Daily Archives: July 26, 2013

Jonathan Sacks–Adoption creates a bond of kinship by an act of choice and love

In yesterday’s press there was a fascinating article about adoption parties, held by some local authorities to bring together groups of prospective parents and children so that social workers can find the right match between them. Some people are critical of the idea. They say it’s like speed dating for toddlers. It’s just not the right way to decide. And at such gatherings, emotions are fraught on both sides, prospective adopters wondering whether the right match will be made, some of the children fearing they will never find a forever-family.

Regardless of the merits and demerits of deciding this way or that, the story made me feel all over again what an extraordinary gesture it is to adopt a child, creating a bond of kinship by an act of choice and love. And it reminded me of one of the most unexpected stories in the Bible….[which] occurs near the beginning of the book of Exodus.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Timothy George and Katrina Swett: Religious Freedom Is About More Than Religion

A common theory about freedom of religion suggests that such a value is grounded in a modus vivendi, or compromise: People agree to respect each other’s freedom in order to avoid religiously motivated strife. But the modus vivendi theory obscures the deep ground of principle on which the right of religious liberty rests and the true reasons for respecting the religious freedom of others.

As a Republican and a Democrat on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, we are committed, with our colleagues, to advancing religious liberty around the globe. One of our goals is to make clear that such liberty is not simply a matter of sensible social compromise, or just an American ideal or a Western value, but an essential element of human dignity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Pope Francis gives his first World Youth Day homily at shrine of Aparecida

The second attitude: openness to being surprised by God. Anyone who is a man or a woman of hope – the great hope which faith gives us – knows that even in the midst of difficulties God acts and he surprises us. The history of this Shrine is a good example: three fishermen, after a day of catching no fish, found something unexpected in the waters of the Parnaíba River: an image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Whoever would have thought that the site of a fruitless fishing expedition would become the place where all Brazilians can feel that they are children of one Mother? God always surprises us, like the new wine in the Gospel we have just heard. God always saves the best for us. But he asks us to let ourselves be surprised by his love, to accept his surprises. Let us trust God! Cut off from him, the wine of joy, the wine of hope, runs out. If we draw near to him, if we stay with him, what seems to be cold water, difficulty, sin, is changed into the new wine of friendship with him.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Brazil, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, South America

(Financial Times) Church of England invests in Wonga backer

The Church of England has admitted it invests in one of Wonga’s key financial backers, a day after the Archbishop of Canterbury revealed his plans to take on the payday lender he describes as “morally wrong”.

The church, which claims to have a strong ethical investment policy that explicitly bans companies involved in payday lending, invests in Accel Partners, the US venture capital firm that led Wonga’s 2009 fundraising, the Financial Times has learnt.

A Lambeth Palace spokesperson said: “We are grateful to the Financial Times for pointing out this serious inconsistency of which we were unaware. We will be asking the Assets Committee of the Church Commissioners to investigate how this has occurred and to review the holding in this pooled investment vehicle.”

Read it all (if necessary another link is there).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Stock Market, Theology

(CEN) ACC chairman steps down as bishop of Southern Malawi

The chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga has resigned as Bishop of Southern Malawi to accept a lectureship at Dartmouth College in the United States.

On 10 July the Nyasa Times reported Dr. Tengatenga, the senior bishop of the Province of Central Africa, would take up a university post in the United States and will relinquish his leadership of several Malawian civil society groups including the National AIDS Commission, Malawi Council of Churches and the Public Affairs Council (PAC).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Provinces, Church of Central Africa

Missouri Synod Lutherans end convention in Saint Louis by emphasizing unity

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod closed its convention in downtown St. Louis on Thursday with the more than 1,000 delegates sticking to the event’s unofficial theme of unity.

That theme was stressed early in the weeklong event at America’s Center, when the president of the denomination’s New England District, the Rev. Timothy Yeadon, spoke about a “tough year” in his region. The year included Hurricane Sandy, the Sandy Hook school massacre and the bombing at the Boston Marathon.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches

(Church Times) Greetings flood in as royal couple celebrate birth

In the past, Archbishops of Canterbury were expected to attend the birth of a future sovereign. On this occasion, Archbishop Welby blessed the new royal heir not at the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, but from a respectful distance.

“I am delighted to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the arrival of their baby boy,” he said on Monday evening. “Along with millions here and around the world, I share in their joy at this special time. May God bless this family with love, health and happiness in their shared life ahead.”

Earlier that day, he concluded a speech at Featherstone High School, Southall, with the suggestion that the audience “remember the Royal Duchess of Cambridge, who, in this heat, has gone into labour”.Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

(Economist) America’s public finances–The Unsteady States of America

When Greece ran into financial trouble three years ago, the problem soon spread. Many observers were mystified. How could such a little country set off a continental crisis? The Greeks were stereotyped as a nation of tax-dodgers who had been living high on borrowed money for years. The Portuguese, Italians and Spanish insisted that their finances were fundamentally sound. The Germans wondered what it had to do with them at all. But the contagion was powerful, and Europe’s economy has yet to recover.

America seems in a similar state of denial about Detroit filing for bankruptcy…. Many people think Motown is such an exceptional case that it holds few lessons for other places. What was once the country’s fourth-most-populous city grew rich thanks largely to a single industry. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler once made nearly all the cars sold in America; now, thanks to competition from foreign brands built in non-union states, they sell less than half. Detroit’s population has fallen by 60% since 1950. The murder rate is 11 times the national average. The previous mayor is in prison. Shrubs, weeds and raccoons have reclaimed empty neighbourhoods. The debts racked up when Detroit was big and rich are unpayable now that it is smaller and poor.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Taxes, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Story to Brighten your Day–Jack Hitt tells his 4 year old daughter about Jesus for the 1st time

Go to the audio archive here and set the player to begin at 13:11 (it goes until 16:57). Only out of the mouths of babes. You couldn’t make this up if you tried. Listen to it all–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Children, Christmas, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Marriage & Family, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, whose way is perfect: Help us, we pray thee, always to trust in thy goodness; that walking with thee in faith, and following thee in all simplicity, we may possess quiet and contented minds, and cast all our care on thee, because thou carest for us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Christina Rossetti

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

And all the assembly kept silence; and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brethren, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, as it is written, ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the dwelling of David, which has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up, that the rest of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who has made these things known from of old.’ Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the pollutions of idols and from unchastity and from what is strangled and from blood. For from early generations Moses has had in every city those who preach him, for he is read every sabbath in the synagogues.”

–Acts 15:12-21

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Walter Russell Mead–The World’s Energy Appetite is Growing

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its International Energy Outlook today, and it’s chock-full of excellent data. It points to a number of global energy trends, and the overarching narrative that emerges is the economic ascendence of the developing world (especially China and India) and the sharp rise in energy usage expected to accompany that growth.

The EIA forecasts that OECD countries’ energy usage will grow by a surprisingly small 17 percent by 2040. But non-OECD countries will more than make up for this sluggish growth, as they are projected to nearly double their energy consumption over the next 27 years.

Sure, this is a familiar trend by now, but stifle the yawn. The actual numbers that the EIA is projecting are startling, and as you can see in the graph below, the energy sources many of these countries will be relying on in the future are worth noting….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization

Jon Rogers–Parishes need to Learn to Communicate How You Communicate

Recently I was visiting a church in the heart of a retirement community. The pastor got up and was astoundingly relevant. “There are five ways we tell you what’s going on here.” He held up his hand and counted on his fingers: “The bulletin, the sign, the website, our mailer and announcements.” He paused and then joked, “If you still don’t know what’s going on, then I have a hunch you’re just not with it!”

I don’t know if this was the pastor’s typical practice, but as a guest, it was a huge leg up in knowing where to find the information about how to get involved.

Your church may have stellar events, programs and even great communication strategies, but the best laid plans can get derailed by the simple lack of clearly and concisely communicating how you communicate.

– See more at: http://www.churchmarketingsucks.com/2013/06/communicate-how-you-communicate/#sthash.124jzRn3.dpufRead it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Media, Parish Ministry

(CSM) Harold Sirkin–To cut entitlements, US can look to one of Europe's welfare states

One of America’s chief fiscal burdens is the mounting cost of entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) ”“ an obligation that will only grow larger as baby boomers age. In tackling this problem, the United States should look to what many might see as an unlikely model ”“ the European welfare state, Sweden.

“Usually, U.S. policymakers look to Europe to determine what not to do when it comes to social-welfare policy,” James C. Capretta, former associate director of the US Office of Management and Budget, wrote a few years ago.

But, he continued: “When you are in a hole, the prudent first step is to stop digging, and the United States can indeed gain insight into how to ”˜stop digging’ the entitlement hole” by studying the reforms that some European countries have implemented. Most notably, he suggested, we should study what Sweden and Germany did to cut their long-term government pension commitments.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Medicaid, Medicare, Politics in General, Social Security, Sweden, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology