Daily Archives: May 15, 2014

Thursday Afternoon Mental Health Break–a 4 minute look at London from the Air via a Drone–WOW

Watch it all.

“Take from us all doubt and mistrust. Lift our thoughts up to thee….” as the prayer said this morning. Don’t miss the shot in the middle of Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Photos/Photography, Urban/City Life and Issues

(AFP) Sudan judge sentences Christian woman to death for apostasy

A Sudanese judge on Thursday sentenced a Christian woman to hang for apostasy, in a ruling which activists described as “abhorrent”.

Born to a Muslim father, the woman was convicted under the Islamic sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983 and outlaws conversions on pain of death.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, 27, is married to a Christian and eight months pregnant, human rights activists say.

“We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged,” Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa told the woman, addressing her by her father’s Muslim name, Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah.

Khalifa also sentenced Ishag to 100 lashes for “adultery”. Under Sudan’s interpretation of sharia, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man and any such relationship is regarded as adulterous.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Theology, Women

Archbishop Justin Welby on the South Sudan crisis – video

The church in South Sudan is ‘leading the struggle against violence’ says Archbishop Justin Welby in this interview with Episcopal News Service

Read and watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, --South Sudan, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Sudan, Theology, Violence

Iowa news Anchor rips into viewers that complain about Tornado coverage interrupting their TV shows

Watch it all. The Wash. Post wrote up the background:

Sorry, if the pivotal episode of your favorite TV show is on and a tornado warning is issued, TV stations can, should, and will cut in and cut off programming to provide potentially life-saving storm coverage.

Typically, the shows are streamed online, either in real-time or after the fact for your viewing pleasure.

But that never stops some angry viewers from bombarding stations with nasty complaints over missing such indispensable shows as Grey’s Anatomy and Big Bang. They sometimes take the form of obscenity-laden tirades. Gawker reproduces some of these selfish missives, too profane to share here.

Monday morning, something beautiful happened. KSFY anchor Nancy Naeve ”“ out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota ”“ spoke her mind on this disgusting practice…

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Media, Movies & Television, Weather

(Telegraph) Allison Pearson–Girls everywhere need protecting from Islamists

It was like a scene from a movie, except there was no Iron Man swooping to the rescue. More than a hundred girls sitting in a clearing, chanting the Koran. Their eyes downcast, the girls were swathed in ghostly grey and black hijabs. Their captors said this was evidence that they had “converted to Islam”, but their fear was palpable. They held themselves unnaturally still, as though to move would mean death.

Many of the girls were abducted on April 14 from a school in northern Nigeria, which means they have had less than a month to memorise those Koranic verses, or at least to have the chants beaten into them. More than half of the 276 stolen girls were missing from the terrorists’ video. Among them were Rebeccas and Esthers and Ruths ”“ lovely, strong Biblical names. One girl was led to the front and told to give a Muslim name, not her Christian one. You wondered about her missing sisters and whether they had displeased their captors by refusing to surrender either their name or their faith.

“These girls you occupy yourselves with”¦ we have indeed liberated them. These girls have become Muslims,” jeered Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram. He addresses the camera as if he were straight out of Evil Villain school.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

(WSJ) Euro-Zone Economy Shows Weaker-Than -Expected Expansion

The euro zone’s economy expanded at a weak pace last quarter despite a strong recovery in Germany, putting added pressure on the European Central Bank to enact fresh easing measures to prevent the region from sliding into a lengthy period of low inflation and economic stagnation.

Gross domestic product grew 0.2% in the euro zone during the first quarter compared with the final three months of 2013, the European Union’s statistics agency Eurostat said Thursday, well short of the 0.4% quarterly gain expected by economists.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology

Food for Thought from J.R.R. Tolkien for a Thursday

‘Despair, or folly?’ said Gandalf. ‘It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy!

–J.R.R. Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings (Mariner Books 2012 reissue of the 1954 original), p. 302 (emphasis mine)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Anthropology, Books, Christology, Eschatology, Notable & Quotable, Theology

Radio NZ Interviews Archbishop Philip Richardson on the Synod decision

What does “recognise” mean?

Listen to it all (about 4 1/2 minutes). You may read more Philip Richardson there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

NZ Herald on the NZ Synod Decision– Anglican church approves same-sex relationships, not marriage

The Anglican Church has agreed to look at ways same-sex relationships can be part of church life, but will not marry gay couples.

The church’s General Synod, held at Waitangi this week, has decided to uphold the “traditional doctrine of marriage” but work towards ways to recognise committed same sex relationships.

In a statement, the church said the Synod recognised the pain to the LGTB community, and apologised unreservedly for the times the church had contributed to that pain.

A working party will now be appointed to look at options for same gender blessings, while mindful gay marriage is still unlawful in some Pacific countries.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(ABC Aus.) Discovering the treasures of Bathurst's Anglican cathedral

The current-day church sits on the same patch of land as the original cathedral when it was built in 1848.

“Unfortunately in this area, there’s a river bed right down low and the old cathedral didn’t have good enough foundations,” says the co-ordinator of the cathedral’s guides, Lalage Gabb.

“In 1895 they decided to put heating in and they put in a furnace below ground, which dried-out the clay and caused the old cathedral to crack.

“In 1911, the Bishop wanted to replace the cathedral. If the present occupational health and safety laws had been in, the cathedral would’ve been closed because it was dropping bits off it,” she says.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

Brave New World? Robots Could be Programmed to Kill You For a Greater Cause

It happens quickly””more quickly than you, being human, can fully process.

A front tire blows, and your autonomous SUV swerves. But rather than veering left, into the opposing lane of traffic, the robotic vehicle steers right. Brakes engage, the system tries to correct itself, but there’s too much momentum. Like a cornball stunt in a bad action movie, you are over the cliff, in free fall.

Your robot, the one you paid good money for, has chosen to kill you. Better that, its collision-response algorithms decided, than a high-speed, head-on collision with a smaller, non-robotic compact. There were two people in that car, to your one. The math couldn’t be simpler.

This, roughly speaking, is the problem presented by Patrick Lin, an associate philosophy professor and director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at California Polytechnic State University….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology, Theology

(NYT) The 9/11 Story Told at Bedrock, Powerful as a Punch to the Gut

After a decade marked by deep grief, partisan rancor, war, financial boondoggles and inundation from Hurricane Sandy, the National September 11 Memorial Museum at ground zero is finally opening ceremonially on Thursday, with President Obama present, and officially to the public next Wednesday. It delivers a gut-punch experience ”” though if ever a new museum had looked, right along, like a disaster in the making, this one did, beginning with its trifurcated identity.

Was it going to be primarily a historical document, a monument to the dead or a theme-park-style tourist attraction? How many historical museums are built around an active repository of human remains, still being added to? How many cemeteries have a $24 entrance fee and sell souvenir T-shirts? How many theme parks bring you, repeatedly, to tears?

Because that’s what the museum does….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Art, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Parish Ministry, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord God, in whom we live and move and have our being, open our eyes that we may behold thy fatherly presence ever about us. Draw our hearts to thee by the power of thy love. Teach us to be anxious for nothing, and when we have done what thou hast given us to do, help us, O God our Saviour, to leave the issue to thy wisdom. Take from us all doubt and mistrust. Lift our thoughts up to thee in heaven; and make us to know that all things are possible to us through thy Son, our Redeemer Jesus Christ.

–B. F. Westcott

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ”˜You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ”˜You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.”

–Matthew 5:21-26

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(FT) David Pilling–Narendra Modi should stick to his pledge of toilets before temples

Narendra Modi, the man most likely to become India’s next prime minister, has a wicked turn of phrase. In one of his most memorable remarks, he subverted his strong association with Hindu asceticism by declaring his support for “toilets before temples”. The same phrase, spoken by a Congress party cabinet minister, had provoked outrage from the Bharatiya Janata party of which Mr Modi is head. The BJP said the remark threatened to “destroy the fine fabric of religion and faith”. But the party hierarchy, knowing that its fate depends on the so-called “Modi wave”, barely demurred when its candidate adopted the slogan as his own.

The BJP leader is quite right to declare that India should spend less money on devotion and more on sanitation. According to 2011 census data, nearly half of households have no access to a toilet, forcing inhabitants to defecate in the open. More Indians own a mobile phone than a lavatory of their own. Poor hygiene, not lack of food, is the main reason that 40 per cent of children are malnourished. Much of Mr Modi’s appeal, which has swept through India like a brush fire, lies in his promise to conjure the growth that will eradicate such dire conditions and set his supporters on the road to a middle-class life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Asia, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Hinduism, Housing/Real Estate Market, India, Inter-Faith Relations, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Other Faiths, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Vatican Radio) Archbishop David Moxon expects "significant progress" at ARCIC talks

As the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission meeting continues its work in Durban, South Africa, the head of Rome’s Anglican Centre says he expects “significant progress” at the 10 day meeting. Archbishop David Moxon, who serves as the Anglican co-chair of the ARCIC III talks that run from May 12th to 20th, also told Vatican Radio that new collaboration in mission has brought the dialogue to “the verge of something quite new which will bear real fruit”

The theme for this fourth phase of the current ARCIC talks is to explore the Church as Communion, local and universal, and how, together, they come to discern correct ethical teaching. Just before his departure for Durban, Archbishop Moxon sat down with Philippa Hitchen to talk about the goals of the meeting and his own hopes for the future of Anglican-Catholic relations….

Read and listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Politico) Who watches the watchers? Big Data goes unchecked

The National Security Agency might be tracking your phone calls. But private industry is prying far more deeply into your life.

Commercial data brokers know if you have diabetes. Your electric company can see what time you come home at night. And tracking companies can tell where you go on weekends by snapping photos of your car’s license plate and cataloging your movements.

Congress and the administration have moved to rein in the National Security Agency in the year since Edward Snowden disclosed widespread government spying. But Washington has largely given private-sector data collection a free pass. The result: a widening gap in oversight as private data mining races ahead. Companies are able to scoop up ever more information ”” and exploit it with ever greater sophistication ”” yet a POLITICO review has found deep reluctance in D.C. to exercise legislative, regulatory or executive power to curb the big business of corporate cybersnooping.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology