Daily Archives: November 1, 2012

Yale named ”˜Bicycle Friendly University’

New Haven is home to the first and only American patent of a pedal-driven bicycle, and it’s now home to the first “Bicycle Friendly University” in Connecticut.

The League of American Bicyclists has awarded Yale a spot on its list of Bicycle Friendly Universities. The bronze-level designation extends over four years. Currently, there are 44 universities on the list, including Princeton, Cornell, and Stanford.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Education, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Young Adults

A helpful Reminder from John Piper About the Importance of Endurance

Perhaps it’s because I am in my mid-fifties as I write this, but whatever the reason, my mind defaults to thoughts about endurance these days. I want to finish well for the glory of Christ. I want to die well. But I have seen too much quitting and falling and failing to take anything for granted. “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

–John Piper, Endurance (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2002), page 17

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Middle Age, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Chicago Tribune) Attorney launches immigration clinic at Illinois Episcopal Church

While she doesn’t anticipate getting deep into complicated cases at the monthly clinic, she wants to offer guidance to an immigrant group who may be feeling marginalized from mainstream society. She will provide initial consultations, evaluate if further representation is recommended and make referrals when appropriate.

“These clients want clarification,” [Elizabeth] McGuan said. “They want to know what their situation is and what their options are regarding their legal status and becoming citizens. Many consider being deported worse than going to jail. When people are desperate, they can be exploited. I want to help make sure that doesn’t happen.”

McGuan said the clinic will focus on immigration law, but she is prepared to address issues of divorce, custody, paternity, child support and domestic violence.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry

(Anglican Taonga) ACC-15: At home in the land of the long white cloud of witnesses

The ACC broke camp today and headed south to Ngaruawahia for an audience with the Maori King.

The clouds were heavy overhead as the buses trundled towards Turangawaewae, the majestic marae on the banks of the Waikato River that is the seat of the Kingitanga.

But as the 150 or so ACC members and fellow travellers were called on to the marae for the powhiri, or ceremonial welcome, those clouds parted and the sun broke through.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Communion Network, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ

Can you Relate? Crying 4-year-old girl is 'sick of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney'

It helps to laugh–this video is lots of fun check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, US Presidential Election 2012

ACC-15–Environmental change not “a secular fuss imported into the church” but a moral issue

(ACNS) Abp [Thabo] Makgoba, who is the Chair of Anglican Communion Environmental Network, said “What might a world where Christians take their moral responsibilities seriously look like?

“Our network tries to link people from different Provinces to reflect on the environment. It is hoped that we will have representatives throughout the Communion. Even at this stage we are calling for those Provinces without an environmental network to appoint one.”

Referring to the nexus of water, food and energy, Abp Thabo asked the audience: “When you are receiving Communion, have you stopped to think about the water that we use to mix with the wine. Where has it come from? How clean is that water? Have you stopped to think about…those who do not have access to basic and of the resultant illnesses that go with poor sanitation and water? When you receive…wafers, have you spared a thought for those who do not have food?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Provinces, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

(Anglican Taonga) Time to move on violence ”“ ACC

Anglicans who are struggling at the front line in the battle to turn back gender-based and family violence can take comfort.

As of this morning, they know they have absolute, unequivocal support from their leaders in the Anglican Communion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Theology, Violence, Women

(Washington Post) In hard-hit New Jersey towns, a daunting recovery effort from Hurricane Sandy

Two days after the superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast, rescue officials confronted flooded cities and battered beach towns that remained dangerous and chaotic, particularly in pockets of hard-hit New Jersey.

Large portions of this old factory city were still flooded, and pumps were working round-the-clock to clear a toxic and potentially deadly mix of water, oil and sewage estimated at more than 500 million gallons. National Guard troops in 2.5-ton Humvees patrolled the flooded streets, seeking to evacuate the most vulnerable of the city’s 20,000 stranded residents, nearly half of Hoboken’s population, who were told to stay inside and signal for help with pillowcases….

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Posted in * General Interest, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

U.S. Birth Rate Hits All-Time Low, More than 40 percent of births were to unmarried Women

Continuing a 12-year decline, the U.S. birth rate has dropped to the lowest level since national data have been available, according to statistics just released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The rate of births among teenagers also fell to a new record low, continuing a decline that began in 1991.

The birth rate fell to 13.9 per 1,000 persons in 2002, down from 14.1 per 1,000 in 2001 and down a full 17 percent from the recent peak in 1990 (16.7 per 1,000), according to a new CDC report, “Births: Preliminary Data for 2002.” CDC analysts say the birth rate is dropping as the increasing life span of Americans results in a smaller proportion of women of child childbearing age.

Read it all and you can find the full CDC report here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Marriage & Family, Women

To Follow the Hurricane Sandy Open Thread

For anyone wanting to follow the Hurricane Sandy open thread, you’ll find it here.

Posted in * General Interest, Weather

Pope Benedict XVI Marks 500th anniversary of Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes

Standing in the Sistine Chapel under Michelangelo’s famous ceiling frescoes, people are reminded that the world was created by God in a supreme act of love, Pope Benedict XVI said.

“With a unique expressive intensity,” the pope said, Michelangelo depicted the power and majesty of God the creator in a way that proclaimed “the world is not the product of darkness, chaos or absurdity, but derives from intelligence, freedom, a supreme act of love.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Art, Church History, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(CS Monitor) George Papandreou–Europe must overcome the politics of fear around the debt crisis

To those who were surprised that the European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize, I say: “Think twice.” This was not only a deserved award for Europe’s contribution to bringing peace and stabilizing democracies in the recent past. The Nobel Committee was also sending a clear warning to contemporary leaders. I could almost hear them saying: “On this difficult odyssey, don’t abandon ship. In today’s world, the EU is too valuable to squander.”

It was an indirect but powerful rebuttal to the dangerous nationalist and populist rhetoric some politicians have adopted when describing the recent financial crisis.

This message couldn’t have come at a better time.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Greece, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Alister McGrath Urges Lutherans to Share Doctrine with Contemporary Culture

(LCMS News) On the 495th anniversary of the Reformation, Dr. Alister McGrath, professor at King’s College, London, called on confessional Lutherans around the world to continue to “unpack, interpret and translate” the words of Dr. Martin Luther in the contemporary culture.

Speaking on the topic of Witness (martyia) to Lutheran church leaders””who collectively represent more than 20 million Lutherans””from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Australia and North America, McGrath urged all Lutherans to “go back to this resource [Luther] to enrich the present-day mission.”

McGrath, a leading critic of the New Atheism and an advocate of the importance of theology in apologetics, mission, evangelism, spirituality and social engagement, is also a former atheist whose interest and eventual conversion to Christianity was due in part to his reading of Luther.
Serving as keynote speaker to the International Conference on Confessional Leadership, sponsored by The Lutheran Church””Missouri Synod, McGrath set the stage for a series of follow-up responses from pastors from Taiwan, Nigeria, Brazil and England regarding the relevance and importance of Luther and the Lutheran church in the 21st century.

A failure to share Luther’s insights and the enduring confessional Lutheran perspective with the 21st century, noted McGrath, will result in a “treasure chest” of doctrine that will “remain unopened because the language isn’t understood.”

“It’s much easier to withdraw and not engage with anyone else,” McGrath admitted, “but Luther is a witness to the more uncomfortable truth that we need to be there at the intersection of Christ and culture, bearing witness to the Gospel.”

Tomorrow (Nov. 1, All Saints’ Day), the conference will focus on the theme of Mercy (Diakonia).

Daily news briefs and updates from the conference are available at the Witness, Mercy, Life Together blog, LCMS Twitter, LCMS Facebook and KFUO Radio. The conference is made possible by a grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Church History, Lutheran, Other Churches, Theology

David Brooks on the Polls–They are very limited in what they can tell us

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that even experts with fancy computer models are terrible at predicting human behavior. Financial firms with zillions of dollars have spent decades trying to create models that will help them pick stocks, and they have gloriously failed.

Scholars at Duke University studied 11,600 forecasts by corporate chief financial officers about how the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index would perform over the next year. The correlation between their estimates and the actual index was less than zero.

And, if it’s hard to predict stocks or the economy, politics is a field perfectly designed to foil precise projections.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, Psychology, US Presidential Election 2012

Robert Samuelson–Election 2012 may be Pollsters’ moment of truth Also

Among pollsters, there’s fear that changing technology (mainly cellphones) and growing public unwillingness to do interviews are undermining telephone surveys ”” and that there’s no accurate replacement in sight. A recent study by the Pew Research Center reported its response rate at 9 percent, down from 36 percent in 1997. Put differently: in 1997, Pew made about three residential calls to get one response; now it makes 10.

Beginning with answering machines and caller-ID in the ’70s and ’80s, suspicious Americans have become more selective in screening calls. Robo-calls ”” automated messages for products, politicians, charities and polls ”” have deepened the hostility. “The mass of communications coming into people’s homes ends up being a blur,” says Pew pollster Scott Keeter.

Cellphones pose problems because people who use them exclusively ”” people who don’t have landline phones ”” are younger, poorer and more Democratic than the general population. By late 2011, 32 percent of Americans 18 and over had only a cellphone, up from 16 percent in early 2008. Among those 25 to 29, the share was 60 percent.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2012

A Prayer for All Saint's Day

O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those indescribable joys which thou hast prepared for those who truly love thee: through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who hast given us not the spirit of bondage, but the Spirit of adoption into thy family: Grant us the witness of thy Spirit within our hearts, testifying that we are thy children; and give us that fellowship with the sufferings of Christ which shall end in our being glorified with him; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Henry Alford

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

Revelation 12:7-12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Best Quality of Life Colleges: Princeton Review List

Very blessed to see my alma mater at the top of the list. Good for Bowdoin.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Young Adults

(Zenit) Bringing Faith Formation to the Parish Level, Members of Alpha Address Synod

Mallon: The greatest thing that I can hope for from this Synod is this pastoral conversion, which means we have to change the very culture of our Churches. The predominant culture of the Churches where I come from and my experience doing this work, is that we have a maintenance culture within our parishes. In the past we had strong Catholic cultures that helped people go to Church and to believe. Usually the only growth we had in parishes was from demographic shifts. We didn’t really have to do anything: we just had to schedule Masses and pay the light bills. And for the culture of the time that worked. There was no sense of being missional. Today the culture is toxic, not just neutral. If you do nothing you will be stripped of faith.

We have got to apply new methodology, which means we must move from a maintenance culture to a missional culture. That means addressing the values that we ”“ perhaps even unconsciously ”“ hold as local Churches within parishes. We can be very quick to say “I value this, this, and this.” But, it’s one thing to say what you value; it’s another thing to actually look at how you function as a Church, and what you put your money and resources and time into. By analyzing those, we find out what we truly value.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Secularism

(Telegraph) Church 'losing trust' over 'cloak and dagger' Archbishop of Canterbury selection Process

The committee choosing the next leader of the world’s 77 million Anglicans is facing growing discontent from within the Church amid clams that the long-running process has become a “cloak and dagger” procedure.

Calls are mounting for an overhaul of the system and even growing support for future Archbishops in the Church of England to be elected.

It came as even the ancient Coptic Orthodox Church, based in Egypt- which chooses its spiritual leader in a ceremony involving a blindfolded child ”“ announced not only the date for the selection of its new Pope but even the shortlist.

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