Daily Archives: July 19, 2013

(WSJ) Joseph Braude: For Insight Into Mideast, Tune Into Ramadan TV

Arab cops hunt jihadi terrorists. A con artist becomes president of Egypt. A mosque preacher falls in love with a secular violinist at the opera house. These are just a few of the plots for dozens of new TV shows playing to 90 million households in the Arab world this month. Ramadan is a time of fasting and contemplation””but in the Middle East, it’s also the most high-stakes period for hundreds of satellite channels in 21 Arab countries.

Most serials made their debut with the new moon on July 8 and air nightly after daylong fasting is broken at sunset. This year’s story lines reflect the political upheavals rocking the Arab world and suggest that the region””or at least those producing the shows””are tilting against Islamism.

Read it all (another link here if needed).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Middle East, Movies & Television, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Financial Times) Wall of money shifts into US Stock Market

Investors have poured more money into US equity funds this week than at any time since the 2008 financial crisis, with the value of the benchmark S&P 500 index soaring to a record $15tn….

Some $19.7bn was invested in global equity funds in the past week, the most for six months, while $700m was pulled from bond funds, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch citing EPFR figures. The amount put in US equity funds was the most since June 2008, the bank said.

Read it all (another link there if needed).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Globalization, Stock Market

(Church Times) With Royal Assent, Same Sex marriage passes into law

The first same-sex weddings in England and Wales are set to take place next summer after the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday.

The Bill passed its Third Reading in the House of Lords on Monday night without a formal vote, after a short debate during which supportive peers brandished pink carnations. The Bill then moved back to the House of Commons on Tuesday, where MPs decided not to oppose some minor amendments made by peers, including granting survivors of same-sex marriages the same pension benefits as those in heterosexual marriages.

The Bill specifies that it is illegal for any Church of England or Church in Wales minister to marry a same-sex couple…. It would require a change in both primary law and canon law before the Churches could opt in to conducting same-sex marriages.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(BBC) Alcohol deaths in young women show 'worrying rise'

Deaths from alcohol-related disease in young women are rising, contrary to the overall trend, a study suggests.

Experts looked at deaths in men and women of all ages in Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester from 1980 to 2011.

They said the results for women born in the 1970s should be a “warning signal” about their drinking habits.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Alcohol/Drinking, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Women

(Anglican Journal) General Synod Mid-East resolution stirs reaction

The resolution on peace and justice in Palestine and Israel, passed by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada at its Ottawa meeting earlier this month, has met with mixed reactions from Palestinian and Israeli organizations.

The resolution reiterated the church’s established positions, recognizing “the legitimate aspirations, rights and needs of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace with dignity within sovereign and secure borders; condemning the use of all kinds of violence, especially against civilians; call[ing] for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories”¦”

– See more at: http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/mid-east-resolution-stirs-reaction#sthash.DbfK4NwW.dpuf

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Middle East, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Macrina

Merciful God, who didst call thy servant Macrina to reveal in her life and her teaching the riches of thy grace and truth: Mercifully grant that we, following her example, may seek after thy wisdom and live according to her way; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Into thy hands, O Lord, we commend ourselves and all who are dear to us this day. Be with us in our going out and in our coming in. Strengthen us for the work which thou hast given us to do. And grant that, filled with thy Holy Spirit, we may walk worthy of our high calling, and cheerfully accomplish those things that thou wouldest have done; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But I trust in thee, O LORD, I say, “Thou art my God.” My times are in thy hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors! Let thy face shine on thy servant; save me in thy steadfast love!

–Psalm 31:15-16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Zenit) Marriage and 'Gender Identity' Before European Rights Court

On April 29, 2013, the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) decided to refer the case H. v. Finland (N°37359/09) to the Grand Chamber, i.e. the highest formation of the Court, in order to conduct a retrial. This whole affair, which gave rise to a Section’s judgment rendered on November 13, 2012, involves Finland’s refusal to legally recognize the sex change of a person married to someone of a biologically different sex, conditioned on his first obtaining a divorce. In the section judgment, the Court noted “that in essence the problem in the present case is caused by the fact that Finnish law does not allow same-sex marriages.” (§ 66)

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(AP) Britain legalizes same-sex marriage quietly, in contrast to France

The French like to make fun of the British, joking about their repressed ways in matters of the heart. But when it came time to debate same-sex marriage, it was France that betrayed a deep conservative streak in sometimes violent protests ”“ while the British showed themselves to be modern and tolerant.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, England / UK, Europe, France, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

(AP) Detroit files largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history

Once the very symbol of American industrial might, Detroit became the biggest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy Thursday, its finances ravaged and its neighbourhoods hollowed out by a long, slow decline in population and auto manufacturing.

The filing, which had been feared for months, put the city on an uncertain path that could mean laying off municipal employees, selling off assets, raising fees and scaling back basic services such as trash collection and snow plowing, which have already been slashed.

“Only one feasible path offers a way out,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a letter approving the move.

Read it all.

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

(RNS) Report: Americans hold different views of what “religious” means

There is a lopsided divide in America about what it means to be a religious person, with a majority believing that it’s about acting morally but a strong minority equating it with faith.

Nearly six out of 10 Americans (59 percent) say that being a religious person “is primarily about living a good life and doing the right thing,” as opposed to the more than one-third (36 percent) who hold that being religious “is primarily about having faith and the right beliefs.”

The findings, released Thursday (July 18), are part of a report by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution that aims to paint a more nuanced picture of the American religious landscape, and the religious left in particular.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

(Gallup) College-Educated Americans Less Engaged in Jobs

Employed Americans of all ages with college degrees are less likely to be engaged at work than are their respective peers with a high school education or less, so their engagement is not related to being a recent graduate.

College-educated American workers’ lower engagement mainly stems from being less likely to strongly agree with the statement “at work I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.” Americans with some college education or a college degree were also less likely to use their strengths at work.

The engagement findings by education level are based on Americans’ assessments of workplace elements with proven linkages to performance outcomes, including productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety, and profit.

Read it all.

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

(First Things) Ephraim Radner–Primacy of Witness

The greatest cultural””and ecclesial””challenge we have to confront is the loss of a palpable sense that God’s life makes all the difference in the world to our social and political decisions. Many things have made this witness more and more difficult in our era, and they touch the wider world as much as they do local American concerns. That witness ought to be First Things’ focus.

I am not as certain as R. R. Reno is, for instance, that theological liberalism has lost “decisively.” To be sure, what was once called “liberal Protestantism” as a set of vital institutions has been withering rapidly, and with it some of the most common tropes these institutions generated.

But many of the corrosive aspects of liberal Protestantism””its ways of conceptualizing God as a benign projection of our human hopes, for example, and of approaching Scripture as a malleable human or cultural construct””have been adopted not only by mainstream secular culture but by “conservatives” and “Evangelicals” across the board, as the rapid shift in American attitudes regarding sexuality demonstrates.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture