Daily Archives: August 14, 2012

Sheema Khan–Slowly, Muslim communities are changing their approach to marriage and divorce

The strains on contemporary marriage are many, given that traditional gender roles are in a dynamic state of flux. Some ”“ like Anne-Marie Slaughter ”“ are convinced that women can’t have it all due to competing demands between family and career.

These issues were similarly examined as part of a comprehensive study by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), “Understanding Trends in American Muslim Divorce and Marriage,” authored by ISPU Fellow and University of Windsor law professor Julie Macfarlane. Over a four-year period, information was collected through interviews with Muslim community members, social workers and lawyers. While 25 per cent of the respondents were Canadian, there were no marked differences in trends between American and Canadian couples.

Divorce rates within North American Muslim communities have risen sharply over the past 25 years. While Muslim families face pressures common to all families, certain issues are unique to Muslim culture….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Children, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

In Kenya, an Initiative aimed at getting young people to vote

The Kenya Anglican Youth Association (KAYO) is launching a nationwide initiative aimed at reaching one million young Kenyans and encouraging them to register and vote in Kenya’s general election on March 4, 2013.

The upcoming election will be Kenya’s first since 2007, when electoral disputes triggered ethnic violence that left about 1,500 people dead and 350,000 displaced from their homes.

Read it all (and what a great picture).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Kenya, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

Mental Health Break–Nocturnal Scenes from the Southern Night, Western Australia and Chile

Watch it all courtesy of NASA.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

Telegraph Leader–Mohammed Morsi must be careful

Egypt’s new president has moved against his political foes with a ruthlessness that belies his reputation as a grey engineer. Last week’s attack on a military camp in Sinai, which cost the lives of 16 soldiers, created an opening that Mohammed Morsi, the first freely elected leader in Egypt’s five millennia of recorded history, exploited with alacrity. With the army on the defensive, he seized his chance to settle a power struggle between politicians and generals that has simmered since Hosni Mubarak’s downfall last year.

Those who underestimated Mr Morsi should consult the seven bruised generals who are now beginning their compulsory “retirement”, including Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, formerly the armed forces commander and Egypt’s de facto ruler since the revolution last year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Time Magazine) Rana Foroohar–Local is the new Global

If there’s a single company that illustrates the huge range of opportunities and challenges facing the U.S. economy today, it might be Caterpillar, the heavy-machinery giant based in Peoria, Ill. Like most other firms, Cat took a hit following the financial crisis. But since then, it’s bounced back–and how. After a strong second quarter, the firm is on track for a second record-breaking year in a row and will likely sell $70 billion of its famous yellow earthmovers, tractors and mining equipment globally.

As products roll off the line at the recently expanded East Peoria factory, every one is marked with a flag that designates its final destination. There are a lot of Chinese, Indian and Australian flags. But there are plenty of American ones too, and their numbers are growing. “We put those flags on a few years back. I wanted our workers to understand that globalization isn’t necessarily about someone taking your job,” says Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman. Indeed, Caterpillar thinks less about a single world market than many regional ones. The company is global, but where it can, it sources and produces locally, which is a natural hedge against everything from oil prices to currency risk to changing customer tastes. The bottom line: jobs and growth are split more or less equally between the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Globalization

United Church of Canada General Secretary Nora Sanders Synopsis

United Church of Canada General Secretary Nora Sanders is optimistic about the future of the church, despite the challenges.

Watch it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Other Churches

Economist–American fertility is now lower than that of France

Americans especially like to focus on the total fertility rate, or TFR, the average number of children a woman can expect to have during her lifetime. For years, America was unusual among rich countries in having a relatively high TFR of around 2.1, the so-called “replacement rate”, at which a population stabilises over the long term. European countries were typically below that rate, sometimes far below it.

So it comes as something of a shock to discover that in 2011 America’s fertility rate was below replacement level and below that of some large European countries. The American rate is now 1.9 and falling. France’s is 2.0 and stable. The rate in England is 2.0 and rising slightly.

American fertility reached its recent peak in 2007; its fall has coincided with the economic crisis that began at the end of that year….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Picture of 60 Foot Whale in Baltimore Harbor

Check it out–wow.

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

Disney says Muslim woman had many options in head scarf dispute

Disney officials say they presented “multiple options” to accommodate the religious beliefs of a Muslim woman who is now suing the entertainment giant and claims she unfairly lost her job at a Disneyland Resort café after refusing to remove her head scarf at work.

Imane Boudlal, 28, filed a federal lawsuit against Walt Disney Corp. on Monday, saying she was also discriminated against and harassed for her religious beliefs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Islam, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(NBC News) Surviving sepsis: New device speeds ID of dangerous bacteria

Nearly two years after her teenage daughter lost all four limbs to a dangerous bloodstream infection, Patricia Kirven is stunned at how little most people know about sepsis.
“You can ask the average person on the street and they don’t know what it is,” said Kirven, mother of Whitney Mitchell, now 20. “I have a friend who says that sepsis is the killer you’ve never heard of.”
Only high-profile cases seem to attract attention, like Whitney Mitchell’s disfiguring infection, or the recent death of a 12-year-old New York boy, Rory Staunton, who developed severe septic shock two days after a minor gym class cut.
That’s despite the fact that hospital stays for sepsis in the U.S. have more than doubled in recent years, accounting for about 1.6 million hospitalizations a year and requiring treatment for some 4,600 new patients every day, according to a 2011 report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

Gaye Clark–Before You Phone Your Preacher

We often feel slighted or ignored if the senior pastor isn’t right there when we call him. We wonder if he truly cares about us, question whether he’s a people person, and whine about feeling unheard. Note the irony: We bypass the God of all creation on our quest to meet with someone higher up the church org chart.

Sometimes it’s best to carry our personal needs directly to God. But when you feel the need to call your pastor, when he asks, “What can I do for you?” say that you want to spend a few minutes praying with him, asking God to do something awesome in your church. He just might faint.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ecclesiology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

Scott Gunn on General Convention 2012

Read it all.

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

Alan Haley–What Choices Are There for the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina?

The final choice, of course, rests with the Diocese (speaking through its convention).

And that, it turns out, is a very good place in which to start. Just what is the “Diocese of South Carolina”, and what abilities and powers does it have when it speaks through its convention?

Here we must be careful to distinguish the ecclesiastical realities from the legal realities. Dioceses of a Church have dual personalities: they are participants in the Church of which they are a constituent member, and at one and the same time, they are legal entities (“persons”) in the eyes of the State(s) in which they exist, and have their boundaries.

The Episcopal Church (USA), as has been discussed many times on this blog, is a rather unique entity in the eyes of the secular law. It formed itself in 1789, as an “unincorporated association.” But what do those legal terms actually mean?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Analysis, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Post-Gazette) Stephen Shapin–Moderation might solve the obesity crisis

In short, dietetics was a matter of virtue as well as of bodily health. The medical profession doled out advice about how one should eat in the same breath as instructions about how one should live — and about what sort of person one should be.

Traditional dietetic advice now seems banal, with its almost exclusive focus on moderation. For example, dietetic counsel would recommend that patients eat neither too much nor too little; sleep when necessary, but not excessively; exercise, but not violently; and control anger and stress. The Temple of Apollo at Delphi bore the inscription, “Nothing in excess,” while Aristotelian philosophy held that the golden mean was the path to the good.

Given the current frenzy of fad diets and the eternal search for simple remedies for complex conditions, moderation in all things may seem like shabby medicine. But dietetics’ conviction that health and morality are two sides of the same coin is a deep-rooted notion. After all, Christianity lists gluttony as one of the seven deadly sins, while temperance is one of the cardinal virtues.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine

(CNS) Church steps in to challenge Indian acceptance of female feticide

An official in the Indian Catholic Church has endorsed the idea that participants in sex-selective abortions should be charged with murder.

The backing by Holy Spirit Missionary Sister Helen Saldanha, secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India Office for Women, comes as momentum builds to end female feticide, a practice that finds families terminating a pregnancy because the child they are expecting is a girl.

Filing criminal charges for killing a child in the womb because of its sex would “change the killer attitude” toward girls in Indian society, Sister Helen told Catholic News Service.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, India, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Violence, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, Almighty God, that since thou hast once shone upon us by thy gospel, – O grant, that we may always be guided by this light, and so guided, that all our lusts may be restrained; and may the power of thy Spirit extinguish in us every sinful fervor, that we may not grow hot with our own perverse desires, but that all these being subdued, we may gather new fervor daily, that we may breathe after thee more and more: nor let the coldness of our flesh ever take possession of us, but may we continually advance in the way of piety, until at length we come to that blessed rest, to which thou invites us, and which has been obtained for us by the blood of thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

–John Calvin (1509–1564)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! Clouds and thick darkness are round about him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him, and burns up his adversaries round about. His lightnings lighten the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.

–Psalm 97:1-6

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

In Massachusetts, a North Shore Area former Episcopal priest to convert to Catholicism

A longtime North Shore clergyman is in line to become one of the first Episcopal priests in the country to be ordained as a Roman Catholic priest.

The Rev. Jurgen Liias, who led Christ Church in Hamilton for 14 years before forming a breakaway Episcopal church in Danvers, has applied to the Vatican to be ordained into a new U.S. ordinariate created by Pope Benedict XVI on Jan. 1.

Liias said he will resign as an Episcopal priest and will be confirmed as a Catholic in a Mass on Wednesday at St. Margaret Church in Beverly Farms. If his application is approved by the Vatican, he will be ordained as a Catholic priest this fall.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

NC Register Editorial–Cure for Culture Shock

For all the surprisingly rich moral insight of Dark Knight Rises, it is worth pausing to consider if such epiphanies might be obtained in a way that did not require the graphic mayhem.

Put another way, is it time for America’s most gifted filmmakers and other artists to offer a more diverse context for exploring the struggle between good and evil and our unpredictable capacity to make choices that defy our base instincts?

There’s no formula for drawing inspiration from stories and characters that compel an audience’s engagement without desensitizing their conscience.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Art, Ethics / Moral Theology, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology