Daily Archives: January 11, 2014

(Seattle Times) After a lifetime of giving, it's tough to ask for help

Throughout their married life, Greg and Renee Wood have always been the ones who take care of other people.

As Christian pastors for nearly 20 years, they tended to the spiritual – and temporal – needs of their congregation.

As parents, they raised six children of their own while also taking in dozens of abused youngsters….

…when the Woods found themselves sick, unemployed and on the brink of being evicted from their home earlier this year, asking for help didn’t come easily to them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Theology

([London] Times) Wells Cathedral defends showing ”˜debauched film of Christ’s life’

The 1988 film [The Last Temptation of Christ] stars Willem Dafoe as a Jesus Christ who imagines himself subject to temptations including lust, and David Bowie as Pontius Pilate. Barbara Hershey won a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress as Mary Magdalene. The film’s original release led to protests and it is still banned in some countries.

Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury who was previously Bishop of Bath and Wells, defended the cathedral. “I would have no problem with this and support the Dean and Chapter,” he said.

The diocese is about to get a new bishop, the Right Rev Peter Hancock, currently Bishop of Basingstoke. He declined to comment but another conservative evangelical warned that there could be protests. “It has got a heterodox view of Christ. It has upset people,” he said.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Theology

Education reviewer Kevin Donnelly makes case for more religion to be taught in Aus. public schools

There should be more religious education in Australian schools, says one of the men tasked with reviewing the national curriculum.

Former teacher and ex-Liberal Party staffer Kevin Donnelly says Australian education has become too secular, and the federation’s Judeo-Christian heritage should be better reflected in the curriculum.

The review was announced yesterday by Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne, after concerns the curriculum had become too left-leaning and was failing students.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Children, Education, History, Religion & Culture

(Economist Leader) How to tax and regulate marijuana

Legalisation is just the first step. Pot must also be regulated. Because it is more dangerous than chocolate or chips, it needs to be subject to more stringent safety checks than food. As with alcohol, anybody who wants to produce it for sale, or sell it, should be licensed, as they will be in Colorado. It should carry clear labels showing its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, just as cans of beer display their alcoholic strength””consumers should know what they are smoking. Colorado seems to be handling this well: labels are clear, safety rules stringent.

Deciding how to tax the stuff means asking some fundamental questions. Where governments want to raise revenue without distorting markets, the best approach is to charge businesses a flat fee, like a cab licence. Firms then have an incentive to do as much business as they can. But where governments want to discourage consumption””as with cigarettes and alcohol””they should tax each unit sold.

Although marijuana does not harm people as reliably as cigarettes do, nor””as alcohol does””incite citizens to kill each other, it is not good for you. And although too little research has been done on the extent of the harm it can do, it is thought to raise the risk of schizophrenia and undermine motivation. This argues for a consumption tax, and a fairly stiff one at that.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

(Telegraph) Christopher Howse–The Pope and the Salvation Army

What is the difference between the General of the Salvation Army and the Pope? Less than I presumed a week ago. Both, of course, care about the poor, which has ever been a mark of the Church.
“Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life,” declared St John Chrysostom 1,600 years ago. “The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.”
Until last week, I’d thought the Salvation Army was Calvinist. That is no crime. But the Army, I find, believes that the “saved” can backslide. “We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.” That is No 8 in the 11 succinct doctrines of the Salvation Army. As William Booth put it in 1879: “We are a salvation people ”“ this is our speciality ”“ getting saved and keeping saved, and then getting somebody else saved, and then getting saved ourselves more and more.” One hostile commentator on the internet characterises such a belief as “demonic works-salvation”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Christology, Church History, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Soteriology, Theology

(CSM) Cyber-security: Small satellite dish systems called ripe for hacking

Thousands of small satellite dish-based computer systems that transmit often-sensitive data from far flung locations worldwide ”“ oil rigs, ships at sea, banks, and even power grid substations ”“ are at high risk of being hacked, including many in the United States, a new cyber-security report has found.

Very-small-aperture terminals, or VSATs, are workhorses for the oil and gas industry, utilities, and even news media. Journalists send reports via VSAT from firebases in Afghanistan, energy companies gather production data from oil drilling operations, and retail outlets send sales data back to corporate headquarters every day. Banks use VSATs for transactions between branches and headquarters.

But at least 10,500 of those terminals globally are wide open to being hacked, including some used in critical US infrastructure systems, according to the new report by IntelCrawler, a Los Angeles-based cyber-security firm.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Movies & Television, Science & Technology, Theology

(Guardian) Schoolgirls end Canterbury's tradition of male-only singing

Sixteen schoolgirls are to make history by ending a tradition of male-only choral singing at Canterbury Cathedral stretching back more than a thousand years.

The girls took part in their first full rehearsal this week and will make their debut, dressed in purple cassocks and white surplices, at evensong on 25 January. “It is all a completely new experience,” said Ellen Spurling, 15, from Pett Bottom, near Canterbury, one of the choir. “I have not done anything like it. We have had choral arrangements at school but nothing like this.”

The rehearsal was memorable, she said, but “to be able to sing like you have seen boys do, in the choir stalls, will be amazing”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Women

(The State) Interfaith dialogue alive and well in South Carolina

Aziz Tajuddin witnesses the richness of interfaith harmony every time he looks around the table during extended family gatherings.

Tajuddin, a retired Laurens County chemical engineer who practices the Baha’i faith, is married to an Episcopalian. His grown children also have been raised in the Christian faith. His sister-in-law from Louisiana is Roman Catholic. A niece from Charlotte is Muslim, the faith he was born into, and her husband is Jewish.

“So there is my interfaith activity,” said Tajuddin, who is active in the nonprofit Interfaith Partners of South Carolina.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Inter-Faith Relations, Religion & Culture

(IBD) Worst Jobs Gain In Years Muddles Recovery Story

Employers added just 74,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department said Friday, the weakest hiring in nearly three years and less than half what was expected, abruptly halting a string of recent rosy reports about the labor market and economy.
The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to a five-year low of 6.7% from 7%. But that’s only because workforce participation tumbled, pushing the participation rate back to 62.8%, the lowest since 1978. If it had held steady since December 2007, the jobless rate would be 11.2%.
Hours worked fell 0.3% in December, the worst drop in three years. Meanwhile, hourly earnings grew just 1.8% on the year.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We thank thee, O God, that thou didst give thy Son Jesus Christ to be the light of the world, and that in him thou hast revealed thy glory and the wonder of thy saving love. Help us to love thee who hast so loved us; strengthen us for the service of thy kingdom; and grant that the light of Christ may so shine throughout the world that men everywhere may be drawn to him who is the Saviour and Lord of all, and the whole earth be filled with thy glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Current Numbers for Unemployment and Underemployment in America–Looking Yet again at U-6

The U6 unemployment rate tabulates not only people without work who are seeking full-time employment but also counts “marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons.”

Please take the time to study this graph of U-6 at the top and look carefully at the other numbers. What do you see? Seasonally adjusted U-6 unemployment is now
still higher than it was in November of 2008, over 5 years ago. While there has been improvement from the worst levels of the great recession, it is hardly anywhere near what could be called healthy.

Those of you who are data hounds (like yours truly) will perhaps appreciate the table here; there is much more material at the BLS website–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

(NY Times) Just as Hopes Were Lifting, a Meager Growth in Payrolls in today's Employment Report

In a blow to hopes that the economy was finally gaining momentum, the government reported on Friday that employers added jobs last month at the slowest pace in three years, although some experts cautioned that wintry weather in many parts of the country may have skewed the data.

In December, employers added just 74,000 jobs, the Labor Department said, well below the 200,000 gain many economists had been looking for. The latest figures were a reversal from healthier monthly payroll gains in the fall that had convinced many economists ”“ as well as policy makers at the Federal Reserve ”“ that the labor market was on a more solid footing.

The unemployment rate did fall to 6.7 percent from 7 percent in November, the lowest since November 2008. But that was largely because of people dropping out of the work force rather than finding jobs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(CNN) Paul Melly–Why the Central African Republic is slipping close to catastrophe

Is the Central African Republic the world’s next Rwanda? That’s the question some are beginning to ask about a crisis that has been going on for most of this year but has only just burst through into the mainstream international mass media.

Warlords ruling the countryside by terror, a government that is almost toothless and the collapse of institutions have forced 0.4 million people to flee their homes and left a million dependent on aid.

And now reports of Muslim and Christian communities engaged in inter-communal violence have sparked concern about a slide into religious conflict. The “G-word” — genocide — has even been floated as a real risk by some observers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Central African Republic, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Theology, Violence

Medical University of South Carolina's online nursing program ranked #2 in the U.S.

MUSC’s online nursing degree program is one of the best in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of online degree programs.

The Medical University of South Carolina’s program was ranked No. 2, behind only St. Xavier University in Chicago. But MUSC was the top-ranked school among those that offer a doctorate of nursing online.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology