Daily Archives: May 1, 2012

The Onion–New Visa Talking Credit Card Urges Buyers To Go For It

Financial services giant Visa held a press event Tuesday to introduce “Visa Voice,” a new line of talking credit cards that urges shoppers to just go ahead and buy it if that’s what they really want.


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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Humor / Trivia

Frederick Schmidt–Dumbing Down the Church

Early reports indicate that the proposed changes to the liturgy that The Episcopal Church will consider at its General Convention this summer will include a “Litany for the Planet” that contains this prayer:

On eukaryotes and prokaryotes, archaea and viruses; on microbes of endless variety, the complex and the simple, Creator have mercy.

Those reports also include:

A recommendation that we authorize “The Message” Bible for liturgical use in the church.

And the sage advice that the Eucharist ought to be offered knowingly and in principle to anyone and everyone as an act of hospitality.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Theology

How Social Security Falls Short by 28% over the next 24 years

Government accounting for Social Security has devolved over time from deceptive to dishonest to desperate.

The latest Social Security Trustees report says that benefit promises are fully financed until 2033 and three-fourths financed after that. In short: no crisis.

Here’s the truth, embedded between the lines: At the current payroll tax rate, Social Security would only bring in enough revenue to pay for 72% of all benefits through 2036.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(NPR) From Minister To Atheist: A Story Of Losing Faith

Teresa MacBain has a secret, one she’s terrified to reveal.

“I’m currently an active pastor and I’m also an atheist,” she says. “I live a double life. I feel pretty good on Monday, but by Thursday ”” when Sunday’s right around the corner ”” I start having stomachaches, headaches, just knowing that I got to stand up and say things that I no longer believe in and portray myself in a way that’s totally false.”

MacBain glances nervously around the room. It’s a Sunday, and normally she would be preaching at her church in Tallahassee, Fla. But here she is, sneaking away to the American Atheists’ convention in Bethesda, Md.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Anglican Ink) ACNA receives two AMiA bishops

The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) has received two bishops from the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) as honorary temporary assistant bishops.

The Rt. Rev. T.J. Johnston will serve as an assistant bishop to the Rt. Rev. Foley Beach of the Anglican Diocese of the South and the Rt. Rev. John Miller will serve as an assistant bishop to the Rt. Rev. Neil Lebahr of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese, Anglican Ink has learned.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ecclesiology, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Barna Group) Top Trends of 2011: Millennials Rethink Christianity

The Christian community is struggling to remain connected with the next generation of teens and young adults. In particular, the church is “losing” many young creatives (like designers, artists, writers, musicians, and actors) as well as young science-minded students (such as medical students, engineers, biologists and mathematicians).

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Young Adults, Youth Ministry

Robert Samuelson –Washington D.C. Chooses the path of Least Resistance

The Washington of conventional wisdom and the real Washington are two entirely different places. The Washington of conventional wisdom is overrun by well-paid insiders ”” lobbyists, lawyers, publicists ”” who systematically manipulate government policies to benefit corporations and the rich, defying the “will of the people.” The real Washington has government paid for by the rich and well-to-do. Benefits go mainly to the poor and middle class, while politicians of both parties live in fear that they might offend the “will of the people” ”” voters.

Recently, Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, testified before the House Budget Committee on the growth of the 10-largest “means tested” federal programs that serve people who qualify by various definitions of poverty. Here’s what Haskins reported: From 1980 to 2011, annual spending on these programs grew from $126 billion to $626 billion (all figures in inflation-adjusted “2011 dollars”); dividing this by the number of people below the government poverty line, spending went from $4,300 per poor person in 1980 to $13,000 in 2011. In 1962, spending per person in poverty was $516.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, Senate, Social Security, The U.S. Government

More Music from Nickel Creek–Out of the Woods

Set to a slideshow of nature pictures of Japan, Ireland, and Scotland. Listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

(SMH) Gambling oversell ends badly for sports-mad males

In 2008, a High Court ruling opened the door for bookmakers to sell beyond their state border.

The aftermath represented a kind of Wild West in the Australian betting landscape. The big companies swaggered into town, staking claims, crossing boundaries and making a killing.

They really pushed their luck with the promotion of live odds. One Anzac Day, no sooner had the bugler wrapped up the Last Post than the market for the upcoming contest flashed on the scoreboard….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Gambling, Sports

For United Methodists ”˜Plan UMC’ offered for agency restructuring

New life exists for the idea of restructuring agencies of the United Methodist Church, with members of various camps having engaged in lengthy, intense negotiations that led to a compromise called “Plan UMC.”

“We were committed to finding a plan that can unify the church,” said the Rev. Don Underwood, among those who helped work out the new proposal.

Plan UMC abandons the idea of a single board for all program agencies, but creates a strong 45-member General Council for Strategy and Oversight with a focus on supporting vital congregations.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Methodist, Other Churches

Pittsburgh Zoo Rescues A Baby Sea Otter

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

A Prayer for the Feast Day of St. Philip and St. James

Almighty God, who didst give to thine apostles Philip and James grace and strength to bear witness to the truth: Grant that we, being mindful of their victory of faith, may glorify in life and death the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast promised in thy holy gospel that thy disciples shall know the truth, and the truth shall make them free: Give us, we pray thee, the Spirit of truth, sent by thee and leading to thee, that we may find the truth in finding thee, who art the Way, the Truth, and the Life, for ever and ever.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Paul, Silva’nus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalo’nians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you; for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit; so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedo’nia and in Acha’ia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedo’nia and Acha’ia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us what a welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

–1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Reuters) One killed, 16 hurt in grenade attack at Kenyan church

A gunman detonated a grenade in a Nairobi church on Sunday, killing one worshipper and wounding 16 in the latest in a series of attacks in Kenya since it sent troops into Somalia to crush Islamist militants blamed for cross-border raids.

Nairobi has said al Shabaab militants, who merged with al Qaeda earlier this year, are behind the surge in violence and kidnappings that has threatened tourism in east Africa’s biggest economy and wider regional destabilization.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Kenya, Religion & Culture, Violence

Reminder–National Day of Prayer is upcoming this Thursday May 3rd

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(USA Today) Tom Krattenmaker–Church closes racial divide

Lawrence and Trenton are adjacent. But given the different racial demographics of these two New Jersey towns ”” the former is predominantly white and the latter 52% black”” they might as well be a hundred miles apart. Such is the magnitude of the chasm crossed by Lawrence’s David Moriah and Trenton’s Shiloh Baptist Church, where Moriah is not only the sole white male member but also has been accepted into the highly respected rank of deacon.

Credit goes to the black congregation in Trenton and the new white deacon for their commitment to racial reconciliation. Too bad a story like this stands out as such an anomaly. The Christian church in this country remains disturbingly segregated. But as Moriah has learned, connecting with the black church tradition can transform your perspective on race ”” whether you’re religious or not….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Manchester City Beat Manchester United 1-0

It all came down to one momentary defensive lapse. But City outplayed United today. Congratulations to them.

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

(ACNS) Anglican Communion life impeded by insufficient communicators, says Working Group

The Anglican Communion faces a shortage of qualified communicators, according to an international Working Group on communications. The group””consisting of communications professionals from five continents””concluded that the Communion life was at risk of being detrimentally affected by some Provinces’ inability to source and share their news and stories widely.

“The narrative of the Body of Christ is very powerful,” said group member Revd Dr Joshva Raja “and currently the Anglican Communion is not properly equipped to share that narrative.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Media