Daily Archives: February 20, 2012

Blurry Sexual and Familial Lines(II)–Cynthia Nixon "chooses" Same Sex relationship, enraging some

[Cynthia] Nixon is a mother herself; her two oldest children are Samantha, 15, and Charlie, 9. Their father is Daniel Mozes, a classmate of Nixon’s at Hunter College High School, where he now teaches English. The couple never married and split in 2003….A year after splitting with Mozes, she began a relationship with Christine Marinoni….

[She is frustrated by]…the skepticism she says her relationship has sparked among some gay activists who find her midlife switch in sexual orientation disingenuous.

“I totally reject that,” she said heatedly. “I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ”˜I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me. A certain section of our community is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice, because if it’s a choice, then we could opt out. I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here and we are one group and let us stop trying to make a litmus test for who is considered gay and who is not.” Her face was red and her arms were waving. “As you can tell,” she said, “I am very annoyed about this issue. Why can’t it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate? It seems we’re just ceding this point to bigots who are demanding it, and I don’t think that they should define the terms of the debate. I also feel like people think I was walking around in a cloud and didn’t realize I was gay, which I find really offensive. I find it offensive to me, but I also find it offensive to all the men I’ve been out with.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, Psychology, Sexuality, Theatre/Drama/Plays

Blurry Sexual and Familial Lines(I)–Lesbian parents 'betrayed' by gay Dad demanding to see his son

A two-year-old boy with “three parents” – his lesbian mother, her partner and a gay father – is at the centre of an Appeal Court test case on the status of “alternative” families.

The mother says she made a pact with the father during a restaurant meeting before the boy was conceived that she and her lover would fill the role of “primary parents” within a “nuclear family” and that he would not stand on his paternal rights.

But now she and her partner say they feel “bitter and betrayed” after the father – a former close friend who attended the birth and held the new-born baby in his arms – demanded overnight and holiday contact with his biological son.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Science & Technology, Sexuality

A Rabbi’s Teachings on Recovery Find a Wide Audience

For six years, Rabbi [Shais] Taub, 37, has been teaching and writing about the spiritual component of recovery from addiction. He had begun within the Jewish community, specifically the Chabad movement, and yet providence or serendipity or destiny has brought him increasing recognition and influence well beyond it.

So it was that Father [Steven] Boes asked him to address a half-dozen staff members, some of them clergy and some of them therapists, who lead recovery programs at Boys Town. Once a refuge for children neglected or abandoned due primarily to poverty, it now deals extensively with boys and girls who have abused alcohol and drugs. And while Boys Town from its origin had been nondenominational and opposed to religious compulsion of any kind, it has always considered faith a central element for repairing damaged lives.

Over the course of 90 minutes with the Boys Town staff members, Rabbi Taub spoke of the Talmud, “Hamlet,” the Exodus narrative and the metaphor of the canary in the coal mine.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(CSM) As Greece awaits bailout, southern Europe seethes

The mood is growing surly in the south of Europe as austerity measures take hold. With unemployment at 20 percent in some countries ”“ and youth unemployment as high as 50 percent ”“ warnings are growing sharper about a troubling rise of populist feeling….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Historical Moments For President's Day (IV): Franklin Delano Roosevelt's D-Day Prayer, June 6, 1944

“My Fellow Americans:

“Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

“And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

“Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

“They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
“They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

“For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.&

“Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

“And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

“Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

“Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

“And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

“And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment — let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

“With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace — a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

“Thy will be done, Almighty God.


You can listen to the actual audio if you want here.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Office of the President, Politics in General, Spirituality/Prayer

Historical Moments For President's Day (III)–Theodore Roosevelt's Inaugural Address

No people on earth have more cause to be thankful than ours, and this is said reverently, in no spirit of boastfulness in our own strength, but with gratitude to the Giver of Good who has blessed us with the conditions which have enabled us to achieve so large a measure of well-being and of happiness. To us as a people it has been granted to lay the foundations of our national life in a new continent. We are the heirs of the ages, and yet we have had to pay few of the penalties which in old countries are exacted by the dead hand of a bygone civilization. We have not been obliged to fight for our existence against any alien race; and yet our life has called for the vigor and effort without which the manlier and hardier virtues wither away. Under such conditions it would be our own fault if we failed; and the success which we have had in the past, the success which we confidently believe the future will bring, should cause in us no feeling of vainglory, but rather a deep and abiding realization of all which life has offered us; a full acknowledgment of the responsibility which is ours; and a fixed determination to show that under a free government a mighty people can thrive best, alike as regards the things of the body and the things of the soul.

Much has been given us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither. We have become a great nation, forced by the fact of its greatness into relations with the other nations of the earth, and we must behave as beseems a people with such responsibilities. Toward all other nations, large and small, our attitude must be one of cordial and sincere friendship. We must show not only in our words, but in our deeds, that we are earnestly desirous of securing their good will by acting toward them in a spirit of just and generous recognition of all their rights. But justice and generosity in a nation, as in an individual, count most when shown not by the weak but by the strong.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Office of the President, Politics in General

Historical Moments For President's Day (II)–Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Office of the President, Politics in General

Historical Moments For President's Day (I)–George Washington's First Inaugural Address

By the article establishing the executive department it is made the duty of the President “to recommend to your consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” The circumstances under which I now meet you will acquit me from entering into that subject further than to refer to the great constitutional charter under which you are assembled, and which, in defining your powers, designates the objects to which your attention is to be given. It will be more consistent with those circumstances, and far more congenial with the feelings which actuate me, to substitute, in place of a recommendation of particular measures, the tribute that is due to the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism which adorn the characters selected to devise and adopt them. In these honorable qualifications I behold the surest pledges that as on one side no local prejudices or attachments, no separate views nor party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests, so, on another, that the foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the preeminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens and command the respect of the world. I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire, since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Office of the President, Politics in General

LA Times 2012 President's Day Quiz

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Office of the President, Politics in General

Valerie Strauss–Another Presidents' Day quiz

You thought you were done, but no. Read it all and see how many answers you can get.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Office of the President, Politics in General

Valerie Strauss–A Presidents' Day quiz

Read it all and see how many answers you can get.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Office of the President, Politics in General

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy thought can drag downwards; an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God, understanding to know thee, diligence to seek thee, wisdom to find thee, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

–Proverbs 27:1-2

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, our Judge and Saviour, set before us the vision of thy purity, and let us see our sins in the light of thy holiness. Pierce our self-contentment with the shafts of thy burning love, and let that love consume in us all that hinders us from perfect service of thy cause; for as thy holiness is our judgment, so are thy wounds our salvation.

–William Temple (1881-1944)

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

(CNS) Former Anglican priests begin formation to be ordained Catholic priests

Seminarians currently enrolled at St. Mary’s served as hosts during the opening day of the first formation weekend in January.

“I think the seminarians at St. Mary understand how significant this is and they have been incredible,” Msgr. [Jeffrey] Steenson told the Texas Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. “They are so energized about this — they know it is historical.”

He credit[s] the “extraordinary efforts and help” and “time and resources” of the archdiocese and Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo with bringing about “exactly what Pope Benedict hoped for — the close relationship with the local diocese and the new ordinariate.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Seminary / Theological Education, TEC Bishops, Theology

(GetReligion) George Conger–So what sort of Anglican are you?

I think it is safe to say that until about 30 – 40 years ago very few people would know what an Anglican was….[but today that is no longer the case]….

Via the magic of Facebook, commentator Daniel Stoddart directed my attention to a DC-area newspaper, the Vienna Connection, which has a nice story about a new church. The article entitled “Vienna Resident ”˜Plants’ a Church” chronicles its story.

The Rev. Johnny Kurcina has formed a congregation that meets on Sunday mornings at the Louise Archer Elementary School cafeteria. Since its start in November, the church appears to be doing well and the write up presents an attractive picture of a young minister with a bright future ahead.

The word “Anglican” is found in the sub-title….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Continuum, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Knicks gets back on track as Jeremy Lin, Steve Novak light up Mavs in the 4th Quarter

Linsanity lives.

Forget the off night that had NBA fans worldwide wondering if the Jeremy Lin story was too good to be true. It’s still plenty good, all right.

The Harvard sensation was back at his whirling ways Sunday, and the stage couldn’t have been better — against the defending champions on national TV.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Men, Sports

Alain de Botton–Religion for Everyone

The notion that we could mend some of the tatters in the modern social fabric through an initiative as modest as a communal meal may seem offensive to those who trust in the power of legislative and political solutions to cure society’s ills. But these restaurants would not be an alternative to traditional political methods. They would be a prior step, taken to humanize one another in our imaginations.

Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism have made significant contributions to political life, but their relevance to the problems of community are arguably never greater than when they depart from the modern political script and remind us that there is also value to be had in standing in a big hall singing a hymn or in ceremoniously washing a stranger’s feet or in sitting at a table with neighbors and partaking of lamb stew and conversation. These rituals, as much as the deliberations inside parliaments and law courts, are what help to hold our fractious and fragile societies together.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, History, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(NY Times) Iran Suspends Shipments of Oil to Britain and France

Iran’s government ordered a halt to oil exports to Britain and France on Sunday, in what may be only an initial response to the European Union decision to cut off Iranian oil imports and freeze central bank assets beginning in July.

Britain and France depend little on Iranian oil, however, so their targeting may be a mostly symbolic act, a function of the strong positions Paris and London have taken in trying to halt Iranian nuclear enrichment and bring pressure to bear on Syria, one of Tehran’s closest allies.

Tehran may also be reluctant, when its economy has been damaged by existing sanctions, to deprive itself of revenues from its larger European customers. At the same time, it may be seeking to divide the 27-nation European Union between those who depend on Iranian oil and those who do not

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Europe, Foreign Relations, France, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General

(WSJ) The Muslim Brotherhood Looks West in Bid to Revive Egyptian Economy

Hard reality is steering…[a] transformation. Confronted with a badly sinking economy, the Brotherhood doesn’t have the luxury of harping endlessly about Zionist conspiracies, American hypocrisy, or bikini-clad tourists””not if it wants to put Egypt back together again.

Tourism revenue dropped by at least one-third since the uprising, according to government statistics. And billions of dollars of annual foreign investment””which peaked at $13.7 billion in 2007””were almost entirely choked off.

“Egypt is running smack into an economic wall,” said Karim Sadek, a managing director at Citadel Capital, a Cairo-based private-equity firm.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Egypt, Globalization, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General

(BBC) Egypt presidential election: Decision on date delayed

Egyptian election officials have failed to confirm the date of the first presidential election since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.

An election commission briefing only expressed hope the process could be over by the end of May.

The commission chairman told local TV the problem lay in organising the expatriate vote.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, History, Middle East, Politics in General

(CNS) Pope creates 22 new cardinals, including three from US, Canada

Pope Benedict XVI created 22 new cardinals from 13 countries — including three from the United States and Canada — placing red hats on their heads and calling them to lives of even greater love and service to the church.

The churchmen who joined the College of Cardinals Feb. 18 included Cardinals Timothy M. Dolan of New York; Edwin F. O’Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and former archbishop of Baltimore; and Thomas C. Collins of Toronto.

In their first official act in their new role, the new cardinals were asked to join their peers in giving the pope their opinion, in writing, on the canonization of seven new saints, including Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, an American Indian, and Blessed Marianne Cope of Molokai, Hawaii.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Canada, Globalization, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

AddisonPhillips–Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing

[Søren] Kierkegaard has a beautiful devotional titled “Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing.” The basis for the book is James 1:8 and he spends the majority of the space in the book psychologically evaluating what it means to will one thing and what many of the barriers are to willing one thing. The title of the work alone speaks beauty and simplicity to me. I believe Kierkegaard is getting at the heart of Jesus with the idea behind this book. Jesus said that only one thing is necessary and he said that the law is fulfilled in one commandment: Love God and love neighbor.

One of my favorite illustrations in the book is when Kierkegaard writes of a man who is courting a wealthy woman. The double-minded man, the man who does not will only one thing, is pleased by the fact that his marriage to the woman will result in financial gain. The man without a pure heart allows his love for the woman to be tainted by her situation and the gain which will come to him as a result. The man who courts the wealthy woman and wills only one thing, the man with a pure heart, hates any financial gain he may come to acquire by his marriage to the woman. The man has a disdain for the woman’s wealth, not out of jealousy or in any way which causes feelings of contempt for the woman, but for quite the opposite reason. The man has contempt for the woman’s wealth because it presents the possibility of his love for her losing its purity. The man who wills only one thing wants to do nothing but love the woman with his whole heart and with a pure heart. Any other thing which may cause him to love the woman with any less than a whole and pure heart is an enemy. He wants only to love the woman and he wants nothing to get in the way. The man with the pure hearts acts in a way which eliminates other possible competitors for his love.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, History, Pastoral Theology, Philosophy, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology