Daily Archives: February 1, 2012

Wednesday Midday Diversion–2012 VW Super Bowl Ad.–Dogs barking the theme from Star Wars!

Watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Media, Sports

(Asia Times) Conversion row torments Kashmiri Christians

Kashmir’s small Christian community is in a state of panic. A fortnight ago, a self-styled sharia court issued a fatwa calling for the expulsion of three Christian priests from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for “luring the Valley’s Muslims to Christianity”.

The decree by the Islamic court, which has come in the wake of alleged conversion of a handful of Kashmiri Muslims to Christianity, has opened up a new conflict in this strife-torn Indian state.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, India, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

(USA Today) Michael Medved: Mitt Romney and the real wealth gap

The biggest challenge for Mitt Romney isn’t that America hates the rich; it’s that the public hates the undeserving rich, and deeply resents privileged punks and politically connected connivers who never performed constructive service to make their millions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Personal Finance, Psychology, Theology

(Economist) Fleecing the flock

With a nudge from their pastor, the 25,000 members of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church near Atlanta opened their hearts, and their wallets, to Ephren Taylor. And why not, given his glittering credentials? Mr Taylor billed himself as the youngest black chief executive of a publicly traded company in American history. He had appeared on NPR and CNN. He had given a talk on socially conscious investing at the Democratic National Convention. Snoop Dogg, a rapper, had tapped him to manage a charitable endowment.

So when Mr Taylor’s “Wealth Tour Live” seminars came to town, faithful ears opened wide. Eddie Long, the mega-church’s leader, introduced Mr Taylor at one event with the words: “[God] wants you to be a mover and shaker”¦to finance you well to do His will.” Mr Taylor offered “low-risk investment with high performances”, chosen with guidance from God.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Theology

(LA Times Editorial) America's drone wars

President Obama’s public acknowledgment of the CIA’s secret drone campaign in Pakistan puts new pressure on the administration to defend the policy openly. That’s a welcome development. The president should now be equally forthcoming about the rationale for the targeted killings of American citizens.

In an interview conducted by Google and YouTube on Monday, Obama defended the use of drones as “judicious” and added that “obviously a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA,” Pakistan’s federally administered tribal areas. An administration official told CNN that the president’s remarks about the secret program were not a “slip-up.” Nevertheless, on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney refused to discuss the drone program, withholding comment on “supposed covert programs.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Science & Technology, Theology

Women bishops are coming to the Church of England, says leading opponent Bishop Hind

The Rt Rev John Hind, the Bishop of Chichester, has led opposition to ordaining women as bishops but said that it was now certain to happen.

He spoke ahead of a key vote next week by the General Synod, the Church’s governing body, on plans to allow women to lead dioceses, which is currently not allowed.

A leading proponent of women bishops, the Bishop of Oxford, also described their ordination as “inevitable”, saying that it would “happen very soon”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Women

(AFP) Ethiopian Christians face deportation from Saudi Arabia

Thirty-five Ethiopian Christians, 29 of them women, face deportation from Saudi Arabia for “illicit mingling” after police raided a private prayer gathering, Human Rights Watch said on Monday.

The New York-based watchdog said the women were subjected to “unwarranted strip search,” while the men were beaten and insulted as “unbelievers”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethiopia, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Saudi Arabia

An Interesting Portion of the 2011 Idaho Diocesan Convention

Jennifer Haemmerle, co-Chancellor, moved for adoption of this revision. The motion was seconded and Jennifer went on to explain the rationale for this proposed change. The 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church adopted substantial revisions to the Canons for Ecclesiastical Discipline and this revision of the Diocesan canon will bring it into compliance with the general Canons of the National Church. This change also allows for the Diocese to enter into and implement an agreement with one or more neighboring dioceses to share assets and resources consistent with the provisions of Title V. Bishop Thom gave a brief summary of the process that is being put in place (that will, hopefully, never have to be used). He reported that he and Jennifer are working with the Diocese of Montana to create a shared a disciplinary panel. He will appoint two clergy and two lay persons to serve on this nine-member Board. In addition, two people (one male and one female) will be appointed to serve as intake officers. After a brief discussion, a vote was taken and the canonical change was accepted.

Read it all (see page 14).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Polity & Canons

(Yorkshire Post) Bill Carmichael on the House of Lords: Practise what you preach, Bishop(s)

In the House of Lords this week, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, John Packer, led a revolt by senior clergy against the Government’s welfare reforms, arguing that an annual cap on benefits of £26,000 is unfair and un-Christian.

Fine, but if we take Bishop Packer and his fellow bishops at their word over what constitutes a fair income, there are going to have to be some enormous pay rises in the Church of England.

It would be fascinating for example to listen to the bishops explain to their curates ”“ paid about £16,000 a year regardless of the number of dependent children ”“ why they have a duty to support through their taxes a benefit claimant pulling in the pre-tax equivalent of £35,000.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Soaring Beef Prices Force Shoppers To Find Other Foods

At Cappuccio’s Meats in the Italian Market, the cuts of beef are cutting into the profits.

“Every week when I talk to my suppliers, I’m amazed by how much it’s going up,” said owner Domenick Crimi.

Beef prices soared more than 10 percent last year according to the Department of Agriculture, and they will likely go up at least another 5 percent this year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Consumer/consumer spending, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Globalization, Personal Finance, Weather

Benedict XVI–Priorities on the Path to Priesthood

“As I wrote in my letter to seminarians at the close of the Year for Priests, it is not only a question of learning obviously useful things but of knowing and understanding the structure of the faith in its totality — which is not a summary of theses but an organism, an organic vision — so that it becomes an answer to the questions of men, who change in externals from generation to generation but who remain fundamentally the same,” he said.

The Pontiff also emphasized that the study of theology must be connected with the life of prayer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Independent) Stalemate at UN on resolution urging Assad to go

A defiant Russia resisted intense pressure from the West and several Arab countries yesterday for a strong United Nations resolution demanding President Bashar al-Assad steps aside to end the political violence in Syria and speed a transition to democracy.

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, Alain Juppé, the French Foreign Minister and several Arab ministers were in New York for a Security Council meeting as fighting between government troops and regime opponents worsened.

However, as negotiations on the final text continued, there was no sign that Moscow, Syria’s most important ally, would consent to any wording that called on Mr Assad to go or that authorised military action.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Violence

Bonnie Anderson Writes the House of Deputies about recent TEC Communications and Issues

Dear Deputies and First Alternates:

A confusing situation has arisen and I’d like to set the record straight:

On Thursday, the Presiding Bishop released a video directed to the House of Deputies expressing her opinion about legislative issues that will come before General Convention this summer. Yesterday, the Office of Communications sent an email to bishops that mischaracterized my response to the video’s release and asked the bishops to forward the video message to their diocese’s deputies.
On Thursday afternoon, I received word from the General Convention Office that the Presiding Bishop, via the Office of Communications, had directed that office to forward a video message from the Presiding Bishop to all deputies. I had neither seen the video nor been consulted about it and so I told the General Convention Office to hold it.

In my nearly 25 years as a deputy, I don’t ever recall the Presiding Bishop speaking directly to the House of Deputies outside of a joint session or without giving the House due notice, while at General Convention. I don’t ever recall a Presiding Bishop corresponding directly with deputies outside of the General Convention, without the knowledge of, or in collaboration with the President.

I was surprised because I thought that the Presiding Bishop, her staff, and I had worked through some important issues of internal communications last fall. I had talked with both Bishop Sauls and the Presiding Bishop and asked that we proceed in a more collegial and cooperative manner. I thought we had agreed to do so.

But while the General Convention Office was holding the video, it was released by the Office of Communications to the whole church just hours before the Presiding Bishop and I were scheduled to arrive in Baltimore where we could have resolved the situation in person.

I am glad to tell you that, while we have been in Baltimore, Bishop Katharine and I have shared a meal and talked in person. I told her that I’m disappointed about what’s happened in the last few days and asked that we proceed toward General Convention with collegiality and a cooperative spirit even””especially””when we disagree. I also told her that I am concerned about the use of churchwide resources to lobby General Convention on only one side of a legislative issue.

Despite this productive conversation, upon direction from the Presiding Bishop, the Office of Communications sent the second email, this time to bishops, that mischaracterized my request that the video be held, thus putting me in a difficult position and making it necessary to spell all of this out.

I am confident that we can get back on track and work productively and faithfully to prepare for General Convention. I will continue to urge that those of us who lead the church talk directly with one another to resolve differences. I will also continue to ask that the resources of the Church Center be deployed in ways that present the full range of opinions on legislation that will determine how the church meets the challenges before us.

Thank you for your commitment to our work. I am looking forward to being with all of you in Indianapolis and to the work that we will accomplish together.


[Ms.] Bonnie Anderson, President, The House of Deputies

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), House of Deputies President, Presiding Bishop

(FT) Tax cuts expiry to slow US growth

US economic growth will slow dramatically if tax rises and spending cuts come into effect as planned in 2013, according to new figures from the Congressional Budget Office.

The expiry of tax cuts originally passed by president George W. Bush, the end of a 2 per cent payroll tax holiday and automatic spending cuts agreed last August will reduce growth to just 1.1 per cent in 2013 unless changes are made.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Senate, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bridget of Kildare

Everliving God, we rejoice today in the fellowship of thy blessed servant Brigid, and we give thee thanks for her life of devoted service. Inspire us with life and light, and give us perseverance to serve thee all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who hast made the earth so fair, and written thy glory in the heavens: Help us inwardly to respond to all that is outwardly true and beautiful, so that as we pass through things temporal we may never lose the vision of the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori’ah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

–Genesis 22:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Romney wins Florida primary

Mitt Romney rode a massive wave of TV ads to win Florida’s Republican presidential primary Tuesday, regaining his status as the party’s front-runner and easily outdistancing Newt Gingrich and two other rivals after an intensely bitter, negative 10-day campaign.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General

(Living Church) Brian McLaren Book to Shape D.C. Diocese

Speaking at Washington National Cathedral on Jan. 27, [Bishop Mariann] Budde said the diocese will emphasize congregational renewal and revitalization. The bishop said she intends to hire a new diocesan staff person responsible for congregational leadership and development.

She also announced a new diocesan initiative to begin in March called People of the Way, which will help congregations enhance their spiritual formation practices. This initiative will draw from Brian McLaren’s Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices (Thomas Nelson, 2010).

While “the Episcopal Church is a jewel on the spectrum of Christianity,” today its “spiritual muscles” are “a bit out of shape,” Budde said. “The undeniable reality is that our church is not thriving. ”¦ I want to turn the trends of decline around.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops

(RNS) In Cleveland, a Battle over Unwanted Churches

Transfiguration was built in the early 1900s and sits just north of a Cleveland Clinic parking garage. The Gothic Revival church was home to one of several congregations that broke off from the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio.

The breakaway congregation recently moved to another location after a judge later decided the property must stay with the diocese. The building badly needs repairs, and a diocesan official, the Rev. Brad Purdom, said the diocese cannot restore every building.

“It breaks our hearts,” Purdom said. “But at the end of the day, you have to make some choices about how you’re going to spend the limited resources that you do have.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Washington Post) Long-term factors Weigh on Middle Class

While he has addressed the issue throughout his presidency, [President] Obama began late last year to shower even more attention on the importance of lifting middle-class wages. In the days after his address to Congress, he traveled the country to make arguments in favor of new investments in manufacturing, energy and college affordability.

But it is not clear that the measures ”” or any others ”” could compensate for the factors behind the decline of the middle class, including the rise of nations with abundant cheap labor and the development of new technologies that allow companies to operate with far fewer workers. Nor is it clear that the bruised American economy of 2012, with a growing population of retiring workers to support, can sustain a prospering middle class.

“There has been an avalanche of developments that have played out in the last 30 years or so that make it a huge challenge to think about real increases in wages and therefore a sustained rise in incomes,” said Lane Kenworthy, a sociologist at the University of Arizona. “I think, in truth, a lot of people are at a loss for what exactly can be done.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--