Daily Archives: February 7, 2014

(WSJ) Nicholas Hahn: The Pope's Chicago Cardinal

The pope’s choice will likely signal how he intends to steer the Catholic Church in America. “I think this is going to be the most important decision by Pope Francis for the U.S. church,” Massimo Faggioli, an assistant professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, told the Associated Press last week.

Mr. Faggioli might be right. Chicago is regarded by many Catholics as America’s premier archdiocese. Its bishops become leaders of the church in the U.S., either in name or through influence. Cardinal Francis George, who has held that position since 1998 and is the former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (2007-10), has become an intellectual hero for conservatives. One of his most prominent messages has been to decry the mounting dangers to religious freedom in the West. Liberals have often found him wanting, and fondly recall his predecessor, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, as an example of the sort of new leader in Chicago that Pope Francis should select. As so often happens with those trying to interpret Pope Francis, on the left and the right, they see in him a reflection of their own hopes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Telegraph) A day in the life of one of Britain's 22 railway chaplains

My nickname, among those I work with as a railway chaplain, is the “Flying Vicar”. Being an ex-railwayman myself, I take it as a compliment. Usually my former colleagues can be depended on to come up with something so much worse.

Why “flying”, I’ve often asked? “Because you’re here, there and everywhere,” they reply. And that just about sums up the 37-hour week I’m contracted to do, plus the many extra hours I put in each and every week. I roam all over the place, from my home base in Preston, covering the whole north-west railway region.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Travel

A Church Times Poll shows a lack of trust in C of E General Synod

Fewer than one quarter of respondents to the Church Times readership survey have confidence in the General Synod’s leadership. In contrast, nearly three-quarters have confidence in the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Out of 4620 respondents, polled last summer and autumn, 73 per cent agreed with the statement “I have confidence in the leadership given by the Archbishop of Canterbury.” Only seven per cent disagreed.

When it came to the General Synod, however, only 23 per cent agreed. Forty-one per cent were uncertain, and 37 per cent disagreed.Read it all.

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

(CC) Sharon Ely Pearson: What reaches children?

When some of us think of Sunday school, we envision a group of children in child-size chairs listening to an adult read a Bible story. Behind them is a bulletin board filled with maps of the Holy Land and the children’s art work, with a chart on the wall boasting lines of gold stars for each child’s attendance. Everyone colors in a workbook and can’t wait to take home the handout that the teacher distributes.

The reality is much more varied and uncertain. As an editor and Christian formation specialist, I hear teachers report that “faithful families,” those that used to attend once a week, now attend only once or twice a month. The children are less willing to sit quietly listening to one adult and are eager, accustomed to and restless for programs that involve them in active, participatory roles. And no more two-sided text-heavy handouts. Any hands-on materials must compete or coordinate with technological and media entertainments. Now we see Sunday school curricula marketed with pop music CDs, cheesy videos, Internet companion sites and cheap trinkets””all to make the lesson entertaining and easy to use.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Archbishop Justin Welby visits HEAL Africa in Goma

Archbishop Justin visited HEAL Africa in Goma today with the Archbishop of Congo and the UK’s Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, to learn more about the devastating impact of sexual violence in conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and see how the Anglican Church is working to end it.

HEAL Africa, a hospital which provides medical, psychosocial, spiritual and economic support to survivors of sexual violence, is run in partnership with the Anglican Church of the Congo and Tearfund.

The Archbishop is on the final day of a week-long visit to Anglican leaders in South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda and the DRC.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

SC Diocese Seeks to End TEC Stalling Tactics by Asking State Supreme Court to Hear Appeal

Read it all.
CHARLESTON, SC, February 6, 2014 ”“ The Diocese of South Carolina today asked the South Carolina Supreme Court to intervene in an appeal filed “primarily for the purpose of delay” by The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its local subsidiary, The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC).

TEC’s appeal challenges a lower court ruling on the process both sides may use in discovery leading up to a trial that will decide whether the denomination may seize South Carolina property, including churches and the diocesan symbols. The diocese argues that TEC is appealing a court order that is “unappealable”.

“[TEC and TECSC] are misusing the judicial system to delay resolution of this case,” says the diocese’s request for Supreme Court action. “Their strategy of appealing an interlocutory order is evidence of that intent. This is the same strategy that caused eight months to be wasted at the start of this case in federal court where they asked the federal court to override the state court injunction.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, Theology

(WSJ) Poll Shows Complicated, Contradictory Feelings on Economy

How do Americans feel about the economy? That depends on how you ask.
A strong majority of Americans think the U.S. economy remains troubled, but they also are growing more optimistic about their personal financial situations, an NBC News/Marist Poll released Wednesday found.
About six in 10 Americans””up from 54% last July””say the U.S. is still in a recession, and 63% think the country is moving in the wrong direction. (Officially, the recession ended in June 2009.)

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(Wired) Marcus Wohlsen–How Amazon Forced CVS to Stop Selling Cigarettes

The new Flow feature in Amazon’s mobile app epitomizes just how aggressively the retail giant is pressing its technological advantage to win the market for everyday merchandise. Need more ketchup or dish soap? Just aim your camera at the empty bottle. Suddenly your whole house is an Amazon showroom.

In a way, Flow is gimmicky: Most of this stuff has barcodes you could already scan at home, too. But every step Amazon takes to make buying smoother equals one more reason to skip a trip to the store. Says WIRED’s Roberto Baldwin: “It’s all part of the company’s goal to take you from ”˜I need that’ to ”˜I bought that’ in less than 30 seconds.”

That’s especially threatening to a store like CVS, which sells consumer packaged goods ”” commodity products that everyone else stocks, too. CVS can’t compete with Amazon on selection or price. It can’t even compete on consumer desire to see and feel before they buy: Do you really need to hold that tube of toothpaste? The only advantage left is getting something right when you want it ”” what retailers call the “top-off.” The closer Amazon gets to on-demand ”” imagine combing Flow with same-day delivery or vending machines ”” the more CVS loses its last justification for maintaining physical stores.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Cornelius the Centurion

O God, who by thy Spirit didst call Cornelius the Centurion to be the first Christian among the Gentiles: Grant to thy Church, we beseech thee, such a ready will to go where thou dost send and to do what thou dost command, that under thy guidance it may welcome all who turn to thee in love and faith, and proclaim the Gospel to all nations; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Blessed Lord, who for our sakes wast content to bear sorrow and want and death: Grant to us such a measure of thy Spirit that we may follow thee in all self-denial and tenderness of soul. Help us by thy great love to succour the afflicted, to relieve the needy, to share the burdens of the heavy laden, and ever to see thee in all that are poor and destitute; for thy great mercy’s sake.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? –“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

–Hebrews 12:3-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Fleming Rutledge–Philip Seymour Hoffman's Death is about the bondage of the will by demonic powers

The outpouring of grief all around the country, but especially in the environs of New York City where “Phil” lived and worked, has been extraordinary and has, perhaps, taken some observers by surprise. The acute pain of my own grief has not abated for days; indeed, it has grown. I loved this actor beyond all others. There was a core of sensitivity and empathy at the heart of everything he did, even when playing the most unattractive characters. I was collecting his films, but in a desultory way, assuming that there was no particular urgency. Like many others who knew his work but not his personal story, I had no idea of the struggle he’d had. The idea that there will be no more performances is almost unbearable. He wasn’t just a “character actor,” though he certainly played a lot of characters; he had a range that, the more I think about it, was Shakespearean in its humanity. I can’t even name a favorite performance; it was true of him across the board (or boards). I was looking forward to whatever he did next; now we can only play his old movies and suffer our loss. Now we will never see him play King Lear, a dismal thought that has occurred to several theatre critics who have lamented in print.

James Lipton, dean emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in New York City, widely known as the creator and host of Inside the Actors Studio on Bravo, was interviewed by CNN (I think it was). I don’t remember ever seeing a scheduled television appearance at the time of a death that was so ferociously in the moment, not studied, not thought out ahead of time, just pure rage and grief. He seemed to be gripping the table (he may not have been, but it seemed that way) as he almost spat out his fury at “god-damned drugs.” He was liberal on most things, he said, but when it came to drugs he felt nothing but implacable opposition and hatred. It was good to hear that. We don’t hear it often enough. I remember when Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning after years of drug abuse. Someone said, “She made bad choices.” As if a person in the throes of addiction has a choice! This isn’t about choices or “free will.” This is about the bondage of the will by demonic powers.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Theatre/Drama/Plays, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(ACNS) CAPA Primates to review Church’s involvement on the African continent

Primates from across Africa are meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, this weekend to discuss the Church’s role in promoting stability across the continent.

The meeting has been organised by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) to enable Primates to “positively engage with each other in their various contexts of their calling, to become drivers of dialogue around pertinent issues in their respective countries.”

“Africa [is] a land of great promise but we are still riddled with all kinds of challenges,” said CAPA General Secretary, Canon Grace Kaiso. “The Church in my view is indispensable in finding solutions to Africa’s problems. So am anticipating some deep reflection to take place and clear mechanisms to be developed for the Primates to carry the agreed tasks forward….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) More Men in Prime Working Ages Don't Have Jobs

[Mark] Riley’s frustration is widely shared. More than one in six men ages 25 to 54, prime working years, don’t have jobs””a total of 10.4 million. Some are looking for jobs; many aren’t. Some had jobs that went overseas or were lost to technology. Some refuse to uproot for work because they are tied down by family needs or tethered to homes worth less than the mortgage. Some rely on government benefits. Others depend on working spouses.

Having so many men out of work is partly a symptom of a U.S. economy slow to recover from the worst recession in 75 years. It is also a chronic condition that shows how technology and globalization are transforming jobs faster than many workers can adapt, economists say.

The trend has been building for decades, according to government data. In the early 1970s, just 6% of American men ages 25 to 54 were without jobs. By late 2007, it was 13%. In 2009, during the worst of the recession, nearly 20% didn’t have jobs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Men, Middle Age, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--