Daily Archives: September 27, 2012

(WSJ) Germany to Tap Brakes On High-Speed Trading

Germany is set to advance a bill Wednesday imposing a spate of new rules on high-frequency trading, escalating Europe’s sweeping response to concerns that speedy traders have brought instability to the markets.

The measure seeks to require traders to register with Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, collect fees from those who use high-speed trading systems excessively, and force stock markets to install circuit breakers that can interrupt trading if a problem is detected.

The new rules, which also grant the regulator the power to compel firms to detail their trading practices, will apply to anyone trading in Germany, no matter where they are based. If it is approved in cabinet, the bill will move to the Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament. The bill is widely expected to pass later this year.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Europe, Germany, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Stock Market

Cardinal Péter ErdÅ‘ to European Roman Catholic Bishops–Lack of Hope is Today's Greatest Evil

When members of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences gather Thursday to begin their plenary assembly, they will be addressing, according to the group’s president, the “greatest evil of our time.”
That evil is a “lack of hope,” according to Cardinal Péter ErdÅ‘, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and CCEE president.

The theme of the bishops’ four-day meeting is the social and spiritual aspects of the challenges of our times. The bishops will consider the topic through three different perspectives.

These three interventions have been entrusted to Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard of Malines-Brussels, president of the Belgian Bishops’ Conference; Professor Marta Cartabia, lecturer in law and judge of the Constitutional Court in Italy; and Professor Kuno Schedler, lecturer in business economics at the University of St Gallen.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Economy, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Pope Benedict XVI, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

New Wave of Workers Tries Novel Approach to Personal Finance: Save More

For years, Sean McGroarty ignored his mother’s urging to save money.

Then his mother, Karen Zader, 54 years old, lost her job as an administrative assistant. The family home, where Mr. McGroarty grew up, went into foreclosure, and Ms. Zader had to raid her retirement savings to pay bills.

Mr. McGroarty was shocked into action. He signed up for his employer’s 401(k) retirement-savings program last year. “What if life throws me a curve ball like that?” said the 27-year-old radio DJ.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Young Adults

(The Gospel Coalition) Brian Hedges–Preachers and Their Critics

You’ll build a great church, pastor, if you ever learn how to communicate.

Listening to that sermon was like drinking from a fire hydrant.

I’m so disappointed! I wanted you to give God all the glory. And you missed it!

Your preaching is too intellectual.

Your preaching is too practical.

You don’t talk enough about social justice.

You talk about social justice too much.

Your preaching is over people’s heads.

Your preaching isn’t deep enough. Give us meat, not milk.
…Some of these criticisms surprised me. Some felt unfair. A few hurt. Some were well-deserved (especially the “fire hydrant” comment). Occasionally they roll off, but the fact I remember so many of them proves they stick. Every experienced preacher could add to the list. Personal criticism is one of the job hazards of Christian ministry.

It’s also one of the great benefits….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Adult Education, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

(Harvard Divinity Today) David Hempton–Religious Illiteracy Matters

[Finally, let me say a word about]… the wider world. Peter Berger has stated that secularization, far from being an inexorable product of modernity throughout the world, is more or less confined to Western and Central Europe and what he calls “an international cultural elite.” In the rest of the world vibrant religious cultures are the default position, not the exception. I see this gap between secularized cultural elites and global religious traditions as potentially one of the most dangerous things in our world. The consequences need to be thought about, especially since research universities like ours recruit most of our faculty and students from Berger’s secularized minorities. We need to know about this gap, how it works, and what its consequences are.

Stephen Prothero has stated that “The United States is one of the most religious places on earth, but it is also a nation of shocking religious illiteracy”””even among college students. We have already paid a heavy price for this ignorance, and we dare not let it go unattended. We have serious work to do at Harvard and beyond to improve religious literacy in this country and in the wider world.

Finally, a flashback to Northern Ireland in 1969”“70. That was the year I went to Queen’s University Belfast as a young undergraduate. I was a typical child of the 1960s, more interested in sport, music, and girls than understanding the religious and political dynamics of my own culture. All hell broke loose in Northern Ireland in those years, with hundreds of people a year dying in violent incidents in the early 1970s. Like Prothero’s religious illiterates, I really didn’t know what was going on. I should have. I vowed I would find out. That’s why I’m standing here today. Religious illiteracy matters; we ignore it at our peril. Let’s take it on.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., England / UK, Globalization, Ireland, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

The Guardian's interactive guide: pick your own Archbishop of Canterbury

Welcome to the Guardian’s interactive guide: for the benefit of the committee which is choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury today, and for anyone else who wants to play along. Just click on your choices and see who comes out at the end….

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(Mail Online) Adrian Hilton–The 105th Archbishop of Canterbury is about to be revealed

So, who will it be?

If the Commission wants to boost Anglican traditionalists, placate Africa, raise St George’s Day to an English national holiday and take a swipe at institutional racism, they’ll appoint John Sentamu, Archbishop of York. If they wish to hold a steady-as-she-goes via media, with interminably tedious increments in an inevitable direction, they’ll appoint Richard Chartres, Bishop of London. If they choose to accelerate the liberal trajectory, with a nod toward North America and an ”˜inclusive’ mission which embraces all sexual proclivities and environmental causes, they could do a lot worse than James Jones, presently Bishop of Liverpool.
These aren’t the only possibilities, of course: while Sentamu is utterly colourful and wonderfully unique, you could replace the authoritative Chartres of London with Graham James of Norwich; and Jones of Liverpool could easily be supplanted by Cocksworth of Coventry. We are talking about the Church of England here: it isn’t going to be suddenly re-reformed or catholicised by anyone overnight.

If, however, the Commission is concerned to appoint God’s choice ”“ a thoughtful and gifted communicator, deeply committed to upholding the orthodoxy of the Christian faith ”“ ”˜the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints’ ”“ in the fraught context of cultural diversity, social upheaval, political cynicism and theological conflict, the lot must fall to Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(BBC) The Bishop of Norwich 'prays not to be Archbishop of Canterbury'

The Bishop of Norwich has told the BBC he is “hoping and praying” that God does not choose him as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Church officials are preparing to make a final decision on who should be the new Archbishop.

Dr Rowan Williams is due to retire in December.

The Rt Rev Graham James, 61, said the role carried “lots of expectation but relatively little power” and was “probably a job for a younger man”.

Read it all.

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

(New Statesman Blog) Nelson Jones–The secret search for the next Archbishop of Canterbury

Despite innovations which included advertising the vacancy rather pointlessly in the Church Times early this year, the process remains rather opaque. There isn’t even an official shortlist. The secrecy encourages feverish speculation, with the leading candidates being debated like authors shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Unlike last time, there’s no obvious front runner. Will the committee go for a safe pair of hands who won’t be around long enough to cause too much trouble – the Bishop of London, for example, one of several candidates who were in the running ten years ago when Rowan Williams was chosen? Or will they choose someone younger and less well-established, but with potential? Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, is about the right age at 56 but has been a bishop for less than a year. His background in the City gives him a rare insight into the business world, and he’s well ahead in the current betting, but some would say that there are already quite enough Old Etonians running things.

John Sentamu of York is, by far, the biggest personality and was once seen as the front runner; yet he is also rather divisive, and his appointment would be a surprise. Graham James of Norwich (liberal, catholic) and Coventry’s Christopher Cocksworth (evangelical) both have their supporters but have a low public profile. Liverpool’s James Jones was generally written off as too old until the other week, when his chairmanship of the Hillsborough Commission won him plaudits from around the country. It could be anyone. One bookmaker was even offering odds of 200/1 on Richard Dawkins, though I don’t think so, somehow.

The CNC offers some nods towards ecclessiastical democracy, in that some of its members were elected by the General Synod, but is ultimately beholden to no-one but itself….

Read it all.

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

(Telegraph) Church leaders meet to elect new Archbishop of Canterbury

No clear front-runner for the post appears to have emerged within the Church of England with a number of senior figures said to be possible contenders including the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, 63, the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, 65, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, 64, and the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, 61.

The commission is also thought to be considering whether to appoint one of a younger generation of bishops including the Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, who is 53 years old, and the Rt Rev Justin Welby, 56, who was enthroned less than a year ago as Bishop of Durham.

Read it all.

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

(Independent) Church of England looks set to choose different path with new Archbishop of Canterbury

The Church of England will almost certainly take a swing to the right as a conclave of powerful figures from within the Anglican Communion meet to decide who should become the new Archbishop of Canterbury over the coming days.

Almost all the front runners who have been put forward for the role are noticeably more conservative than Rowan Williams was before he took leadership of the church nine years ago – particularly when it comes to the thorny issue of homosexuality….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(RNS) Religious groups team up to fight sex trafficking

…while many Americans might think of sex trafficking as an international problem, it often starts in the United States. Prosecutor Lindsey Roberson has seen it happen.

One of her first cases involved a 17-year-old girl who met a guy at a downtown club. He wooed her, and then “took her out of town on a trip, and let her know what she would have to do to pay her way,” Roberson said.

“She had no ID, no cell phone; no way to contact her mother. And the guy ended up advertising her for sex on Backpage.com and trafficking her all the way out to California and back to Virginia.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Women

(Her.meneutics) Amy Becker–Hookup Culture Is Good for Women, and Other Feminist Myths

Pornography. Casual sex. Crude jokes about sex. Hooking up with no strings attached.

Hanna Rosin’s most recent Atlantic article, “Boys on the Side,” describes highly intelligent, career-oriented women engaging in all of these behaviors with a mere shrug of the shoulders. In the minds of many driven young women on college campuses across the country, sexual promiscuity doesn’t harm anyone. Hooking up has become the new sexual norm for young adults, and according to this norm, students shy away from committed relationships and instead enjoy one-time sexual encounters with no expectation of further intimacy. And, Rosin argues, the sexual liberation of the 1960s that led to the more recent “hookup culture” on college campuses is good for women””it allows women to enjoy casual sex without being “tied down” by serious commitment.

Rosin initially substantiates this claim through interviews with her subjects. Most women who are engaging in the hookup culture report that they don’t want to return to the days of chastity belts or even more traditional dating, and Rosin takes these positive reports as evidence that the hookup culture is not only here to stay but is also good for the women involved. She provides no evidence, however, that women who hookup a lot during their early 20s go on to lead fulfilling lives, and she doesn’t offer a counterpoint of women who have opted out of hooking up.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Men, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Women, Young Adults

(Reuters) National Football League (NFL) referees agree deal with league to end lockout

The National Football League (NFL) reached an agreement to end a labor dispute with its regular game officials on Wednesday, ending three weeks of questionable calls that had threatened the integrity of the sport.

The eight-year deal with the NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) will allow locked-out officials to return to action for this week’s games after replacements had struggled to act as cover for them in the early stages of the 2012 season.

Read it all. also, the regular referees are to work the Thursday game after the agreement, the AP reports.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Men, Sports

(SMH) Peter Hartcher–The Long and the short of U.S. woes

Americans live 3½ years less than citizens of the five top-ranked countries – Japan, Hong Kong, Iceland, Switzerland and Australia.

The story of American life expectancy is an alarming expression of its larger story. The US is delivering the full benefits of prosperity and modernity in an increasingly narrow way.

It was long known that richer Americans improved their life expectancy at a greater rate than poor Americans, but lifespans lengthened for all. Today, advantaged Americans live longer while the disadvantaged live shorter. That is the real import of the new findings. It is about inequality, in the most basic manifestation – the number of days of life.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Australia / NZ, Economy, Health & Medicine, History, Personal Finance

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who in thy fatherly love hast called us that we should inherit a blessing: Give to us also, we pray thee, the blessing of wholesome speech and loving deed; that following always that which is good, we may do and suffer all that thou willest; in the name and strength of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

–L. E. H. Stephens-Hodge

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish. Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith for ever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the sojourners, he upholds the widow and the fatherless; but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 1The LORD will reign for ever, thy God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!

–Psalm 146

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Reuters) Anglican church chooses new leader to weather storms

“It’d be hard to find somebody more unifying than Rowan Williams, and yet he hasn’t managed to hold it together,” Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times newspaper, told Reuters.

“Under him, there have been two significant changes: one is the growth of secularism … and the other is greater division in the church over issues like women bishops, women priests and gay weddings.”

The arcane process of selecting the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury is wrapped in layers of protocol perhaps unsurprising for a role with roots going back 1,400 years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Cellphones Are Eating the Family Budget

Heidi Steffen and her husband used to treat themselves most weeks to steak at Sodak Shores, a restaurant overlooking a lake near their hometown of Milbank, S.D. Then they each got an iPhone, and the rib-eyes started making fewer appearances.

“Every weekend, we’d do something,” said Ms. Steffen, a registered nurse whose husband works at a tire shop. “Now maybe once every month or two, we get out.”

More than half of all U.S. cellphone owners carry a device like the iPhone, a shift that has unsettled household budgets across the country. Government data show people have spent more on phone bills over the past four years, even as they have dialed back on dining out, clothes and entertainment””cutbacks that have been keenly felt in the restaurant, apparel and film industries.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Science & Technology