Daily Archives: April 23, 2014

(NYT) The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Best Off

The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction.

While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.

After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada ”” substantially behind in 2000 ”” now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.

Read it all from the front page of today’s NY Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Theology

Wesley Hill–What Kind of Friend Was Dietrich Bonhoeffer?

I can’t tell what Stackhouse intends with the sentence just before the parenthesis. Is he implying that if Marsh had ruminated a bit more, he might have concluded that a pursuit of friendship as intense as Bonhoeffer’s must have been fueled by sexual desire (thus lending credence to the idea that Bonhoeffer was gay, albeit celibate)? Or is Stackhouse rather suggesting that more interrogation on Marsh’s part would have shown our suspicion of Bonhoeffer’s being gay to be a post-gay-rights-era preoccupation, all too ready to classify people as either “gay” or “straight” and not attuned enough to the complexity, even for “straight” people, of desire in simple friendship? As I say, I can’t tell, but I’d like to continue the conversation.

In any case, as I’m nearing the end of working on my friendship book, I can say that reading Bonhoeffer and Bethge’s correspondence was one of the richest experiences I had in the course of my research. Other than Pavel Florensky’s The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, I doubt there was a book that taught me more about friendship than Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison. What struck me in reading it, perhaps in contrast to Marsh and Stackhouse’s views, was how unwieldy our categories are””either “homosexual” or “just friends”””when it comes to classifying a relationship as profound as Bonhoeffer and Bethge’s was.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Telegraph) Saint George’s Day: England’s patron saint celebrated across the country

Celebrations “from the archaic to the eccentric” are planned across England as David Cameron says St George’s Day has been overlooked for too long.

Celebrations will include a feast in Trafalgar Square, bell ringing at churches across the country and an annual “asparagus run” in Worcestershire to welcome in the harvest.

The day has also been commemorated with a Google Doodle, an animation showing George on horseback ready to fight the dragon.

Read it all.

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

Chemical weapons removal from Syria nearly complete

The destruction of the weapons would be one of the few positive developments in three years of war that has left tens of thousands of Syrians dead and forced millions from their homes. And it would allow the Obama administration to claim a success in its response to the use of chemical weapons in suburbs of Damascus, the Syrian capital, last August.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Health & Medicine, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Theology, Violence

Easter, Holy Week and Lent 2014–A Tour from the Diocese of London

Read it all and enjoy the great pictures.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Holy Week, Lent, Media, Parish Ministry, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue Statement on Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment

The Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in the United States (ARC-USA) has concluded a six-year round of dialogue with the release of “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Seeking a Unified Moral Witness,” approved at the most recent meeting February 24-25, 2014, at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. The meeting was chaired by Bishop John Bauerschmidt of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee; the Roman Catholic co-chairman, Bishop Ronald Herzog of Alexandria, Louisiana, was unable to attend for health reasons.

In 2008 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, asked the ARC-USA to address questions of ethics and the Christian life in the context of ecclesiology, in an effort to achieve greater clarity regarding areas of agreement and disagreement. They were aware that dialogue on these issues was also taking place between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion at the international level, and also in other bilateral dialogues between churches of various traditions.

The statement reflects on the way the two churches pursue the work of teaching and learning within the Christian moral life. It examines the extent to which their respective church structures influence the way they teach and what they teach on moral questions. Inquiries and discussions about moral formation and the teaching charism of the churches guided them in addressing this topic.

Read it all and please note the link to the full text pdf provided.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology

(WSJ) Manchester United Is Losing, but (Club Owners the) Glazers Aren't

The firing Tuesday of coach David Moyes followed Manchester United’s worst on-pitch performance in 24 years, seemingly vindicating those fans who foresaw failure under the team’s American owners.

From the point of view of those owners, the acquisition is hardly a bust. Since the Glazer family””owners of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers””gained control of United in 2005, team revenue has nearly doubled on the strength of licensing deals with corporate giants around the world. Since a 2012 offering that transferred 10% of the English soccer club to the public, the value of United shares has climbed 34% to $18.78. That suggests that the franchise is worth $3.1 billion””more than twice what the Glazers paid.

But their quick firing of Moyes””who only this season took over following the retirement of the legendary Alex Ferguson ””suggests the Glazer family doesn’t regard United’s popularity as unshakable, especially at a time when other Premier League teams are pursuing global sponsors and audiences and spending lavishly on players.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Sports

(LA Times) Moving in with parents becomes more common for the middle-aged

At a time when the still sluggish economy has sent a flood of jobless young adults back home, older people are quietly moving in with their parents at twice the rate of their younger counterparts.

For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians aged 50 to 64 who live in their parents’ homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

The jump is almost exclusively the result of financial hardship caused by the recession rather than for other reasons, such as the need to care for aging parents, said Steven P. Wallace, a UCLA professor of public health who crunched the data.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Faith, not just frescoes, drawing millions to cathedrals, says heritage chief Simon Thurley

The lure of Christian worship as much as the attraction of history and architecture is driving a boom in visits to cathedrals, according to the guardian of England’s national heritage.

Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said it was clear that cathedrals are bucking a national trend towards declining church attendance.

Official figures from the Church of England show that the 42 Anglican cathedrals in England alone attracted around 12 million visitors last year.

Read it all from the Telegraph.

Posted in Uncategorized

(Economist) Revving up–More young Britons are joining the priesthood

AT A recent school careers fair, one stall stood apart. Its attendant touted a job that involves 60-hour weeks, including weekends, and pays £24,000 ($40,000) a year. Despite her unpromising pitch, the young vicar drew a crowd.

God’s work is growing more difficult. Attendance on Sundays is falling; church coffers are emptying. Yet more young Britons are choosing to be priests. In 2013 the Church of England started training 113 20-somethings””the most for two decades (although still too few to replace retirees). The number of new trainees for the Roman Catholic priesthood in England and Wales has almost doubled since 2003, with 63 starting in 2012, and their average age has fallen.

Church recruiters have fought hard for this. Plummeting numbers of budding Catholic priests in the 1990s underlined the need for a new approach, says Christopher Jamison, a senior monk. The Church of England used to favour applicants with a few years’ experience in other professions. Now it sees that “youth and vitality are huge assets”, says Liz Boughton, who works for the church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Young Adults

Deborah Leighton–Duck Duck Goose

A colleague of mine who had two young adult children would often talk to me about their escapades. I’ll never forget how he referred to the two using distinctly different language. Of his son, he always used the passionately emphasized phrase, “my son,” without fail. Of his daughter, who had been somewhat of a disappointment to him, he loosely and almost apologetically called her, “our daughter,” as though he would’ve preferred to attribute her entirely to his wife, rather than claim her as his own.

In these genealogies in 1 Chronicles, God is counting those returned exiles (chapter 9) as the heirs of the spiritual promises that he made to their ancestors. By listing their names and tribes and parentage, God is claiming them as his own, even after their time of pronounced disobedience. God is saying, essentially, “you, too, are my people.”

For us, when we feel cut off from relationship with God and his people (now the church), whether because of blatant sin, spiritual apathy, or a dullness of belief, we need to hear again that we are spiritual descendants in a long line of believers. We are heirs of the promises of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, “for all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

God claims us as his own, saying to us, “you, too, through Jesus, are my people.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

South Carolina Dean Peet Dickinson's 2014 Easter Sermon–“Why Are You Weeping?”

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, who by triumphing over the power of darkness, didst Prepare our place in the New Jerusalem: Grant us, who are in this season giving thanks for thy resurrection, to praise thee in that city whereof thou art the light; where with the Father and the Holy Spirit thou livest and reignest, world without end.

–William Bright

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Mag”²dalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ”˜His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.

–Matthew 28:1-16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(F Th) Dale Coulter–Mission as Culture Formation

The very existence of the calendar reminds Christians that, as Robert Louis Wilken put it, “Christianity is a culture-forming religion.” Mission unfolds as nothing less than the re-making of human patterns of life and existence around a new story with cosmic implications. Wilken goes on to suggest that Christianity facilitated the making of more than one new civilization in part because it has no sacred tongue, no particular language or cultural system that it seeks to advance. Christianity advances culture through the ongoing formation of cultures, which occurs in the dance between retrieving the past, celebrating the local, and moving toward the global.

Indeed, the movement toward the global in Christian terms is simply a movement toward the End. However else one construes catholicity, its complete emergence, like the perfection of the saints, resides in that final ascent when the local fully expresses the global as all tribes and tongues gather around the throne of God. With its culmination in the celebration of Christ as King, the Christian calendar most crucially reminds believers that catholicity and culture formation go together as eschatological achievements.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Missions, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Nightline) How Our Selfie Obsession Has Turned Looking Good Into Fight for Internet Fame

…for many, it’s no longer good enough to just “be yourself” online, and selfie lovers want to put their best face forward.

“The days of that bare fresh face, no retouching, are kind of behind us. I think we’re all moving into an era that it’s so easy to do,” image and fashion consultant Lori Ann Robinson said.

Like millions of people, Triana Lavey loves taking selfies, but doesn’t always love the result. She uses the Perfect365 app to touch up her photos now, but she used to hate the way she looked so much that she underwent a radical transformation, all to look better online.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

Aus. Anglican Bishop uses his Easter message to urge re-think on abolishing suspended sentences

One of Tasmania’s leading religious leaders has used his Easter message to criticise one of the new Government’s key reforms.

The Anglican Bishop John Harrower has urged the government not to scrap suspended sentences, saying there is too much focus on locking up criminals rather than rehabilitating them.

Reverend Harrower today urged the congregation at St. David’s Cathedral to show compassion and love towards all.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Prison/Prison Ministry, Theology

(Dio. of Fort Worth) TEC suffers third loss in Texas Supreme Court

First came the ruling against TEC in the direct appeal we brought to the Texas Supreme Court, issued on August 30. Second came the denial of TEC’s request for the court to rehear (or reconsider) that ruling. And now comes their third loss, on April 17. The high court has denied TEC’s motion to recall the mandate it sent to the trial court, which would have “stayed the proceedings” (stopped the legal process in Texas) while they try to get a review of our case from the U.S Supreme Court. Apparently the state Justices agreed with our attorneys that it is highly unlikely the U.S. Supreme Court will review the case at this stage. Nonetheless, TEC has until June 19 to seek review at the national level.

The next step in the litigation here in Fort Worth is a hearing at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 24, in the courtroom of Judge John Chupp, where we have requested that he set aside the supersedeas order and refund to the Diocese the $100,000 cash bond we posted two years ago in order to maintain possession of our property. With his original decision having now been reversed by the Texas Supreme Court, there are no legal grounds for the order to remain in effect.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, Theology