Daily Archives: September 7, 2014

(NYT The Upshot) The Motherhood Penalty vs. the Fatherhood Bonus

One of the worst career moves a woman can make is to have children. Mothers are less likely to be hired for jobs, to be perceived as competent at work or to be paid as much as their male colleagues with the same qualifications.

For men, meanwhile, having a child is good for their careers. They are more likely to be hired than childless men, and tend to be paid more after they have children.

These differences persist even after controlling for factors like the hours people work, the types of jobs they choose and the salaries of their spouses. So the disparity is not because mothers actually become less productive employees and fathers work harder when they become parents ”” but because employers expect them to.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Men, Women

God and Politics UK on Justin Welby's Role in Highlighting Christian suffering in the Middle East

In this one day Justin Welby has explained with clarity and forcefulness much which many of us have longed for the British government to articulate; to publicly acknowledge the truth and extent of the situation for those minorities who have been systematically targeted by IS. And of these minorities Christians have suffered by far the most.

These are the words that could and probably should have been spoken by our Foreign Secretary by now. But even if they had come from Philip Hammond, they would have not had the same weight and authority as they did coming from Justin Welby. This is not because of any religious position the Archbishop holds. Instead it is because he has far more on-the-ground experience of conflict than any member of our government. Nor has any one of them come close to sacrificing as much personal risk, time and energy for the sake of reconciliation and peace as he has.

Even before he was ordained, as an oil executive Justin Welby was witnessing first-hand the deadly conflict raging between Christians and Muslims in Central Nigeria that continues to this day. In 2002 he was appointed as Canon of Coventry Cathedral and co-director of its world-renowned International Centre for Reconciliation (ICR), taking over from Canon Andrew White who went on to become vicar of St George’s Church in Baghdad. During his time in the position he worked closely with Andrew White on peace missions in Iraq. He also regularly visited Nigeria where he often risked his own life conducting delicate negotiations between militant groups in an effort to free hostages, risking his own life in the process. While in Nigeria he was repeatedly blindfolded, held at gunpoint and arrested. Of those experiences Justin Welby has said: ”˜On three occasions it looked like I was going to get killed. One plan was to shoot me.’

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

(AP) Some Christians arm as Mideast perils mount

Every day around sunset, dozens of residents of this small Lebanese Christian village on the border carry their automatic rifles and deploy on surrounding hills, taking up positions and laying ambushes in case Muslim extremists from neighboring Syria attack.

“We all know that if they come, they will slit our throats for no reason,” said one villager as he drove through the streets of Qaa, an assault rifle resting next to him.

For months, Lebanese Christians have watched with dread as other Christians flee Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq, fearing their turn will come next. Fears multiplied after militants from Syria overran a border town last month, clashing with security forces for days and killing and kidnapping Lebanese soldiers and policemen.

Now, for the first time since the Lebanese civil war ended in 1990, Lebanese Christians are rearming and setting up self-defense units to protect themselves, an indication of the growing anxiety over the expanding reach of radical Islamic groups.

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

(SavannahNow) In Savannah, Christ Church Anglican singers give rest to weary

Serah Okeh was hurrying to her hotel one recent Sunday night when Gene Prevatt’s words slowed her down.

A “come as you are” half-hour service was about to begin, according to Prevatt, a Christ Church Anglican member who stood downtown near Bull Street.

“It was short, and I decided to just pop in,” said the Marietta woman who was visiting Savannah.

Candlelight flickered against the walls of the darkened sanctuary where Okeh sat in silence during Compline.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Parish Ministry

(CSM) The US is awash in new oil. So why are gas prices still so high?

With oil and natural gas production soaring in the US, consumers might expect lower prices at the pump and on their electric bills.

But that’s not happening. The summer driving season was the fourth most expensive on record, and residential electricity costs ballooned in the first half of 2014.

Meanwhile, US oil and natural gas production surges, fueled by innovative drilling in states like Texas, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania. Today, the US is the world’s largest producer of natural gas, and oil production rivals energy giants like Russia and Saudi Arabia.

So why are American consumers paying more, even as the supply of American fuel expands?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Personal Finance

William Boekestein–How do we Grow Spiritually? “By the diligent use of the means of grace…"

This truth is demonstrated in the phenomenal growth of the early church (Acts 2:41”“47). These first Christians turned the world upside down not because they discovered a trendy new way to “do church” but because of their striking conformity to Jesus. Notably, the church grew as the believers “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Because devoting yourself seems to lack pizzazz, we tend to make spiritual growth more difficult than it is. But, with few exceptions, those who are growing in godliness are committed to preaching, the sacraments, and prayer. These are the ordinary means of grace. Spiritual growth doesn’t require innovation because God doesn’t work erratically and irregularly (Mal. 3:6). We don’t have to “find God’s wave and ride it” until He surges elsewhere.

Still, the means of grace don’t always seem to work. Maybe we’ve said, “I come to church, partake of the sacraments, spend time in prayer, and I don’t seem to grow.” Assuming that we are diligently and believingly using the means, we shouldn’t too easily dismiss the vital role they are playing in our lives. Imagine saying, “I eat three times a day, but I don’t get any healthier. Eating must not be the answer.” What shape might we be in if we weren’t being fed by God through His ordinary means?

In our church, new members hear this admonition when they profess their faith in Christ: “By the diligent use of the means of grace and with the assistance of your God, continue in the profession which you have just made.” Surely, exercises like maintaining godly associations, using edifying media, sharing our faith with others, engaging in works of service, making diligent use of time, and caring for our bodies will affect our spiritual wellness. But participating in preaching, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer must regulate the routine of any healthy Christian.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Christology, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(Bel. Telegraph) Saudi Arabia's proposal to destroy Prophet Mohammed’s tomb risks Muslim division

One of Islam’s most revered holy sites ”“ the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed ”“ could be destroyed and his body removed to an anonymous grave under plans which threaten to spark discord across the Muslim world.

The controversial proposals are part of a consultation document by a leading Saudi academic which has been circulated among the supervisors of al-Masjid al-Nabawi mosque in Medina, where the remains of the Prophet are housed under the Green Dome, visited by millions of pilgrims and venerated as Islam’s second-holiest site.

The formal custodian of the mosque is Saudi Arabia’s ageing monarch King Abdullah.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Saudi Arabia

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who hast commanded us to walk in the Spirit and not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh: Perfect us, we pray thee, in love, that we may conquer our natural selfishness and give ourselves to others. Fill our hearts with thy joy, and garrison them with thy peace; make us longsuffering and gentle, and thus subdue our hasty and angry tempers; give us faithfulness, meekness and self-control; that so crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts, we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit to thy praise and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Henry Alford

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

–Matthew 5:13-20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Cilic upsets Federer, to meet Nishikori in US Open final

Roger Federer could not pull off another big escape at the U.S. Open, losing 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals Saturday against Croatia’s Marin Cilic.

It was the second significant surprise of the day, coming after Novak Djokovic was beaten 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 by Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who became the first man from Asia to reach a Grand Slam singles final.

Instead of the No. 1-seeded Djokovic against the No. 2-seeded Federer — who have combined to win 24 major championships — in Monday’s final, it will be No. 10 Nishikori against No. 14 Cilic, neither of whom has ever appeared in a Grand Slam title match.

“That’s going to be a sensational day for both of us,” said Cilic, who at 25 is a year older than Nishikori.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Croatia, Europe, Men, Sports

(Telegraph) Christopher Howse's Sacred Mysteries–Through Dorset by horse and bike

She hasn’t got the heaves, but if Miss Opsimath’s cough isn’t better by next Saturday, I’d better take my bike. So my cousin told me, when the possibility of my borrowing the mare was discussed. I’ll probably be more comfortable on the bike, because, although this is Dorset, which can be lumpy, the route is fairly flat, eastwards down the river Frome from Dorchester for six or seven miles and back.

The idea is to drop in on five churches, and I know they’ll be open, along with 300 others in the county, because it’s Ride & Stride day. Last year, 183 Dorset parishes took part, to raise money for the Dorset Historic Churches Trust, which in 2013 helped 27 churches in need of repair. To me, visiting old churches makes more sense as a fundraiser than a bucket of cold water thrown over my head.

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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, Rural/Town Life

(CBS) Kei Nishikori stuns Novak Djokovic in first semifinal

Kei Nishikori will be the first Asian born male to compete for a Grand Slam championship Monday after he defeated top seed Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 7-6, 6-3 Saturday at the US Open.

It wasn’t an easy road, either, as Nishikori ran through three top 5 seeds in Milos Raonic (5), Stan Wawrinka (3), and now the No. 1 seed, Djokovic.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Japan, Men, Sports

(Belfast Telegraph) Why no individual is ever greater than their Church

This week’s retirement of Pastor James McConnell after some 57 years in the Whitewell Ministries raises the question as to what happens to institutions once the main figure has gone….

In the Church of Ireland, a minister can stay in a parish as long as she or he desires, barring misbehaviour. However, an incumbent can be plucked out very quickly to higher office.

Perhaps the moral of all this is to recognise the reality of life, retirement, frailty and death, and to conclude that, however big or small a leading Church figure may be in his or her day, no individual is bigger than the church itself.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Ecclesiology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology