Daily Archives: October 10, 2013

Local S.C. Roman Catholic diocese breaks ground on new Pastoral Center in West Ashley

The statewide Catholic Diocese of Charleston broke ground Thursday on a three-building campus in West Ashley that will become the new center of its administrative and pastoral work.

The $17.5 million center at a quiet end of Orange Grove Road will include a 175-seat chapel, a three-story office building and a high-tech conference center. The conference center will include teleconferencing abilities and be able to accommodate nearly 200 people for meetings and retreats.

The Pastoral Center is scheduled to open around Christmas 2014.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Another Boston Globe Story Shooting of 19-year-old galvanizes Episcopal Church in Eastern Mass.

Jorge Fuentes did things his own way. “If you’re not being yourself, you’re not having fun,” he would say, flashing a smile.

As a contrarian kid, he sometimes drove his mother and teachers and pastors crazy. But by his late teens, he was a standout counselor at his church’s youth programs. He traveled everywhere on mission trips, doing farm work in Virginia, feeding poor people in New York. He planned to join the Marines.

Then, just over a year ago, came the stray shot, fired from a stranger’s gun, that hit the 19-year-old in the head as he walked his dog across the street from his family’s home in Dorchester.

The death of Fuentes was a loss of incalculable proportions, not only for his close-knit family, but for Episcopalians across Eastern Massachusetts.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Anglican Journal) Debt crisis at Arctic cathedral

The newly constructed St. Jude’s Anglican Cathedral in Iqaluit, Nunavut, may close its doors unless funds are raised to pay the balance of its construction debt, according to the diocese of the Arctic.

The diocese has paid more than $7.5 million toward the cost of constructing the cathedral, but still owes the construction giant, Dowland Contracting Ltd., about $3 million.

The diocese had been paying this debt as funds were raised, based on an “informal arrangement worked out directly with the [company],” said its diocesan bishop, David Parsons. However, in May, Dowland Contracting Ltd. was put into receivership; it filed for bankruptcy protection in July.

The receiver, Alvaraz and Marsal Canada, Inc., is now asking the diocese for immediate payment of the $3 million debt, plus $30,000 per month in interest.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Economy, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

([London] Times) Archbishop Justin Welby urges Egypt to end attacks on Copts

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged the Egyptian Government to do more to prevent mob attacks on the country’s Coptic Christian minority.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said the circumstances for Egypt’s Christian minority, which makes up about about 10 per cent of the nation’s population, were “life-threatening”.

More than 200 Christian-owned properties have been attacked and 43 churches seriously damaged across the country, according to an Amnesty International report out…[this week].

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Coptic Church, Egypt, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

Thursday Morning Musical Encouragement–Matt Redman's Your Grace Finds Me

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Parish Ministry

A CBS 60 Minutes Expose on the American Disability Insurance System and the way its Gamed by Some

….the Federal Disability Insurance Program…serves nearly 12 million people — up 20 percent in the last six years — and has a budget of $135 billion. That’s more than the government spent last year on the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and the Labor Department combined. It’s been called a “secret welfare system” with it’s own “disability industrial complex,” a system ravaged by waste and fraud. A lot of people want to know what’s going on. Especially Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Tom Coburn: Go read the statute. If there’s any job in the economy you can perform, you are not eligible for disability. That’s pretty clear. So, where’d all those disabled people come from?

The Social Security Administration, which runs the disability program says the explosive surge is due to aging baby boomers and the lingering effects of a bad economy. But Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Subcommittee for Investigations — who’s also a physician — says it’s more complicated than that. Last year, his staff randomly selected hundreds of disability files and found that 25 percent of them should never have been approved — another 20 percent, he said, were highly questionable.

Read it all or better still watch the video.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Budget, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Medicare, Middle Age, Personal Finance, Psychology, Social Security, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology

(NPR) Snake-Handling Preachers Open Up About 'Takin' Up Serpents'

The National Geographic Channel followed two snake-handling preachers off and on for a year for a called Snake Salvation that will air this fall on Tuesday nights. Pastor Jamie Coots is one of the series’ subjects.

“Snake handling fascinated me because it’s such an extreme gesture of faith,” says Matthew Testa, the series’ executive producer. “We set out to tell this story from the snake handlers’ point of view, to really humanize them, not to judge them, and to show how important religion is in their daily lives with their daily struggles.”

The Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette, Tenn., is a short drive through the Cumberland Gap from Coots’ church. The pastor here is Andrew Hamblin, a lanky, charismatic 22-year-old, who is the other preacher featured in the TV series. Hamblin wants to modernize the practice of handling snakes in church. He posts photos of himself with snakes on , and he aspires to pastor the first serpent-handling megachurch.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Animals, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Gallup) Worldwide, only 13% of Employees Are Engaged while at Work

Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to Gallup’s new 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace. In other words, about one in eight workers — roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied — are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.

The bulk of employees worldwide — 63% — are “not engaged,” meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes. And 24% are “actively disengaged,” indicating they are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers. In rough numbers, this translates into 900 million not engaged and 340 million actively disengaged workers around the globe.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Theology

(BBC) Possible Alzheimer's breakthrough hailed as 'turning point'

The discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neurodegenerative disease has been hailed as the “turning point” in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by patients.

But scientists say a resulting medicine could treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and other diseases.

In tests on mice, the Medical Research Council showed all brain cell death from prion disease could be prevented.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(GC Blog) Matt Smethurst–Evidences of a Maturing Evangelical Mind

In 1995, Mark Noll opened his The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind with an unflattering observation: “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”

Now, almost two decades later, has anything changed? In a new roundtable video, three Christian higher education presidents””Michael Lindsay, Albert Mohler, and Philip Ryken””consider evidences of a recovered and maturing evangelical mind in the years since Noll’s landmark work.

“We’re no longer trying to prove ourselves, trying to get a seat at the table,” observes Lindsay, president of Gordon College in Massachusetts. “I think evangelicals have demonstrated they can do the highest level of scholarship in fields like history, philosophy, and sociology.”

Read it all and watch the video also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Blot out, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord, our past transgressions; forgive our negligence and ignorance, our mistakes and misunderstandings; and uplift our hearts to thee in new love and dedication; that unburdened from the grief and shame of past faithlessness, we may henceforth serve thee with renewed courage and devotion; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

A Song of Ascents. Of David. O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 131

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Maine Senator Susan Collins is floating a fiscal deal proposal that MAY help find a way out

A proposal from Sen. Susan Collins is emerging as one potential way to dig lawmakers out of a government shutdown and possibly also avoid a potentially catastrophic debt default.

The moderate Maine Republican, whose vote will be essential to any fiscal deal, is circulating a rough plan to reopen the government, repeal the medical device tax and provide agencies with greater flexibility in implementing the sequester. The initial reception has been positive and may be the beginnings of a bipartisan solution to end the intractable impasse between House Republicans and Senate Democrats.

Collins said Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who are also being watched as potential GOP votes to end the fiscal standoff, have signed onto the proposal. And Collins said she has spoken to “several Democrats” about her plan, which she hopes “at least provides concepts that could be the basis for us reopening government.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology

(RNS) Religious groups feel the pinch of government shutdown

As the government shutdown enters its second week, some religious groups are starting to feel the pinch, and they’re also finding ways to reach out.

More than 90 Catholic, evangelical and Protestant leaders have signed a statement rebuking “pro-life” lawmakers for the shutdown, saying they are “appalled that elected officials are pursuing an extreme ideological agenda at the expense of the working poor and vulnerable families” who won’t receive government benefits.

Starting Wednesday, evangelical, Catholic and mainline Protestant leaders will hold a daily “Faithful Filibuster” on Capitol Hill with Bible verses on the poor “to remind Congress that its dysfunction hurts struggling families and low-income people.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Huffington Post) 16 Ways Europeans Are Just Better At Life

The United States is a great place. From New York to Los Angeles and covering everything in between, the U.S. boasts unprecedented diversity, natural wonder and opportunity. Americans love freedom so much, they have hot dog-eating contests on Independence Day to prove it. And good luck finding something better than a cronut.

Despite that general awesomeness, though, the U.S. isn’t the best at everything. That’s not dinging the land of the free and the home of the brave for no reason, but rather, to say that Europe just does some things better.

Here are a few arenas where the U.S. could learn a thing or two from the old country.

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