Daily Archives: December 6, 2012

(NPR) Israel, Christians Negotiate The Price Of Holy Water

One of the holiest sites in Christendom has also been one of the most contested. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem lies on the site where Jesus Christ is said to have been crucified and buried.

Multiple Christian denominations share the church uneasily, and clerics sometimes come to blows over the most minor of disputes. The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox and the Syriac Orthodox all have a presence in the church.

But the most recent conflict at the 4th century church was over something entirely different: an unpaid water bill.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Inter-Faith Relations, Israel, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Notable and Quotable

…the world can be a disturbing place. There is war and anxiety because of terrorism. There is the fierceness of competition and the injustices that come from greed. There are continuous distractions that come from the media, the numerous hours given to television, radio, and Internet. There are the unrelenting demands of work and family life.

Yet in the midst of all this, people are generously loving within their families, with their friends, and for their communities. Nevertheless, a nagging question remains: Where is all this going? There is a persistent thirst for meaning and hope.

Many people find refuge in various types of spiritual activities and communities that promise serenity in a hectic world and refuge from its pressures. They look to meditation techniques and to well-publicized personalities for ways to find tranquility and some hope for themselves.

In the midst of such a culture, the Catholic Church offers a message that is not its own, but comes from God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ two thousand years ago, yet is ever new and renewing as it is received, celebrated, lived, and contemplated today. The Church offers to all people the possibility of encountering the living God today and finding in him lasting meaning and hope.

–[The] United States Catholic Catechism for Adults

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Forbes' List of the World's Most Powerful People–71 in all

I am interested in your observations about the list–check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Media, Politics in General, Theology

(Christian Today) No improvement for North Korea's Christians

Christians in North Korea are reporting that their situation has not changed under the leadership of Kim Jong-un.

North Korea has topped the Open Doors World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians for 10 years in a row.

Open Doors USA says that although the communist country’s new leader has experimented with light agricultural reform and is a fan of Mickey Mouse, he has not made “any essential changes” in the first year since his father Kim Jong-il’s death.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Korea, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Reuters) Anglicans must not drift apart, departing leader says

[Rowan] Williams spent most of his decade as Anglican spiritual leader struggling to keep bitter disputes between liberals in western countries and traditionalists, mostly from African and other developing countries, from tearing the Communion apart.

Faced with strong traditionalist opposition to gay clergy, women priests and liberal interpretations of the Bible, he tried to balance both sides and to strengthen central authority in Anglicanism so member churches did not diverge too much.

But his Anglican Covenant project failed when even his Church of England rejected the idea of a stronger center. Unlike the powerful Roman Catholic pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury is only the spiritual leader of Anglicans and has no direct authority over the Communion’s member churches.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Theology

Pope Benedict XVI appeals for an end to violence in DR Congo

The humanitarian crisis in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo was top of Pope Benedict XVI’s concerns this Wednesday as he began his greetings in Italian with another appeal for aid for the people of the nation, the scene of armed clashes and violence. Emer McCarthy reports:

“A large part of the population lacks the primary means of subsistence” said the Pope, adding that “thousands of residents have been forced to flee their homes to seek refuge elsewhere”.

Read and listen to it all and there is more here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Foreign Relations, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Benedict XVI, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Republic of Congo, Roman Catholic, Violence

(Gallup) Seven in 10 Americans Are Very or Moderately Religious

Sixty-nine percent of American adults are very or moderately religious, based on self-reports of the importance of religion in their daily lives and attendance at religious services. Within that group, 40% are very religious, meaning that they attend religious services regularly and they say religion is important in their daily lives.

These data are based on more than 320,000 interviews conducted by Gallup between Jan. 2 and Nov. 30 of this year. Similar data going back to 2008 form the basis of the new book God Is Alive and Well: The Future of Religion in America.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

(Globe and Mail) Conservative MP urges restrictions to sex-selective abortions

Mr. [Mark] Warawa said his concern about sex-selective abortion was prompted by a CBC investigation into the ultrasound clinics that aired last June. “The practice of aborting females in favour of males is happening here is Canada,” he said, though the MP acknowledged he did not know how widespread the practice is or how many girls are aborted in Canada because of their sex.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Theology

Economist Dan Greenhaus–The most expensive tax breaks in the current tax code

From there:

[Here is a list of]…the most expensive tax breaks in the current tax code, based on what those breaks would cost the U.S. Treasury in lost revenue from 2013 to 2017:

1) Exclusion of employer contributions for medical insurance premiums & medical: $1 trillion

2) Mortgage interest deduction: $606 billion

3) Deduction for 401(k) plans: $429 billion

4) Accelerated depreciation of machinery & equipment: $375 billion

5) Exclusion of net imputed rental income: $337 billion

6) Capital gains: $321 billion

7) Charitable contributions: $293 billion

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology

(The Economist) Muslims in France's flaccid Moral Milieu

The French are fairly relaxed when it comes to family matters and private choices. François Hollande, the Socialist president, is not married to Valérie Trierweiler, the “first girlfriend”, nor was he to Ségolène Royal, the previous woman in his life and mother of their four children. His predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, divorced his second wife while in office, and married a third, Carla Bruni, without any fuss. The current mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, is openly gay.

The past few weeks, however, have seen an unusually vigorous debate, after Mr Hollande’s government introduced a new law that will allow gay couples to marry and adopt children. Tens of thousands of Catholic traditionalists took to the streets to demonstrate. The archbishop of Lyon suggested that the law would open the way to polygamy and incest. The French Council of the Muslim Faith denounced the plan, arguing that gay marriage goes against “all Muslim jurisprudence.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Children, Europe, France, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(WSJ) In World of Big Stuff, the U.S. Still Rules

Robert LeTourneau, a roving American evangelist and inventor, decided in the mid-1930s that a plot of lakefront land a mile and a half northeast of downtown Peoria would be a fine place to make earth-moving equipment. Skilled labor and suppliers were plentiful; transport links were good.

Nearly eight decades later, Japan’s Komatsu Ltd…., which owns the plant, still thinks Mr. LeTourneau chose the right location””even though most giant mining trucks made there are shipped overseas to Latin America, Australia, Asia and Africa.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas

Almighty God, who in thy love didst give to thy servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness on land and sea: Grant, we pray thee, that thy Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, Father of mercies, who didst so love the world that thou didst give thine only begotten Son to take our nature upon him for us men and for our salvation: Grant to us who by his first coming have been called into thy kingdom of grace, that we may always abide in him, and be found watching and ready when he shall come again to call us to thy kingdom of glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Henry Stobart (1846-1896)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said: I love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

–Psalm 18:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence Writes Regarding his Alleged "Renunciation"

This post remains ‘Sticky’ at the head of the page.

Quite simply I have not renounced my orders as a deacon, priest or bishop any more than I have abandoned the Church of Jesus Christ””But as I am sure you are aware, the Diocese of South Carolina has canonically and legally disassociated from The Episcopal Church. We took this action long before today’s attempt at renunciation of orders, therein making it superfluous.

Read it all.

December 5, 2012

Dear Friends in Christ,

“For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:5

The Presiding Bishop called me this afternoon to inform me that she and her council of advice have “accepted my renunciation of ordained ministry.” I listened quietly, asked a question or two and then told her it was good to hear her voice. I did not feel any need to argue or rebut. It is the Presiding Bishop’s crossing of the T’s and dotting of the I’s””for their paper work, not my life. I could point out the canonical problems with what they have done contrary to the canons of The Episcopal Church but to what avail? TEC will do what they will do regardless of canonical limitations. Those canonical problems are already well documented by others and hardly need further documentation by me. She and her advisers will say I have said what I have not said in ways that I have not said them even while they cite words from my Bishop’s Address of November 17, 2012.

Quite simply I have not renounced my orders as a deacon, priest or bishop any more than I have abandoned the Church of Jesus Christ. As I am sure you are aware, the Diocese of South Carolina has canonically and legally disassociated from The Episcopal Church. We took this action long before today’s attempt to claim a renunciation of my orders, thereby making it superfluous.

So we move on””onward and upward. As I write these words in the vesper light of this first Wednesday of Advent, the bells of the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul ring in the steeple beside the diocesan office, and I remain the Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. We shall continue to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ in Word and Deed to a needy world, as well as ourselves. We need to experience afresh its power to set us free from sin, death, guilt, shame and judgment and to transform our lives to be like Christ’s from one degree of glory to another. As the Apostle has written: “The Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

I am heartened by the support of the vast majority of those within this Diocese as well as that of the majority of Anglicans around the world and that of many in North America who have expressed in so many ways that they consider me to be an Anglican Bishop in good standing and that this Diocese of South Carolina is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

My prayers for a wakeful and watchful Advent,

The Right Reverend Mark Joseph Lawrence
XIV Bishop of South Carolina

For background see also:
A.S. Haley””The Presiding Bishop Flouts the Canons Again
Presiding Bishop Says Mark Lawrence Says what he did not Say, right out of George Orwell
South Carolina Links

Posted in * Admin, * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Featured (Sticky), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology