giants’ applies to me especially,” he said, referring to his father.

He stressed the importance of Harvey Gantt, for whom the award is named. Gantt is a Burke High School graduate who became the first black student at Clemson University, after a lengthy legal battle that went to the Supreme Court. After being repeatedly ignored when he asked for information on the engineering program, he finally sued the school.

Read it all from the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, History, Race/Race Relations

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Race/Race Relations

A Washington Post Special Report–Memories of Martin Luther King Jr.

Check it out–a series of videos under five different headings.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Race/Race Relations

Local Newspaper Editorial–Matin Luther King jr. still brings us together

America’s political process is locked in a contentious stalemate that reflects deep, race-based divisions.

Some pessimistic Americans believe that aptly describes the United States of 2012. Yet it’s a far more fitting assessment of the United States of 1962.

And thanks to an extraordinary, Georgia-born preacher, we’re a far more united — and much fairer — nation today than when his epic life was cut brutally short in 1968.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, History, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations

James H. Cone–Martin Luther King, Jr., Black Theology–Black Church

Because many misunderstand the origin of King’s theology in the black church, they also misunderstand his relation to black theology. Many assume that black theology and Martin Luther King, Jr. have completely different theological and political perspectives. Persons who hold this viewpoint often explain the difference by saying that King was concerned primarily with love, non-violence, and the reconciliation between blacks and whites. But black theology, in contrast to King, seldom mentions love or reconciliation between blacks and whites and explicitly rejects non-violence with its endorsement of Malcolm X’s contention that blacks should achieve their freedom “by any means necessary.” Some claim that black theology is a separatist and an extremist interpretation of the Christian faith. But King was an integrationist and a moderate who believed that whites can and should be redeemed.

During a decade of writing and teaching Black Theology, the most frequent question that has been addressed to me, publically and privately, by blacks and especially whites, has been: “How do you reconcile the separatist and violent orientation of black theology with Martin Luther King’s emphasis on integration, love, and non-violence?” I have always found it difficult to respond to this question because those who ask it seem unaware of the interrelations between King, black theology, and the black church.

While it is not my primary intention to compare King and black theology, I do hope that an explication of his theology in the context of the black church will show, for those interested in a comparison, that black theology and King are not nearly as far apart as some persons might be inclined to think.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Man on the Street: A Slide Show of Martin Luther King Jr.

In America’s poorest ghettos, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s portrait is one of the most popular subjects of public art. These images, which I have been documenting since 1977, regularly appear on the walls of the liquor stores, auto-repair shops, fast-food restaurants, mom-and-pop stores and public housing projects of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and many other cities across the country. The majority are the work of amateur artists. Though Dr. King is usually front and center, he is often accompanied by other inspirational figures: Nelson Mandela, John Paul II, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Pancho Villa. He is often accompanied by his famous phrase, “I have a dream” ”“ a reminder that in many of the communities where these murals exist, the gulf between hope and reality remains far too wide. — Camilo José Vergara

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Art, Race/Race Relations

Tom Krattenmaker–Why Christians should seek MLK’s dream

Americans err if we believe that it’s only a black responsibility to right the social wrongs of racial inequality. It’s a white responsibility, too ”” and a Christian responsibility. Why Christians? It’s not that other faiths can’t do their part as well, but Christians ”” by sheer number and religious tradition ”” could be our best hope.

History shows that the teachings of Christianity hold an undeniable power to inspire positive social movements and call Americans to conscience, as they did during King’s time. Many Christians will be the first to tell you they should be held to a higher standard ”” because their religion insists on it.
Let’s improve educational and economic opportunities for African-Americans. Let’s acknowledge and root out the racism that mocks the American ideal. Let’s reject the harmful message of the prosperity gospel and reclaim the best of the nation’s black church tradition, with Christians ”” white as well as black ”” leading the charge for the dispossessed.

As the distinguished columnist Roger Cohen recently reminded, it is on the matter of race where one finds the greatest gulf between American behavior and American ideals. Will history find the same gap between Christian behavior and Christian ideals?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: I Have a Dream

The full text is always very powerful to read, but I find listening to it to have still more impact. Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for a Martin Luther King Day Celebration

God of our forebears and our God, who has summoned women and men throughout the ages to be thy witnesses and sometimes martyrs for thee, we bow before thee this day in remembrance and thanksgiving for the life and legacy of thy servant, witness and martyr, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We thank thee for his time among us, for his words and for his deeds, and for the quality of his living witness which eases the pain of recalling the brevity of his years. We rejoice in his example of obedient faith and the scenes and stations of his life which inform and enrich our own faith journeys. And we beseech thee this day for the strength, steadfastness and courage not only to remember but also to obey.

We remember the footsteps of Dr. King: walking everywhere in Montgomery, Alabama, during the bus boycott; sidestepping snarling dogs, swinging billy clubs, and torrential fire hoses in Birmingham; charting a King’s highway in the desert wastelands of bigotry and hatred from Selma to Montgomery, from Memphis to Jackson, from Chicago to Cicero; walking ever and always where Jesus walked among the lonely and the lost; the downtrodden and the outcast; those denied their dignity and robbed of their rights. Lord, guide and enable us to follow his footsteps that we too may be found in those places of danger, division, discord and sorrow where love is so desperately needed but so painfully absent. Let us hear and feel anew the words of the old freedom song beckoning us to faith commitment in community with our fellow disciples of Jesus Christ, saying, “Walk together children, and don’t get weary.”
We remember the gentle, patient courage of Dr. King, as he made the teachings of Jesus the literal rule for loving: refusing the temptation to render an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth but rendering instead good for evil; nonviolently offering the other cheek to those who, blinded by hate, taunted and loving those who chose to be his enemies and persecutors; following his Lord in showing the greatest love of all by laying down his life for others. Lord, give us the courage to live by what we say we believe and to accept the teachings of Christ as codes of conduct rather than mere words of inspiration.

We remember the restless and unrelenting commitment of Dr. King, as he refused to barter justice or compromise thy Word; insisting that the demand for justice, freedom and human dignity applies to all thy children in Southeast Asia as well as the South Bronx, and throughout the two-thirds of thy creation where injustice and oppression preserve the privilege of the other third. Lord, save us from the temptation to be satisfied with partial fulfillment and limited expression of thy truth. Help us both to love our neighbors and also to see the whole world as our neighborhood.

O God, fashion and mold our memories into a guiding vision for active discipleship, so that we may not only long and yearn for thy coming kingdom but may also recognize its arrival and presence in the risen Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, in whose blessed name we pray. Amen.

— The Reverend Dr. Randolph Nugent
General Secretary, Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, History, Race/Race Relations, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Provisional feast Day of Richard Meux Benson and Charles Gore

Gracious God, who hast inspired a rich variety of ministries in thy Church: We offer thanks for Richard Meux Benson and Charles Gore, instruments in the revival of Anglican monasticism. Grant that we, following their example, may call for perennial renewal in thy Church through conscious union with Christ, witnessing to the social justice that is a mark of the reign of our Savior Jesus, who is the light of the world; and who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who hast set in thy Church some with gifts to teach and help and administer, in diversity of operation but of the same Spirit: Grant to all such, we beseech thee, grace to wait on the ministry which they have received in the body of Christ with simplicity, diligence, and cheerfulness; that none may think of himself more highly than he ought to think, and none may seek another man’s calling, but rather to be found faithful in his own work; to the glory of thy name in Christ Jesus our Lord.

–H. J. Wotherspoon

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Make me to know thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. 5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long.

–Psalm 25:4-5

Posted in Uncategorized

Altar from St. John's Episcopal Church in Jersey City ends up on eBay for $49,500

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

Congratulations to the New York Giants

What a win for them on the road against the Green Bay Packers.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

A New York Times Editorial on this week's Supreme Court Decision

Ms. [Cheryl] Perich spent most of her time teaching nonreligious subjects with about a sixth of her time on religion classes, so the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit concluded that she was not a ministerial worker and that she could sue. In overturning that decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the question could not be “resolved by a stopwatch” and that Ms. Perich’s limited teaching about religion helped qualify her as a minister.

The court’s conception of the ministerial role is more encompassing than it has been defined by state and federal appellate courts. Its sweeping deference to churches does not serve them or society wisely.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

(LA Times Editorial) Courting Episcopalians

In a provocative act with religious and cultural implications, Pope Benedict XVI has created an ordinariate ”” similar to a diocese ”” for disaffected Episcopalians who are converting to Roman Catholicism. It will be headed by a married former Episcopal bishop, and it will allow congregations that make the switch to retain aspects of the Anglican liturgy, including the majestic Book of Common Prayer. The defection of Episcopalians en masse might seem of interest only to students of religion, but it illustrates a larger point: that the culture wars that rage outside stained-glass windows have come to dominate debates within and among Christian churches.

Read it all.

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

String of Synagogue Attacks Stirs Concern in New Jersey

An attack early Wednesday (Jan. 11) on a New Jersey synagogue””the fourth such incident in a month””is being investigated as an attempted murder and a bias crime, leading to increased concern and security measures from Jewish leaders and law enforcement officials.

Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said Congregation Beth El in Rutherford was hit by several Molotov cocktails and other explosive devices before dawn Wednesday, leading to a fire in the second-floor bedroom of Rabbi Nosson Schuman.

Schuman suffered second-degree burns to his left hand; his family escaped safely.

Read it all.

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

Jeff Walton–Episcopal Diocese of Virginia Faces Costs of Legal Victory

With continuing Episcopal congregations either ill-prepared to maintain properties or altogether nonexistent, paired with a diocese that is stretched thin financially, there are few options for stewarding church properties awarded by courts. With the diocese indicating that the sale of non-consecrated properties will go to paying off legal costs, the only source of long-term revenue is either to grow the size of the continuing Episcopal parishes or to lease their consecrated property to others.

Having abandoned the practice of church planting, Virginia Episcopalians seem unlikely to grow their financially vulnerable congregations. The Falls Church continuing Episcopal congregation lists only an increase of 10 attendees in the past three years, with few baptisms and confirmations. Diocesan officials may be hoping that a large number of former Episcopalians will stay tethered to the property, thus returning to the Episcopal fold. If only 5 percent of the Anglican congregation remains with the property, it would more than double the attendance at the Episcopal parish.

Read it all.

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

Nigerian Bishop Seeks Peaceful Coexistence

Anglican Bishop of Evo Diocese in Rivers State, Rt. Rev. Innocent Ordu, has urged Nigerians irrespective of religious and political affiliations to live in peace.

Ordu stated this on Friday night while delivering a sermon at Saint Barnabas Anglican Church, Elekahia, Port Harcourt during a thanksgiving church service to mark the end of a one-day fast declared by the Rivers State government to seek divine intervention in the crisis in Nigeria.

He noted that the political, economic, social, and religious atmosphere prevalent in Nigeria was an indication that the country is threading the same path that led to the 1967 civil war.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria

More US Roman Catholics take complaints to church court

Parents upset by the admission policy at a parochial school. Clergy and parishioners at odds over use of their building. A priest resisting a transfer to another parish.

It was once assumed that disagreements like these in the Roman Catholic Church would end one way: with the highest-ranking cleric getting the last word.

But that outcome is no longer a given as Catholics, emboldened following the clergy abuse scandals that erupted a decade ago this month, have sought another avenue of redress.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Paul Simon's long spiritual journey

Now at 70, he said he has questions about God. In his song, “The Afterlife,” he speculates about what happens after death. He imagines waiting in line, like at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
As the chorus goes: “You got to fill out a form first and then you wait in the line.”
But there’s a serious aspect as well, as the song continues:
“Face-to-face in the vastness of space/ Your words disappear/And you feel like you’re swimming in an ocean of love/ And the current is strong.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music, Religion & Culture

Economist–Kodak is at death’s door; Fujifilm, its old rival, is thriving. Why?

Both firms realised that digital photography itself would not be very profitable. “Wise businesspeople concluded that it was best not to hurry to switch from making 70 cents on the dollar on film to maybe five cents at most in digital,” says Mr Matteson. But both firms had to adapt; Kodak was slower.

Its culture did not help. Despite its strengths””hefty investment in research, a rigorous approach to manufacturing and good relations with its local community””Kodak had become a complacent monopolist. Fujifilm exposed this weakness by bagging the sponsorship of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles while Kodak dithered. The publicity helped Fujifilm’s far cheaper film invade Kodak’s home market….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Science & Technology