Daily Archives: August 2, 2012

(ENI) Campers in U.K. shun beaches for work on ancient cathedrals

While many young people in the U.K. are gearing up for a summer of backpacking or the beach, one group is choosing to stay home and spend their holidays in a more unusual way — doing voluntary conservation work in ancient cathedrals, chapels and churches.

Cathedral Camps, run by the U.K. charity Community Service Volunteers, is seeing about 150 young people from ages 16 to 25 painting walls, polishing spires, ringing bells, surveying tombstones and cleaning graveyards during the day and sleeping overnight in gardens, presbyteries or cloisters.

“The experience is a chance to see the hidden corners of some of the nation’s most iconic religious buildings in England, Scotland and Wales,” said Hannah Foxon, a seasoned camper. “It’s also a great way to meet new people and learn new skills. Most volunteers come away with the feeling of great pride, success and achievement. This is my fourth year and fifth camp as a leader for CSV Cathedral Camps, and each camp I have attended has been totally different.”

Read it all.

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

Science fields battle gender gap

…people…are concerned about a persistent gender gap in college degrees in science, technology, engineering and math — STEM, for short. The notion that it might have to do with aptitude has long been dismissed. Yet research shows that girls who enjoy — and excel at — math and science in high school are less likely than boys to pursue a college major in those fields.

And even if they start college majoring in a STEM field, women are more likely than men to change majors, federal data show. Women make up 24% of STEM jobs, which offers some of the most lucrative careers, a Commerce Department report says. More than half of them have degrees in the physical and life sciences.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Men, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth, Women, Young Adults

(FT) John Gapper–NBC shows perfect logic but a prime time farce

This weekend, NBC kicked off its expensive coverage of the London Olympics by cutting out the part of the opening ceremony that commemorated the victims of the July 7, 2005 bombings, in favour of a soft soap interview with Michael Phelps, the record-breaking swimmer. Then, when Phelps swam (and lost) the next day, it waited eight hours to televise him in action.

What, if anything, goes through the minds of people who make such decisions? We know because the broadcasting network that has infuriated me and others, by refusing to broadcast popular events live, has been honest. It thinks that Americans are interested in live US athletes, not the foreign deceased, and it needs to recoup the $1.2bn it laid out on the London rights.

As a result, NBC’s coverage of the Olympics has been less like a sports broadcast than a surrealist farce in which the characters affect to know less than the audience.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Globalization, Media, Science & Technology, Sports

Saint Francis in the Fields, Harrods Creek, Kentucky, responds to General Convention

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Olympic badminton scandal claims China's rising star

The scandal engulfing four Olympic badminton teams has abruptly ended the career of one of China’s most promising players.

Yu Yang announced Wednesday she was quitting the sport after the Badminton World Federation disqualified her and her doubles partner, along with three other teams, for “not using one’s best efforts to win a match.”

“This is my last match,” Yu Yang wrote in a microblog to her 1.3 million followers. “Farewell Badminton World Federation; farewell my beloved badminton.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Sports, Theology

Wary Federal reserve Is Poised to Act for the Economy

The Federal Reserve is heading toward launching a new round of stimulus to buck up the weak economy, but stopped short of doing so right away.

The decision to make what amounted to a conditional promise of action came Wednesday at the end of the central bank’s two-day policy meeting. In an uncharacteristically strong statement, the Fed said it will “closely monitor” the economy and “will provide additional accommodation as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions.” Translation: The Fed will move if growth and employment don’t pick up soon on their own.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Joel Hartse–What Happened to My Christian Music?

For better or worse, we’re not the people we were when we fell in love with this music. I wrote a book about Christian rock in the ’90s, and one thing that struck me as I was putting it together was just how important some of that music was to my generation in pointing us toward the things that mattered to us: authentic faith, honest humanity, artistic integrity. Those are good things. But going to a rock show when you’re 18 and when you’re 35 are very different experiences. Have you noticed, for example, that when you go to see a band like Weezer or Jimmy Eat World, the fans are still mostly the age you were when you started listening to them? Have you noticed that you think less about buying their new records, and more about who you used to be and how you felt when you first bought their records?

I’m really happy to see new material from some of my favorite musicians, but I know that I’m not the same person I was when I started going to rock shows in church basements. I no longer put band stickers on my car or wear their buttons on my jacket. I no longer listen to Christian radio or buy my music from Bible bookstores. But these are some of the people who taught me what I know about faith, hope and love””and I’ll be forking over some cash this year to hear them do it again.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music, Religion & Culture

Washington Cathedral's new Dean Weighs in on the Episcopal Church's identity crisis

While I tend toward the progressive side in this controversy, I am not persuaded by either analysis. My own sense is that we face a crisis of credibility. For those especially under 40, the Episcopal Church (and its companion churches and faith traditions) no longer seems a credible place in which to engage God, learn to pray or to give ourselves in ministry. We seem, to those outside us, exclusive and opaque.

Those of us who love the traditions (and habits) of institutional Christianity might feel somewhat wounded by the seeming disinterest in the practices we have come to live by. But if the Episcopal Church is to thrive in the 21st century, it must do three things. It must develop a clear, missional identity. It must project that identity outward and invite people into it. And it must take seriously the needs and concerns of those who come toward us and adapt to the new life and energy they bring.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Commentary, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Parish Ministry, Theology

Who is the One who Said–"Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle"?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, History, Notable & Quotable

(AP) Combat vet cleared to play football at Clemson

[Daniel] Rodriguez served in Iraq during the troop surge of 2007. On his second tour, he found himself in Afghanistan and in the line of fire during one of the war’s bloodiest fights, the battle of Kamdesh in October 2009.

Rodriguez said close to 400 Taliban combatants overwhelmed the U.S. outpost of fewer than 40 soldiers. Eight Americans were killed, including Rodriguez’s friend, Pfc. Kevin Thompson.

Just a few days earlier, the two young men shared their dreams of what they’d do after returning home. Thompson made Rodriguez promise to chase his goal of playing college football.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Defense, National Security, Military, Education, Sports, Young Adults

(Roman Catholic Diocese of Lansing) A Portrait of Jordyn Wieber ”“ Olympic athlete

“I like to look at my gymnastics ability as a great gift from God,” she says. “Without God in my life, I feel like there would be no meaning.”

Jordyn says her strong faith comes from her parents: Rita and David.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sports

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Make us tender and compassionate towards those who are an overtaken by temptation, considering ourselves, how we have fallen in times past and may fall yet again. Make us watchful and sober-minded, looking ever unto thee for grace to stand upright, and to persevere unto the end; through thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

In thee, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! In thy righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline thy ear to me, and save me! Be thou to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for thou art my rock and my fortress.

–Psalm 71:1-3

Posted in Uncategorized

(LA Times) NYSE and SEC review Wednesday trading problems on Wall Street

A trading glitch Wednesday morning led to some puzzling stock movements on Wall Street, prompting reviews by the New York Stock Exchange and securities regulators.

“Irregular trading” in 148 stocks led the exchange to review activity after the opening bell, the exchange’s operator, NYSE Euronext, said in a statement….

The issues appear to stem from a “technology issue” at Knight Capital Group, a major Wall Street brokerage firm based in Jersey City, N.J.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Personal Finance, Psychology, Science & Technology, Stock Market

Broadband for all, urges the Bishop of Norwich

A scheme in Norwich Diocese which gives broadband access to remote rural communities has been highlighted as an example of best practice in a report released today from the Lords Communications Select Committee which says the Government’s broadband strategy must not leave communities behind.

WiSpire – a joint venture between the Diocese of Norwich and Freeclix, a local ISP – was cited as an example “of emergence of a new industry of infrastructure providers in the final mile who will be able to respond to local demand and compete effectively with their national cousins to build out local access networks accordingly”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

An interview with Bishop "Holly" Hollerith (Southern Virginia) regarding blessing same sex unions

Bishop Hollerith, what was your reaction to the Episcopal Church’s recent decision to allow the Blessing of Same-gender unions and did you vote in favor?

We have been struggling with this matter for many, many years now – attempting to discern the full place of Gays and Lesbians in the life of the church. In fact, the theological dialogue on a national level began way back in the mid-seventies. And yes, I did vote in favor because I believe the Church needs to move forward now. I do find I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I know that many among us welcome this new reality with great joy and celebration having waited long and patiently for what is seen as a new, grace-filled opportunity. On the other hand, I also know that others among us will be upset and not at all comfortable with this new direction. As I stated in my address to Council, I believe both responses are legitimate expressions of who we are in our diocesan family. I find I have deep respect for both. And this is something that is not easy for me to reconcile. But, in the end, I am joyful about our moving forward and ready to do so.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops