Daily Archives: July 20, 2013

(The Economist) In America, Poverty has moved to the suburbs

Americans tend to think of poverty as urban or rural””housing estates or shacks in the woods. And it is true that poverty rates tend to be higher in cities and the countryside. But the suburbs are where you will find America’s biggest and fastest-growing poor population, as Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution explain in their book “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America”. Between 2000 and 2010 the number of people living below the federal poverty line ($22,314 for a family of four in 2010) in the suburbs grew by 53%, compared with just 23% in cities. In 2010 roughly 15.3m poor people lived in the suburbs, compared with 12.8m in cities

Suburban poverty began to rise before the recession. As American cities have grown safer and richer, homes there have become less affordable. During the subprime bubble, many people with bad credit scores got mortgages and moved to the suburbs. A shift towards housing vouchers and away from massive urban projects encouraged people in subsidised housing to make the same move. Immigrants, too, chased the American dream of neat lawns and picket fences. Now 51% of immigrants (who are more likely than the native-born to be poor) live in suburbs, compared with just 33% in cities.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Poverty, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Vatican Radio interviews Charles Wookey on the passing of the same sex "marriage" law

Charles Wookey, the Assistant General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, told Vatican Radio the Bishops will continue to proclaim Church teaching. “The Bishops continue to do what they’ve been doing before, which is to preach and teach the Gospel, and to speak with fidelity in a compelling way about it.”

He acknowledge that the new law represents a significant change. “This is a change of culture. . . . It’s something which is difficult, but requires a careful and serious dialogue and engagement.” Wookey said that the Church must explain her teaching on the true meaning of marriage, “and to make the reasons for that, the natural arguments, the public law reasons for it compelling and attractive for people.”

Meanwhile, he says, the Bishops “will continue to preach and teach what the Church teaches about marriage, and seek positively to engage with our culture.”

Read it all and listen to the whole interview (an Mp3 file of just under 7 minutes).

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

Pope, in an Angered Brazil, to Focus on Social Justice

A month ago, hundreds of thousands of young people took to the streets of Brazil to protest corruption, wasteful government spending, bad schools and hospitals, police brutality, and other abuses of power. On Monday, Pope Francis, in his first venture abroad, will dive into the middle of that ferment when he begins a weeklong visit to the world’s largest Roman Catholic country.

“This is a crucial moment for the church, the nation, society and the people, heightened by the fact this is Francis’ first trip,” said Fernando Altemeyer Jr., a theologian and philosopher at the Pontifical Catholic University in São Paulo. “Brazil has changed and things are bubbling, but there is no clarity. Everything is new and unknown, in the country and the church, even for the bishops.”

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Brazil, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, South America, Theology

(Edmonton Journal) What does the university of the future look like?

“These things always start with budget cuts, don’t they?” Baroness Diana Warwick said with a wry, not-quite-cynical smile over a cup of tea in the restaurant of an Ottawa hotel.

She was starting an explanation of how tuition fees of more than $15,000 a year became the poster child for change in higher education in a country once known as the birthplace of the welfare state, and still famously associated with the origins of the modern university.

But the former head of the umbrella group Universities UK might as easily have been talking about the reason she was in Ottawa this late June morning: a conference organized in part by the University of Alberta to discuss the forces sweeping post-secondary education around the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Education

Bethlehem Episcopal Bishop Paul Marshall to resign at year's end

Episcopal Bishop Paul V. Marshall, who has guided the Bethlehem diocese for 17 years, has informed the diocesan Standing Committee that he will resign as bishop at the end of the year.

“A number of circumstances and conversations have made it very difficult for me to continue as bishop of the diocese that I have come to love with all my heart,” Marshall, 65, said Monday in a letter to the committee.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(Christian Post) TEC Task Force Releases Report on Restructuring Plans

A task force created by The Episcopal Church to investigate changes within the denomination’s ecclesiastical structure has met and released a new report.

“Structural, administrative, and governance change is only one component of the renewal to which the church is being called. Our deepest hope and prayer for our work is that it will be part of, and will continue to catalyze, the renewal that is taking place in many places around the church,” reads part of the report from the Task Force for Re-Imagining the Episcopal Church (TREC). met last week at the Institute of Technology in Linthicum, Maryland.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

NW Pennsylvania Episcopal diocese sells church building in Erie

Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania officials were pleased when another Christian congregation wanted to buy one of their former church buildings.

They were so pleased that they were willing to sell at a reduced rate, said Vanessa Butler, diocesan administrator.

“It was more important for us to have it used as a church than to make money off it,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC)

`Six Types of Atheists' study wakes a sleeping giant

They were trying to prove a simple point: That nonbelievers are a bigger and more diverse group than previously imagined.

“We sort of woke a sleeping giant,” says Christopher F. Silver, a researcher at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. “We’re a bit overwhelmed actually.”

Silver and his project manager, Thomas Coleman, recently released a study proposing six different types of nonbelievers ”“ from strident atheists to people who observe religious rituals while doubting the divine.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Wash. Post Oped) Wang Lixiong–When it comes to domestic spying, the U.S. is no China

Last month I boarded a train with my wife, Tsering Woeser, a Tibetan poet and activist, to travel from Beijing to Lhasa, Tibet, where her mother lives. Plainclothes police were waiting for us at the platform in Lhasa. They ushered us to a nearby police station, where they spent an hour going through our belongings. They were thrilled to find in my backpack a “probe hound,” as we call it in Chinese ”” a little electronic device that can detect wireless eavesdropping. They asked me why I, a writer, was carrying it. I told them I needed to know whether my home in Lhasa was being monitored.

They confiscated the device.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Science & Technology

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Hispanic Protestants

DEBORAH POTTER, correspondent: Worship begins at 2 on Sunday afternoons at this Assembly of God church in suburban Washington, DC.

Hours later, it’s still going, the sanctuary packed with congregants praying in rapid-fire Spanish. Membership at Iglesia Cuadrangular el Calvario has doubled in less than two years. The pastor says most of those who come are immigrants from Central America, and former Catholics.

ELIUD RUIZ (Pastor, Iglesia Cuadragular el Calvario): A lot of people, they call themselves Catholic on this case, but mostly because of tradition. But they don’t really know anything about it.

POTTER: What these worshipers do know is that they’ve found a home in this evangelical Protestant church.

Read or watch it all.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O thou who sendest forth the light, createst the morning, and makest the sun to rise on the good and the evil: Enlighten the blindness of our minds with the knowledge of the truth; lift up the light of thy countenance upon us, that in thy light we may see light, and, at the last, in the light of grace the light of glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

–Psalm 30:11-12 (KJV)

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Missouri Synod Lutherans gather in St. Louis for convention on church's future

Lutherans from around the country will spend the next several days in St. Louis for a national convention that will touch on a range of broad issues ”” from the future of Lutheran education, to the church’s economic health, to theological disputes over worship practices.

Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod conventions are held every three years. They serve as the 2.3 million-member denomination’s principal legislative assembly.

Read it all.

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

Bishop Geoffrey Rowell to retire on All Saints Day 2013

He will formally retire on All Saints Day which is the anniversary of his enthronement in 2001. A farewell service will take place on that day in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Gibraltar. Special plans are also being made for The Friends of the Diocese service on October 23rd which, this year, will be in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster as a UK farewell event.

Read it all (page 3).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Europe

(EN) Timothy Fowler– Churches seek to help rebuild distressed US city of Detroit

[The] Rev. Steven Kelly of St. John’s Episcopal Church told the Free-Press, “The churches can help by giving a purpose and direction that’s grounded in good morals.”

The more people are involved in the life of a church, the more positive the impact.”

The Detroit Free-Press reported that some churches are helping in unique ways.

Christ Church Detroit, for example, is planning to open a daytime homeless shelter. Another church, Fort Street Presbyterian Church, which has been at the same location since 1855 – serves food to 400 needy people every Thursday.

Read it all.

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

(Detroit News) Daniel Howes–Bankruptcy petition is move into the unknown

The bankruptcy of Detroit, confirmed in 16 pages filed at 4:06 p.m. Thursday, marks an epic fall for an iconic American city even as it opens a new chapter whose ending is decidedly uncertain.

No one really knows how the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history will end and when ”” not Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who recommended the step Tuesday, not his lawyers, and not Gov. Rick Snyder, who said he approved the filing “as a last resort to return this great city to financial and civic health for its residents and taxpayers.”

“This decision comes in the wake of 60 years of decline for the city, a period in which reality was often ignored,” the governor wrote in his authorization. “Without this decision, the City’s condition would only worsen. With this decision, we begin to provide a foundation to rebuild and grow Detroit.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Credit Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Sermon by Marcus Kaiser–Democracy=Liberty+Morality+Faith

Listen to it all and see what you think (around 17 minutes, an mp3).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

R. Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales respond to Recent Law Passing

Marriage has, over the centuries, been publicly recognised as a stable institution which establishes a legal framework for the committed relationship between a man and a woman and for the upbringing and care of their children. It has, for this reason, rightly been recognised as unique and worthy of legal protection.

The new Act breaks the existing legal links between the institution of marriage and sexual complementarity. With this new legislation, marriage has now become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family unit, are no longer central. That is why we were opposed to this legislation on principle.

Along with others, we have expressed real concern about the deficiencies in the process by which this legislation came to Parliament, and the speed with which it has been rushed through.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

(Saint Michael's Charleston) What to Read this Summer?

…here are my top 5 book recommendations:

C.S. Lewis: A Life, Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet by Alister McGrath
Faith and Creeds, The Heart of the Christian Faith by Alister McGrath
In My Place Condemned He Stood by JI Packer and Mark Dever
The Meaning of Marriage, Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, by Tim Keller
Christ Centered Worship, Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice by Bryan Chapell

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books