Daily Archives: June 12, 2012

Tuesday Afternoon Mental Health Break–Cat Alarm Clock

Watch it all–hilarious (note the “skip the ad” option at the beginning).

Posted in * General Interest, Animals, Humor / Trivia

Pope says being baptized means saying 'no' to a culture where truth does not matter

“Renouncing the glamour of Satan in today’s age means rejecting a culture where truth does not matter” and where “calumny and destruction” reign, he said. Christians reject “a culture that does not seek goodness, whose morality is really a mask to trick people and create destruction and confusion.”

“Against this culture in which falsehood presents itself as truth and information, against this culture that seeks only material well-being and denies God, we say, ‘no,'” the pope said.

Read it all.

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

Jeff Walton–Anglicans Go Local at ACNA 2012 Assembly

The U.S.-based Episcopal Church that many of ACNA’s members split from was largely unmentioned, but the divergent direction of the two churches was apparent. The Episcopal Church became increasingly centralized in the past 100 years, with more and more authority placed in the office of the Presiding Bishop and the denomination’s General Convention. Subsidiarity ”“ placing responsibility with the lowest unit capable of carrying out a function ”“ often fell by the wayside.

ACNA seems to have realized this, instead keeping the church at the provincial (national) level relatively streamlined.

“What you celebrate, you become,” claimed Ed Stetzer, a Southern Baptist missiologist and a keynote speaker for the assembly. Stetzer, who heads the SBC’s Lifeway Research arm, advised how to get out of the way of local efforts: build a culture of multiplication (churches and ministries), avoid the dependency that comes from lavishing money upon start-up churches (it doesn’t improve the odds of success, he reports), open more lanes to potential church leaders (lay and bi-vocational pastors) and give permission to people to do non-traditional things, such as have voluntary clergy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Parish Ministry

Ottawa Anglican church offering sanctuary, prayer to stressed civil servants

An Anglican church is opening its doors to civil servants of any creed and anyone who’s suffering from the stress of public sector layoffs.

St. Andrew’s Church is hosting a noon-hour service of reflection and hope on Wednesday for anyone of any faith who drops by over their lunch hour. Members of the congregation will be on hand after work, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., to offer individual support and prayer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Spirituality/Prayer

(Newsweek) Niall Ferguson on why the Eurostorm isn't ending anytime soon

Most Americans are bored or baffled by Europe. Try explaining the latest news about Greek politics or Spanish banks, and their eyelids begin to droop. So, at the end of a four-week road trip round Europe, let me try putting this in familiar American terms.

Imagine that the United States had never ratified the Constitution and was still working with the 1781 Articles of Confederation. Imagine a tiny federal government with almost no revenue. Only the states get to tax and borrow. Now imagine that Nevada has a debt in excess of 150 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. Imagine, too, the beginning of a massive bank run in California. And imagine that unemployment in these states is above 20 percent, with youth unemployment twice as high. Picture riots in Las Vegas and a general strike in Los Angeles

Now imagine that the only way to deal with these problems is for Nevada and California to go cap in hand to Virginia or Texas””where unemployment today really is half what it is in Nevada……This is pretty much where Europe finds itself today.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(RNS) The unexpected evangelical silence on Mitt Romney’s Mormonism

Southern Baptist researcher Ed Stetzer defines Mormonism as a “theological cult,” not the classic “sociological cult.” His research shows that a full 75 percent of Protestant pastors believe that Mormonism is either a cult or simply a different religion.

Stetzer says he’d be concerned if the significant theological distinctions between Mormons and mainstream Christianity are blurred or overlooked in the name of political expediency.

“I think it is more helpful to call Mormons another religion, distinct from biblical or historic Christianity, as just about everyone from Catholics to Methodists to Baptists have clearly stated,” Stetzer notes. “It’s a different religion that uses the same words to describe very different things.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Mormons, Office of the President, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Wellesley, Massachusetts, Graduation Speech by (Teacher) David McCullough Jr.–“You’re not speci

You are not special. You are not exceptional.

Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you”¦ you’re nothing special.
Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped. Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again. You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored. You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie. Yes, you have. And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs. Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet. Why, maybe you’ve even had your picture in the Townsman! [Editor’s upgrade: Or The Swellesley Report!] And now you’ve conquered high school”¦ and, indisputably, here we all have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community, the first to emerge from that magnificent new building”¦

But do not get the idea you’re anything special. Because you’re not.

The empirical evidence is everywhere, numbers even an English teacher can’t ignore….

Read it all or you can watch it all on video there instead.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Teens / Youth

(BBC) Church of England warning on same sex marriage

Responding to a consultation on the issue in England and Wales, the Church said the legislation was “shallow”.

Government plans to open marriage to gay couples by 2015 could undermine its status as the state church, it said.

The Home Office said religious bodies would not have to conduct gay marriages and that it was considering all views.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

The Full Paper Responding to “Equal Civil Marriage” from the Church of England

The Church of England cannot support the proposal to enable “all couples, regardless of their gender, to have a civil marriage ceremony”.

Such a move would alter the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as enshrined in human institutions throughout history. Marriage benefits society in many ways, not only by promoting mutuality and fidelity, but also by acknowledging an underlying biological complementarity which, for many, includes the possibility of procreation.

We have supported various legal changes in recent years to remove unjustified discrimination and create greater legal rights for same sex couples and we welcome that fact that previous legal and material inequities between heterosexual and same-sex partnerships have now been satisfactorily addressed. To change the nature of marriage for everyone will be divisive and deliver no obvious legal gains given the rights already conferred by civil partnerships. We also believe that imposing for essentially ideological reasons a new meaning on a term as familiar and fundamental as marriage would be deeply unwise.

The consultation paper wrongly implies that there are two categories of marriage, “civil” and “religious”. This is to mistake the wedding ceremony for the institution of marriage. The assertion that “religious” marriage will be unaffected by the proposals is therefore untrue, since fundamentally changing the state”˜s understanding of marriage means that the nature of marriages solemnized in churches and other places of worship would also be changed.

Read it all (13 Page pdf).

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

C of E–A Response to the Government Equalities Office Consultation -“Equal Civil Marriage"

In its submission to the Government consultation on same-sex marriage, which closes on June 14, the Church of England states it cannot support the proposal to enable “all couples, regardless of their gender, to have a civil marriage ceremony”.

It adds that the consultation paper wrongly implies that there are two categories of marriage, “civil” and “religious” – “this is to mistake the wedding ceremony for the institution of marriage”. Changing the State’s understanding of marriage will, therefore, change the way marriage is defined for everybody and, despite the government’s assurances to the contrary, will change the nature of marriages solemnized in churches and other places of worship.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Globe and Mail–Best pictures from the past 24 hours from this past Sunday

I really enjoy these from time to time, check them out yourself (note in this collection the Corpus Christi theme).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Globalization

(Washington Post) Americans’ wealth plummeted 40 percent from 2007 to 2010, Federal Reserve says

The recent recession wiped out nearly two decades of Americans’ wealth, according to government data released Monday, with middle-class families bearing the brunt of the decline.

The Federal Reserve said the median net worth of families plunged by 39 percent in just three years, from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010. That puts Americans roughly on par with where they were back in 1992.

The data represent one of the most detailed looks to date of how the economic downturn altered the landscape of family finance. Over a span of three years, Americans watched progress that took almost a generation to accumulate evaporate. The promise of retirement built on the inevitable rise of the stock market proved illusory for most. Homeownership, once heralded as a pathway to wealth, became an albatross.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

(ENI) Central African churches aid victims of warlord Joseph Kony

In the Central African Republic, churches are aiding victims of the violence associated with Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and his rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

“Since we are humanitarian and social [organizations] as churches, we are paying great attention to the suffering and needs of these people,” the Rev. Andre Golike, President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Central African Republic told ENInews in a telephone interview on June 7.

Kony was thrust into the limelight by the film Kony 2012, made by a U.S. nonprofit called Invisible Children Inc., which said it sought to make him “famous” to influence his capture. The film has been viewed more than 90 million times on www.youtube.com.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Children, Republic of Congo, Sudan, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, heavenly Father, in whom is the fullness of light and wisdom: Enlighten our minds by thy Holy Spirit, and give us grace to receive thy Word with reverence and humility, without which no man can understand thy truth; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–John Calvin (1509-1564)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in thy tent for ever! Oh to be safe under the shelter of thy wings!

–Psalm 61:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

([London] Times) Same Sex Marriage plan could divorce Church from State

The Church of England faces its biggest rupture with the State in 500 years under government plans to legalise gay marriage.

Senior church sources warned that if the legislation goes ahead as proposed, the only way forward will be to cut an important tie between Church and State.

Divorcing the Church from its role as religious registrar for the State would not amount to total disestablishment, but it would be a significant step in that direction and would generate enormous passion and anguish from the pews upwards.

Read it all (requires subscription) and there are other articles there (as of this posting the Independent, the Guardian, the Press Assocation, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph). Note that you may also find a picture of the front page of tomorrow’s [London] Times there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, England / UK, History, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Movie–The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Elizabeth and I went Saturday night and loved it. Good story, fine characters and an off the charts cast.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, Harmon Family, Movies & Television

(WSJ Heard on the Street) Spain's Bailout: More Questions Than Answers

…there are too many unanswered questions. How much capital will actually be provided? Which banks will need to be recapitalized? How will the process be managed? The answers won’t be known until two independent valuation experts have reported at the end of June. The International Monetary Fund assessment estimates €37 billion was needed to ensure all banks had a 7% core Tier 1 ratio on a phased-in Basel III basis. But the market will probably demand at least 9% on a fully loaded Basel III basis after substantial new write-downs, suggesting a number much closer to the full €100 billion.

One key unknown is where the bailout money will come from. Will it be from the old euro-zone bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, or the new European Stabilization Mechanism, due to come into existence in July? If it comes from the ESM, existing government bondholders will be subordinated””no small concern given €100 billion is more than 10% of Spanish government debt outstanding. That could affect the willingness of bond markets to keep funding the government.

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

Andriy Shevchenko Inspires Euro 2012 Co-Hosts Ukraine To Opening Win

Andriy Shevchenko rolled back the years to score twice as co-hosts Ukraine came from behind to beat Sweden 2-1 in their opening game of the European Championships, in Kiev.

Read it all (and there are three videos at the bottom).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Men, Sports, Sweden, Ukraine

Anglican Diocese of Dunedin is Two Years Out from a Crisis and Possible Collapse

The Anglican Diocese of Dunedin is “two years out from a crisis” and must restructure to become sustainable, its Bishop, the Rt Rev Dr Kelvin Wright, says. He informed ministry units and clergy about the situation by letter late last month, before posting it on his blog on Friday.

“For many years, the diocese has been in decline on any parameter that could be named … attendances, numbers of families served and the real level of giving have all been steadily dropping over the years to the point where several of our parishes are on the very edge of ceasing to exist altogether,” he said in the letter.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Parish Ministry, Stewardship