Daily Archives: January 17, 2013

(NY Times) Next Made-in-China Boom: College Graduates

Even if her dream is only dorm-room reverie, China has tens of millions of Ms. Zhang [Xiaoping]s ”” bright young people whose aspirations and sheer numbers could become potent economic competition for the West in decades to come.

China is making a $250 billion-a-year investment in what economists call human capital. Just as the United States helped build a white-collar middle class in the late 1940s and early 1950s by using the G.I. Bill to help educate millions of World War II veterans, the Chinese government is using large subsidies to educate tens of millions of young people as they move from farms to cities.

The aim is to change the current system, in which a tiny, highly educated elite oversees vast armies of semi-trained factory workers and rural laborers. China wants to move up the development curve by fostering a much more broadly educated public, one that more closely resembles the multifaceted labor forces of the United States and Europe.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Education, Globalization, Young Adults

(A Journey Through NYC Religions) Islam's Holy Book suffers in the hurried life of New York City

Since 2001, [Iman] Bashir has traveled from Senegal to Harlem to spend nine months of every year teaching the Quran to members of New York’s Senegalese community. He said his students include some adults but are mostly children.

Muslim parents find that New York City life disrupts their children’s religious upbringing. For one, their children are required by law to attend schools five days a week starting at the age of 6. Almost all attend public school which don’t offer Quran study as an option. Also, since the adults are in over their heads with work, they have little time of their own to teach their children about their faith.

In sum, the Senegalese community has very little time for memorizing Quran verses.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Christian Century Blog) National Cathedral–A simultaneously religious and civil institution?

Allahpundit is obviously right about the ceremonial deism part. And I’ll be the first to admit that this strange American habit is bad for church and state alike.

But it’s absurd to suggest that the National Cathedral is only “nominally Episcopal.” It’s the seat of the Bishop of Washington, who leads a large diocese. It’s the seat of the presiding bishop as well. A whole lot of people worship there each week, at services that would be hard to mistake for blandly nondenominational….

…the construction of the cathedral was a joint effort between the Episcopalians and civil authorities. It’s an institution that has long had both a sectarian function and a secular one.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Vatican Official Archbishop Dominique Mamberti responds to the ECHR decision

The Secretary for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti gave an interview to Vatican Radio on Wednesday, in which he discussed the Church’s freedom and institutional autonomy, with reference to four cases decided by the European Court of Human Rights on the 15th of January, and two others still before the Court. With regard to the four cases decided by the Court ”“ only one of which was decided in favour of the complainant ”“ Archbishop Mamberti spoke of the complexity of questions relating to freedom of conscience and religion, in particular in European society marked by the increase of religious diversity and the corresponding hardening of secularism. He discussed the danger posed by a moral relativism that imposes itself as a social norm, and explained that the Church seeks to defend individual freedoms of conscience and religion in all circumstances, especially in the face of such danger.

Archbishop Mamberti addressed the need of respect for freedom of conscience regarding morally controversial subjects, such as abortion or homosexuality, saying that respect for freedom of conscience and religion is a condition for the establishment of a tolerant society in its pluralism. He warned that the erosion of freedom of conscience is symptomatic of a form of pessimism with regard to the capacity of the human conscience to recognize the good and the true. The Archbishop went on to say that it is the Church’s role to remind people that the true source of human freedom is found in the ability of each and every person to distinguish good from evil, and an obligation to act in accord with those determinations.

Read and listen to it all and I see that RNS has an article out on this as well.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Secularism, Theology

Archbishop-elect Justin Welby writes in Bloomberg on virtue, vice and banks

Late one night 20 years ago, when I was an oil executive rather than an Anglican bishop, I had run out of steam and patience toward the end of a complex multinational acquisition. We came to yet another bit of box ticking and I suggested we skip it, because we knew the material was accurate.

“Justin,” our wise investment-bank director said quietly, “you know that’s not how we do it.”

Under pressure, everyone is prone to make bad decisions and that story remains in my mind as I sit on the U.K.’s Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, listening to people talk about banks, bankers and their failures.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Taxes, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Local Paper Front Page) FAA grounds Boeing 787 over Batteries

Last week, a fire on a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner parked in Boston prompted American regulators to launch a comprehensive review of the new jet program. But they maintained the plane was safe and allowed it to keep flying during their unusual if not unprecendented re-examination.

That changed Wednesday after pilots on an All Nippon Airways 787 had to make an emergency landing after another smoky battery malfunction. Before the day was over, the FAA had grounded Boeing’s technologically advanced jetliner, declaring that it won’t fly again until the onboard batteries are proven to be safe.

“Before further flight, operators of U.S.-registered Boeing 787 aircraft must demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration … that the batteries are safe and in compliance,” the U.S. agency said in a statement accompanying its emergency airworthiness directive.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government, Theology, Travel

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Department–The New Parish Minister Makes a phone call

Our new minister pleaded with the congregation for help with a church project. After weeks with few takers. he called our house with this deeply felt, if not diplomatic, request: “I am scaping the bottom of the barrel for volunteers and wonder if you might be able to help?”

–Virginia Nifong, of Auburndale, Florida, in the February 2013 Reader’s Digest, page 188

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

John Richardson–Why Steve Chalke is mistaken and the liberality of liberals cannot be trusted

This is why we must also be so cautious when someone like Steve Chalke (and there are many like Steve Chalke) suggests that his views in favour of accepting same-sex practice and the position of those who are opposed can both coexist. In his own words, which I have quoted here, he says that,

Amongst the hallmarks of any and every healthy community must be the ability for reasoned and gracious debate, a willingness to listen to others, an openness to change and a respect for diversity. I write this paper in that spirit, recognising that various friends and leaders whom I respect have views which differ from mine.

So here we have a ”˜Rodney King’ approach, with a plea for us all to ”˜get along’ despite our differences. And would that we could!

And here is the problem, for injustice, like immorality, cannot be tolerated ”“ or at least, not if we can do anything about it. And Chalke has concluded that we can ”“ indeed public legislation is already ahead of him ”“ in affirming and blessing sexually active same-sex relationships.

Unfortunately, however, this means that despite his expressed desire that diversity should be respected, this cannot be something which ultimately he can either intend or tolerate….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NPR) After Tragedy, Nonbelievers Find Other Ways To Cope

[BARBARA BRADLEY] HAGERTY: Eric was her husband for 20 years. After they married, he flew F-15s in the Air Force, and then he became a test pilot in Wichita for the airplane manufacturer Bombardier. On October 10, 2000, the plane Eric was co-piloting crashed on takeoff. When Carol arrived at Via Christi Hospital, she learned that her husband had burns over 50 percent of his body.

[CAROL] FIORE: Then I found out they he had been given him his last rites.

HAGERTY: Not a surprise, since Via Christi is a Catholic hospital. But even after Carol announced that Eric would not want anyone praying for him, a priest hovered and prayed, day after day. Finally, she kicked the priest out.

Read it all or listen to it all.

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

(Living Church) Bishop Mark MacDonald on the the abuse of indigenous children–”˜Swamped by Evil’

From 1870 to 1996, 130 different residential schools, most run by Anglican and other churches, including Anglican, were built on military models, he said. Indigenous children were taken from their families at about age 5 and returned when they were 16 or 17.

“The purpose was to destroy the family bond, the connection to culture and language, and to make it impossible for indigenous life to continue into the future,” he said. “It was for indigenous people to die out….”

The church’s reaction is “a case study in when evil so swamps and floods a group of people they will deny it,” he said. “The church doesn’t have the capacity to describe or accept within itself what happened. There’s a tremendous amount of denial.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Canada, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theodicy, Theology

The 2013 Christianity Today Book Awards

The late Christian philosopher Arthur Holmes proclaimed confidently that “all truth is God’s truth.” Holmes’s epigram came to mind as I was tallying up our judges’ rankings, encountering one surprise after another. Would Christianity Today really bestow top honors on a Roman Catholic New York Times columnist? On a Roman Catholic Ivy League professor? Or on a satirical novel lampooning contemporary evangelical culture?

Well, why not? If God is indeed the Author of all truth, we needn’t be too choosy about those earthly authors whose truth-telling we recognize. Yes, most of this year’s honorees (take a bow, Tim Keller!) fit more or less comfortably in an evangelical milieu. (Fearless prediction: Richard Dawkins will never win a CT book award.) Still, it’s nice to remember that, whatever the source, truth (to say nothing of goodness and beauty) is always a cause for rejoicing.

Now the envelopes, please. From an initial crop of 455 titles submitted by 68 publishers, we’ve selected 10 winners, and 9 notables, that offer insights into the people, events, and ideas that shape evangelical life, thought, and mission. Here they are, along with comments from the judges.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Philosophy, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Antony

O God, who by thy Holy Spirit didst enable thy servant Antony to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil: Give us grace, with pure hearts and minds, to follow thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Blessed Lord, who in the days of thy earthly childhood didst earnestly desire to be about thy Father’s business: Give us the grace of thy Holy Spirit early to seek thee and evermore to follow thee; that being continuously aided by thy grace, we may be exercised in thy service; who livest and reignest with the Holy Spirit, world without end.

–Henry Alford

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, 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

([Steve Clifford of the] Evangelical Alliance) The Bible a Homosexuality: a response to Steve Chalke

Steve Chalke is a friend of mine. We go back many years. I am convinced that when the history of the Church in the UK is written, Steve’s contribution over the last 25 years will be recognised as profoundly significant. So with this as a backdrop I am writing my response to Steve’s article in Christianity magazine. While I understand and respect Steve’s pastoral motivations, I believe the conclusions he has come to on same-sex relationships are wrong.

It is with both sadness and disappointment that I reflect on how Steve has not only distanced himself from the vast majority of the evangelical community here in the UK, but indeed from the Church across the world and 2,000 years of biblical interpretation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Independent) Prominent evangelical pastor declares support for monogamous same sex relationships

A prominent evangelical pastor has taken the highly unusual step of publicly declaring his support for monogamous same sex relationships in a decision which will send shockwaves through Britain’s evangelical community.

[The] Reverend Steve Chalke, head of the Oasis Church in Waterloo, made the public declaration in a lengthy article on his charity’s own website explaining his theological reasoning for abandoning opposition to gay relationships….

In a deeply personal and heartfelt plea, Rev Chalke criticises Christianity’s traditional rejection of “faithful gay relationships” saying it has left far too many people feeling “vulnerable and isolated.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Steve Chalke's Argument for Monogamous Same Sex Relationships

I’m worried that the noise of the arguments around gay marriage will cloud and confuse the real question for the Church, which is about the nature of inclusion. I am convinced that it is only as the Christian community grapples with this that we will find wise answers, not only regarding gay marriage, but also to related questions around the Church’s wider attitude to gay people.

I feel both compelled and afraid to write this article. Compelled because, in my understanding, the principles of justice, reconciliation and inclusion sit at the very heart of Jesus’ message. Afraid because I recognise the Bible is understood by many to teach that the practice of homosexuality, in any circumstance, is a sin or ‘less than God’s best’.

Some will think that I have strayed from scripture – that I am no longer an evangelical. I have formed my view, however, not out of any disregard for the Bible’s authority, but by way of grappling with it and, through prayerful reflection, seeking to take it seriously.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

St. Matthias joins South Carolina lawsuit against The Episcopal Church

“It is beyond belief what The Episcopal Church is attempting to do,” [David] Thurlow said last week. “What it amounts to is corporate identity theft.”

Thurlow said St. Matthias’ participation in this legal action is necessary to protect the church and its parish buildings – erected and maintained by the families of Summerton and surrounding communities without any financial support from The Episcopal Church – from being taken over by The Episcopal Church.

“Our community is most disturbed that outside attorneys and individuals from New York, who have never lived here in the South, should have the audacity to suggest that they have any claim whatsoever to church buildings and property here in South Carolina,” Thurlow said. “That The Episcopal Church is now claiming ownership of our land, that is not right.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons