Daily Archives: March 30, 2012

(RNS) Religious leaders press Village Voice on sex ads

Religious leaders on Thursday (March 29) delivered more than 230,000 signatures to the office of Village Voice Media, demanding the company shut down the adult advertising section on its website, Backpage.com, where advertisements for sex with underage minors have appeared.

“As a mother and as a member of the clergy, I am outraged by Village Voice Media’s continued refusal to shut down Backpage.com’s adult section, even after being confronted with evidence that girls and teens have been advertised for sex on the site,” said the Rev. Katharine Henderson, president of Auburn Seminary and a leader of the petition.

Leaders from an array of religious groups, including Jews, Sikhs, Baptists, Hindus, and Muslims, have joined together in the fight against sex trafficking.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(WSJ Houses of Worship) Peter Beinart: The Jewish Case for School Vouchers

So how do Melbourne, London and Montreal maintain economically affordable, academically excellent Jewish schools? Simple: The government picks up part of the tab, often by covering the cost of the school’s secular subjects. If American Jews want our Jewish schools to flourish, we must push our government to do the same.
Doing so would constitute a radical shift. Outside the Orthodox community, American Jewish organizations have for decades opposed government funding for religious schools. The most common objection is that by intertwining church and state, such funding threatens religious liberty, a deep concern for a religious group that comprises roughly 2% of the U.S. population.

But that fear is overblown. Government aid to Jewish schools in Australia, Britain and Canada doesn’t mean that Jews in those countries enjoy less religious liberty than their American counterparts. Even in America, state and local governments already pay for the cost of special education in religious schools.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Education, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(CEN) Martin Beckford–Does anyone want to be Archbishop of Canterbury?

…front-runners to succeed Rowan are not just coyly denying any interest in the post ”“ they are actively saying it is an impossible one.
First to make this claim was Nick Baines (currently at 7/1 to move into Lambeth Palace, according to William Hill’s odds), who declared on his blog last September: “You’d have to be out of your mind to want to be Archbishop of Canterbury.

“My guess is that whoever is asked to do it next will have to be dragged to the seat.”

{and]…Graham James said: “I have served as a chaplain to an Archbishop of Canterbury and it was an impossible job then, and I think it’s more impossible now. Only those who don’t recognise its difficulties could possibly want to do it.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture

Google Launches Startup Base in East London's `Tech City'

Watch it all. “A much better garage”–LOL.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Science & Technology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CEN) Gafcon regroups

Anglican leaders from 30 Provinces will gather in London to work towards a ”˜visionary future’ in April.
More than 200 delegates will meet in London to build on the previous work of the Gafcon conference in Jerusalem in 2008.
The leaders are men and women of the clergy and laity from 29 countries.
The organisers hope the outcome will ”˜help turn the present crisis moment into a visionary future’.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates

St Paul's Cathedral seeks young singers for Diamond Choir

Children from all UK regions and nations have the chance to sing for The Queen as part of the Diamond Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving this June at St Paul’s Cathedral.

All boys and girls aged 10-13, who sing regularly in a church, school or other choir, are eligible to apply to join the choir, which will see auditions take place in regional cathedrals before 40 children are chosen to come to London for the service on 5 June.

Watch and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Music, Parish Ministry

([London] Times) Fuel sales treble as panic buying sets in

It was the day when panic really set in: figures released this morning showed that sales of petrol were up by 172 per cent yesterday as motorists heeded ministers’ advice to top up in case of a strike by tanker drivers….

Panic buying was reported yesterday across the UK, leading to long queues outside some garages and “sold out” or “food only” signs greeting car drivers.

Halfords, the car parts chain, reported “high” sales of fuel cans. Sales of all cans have soared by 225 per cent compared with this time last year, with motorists buying in “the thousands”, while sales of jerry cans are up by more than 500 per cent.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(Anglican Ink) Doctrinal fissure opens over African aid

The Archbishop of Kenya has criticized idolatry of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) saying faith in Christ, not works performed in his name, is the path of salvation.

The 22 February 2012 letter written by Archbishop Eliud Wabukala on behalf of the Gafcon primates chastised Christians who in the pursuit of social and economic change, lost sight of the centrality of the cross and the primacy of repentance and amendment of life. “While it is obvious that such good things as feeding the hungry, fighting disease, improving education and national prosperity are to be desired by all, by themselves any human dream can become a substitute gospel which renders repentance and the cross of Christ irrelevant,” he said.

While the archbishop’s letter stands in contrast to recent Western church endorsements of the MDGs ”“ a series of 8 initiatives adopted by the U.N. member states that seek to address education, healthcare, and poverty issues ”“ the African church, not America is the focus of concern Anglican Ink has learned.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Global South Churches & Primates, Politics in General, Poverty, Theology

(Church Times) Challenges remain, Primate warns, after dioceses block Anglican Covenant

The Archbishop of Canterbury warned this week that challenges in the Anglican Communion “will not go away”. Dr Williams was speaking after a majority of diocesan synods rejected the Anglican Covenant.

Last weekend, three more diocesan synods ”” Lincoln, Oxford, and Guildford ”” voted against the Covenant. Three others ”” Black­burn, Exeter, and Peterborough ”” endorsed it. This brought the total number of diocesan synods in favour of the Covenant to 15, and the total number against to 23.

Since a majority of dioceses have voted against, it will not return to the General Synod during this quin­quennium (2011-15).

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Prime Minister Rajoy to Unveil Deepest Spanish Budget Cuts in 30 Years

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will unveil the most austere budget since before Spain’s return to democracy in 1978, risking a deeper recession in a bid to avoid succumbing to Europe’s debt crisis.

“There’s interest in seeing how they are going to manage this particular trick of cutting the budget so aggressively,” said Harvinder Sian, an interest-rate strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in London, during a telephone interview. “The recession will be dramatic.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Spain, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Karen Loew–How Communal Singing Disappeared From American Life

With the crack of baseball bats across the land, the singing season for Americans is about to begin. At ballparks from Saint Louis to San Diego, people will stand during the seventh-inning stretch and belt “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” They will feel the pleasure of singing a bouncy, easy song with thousands of other fans. They will be cheered by the sunny lyrics, even if their team is down. They will lose themselves in a bond stretching around the stadium, a few minutes of carefree unity.

And when the season’s over, that’ll be it until next spring.

Adults in America don’t sing communally. Children routinely sing together in their schools and activities, and even infants have sing-alongs galore to attend. But past the age of majority, at grown-up commemorations, celebrations, and gatherings, this most essential human yawp of feeling””of marking, with a grace note, that we are together in this place at this time””usually goes missing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Music, Rural/Town Life, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NY Times) Hard Line on Iran Places White House in a Bind

“Obama had two main objectives ”” to deflect Israeli pressure to conduct or acquiesce in a premature war, and to neutralize Republican criticism that he is too soft on Iran and too hard on Israel,” said Robert Malley, program director for the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group. “On those fronts, mission accomplished.”

But, Mr. Malley added, “victory came at a price.” By stating clearly that containment of a nuclear-armed Iran is off the table, Mr. Obama may have committed America to military action to halt Iran if other means fail to do so, Mr. Malley said.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son hast taught us that whosoever will be his disciple must take up his cross and follow him: Help us with willing heart to mortify our sinful affections, and depart from every selfish indulgence by which we sin against thee. Strengthen us to resist temptation, and to walk in the narrow way that leadeth unto life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

–2 Corinthians 4:1-2

Posted in Uncategorized

What Happened when Charlotte & Jonathan went on Britain's Got Talent 2012 audition this week

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Music

(Washington Post) Joe Yonan–The death of pet can hurt as much as the loss of a relative

How could the death of a canine possibly hurt as much as that of a family member? As the sadness lingers, part of my grieving process has been to try to understand the differences.

Researchers have long known that the animal-human bond is strong: A 1988 study in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling asked a group of dog owners to place symbols for their family members and pets in a circle representing each dog owner’s life. (The distance between the subject and the other symbols corresponds to the relative, real-life closeness of those relationships.) The subjects tended to put the dog closer than the average family member, and about as close as the closest family member; in 38 percent of the cases, the dog was closest of all.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Animals, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

(Telegraph) Doctor claims he was dismissed for emailing prayer to colleagues

A Christian doctor who claims he was sacked for emailing a prayer to colleagues in a bid to raise their spirits is suing a hospital for unfair dismissal.

Dr David Drew, 64, told an employment tribunal that he was made to feel like a “religious maniac” after sending out the prayer by St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, to motivate his department.

He said he was subsequently disciplined and ordered to refrain from using religious references in professional communication. When he sought clarification from executives, he was told to accept the recommendation without questioning or to resign, he claimed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Heller McAlpin reviews Anne Lamott's "Some Assembly Required: A Journal Of My Son's First Son"

Nineteen years after Anne Lamott gave birth to the child she wanted desperately enough to become a single mother, her son, Sam, called with the news that he and his 20-year-old on-again-off-again girlfriend were expecting. “They’re both a little young, but who asked me?” Lamott writes, setting the self-deprecating tone for Some Assembly Required.

A sequel to Operating Instructions, Lamott’s best-selling 1993 chronicle of the struggles and epiphanies of her first year of motherhood, Some Assembly Required addresses the exhaustion, exhilaration and stresses of her grandson Jax Jesse Lamott’s first 12 months ”” from amusement at his “copious Newfoundland drool” to profound worries over his parents’ rocky relationship. Her interest is in how this birth affects her ”” and Sam ”” to their very core. To get at this, she intersperses her journal entries with comments she elicits from her son in interviews and email exchanges.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Books, Children, Marriage & Family

(BBC) Iraq's Maliki warns of Syria 'proxy war'

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has warned that arming either side in Syria will lead to a “proxy war”.

He was speaking at the opening of an Arab League summit which is discussing a joint plan with the UN to end a year of violence in Syria.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to the plan and will spare no effort to make it succeed, Syrian state news agency Sana reported.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iraq, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Violence