Daily Archives: May 18, 2012

Gil Shefler: A Successful Jewish Return to Tunisia

The Jewish celebration in Djerba went ahead without a hitch on May 9. Several hundred worshipers danced with Torah scrolls in a small procession outside El Ghriba synagogue. Men played the darbuka, sang songs, and prayed inside the ancient house of worship. The gathering was surrounded at all times by a small army of policemen to ensure nothing went wrong.

“To me, there is something magical about Jews and Arabs living together like they do here,” said Guy Tzinmann, a French Jew who came from Paris to take part in the event. “If you don’t come with an Israeli passport, they don’t give you any trouble. And unlike Algeria, where my mother is from, I can come here to visit.”

To be sure, turnout could have been stronger; only a few dozen people came from overseas, a far cry from the thousands who attended over the past decade. But it’s hard to see the event as anything other than a success.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Judaism, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Tunisia

(BBC) A Warning that the Niger malnutrition crisis is spreading

Months of warnings have failed to prevent a serious malnutrition crisis in Niger, Save the Children has said.

The charity says more than six million people are affected there, and about 18 million across West Africa.

It says a rising number of children now need medical treatment for the condition, as the crisis is reaching a new level of seriousness.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine, Niger, Poverty

(RNS) California Presbyterians refuse to rebuke the Rev. Janie Spahr over Same Sex Marriages

In an unprecedented act of defiance, a California branch of the Presbyterian Church (USA) refused a ruling from a church court to rebuke a pastor who wed same-sex couples.

The Napa-based Presbytery of the Redwoods voted 74-18 on Tuesday (May 15) to instead praise the Rev. Janie Spahr, who wed 16 same-sex couples when gay marriage was legal in California in 2008.

Read it all and also note an LA Times article on this matter is there.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology

(Church Times) Sudan: bishops say ”˜Enough is enough’

Bishops in South Sudan have said that they are ready to do “all in their power” to put an end to the conflict with Sudan.

Episcopal and Roman Catholic bishops held a meeting from 9 to 11 May, attended by the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu. They called on the international community to implement a UN resolution that demands an immediate cessation of hostilities, and the resumption of negotiations, under threat of international sanctions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --North Sudan, --South Sudan, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Politics in General, Sudan, Violence

Underground economy In Spain Provides a Refuge for the Apparently Jobless

As Spain’s recession deepens, more workers like Juan are being shunted into an underground economy that amounts to as much as a fifth of Spain’s gross domestic product, according to some estimates, with broad implications as the country tries to revive itself, reform its labor market and keep at bay the kind of wrenching crisis that now threatens to push Greece out of the euro zone.

The happy news is that the size of the underground economy means that more Spaniards are working than it might seem, and that the official unemployment figure of 24.4 percent ”” the highest in Europe ”” may be overstated by as much as five to nine percentage points, economists say. That has given the Spanish government an important safety valve.

“Without the underground economy, we would be in a situation of probably violent social unrest,” said Robert Tornabell, a professor and former dean of the Esade business school in Barcelona.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Europe, Foreign Relations, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Spain

Archbishop John Sentamu–A Response on Marriage and Civil Partnerships

Following reports of my interview, in Jamaica, with Martin Beckford of the Daily Telegraph, I have received a number of letters and emails relating to the views which I shared in that interview, including an open letter from students in the JCR of my beloved college, Selwyn, Cambridge.

Media reports of long interviews are inevitably selective, and the full transcript is available here for clarification: (http://www.archbishopofyork.org/articles.php/2338/archbishops-interview-with-the-daily-telegraph).

A number of letters endorsed the points I made in that interview. Others challenged my views, raising a number of points on which my arguments differ from theirs.

I am therefore writing a general open reply to all the issues raised in these letters….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(Vatican Radio) Insights into the Feast of the Ascension

Christ’s Ascension into Heaven which the Church commemorates this week is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. It took place 40 days after the resurrection and celebrates the reality of Christ’s return to the Father before the Second Coming.

But how can we explain this biblical event and what is its main importance and symbolism? Susy Hodges spoke to Father Luke Buckles, a Dominican priest and professor at Rome’s Pontifical Angelicum University to find out more.

Father Buckles describes the Ascension as something beyond our human understanding and “a new astonishing event in human salvation history.” Christ, he said, is in Heaven “as our hope and our future.”

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ascension, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Washington Post) Greek Euro exit would hit at home, but fallout could be global

There could be immediate risks to the Spanish and Italian economies: Tens of billions of dollars have left those nations in recent months as investors doubt their ability to both control rising public debt and boost their economies from recession. A Greek departure from the euro would, officials and analysts fear, push the lack of confidence in the euro zone to another level, accelerate that capital flight and leave one or both nations close to economic collapse.

It is a pattern reminiscent of what happened in Latin America and Asia in the 1990s, and it is the most likely way that a Greek exit from the euro could ignite a global round of financial contagion. The risks were highlighted Thursday when the Moody’s rating agency cut its assessment of Spanish banks, saying it had less confidence in the ability of the Spanish government to support the country’s financial system.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, Italy, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector

Clyde Prestowitz on the Eurozone Mess–Germany, It's Time For You To Go

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who held their first meeting yesterday, might want to consider that they have been attacking the problems of Greece, the euro, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and even France backwards.

All the talk and all the effort has been aimed at keeping Greece and the others in the euro. But the real, ideal solution is to get Germany out.

Read or listen to 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--

Church warns of change happening too fast in Myanmar

The Archbishop of Myanmar has warned that political change is happening so fast that his country could be swamped by consumerism and competition.

During a visit to the USPG offices in London, Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo said he welcomed change in his country ”“ but also urged caution.

He said: ”˜We want change, but it’s happening too fast. Many people are coming into the country ”“ business people in search of profits, tourists, and many others ”“ and restrictions are opening up. This will change the lifestyle of the Burmese people.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Myanmar/Burma

With roof in danger of failing, historic Philadelphia Episcopal Church takes sabbatical

When George Washington was in Philadelphia for the Continental Congress, he attended services at a relatively new Episcopal church called St. Peter’s in what’s now known as Society Hill.

Now, more than 250 years after it was built, the same church still stands at Third and Pine streets. It serves more than 400 families and educates children at its elementary school across the street.

The stalwart church, however, is in danger after so many years.

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

Profile Article on Michael Bullock, new Rector of Church of the Advent in Eastern Pennsylvania

The Episcopal Church of the Advent in Kennett Square has a new pastor, and he knows he has big shoes to fill.

Michael Bullock was recently named pastor of the church and its 1,200 members. He succeeds Rev. David P. Thomas, who died in 2010. Thomas was very active in the community, helping to form Kennett Consolidated School District’s After-The-Bell program, and was a board member of the Kennett Area YMCA and Jennersville Hospital.

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

An Exultation Prayer for the Ascension

Glory to our ascended Lord, that he is with us always.
Glory to the Word of God, going forth with his armies, conquering and to conquer.
Glory to him who has led captivity captive, and given gifts for the perfecting of his saints.
Glory to him who has gone before to prepare a place in his Father’s home for us.
Glory to the author and finisher of our faith; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and dominion now and for evermore.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Hannah also prayed and said, “My heart exults in the LORD; my strength is exalted in the LORD. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in thy salvation. “There is none holy like the LORD, there is none besides thee; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and on them he has set the world. “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones; but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness; for not by might shall a man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king, and exalt the power of his anointed.”

–1 Samuel 2:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) A Defiant Message From Greece

The head of Greece’s radical left party””throwing down a gauntlet that could increase tensions between Greece and its frustrated European creditors””said he sees little chance Europe will cut off funding to the country but that if it does, Athens will stop paying its debts.

A financial collapse in Greece would drag down the rest of the euro zone, said Alexis Tsipras, the 37-year-old head of the Coalition of the Radical Left, known as Syriza, and potentially the country’s next prime minister. Instead, he said, Europe must consider a more growth-oriented policy to arrest Greece’s spiraling recession and address what he called a growing “humanitarian crisis” facing the country.

“Our first choice is to convince our European partners that, in their own interest, financing must not be stopped,” Mr. Tsipras said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. He said Greece doesn’t intend to take any unilateral action, “but if they proceed with unilateral action on their side, in other words they cut off our funding, then we will be forced to stop paying our creditors, to go to a suspension in payments to our creditors.”

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, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Numb to Carnage, Mexicans Find Diversions

With mangled corpses turning up on street corners and inside restaurants, hung from bridges, and buried in mass graves, Mexicans seem to have grown inured. Outrage, fear, anxiety, sadness ”” it is tough to muster such emotions again and again, especially with 50,000 people dead in drug-related killings since President Felipe Calderón began his assault on traffickers six years ago.

Other countries, of course, have gone through some version of this collective numbing: Israel in 2003, after a series of bus bombings; Iraq in 2006.

But Mexico seems to have fallen to new depths of deliberate distraction this year, and many Mexicans are increasingly disturbed by their own attitude.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Law & Legal Issues, Mexico, Police/Fire, Psychology, Violence

Katharine Jefferts Schori issues pastoral letter on the Doctrine of Discovery and Indigenous Peoples

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop