Daily Archives: February 13, 2012
For most of her life, Hope Rubel was a healthy woman with good medical insurance, an unblemished credit history and a solid career in graphic design. But on the day an ambulance rushed her to a Manhattan hospital emergency room shortly after her 48th birthday, she was jobless, uninsured and having a stroke.
Ms. Rubel’s medical problem was rare, a result of a benign tumor on her adrenal gland, but the financial consequences were not unusual. She depleted her savings to pay $17,000 for surgery to remove the tumor, and then watched, “emotionally paralyzed,” she said, as $88,000 in additional hospital bills poured in. Eventually the hospital sued her for the money.
Yet that year the hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, had already collected $50.2 million from the state’s so-called Indigent Care Pool to help care for people like Ms. Rubel who have no insurance and cannot pay their bills.
Politicized culture wars are debilitating because they almost always require partisans to denigrate the moral legitimacy of their opponents, and sometimes to deny their very humanity. It’s often not enough to defeat a foe. Satisfaction only comes from an adversary’s humiliation.
One other thing about culture wars: One side typically has absolutely no understanding of what the other is trying to say.
That is why the battle over whether religious institutions should be required to cover contraception under the new health care law was so painful — and why it was so hard to comprehend why President Obama, who has been a critic of culture wars for so long, did not try to defuse this explosive question from the beginning.
The tech press provides constant updates on the Apple versus Google mobile war, using statistics about unit sales, activation numbers, app downloads, etc. But it’s always good to remember what the war is about.
Here’s a helpful reminder, via a Bernstein research note out today. By 2016, analyst Carlos Kirjner predicts, the majority of Web search queries will come from mobile devices.
[Gene] Robinson, limping on a recently broken foot, took it from there. He called on the 300 people in the pews before him to work harder to integrate gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people into their spiritual lives.
He named his sermon, “Hospitality ain’t enough.”
“It’s not bad as far as it goes. Tolerance is better than intolerance, but it’s not near enough,” he said. “It’s not near as good as affirmation, respect and embrace. It stops short of where we need to be, where we need to go.”
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Bishop of the Diocese of Kuching the Most Reverend Datuk Bolly Lapok was officially installed as the fourth Archbishop of the Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia at an elaborate ceremony in St Thomas’ Cathedral here yesterday.
Bolly, who is the first Sarawakian ever to hold the post, succeeds Bishop of Singapore the Most Reverend Dr John Chew.
With his installation as the Archbishop of the Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia, Bolly becomes one of the 38 Primates in the worldwide Anglican communion.
For me, as an Asian-American, the chants of “M.V.P.!” raining down on Lin at the Garden embody a surreal, Jackie Robinson-like moment. Just as meaningful to me as a Christian, however, is the way the broadcasters have hailed Lin as not just the “Harvard hero” but the “humble Harvard grad.” His teammates appear just as overjoyed at his success as he was. Both seem to be testaments to his character.
Some have predicted that Lin, because of his faith, will become the Taiwanese Tebow, a reference to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, whose outspokenness about his evangelical Christian beliefs has made him extraordinarily popular in some circles and venomously disliked in others. But my gut tells me that Lin will not wind up like Tebow, mainly because Lin’s persona is so strikingly different. From talking to people who knew him through the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Christian Fellowship, and watching his interviews, I have the sense that his is a quieter, potentially less polarizing but no less devout style of faith.
According to the U.S.Census Bureau’s figures, Oregon has grown in population from 3,421,399 in 2000 to 3,831,074 in 2010. This represents a population growth of approximately 12.0% in this time frame. (Of passing interest, please note that the population of the United States as a whole went from 281,421,906 in 2000 to 308,745,538 in 2010, an overall American growth for the decade of 9.7%).
According to Episcopal Church statistics, the Diocese of Oregon went from Average Sunday Attendance (or ASA) of 7,793 in 2000 to 6,547 in 2010. This represents a decline of 16.0% during this decade.
Please note that if you go to the link toward the end of this sentence and enter “Oregon” as the name of the diocese and then “View Diocese Chart” underneath on the left you can see in pictorial form some of the data from 2000-2010.
April 7, 2012 marks CANA’s seventh birthday! As we look forward to completing our seventh year and beginning the eighth year of our vision and mission in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, our Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns has invited me to write this pastoral letter to you. We should be truly thankful for all that Almighty God has done in our common life and for the inspirational opportunities for gospel ministry before us in the coming year.
From humble beginnings our shared mission in CANA continues with over 275 clergy and over 90 churches across more than 30 states and Canadian provinces and a vital and growing chaplaincy program for both military and civilian service. In that same spirit of humility and Spirit-led consecration with which we began, we remain committed to a dynamic Christianity that demonstrates radical inclusion, profound transformation, and inspired service. New congregations are joining the CANA family, individuals are offering their lives for Holy Orders, and we are fully engaged in the provincial life of both the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and the ACNA as we seek to replant biblical, missional Anglican Christianity across North America.
Kylie Bisutti’s decision to leave the lingerie company was also spurred on by an encounter with her 8-year-old cousin.
“I was doing my makeup in the mirror one day and she was watching me,” Bisutti said. “She looked at me and was like, ”˜You know, I think I want to stop eating so I can look like you.’”
“It just broke my heart because she looks up to me and I didn’t want to be that type of person that she thought she had to do that to be beautiful,” she said. “Thousands of girls that think that being beautiful is an outer issue and really it’s a heart issue.”
Listen to it all as you are able (Be aware that the audio begins with the gospel reading and a brief musical interlude before the bishop’s sermon begins)
Set us free, O heavenly Father, from every bond of prejudice and fear: that, honoring the steadfast courage of thy servants Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
O God, fountain of love, pour thy love into our souls, that we may love those whom thou lovest with the love thou givest us, and think and speak of them tenderly, meekly, lovingly; and so loving our brethren and sisters for thy sake, may grow in thy love, and dwelling in love may dwell in thee; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life– 2 the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us– 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing this that our joy may be complete. 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; 7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
–1 John 1:1-10
Leaders of the Arab League called for a joint Arab-UN peacekeeping force for Syria yesterday after a meeting in Cairo, hours after the controversial head of the organisation’s Syrian observer mission resigned.
Mohammed al-Dabi, the Sudanese general who faced a torrent of criticism from rights groups and activists for his apparent failure to acknowledge violence by the regime, stepped down as Arab ministers attempted to revive the mission under a new mandate.
Together, the leaders of these Christian, Jewish and Muslim national organizations affirmed:
“We stand with President Obama and Secretary Sebelius in their decision to reaffirm the importance of contraceptive services as essential preventive care for women under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and to assure access under the law to American women, regardless of religious affiliation. We respect individuals’ moral agency to make decisions about their sexuality and reproductive health without governmental interference or legal restrictions. We do not believe that specific religious doctrine belongs in health care reform ”“ as we value our nation’s commitment to church-state separation. We believe that women and men have the right to decide whether or not to apply the principles of their faith to family planning decisions, and to do so they must have access to services. The Administration was correct in requiring institutions that do not have purely sectarian goals to offer comprehensive preventive health care. Our leaders have the responsibility to safeguard individual religious liberty and to help improve the health of women, their children, and families. Hospitals and universities across are respected and that their students and employees have access to this basic health care service. We invite other religious leaders to speak out with us for universal coverage of contraception.
The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, along with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which includes the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (USA) and United Church of Christ, have stunningly endorsed Obamacare’s mandate that all religious hospitals and charities must provide insurance coverage for contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization, despite religious objections.
In contrast, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, National Association of Evangelicals, Southern Baptist and Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod leaders and others have condemned the mandate as an assault on religious liberty. Megachurch pastor Rick Warren has declared: “I’d go to jail rather than cave in to a government mandate that violates what God commands us to do.”
When I tell people I’m working on a book on black Catholics in Charleston, the initial response is disbelief. “There are black Catholics?” they ask. Indeed, there are Catholics of African heritage in Charleston, and this community has been a significant part of the city’s social and religious life for centuries. Some African immigrants were Catholic before they were enslaved. In the 18th century in Charleston, the majority of black Catholics were free. And French.
Thousands of refugees came to North America after the revolution in France in 1789 and to its wealthy island colony, Saint-Domingue, two years later. About 500 black and white emigres arrived in Charleston by early 1792. They brought what possessions they could carry along with servants and slaves. Most had witnessed the destruction of their homes, businesses and plantations in the Caribbean.
A new Winthrop Poll confirms what most people who spend any time in the Palmetto State already know: South Carolinians are unabashedly religious, largely evangelical and armed with a strong belief that the Bible is the infallible word of God.
But faith leaders and parishioners say the poll questions ”“ including one that found 62 percent believe the Bible is the literal word of God ”“ aren’t nuanced enough to incorporate the range of theological interpretations such questions arouse in those who take their faith seriously.
“I see no conflict between the inerrant word of God and seeing things figuratively,” said Don Bowen, a Southern Baptist who describes himself as a born-again Christian. “Jesus says we are to be light and salt, but I don’t think of myself as a 1,000-watt light bulb or a block of salt.”
The law recognises the emotional and physical dangers of under-age sex (which is why it has drawn the line of consent in the sand) and often upholds it, although the circumstances in which it takes action are unpredictable, and vary in different parts of Britain. The health services recognise, equally, that teenagers will often ignore the law, and provide practical help and advice to prevent them from the worst consequences of their choices, such as pregnancy or disease. Of course, the coexistence of these two approaches involves some element of doublethink, but sometimes a little of this is necessary to minimise damage.
There is a point, however, at which doublethink actually becomes so extreme as to become part of the problem: that is where we are now, as the state colludes in pumping young teenagers full of hormones while keeping their parents in ignorance of the fact. When the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries proposed running compulsory abstinence lessons for 13- to 16-year-old girls, in tandem with practical sex education ”“ which would suggest that, in line with the law, it would be good to hold off for a bit ”“ she was howled down and caricatured as a religious reactionary. Should a 13-year-old who is having consensual sex with her 18-year-old boyfriend seek a contraceptive implant, she can be piously congratulated for taking “adult decisions on her sexuality” ”“ in preparation for an act deemed so potentially damaging to her that it could land him in jail. Confused? I am. Is it any wonder they are?
I conclude from all this ”“ which could of course be spelled out at much more length ”“ that we can only understand early Christianity as a movement that emerges from within first-century Judaism, but that it is so unlike anything else we know in first-century Judaism (and the unlikenesses bear no resemblance to anything in the pagan world) that we are forced to ask what caused these mutations. The only plausible answer is that they were caused by the actual bodily resurrection, into a transformed physicality, of Jesus himself. Put that in place, and everything is explained. Take it away, and everything remains puzzling and confused. Of course, there is a cost. One cannot simply say, ”˜Well, it looks as though Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead’ and carry on with business as usual. If it happened, it means that a new world has been born. That, ultimately, is the good news of Easter, the good news which the rationalism of the Enlightenment has tried to screen out and which the church, tragically, has often forgotten as well. But to address this we need to move to the next section of this lecture.
Since 2009, the window maker has shifted from a 40-hour work week to 32 at many of its plants, cut executive pay and 401(k) contributions, but has not laid off any of its 4,300 workers, Ms. Marvin says. Even so, Ms. Marvin isn’t holding out too much hope for 2012.
“We’re not talking about a housing recovery,” she says. “We’re talking about a small pickup.”