Daily Archives: March 7, 2012

(Globe and Mail) Russell Smith–Pinterest: A vast city of beautiful mutes

The social-bookmarking site Pinterest has been around since 2010, but if you’re on Facebook you have probably noticed an upswing in people “pinning” things ”“ that is, posting found images under their names, in folders like “Clothes I’d Like to Own” or “Places I’d Like to Visit.” If you are a woman you are much more likely to have heard of it, as women so far have been its primary users. But business magazines are calling it the fastest-growing site ever: It now has 12 million unique visitors. With so much momentum, it is unlikely that women will hang on to it as their little secret for much longer.

Pinterest’s enthusiastic proponents say that there is nothing new about making collages of pictures that express our personalities: Most of us did it with cut-up magazines as children. But I think there is also something entirely contemporary about the kind of collecting that seems to dominate this site….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Art, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Media, Psychology, Science & Technology, Women

The English and Welsh Roman Catholic bishops’ Letter on Marriage and UK Government Policy

(Please note that this letter is referred to at the conclusion of the article in the previous post, which says it is to be read in every parish in England and Wales this weekend in worship–KSH).

Today we want to put before you the Catholic vision of marriage and the light it casts on the importance of marriage for our society.

The roots of the institution of marriage lie in our nature. Male and female we have been created, and written into our nature is this pattern of complementarity and fertility. This pattern is, of course, affirmed by many other religious traditions. Christian teaching fills out this pattern and reveals its deepest meaning, but neither the Church nor the State has the power to change this fundamental understanding of marriage itself.

Nor is this simply a matter of public opinion. Understood as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, and for the creation and upbringing of children, marriage is an expression of our fundamental humanity. Its status in law is the prudent fruit of experience, for the good of the spouses and the good of the family. In this way society esteems the married couple as the source and guardians of the next generation. As an institution marriage is at the foundation of our society.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Wales

Church is at fault in same sex marriage row, says former Bishop of Oxford Richard Harries

Indicating support for same-sex couples, the former Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, said that it was still not too late for the Church to move ahead with blessing civil partnerships.
“The Churches have only themselves to blame for their current predicament, in which they face a major rewriting of the law on marriage,” he said.
“Instead of at first opposing civil partnerships, and then only accepting them grudgingly with gritted teeth, they should have welcomed them warmly from the first and immediately proposed services of commitment and blessing in church. They should do this even now.”

Read it all (subscription only from the London Times).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba to host a panel from the recent COP 17 climate talks in Durban

Archbishop Makgoba, who also chairs the Anglican Communion’s Environmental Network (ACEN), stressed the timely nature of this meeting. “We heard for months about COP 17 before it took place, but we have not heard much since. I know that a previous meeting at UCT was oversubscribed so the interest is definitely there. I’m privileged that we have been able to draw together again such an impressive panel. This is not just a scientific concern – it is a deeply moral issue as well.”

The Revd Canon Dr. Rachel Mash, coordinator of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s Environmental Network, agrees. “Once we have heard from this well informed panel, we and other members of civil society can begin to plan our ”˜next steps’ leading up to Rio +20 – the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development taking place in Rio in June.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Theology

Sheridan Voysey–An Interview with Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson doesn’t believe in sequels and never uses an idea she knows the origin of. In this Open House interview, we explore other aspects of her writing life:

How she discovered her ”˜voice’ as a writer
Why she wrote Housekeeping in the dark and why she writes all her fiction in long-hand first
The reason behind the 24-year wait for her second novel
How her characters take on a life of their own
Her Christian faith and the influence of sixteenth-century theologian John Calvin on her writing

Listen to it all (either directly or by podcast).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Religion & Culture

With No Knockout Punch, a Bruising Republican Primary Battle Plods On

Mitt Romney won the delegates, but not necessarily the argument.

His quest to win the Republican presidential nomination has always resembled a detailed, methodical business plan. Mr. Romney, who spent much of his life fixing troubled corporations, must now decide whether steps are necessary to repair his lethargic candidacy.

Mr. Romney had hoped that a string of Super Tuesday victories in contests from Vermont to Alaska would effectively bring the Republican race to a close.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Office of the President, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(WSJ) Talks to Resume With Iran on Nuclear Program

The international community is set to restart talks with Iran on its nuclear program, the European Union’s top diplomat said Tuesday, opening a diplomatic channel at a time of increased tensions between Tehran and Western powers.

Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign-policy chief, on Tuesday wrote to Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, that the EU proposed resuming talks “as soon as possible.” The agreement was a response to a letter from Mr. Jalili in February asking for talks at the “earliest” opportunity.

The announcement comes a day after U.S. and Israeli leaders met in Washington to discuss Iran’s nuclear-development program. The U.S. and many EU states have accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran has denied.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Foreign Relations, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology

Ireland: Christians Shocked By Theft Of Saint’s Heart

The recent theft of a 12th century Irish saint’s heart from a Dublin church has left local Christians stunned and devastated.

“All I would ask is that whoever took it would return it with no questions asked. It’s valueless to anyone but the Cathedral here and our community and the community of Dublin”¦we’re grieving over it, really,” church dean Rev. Dermot Dunne told CNA on March 5.

The heart of St. Laurence O’Toole was stolen from Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin sometime between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on March 3 and has yet to be recovered.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of Ireland, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Ireland, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(RNS) Cash-strapped Italy looks to tax church-owned properties

Pinched by the global recession and tough-love budget demands of the European Union, the Italian government is looking for extra revenue, and has its eyes set on commercial properties owned by the Roman Catholic Church.
On Feb. 15, the government of Prime Minister Mario Monti announced it wants to revise rules on the tax-exempt status of church-owned commercial property. Although the exemption also applies to other not-for-profit entities, such as trade unions, political parties and religious groups, the Catholic church is its largest beneficiary.

“Such a move would have been unimaginable six months ago,” said Francesco Perfetti, a history professor at LUISS University in Rome. “After all, no matter whether you are a believer or not, the church is an integral part of Italy’s culture.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Church/State Matters, Economy, Europe, Housing/Real Estate Market, Italy, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Taxes

(Anglicantaonga) Christchurch Cathedral to come down; Brownlee applauds church's courage

Speaking to a media conference in the Botanic Gardens on Friday afternoon, Bishop Victoria said no bulldozers or wrecking balls would be used in the deconstruction.

She acknowledged “the high level of community interest and sense of ownership as the cathedral was both an iconic building and a place of regular worship by many.

“However, this is now a very dangerous building that needs to be made safe….”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Perpetua and Her Companions

O God the King of saints, who didst strengthen thy servants Perpetua and Felicitas and their companions to make a good confession, staunchly resisting, for the cause of Christ, the claims of human affection, and encouraging one another in their time of trial: Grant that we who cherish their blessed memory may share their pure and steadfast faith, and win with them the palm of victory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and most merciful God, we acknowledge and confess that we have sinned against thee in thought, word, and deed; that we have not loved thee with all our heart and soul, with all our mind and strength; and that we have not loved our neighbour as ourselves. We beseech thee, O God, to be forgiving to what we have been, to help us to amend what we are, and of thy mercy to direct what we shall be; so that we may henceforth walk in the way of thy commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

When one of you has a grievance against a brother, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life! If then you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who are least esteemed by the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no man among you wise enough to decide between members of the brotherhood, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that even your own brethren.

–1 Corinthians 6:1-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AFP) Anglican leader to pray with Pope on Saturday

The Archbishop of Canterbury will pray together with Pope Benedict XVI in a rare gesture of unity on Saturday despite simmering resentment over the Catholic Church’s move to recruit Anglicans.

Anglican leader Rowan Williams and the pope will celebrate vespers together in the monastery of San Gregorio al Celio near the Colosseum in Rome and a stone Celtic cross brought from Canterbury will be put up in the church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Two dead in shooting at Florida high school

Two adults died in a shooting at a high school in Jacksonville, Florida, a fire department official said on Tuesday.

The shooting occurred at the Episcopal High School shortly after 1 p.m., said Tom Francis, a spokesman for the Jacksonville Fire Department.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Teens / Youth, Violence

(CDN) Islamists in Egypt Use Rumors to Attack Christians

Tensions remain high in an Egyptian village where as many as 5,000 mostly Islam and that Christians had kidnapped her, the church priest told Compass.” Salafi Muslims went on a rampage over a false rumor that a church was holding a girl against her will in order to convert her back to Christianity.

Dismissing media reports of 20,000 rioting Muslims, sources told Compass that between 2,000 and 5,000 hard-line Muslims, most of them from the Salafi movement, last month harassed Christian villagers in Meet Bahsar in the Nile Delta, attacked a church building in a misguided effort to “save” the girl, damaged a priest’s house and then destroyed his car.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Islam, Media, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

An Episcopal priest in California sees similar strains in punk, ministry

Christianity and punk rock aren’t typically found in the same sentence – let alone the same mosh pit. But for the Rev. Bertie Pearson, an Episcopal priest and former punk-rock drummer, they’re totally compatible.

“They’re both about a hopeful vision for the world,” he says. “A rejection of materialism and inequality and injustice. They’ve shaped my whole moral value system.”

A parish priest at two Episcopal churches in San Francisco’s Mission District, Pearson discovered punk rock at 10 (“It radically changed my life”) when his sister gave him his first Black Flag and Dead Kennedys tapes. He bought his first drum set at 12, played in several punk bands and also drummed in salsa and electronic-music bands.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Analysts say it is unlikely the action of sanctions will force a change in Iranian regime

“What started as targeted sanctions to push back the nuclear program has in reality turned into comprehensive, broad sanctions that have hurt the Iranian people,” said Ali Vaez, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Iran Project in Washington.

If Western governments are counting on economic deprivation to bring radical change in Iran, analysts say they are likely to be disappointed.

“History shows that sanctions do not yield regime change — this is particularly true for states that emerged out of revolutions,” said Middle East analyst Arshin Adib-Moghaddam of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General, The U.S. Government

Christian Century Editorial–A desecration

American Christians would be understandably outraged if they learned of Muslims burning the Bible. Muslims have an even greater reverence for their holy book. Omid Safi, who teaches Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina, notes that Muslims look at the Qur’an the way Christians look at Jesus. “In an Islamic universe . . . the word becomes not a person, but a book,” he says. “For a Muslim to see the Qur’an burnt . . . it would look and feel like someone burning Jesus, or a crucifix.”

Christians should at least understand and respect the way Muslims look at the Qur’an. Most Muslims have a higher regard for the Bible than most Christians have for the Qur’an. It is unlikely that a Muslim would ever burn a Bible.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Afghanistan, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan