Daily Archives: July 27, 2012

(BP) Penna Dexter–The consequences of out-of-wedlock births

In 1990, 10 percent of births to white women with some post-secondary schooling, but not a college degree, occurred outside of marriage. Now it’s 30 percent. Forty-one percent of all births in the U.S. happen outside of marriage, up from 17 percent 30 years ago.

All the studies show that, without the stable presence of a father in the home, kids are poorer, have more problems in school and in their academic performance and face a worse economic future. They’re also more likely to become teenage parents and extend the cycle.

It would be great if both presidential candidates would read this story and be motivated by its lessons.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Joseph Joffe–A German Judge Bans Judaism, Islam

A Cologne court has decreed that a child’s circumcision is “bodily harm” and thus verboten. Unless the German Bundestag intervenes, which it has pledged to do, about four million Muslims and 100,000-plus Jews will have to practice a central part of their religion in the catacombs of Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich.

It is all God’s fault. “This is my covenant,” He ordered in Genesis 17:10, “which ye shall keep, and thy seed after thee. Every man child among you shall be circumcised.” The original criminal was Abraham, who laid hand on himself””without sterile equipment, let alone novocaine. Then he inflicted the same on his son Isaac on the eighth day after his birth, circa 4,000 years ago….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Health & Medicine, Islam, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Washington Post) Iran expands ability to strike U.S. Navy in gulf

Iran is rapidly gaining new capabilities to strike at U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, amassing an arsenal of sophisticated anti-ship missiles while expanding its fleet of fast-attack boats and submarines, U.S. and Middle Eastern analysts say.

The new systems, many of them developed with foreign assistance, are giving Iran’s commanders new confidence that they could quickly damage or destroy U.S. ships if hostilities erupt, the officials say….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General

A CNN Summary Article on the Same Sex Blessings decision of General Convention 2012

Randall Balmer, a Dartmouth University religion professor and an Episcopal priest who supports the change, said he expects little fallout from the policy within the American church. Most of the most conservative Episcopalians who oppose blessing same-sex relationships have probably already left the church, he said.

“In many ways, the church is tracking public sentiment,” which is increasingly supportive of same-sex relationships, Balmer said ahead of Tuesday’s vote. “The Episcopal Church is merely part of that trend.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Diocese of Central Pennsylvania) David Zwifka offers some Thoughts on general Convention 2012

I experienced profound pride as my bishop was interviewed on CNN and gently explained the position of the Church and some of the pastoral implications of a decision that Convention had taken that would have a direct impact on me. I watched as a democratic deliberative body wrestled with deep theological and pastoral issues on the nature of the Church, its sacraments, and its mission. I watched in awe as members of the official youth presence, including our own David Kilp, stood to address the House of Deputies and Convention commissions and committees with passion, conviction, carefully crafted arguments, and all with aplomb. At their age, I could NEVER have done what I watched them do. And they did it with love for the Church. It gave me hope.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

(Church Times) David Cameron–C of E ”˜without integrity’ on subject of same-sex marriage

The Church of England is in danger of repeating the mistake, made by the Conservative Party, of “locking out” people by opposing same-sex marriage, the Prime Minister has said.

Addressing a reception for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-sexual community at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday evening, Mr Cameron said that he was “absolutely determined” that the Government would legislate for gay marriage “in this Parliament”.

He compared the Church to his own Party, “which for many many years got itself on the wrong side of this argument. . . it locked people out who were naturally Conservative from supporting it, and so I think I can make that point to the Church, gently.”

Read it all and you may find the whole speech there.

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

(Independent) Burma's monks call for Muslim community to be shunned

Monks who played a vital role in Burma’s recent struggle for democracy have been accused of fuelling ethnic tensions in the country by calling on people to shun a Muslim community that has suffered decades of abuse.

In a move that has shocked many observers, some monks’ organisations have issued pamphlets telling people not to associate with the Rohingya community, and have blocked humanitarian assistance from reaching them. One leaflet described the Rohingya as “cruel by nature” and claimed it had “plans to exterminate” other ethnic groups.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Islam, Myanmar/Burma, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

William Reed Huntington–Twenty Years of a New York Rectorship, A Sermon Preached in 1903

My aim has been to set forth God in Christ as the highest attainable good of the soul. I have taught, or tried to teach, the doctrine of a divine friendship made possible through the Incarnation of God’s Son. I have seemed to find in the simple Creed which tells of a Word made flesh and dwelling among us, not a key which readily unlocks all the closed doors of this mysterious house our souls inhabit, but one to which more bolts yield than yield to any other key that the busy, searching intellect of man has found. The warrant for this belief in “God-with-us” I have sought, and, at least to my own thinking, found, in Holy Scripture, in history and in human nature. The Christ of the Gospels has been the centre of all my theologizing and the authority for all my teachings. If I speak of history as one of the warrants of faith, it is because of the discernible presence in its pages of the Son of Man steadily at work, century by century, building up the walls of his fair City. If I speak of human nature as another one of these warrants, it is because I observe in human nature capacities and desires, sympathies and affections, such as only a humanized God, a God whose being is at some point tangent to our own, can meet and satisfy. In a word, to get away from metaphysical abstractions, and to stick close to personality, to use the filial and brotherly vocabulary in all my speech and to avoid, as far as possible, a philosophical phraseology, which, while it may overawe, can scarcely enlighten, has been my steadfast aim. For, after all, the most cultured congregations are human; and thoughts which cannot be expressed in the words our mothers taught us, may as well be held in reserve, so far as preaching is concerned. Prattle about the Infinite and the Absolute is an easy accomplishment for men who have been to college; but what people need to be persuaded of is that they have a Father in heaven, Who knows them and Who may, in some measure, by them be known; Who loves them and Who may, in some measure, by them be loved.

If to this doctrine of “God in Christ” I have not, in my teaching, linked as closely as some would have liked to see me do, a philosophy of sacramental grace, it has not been from any disposition to undervalue the place of sacraments in religion, but rather from a reluctance to narrow to one channel a stream which so very evidently flows through many.

These last twenty years, be it candidly confessed, have been a rather arduous time for preachers. Not only have they had to encounter far greater difficulty than of old in getting a hearing, because of the increased number of voices in the world, but, even when listened to, they have been almost as men under trial upon the charge of concealing their real beliefs….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Reed Huntington

O Lord our God, we thank thee for instilling in the heart of thy servant William Reed Huntington a fervent love for thy Church and its mission in the world; and we pray that, with unflagging faith in thy promises, we may make known to all peoples thy blessed gift of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, most holy, most loving, infinite in wisdom and power: Teach me to reverence thee in all the works of thy hands, and to hallow thy name both in my life and in my worship; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death; and they bound him and led him away and delivered him to Pilate the governor. When Judas, his betrayer, saw that he was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.” So they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

–Matthew 27:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Communion Partner Participants Report on the Global South Mission Conference in Bangkok

Over 100 participants, from 21 of the 38 Provinces of the Anglican Communion, representing the vast majority of practicing Anglicans in the world, gathered together in Bangkok, Thailand for the “Global South Conference on the Decade of Mission and Networking” July 16-21, 2012. In attendance were thirteen Primates from the Global South as well as other “mission partners” from other parts of the Anglican Communion, including four representatives of the Communion Partners fellowship of the Episcopal Church, U.S.A. (Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop Dan Martins, Dean Tony Clark and Father Chuck Alley) who had been invited by the Global South Primates’ Network.

Some background: why were participants from the Communion Partners fellowship invited to this Global South Conference?

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Posted in Uncategorized

(NY Times) Jason deParle–Two Classes, Divided by ”˜I Do’

The economic storms of recent years have raised concerns about growing inequality and questions about a core national faith, that even Americans of humble backgrounds have a good chance of getting ahead. Most of the discussion has focused on labor market forces like falling blue-collar wages and lavish Wall Street pay.

But striking changes in family structure have also broadened income gaps and posed new barriers to upward mobility. College-educated Americans like the Faulkners are increasingly likely to marry one another, compounding their growing advantages in pay. Less-educated women like Ms. Schairer, who left college without finishing her degree, are growing less likely to marry at all, raising children on pinched paychecks that come in ones, not twos.

Estimates vary widely, but scholars have said that changes in marriage patterns ”” as opposed to changes in individual earnings ”” may account for as much as 40 percent of the growth in certain measures of inequality. Long a nation of economic extremes, the United States is also becoming a society of family haves and family have-nots, with marriage and its rewards evermore confined to the fortunate classes.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Sociology

(RNS) Religion at the Olympics, from ancient Greece to London

The London Olympics will try to accommodate religious athletes with 193 chaplains, a prayer room in every venue and a multifaith center in the Olympic Village.

Athletes at the ancient Olympics believed their training honored the gods, and victory was a sign of favor from a deity. As contests like wrestling, boxing, and horse racing were added to the Olympic roster, they supplemented devotional sacrifices, hymns, and ceremonies.

“The idea was that you were training to please Zeus. But part of the festival would be to visit the temple, visit the cult statues, making offerings, celebrating and seeing your family,” said David Gilman Romano, a professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Arizona.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Sports

Twitter hit by technical fault on eve of Olympics

Parts of Twitter became inaccessible a day before thousands of fans are expected to start tweeting about the Olympic Games.

The Twitter.com site was unreachable for almost an hour, and continued to suffer intermittent faults thereafter.

The service was still accessible via its mobile site and other applications.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Science & Technology