Daily Archives: August 22, 2013

(Wash. Post) Roman Catholic Church turns up support for immigration reform

The Catholic Church is ramping up support for immigration reform with plans to mobilize up to two dozen dioceses in key states in hopes of convincing House Republicans to support a comprehensive bill, organizers said.

The church is planning a series of loosely coordinated events, including an immigration-focused Mass at some churches Sept. 8 ”” the day before Congress returns from a five-week summer recess ”” and pilgrimages of church members to regional offices of lawmakers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Globalization, Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(WSJ Op-ed) Jeffrey Singer: The Man Who Was Treated for $17,000 Less

Most people are unaware that if they don’t use insurance, they can negotiate upfront cash prices with hospitals and providers substantially below the “list” price. Doctors are happy to do this. We get paid promptly, without paying office staff to wade through the insurance-payment morass.

So we canceled the surgery and started the scheduling process all over again, this time classifying my patient as a “self-pay” (or uninsured) patient. I quoted him a reasonable upfront cash price, as did the anesthesiologist. We contacted a different hospital and they quoted him a reasonable upfront cash price for the outpatient surgical/nursing services. He underwent his operation the very next day, with a total bill of just a little over $3,000, including doctor and hospital fees. He ended up saving $17,000 by not using insurance

This process taught us a few things. First, most people these days don’t have health “insurance.” They have prepaid health plans….

Read it all (or if necessary another link may be found there.)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance, Theology

(Lifesite) Anglican curriculum tackles end-of-life issues

Anglicans for Life is pleased to announce the publication of their new 8-week Adult Education Curriculum Embrace the Journey. This one-of-a-kind educational series is designed to help churches educate and equip parishioners to care for elderly family and church members.

According to Georgette Forney, author of Embrace the Journey and President of Anglicans for Life, “The church and our culture are aging. There are more than 40 million people in the United States age 65 and over, and 5.5 million of them are 85 or older. We as the church need to be prepared to minister to these people and help family members care for them.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

”˜On the edge of a precipice’– Archbishop Welby’s doomsday warning to a feuding Church

In his most stark comments yet about divisions over issues such as homosexuality, the Most Rev Justin Welby said the Church is coming perilously close to plunging into a “ravine of intolerance”.

He even drew parallels between the crisis afflicting the 77 million-strong network of Anglican churches and the atmosphere during the English Civil War.

And he likened the collective behaviour of the church to a “drunk man” staggering ever closer to edge of a cliff.

Read it all and the sermon text being cited is there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

(BBC) UN: Alleged Syria chemical attacks 'serious escalation'

UN officials say alleged chemical weapons attacks which Syria’s opposition says killed hundreds near Damascus were a “serious escalation”.

Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson made the comments after briefing an emergency UN Security Council meeting about Wednesday’s incident.

The Security Council also said that clarity was needed over the attacks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Syria, Theology, Violence

A 60 minutes interview with Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones: "There was…a hole in my soul"

Scott Pelley: What do you see when you look around the city?

Paul Tudor Jones: I see people in pain, people in need, people at times without hope, looking for something that will give them some compelling future. I see too many people in homeless shelters, on food stamps. I think a lot of us don’t like to focus on it, but it’s a significant part of this country that needs to be addressed….You cannot have significance in this life if it’s all about you. You get your significance, you find your joy in life through service and sacrifice. It’s pure and simple.

Read or watch it all (video highly recommended).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Education, Personal Finance, Urban/City Life and Issues

Olympia Nelson is Upset by the Australian government program on Teenagers, Sexuality, and the Web

Even if we get to see more, why is the post to be regretted if it is only a record of fun at a party or a cuddle in a bedroom or an enticement? It could be healthy fun.

Society cannot tolerate youth having fun on their own terms and with their own ways of broadcasting their adventures. The purpose of the didactic videos is to kill junior sexual feelings with shame. How deplorable that sexually adventurous young women are being punished by society, and constantly being told that they are ”degrading themselves” and have no ”self-respect” by seeking out various sexual expressions.

At a point when girls need autonomy and self-respect, the Commonwealth government promotes shame. Instead of immunising girls against the consequences of viral posts, our educators promulgate fear, disgust and disgrace. We need a program to inoculate us against shame, not cripple us with fear.

Read it all from the SMH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Young Adults

(NY Times Op-ed) Eric Weiner–Americans: Undecided About God?

We Nones may not believe in God, but we hope to one day. We have a dog in this hunt.

Nones don’t get hung up on whether a religion is “true” or not, and instead subscribe to William James’s maxim that “truth is what works.” If a certain spiritual practice makes us better people ”” more loving, less angry ”” then it is necessarily good, and by extension “true.” (We believe that G. K. Chesterton got it right when he said: “It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.”)

By that measure, there is very little “good religion” out there….What is the solution? The answer, I think, lies in the sort of entrepreneurial spirit that has long defined America, including religious America.We need a Steve Jobs of religion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

(RNS) Al-Jazeera America faces steep climb among U.S. viewers

Al-Jazeera and America, two name brands often at odds since 9/11, were wed as one on Tuesday (Aug. 20) when the Qatar-based media network began broadcasting its U.S. news channel Al-Jazeera America from New York.

This is not the first time Al-Jazeera has tried to find a home on American TV. Al-Jazeera English debuted with an international focus in 2006 but was never picked up in major media markets outside the Northeast.

From CNN to MSNBC to Fox, the leading cable and satellite news channels all struggled to gain and hold viewers, credibility and profit for years after their launch. But for Al-Jazeera America, deep-seated prejudices among some U.S. audiences are likely to make this uphill slog even steeper.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Middle East, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Theology

(ABC Aus.) Philip Jenkins–What Egypt's history suggests about its nightmarish future

Few Western observers predicted the scale of the recent military crackdown in Egypt, or the nation’s sudden lurch to something like civil war. The next question troubling policymakers is just how bad the violence will become, and history does give us some strong indicators about the near future. The resulting picture is alarming.

I begin with a useful principle: Egyptian state security is very good at counter-subversion, but not as good as it thinks it is. For decades, Egyptian officials have prided themselves on their ability to penetrate radical organizations, including the Muslim Brotherhood, which for years has operated under constant surveillance. Unless the organization was so riddled with government informers and double agents, the Egyptian state would never have risked its recent decapitation attempt against the group and its leadership.

History, however, suggests that official activities are strictly limited in their usefulness. Time and again, state security has won dazzling victories against subversion, only to have the state’s enemies rebuild their infrastructures over the following years. Repeatedly, the Egyptian state has been wrong in its claims about the end of Islamist radicalism.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who alone gavest us the breath of life, and alone canst keep alive in us the holy desires thou dost impart; We beseech thee, for thy compassion’s sake, to sanctify all our thoughts and endeavours; that we may neither begin an action without a pure intention nor continue it without thy blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of the mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, we may in heart be inspired by thy wisdom, and in work be upheld by thy strength, and in the end be accepted of thee as thy faithful servants; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

–The Pastor’s Prayerbook

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And when the governor had motioned to him to speak, Paul replied: “Realizing that for many years you have been judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense. As you may ascertain, it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem; and they did not find me disputing with any one or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues, or in the city. Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me. But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets, having a hope in God which these themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward God and toward men.

–Acts 24:10-16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Gallup) U.S. Small-Business Owners Most Optimistic Since 2008

U.S. small-business owners are more optimistic now than at any time since late 2008. The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index improved to +25 in July, from +16 in the second quarter. The latest result, while not as high as pre-recession levels, is the highest index score since the third quarter of 2008.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

In Dunn County, Wisconsin, a Historic Episcopal chapel threatened with demolition

A historic Episcopal chapel in Dunn County could be demolished if no one comes forward to claim it.

Once owned by the Episcopal Diocese, the chapel is on the property of Bundy Hall, a Menomonie mansion that spent three years on the market before being purchased for a retreat center.

The Buddhist organization that bought the hall uses the conference room for meditation, according to real estate agent Pat Sabota of Andale Real Estate.

They have no need for the chapel and can’t afford to maintain it, she said, so the buyers, Sabota and the Episcopal Diocese are seeking someone to move the structure off the property.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

(WSJ) Egypt's Christians Get Trapped in a Crossfire

Osama Makram Amin woke to the sound of gunfire, looked out his window and saw what he says were young men throwing gasoline bombs at the nearby Coptic Christian church.

Earlier that morning, security forces in Cairo had attacked two predominantly Islamist sit-ins, leaving hundreds dead. Now, hours later on Aug. 14, attackers in this Upper Egyptian city were embarking on a day of burning and looting that would target 14 Christian churches, homes and businesses. It was the work of Islamists enraged by the Cairo crackdown, said police and many Christian residents.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence