Daily Archives: December 10, 2013
Brian Pellot: Let’s start with some of your general impressions of North Korea. Very few foreign journalists have reported from there in recent years. Why did you go?
John Sweeney: North Korea is the darkest place on earth, both literally and metaphorically. You can actually see how dark the country is from space. It’s almost as if it isn’t even there. It’s also the darkest place I’ve ever been to in terms of information. I used to be a war reporter. I went to CeauÈ™escu’s Romania, Saddam’s Iraq, Gadhafi’s Libya. I’ve been to about a dozen tyrannies. In Iraq and Libya, I’d meet people who would let you know their government is full of shit. That didn’t happen in North Korea. It feels like bad science fiction there. It’s like walking inside the “The Matrix.” It’s really weird and creepy. I wanted to shed some light on this dark state to show how North Korea is using nuclear blackmail against the West. Behind the mask of this, there is an immense human rights tragedy unfolding.
– See more at: http://brianpellot.religionnews.com/2013/12/10/bbcs-john-sweeney-north-koreas-zombie-gods/#sthash.Woi7GkV8.dpuf
Please pray for the Meeting of the Church of England Bishops urgently as they consider their response to the Pilling Report and its recommendations.
Prayers may be found here
As the Affordable Care Act’s deadline for getting health insurance approaches, 30% of U.S. adults still say that they, or a family member, have put off medical treatment in the past year because of the cost. This figure has been stable since 2005, but is higher than it was between 2001 and 2004.
Uninsured Americans are more than twice as likely as those who have Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance to say they put off medical treatment. Fifty-nine percent of the uninsured have done so, compared with roughly one-quarter of those with Medicare or Medicaid (22%) or private health insurance (25%).
What strikes the analyst of the “War on Christmas” stories, or at least what struck me, was the difference in tone by sets of writers or broadcasters on both, or all, sides of the “culture wars”””there’s that “war” image again””as they dealt with the events, personalities, and trends. The Mandela stories did justice to the flaws of the imperfect human who led causes for freedom in South Africa and inspired strugglers globally, but almost all were written in respectful, humane tones. After all, the Mandela effect is one of reconciliation, even though it was born of conflicts past, whose after-stories linger.
In contrast, both, and all, sides in “The War on Christmas” stories were disrespectful, never empathic. Their authors gave no sign that they could understand why those on the other side were stirred to battle, and they gave every sign that they regarded their side in the argument as totally right in their self-chosen Total War.
Baby boomers are calling for a timeout.
After decades of raising children and climbing the corporate ladder, they’re weary of the same old routine. But they’re so caught up in high-pressure jobs that they don’t have the time and energy to figure out what to do next.
Enter the career break.
Inspired by high-school and college students who take “gap” or “bridge” years, more baby boomers are taking an extended leave from the working world. Their goal: to relax, re-energize and reflect upon what they want to do next””which often means heading down an entirely new and more fulfilling career path.
Read it all from the WSJ.
…the launch by the Church of England of a phone app that gives the prayers and Bible readings of the day might short-circuit the arcana of religious practice. You could say your prayers with the help of your smartphone on the top deck of a bus.
Or it could be doubly alienating: a barrier for those who don’t know what worshippers get up to at Evensong, to whom Mag and Nunc sound like the names of glove-puppets, and a parallel wall excluding those who don’t really know what an app is. There are such folk.
I’ve just test-driven the ordinary online content provided (free) on the Church of England website by clicking on the link “Join us in Daily Prayer”….
The Church of England is on the brink of appointing its first gay bishop.
The Dean of St Albans, Dr Jeffrey John, came within one vote of being recommended as the new Bishop of Exeter, The Times has learnt. The successful candidate to succeed the Right Rev Michael Langrish is to be announced soon.
This is thought to be the first time that Dr John has made the shortlist for a diocesan post, although he has been longlisted several times. It means that he is back on the “list” of candidates for bishoprics. Senior insiders believe that it is only a matter of time before he gets a diocesan post, with the money being on the liberal-catholic diocese of Europe.
Read it all (subscription required).
Britain’s most senior judges are preparing to make a landmark ruling over attempts to introduce a ”right to die” under human rights legislation.
A full panel of nine Supreme Court Justices, headed by Lord Neuberger, the court’s President, is to be convened next week to hear the culmination of three separate legal challenges to the current ban on assisted suicide.
The three cases have been put into one “super-case” to allow a sweeping judgment on the current state of the law in England and Wales.
The House of Bishops of the Church of England has today welcomed eight women as participant observers to its meetings. The welcome follows the election of the eight senior women clergy from regions across the country.
In February of this year the House decided that until such time as there are six female members of the House, following the admission of women to the episcopate, a number of senior women clergy should be given the right to attend and speak at meetings of the House as participant observers. The necessary change to the House’s Standing Orders was made in May.
Almighty God, source of justice beyond human knowledge: We offer thanks that thou didst inspire Karl Barth to resist tyranny and exalt thy saving grace, without which we cannot apprehend thy will. Teach us, like him, to live by faith, and even in chaotic and perilous times to perceive the light of thy eternal glory, Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, throughout all ages. Amen.
Eternal God, who rulest the world from everlasting to everlasting: Speak to our hearts when men faint for fear, and the love of many grows cold, and there is distress of nations upon earth. Keep us resolute and steadfast in the things that cannot be shaken; and make us to lift up our eyes and behold, beyond the things that are seen and temporal, the things that are unseen and eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O LORD, I love the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy glory dwells.
Despite rampant commercialization, the holiday season also has become a lifeline for nonprofits. One-third of all giving now takes place during the last three months of each year. About 18 percent of all giving to nonprofits last year occurred in December alone.
So far, it looks like that giving spirit will soar higher this year.
The Blackbaud Index, which measures charitable giving trends, announced last week that giving nationwide grew 2.3 percent for the three months ending October 2013 compared to the same time in 2012. Online giving increased almost 10 percent.
Read it all from the Faith and Values section of the local paper.
It has become conventional wisdom in recent years that America is in decline, perhaps terminally so.
Josef Joffe, a professor at Stanford and editor of the German weekly magazine Die Zeit, turns this mindset on its head in his new book: The Myth of America’s Decline.”
It’s a cyclical phenomenon,” Joffe says of the predictions of America’s decline. But just as “declinists” were wrong about Russia in the 1950s and Japan in the 1980s, current forecasts about America playing second fiddle to China will also prove wrong, he says.
The Archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute to Nelson Mandela on Sunday at a special thanksgiving service for the life of the South African leader.
“Great injustice is overcome only by great courage. Evil can never be placated, it must be defeated. That means struggle, and struggles demand courage,” Archbishop Justin said in a sermon at St-Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square.
The service, which was led by the Vicar of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, the Revd Dr Sam Wells, featured a live link to Christ the King church in Sophiatown in Johannesburg.