Daily Archives: May 30, 2012

(FT) Trade credit insurers balk at Greek risk

Two of the world’s biggest trade credit insurers have stopped providing cover for exporters to Greece in highly unusual moves reflecting their concern the country might leave the eurozone.

Brokers said the decisions by Euler Hermes and Coface were the only instances they could recall of trade credit insurers pulling out altogether from a European country.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Europe, Greece

The Presidents of Churches in England have issued a joint statement for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee

The Presidents of Churches Together in England have issued a joint press release for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It is for all churches and community groups celebrating the Jubilee this weekend. It can be read out in churches, posted on websites, put in literature and passed through social media.

“We join the nation in its rejoicing at Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. As we celebrate, we give thanks to God that her personal commitment to her role as monarch, and her service to the people of the United Kingdom, are grounded in a deep faith in Jesus Christ which is an inspiration to countless citizens of nation and Commonwealth. Her understanding of the wholeness and harmony of the nation is a crucial factor in strengthening our commitment to one another.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(RNS) Vatican official calls leaked documents an ”˜immoral’ and ”˜brutal’ attack

The Vatican’s No. 3 official on Tuesday (May 29) condemned the theft and publication of secret papal documents as an “immoral act of unheard-of gravity.”

In an interview published on the front page of L’Osservatore Romano, the Holy See’s semiofficial newspaper, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, who is the deputy to Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, also described the publication of an unprecedented number of leaked Vatican documents in recent months as a “brutal” attack against Pope Benedict XVI.

On Friday (May 25), Vatican police announced the arrest of a person who was “illicitly in possession” of confidential Vatican documents. The person was later revealed to be Paolo Gabriele, Pope Benedict’s “assistente di camera,” or butler.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Victoria Heard and Jordan Hylden–TEC's Political Captivity

We believe the past General Convention structure has slavishly copied in ecclesial ink the politics and legislative processes of American culture. Episcopalians are fond of saying that the men who wrote the U.S. Constitution also created the church’s Constitution and Canons. It is an exaggeration but a telling one: General Convention looks and acts too much like Congress and not enough like a council of the Church.

Joseph D. Small, longtime director of theology, worship and education ministries for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), wrote in the March issue of First Things about what he called his church’s “democratic captivity” ”” its reliance on secular democratic procedure rather than proper theological discernment to order its common life. This, he argues, has been a key factor in aggravating his church’s divisions. To such observations, we can only concur.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, - Anglican: Commentary, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, History, Politics in General, Theology

India’s Economy Slows, With Global Implications

India’s coalition government just celebrated the third anniversary of its tenure with a self-congratulatory banquet that could not have been more poorly timed: India’s currency, the rupee, is falling; investment is down; inflation is rising; and deficits are eating away at government coffers.

While short-term growth has slowed but not ground to a halt, India’s problems have dampened hopes that it, along with China and other non-Western economies, might help revive the global economy, as happened after the 2008 financial crisis. Instead, India is now facing a political reckoning, as the country’s elected leaders must address difficult, politically unpopular decisions ”” or risk even deeper problems.

“When India was being run comparatively well in 2008, they seemed to cope with these external shocks, at least from a financial perspective,” said Glenn Levine, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in Sydney, Australia. “I think people are starting to question the long-term Indian story. That is the difference now.”

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Posted in Uncategorized

Gav Poole on the recent FCA London Meeting–An Anglican Conference focussed on the Future

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Ecclesiology, FCA Meeting in London April 2012, Global South Churches & Primates, Theology

Anglican Church of Canada Council of General Synod Highlights from May 27

Martha Gardner, partner from the Episcopal Church, spoke about her church’s General Convention in Indianapolis in July. She noted that like COGS, General Convention is working to renew church structures. Ms. Gardner said that the convention will consider 58 resolutions relating to structural change. General Convention will also discuss several resolutions relating to the proposed Anglican Covenant.

The Rev. David Pritchard, partner for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, shared his reflections, emphasizing that PWRDF sees itself as “the mission arm of the Anglican Church of Canada.” He described how PWRDF has been successful in working with the Canadian International Development Agency. He commended the work of PWRDF partners and staff and ended by praising the work COGS has done at this meeting.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

(Globe and Mail) Lorna Dueck–Liberia proves the power of prayer

Sometimes there is an opportunity to document that the power of God is real. The sentencing of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor Wednesday for war crimes in Sierra Leone is one such case. “God willing, I will be back,” Mr. Taylor said in a dramatic moment as he left peace negotiations in 2003. It was his response as BBC News announced that he was to be arrested for crimes against humanity.

God willing, Mr. Taylor is back. Prosecutors in The Hague have called for a sentence of 80 years in prison following his conviction last month for murder, rape, enslavement, recruiting child soldiers, pillage, acts of terrorism and other atrocities committed in Sierra Leone between 1996 and 2002. His conviction may change African leadership forever, and Wednesday’s sentencing is a watershed moment.

Behind it all is an almost forgotten women’s movement of prayer that refused to let Mr. Taylor ignore the suffering he was inflicting. Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a 2008 film by Abigail Disney and Gini Reticker that documents this Liberian prayer activism. It shows how broken, war-weary women received divine strength as they gathered in Monrovia’s fish market in 2002 to pray for peace. They dressed in emulation of the Hebrew Bible’s Queen Esther, who mourned as she prayed God would save her people’s lives….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Law & Legal Issues, Liberia, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Violence

Spain Takes Center Stage in Euro Crisis

All eyes were fixed Wednesday on Spain, as the country’s borrowing costs showed no signs of slowing their climb amid nervousness about the health of the banking sector and the possibility of the crisis spreading to other euro countries.

Europe’s economic stagnation and continuing financial turmoil in the euro zone have weighed on confidence, the European Commission said Wednesday. The commission’s indicator of business sentiment in the 17-nation euro zone fell in May to 90.6 from April’s revised 92.9. The decline, it said, “was driven by falling confidence in all business sectors, especially in industry and retail trade.”

Jonathan Loynes, an economist in London with Capital Economics, noted that the sentiment data showed “acute weakness across the peripheral economies,” but that the Dutch, French and Germans were also less optimistic. He described it as “overall, an unambiguously weak picture which only looks likely to get worse as the debt crisis continues,” and predicted that euro zone gross domestic product would decline by 1 percent this year, with 2013 “likely to be much worse.”

Read it all. Also, if you want a single picture to keep an eye on, it is the Spanish German 10 year spread which you may see there (yes, that is correct, it is at all all time high).

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, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

(CNS) Egypt's Christians support candidates who would check Islamists' power

Egyptian Christians voting in their nation’s historic presidential election were throwing much of their support behind candidates who aimed to check the power of the Islamist parties.

Although no official statistics on the Christian vote were reported, in the days before and during the election, many of Egypt’s Christians said they would support candidates who served under ousted President Hosni Mubarak and said the ideals of the 2011 revolution might have been too ambitious.

“For me as a Christian I have only a few choices — the other side is Islamic, I can’t choose them,” said a man identified only as Rami, 45, a worshipper at the Catholic basilica in Cairo’s Heliopolis district.

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

Church of England welcomes news on future of BBC local radio

The Church of England has welcomed the news that cuts to BBC local radio are to be halved compared to original proposals, saying this is an endorsement of the importance of local communities.

The BBC Trust document published this month was its final report into cost-saving plans (known as the “Delivering Quality First” review) and confirmed that local radio savings would now be in the region of £8m compared to the original proposal of £15m.

In its submission to the BBC review in December the CofE had warned that local radio must not be ignored and challenged the proposed cuts stressing the importance of local radio to the community, both in times of crisis or seasonal emergencies, and on a daily basis,.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Media, Religion & Culture

(Washington Post) Mitt Romney’s nomination marks milestone for Mormon faith

…whether they want to call attention to it or not, Romney’s achievement is historic. Nearly 200 years after the founding of Mormonism by Joseph Smith, who himself ran for president to call attention to his flock’s persecution, Romney’s nomination signals how far his faith, and the country’s acceptance of it, has come.

“If you look at it in a historical perspective, it’s absolutely incredible,” said Richard Lyman Bushman, a leading Mormon scholar and longtime acquaintance of Romney’s. “A century-and-a-half ago, Mormons were detested as a people as well as a religion. They were thought to be primitive and crude. And now to have someone overcome all the lingering prejudice, that’s a milestone.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Mormons, Office of the President, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(USA Today) Mourning becomes electric: Technology changes the way we grieve

A video camera, audio files and blogging software all helped Diane DiResta handle the recent deaths of loved ones.

When her 91-year-old aunt passed away in 2010, DiResta videotaped the eulogies to create a record of the moving words spoken. She wasn’t ready to talk about her aunt at the service, so she used AudioAcrobat to record her thoughts, then e-mailed that audio file to close family.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(BBC) Russia 'categorically against' Syria intervention

Russia is “categorically against” foreign intervention in Syria and believes any new steps by the UN Security Council would be “premature”, its deputy foreign minister has said.

Gennady Gatilov’s remarks to Interfax news agency come amid international outrage over a massacre on Friday.

Women and children made up the majority of the 108 victims in Houla.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Russia, Syria, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Strengthen us, we beseech thee, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost the Comforter, and daily increase in us thy manifold gifts of grace; the spirit of wisdom and understanding; the spirit of counsel and strength; the spirit of knowledge and true godliness; and fill us, O Lord, with the spirit of thy holy fear, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Pentecost

From the Morning Bible Readings

The saying is sure: If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task. Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher, no drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and no lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil; moreover he must be well thought of by outsiders, or he may fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

–1 Timothy 3:1-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Oh no, Nick Knisely wants to Try the Silly Shellfish Argument Yet Again!

“Conservatives say you cannot pick and choose but that’s exactly what they do because the same texts that condemn homosexuality condemn the eating of shellfish,” he said. “I haven’t heard any conservative churchman campaign against shellfish in the last few years.”

–[Anglican Church of Canada] Bishop Michael Ingham, the New York Times, July 5, 2003

It is very sad that an argument of such little weight keeps rearing its head but this is where TEC leadership is these days, alas. Nnick Knisely is not happy with Al Mohler and so he enlists a gentleman named Fred Clark to try to combat Mohler’s jettisoning of the shellfish argument. Matt Kennedy takes apart the feeble attempt of Mr. Clark over here. Please familiarize yourself with all those posts and then take the time to bookmark as well as read through this 2008 blog thread with over 100 comments [which has its origins in a thread from the original T19 blog in 2003], noting most especially the arguments by yours truly and by Chris Seitz in comments #1 and #2.

Update: there is more from 2009 and Randall Balmer’s recycling of the argument there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

An ACNS Article Talking about how Great Indaba Is for Anglicans

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal

All of Europe sees Germany as the hardest working nation, except Greece who believes Itself is

The crisis has exposed sharp differences between some Europeans. Germany is the most admired nation in the EU and its leader the most respected. The Germans are judged to be Europe’s most hardworking people. And the Germans are the strongest supporters of both European economic integration and the European Union.

Greece is the polar opposite. None of its fellow EU members surveyed see it in a positive light. In turn, Greeks are among the most disparaging of European economic integration and the harshest critics of the European Union. And they see themselves as Europe’s most hardworking people.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Europe

(WSJ Daily Fix Blog) Inside The Comeback That Tennis Can’t Stop Talking About

Brian Baker’s family and friends had waited years to see him play at the French Open””nine years, to be exact, since he made the boy’s final in 2003. They weren’t going to settle for bad seats.

So the Baker clan, 11 strong and ever optimistic, arrived at Court 6 at Roland Garros as two other men finished off a five-setter that had been held over due to darkness the night before. Next up were two women who played a three-set match while Baker’s entourage scouted out a section in the corner bleachers. Finally they sat and then watched as the most remarkable story of the spring tennis season got even better.

Brian Baker, the 27-year-old American who took six years off from pro tennis and had five operations, won his first match at the French Open, 6-3, 7-6(1), 7-6(5) over Xavier Malisse. He’ll play Gilles Simon of France on Wednesday, perhaps inside Court Philippe Chatrier. “It’s definitely something I didn’t envision,” Baker said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, Europe, France, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Sports

(NPR) American Dream Faces Harsh New Reality

The American Dream is a crucial thread in this country’s tapestry, woven through politics, music and culture.

Though the phrase has different meanings to different people, it suggests an underlying belief that hard work pays off and that the next generation will have a better life than the previous generation.

But three years after the worst recession in almost a century, the American Dream now feels in jeopardy to many….

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--