Daily Archives: July 10, 2013

(NY Times) Fighting Terror in Africa, U.S. Finds Limits to Drone Strategy

The drone base [in Niger], established in February and staffed by about 120 members of the Air Force, is the latest indication of the priority Africa has become for the United States at a time when it is winding down its presence in Afghanistan and President Obama has set a goal of moving from a global war on terrorism toward a more targeted effort. It is part of a new model for counterterrorism, a strategy designed to help local forces ”” and in this case a European ally ”” fight militants so American troops do not have to.

But the approach has limitations on a continent as large as Africa, where a shortage of resources is chronic and regional partners are weak. And the introduction of drones, even unarmed ones, runs the risk of creating the kind of backlash that has undermined American efforts in Pakistan and provoked anger in many parts of the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Niger, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology

(LA Times) Ty McCormick–A backlash builds in Egypt

This time, the military’s actions could be disastrous. Egypt’s armed forces have not only brought the 2011 uprising to an ignominious end but invited a vengeful extremist backlash in the process.

Those who celebrate Morsi’s ouster seem to think the Muslim Brotherhood ”” and the millions of Egyptians who are sympathetic to its cause ”” will suddenly and magically disappear.

This is indeed a fantasy. Even if Egypt’s fractious liberals had anything approaching a coherent plan for governing Egypt, they would not be able to defuse the ticking time bomb that is Egypt’s sizable minority of now-disenfranchised radical-leaning Islamists.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, History, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Zenit) Denise Hunnell–Cloaking Infanticide With Medical Respectability

Since it is not the suffering and deaths of infants nor the lack of safeguards for the health and safety of women that Representative [Nancy] Pelosi finds reprehensible, it seems the only distinguishing factor of Dr. Gosnell’s practice to which she can object is the filthy, unsanitary environment. She is comfortable with women and children dying in a posh Maryland suburban clinic, but finds it reprehensible only when stripped of its sterile medical façade, and occurring in a vermin infested inner city office.

The Netherlands and Belgium apply similar mental gymnastics to cloak the horror of infanticide in medical terminology and procedures to allow the steady advance of infant and child euthanasia. Belgium is poised to become the first Western nation to legally allow minor children to undergo voluntary euthanasia. These children ”“ who are not considered mature enough to drink alcohol, vote, drive, or marry ”“ will be allowed to request their lives be ended by medical personnel. The fact that death will be brought to these young people by white-coated professionals bearing a sterile syringe of poison makes the procedure palatable to the Belgian legislature. The move is strongly opposed by the Belgian Catholic hierarchy and clergy, but this does not seem to be enough to sway politicians from their deadly path.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Politics in General, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Globe and Mail) Do employers belong in high school? Some countries say yes

Last month, Canada was lauded by the OECD for how its college system connects graduates with the labour market and leads to lower youth unemployment. In its annual global education survey, the OECD found that youth employment in countries where vocational training was strong fared better in the last recession and recovered faster.

Yet a bit of rifling through the report suggests that Canada is quite unusual among countries with vocational education: We wait a very long time to offer it. As a result, we are one of the few countries where more people graduate from postsecondary than high school. We think that having lots of graduates from higher ed is good. But what if it means that we waste an awful lot of time in high school?

Compare Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovenia. There, partnerships between business and schools start in high school and training continues throughout one’s career, leading to promotions and advancement in spite of the “lack” of postsecondary credentials.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Teens / Youth

(CC Blogs) Steve Thorngate–The worship wars, narrowly drawn

I like Keith Getty’s “In Christ Alone.” I think the PCUSA hymnal committee probably made the right call on the whole “wrath of God was satisfied” business, but still: it’s a good song for congregational use, accessible but with some theological meat.

It’s a little bizarre, however, to present “In Christ Alone” and Getty’s other songs as one side of a two-sided debate over church music, as NPR does here. Yes, “In Christ Alone” is not a praise chorus but a hymn, in the formal sense of a sacred strophic song. And it’s more substantive and less repetitive than a lot of praise choruses, which in my view doesn’t make it better but does provide some needed balance if praise choruses are the only other option.

Of course, they aren’t.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

Archbishop Holgate’s Remarkable Volunteering Rewards

320 Year 8 and Year 9 students from Archbishop Holgate’s School, a Church of England Academy, will be recognised for their remarkable volunteering projects at a Young Leaders’ Award Ceremony on Wednesday 10th July at 7pm.

The Young Leaders Award, developed by the Archbishop of York Youth Trust, has been delivered through the School’s Citizenship lessons.

School teacher Mrs Caroline Capper said: “The Award is a fantastic opportunity for students to learn about people of faith such as Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Bono and Nelson Mandela….”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Children, Church of England (CoE), Education, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) John Gribbin reviews Adam Rutherford's book "Creation"

In the first part [of the book], Mr. Rutherford discusses the origin of life on Earth; in the second part he looks to the future in the light of the possibilities opened up by human interference in the processes of life. As he puts it, “the great theories of biology are now being tested with groundbreaking experimentation.” So why call the book “Creation”? Because “in the next few years, for only the second time in four billion years, a living thing, probably something akin to a cell, will be born in the laboratory without coming from an existing cell.” We will be the creators.

Read it all (another link there if needed).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, History, Science & Technology

(VOA) South Sudan Marks Two Years of Freedom with Prayer

Thousands of South Sudanese gathered in stadiums across the country to pray for the world’s newest nation ahead of celebrations on Tuesday to mark two years of independence, and to try to heal the still painful wounds left by decades of war.

“Today is a good day for us as South Sudanese because it is a day for reconciliation and peace. We enjoyed these prayers, because they gather all the churches, all the government officials, all the communities,” said Jenty Bangafu, one of hundreds of people who sang hymns and danced in Yambio’s Gbudue Stadium during a prayer ceremony on Monday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Sudan

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, who though thou wast rich yet for our sakes didst become poor, and hast promised in thy holy gospel that whatsoever is done to the least of thy brethren thou wilt receive as done to thee: Give us grace, we humbly beseech thee, to be ever willing and ready to minister, as thou enablest us, to the needs of others, and to extend the blessings of thy kingdom over all the world; to thy praise and glory, who art God over all, blessed for ever.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

–1 Samuel 16:7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

In Vancouver, Theatre Terrific finds a way to give everyone a voice

This is no ordinary choir.

Formed two years ago as part of Theatre Terrific’s mandate to provide inclusive arts education to adults with physical and mental disabilities, as well as anyone else interested in learning to sing, the choir includes a diverse membership. Four members sit in wheelchairs with various conditions such as muscular dystrophy or adrenoleukodystrophy, also known as locked-in body syndrome. Others have developmental challenges such as autism or Down syndrome, while others still have no diagnosed labels at all.

“It’s a place where anyone from any background and any sort of various challenges that they have, they can come and sing,” explains [James] Coomber, the choir’s musical director and executive director of Theatre Terrific.

Read it all (and I sure loved the video).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Health & Medicine, Music, Psychology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(FiF UK) Women Bishops: Forward In Faith Responds

Forward in Faith thanks the many members of the Catholic Group in General Synod, together with other supporters, for their excellent contributions to yesterday’s debate.

Naturally, we are very disappointed that none of the amendments which would have ensured secure provision for those unable to receive the ministry of women as bishops and priests was passed. However, we are encouraged by the significant minorities, especially in the House of Laity, which did vote for such provision. We are confident that these votes, and the commitment which they represent on the part of many to a genuinely inclusive Church of England, in which all may flourish, will not be overlooked as the process moves forward. The alternative, which we would deeply regret, would be to pursue unsatisfactory legislation, lacking the necessary breadth of support, with the strong risk of ultimate defeat.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

(BBC) Women bishops: Church of England synod votes for new law

The Church of England’s ruling general synod has voted to restart work on allowing women to become bishops.

Delegates voted by 319 to 84 to move forward on a new draft law, although this isn’t expected to get final approval until July or November 2015.

Previous attempts at creating similar legislation have been thrown out because of internal disagreements.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

General Synod: Archbishop Justin Welby's statement on safeguarding

The statement we heard at the beginning of this debate was, I know, to all of us ”“ as has been said ”“ absolutely agonising. And what it says above all is that, for us, what we’re looking at today is far from enough. We are opening a process, continuing a process in many ways, that will go far further than we can imagine. The reality is that there will always be people who are dangerous who are part of the life of the church. They may be members of the congregation; we hope and pray that they will not be in positions of responsibility, but the odds are from time to time people will somehow conceal sufficiently well. And many here, as the Bishop of Herefordshire said, have been deeply affected, as well as the survivors who have so rightly brought us to this place. Many other people here have been deeply affected and badly treated. So we face a continual challenge and reality. This is not an issue we can deal with; it is something we will live with, and must live in the reality of ”“ day in day out, for as long as the church exists ”“ and seek to get it right.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE)

Parish, Nebraska Episcopal diocese settle dispute: St. Barnabas can stay on church property

The Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska has settled a dispute with a local parish over whether the congregation could remain in its church building.

In an out-of-court settlement, St. Barnabas parish made a cash payment to the diocese. The settlement enables the congregation to permanently remain on the church property at 129 N. 40th St. Both sides are keeping the amount of the payment confidential.

In 2007, members of St. Barnabas voted to leave the Episcopal Church. The parish disagreed with the Episcopal Church over issues of church doctrine.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes