Daily Archives: March 1, 2012

(ENI) Honduran church demands inquiry into horrific prison fire

The Christian Lutheran Church of Honduras (ICHL) is demanding an inquiry into a fire at the central jail in Comayagua that killed 350 prisoners on 14 February.

The ICHL, a member of the Geneva-based Lutheran World Federation (LWF), also said it was praying for wisdom on the part of the country’s leaders as they decide how to safeguard the rights of prisoners, according to a news release from the LWF’s information service, Lutheran World Information.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Central America, Honduras, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture

Ben Bernanke expects job growth to be hard to come by in '12

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke threw cold water on the improving economic outlook Wednesday, saying further significant declines in unemployment are not likely without stronger economic growth.

“Continued improvement in the job market is likely to require stronger growth in final demand and production,” Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee in his semiannual report to Congress on monetary policy.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The U.S. Government

Video Games Depict Religion as Violent, Problematized, U. of Missouri Study Shows

In the past few years, the video game industry has grown from a niche market into a major part of mainstream media. This increase in popularity and use of technology has allowed video game developers to insert more detail and nuance into the storylines of their games. Many video games have begun incorporating religion as a key aspect to plot points and story lines. Greg Perreault, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri School of Journalism, found that the many newer-generation video games equate religion with violence in the game narratives.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Media, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Woo-Hoo–USA Beats Italy For First Time Ever, 1-0

Watch it all. Clint Dempsey rocks.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Europe, Italy, Sports

Iran Seeks Alternative to Dollar Amid Oil Sanctions

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

Number of U.S. mosques up 74% since 2000

The number of Islamic places of worship in the United States soared 74% in the past decade.

While protests against new mosques in New York, Tennessee and California made headlines, the overall number of mosques quietly rose from 1,209 in 2000 to 2,106 in 2010.

And most of their leaders say American society is not hostile to Islam, according to a comprehensive census of U.S. mosques and survey of imams, mosque presidents and board members released Wednesday.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Zenit) Rebecca Oas–What's to Come of Treating Children as Commodities?

There is no doubt that reproduction is an industry, and a very lucrative one, at that. The costs of IVF run in the tens of thousands of American dollars for a single attempt, and the woman must receive regular hormone injections and undergo invasive procedures to both retrieve eggs and transfer embryos into her uterus. Given the physical and financial toll exerted by IVF, prospective parents and medical professionals place a great deal of emphasis on achieving a successful birth with as few attempts as possible. Therefore, it is common to transfer more than one embryo at a time, in the hopes that at least one will survive. In the event of the survival of multiple embryos, or if the embryos further divide in a case of identical twinning, the parents are offered the option of a “selective reduction,” in which one or more of the fetuses is aborted.

The argument used to support this practice is that the fewer the number of babies, the better the projected outcome for the survivor(s). In other words, even if a mother would be happy to accept twins or triplets, she may be counseled to “reduce” the number of her children for fear that she might be more likely to miscarry and lose the entire pregnancy. Sadly, this barbaric practice is being increasingly recommended not only for higher-order multiples, but also for twins, including those which occur naturally

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology, Theology, Women

Collin Hansen reviews Alister Chapman's New Biography of John Stott

[Alister] Chapman’s observations about [John] Stott’s global turn make the most sense. His frequent overseas travels revealed God at work in powerful, exciting ways. All Souls thrived, but national revival did not appear to be imminent. Students no longer responded so enthusiastically to his evangelistic messages. The prophet found little honor in his native land. His hopes for comprehensive reform in the Church of England ran aground in the 1960s and 1970s, according to Chapman, who devotes considerable space to church politics and controversy. Chapman says Stott wasn’t yet prepared in 1966 to follow the famed Welsh preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones into the “cultural wilderness” and forsake his hopes for the Church of England.
But Stott couldn’t keep the evangelical coalition together. Apparent uneasiness with Stott’s leadership was among the reasons J. I. Packer left Britain in 1979 for Regent College in Vancouver. Stott’s influence reached its climax as drafter of the landmark 1974 Lausanne Covenant, which affirmed sociopolitical involvement as a Christian duty. Graham deferred to Stott but never agreed, Chapman writes. Graham eventually shifted his focus toward supporting evangelists.

Chapman raises an important question about the difficulty of evangelical leadership: What could Stott have done differently? What incentives could he offer, what threats could he make to impose his views on divided evangelicals? Chapman writes, “Others might refer to him as the bishop, or archbishop, or cardinal, or patriarch or even the pope of the evangelicals, but he had none of the tangible means of power and control associated with any of those offices.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Books, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Globalization, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Cath. Online) Anglican Ordinariate Pilgrims from U.K. Say Thank You to the Pope

A little over a year after their establishment as the first Ordinariate, pilgrims from the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham journeyed to Rome for a Lenten visit and to say “Thank you ” to the Holy Father for this new work. The group included approximately 100 people including a dozen priests.

The highlight of their weeklong visit was the celebration of an Anglican Use Mass at St. Joseph’s Chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica. Complete with hymns, liturgies and prayers familiar to Anglicans, the Mass was led by Msgr. Keith Newton, Ordinary for the Ordinariate that covers England, Wales and Scotland.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(Christian Post on AMIA) U.S. Breakaway Anglicans Experiencing Leadership Struggles

AMiA was founded in 2000. Initially the relationship between the American congregations that joined the Rwanda Province went well due to the lax control the Rwandan Church exercised over AMiA congregations. In return for being part of the Rwandan Church, AMiA freely gave 10 percent of its revenue to the province.

Problems began after Emmanuel Kolini, the archbishop of Rwanda, retired in 2010. His successor, Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, desired more oversight of AMiA, which led to tensions between Rwaje and American Bishop Charles Murphy, a missionary bishop ordained to head AMiA.

This led to the decision by some bishops including Murphy to resign in December of last year and leave the AMiA.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Continuum, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Other Churches, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

(AP) Q&A: Google to dig deeper into users' lives

Google says the changes will make it easier for consumers to understand how it collects personal information, and allow the company to create more helpful and compelling services. Critics, including most of the country’s state attorneys general and a top regulator in Europe, argue that Google is trampling on people’s privacy rights in its relentless drive to sell more ads….

Google is combining more than 60 different privacy policies so it will be able to throw all the data it gathers about each of its logged-in users into personal dossiers. The information Google learns about you while you enter requests into its search engine can be culled to suggest videos to watch when you visit the company’s YouTube site.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology

Phillips Brooks on the Need for Courage in Preaching

This was quoted in the first Lenten sermon I preached at the Cathedral Church of the Advent the audio for which was posted Monday, and I have had requests for the citation–KSH.

Courage…is the indispensable requisite of any true ministry…. If you are afraid of men and a slave to their opinion, go and do something else. Go make shoes to fit them. Go even and paint pictures you know are bad but will suit their bad taste. But do not keep on all of your life preaching sermons which shall not say what God sent you to declare, but what they hire you to say. Be courageous. Be independent.

—-Phillips Brooks, Lectures on Preaching, the 1877 Yale Lectures (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969), p. 59

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Bishops

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and merciful God, the fountain of all goodness, who knowest the thoughts of our hearts: We confess that we have sinned against thee, and done evil in thy sight. Wash us, we beseech thee, from the stains of our past sins, and give us grace and power to put away all hurtful things; that, being delivered from the bondage of sin, we may bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, and at last enter into thy promised joy; through the mercy of thy blessed Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Alcuin (c.730/740-804)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” –and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.

–1 Corinthians 6:12-14

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

England versus the Netherlands Friendly–Wow

I turned it on to see England trailing 2-0. They tied it up 2-2 with two late goals and then Robin got a spectacular winner off his left foot for the 3-2 victory. Quite the finish.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Men, Sports, The Netherlands

Muslim Brotherhood's ideas questioned by founder's brother

Gamal al-Banna’s vision for Egypt would have set him at odds with his elder brother Hassan, the teacher who founded the Muslim Brotherhood as an Islamist movement in 1928 and was assassinated in 1949.

Gamal, Hassan’s last surviving sibling, argues that Egypt today would be best served by a secular leader, and believes that the current mix of politics and religion will eventually fail.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths

William Carroll–Landscapes of Nothingness

I should like to focus on nothing””that is, on the various senses of nothing about which scientists, philosophers, and theologians speak””and the danger which follows from a failure to keep distinct these different senses. It may seem strange, but my task here is to make crucial distinctions about nothing….

Lawrence Kraus, however, simply rejects any appeal to notions of “nothing” which are beyond the explanatory domain of the natural sciences. As he said in an interview on National Public Radio in January: “the question of why there is something rather than nothing is really a scientific question, not a religious or philosophical question, because both nothing and something are scientific concepts, and our discoveries over the past 30 years have completely changed what we mean by nothing.” Krauss goes well beyond what most physicists would claim when he says: “the distinction between something and nothing has begun to disappear, where transitions between the two in different contexts are not only common, but required” (183). Indeed, he has a whole chapter on why nothing is unstable. In a way, of course, he is right. The “nothing” he attributes to various cosmological theories is really something. The distinguished French physicist, Étienne Klein, author of Discours sur l’origine de l’univers (2010), observes that, contrary to Krauss’ speculations, we do not have the conceptual tools to try to explain how something can come from nothing; indeed, “that which pre-exists our universe is never nothing,” since all change starts from a prior something….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Philosophy, Science & Technology, Theology