Daily Archives: April 24, 2013

(Spero News) Christians continue to flee northern Nigeria

“Churches in Northern Nigeria, amd my diocese in particular, have been recording depletion in the number of faithful attending church services owing to Boko haram insurgencies,” said Catholic Bishop Stephen Mamza of Yola, an area in northern Nigeria where Muslim terrorist violence has been notable. He said that an as yet undetermined number of Catholics have moved from the area out of fear of the violent Islamic sect known as Boko Haram.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

David Brooks– Women, Men, and the The Confidence Questions

We have piles of evidence to show that people overtrust their judgment and overestimate their goodness. Also, there is no easy correlation between self-esteem and actual performance….

This leads to my final question: In society generally, are more problems caused by overconfidence or underconfidence? The financial crisis and the tenor of our political debates suggest that overconfidence and self-idolatry are by far the larger problems. If that’s true, how do you combine the self-critical ability to recognize your limitations with the majestic confidence required to struggle against them?

I guess I’m asking how to marry self-criticism and self-assertion, a blend our society is inarticulate about. I guess I’m wondering, as we make this blend, whether most of us need more of the stereotypically female trait of self-doubt or the stereotypically male trait of self-promotion.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Men, Psychology, Women

Colorado Ponders the Economics of a Marijuana Tax

This week, legislators here will consider excise and sales taxes on marijuana of up to 30 percent combined. The proposal emerged from a task force of health officials, representatives of the state’s rapidly developing marijuana industry and others that was commissioned last year to help develop rules for marijuana.

The goal, task force members and lawmakers say, is to set taxes high enough to finance the administration of new laws, but not so high that customers are driven back to the black market.

“We should see a financial benefit as a state that can help pay for enforcement and other fundamental issues,” said Christian Sederberg, a Denver lawyer on the panel whose firm helped draft Amendment 64, the measure legalizing recreational marijuana. “The other side is that if you tax something too high, then you simply crowd out the regulated market. We’re confident we’ll find the right balance.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes

([London] Times) Daughter of Archbishop Welby makes mental illness plea

The daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury has called on the church to do more to eradicate the stigma of mental illness, revealing that she sometimes suffers from “unbearable” depression.

Katharine Welby, the 26-year old daughter of Archbishop Justin Welby who took up his new post last month, says she sometimes feels “very low”, with a “black veil of nothing hanging in front of me”….

Read it all (requires subscription) and please take the time to read Katharine Welby’s blog post also.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Mental Illness, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology, Women, Young Adults

Yale conference on ”˜non-human personhood’ will feature controversial ethicist Peter Singer

Yale University is organizing a conference on “Personhood Beyond the Human” for December 6-8, 2013. It will feature, among other proponents of personhood rights for animals, notorious infanticide and bestiality-promoting ethicist Peter Singer.

The conference is co-sponsored by the animal rights group Nonhuman Rights Project and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, in collaboration with the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics and the Yale Animal Ethics Group.

“The event will focus on personhood for nonhuman animals, including great apes, cetaceans, and elephants, and will explore the evolving notions of personhood by analyzing them through the frameworks of neuroscience, behavioral science, philosophy, ethics, and law,” reads a description of the conference on its website.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Theology, Young Adults

(BBC) Gunmen abduct two bishops in northern Syria

Militants in a rebel-held area of northern Syria have abducted two bishops travelling from the Turkish border back to the city of Aleppo.

The kidnapping was reported by Syrian state media and confirmed by a member of the official opposition leadership.

Yohanna Ibrahim is head of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Aleppo and Boulos Yaziji leads the Greek Orthodox Church in the city.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Middle East, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Syria, Violence

How Two Christians Help Desegregate Baseball

The biographical film “42” depicts Jackie Robinson’s courageous battle to break the color barrier in major league baseball. At the same time, the film provides a glimpse of his religious faith, which afforded the strength he needed to overcome fierce opposition.

“It took two Christians to pull this off,” says Chris Lamb, the author of “Blackout: The Untold Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Spring Training” (University of Nebraska, 2004). “Robinson was a Christian and Branch Rickey was a Christian,” he notes. “Sometimes we miss this.”

Lamb was blind to it himself until he researched Robinson’s life for his book. “I kept wondering all these years what kept Robinson together,” he says. “Finally I realized what I missed before ”“ the core came from above.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Sports

Heartwarming Wednesday Morning Video–A Terrific Ministry of Truckers who Transport Neglected Dogs

“Saving abandoned animals, one ride at a time…”

Guaranteed to brighten your day–watch it all (Note: video is linked at the top, if no video capacity you can read the story. Make sure to check out the map of how long the ride is from Texas to Tok, Alaska where the dog was delivered).

Also, please note that the website for Operation Roger Operation Roger (a ministry which, as the video notes, was begin through a prayer) is there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Children, Marriage & Family, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Travel

(LA Times) Iraq violence sparks fears of a Sunni revolt

Security forces for the Shiite-led Iraqi government raided a Sunni protest camp in northern Iraq on Tuesday, igniting violence around the country that left at least 36 people dead.

