Daily Archives: September 21, 2012

(Fox Business) Threat of Cyber Attacks Grows as Protesters Turn Digital

Anger over a film trailer mocking a sanctified Muslim religious figure has sparked violent protests across the Middle East that have taken the lives of dozens of people. Now, the strife is manifesting itself in the form of cyber war waged against America at home.

Over the course of this week, three major U.S. financial institutions have seen their web infrastructure targeted in technical attacks. On at least two occasions, groups or individuals claiming to be aligned with Muslims said the attacks were a reprisal for the ”˜Innocence of Muslims’ trailer that ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Science & Technology

Eric Rosenberg–The Whispers of Democracy in Ancient Judaism12

Jews are in the midst of a period known as the Days of Awe, which began on Sunday night with Rosh Hashanah and culminates next Wednesday with Yom Kippur. It seems almost a misnomer to call them “holidays,” though the first marks the Jewish New Year. Rather, they are deeply personal events whose aim is self-reflection, self-improvement and repairing what is broken in daily relationships.

It’s striking how much this most important period on the Jewish calendar shares with that most essential exercise in American democracy. Walt Whitman wrote in the late 1800s that “a well-contested American national election” was “the triumphant result of faith in human kind.” This country’s unique sense of optimism””the view that the future is unwritten and full of possibility, that anything can be achieved””is also the sensibility underpinning the Days of Awe.

On a cosmic level, Rosh Hashanah commemorates the birth of the world. On an individual level, it marks the rebirth of the soul as Jews examine their faults and ask forgiveness from those they have wronged. At heart, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are deeply optimistic events.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Task Force–California Debt, Instead of Being 28 Billion, is 167 to 335 Billion

Gov. Jerry Brown of California announced when he came into office last year that he had found an alarming $28 billion “wall of debt” looming over the state, which had to be dismantled.

Since then, he has slowed the issuance of municipal bonds, called for spending cuts and tried to persuade the state’s famously antitax voters to approve a tax increase this fall.

On Thursday, an independent group of fiscal experts said Mr. Brown’s efforts were all well and good, but in fact, the “wall of debt” was several times as big as the governor thought.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(USA Today) Fewer Americans commuting solo

The dismal economy and skyrocketing gas prices may have accomplished what years of advocacy failed to: getting more people to stop driving solo. The share of workers driving to work alone dropped slightly from 2010 to 2011 while commutes on public transportation rose nationally and in some of the largest metropolitan areas, according to Census data out today Thursday.

Group commuting ”” riding buses, trains, subways or sharing cars or vans ”” rose from 2005 to 2011 in more than a third of 342 metropolitan areas for which data exist, according to a USA TODAY analysis.

About two-thirds saw jumps in residents using public transit. The share driving to work alone dropped in about two-thirds or more than 200 metros.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Travel

Asbury Theological Seminary to host Robert Duncan of ACNA

(Pr) The Most Reverend Robert Wm. Duncan, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America and Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, will visit the Kentucky campus of Asbury Theological Seminary on September 25, 2012. Duncan will speak in chapel and participate in lunch and a talk-back session with students, faculty and administration immediately following chapel.
The Anglican Church in North America unites approximately 100,000 Anglicans in almost 1,000 congregations across the United States and Canada into one Church. Asbury Seminary’s President, Dr. Timothy C. Tennent, said, “We are honored to host Archbishop Duncan on our Kentucky campus. He is an extraordinary Church leader, and his devotion to mission and church planting inspires us.”

In 1972 Duncan was ordained a deacon and then a priest. Early in his ministry, he served the Chapel of the Intercession in New York City, Christ Church in Edinburgh, Scotland and Grace Church in Merchantville, N.J. He was also assistant dean of The General Theological Seminary in New York City, Episcopal chaplain of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and rector of Saint Thomas’s Episcopal Parish in Newark, Del. In 1992, Duncan became canon to the ordinary for Bishop Alden Hathaway in Pittsburgh. In 1995 he was nominated from the floor and elected bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. In 2009, he was elected Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America and immediately made a call to plant one thousand churches (Anglican 1000) in five years. Duncan was a driving force in the creation of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, a multi-million dollar enterprise for which he continues to serve as president.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Methodist, Other Churches, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Bret Stephens–Muslims, Mormons and Liberals

So let’s get this straight: In the consensus view of modern American liberalism, it is hilarious to mock Mormons and Mormonism but outrageous to mock Muslims and Islam. Why? Maybe it’s because nobody has ever been harmed, much less killed, making fun of Mormons.

Here’s what else we learned this week about the emerging liberal consensus: That it’s okay to denounce a movie you haven’t seen, which is like trashing a book you haven’t read. That it’s okay to give perp-walk treatment to the alleged””and no doubt terrified””maker of the film on legally flimsy and politically motivated grounds of parole violation. That it’s okay for the federal government publicly to call on Google to pull the video clip from YouTube in an attempt to mollify rampaging Islamists. That it’s okay to concede the fundamentalist premise that religious belief ought to be entitled to the highest possible degree of social deference””except when Mormons and sundry Christian rubes are concerned.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Movies & Television, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theatre/Drama/Plays, Theology, Violence

Tory Baucum–who are the key influences in your spiritual life?

Over the years a number of you have asked who are the key influences in my life, especially those who have formed me as a Bible teacher and theologian. I always confess that I am not a scholar of the Bible but I am a lover of the Bible. I have studied with great Bible scholars so I know the difference. There are a handful of scholars that have shaped me in ways I am still trying to understand. I will identify the top three with which I have studied and the books or theologians they introduced me to that continue to inspire me.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYRB) Max Rodenbeck–The Agony of Syria

Less than a week after this grim conversational bidding war, the district of the capital where these women and their children had been taken in was shelled, then raided by government forces.

Not surprisingly, the regime’s iron-fisted approach has made real what had merely been a nightmarish fantasy. From the start it portrayed the revolutionaries as bands of heavily armed Sunni Muslim fanatics, funded and directed by Syria’s enemies. The charge was laughable a year ago, when by all accounts there were simply no guns in opposition hands at all. Even by February, after eleven months of unrest, a trophy table of captured “terrorist” weapons displayed for journalists at an army club in Deraa, the battered city near the Jordanian border where protests first began, proved embarrassingly puny. Amid rusted pistols and primitive pipe bombs, the only serious weapon was a Stalingrad-vintage Bulgarian-made sniper rifle.

Only recently has the Free Syrian Army, the loose coalition of local fighting groups that emerged last fall, begun to wield much firepower. Despite talk of large-scale aid from sympathetic Sunni Muslims in the Persian Gulf, and in particular the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the flow of money did not pick up until this spring, while the flow of weapons from outside Syria even now remains a trickle.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Books, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Theology, Violence

4 Anglican bishops in the Middle East and Africa call for ban after US film row

The appeal for legislation to ban the publication of material that causes religious offence was con­tained in a letter sent last weekend to the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, by the President-Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusa­lem and the Middle East, the Most Revd Mouneer Anis. The other sig­natories were: the Bishop in Cyprus & the Gulf, the Rt Revd Michael Lewis; the Area Bishop for North Africa, Dr Bill Musk; and the Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa, Dr Grant Le­-Marquand.

The Bishops proposed that an “international declaration be nego­tiated that outlaws the intentional and deliberate insulting or defama­tion of persons (such as prophets), symbols, texts, and constructs of belief deemed holy by people of faith”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Movies & Television, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology, Violence

(WSJ) In Brooklyn, A Church Seeks a Rescue

At Brooklyn’s Old First Reformed Church, one of New York City’s oldest churches, the sky is falling.

Last year, on the eve of a Jewish high-holiday service””the church has in the past provided a temporary home to nearby Congregation Beth Elohim””a chunk of plaster broke off from the church’s ornate ceiling and tumbled to the pews.

A parishioner called the Rev. Daniel Meeter, who was having dinner in the neighborhood, and he rushed to the scene. Services were canceled, and after more plaster shook loose the following day from the area around the church’s massive, 60-foot-high chandelier, the church closed.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(RNS) Vatican helps launch church-approved ads for Catholic websites

An Italian startup is launching a web advertising platform that aims to provide Catholic websites with Catholic-approved advertisements.

The platform, called AdEthic, will be presented on Thursday (Sept. 20) at a press conference in Rome, as part of a wider Catholic project to engage in social media.

According to Andrea Salvati, a manager at Google Italy who will take the role of CEO at AdEthic in October, the platform wants to tap into the vast Catholic online market that has so far been unable or unwilling to use advertisements.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(LA Times) Religious freedom under increasing threat worldwide, study says

More countries around the world are clamping down on religious freedom and harassment and intimidation of religious groups has surged, according to a new study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.

The report tracked changes in religious tolerance through the middle of 2010. Though the findings are based on research done long before the recent eruption of widespread protests over insults to Islam, they shed new light on rising tension over faith

In every region on the globe, government restrictions, hostility or both were on the rise against religious groups, the sweeping study found. Signs of the trend eyed by researchers included governments banning particular faiths or prohibiting conversions, mob violence against religious groups and harassment over religious attire. Many such attacks or restrictions were levied against religious minorities.

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

Mitch Majeski and John Piper on Pastoral Ministry– Is 'Balance' Biblical?

Mitch Majeski & John Piper – Video 1 from waterbrook multnomah on Vimeo.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Matthew

We thank thee, heavenly Father, for the witness of thine apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of thy Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, whose way is perfect: Help us, we pray thee, always to trust in thy goodness; that walking with thee in faith, and following thee in all simplicity, we may possess quiet and contented minds, and cast all our care on thee, because thou carest for us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now when they had passed through Amphip’olis and Apollo’nia, they came to Thessaloni’ca, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and for three weeks he argued with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded, and joined Paul and Silas; as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.

–Acts 17:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop calls attention to humanitarian crisis in Congo

An Anglican bishop from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is urging the world to focus its attention to the “neglected” humanitarian crisis in northeastern Congo, where nearly half a million people have been displaced by armed conflict.

Bishop Bahati Bali-Busane Sylvestre, of the diocese of Bukavu, recently visited refugees from North Kivu and described their situation as “pitiful.” Thousands of refugees have sought temporary shelter at a refugee camp and in Anglican schools and church buildings.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church in Congo/Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo, Anglican Provinces, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Poverty, Republic of Congo, Violence

Orthodox patriarch, Anglican leader to attend Vatican II celebration

– The Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury will join Pope Benedict XVI’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury will attend the Mass that Pope Benedict will celebrate at the Vatican to mark the anniversary of the Oct. 11, 1962, opening of the council, Vatican officials said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic