Daily Archives: May 19, 2014

(Gallup) 1 in 5 in u.s. sees unemployment or jobs as the most important problem

Twenty percent of Americans name unemployment or jobs as the most important problem facing the country in May, up from 14% who mentioned these issues in April. Dysfunctional government (19%) and the economy in general (17%) also rank among the top problems.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(TGC) Ajith Fernando–Is It God’s Will for All Christians to Be Wealthy?

There is no doubt that the Bible teaches that faithful people who are wealthy have an important role in God’s plan. Some exemplary people in the Bible, like Abraham (Gen 13:2), Barzillai (2 Sam. 19:32), the Shunemite woman who helped Elisha (2 Kings 4:8), and Joseph of Arimathea (Matt. 27:57), were specifically described as being wealthy. After saying that the rich must not be haughty, Paul says that “God . . . richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). Enjoying the things that money can buy is not necessarily wrong. At the same time it is significant that each of these four godly wealthy people mentioned were commended for their generosity.

Wealthy Christians can honor Christ especially by being humble, generous, and godly while being wealthy. Poor Christians can honor him especially by being contented, full of faith, generous, and godly while being poor. It is clear that in the Bible wealth is far less important than contentment, joy, peace, holiness, love, and generosity. People with these characteristics are, according to the Bible, truly prosperous whether they are economically rich or poor.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Christology, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Stewardship, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Holland boss Louis van Gaal has been named the new manager of Manchester United

Looks like a 3 year contract–check it out and there is more there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Men, Sports, The Netherlands

One Anglican Parish's Core Values

We are a church that reflects God’s compassion for everyone wherever they find themselves in their journey towards God ”“ for those who feel joy and wish to celebrate, to those who are weary and need rest, to those who wish to discover God’s will for their lives, for all who hurt and need healing, to those who pray and for those who struggle to pray, for all who want a community of fellow searchers for truth, we welcome in the name of the Holy Trinity.

As Anglicans committed to the Anglican formularies and worship, our life together is founded on reading, studying and applying the Holy Scriptures.

Read it all and see what you think.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Identity, Missions, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CC) Heidi Neumark on Easter in Practice–Resurrection by inches

I know that if she could, my mother would grab that pail and toss it out the window. She would forgive me; in fact, I believe she has forgiven me. But in a way, that makes it harder. Knowing of her unfailing love and grace makes me feel worse about my own failure. Of course, I am envisioning her at her very best, now in heaven knowing as she is known and seeing me with the eyes of God, and I am remembering myself at one of my lowest moments. What about God’s forgiveness? God is always in a best moment and ever aware of our worst. Does that divine forgiveness erase our regret or increase it?

Jesus’ first word to the disciples on the other side of the locked doors is peace. I imagine myself in that room, staring at his wounds and accepting the resurrection miracle. I imagine embracing the improbable, exciting mission commended to me in the words that follow. But peace? Peace is another story.

After Jesus called Peter to feed his sheep, did Peter ever think back on that day around the charcoal fire when he denied the one he dearly loved? Did Peter remember when Jesus yelled at him and called him a terrible name? When Peter stood to preach on Pente­cost and 3,000 were baptized in one day, did he go home and lie awake wishing he could take back his actions on another day? According to the psalm, our transgressions are removed “as far as the east is from the west.” If we accept that as true, then it seems that regret should not linger. But in my experience, forgiveness has not erased regret. Not yet anyway.

These post-Easter days, I am thinking that if my mind and heart are not yet in sync with what should be””with sin removed to a distance beyond my reach””perhaps mere inches matter.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Children, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(Barna Group) Legalize It? A Majority of Christians Say No to Recreational Pot

In contrast to the widening cultural mainstream, most practicing Christians oppose legalization. Even mainline Protestants, who often trend more liberal on social issues than their Catholic and non-mainline brethren, are less likely (45%) than the national average to say pot should be legal in the U.S. Non-mainline Protestants (32%) and Catholics (39%) are far less likely to favor legalization than the general American population.

Those who favor legalization and those who do not each have good reasons for their position. Among those in favor of legal pot, one in seven (14%) say it is not any worse than alcohol or tobacco (which are both legal), or at least not as bad as other drugs (9%). Another one in seven (14%) say legalization could be good for the economy. A smaller percentage cites possible medical benefits (13%) or the fact that people will use it regardless of its legality (8%).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sociology, State Government, Theology

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Newham – and enjoys school dinner with Canning Town pupils

The Archbishop of Canterbury tucked into a school dinner with pupils from St Luke’s School during his visit to Stratford and Canning Town.

He said that his trip, which was organised to show off the regeneneration in the borough, showed that the area faced both “huge opportunity and huge challenge”.

“I think it’s enormously exciting,” Justin Welby said. “I think there are huge challenges because you’ve got all this new building coming in, which is brilliant, you’ve got this extraordinary Olympic legacy and that gives a massive challenge of creating community and the community developing rather than becoming fractured as numbers grow and new people move in.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

A Pastoral Letter of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church–You Guess the Year

Even in our settled congregations–some of them of long standing–there occasionally occurs so much indifference to the sustaining of even the profession of religion, and the making of provision for the administration of its ordinances, as that while their neglect renders them subjects of censure, it ought also to he an excitement of our zeal. Even in such congregations, there are always at least a few persons, who are ready to “strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die.” And even if there were none such, those of the contrary stamp are not out of the reach of that voice of the gospel which is raised, “not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” We have the satisfaction of knowing, that the call has been made with great effect, even in congregations of the description which has [7/8] been stated. And this, we hope, will serve as encouragement to those who are ready to do their part of the work of God, leaving the issue of their labour to the influences of his Holy Spirit.

It ought further to he taken into view, that even in neighbourhoods wherein provision is made for the exercise of the ministry, and congregations are duly organized, according to the venerable institutions of the Church; there are powerful incitements to zeal and labour, that we may call sinners to repentance; that we may direct the attention of professors beyond the forms, to the power of Godliness; that we may guard the imperfectly informed, against the errors engrafted by the weakness of men on the holy stock of Christian doctrine; that we may open all the branches of this in their integrity, as found in the Word of Truth; and that we may urge persons of all descriptions, to the attainment and the practice of whatever may contribute to the adorning of the doctrine of our rod and Saviour. It is not here forgotten, that for the accomplishing of these blessed ends, “although Paul plant and Apollos water,” it is “God alone who giveth the increase.” But he sees fit, as well in the influences of his grace as in the dealings of his providence, to produce his high ends by the instrumentality of human means. And in each of these departments, the duties of all of us are discernible from the relations and from the circumstances in which we severally stand.

While we thus hold out to all the members of our communion, the gospel work which we conceive to he laid on them by the divine Author of our religion; we are not backward to extend their attention to some articles of advice and exhortation, which we think especially worthy of notice, for the accomplishing of the ends which we have in view.

The first, and as essential to all the rest, is mutual incitement to the work; and this, in the Christian Spirit, which alone can either render it an object worthy of considerable exertion, or claim the promise of divine support. We read in one of the prophets, that when a general reformation was in prospect, “they who feared the Lord spake often one to another,” it being evidently meant in mutual incitement, to the object of their common concern.

Read it all but no fair clicking the link until you guess the year it was written.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CSM Editorial) An India ready to dream big

Years before Narendra Modi won this month’s election that now allows him to become India’s next leader, the former tea-stall worker asked this question on behalf of the world’s second most-populous nation:

“It is often said that India does not dream big and that is the root cause of all our problems. Why can’t we dream like China, Europe or America?”

Note how Mr. Modi compares India to other continental powers. This reveals just how much today’s 1.25 billion Indians, who are digitally hitched to the global flow of ideas, have adopted new views of their capacity for progress ”“ not only for India but for themselves.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Theology

Khaled Abou El Fadl-The Real Egypt story–Sisi is achieving modernization through force and coercion

A mode of uncivic or even barbaric engagement was born around 100 years ago, and it persists to this day. This engagement is not about modernity, but about the instrumentality or mechanics of achieving modernization through force and coercion. The instrumentalities of this coercive process is made of a tri-part alliance:

A Westernized intelligentsia that deconstructs tradition in the name of originality and innovation, but that is entirely imitative and dependent on the social and political thought of their former colonizers. This intelligentsia condemns the past in the name of progress, but is thoroughly unoriginal and uncreative in dealing with its own native memory.
A nationalistic military that takes great pride in the idea of being the guardians of independence and self-determination, but that is fundamentally unproductive and thoroughly dependent. Although the military creed of these national armies is rooted in the idea of the protectors of independence, there is nothing remotely independent about these militaries. Their armaments, structures and strategic training are derivative and imitative.
A legal system that is culturally rooted in the adopted memories of the colonizer, and that is largely divorced from its own native customs of negotiating justice. For the most part, these legal systems are wholesale transplants that function within a sociology and anthropology of law that is not their own.

This unholy trinity, consisting of the military in alliance with a Westernized intelligentsia and a transplanted legal system, repeatedly closes ranks to maintain dominance over a native population in the name of independence and progress.

Read it all from ABC Aus..

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, History, Middle East, Politics in General, Psychology, Violence

Cremation permit requests on the rise at Charleston [South Caorlina] County Coroner's Office

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office reports rising applications from funeral homes for cremation permits as more families opt for an urn of ashes over a traditional burial.

Some said that the change here and statewide is happening because the alternative to a typical funeral has become more acceptable. Others think cremation fits better in a mobile society where people are less likely to have a spot reserved in the church graveyard.

“The trend is catching up with us here. Things don’t change as rapidly down South,” said Overton Ganong, spokesman for the Funeral Consumers Alliance of South Carolina.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Dunstan

O God of truth and beauty, who didst richly endow thy Bishop Dunstan with skill in music and the working of metals, and with gifts of administration and reforming zeal: Teach us, we beseech thee, to see in thee the source of all our talents, and move us to offer them for the adornment of worship and the advancement of true religion; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, from whom every good and perfect gift doth come: Give us grace to consecrate to thy service the talents which thou hast committed to our charge; that we may do all things as in thy sight, and to thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

–1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Reuters) In Modi's India, will it be a case of rule and divide?

Ali Husain is a prosperous young Indian Muslim businessman. He recently bought a Mercedes and lives in a suburban-style gated community that itself sits inside a ghetto.

In Gujarat, it is so difficult for Muslims to buy property in areas dominated by Hindus even the community’s fast-growing urban middle class is confined to cramped and decrepit corners of cities.

Husain embodies the paradox of Gujarat: the state’s pro-business leadership has created opportunities for entrepreneurs of all creeds; yet religious prejudice and segregation are deeply, and even legally, engrained.

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

(F Things) Anna Sutherland–Why Latinos Are Leaving the Roman Catholic Church

Latino Catholics seem to leave the Church for the same reasons as other Catholics. When Pew researchers asked ex-Catholic Americans (of all ethnicities) in 2009 why they had left the Church, they offered respondents a list of items different from the one they offered Latinos in the more recent report””yet drifting away and ceasing to believe Catholic teachings were again commonly cited. Another reason to assume similar motives for switching religions: Hispanic Catholics and Protestants closely resemble their non-Hispanic white counterparts on just about every indicator of religious practice and belief that Pew measures. It seems reasonable to assume that these inter-ethnic commonalities extend to individuals’ reasons for remaining in or leaving a particular religion.

All of which is to say that the question of why Latinos leave the Church is less about Latinos than about the Church.

What should the Church do about all this? To serve and attract Latino Catholics, offer Mass in Spanish (when possible)””almost half of Latino Catholics prefer to attend Spanish-language Masses””and continue to reach out to new immigrants. But first and foremost, Latinos and others need not new programs targeted to their demographic but a living, salvific relationship with God. This may sound elementary, but as Sherry Weddell has documented, “the majority of adult Catholics are not even certain that a personal relationship with God is possible.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sociology

(Financial Post) Meet the family of four that lives well on just US$14,000 a year

Danielle Wagasky, a stay-at-home wife and mother of two, has managed to stretch $14,000 a year to cover her family’s needs for the past five years. That’s less than a third of the $50,000 median household income in the U.S.

And, perhaps a little surprisingly, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Wagasky, 29, lives with her husband Jason, 32, and their two young children ages 9 and 7, in a three-bedroom family home in Henderson, Nevada. While Jason, a member of the U.S. Army, has been completing his undergraduate studies, the family’s only source of income is the $14,000 annual cost of living allowance he receives under the G.I. Bill.

Despite all odds, the family has barely any credit debt, no car payment, and no mortgage to speak of.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Stewardship

Margaret Somerville–Surrogate motherhood creates an ethical minefield

The announcement by Quebec radio host Joel Legendre that, later this summer, he and his male partner, Junior Bombardier, would become the parents of twin baby girls has received much media attention. It’s reported that the babies were conceived using “an ovum bought from an American [gamete] bank” (if only one ovum was used, they are identical twins, if two, they are sibling twins) and are being carried by a Quebec surrogate mother, who became pregnant though in vitro fertilization (IVF) paid for by the Quebec government healthcare fund (RAMQ). What ethical issues does this scenario raise?

How should we view surrogate motherhood?

Quebec’s Civil Code provides that surrogate motherhood contracts are null and void ab initio, that is, cannot be enforced. That reflects the view that surrogacy is contrary to public policy and, therefore, not to be condoned or facilitated. Paid surrogacy degrades and exploits women, especially under-privileged ones who become a “breeder class”, commodifies children, and denigrates human reproduction.
– See more at: http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/surrogate_motherhood_creates_an_ethical_minefield#sthash.V24fFEst.Na6AyEv9.dpuf

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology

Fr. C. John McCloskey–Evangelization in the Work Place

Work is a good in itself ”“ and not simply (though importantly) a means of making money to support a family. St. John Paul II wrote in 1981: “Man was called to work even before original sin. Man is the image of God partly through the mandate received by the Creator to subdue. To dominate the earth. . .in other words man’s work is in some way a part in God’s creative power!”

We then are co-creators. This is both a privilege and a serious duty. The pope also discusses human work as a way of growing in holiness that prepares us for eternal happiness. After all, Our Lord constantly refers to workers in his preaching, and his greatest apostle was Paul, a tentmaker. You can be sure that St. Paul united his work with prayer so that it would not only contribute to earthly progress, but also extend the Kingdom of God.

This brings us to the second part of God’s plan for work that was highlighted by St. John Paul II in his encyclical on work, Laborem Exercens: that work becomes a place and means of sharing one’s faith not only by example, but also by words based on developing friendship in the context of the workplace.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Soteriology, Theology