The unrest led two Sunni officials to resign from the government and risked pushing the country’s Sunni provinces into an open revolt against Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, a Shiite. The situation looked to be the gravest moment for Iraq since the last U.S. combat troops left in December 2011.

The violence Tuesday started in the Sunni town of Hawija, where shooting erupted during the raid. Security forces had demanded that protesters hand over demonstrators suspected of shooting and killing an Iraqi soldier Friday. The security forces stormed the camp after protesters failed to deliver anyone.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

(World Vision) Syria: Humanitarian aid efforts face deep cuts

Humanitarian agencies are running low on funds to help millions of people affected by the war in Syria, prompting one United Nations official to warn: “Our capacity to do more is diminishing.”

Syria’s two-year-old war has fueled a humanitarian catastrophe in the region, U.N. officials say. The U.N.’s Security Council has demanded an end to the escalating violence and condemned human rights abuses by all sides.

“Our agencies and humanitarian partners have been doing all we can. The needs are growing, while our capacity to do more is diminishing,” U.N. Under-Secretary General Valerie Amos said in a video appealing for worldwide support of aid efforts.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Poverty, Syria, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lift up our hearts, we beseech thee, O Christ, above the false show of things, above fear, above laziness, above selfishness and covetousness, above custom and fashion, up to the everlasting truth and order that thou art; that so we may live joyfully and freely, in faithful trust that thou art our Saviour, our example, and our friend, both now and for evermore.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Yea, he shall see that even the wise die,
the fool and the stupid alike must perish
and leave their wealth to others.
Their graves are their homes for ever,
their dwelling places to all generations,
though they named lands their own.
Man cannot abide in his pomp,
he is like the beasts that perish.
This is the fate of those who have foolish confidence,
the end of those who are pleased with their portion.
Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
Death shall be their shepherd;
straight to the grave they descend,
and their form shall waste away;
Sheol shall be their home.
But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
for he will receive me.

–Psalm 49: 10-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Latest Images from West, Texas

Check out this resource for your awareness and prayers.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Corporations/Corporate Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Rural/Town Life, Science & Technology, Spirituality/Prayer

Amnesty International says Tens of thousands face eviction from Haiti camps

Some dodge the stones and bottles thrown at their tents in the dead of night, others watch helplessly as their tarpaulin shelters, huddled in camps sprawled across the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, are destroyed with knives and sticks.

Rights group Amnesty International has collected dozens of such testimonies from Haitians who have been kicked out of makeshift camps set up by those left homeless by the January 2010 earthquake. Many camp residents have moved out, but just over 320,000 Haitians still live in them.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Haiti, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Poverty

(RNS) Boston mosque says bombing suspect had outbursts but wasn't violent

After two troubling outbursts at a local mosque, leaders there told Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev he would no longer be welcome if he continued disrupting services.

Leaders at the Islamic Society of Boston’s mosque in Cambridge say Tsarnaev, 26, who died early Friday (April 19) after a shootout with police, “disagreed with the moderate American-Islamic theology” of the mosque, but they never had “any hint” the brothers might be violent.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Men, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults

Nigeria officials disagree on death toll in recent fighting

Local government officials and a military spokesman in Nigeria agreed that security forces and Islamist militants had battled in recent days in the country’s far northeast. But they offered widely varying accounts Monday of how many people, including civilians, had been killed.

Some officials said about 185 people were slain in the clashes, with some residents blaming government troops in part for the deaths. Security officials put the number lower.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Violence

(CT) Andy Crouch–Why Tim Keller Wants You to Stay in That Job You Hate

There are few better places in the world where Tim Keller could write a book about career and calling. “New York City is a place where people live in order to work,” says the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and author most recently of Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work (Dutton). “They basically live more in their work than in their neighborhoods. That . . . means that if you start talking about work, you get right at their hearts.”

In a recent sit-down conversation with This Is Our City executive producer Andy Crouch, Keller explained why he wanted to write a more comprehensive book about faith and work, how he learned to answer congregants’ questions about their work, and what Redeemer has done to equip laypeople to live into their vocations outside the church.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Books, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Christ Church Alexandria, Virginia, Celebrates First Same-Gender Blessing

Christ Church, the parish home of George Washington, celebrated its first same-gender blessing April 21.

“As an Episcopal faith community, we witnessed and asked God’s blessings upon the lifelong commitment Melissa Capers and Brunilda Hernandez have made to one another,” said the Rev. Ann Gillespie, Christ Church senior associate rector who officiated at the service. “This is a significant and joyful event, not just in the life of Melissa and Bruni, but in the life of our church. As a congregation, we are taking a historic and faithful step closer to the inclusive, abundant, generous outpouring of God’s kingdom.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Boston bombing suspect cites U.S. wars as motivation, officials say

The 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has told interrogators that the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out the attack, according to U.S. officials familiar with the interviews.

From his hospital bed, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has acknowledged his role in planting the explosives near the marathon finish line on April 15, the officials said. The first successful large-scale bombing in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, era, the Boston attack killed three people and wounded more than 250 others.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults