Monthly Archives: October 2013

(FT) Paolo Scaroni–Russia and shale can solve Europe’s energy problem

So what can we do about this? One idea would be to look for ”“ and then exploit ”“ shale gas in Europe. We may have quite a lot of it ”“ for instance in France, Germany and the UK. But to produce it we need a public consensus ”“ and there is still a lot of opposition in western Europe. Of course, the opposition is understandable ”“ fracking is loud and invasive, and the continent is densely populated. But if Europe is serious about creating wealth and jobs, it is an option worth exploring.

The country that is furthest along the road to consensus-building is the UK, which can count on political will, tax incentives and even a blessing from the Archbishop of Canterbury. If it does manage to create a healthy shale gas industry, it could pave the way for continental Europe to follow.

Other potential components of the solution for Europe are nuclear power, energy efficiency, better use of conventional hydrocarbons ”“ in short, anything that can make energy cheaper and more readily available.

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

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Theology

Diane Medved–Divorce is Good and Other Myths

The books just keep coming: Collaborative Divorce,Happy Divorce,The Good Karma Divorce, The Creative Divorce. Reading the articles and books, you might get the idea that The Good Divorce is a sacrament, not a disaster…

[So why are they wrong?]

Heartache, financial loss and time detangling bring irreparable setbacks. Lots of spouses get dumped. Eighty percent of U.S. divorces “are unilateral, rather than truly mutual decisions,” notes researcher Maggie Gallagher. Still, healthy people can wade through the hurt and make the best of the situation.

That doesn’t ameliorate the damage. Children, who never have a say in their parents’ parting, become collateral damage and dismissed with the dubious phrase “kids are resilient.” Judith Wallerstein, whose landmark 25-year study of divorced families convinced her of its ongoing harm, found that “many of these . . . children forfeited their own childhoods as they took responsibility for themselves, their troubled, overworked parents; and their siblings.” The trauma peaks in adulthood, she cautions, undermining love, sexual intimacy and commitment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

Archbishop Justin Welby's sermon this week at the Cathedral in Hon Kong–We must be a repentant chur

…the first thing that God’s people are meant to be, day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year, is we are meant to be a people who know our own failure, and who come to God with nothing in our hands, with no strength of our own, simply seeking his forgiveness, admitting our weakness. One of the great failures of the church in European history is that too often it is taken in by the appearance of strength and forgets its need of God. Over recent years we’ve done that over issues of the abuse of children in Europe. We’ve failed to say where we’ve gone wrong. We are to be a repentant church.

It is very easy to be confident in your own resources. When I was at university, which was sadly a very long time ago, two friends and I decided to walk across Scotland. It was about 230 miles, so it took about two weeks. We were good walkers but bad map readers. So we probably did 300 miles because we kept going one way and having to come back another. And on one occasion we were walking in western Scotland, and we came to a valley that split into two bits, and after a little while we realised that the valley we’d taken after about four miles ended in a cliff, and the other one had the main road. So we went back, and as we were going back we met some other people coming along the same bad route. And so being nice people we said to them, ”˜This is the wrong way, there’s just a cliff at the end.’ And they said, ”˜No there isn’t. We know this is the right way.’ So we smiled politely and we went on, and when we got back to where we should have gone from, we sat down and made a cup of tea and waited for them to appear, looking embarrassed.

Repentance is when you know you’re going the wrong way and, rather than going on, you turn round and go back and take the way that God has shown you. We are to be a repentant church. That is part of the culture of Christian faith.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

New Jersey author’s latest book confronts Episcopal Church's challenging past

Millburn Township resident T. Felder Dorn will present his latest book, “Challenges on the Emmaus Road: Episcopal Bishops Confront Slavery, Civil War, and Emancipation,” Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m., at the Millburn Free Public Library, 200 Glen Ave….

Dorn, who grew up as a Southern Baptist in South Carolina, converted to the Episcopalian faith soon after he landed his first faculty position at Sewanee: The University of the South, an institution of the Episcopal Church, located in Tennessee. “Challenges on the Emmaus Road” covers the period between 1840 and 1875 as it examines the words and actions of Episcopal bishops of that era, first concerning slavery, and then concerning the events and issues spawned by that institution. The responses to these events and issues by both Southern and Northern bishops are discussed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Books, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ACNS) Church in Southern Africa challenged to care for the environment

The Anglican Church in Southern Africa has called on all Churches on the continent to get involved in the care for creation through worship, local church action and advocacy.

The Environmental Co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA), the Revd Dr Rachel Mash made the call in a statement to ACNS yesterday.

“This can start with a simple energy and water audit to establish the extent of a parish environmental foot-print,” she said. “A congregation can also commit to celebrating Season of Creation, or World Environment Day among many other environmental events.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Daily Post) Retired Nigerian Bishop Peter Adebiyi: Our leaders are 95% of our problems

The Bishop of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Lagos-West Diocese, Rt. Rev. Peter Adebiyi (retd.) has condemned the plan by President Goodluck Jonathan to send the outcome of the proposed national conference to the National Assembly.

Adebiyi, who stated this while speaking on the state of the nation in Lagos, Tuesday said the federal lawmakers were not capable of addressing the many problems currently confronting the nation.

According to him, those who caused Nigeria’s problems should not be allowed to be part of those finding solution to the problems.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Church of England) Pilling Commission on human sexuality

Statement from William Fittall, Secretary General of the General Synod and Archbishops’ Council, placing recent media and blog speculation in context:

“At last Friday’s Synod press conference a national journalist asked me to confirm the now widely held story that the Pilling Group on human sexuality had been scrapped. I said that, on the contrary, the Group was still meeting and was due to complete its report in time for the House of Bishops to consider it at its meeting in December.

“Then on Monday a clergyman posted a blog saying: “I have now confirmed from a number of sources what the Pilling Report is going to recommend. The final draft is ready and it will propose that the Church of England introduce some form of liturgy that will bless same-sex relationships. There is absolutely no doubt that this is what the outcome of the committee’s deliberations will be – This is not spin, it is not trying to influence the outcome, it is the real deal.” Our Communications Office responded to this by saying that, on the contrary, “the final draft of the Pilling report has not yet been completed or signed off.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(USA Today) Married Cancer Patients Are More Likely to Survive

Scientists say they may have found the key to surviving cancer: marriage.

Married people with cancer were 20% less likely to die from their disease, compared to people who are separated, divorced, widowed or never married, according to study published online Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Married people in the study fared better than singles no matter what type of cancer. In certain types of tumors ”” prostate, breast, colorectal, esophageal and head/neck cancers ”” the survival benefits of marriage were larger than those from chemotherapy.

“Improving social support for our patients may be equally important as providing effective therapy, and it is less costly to develop and implement,” said senior author Paul Nguyen, a radiation oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, in a statement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Theology

(Wash. Post) NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say

The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.

By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Sexuality, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Boston Globe) Tested and triumphant, the Red Sox win the World Series in Game 6 at Fenway

When Red Sox starter John Lackey left the dugout alone at 7:38 p.m. to warm up for Game 6 of the World Series on Wednesday night, the fans along the first base line at Fenway Park stood and applauded. Every fan in the old ballpark was cheering as Lackey arrived in right field and he smiled, just a little. Exactly three hours later, when Lackey left the mound in the seventh inning with glory well in hand, the applause was thunderous. The Red Sox finished their improbable last-to-first journey with a 6-1 victory against the Cardinals before a crowd of 38,447. Most Valuable Player David Ortiz was walked four times, three intentionally. Shane Victorino drove in four runs and Stephen Drew homered….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

(Palm Beach Post) Frank Cerabino–Losing bet: Florida Lottery a tax on the poor

The state lottery functions as a voluntary tax with a disproportionate burden on the poor.

This is especially onerous in Florida, which is one of the most regressive tax states in the nation, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Because Florida relies on raising money from sales tax and excise taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and gasoline instead of a progressive income tax, the poorest 20 percent of the population pay about 13.5 percent of their income in taxes, while the middle 60 percent pay 7.8 percent and the top 1 percent pay 2.6 percent, the institute found in a 2009 study.

The lottery makes that regressive tax burden even worse.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Gambling, Politics in General, Poverty, State Government, Theology

(SHNS) Terry Mattingly: Military chaplains confront polarizing issues

Clearly, the nation’s two largest churches {Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist] do play crucial roles in the chaplaincy program. A mere 234 priests serve the 25 percent of all military personnel who are Catholics. The Southern Baptist Convention has more than 1,500 approved chaplains, more than any other faith group.

America’s military leaders will have to decide if doctrinally conservative chaplains will be allowed to honor their religious vows or not, said the Rev. Russell Moore, leader of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in a forum last week.

The current trend, Moore said, is to view chaplains as “carriers of the American civil religion, in a way that seeks to counsel and to do some religious duties but not to actually be Roman Catholics or Evangelicals or Latter-day Saints or Muslims or what have you. I think that is troubling. … I believe in religious pluralism in the public square where everyone comes as he or she is into the public square for more dialogue and not less.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Military / Armed Forces, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Holy Father, to whom we draw near with boldness through our Lord Jesus Christ: Look, we beseech thee, on his merits and not on our unworthiness; and grant that our prayers, being asked in his name, may be accepted for his sake; to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit be all praise and glory, now and for evermore.

–Frank Colquhoun

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High; and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.

–Psalm 50:14-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Peter Moore and Charles Waring–Standing Together: A Call To Save The Church

Actions of General Convention and the presiding bishop have led us to conclude, along with a growing number of other parishes across the nation, that the direction of TEC is incompatible with historic Christian faith and practice. So today we face litigation that could potentially decimate our corporate life and witness. It’s hard to imagine that the body we helped form some 224 years ago would resort to the secular law courts to take all this away from us; but it’s true.

Let’s step up to this challenge together, and by God’s grace see a victory for the things we hold most dear. Ponder these facts:

We are not going against Scripture by using the secular courts. Paul himself appealed to Roman courts when the Gospel he preached was at stake.
Our team of lawyers says that this case is winnable. Recent legal wins in Texas and Illinois encourage us.
Our parish continues to grow, especially in generous giving. This year it will mean a stretch for each of us.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, Theology

A.S. Haley–Quincy Funds Frozen Again; Defense Fund Needs Help

As I explained in this earlier post, the Anglican Diocese of Quincy was successful in obtaining a judgment that it had sole title to its bank accounts and real property. The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy had already merged into the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago by the time the judgment was entered, so the only adverse party left before the court was the Episcopal Church (USA), represented by the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor, David Booth Beers, and by her Special Assistant for Litigation, Mary Kostel, as well as by local counsel Thomas B. Ewing, of Lewistown. They filed a motion to stay the effect of the judgment, i.e., to keep the Diocese of Quincy’s funds in National City Bank in Peoria frozen pending appeal.

It should be noted that ECUSA never went through the formal steps to attach the Diocese’s funds. It never submitted a motion for prejudgment attachment, or a declaration of hardship and necessity, and it never posted any bond. Mr. Beers simply wrote a letter to National City Bank purporting to advise it of the Church’s claim on the funds, and stating that the Church would “hold [National City Bank] accountable for any dispositions made … of such funds …”. The Bank responded by putting a hold on all of Quincy’s accounts pending an order of court.

Thus the Diocese of Quincy was forced to file a lawsuit against ECUSA in order to try to recover the use of its operating and trust funds.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Quincy, Theology

William Witt–The Trinitarian Unity of the Church: A Sermon on Ecumenism

There is also a sacramental, and even an institutional dimension to the church’s unity. Paul specifically connects the trinitarian unity of the church to the sacrament of baptism: “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5). Paul also writes: “he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”(Eph. 4:12). In Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, he speaks of the distinctive role that has been given to the apostles and their successors: “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18). Jesus also prays, “I do not ask for these only, bu also for those who will believe in me through their word” (v. 20). If all that talk about truth and love speaks to the Evangelical dimension of the church, then truth and love are embodied concretely in the church in its catholic dimensions. There is no church without sacraments and gathered worship. There is no church without an ordered ministry that continues the task of the apostles.

And, finally, the unity of the church has a missional purpose. The church is distinct from the world, and yet has a mission to the world. In the concluding words of Jesus’ prayer, he states the purpose of the church’s unity. On the one hand, the church is distinct from those who are not the church. Jesus says: “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am of the world” (John 17:14). At the same time, Jesus also prays that the church may be one for the sake of the world: “that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (v. 23). The church’s call is to let the world know of the love with which the Father and the Son love each other, the love that dwells in the church because the church is one with Christ, and the church is the body of Christ, the body whose head is Christ, the body that grows so that “it builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4:16). And the world will not know of this love if the church is not one, and if the members of the church do not love one another.

That is a very brief outline of the theology of the church that we find in the readings in Ephesians and John’s gospel. This outline has a lot in common with the different understandings of the church that I mentioned earlier. A church whose unity is grounded in the truth and love of the Trinity will be a church where the word is rightly preached and the sacraments rightly administered.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Stephen Noll on the Gafcon Conference–Sea Change in the Communion?

…the Communique reaffirms the understanding from 2008 that GAFCON is “not a moment in time but a movement of the Spirit.” This phrase is not flight of rhetoric but a claim that GFCA is among other things a God-ordained “ecclesial” entity. Secondly, the Conference identifies itself as an “instrument of Communion” called into being because of the failure of other Instruments of Communion. I suppose some will take this claim as an open rebuke of the existing organs of the Lambeth bureaucracy. It is that, and my essays on Communion governance stand as testimony as to why such a rebuke is justified. But it is more than that: it is a positive declaration that the GFCA plans to be a vehicle of God’s grace to reform and revitalize the Anglican Communion.

Some may ask by what right the GFCA appoints itself an instrument. In an early draft, the Statement Committee proposed saying that “we are conscious that we have become an instrument of Communion.” I think that wording is revealing, even if the final form moves consciousness into conviction. What I mean is that the GAFCON movement did not start out intentionally to overturn existing authorities but rather over a period of fifteen years came to realize that no other option was workable and that God had indeed formed new bonds of affection among its members during the times of trial.

So is the GFCA laying the groundwork for a separate Communion? Absolutely not! At the first GAFCON virtually all the delegates were adamant that they were not leaving the Anglican Communion, because “we are the Anglican Communion!” Some may think this is verbal trickery. It is not. There is nothing sacrosanct about the so-called Instruments of Communion. To be sure, the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference carry the weight of almost 150 years’ continuance. However, for good or ill, Archbishop Longley refused to grant the first Lambeth Conference ecclesial authority as a council and by so doing he built in a weakness that has been a major reason for the recent crisis. During the past decade, whenever the Primates proposed more authoritative action ”“ e.g., “To Mend the Net” proposal or the Dar es Salaam Communique ”“ Canterbury squelched the attempt.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(Gallup) Economy Would Benefit if Marriage Rate Increases in U.S.

Married Americans spend more than those in any other marital status category, across age groups. Americans who have never married spend significantly less, particularly for those younger than 50, suggesting that if the marriage rate increases, overall spending in the U.S. may increase and benefit the U.S. economy.

Married Americans report a daily spending average of $102, followed by $98 among those who are living in domestic partnerships, $74 by divorced Americans, $67 by those who are single and never married, and $62 by those who are widowed. As shown in the accompanying graph, across all age groups, those who are married spend more than those of other marital statuses.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Theology

(CT) How Church Unity Overcame Hurricane Sandy

“It’s all about trust,” says David Beidel, founding pastor of New Hope Community Church in Staten Island’s West Brighton neighborhood. “We have known each other for years. Some of us even grew up together. We have a level of trust that can only come through years of laboring together toward the common goal of seeing the gospel flourish in our city.”

However, Beidel says, newly arrived leaders in Staten Island are also welcome. “I just had lunch this week with a young pastor who planted a church here not too long ago,” he adds. “He has been really impressed by how we have worked together to rebuild after Sandy.”

The storm also prioritized corporate prayer among the SIAE pastors. Their monthly prayer meetings have become weekly. “I believe the fact that we worked together so much after Sandy, and the fact that we were overwhelmed together by Sandy, caused this awareness of our being called to pray together,” says Dave Watson, pastor of Calvary Chapel in Staten Island’s Mariners Harbor neighborhood. Beidel agrees. “Our weekly prayer meetings for the past several months have been a very sweet time of fellowship.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Guardian) Church of England ombudsman could resolve disputes over women bishops

The Church of England is considering setting up an ombudsman to rule on disputes arising from the issue of women bishops.

If approved by the General Synod next month, the “independent reviewer” would investigate and rule on rows among Anglicans. Clergy who refuse to co-operate with its investigations would face disciplinary procedures.

Deep divisions have opened up within the Church of England over the proposed introduction of female bishops, which was blocked last year, despite most of the synod backing the move.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

(Telegraph) Church facing divide over blessings for same-sex couples

The Church of England is facing a split over proposals to offer a formal blessing for gay couples.

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the former bishop of Rochester, warned on Tuesday that a move to celebrate same-sex relationships in church would be a “red line” for traditionalist parishes.

Clergy and lay members of the Church opposed to any relaxation of the rules could reject the authority of any bishops who supported the move, he warned.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(FT) Jonathan Ledgard and John Clippinger–How a digital currency could transform Africa

Here is a proposition: provide a secure and authentic digital identity for every person in Africa who wants one.

India has shown it is possible to achieve something similar at scale. Its Aadhar national identity scheme, launched in 2009, has registered 500m people using a number code and matching biometrics. It will improve service delivery ”“ although it also strengthens the state in a way that tempts over-reach. Improving technology makes it possible to think more audaciously in Africa. Instead of just tagging a person ”“ gathering their personal data ”“ why not give them digital sovereignty?

Connectivity is already in place across the continent ”“ with more than half of young Africans on smartphones ”“ which means the era of big data is on its way. The question is who benefits and how.

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

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Currency Markets, Economy, Globalization, Science & Technology, Theology

(New Atlantis) Timothy Dalrymple–Redeeming Technologies

To be sure, technology can dull the spiritual senses, can dissipate the powers of attention on which prayer and meditation depend, or can clutter the mind with so many blazing distractions that stillness and self-reflection grow rare and then fabricated and commoditized. It is difficult to behold the mysterium tremendum in the starry midnight sky when your eyes are transfixed by the glowing screen. It is difficult to experience the immediacy of human relationships, the sacramental intimacy out of which religious communities large and small arise, when laptops and tablets and mobile devices interpose and interrupt every friendship.

However, people have found God and will continue to find God in, through, and in spite of our increasingly technological world. Writ small, new technologies can shape the fundamental ways in which we imagine, experience, and serve the divine. Writ large, religious movements often flow upon the tides of technological innovation. While religious history of course cannot be reduced to technology, it has in many ways been shaped by the history of technology.

The Christian theological tradition provides abundant resources not only for critiques of technology, but also for the positive appreciation of technology. It is this aspect of the Christian tradition that I will describe in two categories: first, how we can find God in the work of technology, in the vocation of the technologist and the purposes his technologies serve, and second, also in the works of technology, in technological innovations that can serve to glorify God or serve the kingdom of God.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Local Politics (V)-Proposed sales tax hike for Dorchester Cnty Likely to Hurt Renters

If Dorchester County passes a local-option sales tax next week, the people most apt to be hurt are renters. The reason: Property owners who rent to them don’t always use their tax savings to cut rental rates, officials say.

But based on what has happened in Berkeley and Charleston counties where they have approved the tax, paying an extra one-percent sales tax doesn’t sting for many owners when compared with the benefits of the property tax credit they get.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Politics in General, Taxes

Large Local HealthCare Co. drops BlueCross BlueShield and launches own health insurance plan

Palmetto Primary Care Physicians will launch a new in-house health insurance plan next month for its employees because BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina’s rates have become too expensive, the group’s CEO said Tuesday.

The in-house plan will reduce health insurance costs for the practice’s 600 employees by as much as 85 percent per pay period, said spokeswoman Vivian Barajas.

“The savings on my end is over 50 percent,” she said. “It’s kind of like getting a mini-raise for us.”

Read it all (from the front page above the fold of the print edition of the local paper).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Theology

(Gallup) Economic Confidence Ends the Month of October Still Deeply Negative

The Gallup Economic Confidence Index rose six points last week to -30. While this marks the second straight week of improvement since the end of the federal government shutdown, confidence is still well below the -15 reading Gallup found in mid-September, in the weeks before the shutdown. It remains sharply lower than the -3 reached earlier this year.

The latest results are for the week ending Oct. 27, based on interviews with more than 3,500 U.S. adults. The index represents Americans’ net optimism about the economy, combining their views about current economic conditions and their perceptions of the economy’s direction. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100 if all Americans think the economy is “excellent” or “good” and improving, and a theoretical minimum of -100 if all believe the economy is “only fair” or “poor” and getting worse.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Theology

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of John Wyclif

O God, whose justice continually challenges thy Church to live according to its calling: Grant us who now remember the work of John Wyclif contrition for the wounds which our sins inflict on thy Church, and such love for Christ that we may seek to heal the divisions which afflict his Body; through the same Jesus Christ, who livest and reignest with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord, increase our faith; that relying on thee as thy children, we may trust where we cannot see, and hope where all seems doubtful, ever looking unto thee as our Father who ordereth all things well; according to the word of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

–George Dawson

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals; and I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth; and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints; and they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals,
for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God
from every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on earth.”

–Revelation 5:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture