Monthly Archives: April 2012

Checking in on this Year's United Methodist General Conference–Repentance is life work

Delegates and visitors gathered under the brilliant Tampa sun for a noon rally against the privatization of prisons, led by the United Methodist Task Force on Immigration.

Participants in the April 28 rally sang “We Shall Overcome” while carrying signs saying, “Profit from Pain is Inhumane.”

The rally celebrated the establishment of a new investment screen adopted by the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits. That screen, adopted in January, forbids board investments in companies that derive more than 10 percent of their revenue from the operation of prison facilities.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

Molly Worthen reviews T. M. Luhrmann's Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God

Luhrmann did extensive fieldwork in Chicago and Northern California at Vineyard Christian Fellowship, a young “charismatic” denomination that offers a tame, middle-class version of Pentecostal practices that once scandalized most Christians. Members speak in tongues, pray for healing and seek “concrete experiences of God’s realness.” They want “the hot presence of the Holy Spirit to brush their cheeks and knock them sideways.” Some evangelicals frown on the Vineyard’s exuberance, but the denomination has gained outsize influence in evangelical culture, particularly by producing popular worship music. The Vineyard showcases, in amplified form, a style of prayer that has become widespread over the past four dec­ades.

After more than four years of observing and interviewing Vineyard members, and participating in prayer groups, Bible study and weekly worship, Luhrmann arrived at a simple but arresting hypothesis: Evangelicals believe in an intimate God who talks to them personally because their churches coach them in a new theory of mind. In these communities, religious belief is “more like learning to do something than to think something. . . . People train the mind in such a way that they experience part of their mind as the presence of God.” Luhrmann is hardly the first to interpret religious feeling through the lens of psychology. This line of analysis goes back to William James and the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, and today the scientific study of prayer is a growing field. Yet “When God Talks Back” is remarkable for combining creative psychological analysis with a commitment to understanding evangelicals not merely as a scholar’s specimens, but on their own terms. The result is the most insightful study of evangelical religion in many years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

In Milwaukee, Thousands awaiting Cardinal Timothy Dolan celebrating Mass of Thanksgiving

Bilda’s Friess Lake Pub is a hot spot on a Friday night, and the hot topic around the tables — Cardinal Dolan’s visit to nearby Holy Hill this weekend. “It seems to be, you look around here, there certainly is,” said John Freese.

Craig Schmidt told TODAY’S TMJ4, “I’m not even Catholic, I’m a WELS Lutheran but Timothy Dolan rocks.”

Dolan will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving inside the chapel Saturday. It’s his first visit back to the area since becoming a Cardinal.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Prospect) Rowan Williams–From Faust to Frankenstein: On Markets, Modernity and the Common Good

(Close readers of this blog may note that we featured the amazing resource of Michael Sandel’s Harvard Course on Justice in September 2010–KSH).

Should people be paid for donating blood? In the United States, there is a mixed economy of free donation and the sale of blood through commercial blood banks. Predictably, most of the blood that is dealt with on a commercial basis comes from the very poor, including the homeless and the unemployed. The system entails a large-scale redistribution of blood from the poor to the rich.

This is only one of the examples cited by Michael Sandel, the political philosopher and former Reith Lecturer, in his survey of the rapidly growing commercialisation of social transactions, but it is symbolically a pretty powerful one. We hear of international markets in organs for transplant and are, on the whole, queasy about it; but here is a routine instance of life, quite literally, being transferred from the poor to the rich on a recognised legal basis. The force of Sandel’s book is in his insistence that we think hard about why exactly we might see this as wrong; we are urged to move beyond the “yuck factor” and to consider whether there is anything that is intrinsically not capable of being treated as a commodity, and if so why.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

(NC Register) The New Media and the Church: Here Comes Everybody

The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists and Bishops Who Tweet has an implicit message that reminds me of the comment sometimes attributed to James Joyce ”” that the Catholic Church means “Here comes everybody.” Not just the Vatican, not just the bishops, not just the parish council, but everyone ”” for better and for worse.

And the blogosphere, increasingly, is everybody, too. Like nothing that I can think of in Church history, the blogosphere allows faithful Catholics to find each other for reciprocal inspiration, support, exchange and development of thought, sheer fellowship and for who knows what other purpose added in the last 24 hours.

As The Church and the New Media’s editor, Brandon Vogt, puts it, “a primary, defining characteristic of all new media is dialogue,” in sharp contract to the top-down format of print and film and, to a much lesser degree, radio.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Salt Lake City storehouse at top of Mormon food chain

The new storehouse, which opened in January, is the centerpiece of the LDS Church’s intricate network for taking care of its members and lending a hand to others in times of natural disasters, putting scriptural encouragements into action in the aftermath of hardship, hurricanes, floods, fires and earthquakes across the nation and around the world.

“As I walk through, I [don’t] think, ‘What a beautiful building’ but how the Lord must truly love the poor to provide this building to take care of their needs,” [Richard] Humpherys said during a tour of the facility, built with members’ donations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Mormons, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Other Faiths, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(Wired) Senior U.S. General Orders Top-to-Bottom Review of Military’s Islam Training

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday ordered the entire U.S. military to scour its training material to ensure it doesn’t contain anti-Islamic content, Danger Room has learned. The order came after the Pentagon suspended a course for senior officers that was found to contain derogatory material about Islam.

The extraordinary order by General Martin Dempsey, the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S. armed forces, was prompted by content in a course titled “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” that was presented as an elective at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. The course instructed captains, commanders, lieutenant colonels and colonels from across all four armed services that “Islam had already declared war on the West,” said Lt. Gen. George Flynn, Dempsey’s deputy for training and education.

“It was inflammatory,” Flynn told Danger Room on Tuesday. “We said, ”˜Wait a second, that’s really not what we’re talking about.’ That is not how we view this problem or the challenges we have in the world today.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Military / Armed Forces, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Trying to Shed Student Debt

In the past decade student debt has surged as tuition and enrollment climbed. At the same time, college graduates’ earnings have declined. The average debt load of all new graduates rose 24%, adjusted for inflation, from 2000 through 2010, to $16,932, says the Progressive Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank in Washington. Over the same period, the average earnings of full-time workers ages 25 to 34 with no more than a bachelor’s degree fell by 15% to $53,539.

Terri Reynolds-Rogers, a 57-year-old health-program manager from Palmer, Alaska, declared bankruptcy in 2007, but still has $152,000 in student debt. She said she dropped out of medical school in 1999 to care for her two children after her husband died of brain cancer.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The U.S. Government, Young Adults

Susan Dominus–Table Talk: The New Family Dinner

Because of the cultural whiplash I experienced in regularly attending two remarkably different family meals, I have always been fascinated by the range of conversations that pass for normal at other people’s homes at mealtime: what rituals and rules of discourse do parents invent, to what conventions do they default or aspire?….

Amy Chua, the Yale Law professor who wrote “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” the controversial chronicle of her own overambitious parenting technique, said her immigrant parents imparted to her a passion for academics ”” but not over dinner. “We did not say one word,” she recalled. Eating and television news dominated the meal.

In her own home, she said, she and her husband, the law professor Jed Rubenfeld, try to devote about half the meal to catching up on their children’s lives and the other half to “bringing up interesting cases with moral dilemmas.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Marriage & Family, Philosophy, Politics in General, Psychology

(WSJ Front Page) Slowing Growth Stirs Recovery Fears

The economy lost steam in the first quarter, as onetime engines of growth sputtered and robust consumer spending was unable to propel the recovery on its own.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of all goods and services produced in the economy, grew at an annualized rate of 2.2% in the first quarter, down from 3% at the end of 2011, the Commerce Department said Friday. The deceleration reflected sharp cutbacks in government spending and weaker business investment and came despite an unusually warm winter, which many economists said likely provided a mild economic boost.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Pray for the Nigerian Government over Boko Haram, corruption, Aregbesola tells Anglicans

Speaking at the opening of the first session of the ninth synod of the Diocese of Osun (Anglican Communion) at Saint Andrew’s Anglican Church, Ada, [Governor Rauf] Aregbesola said the recent noise of purported plan to Islamise Osun was a ruse aimed at creating religious disharmony with a view to getting a state of emergency declared on the state.

The Governor said: “I believe so strongly that the Federal Government and security agencies deserve our prayers at this time. Instead of plotting mischief and fomenting trouble in a peaceful state like Osun here, they need to take a grasp of the depth of the security challenges facing the nation.

“Some evil people are bent on blowing the nation apart, and the security agencies seem to have no clue on how to tackle this menace.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

The Consecration of a new Area Anglican Bishop for the Horn of Africa

The Consecration of a new Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa within the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa

In an amazing gathering that brought together bishops and archbishops from the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Coptic Catholic Church, and well as representatives of the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, government officials, Ambassadors, prominent writers, and politicians, the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa celebrated the consecration of The Rev. Dr. Grant LeMarquand as a new Area (Assistant) Bishop for the Horn of Africa.

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, together with The Rt. Rev. Michael Lewis (Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf), The Rt. Rev. Dr. Bill Musk (Area Bishop for North Africa), and The Rt. Rev. Ghais Abdel Malek (the retired Diocesan Bishop of Egypt) par-ticipated in the consecration of The Rev. Dr. Grant LeMarquand.

Many people sent greetings, including The Most Rev. & Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Other representatives from around the Anglican Communion attended, including: Archbishop Robert Duncan of ACNA; Bishop Peter Tasker of Sydney; representatives of The Diocese of Singapore and The Diocese of South Carolina (our companion dioceses); The Diocese of Pittsburgh; The Diocese of Tennessee; The Diocese of Texas; the Honorary Chairman and Secretary of the Egypt Diocesan Association in the UK; Trinity School for Ministry in Am-bridge, Pennsylvania; The Church Missionary Society, UK; and The Church Missionary Society, Australia.
It was very meaningful to have this consecration on 25 April 2012, on the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, the Patron Saint of Egypt, in the presence of the Orthodox churches that were started in the first century by St. Mark. It was also the same day of the consecration of All Saints Cathedral at its present site in Zamalek, Cairo in 1988.

In his sermon, Bishop Mouneer said, “Grant, today you will walk in the steps of St. Frumentius, the first Bishop of Axum in Abyssinia, who was ordained by St. Athanasius, the Patriarch in Alex-andria, here in Egypt in the 4th Century. In this tradition, we are consecrating you an Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa.” He added that we “need to be ready to stand firm in the faith we once re-ceived from the saints.”

Bishop Mouneer reminded Grant that he “will go to harvest the fruit of the seeds that were sown by many great servants of the Lord, including Bishop Andrew Proud who proceeded you.”

He added that “the church in Africa needs to be grounded in the faith and grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ, so that she can replay the role she played in the first millennium in shap-ing the Christian mind. As you know, the church in Africa is growing numerically in an amazing way however, there is a great need for theological education and making true disciples.”

It is worth mentioning that since their establishment, both Episcopal Areas (North Africa and the Horn of Africa) within the Diocese of Egypt, are flourishing and growing. The installation of Bishop Grant LeMarquand will take place at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 27 October 2012, when the church celebrates the Feast of St. Frumentius.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Seminary / Theological Education, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology

A Crucial Apr. 25 Presentation–Bishop Mark Lawrence, S. Carolina, and ACNA Bishop John Guernsey

(This was sponsored by Guildford DEF[Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship] which is part of the Church of England Evangelical Council in England). You may listen to it all through the audio file which may be found over here (an MP3 file), or if easier here:

Herewith a flyer sent out as an invitation to this event:

The Guildford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship invite you to an An evening with Bishop Mark Lawrence (TEC Bishop of South Carolina) and Bishop John Guernsey (ACNA Bishop of Mid-Atlantic) On 25th April 2012 at 8 pm At Holy Trinity Claygate, Church Road, Claygate, Surrey, KT10 0JP

We are delighted that Bishop Mark Lawrence, the Episcopal Church Bishop for the Diocese of South Carolina, and Bishop John Guernsey, the Anglican Church in North America Bishop for the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, have agreed

Ӣ to bring us up to date with developments amongst Anglicans in North America;

Ӣ to tell us why some orthodox Anglicans have considered it appropriate to work within TEC whilst others have considered it appropriate to work within ACNA; and

Ӣ to explain to us how people within the two organisations who hold similar views are generally able to continue to support each other in spreading the Gospel.
Do invite your friends and colleagues, Roger Sayers, Secretary GDEF

Please note this is is a long evening of some 1 hour and 40 minutes. During the introduction the following people are mentioned–it is opened by Philip Plyming, vicar of Holy Trinity, Claygate, and then chairman, Stephen Hofmeyr, QC. There is then a message from Bishop Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford given by the Ven. Julian Henderson, Archdeacon of Dorking. Both Mark Lawrence (who goes first) and John Guernsey then give presentations of some twenty minutes which takes you to approximately one hour. After that there are questions from those present to the two bishops about the matters at hand. Archdeacon Julian Henderson then offers brief concluding remarks. Do take the time to listen to it all–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), FCA Meeting in London April 2012, Global South Churches & Primates, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Heavenly Father and gracious God, I thank you for the gift of this new day, and acknowledge that you are the One who can do far more abundantly than all that I could ask or imagine. Grant that today I may so run with perseverance the race that is set before me, that the wind of the Holy Spirit may be at my back and your son Jesus Christ would be my forerunner, to lead me faithfully to be who you desire me to be and to do that which you are calling me to do. Amen.

–Kendall Harmon

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, that my soul may praise thee and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to thee for ever.

–Psalm 30:11-12 (KJV)

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Upcoming in One TEC Diocese–The Church and Social Media: An Evening with Meredith Gould

So you’ve accepted social media into your hearts and you’re beginning to employ them as part of your church’s communication strategy. What are the Gospel underpinnings for ministry in social media? Are your current efforts effective? Could they use a shot in the arm? What would that look like?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), Media, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Episcopalians in Houston prepare for possible same-sex ceremonies

The Episcopal Church has held an ongoing debate regarding gay clergy for decades and began ordaining openly gay priests in the ”˜90s, a gay bishop in 2003 and a lesbian bishop in 2010, but the issue of homosexuality continues to elicit debate.

Individual rectors will get to choose whether to offer the new rites for same-sex couples””if approved””at their congregations.

“While I long for the day when there will be full marriage equality in the Church and in the State, I consider this a very important step in that process,” said the Rev. Lisa Hunt, rector at St. Stephens, in a letter to parishioners. “St. Stephen’s has an opportunity to witness to the action of God in our midst in the lives of couples in our community.”

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Posted in Uncategorized

A C of E "Get Your Church Noticed: Basics" Course

What you will learn:

The general principles behind good communications
How to identify your audiences and the communication tools that might work for them
How to build a communications strategy for your church
How to use symbols, images and stories just like Jesus did…

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

Elizabeth Scalia: The Vatican's Corrective to Liberal Catholics

On the eve of the Vatican’s doctrinal investigation in 2009, Sister Sandra M. Schneiders published a letter to her Leadership Conference associates in which she sounded loaded for bear. Declaring that her community and others had “birthed a new form of religious life,” she referred to the Vatican’s attempt at assessment as “a hostile move” and one that would do “violence” to all that newness.

Not all sisters have been as combative. Two years earlier, in a thoughtful presentation that some believe spurred the investigation, then-Leadership Conference president Sister Laurie Brink had acknowledged that while many sisters walked unevenly with Rome, some had moved “beyond the church, even beyond Jesus.” She called that a post-Christian mind-set that might ethically require those who held it to leave the church.

That assessment by Sister Brink was quoted in the Congregation’s findings, but the document says nothing ill of Sister Brink. Rather, it worries that post-Christian mind-sets too often “go unchallenged” by the Leadership Conference””that it is falling down on the job of bringing Christian witness to its own members.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

FCA Meeting Statement and Commitment

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, FCA Meeting in London April 2012, Global South Churches & Primates

FCA Leaders Conference concludes

GAFCON 2008 declared it was ”˜not just a moment in time but a movement of the spirit’. Now, at a conference in London, 200 Anglican leaders committed to mission and mutual support.

The Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem established a Primates Council representing the majority of the world’s Anglicans and set up a global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans as a movement within the Communion.
The leaders met at St Mark’s Battersea Rise in London for five days of prayer, planning and plenary sessions. Seminars ranged over key topics such as evangelism, family, economic empowerment, the Gospel, church and spiritual leadership under pressure.

Opening the event, GAFCON/ FCA Chairman Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya, told the delegates they were called to “a great prophetic purpose at this critical point in the life of our communion.” The Archbishop outlined the extent of unbiblical teaching in the communion and declared “The heart of the crisis we face is not only institutional, but spiritual.”
“After some 450 years it is becoming clear that what some have called the ”˜Anglican experiment’ is not ending in failure, but is on the verge of a new and truly global future in which the original vision of the Reformers can be realized as never before” the Archbishop said.

In a plenary address, Bishop Michael Nazir?Ali concluded that the Anglican “Instruments of Unity” have failed dramatically and that the FCA is called to model an alternative way for the churches of the Anglican Communion to gather and relate to one another in such a way as to carry out the Great Commission in the coming decades.

In their final conference ”˜Commitment’, the leaders resolved to work together in an ever?strengthening partnership, to stand by each other and to engage in a battle of ideas on behalf of the Biblical Gospel.

The next Global Anglican Future Conference was also announced. The event, with invitees including clergy and lay people, as well as bishops, is scheduled for May 2013.

“One delegate came up to me and said ”˜Now I know that I am not alone’. Though they are the majority, the orthodox often feel isolated.” said FCA general secretary Archbishop Peter Jensen. “There are people everywhere who believe the same gospel, preach the same thing and stand for the same truths. That is the dynamic of this conference. People who felt powerless have now been given confidence.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, FCA Meeting in London April 2012, Global South Churches & Primates

(CEN) Nigerian Archbishop rejects corruption charges

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria has denounced as “satanic” the calls for the impeachment of the President of Nigeria after an Italian construction firm refurbished a church in the president’s home town.

Speaking to reporters last week, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said the claim put forward by the opposition ACN party that there was an element of corruption in the refurbishment of a church was nonsense.

“The call for the impeachment of the president over the renovation of the church in his town is satanic and it is capable of causing religious bigotry which we don’t want. The ACN should apologise and retract the statement. We call on the National Assembly to disregard the call,” the archbishop said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General, Theology

(Zenit) John Boyle on Thomas More's Utopia and Achieving the ideal Society

The religion of Utopia is not unlike that of the Roman Empire, in that there is a state religion. “No one is forced to belong to it,” Dr. Boyle explains, “but in Utopia ”“ where everyone is reasonable and rational ”“ most people do because it is a reasonable and rational religion in accord with nature and philosophy.” All other religions, while tolerated and permitted, are considered to be superstitious. The only requirement is that all people must hold to the immortality of the soul, and to a final judgment of some kind. This is so as to motivate moral behavior. “It’s not a religious claim. It’s a social claim.”

“It’s very interesting when they talk about worship in Utopian religion,” Dr. Boyle notes, “They have very little to say about the object of that worship; they practice confession in Utopia, and the one person who is not confessed to is God. Children confess to their parents, wives confess to their husbands: nobody confesses to God.”

There is, however, an ironic application of the way Utopia enforces freedom of religion, as recounted by the character of Raphael Hythloday. “He tells the story of bringing Christianity to Utopia, and many Utopians apparently converted. But one convert’s apparently an obnoxious, overzealous convert, because he insists on the exclusive character of Christianity. He’s banished from Utopia on the grounds of the principle which is that no one should suffer for his religion.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Philosophy, Politics in General, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Reuters) Falling home prices drag new buyers under water

More than 1 million Americans who have taken out mortgages in the past two years now owe more on their loans than their homes are worth, and Federal Housing Administration loans that require only a tiny down payment are partly to blame.

That figure, provided to Reuters by tracking firm CoreLogic, represents about one out of 10 home loans made during that period.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector

Barbara Zollner–An Islamic State in Egypt? The Muslim Brotherhood and the Presidential Elections

Looking at the spectrum of candidates today, there is again hope that the first free presidential elections will not intensify already existing tensions in Egyptian society. Still, there are many issues unresolved. With the constituent assembly in tatters over its composition and legality, it is unlikely that there will be a decision on the constitutional framework before the presidential elections. What does seem likely is that, despite the Brotherhood’s domination of the political scene, Egypt is not about to become an Islamic state.

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

Gallup–U.S. Financial Comfort Falls to New Low

Americans’ financial comfort is the lowest Gallup has measured to date, with 60% saying they currently have enough money to live comfortably and 39% saying they do not. Americans’ peace of mind with their finances was fairly stable at a high level from the first asking of the question in 2002 through 2007, but has since faltered.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Notable and Quotable

The bishop was on good form at the launch, telling of an amusing encounter with a US immigration official. Looking at the passport in front of him and realising that Tom [Wright] was a bishop, the officer asked him to recite John 3:16. The bishop obliged ”“ in Greek.

–Church of England Newspaper, April 27, 2012, edition, page 10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) We should elect our chair, say Primates

The Primates of Nigeria and Kenya suggested this week that the Archbishop of Canterbury should no longer chair the Primates’ Meeting. The chairman should instead be elected by the Primates themselves, they said.

The Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, and the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, suggested the idea at a press briefing on Monday, shortly before the start of a leadership conference of the Fellow­ship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) at St Mark’s, Battersea Rise, in London (News, 6 April). A spokesman for the FCA said that dele­gates from about 30 countries were at­tending the conference, representing about 55 million “of all churchgoing Anglicans”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, FCA Meeting in London April 2012, Global South Churches & Primates

The Economist–The likely next French president would be bad for his his country and Europe

A rupture between France and Germany would come at a dangerous time. Until recently, voters in the euro zone seemed to have accepted the idea of austerity and reform. Technocratic prime ministers in Greece and Italy have been popular; voters in Spain, Portugal and Ireland have elected reforming governments. But nearly one in three French voters cast their first-round ballots for Ms Le Pen and Mr Mélenchon, running on anti-euro and anti-globalisation platforms. And now Geert Wilders, a far-right populist, has brought down the Dutch government over budget cuts. Although in principle the Dutch still favour austerity, in practice they have not yet been able to agree on how to do it…. And these revolts are now being echoed in Spain and Italy.

It is conceivable that President Hollande might tip the balance in favour of a little less austerity now. Equally, he may scare the Germans in the opposite direction. Either way one thing seems certain: a French president so hostile to change would undermine Europe’s willingness to pursue the painful reforms it must eventually embrace for the euro to survive. That makes him a rather dangerous man.

Read it all.

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

(Reuters) Spanish economy in "huge crisis" after credit downgrade

Spain’s sickly economy faces a “crisis of huge proportions”, a minister said on Friday, as unemployment hit its highest level in two decades and Standard and Poor’s weighed in with a two-notch downgrade of the government’s debt.

Spain’s unemployment rate shot up to 24 percent in the first quarter, the highest level since the early 1990s and one of the worst jobless figures in the world. Retail sales slumped for the twenty-first consecutive month.

“The figures are terrible for everyone and terrible for the government … Spain is in a crisis of huge proportions,” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said in a radio interview.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--