Daily Archives: February 16, 2012

(Christianity Today) Craig Bartholomew–Where Am I? The Middle-Class Crisis of Place

Craig Bartholomew, a philosophy professor at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, has been at work on a curious topic. “When people ask what I’m working on, and I say, ‘place,’ I get a blank stare,” Bartholomew says. But examples help. “The home is a place, the city is a place, the university is a place, the mall is a place, and the placial dynamic of all these places must be attended to for people to flourish.”

To exist at all, we must be somewhere. And as embodied creatures, we are implaced in specific contexts. Yet in contemporary culture, this aspect of human existence is threatened by what Bartholomew calls a “crisis of place” created by several elements of our technological society. To fully flourish as human beings””and to flourish as entire communities””Bartholomew argues, we need to recover the lost art of placemaking.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Books, Canada, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Times of India) Rise of Islamism in Maldives a cause of worry for India

The growth of Islamic radicalism in Maldives can be traced to the beginning of the last decade. Like in Bangladesh, Pakistani jihadi groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba have been making inroads to indoctrinate young men in a conservative Sunni society, that has been bogged down with slow growth, political authoritarianism (until 2008, certainly) and mushrooming madrassas with Arab funds.

None of this is good news for India. Intelligence circles believe this is part of Pakistan’s strategic outreach, to penetrate Islamic jihadism in India’s periphery, which could be a constraining factor on India’s own development.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, India, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

(LA Times Editorial) What about the U.S. debt?

In place of those cuts, the president offered a mixture of real steps to reduce the deficit ”” including nearly $2 trillion in additional taxes over the coming decade, mainly at the expense of high-income Americans ”” and bogus ones, such as almost $850 billion in “savings” from the previously planned end of foreign combat operations, a chunk of which would be spent on infrastructure and jobs programs. The one bright spot: Obama didn’t ignore the rapid and unsustainable growth in healthcare entitlements, as he did in last year’s budget. Instead, he called for saving about $360 billion over 10 years on those programs, in part by paying drug companies less for medicines prescribed to low-income Medicare patients.

There’s little chance this Congress will agree to many, or even any, of those suggestions. Tax increases seem particularly unlikely. But even if lawmakers were to adopt all of Obama’s deficit-cutting measures, they wouldn’t go far enough to set the budget on a path toward balance.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, History, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(NPR) Heroes Of The Taj Hotel: Why They Risked Their Lives

Often during a crisis, a single hero or small group of heroes who take action and risk their lives will emerge. But what happened at the Taj was much broader.

During the crisis, dozens of workers ”” waiters and busboys, and room cleaners who knew back exits and paths through the hotel ”” chose to stay in a building under siege until their customers were safe. They were the very model of ethical, selfless behavior.

What could possibly explain it?

Read (or better listen to) it all (another from the long queue of should-have-already-been-posted material).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Corporations/Corporate Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Terrorism, Theology

In North Carolina Residents take noisy church complaints to city council

Kerns said he and other officers had met with the church’s pastor, Demarius Hardy, who had promised to work on soundproofing the church. Hardy, who has not responded to requests by the newspaper for an interview, had already moved the drum set to another part of the church and built a wooden partition around it to reduce the noise.

“This is a church,” said Chief Mike Williams. “However, the bottom line problem is the building itself.” Kerns said, “This building is a metal building with a glass front,” which doesn’t do much to keep the noise of amplifiers and drums inside. He said in his most recent discussion with Hardy, the pastor told him he had $1,000 to use for more soundproofing.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life

The Bishop of Derby speaks on Religious Education in Schools as a Moral Issue

My final point is that we need to see this very much as a moral issue. My contacts in the police force are horrified to see human beings treated by commodities-just being sold. That is a gross moral issue, not just about supply but about demand. There is obviously enormous demand to take advantage of sexual exploitation. What does that say about moral standards and understanding of sexuality in our society? What does it say about a lack of discipline and taking other people seriously as human beings? I ask the Minister that if we withdraw RE from such a central role in schools, who but the great religions is going to provide any moral framework to give people guidance about sexual behaviour in our society?

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

European and African Roman Catholic Bishops Study Evangelization

The next speaker was Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb. “We want to talk of evangelization from our experience of life, our communion, and in view of a specific mission, that of the pastor,” said the Croatian prelate.

To this end, the archbishop of Zagreb added that the pastoral concerns are “social and spiritual,” and the latter are not opposed or separated but seen as “dimensions of one same integral development of persons and of human society.”

Cardinal Bozanic quoted the encyclical Caritas in Veritate, where Pope Benedict XVI recalls that a humanism that excludes God is an inhuman humanism, and that only an open attitude to transcendence can help in the promotion and realization of ways of social and civil life (cf CV 78).

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Europe, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(ENS) Episcopal Church launches new iPad app, ”˜Wayfarer’

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(WSJ China) China’s Military Spending to Double by 2015 ”“ Report

China’s defense budget will double by 2015, making it more than the rest of the Asia Pacific region’s combined, according to a report from IHS Jane’s, a global think tank specializing in security issues.

Beijing’s military spending will reach $238.2 billion in 2015, compared with $232.5 billion for rest of the region, according to the report. That would also be almost four times the expected defense budget of Japan, the next biggest in the region, in 2015, the report said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Budget, China, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, The U.S. Government

(Reuters) U.S. Congress contacts Apple on info-stealing apps

U.S. legislators on Wednesday sought more information from Apple Inc….regarding its privacy policies, pulling the iPhone manufacturer into a swelling controversy over how developers on its popular iOS mobile platform have been able to access users’ private address book data.

In a letter addressed to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, Representatives Henry Waxman of California and G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, both Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, asked Apple to clarify its developer guidelines and the measures taken by the company to screen apps that are sold on its App Store.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology

The Queen's speech at Lambeth Palace in which she defends the role of the Church of England

Here at Lambeth Palace we should remind ourselves of the significant position of the Church of England in our nation’s life. The concept of our established Church is occasionally misunderstood and, I believe, commonly under-appreciated. Its role is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions. Instead, the Church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country.

It certainly provides an identity and spiritual dimension for its own many adherents. But also, gently and assuredly, the Church of England has created an environment for other faith communities and indeed people of no faith to live freely. Woven into the fabric of this country, the Church has helped to build a better society ”“ more and more in active co-operation for the common good with those of other faiths.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NC Register) Anglican Clergymen Become Catholic Priests: Taking the Final Steps to Ordination

Charles Hough already had quite a career, including 18 years in the prestigious post of canon to the ordinary in the Episcopal Church’s Fort Worth Diocese. Now he wants to become a Catholic priest.

Hough hopes to lead a group of former Episcopalians in Cleburne, Texas, who have asked to belong to the new Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, created by Rome for former Episcopalians. Every Saturday, from 9 to 4, he participates in a newly developed program of training for former Episcopal clergy.

He and approximately 60 other former Episcopal priests around the United States, many of whom are married, are studying for the priesthood using a teleconferencing system to hear lectures and discuss their intense course of readings.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Adult Education, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Charles Quintard

Mighty God, whose Name is blest in the example of thy bishop Charles Todd Quintard, who opposed the segregation of African Americans in separate congregations and condemned the exclusion of the poor: We pray that thy Church may be a refuge for all, for the honor of thy Name; through Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, whose sovereign purpose none can make void: Give us faith to stand calm and undismayed amid the tumults of the world, knowing that thy kingdom shall come and thy will be done; to the eternal glory of thy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life. I write this to you about those who would deceive you; but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that every one who does right is born of him.

–1 John 2:24-29

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Statement by the Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa

We revisited the issue of pastoral standards for civil partnerships, recognizing that we are engaged in a long term process even though many of our people now face immediate pain, isolation, and loneliness. While circumstances vary from diocese to diocese, all of us are openly engaged in a process of listening and discernment. Several bishops presented feedback from their dioceses. Special thanks were afforded to Bishop Bethlehem and the Diocese of Port Elizabeth for their example in readily engaging so deeply and thoroughly with this pastoral reality. We reaffirm that all dioceses continue to observe only the orthodox teaching and pastoral practices long held by the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

We noted the importance of having a clear and uniform provincial policy on licencing clergy to ministries in our dioceses, and examined a draft policy paper. Bishops were encouraged to enable all clergy to be well informed about this policy. We also received, with thanks, templates, canonical references, and a draft agreement for implementing this policy in our dioceses.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces

(UM Portal) Q&A with Sam Hodges: Why we don’t have much time to save the United Methodist Church

What’s your biggest concern about things as they stand?
We should have a sense of urgency over the decline in our church in the US. The clock is ticking, and we will not be able to fund the general church structure, as we know it, much longer. And the only way in which we can avoid that is local church growth in the United States, because that’s where most funds originate to support the operations.

If you don’t find a way in which you can turn this around and spur local church growth, all of this debating about structure will become a side conversation that’s not terribly important.

Over the past 20 years, local church growth has not been our central focus. For a time, perhaps ten or 15 years, local church growth must be the central focus, even at the expense of other ministries. With sufficient growth, we can more fully attend to these other ministries that we so deeply care about. But unless we get this ship moving, and in the right direction, these other ministries will be going down through budget cuts””not from a lack of passion.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(First Things) George Weigel–HHS and the Soft on Religion and Religious Freedom

The HHS regulations announced on January 20 are one domestic expression of defining-religious-freedom-down. The administration does not propose to, say, restore the 1970 ICEL translations of the prayer-texts of the Mass; that, even HHS might concede, is a violation of religious freedom. But the administration did not think it a violation of religious freedom for its Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to try and overturn the longstanding legal understanding which held that religious institutions have a secure First Amendment right to choose their ministers by their own criteria””until it was told that it had gone way over the line in January’s Hosanna-Tabor Supreme Court decision (a judicial smackdown in which the administration’s own Court nominees joined).

Now, with the HHS “contraceptive mandate” (which, as noted above, is also a sterilization and abortifacent “mandate”), the administration claims that it is not violating the First Amendment by requiring Catholic institutions to provide “services” that the Catholic Church believes are objectively evil. That bizarre claim may well be another constitutional bridge too far. But the very fact that the administration issued these regulations, and that the White House press secretary blithely dismissed any First Amendment concerns when asked whether there were religious freedom issues involved here, tell us something very important, and very disturbing, about the cast of mind in the Executive Branch.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Children, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

In Maryland General Convention Day of Education Cancelled Due to Low Turnout

From here:

General Convention Day of Education
This event is cancelled

Due to low sign-up, this event has been cancelled. If you would like to express thoughts or concerns to the deputation from this diocese, please contact [info. provided]…

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention