Daily Archives: November 26, 2013

(Reuters) U.S. borrowers are increasingly missing payments on home equity Loans

U.S. borrowers are increasingly missing payments on home equity lines of credit they took out during the housing bubble, a trend that could deal another blow to the country’s biggest banks.

The loans are a problem now because an increasing number are hitting their 10-year anniversary, at which point borrowers usually must start paying down the principal on the loans as well as the interest they had been paying all along.

More than $221 billion of these loans at the largest banks will hit this mark over the next four years, about 40 percent of the home equity lines of credit now outstanding.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(Reuters) Pope attacks "tyranny" of markets, urges renewal in key document

Pope Francis called for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and attacked unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny”, urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality in the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff.

The 84-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation, amounted to an official platform for his papacy, building on views he has aired in sermons and remarks since he became the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years in March.

In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the “idolatry of money” and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Wash. Post) Among American workers, poll finds unprecedented anxiety about jobs, economy

American workers are living with unprecedented economic anxiety, four years into a recovery that has left so many of them stuck in place. That anxiety is concentrated heavily among low-income workers such as Stewart.

More than six in 10 workers in a recent Washington Post-Miller Center poll worry that they will lose their jobs to the economy, surpassing concerns in more than a dozen surveys dating to the 1970s. Nearly one in three, 32 percent, say they worry “a lot” about losing their jobs, also a record high, according to the joint survey, which explores Americans’ changing definition of success and their confidence in the country’s future. The Miller Center is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia specializing in public policy, presidential scholarship and political history.

Job insecurities have always been higher among low-income Americans, but they typically rose and fell across all levels of the income ladder. Today, workers at the bottom have drifted away, occupying their own island of in­security.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(NY Times) A Science Times Special Edition on the diverse, surprising, and baffling American Family

In charting the differences between today’s families and those of the past, demographers start with the kids ”” or rather the lack of them.

The nation’s birthrate today is half what it was in 1960, and last year hit its lowest point ever. At the end of the baby boom, in 1964, 36 percent of all Americans were under 18 years old; last year, children accounted for just 23.5 percent of the population, and the proportion is dropping, to a projected 21 percent by 2050. Fewer women are becoming mothers ”” about 80 percent of those of childbearing age today versus 90 percent in the 1970s ”” and those who reproduce do so more sparingly, averaging two children apiece now, compared with three in the 1970s.

One big reason is the soaring cost of ushering offspring to functional independence. According to the Department of Agriculture, the average middle-class couple will spend $241,080 to raise a child to age 18. Factor in four years of college and maybe graduate school, or a parentally subsidized internship with the local theater company, and say hello to your million-dollar bundle of oh joy.

Read it all.

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

(Mail Online) End is nigh for hymn books as churches go hands-free with new iTunes app

Hymn books could soon be a thing of the past as churches switch to high-tech services with the words on giant screens, assisted by an iTunes app.

The fashion for ”˜hands-free worship’ has led to a decline in book sales. But it is said to have improved the singing, as congregants look up at a screen instead of down at the page.

Some vicars also prefer screens because they are less likely to spread germs and are said to be environmentally friendly.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

C of E Bishops support White Ribbon Campaign against gender-based violence

The Bishop of Aston, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, chair of the Panel for World Mission and the Anglican Communion, said he was delighted that so many bishops had taken up the challenge.

In a Church of England interview https://soundcloud.com/the-church-of-england/white-ribbon-campaign, Bishop Andrew speaks about the White Ribbon Campaign and explains how he had been approached by colleagues from the worldwide Anglican Communion who are concerned about gender violence.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Men, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence, Women

Notable and Quotable–Michael Ward on C.S. Lewis

A few months before C.”ŠS. Lewis died in 1963, he predicted to Walter Hooper, a young American friend, that sales of his books would decline rapidly after his death. Hooper countered: “No, they won’t. And you know why? Your books are too good, and people are not that stupid.”

Lewis was wrong. Hooper, who became Lewis’s biographer and editor, was right. In the 50 years since Lewis died ”” at the same hour that John F. Kennedy was assassinated ”” sales of his books have not only not declined, they have rocketed.

The Chronicles of Narnia sell about three million copies annually worldwide in more than 40 languages.

–From this past Saturday’s London Times

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Children, Church History, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(SMH) Royal commission: Anglican priest quits after admitting his approach to abuse claims was wrong

After 50 years in the church, an Anglican priest says he doesn’t know if he can say he’s a Christian.

The priest, who was central to handling a group claim from people who suffered abuse in a NSW Anglican children’s home, has announced he is quitting the clergy.

In a surprise revelation at Monday’s hearing into how the Anglican Church dealt with victims of abuse at a children’s home in Lismore, the former registrar of the Grafton Diocese, Pat Comben, said he had relinquished holy orders.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces

(Letter to the Independent) Chris Beney offers a solution for the C of E

The Archbishop of York has said that the Church of England is one generation away from extinction. His solution was more evangelism, more God. He is completely wrong.

The solution is for the church, as in the past, to move with the times and now drop the outmoded belief in God and a conditional afterlife, but keep the moral and ethical thrust of its founder, as well as of other good people of philosophy and science both earlier and later.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Isaac Watts

God of truth and grace, who didst give Isaac Watts singular gifts to present thy praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for thy Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing thy praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, the glory of thy saints, who being above all, and through all, and in all, dost yet accept the prayer of the contrite: Grant that we, being hallowed in mind, fervent in spirit, and chaste in body, may offer to thee the pure sacrifice of hearts uplifted in thy praise, and lives devoted to thy service; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 121

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ RTE Blog) About Half of Kids With Single Moms Live in Poverty

Children raised in single-parent households in the U.S. are far more likely to live in poverty than children with both parents present, according to Census figures released Monday. As a result, far more black and Hispanic children are raised in poverty than white kids.

Among all children living only with their mother, nearly half ”” or 45% ”” live below the poverty line, the Census Bureau said. For those living with just the father, about 21% lived in poverty. By comparison, only about 13% of children with both parents present in the household live below the poverty line.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Census/Census Data, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Poverty, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Anglican Ink) TEC seeks to add 4 Diocesan Leaders to Their Latest South Carolina Lawsuit

The individuals named in the motion are:

Ӣ Mark Lawrence, who was bishop to local Episcopalians from 2006 until December 2012, when the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church accepted his renunciation as a bishop of TEC. Members of the breakaway group still recognize him as their bishop.

Ӣ Jim Lewis, who was Canon to the Ordinary of the diocese, and continues to use that title in the breakaway organization.

”¢ Jeffrey Miller, who has been president of the Standing Committee of the diocese. Miller also is rector of St. Helena’s, Beaufort, one of the congregations that filed suit against TEC.

Ӣ Paul Fuener, who has been president of the Standing Committee. Fuener also is rector of Prince George-Winyah in Georgetown, another plaintiff in the suit against TEC.

Read it all.

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

The TEC Bishop of Pittsburgh Announces he will Allow Same Sex Blessings

Since this local character exists in variety of conviction, I find it reasonable that this variety should be allowed to express itself in local practice, by allowing the decision of whether or not to use this rite to be made by each pastor, in his or her own parish. This “local option” will allow each rector or priest-in-charge to minister pastorally according to his or her commitments and conscience, while putting none under constraint or duress.

Having said this, I must also be clear, both as your bishop and from my own place in this spectrum of belief, that I have serious reservations concerning the theology and intention of the rite, for reasons I have specified in an assessment that appears below. I know that at least a few of the clergy inclined to use this rite share some of my concerns about it; I also know they see it as a way of offering public recognition and pastoral support to same-sex couples in whom qualities of mutual devotion and fidelity, care and nurture, and faithful participation in the life of the Church are clearly visible. It is out of respect for their local pastoral authority, as well as out of my own pastoral regard for the free conscience of all who are under their care, that I will allow the use of this rite according to the guidelines that also appear below.

As for the somewhat related matter of ordained ministry, I believe the principal determining factor in regard to my role as ordinary rests in my discernment, in concert with the Church, as to whether God is calling any given individual to Holy Orders. Therefore, I will not alter the non-discrimination policy begun under Bishop Price; an individual’s being in a committed same-sex partnership will not, in and of itself, be a barrier either to ordination or call in this diocese.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

West Hackney Rector’s choir takes on X Factor winner in race for the Christmas No.1

An East End rector is entering the race for the Christmas No 1 as a rank outsider, taking on Lily Allen, Robbie Williams and the winner of The X Factor to challenge for the top slot in the charts.

The Rev Niall Weir, rector of St Paul’s in West Hackney, London, is hoping to repeat the success of his first and only Christmas chart hit to date, which earned £30,000 for his local community in 1991.

He has assembled a choir of 60 people, including the homeless, recovering drug addicts, vulnerable adults, pensioners and others who belong to the wide variety of charitable groups and organisations that use Stoke Newington church hall for their meetings.

Read it all from the [London] Times(requires subscription)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Christmas, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Movies & Television, Music, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Surprise! Man finds himself in audience full of people he saved as children from Nazi camps

Sir Nicholas Winton organized the rescue and passage to Britain of about 669 mostly Jewish Czechoslovakian children destined for the Nazi death camps before World War II in an operation known as the Czech Kindertransport.

After the war, Nicholas Winton didn’t tell anyone, not even his wife Grete about his wartime rescue efforts. In 1988, a half century later, Grete found a scrapbook from 1939 in their attic, with all the children’s photos, a complete list of names, a few letters from parents of the children to Winton and other documents. She finally learned the whole story.

In the video [at the link] the survivors gathered to give him a wonderful surprise. Watch it all (Hat tip DR).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Czech Republic, England / UK, Europe, Germany, History, Judaism, Military / Armed Forces, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

(BBC) Doctor Who: Time travel through faith

As Doctor Who fans celebrate the series’s 50th anniversary Dr Andrew Crome, lecturer in the history of modern Christianity at the University of Manchester, explains how the time-travelling Doctor allows us to explore different beliefs and ethical viewpoints.

A near immortal crossing space and time, followers split over interpretation, characters in strange hats… Perhaps it is no surprise Doctor Who is sometimes described as a form of surrogate religion.

However, behind this light-hearted comparison lies a grain of truth, as Doctor Who has continually engaged with important religious themes across its 50-year run.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology