Daily Archives: August 3, 2013

An AP profile of the Bishop of SC churches remaining with the national Episcopal Church

Bishop Charles vonRosenberg was enjoying his retirement, taking some strokes off his golf handicap and spending time with his six grandchildren, when the Episcopal Church in eastern South Carolina was rent by schism.

Now, instead of spending carefree days on the state’s coast after 37 years of service to the church, the former bishop of east Tennessee finds himself again ministering to individuals and congregations remaining with the national church and dealing with lawsuits resulting from the South Carolina split.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

Viv Taylor named President of TEC's Integrity USA Group

Integrity USA, a nonprofit working for full LGBT inclusion in the Episcopal Church, has named Viv Taylor, an Iraq war veteran and columnist for The Chapel Hill News, its new executive director.

Taylor is among the first transgender women to enter the Episcopal ordination process and will be the first openly trans woman to lead a major mainline Protestant denominational organization in the U.S., according to an Integrity news release. Integrity has been the leading grassroots voice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Episcopal Church and for equal access to its rites since its founding in rural Georgia in 1974.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

Jonathan O’Connell talks to Leigh Gallagher about her book “The End of the Suburbs”

O’Connell: Could you start by telling us why you think the suburbs are in decline?

Gallagher: The suburbs were a great idea that worked really well for a long time, but they overshot their mandate. We supersized everything in a way that led many people to live far away from where they needed to be and far away from their neighbors, and that has far-reaching implications, no pun intended. People have turned away from that kind of living. Add in the demographic forces that are reshaping our whole population, and the result is a significant shift. Census data shows that outward growth is slowing and inward growth is speeding up.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Books, Children, Economy, History, Marriage & Family, Sociology

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Churches and Domestic Violence

JUDY VALENTE, correspondent: Father Charles Dahm has come to a parish on Chicago’s north side to deliver the kind of homily the parishioners have probably never heard before””one which will make some of them uncomfortable.

FATHER CHARLES DAHM: (preaching) How many of you have ever heard a sermon about domestic violence? Raise your hand. See, no one.

Domestic violence is often unnoticed, hidden from our eyes, but actually it is rampant in our society and in our communities. We know, of course, that there are probably women here this morning who have experienced violence in their own homes, and our heart goes out to you.

RITA SMITH (Executive Director, National Coalition against Domestic Violence): One in four women will be abused sometime in her lifetime.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Violence

(RD) Mark Juergensmeyer–How Robert Bellah (1927-2013) Changed the Study of Religion

When the great sociologist of religion, Robert Bellah, died suddenly this week he was in the midst of writing the book that was meant to be the successor to his massive and magisterial Religion in Human Evolution. That book started with the Big Bang and ended with the Axial Age in the 6th century BCE. Although it covered much””the emergence of human culture and society in the evolution of the human species””there were still some significant changes in the social shape of religiosity in the last 2500 years that remained to be explored.

What the next book would focus on, Bellah told me, were the remarkable developments of the 16th through the 18th century that in Europe included the Reformation and the Enlightenment. This was a moment of anti-authoritarian popularism in society that resulted in a new social form of religiosity, a communitarian spirit that transformed Christianity and gave rise to a whole new protestant movement.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Sociology

An Egyptian General Has a Country Wondering About Aims

When Egypt’s first elected president, Mohamed Morsi, promoted Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi to defense minister nearly a year ago, sweeping away an aging cadre of generals, many saw it as a triumph for the Islamist president, and for a fledgling democracy.

Mr. Morsi had seized back broad powers from the old guard, and General Sisi, known to be pious, seemed to have a close relationship with the new president, even sending Mr. Morsi a laudatory telegram. “The men of the armed forces assert to your excellency their absolute loyalty to Egypt and its people, standing behind its leadership as guardians of the patriotic responsibility,” it read.

Mr. Morsi is now a prisoner of the military, deposed by General Sisi on July 3 after mass protests against the president’s rule. And the telegenic general, who has cast himself as protector of Egypt’s security and its very identity, is riding a wave of muscular nationalism and pro-military sentiment that has led his adoring fans to liken him to former President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, Middle East

(WSJ Saturday Essay) The $4 Million Teacher in South Korea

Kim Ki-hoon earns $4 million a year in South Korea, where he is known as a rock-star teacher””a combination of words not typically heard in the rest of the world. Mr. Kim has been teaching for over 20 years, all of them in the country’s private, after-school tutoring academies, known as hagwons. Unlike most teachers across the globe, he is paid according to the demand for his skills””and he is in high demand.

Mr. Kim works about 60 hours a week teaching English, although he spends only three of those hours giving lectures. His classes are recorded on video, and the Internet has turned them into commodities, available for purchase online at the rate of $4 an hour. He spends most of his week responding to students’ online requests for help, developing lesson plans and writing accompanying textbooks and workbooks (some 200 to date).

“The harder I work, the more I make,” he says matter of factly. “I like that.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Education, South Korea

A Jewish Pathbreaker Inspired by Her Countryman Mandela

On the Sunday in mid-June when a yeshiva in Manhattan ordained three women as Orthodox Jewish religious leaders, Nelson Mandela lay in a Pretoria hospital for the second week with a life-threatening lung infection. Six time zones and 8,000 miles separated these two events. One golden thread, however, bound them together.

That connection was Sara Hurwitz, the dean of Yeshivat Maharat, which had educated the women. She was the first woman ever to have been designated a maharat ”” an acronym from the Hebrew words for a teacher of Jewish law and spirituality ”” and to subsequently receive the title of “rabba” from the maverick Orthodox rabbi who had trained her, Avi Weiss. For Ms. Hurwitz, born and raised in South Africa during the turbulent years of apartheid, Mr. Mandela had long served as the inspiration for her journey to breaking the gender barrier in the Orthodox Jewish rabbinate.

“I looked at this person as someone who could have been so angry and so disappointed at the land that incarcerated him for so many years for civil disobedience,” Rabba Hurwitz, 36, said in a recent interview. “And he walked out of prison and formed a peaceful government. He could have focused on the injustice of it all, the time he had lost. But instead he saw this newfound freedom as a chance to make change and do what was right. Marching forward, one step after the other, toward justice, without anger.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, South Africa

(Gallup) Most in U.S. Want Marriage, but Its Importance Has Dropped

The majority of Americans are married (54%) or have never married but would like to someday (21%). That leaves 5% of Americans who have never married and say they don’t want to do so, along with 20% who have been previously married or did not classify their marital status.

These results are based on a June 20-24 Gallup poll. There are no Gallup trend data on this measure of desire to be married, so it is not known whether the percentage who don’t want to marry was lower in previous years or decades. But 5% is a low absolute percentage, regardless of what it was in the past.

Attitudes about marriage are important in the context of a declining marriage rate in the U.S. The Census Bureau reports that the rate of marriage is down, from 9.9 marriages per 1,000 Americans in 1987 to 6.8 in 2011. In addition, researchers at the University of Maryland found that the marriage rate per 1,000 unmarried women fell from 90 in 1950, at the height of the baby boom, to just 31 in 2011.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family

(Juicy Ecumenism) Robert Benne–Lutheran Exceptionalism””from Hope to Decline

In the Halcyon days of the 1950s, Lutherans were considered by church historians and Lutherans themselves to be importantly different from both mainline Protestants and Evangelicals. They had, Robert Handy remarked in the 1950s, a stronger doctrinal base than Methodists, Episcopalians, and Congregationalists while they were more churchly””both liturgically and in appreciation of the whole scope of church history””than Evangelicals. They were expanding in numbers and influence. They had impressive leadership: Franklin Clark Fry, the President of the United Lutheran Church in America, appeared on the cover of Time magazine with the caption: “Mr. Protestant.” Exceptionally positioned as they were, mainstream Lutherans were expected to provide renewed Protestant vitality in America.

Ah, but it was not to be. While the two most conservative””the Wisconsin and Missouri Synods””bodies remained aloof from other Lutherans and from American life in general, the main body of Lutherans participated in mergers that seemed for a time to make them stronger. Many smaller ethnic churches joined into two new major churches in the early 1960s””the Lutheran Church in America and the American Lutheran Church. Like most American denominations, membership in all the Lutheran churches peaked at about 1965. Optimism about the future of Lutheranism in America abounded. That is, until the last merger produced the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1988.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who hast called us out of the bondage of sin into the perfect freedom of thy children: Grant us grace that we may yield ourselves unto thee as alive from the dead, and our bodily members as servants of righteousness; that we may have our fruit unto holiness, and in the end everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Henry Alford

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

So Paul, standing in the middle of the Are-op”²agus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ”˜To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything. And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for

”˜In him we live and move and have our being’;

as even some of your poets have said,

”˜For we are indeed his offspring.’

Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead.”

Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” So Paul went out from among them. But some men joined him and believed, among them Dionys”²ius the Are-op”²agite and a woman named Dam”²aris and others with them.

–Acts 17:16-34

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ACNS) Anglican Church in Egypt committed to providing "high quality health care for all"

The Anglican Church in Egypt has continued to invest heavily in the health care sector to provide primary and preventative services to meet the country’s family, women, occupational and emergency health services.

The Church runs the Harpur Memorial Hospitals found in Egyptian cities of Menouf and Sadat, both of which are reputed for outstanding care and for seeking to show the “love of God through the services provided”.

“These doctors are very professional and I completely trust their treatment,” said one patient from a small village near Sadat City. “All of the staff have loyalty in their work, show respect to patients and are kind. They have high morals, and this is how medicine should be.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Health & Medicine, Middle East, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

(NPR Marketplace) Why U.S. Manufacturing is Rolling but Job Growth is Not

We might like to think more jobs are being created because factories are producing more car parts, cockpit mechanisms and furniture, but Robert Johnson says it’s just not that simple. He’s the director of economic analysis at Morningstar.

“I mean I can’t tell you how many times I sit down and talk with our analysts and they say, ‘I mean I can’t believe it. I just went out this factory and there were like ten guys sitting around computers,’ ” he says.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology