Daily Archives: October 30, 2013

(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.

Read it all.

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

Retired Anglican bishop John-David Schofield RIP

Retired Anglican bishop John-David Schofield, who in 2007 as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin led a movement out of the U.S. Episcopal Church over debate about same-sex marriages and the consecration of a partnered gay priest, died early Tuesday. He was 75.

Current Anglican Bishop Eric Menees said on the diocese’s website that Schofield died peacefully at home sitting in his favorite green chair and was found Tuesday morning by friends.

Read it all and the message from Bishop Menees.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

(USA Today) Sexy teen Halloween costumes: What's a parent to do?

Q: When did the concept of sexy Halloween costumes for teen and tween girls become cool?

[Annalisa] Castaldo [of Widener University]: Sexy adult costumes have been around for years, but costumes designed for teens and tweens have more recently begun displaying a sexualized edge….

Q: Isn’t this simply about playing pretend and seeking attention?

Castaldo: What’s most disturbing is that girls have much less choice when they go to the costume store to be seen as anything other than a physical object. The only way they can dress up for Halloween is as something that reveals their body. A boy can be a pirate with baggy pants, an eye patch, a sword and a parrot on his shoulder, The costume matches the character. With the girl, the pirate is wearing a short skirt. As a superhero, she’s wearing a short skirt. And my favorite is Cookie Monster with a short skirt. Every costume becomes about the physicality of the body it reveals, not about the characteristics of the character being impersonated.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Women

The Anglican Archbishop of Perth rejects formal recognition of same-sex relationships

The Anglican Archbishop of Perth has rejected for the second time a motion by his church synod to formally recognise same-sex relationships.

Earlier this month, the synod voted two-thirds majority in favour of legal acknowledgement of the civil unions of gay people.

…Archbishop Herft says he cannot assent to the motion.

“What we have in the Diocese of course is a number of people in same-sex relationships amongst the clergy and amongst the laity and we have always said that people of all forms of sexuality and orientation are welcome,” he said.

“I think that’s what the synod was trying to do was to express hospitality but what this particular resolution does is asks me, in the first instance, to recognise diversity within the diocese of Perth, both in our sexual identities and in our theologies of human sexuality, that’s the first part and I mean that’s a fact; there is a diversity within the diocese of Perth, both in our sexual identities and in our theologies….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

(NY Times) Warily, Schools Watch Students on the Internet

For years, a school principal’s job was to make sure students were not creating a ruckus in the hallways or smoking in the bathroom. Vigilance ended at the schoolhouse gates.

Now, as students complain, taunt and sometimes cry out for help on social media, educators have more opportunities to monitor students around the clock. And some schools are turning to technology to help them. Several companies offer services to filter and glean what students do on school networks; a few now offer automated tools to comb through off-campus postings for signs of danger. For school officials, this raises new questions about whether they should ”” or legally can ”” discipline children for their online outbursts.

The problem has taken on new urgency with the case of a 12-year-old Florida girl who committed suicide after classmates relentlessly bullied her online and offline.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth, Theology