Daily Archives: October 7, 2014

(Daily Mail) 20-year study finally demolishes claims that smoking pot is harmless

A definitive 20-year study into the effects of long-term cannabis use has demolished the argument that the drug is safe.

Cannabis is highly addictive, causes mental health problems and opens the door to hard drugs, the study found.

The paper by Professor Wayne Hall, a drugs advisor to the World Health Organisation, builds a compelling case against those who deny the devastation cannabis wreaks on the brain

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Theology

Alabama Episcopal Church Bishop Kee Sloan pens a new novel

The Rt. Rev. Kee Sloan’s new novel “Jabbock” is almost a lifetime in the making.

Now a bishop in the Episcopal Church for the Diocese of Alabama, Sloan first put pen to paper while in seminary in 1978. The story, he said, is that of a young man growing up south of Vicksburg. In the woods behind his house, he stumbles across a man fresh out of prison, living off catfish caught from the bayou. Through the book, the boy grows up alongside this man as he recovers his faith.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, Theology

Anglican Primate of the Church of West Africa–Use pulpit to convince the wayward to change

The Anglican Primate of the Church of West Africa, the Most Reverend Professor Daniel Yinkah Sarfo, has said there is the need for churches to preach messages that will convince wayward persons to have a heart for true repentance. He observed that while it was desirable to get armed robbers, prostitutes, corrupt politicians and greedy professionals to decide to go to church, the messages from the pulpit these days were not convincing enough to get them have a change of heart.

“They are comfortable being in church and going through all the motions of Christianity, yet their hearts are far away from God. This is because the messages they hear are philosophies on how to be successful in the world,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Province of West Africa, Anglican Provinces, Ghana, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Theology

"Most look to Rome to stem Islamic militancy" says Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

The prominent Anglican Bishop, Michael Nazir-Ali, formerly the Bishop of Rochester, has spoken of the overriding importance of the Catholic Church’s global voice for the future of Christianity in a world threatened by Islamic militancy and secularism. He said the Catholic Church potentially had “a great future and a huge opportunity” in the emerging world order and that it now had allies in upholding orthodoxy, even in unexpected quarters. However, he said that how effective it would be depended on how Rome viewed its own position and on its willingness to address its approach to certain issues. He identified these as culture and language and discipline.

Bishop Nazir Ali, who has both a Christian and a Muslim family background and is now President of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue (OXTRAD), made his remarks to the clergy of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham – the structure set up by Pope Benedict to allow Anglicans to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church, bringing with them elements of their Anglican patrimony. He was speaking on the subject: “A Global Christianity in the Making” to the Ordinariate clergy’s plenary session at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Soho Square, London

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Elizabeth Holmes–The college dropout billionaire who’s revolutionizing medicine

A standout member among the new-editions to this very elite club is 30-year old college dropout Elizabeth Holmes. Holmes reportedly “labored in secret” for almost a decade while developing a revolutionary new blood-testing technology. In 2003 she took her findings to the public and founded Theranos– the company announced partnerships with Walgreens and other major drugstores to bring a new type of blood testing to consumers. Holmes’ technology calls only for a single finger-prick and a very small amount of blood for medical testing””as opposed to the full vial (or vials) of blood typically drawn for testing in most labs and medical offices. The prick is said to be painless and Theranos’ testing-methods only a fraction of the cost of commercial labs.

The biotech founder is the youngest self-made woman on the Forbes 400 list with a net worth of $4.5 billion. Holmes dropped out of Stanford University her sophomore year as a chemical engineering major and used her tuition money to found her company. Holmes’ tests do not have to be performed in a doctor’s office, and by skipping the big labs most results can be ready in a few hours. “She could totally overturn an entire industry if Theranos is as successful as it seems to be,” says Brown.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Women, Young Adults

Anglican churches partner to support Vicar of Baghdad

Two Anglican churches in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Christ Church Plano and All Saints Dallas, recently partnered in hosting the Rev. Canon Dr. Andrew White, Vicar of Baghdad, at their churches, raising more than $200,000 for Canon White’s ongoing missionary efforts in Iraq. “The wonderful links we have in the Anglican world brought us all together and gave the people of our two churches a common purpose: to uphold and support a vital ministry,” said the Very Rev. Canon David H. Roseberry, rector of Christ Church Plano.

Canon White is the Vicar of St. George’s Church, just outside the Green Zone, in Baghdad, Iraq. This congregation is the only remaining Anglican church in the country. He is also the President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, which promotes peaceful relations and mutual respect amongst religious groups and their members, as well as provides humanitarian aid and assistance to persons and communities in need.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Iraq, Middle East, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(Bloomberg) American Banks Stockpile Treasuries as Deposits Top Loans

American banks are loading up on U.S. government debt, a sign they remain cautious on the economy even with the jobless rate at a six-year low and corporations at their healthiest in a generation.

Commercial lenders increased their holdings of Treasuries (BUSY) and debt from federal agencies in September by $54 billion to an unprecedented $1.99 trillion, data from the Federal Reserve show. Banks have now been net buyers for 12 straight months.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Great WSJ piece on how a Liberian Rubber Farm Became a Sanctuary Against Ebola

One morning in March, when the first case arrived at the Liberian unit of Japan’s Bridgestone Corp… managers sat around a rubber-tree table and googled “Ebola,” said Ed Garcia, president of Firestone Natural Rubber Company LLC. Then they built two Ebola isolation clinics, using shipping containers and plastic wrap. They trained their janitors how to bury Ebola corpses. Their agricultural surveyors mapped the virus as it spread house to house, and teachers at the company’s schools went door-to-door to explain the disease.

“It was like flying an airplane and reading the manual at the same time,” said Philippines-born Mr. Garcia, who runs this 185-square-mile stretch of rubber trees.

Six months later, Firestone has turned the tide of infections, offering a sanctuary of health in a country where cases are doubling every three weeks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Health & Medicine, Liberia

(RT) This past Sunday, Roanoke church drops 'Baptist' label in search for youth revival

The switch to Heights Community Church goes hand-in-hand with church leadership’s effort to re-brand the church into something more welcoming to new and younger churchgoers.

The sign outside, on the corner of Grandin Road and Memorial Avenue Southwest, was altered weeks ago, but the change inside the church is intangible.

“What we’re doing, culminating this Sunday in our launch, has been tectonic shifts,” the Rev. Nelson Harris said. “I truly have never been more passionate or excited about my pastoral ministry or this church than I am at this moment.”

Harris, a former Roanoke mayor, has been a pastor for 25 years and was baptized, married and ordained at what is now Heights Community Church. Following a nationwide trend of declining church participation, the crowds for his Sunday sermons were getting smaller.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

(Bloomberg) In Seinfeld Nation, Millennials Delay Marriage for Selfie

Kelly Wood, 29, and her husband Ethan Bushman married last month, waiting seven years after they met in order to further their education and careers.

“I felt if I had gotten married at an earlier age, it would have been too young,” said Wood, a nurse in San Francisco whose husband is 30 and finishing a graduate degree. “Just being older and more established in our careers and our goals in life, that groundwork is letting us enter into marriage as strong as we can.”

Couples in the U.S. are increasingly postponing marriage, a decades-long pattern exacerbated by financial struggles still facing young adults five years after the end of the deepest recession since the 1930s. The delays are contributing to a lower birth rate and less homeownership, limiting consumer spending.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Photos/Photography, Psychology, Sociology, Theology, Young Adults

Morning Quiz: The current Muslim population in Australia

The Muslim population in Australia has climbed nearly ___% percent since 2001 and numbers some ____.

Make sure to guess both the % number and the absolute number and then read it all and find the answer.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, History, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg

Loving God, Shepherd of thy people, we offer thanks for the ministry of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, who left his native land to care for the German and Scandinavian pioneers in North America; and we pray that, following the teaching and example of his life, we may grow into the full stature of Christ; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Spirit of the living God, who dost sanctify the lives of thy people, and dost build them up into a holy temple for thy habitation: Grant us so to know thy indwelling presence that we may be set free from lesser desires, and by thy grace may be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 121

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT) Asian American Christians are growing in influence and audience

Peter Hong raises his voice to the congregation he pastors in Logan Square, a mixed-income neighborhood in Chicago. “Your entire debt is paid in full!” he shouts, as “Amen!” and “All right!” echo back from the pews. As he bounds across the stage, his red-checked shirt untucked over jeans, he exudes enough energy to fill the cavernous, high-ceilinged Seventh-day Adventist church that New Community Covenant rents on Sundays.

The pews are packed full, with a multiethnic, multigenerational gathering that includes more than Hong’s fellow Korean Americans. Hong is 44 but brims with youthfulness as he displays his own brand of impassioned preaching, a firebrand of grace. But then the tone of the service shifts as Hong jumps off the stage and confesses without pretense: He is bone-weary from more than 12 consecutive years of ministry. Congregants return the flow of grace, pouring down the aisles in droves to surround and pray for him.

One of the people who approaches Hong is Trinity Evangelical Divinity School professor Peter Cha, who has mentored countless Asian Americans as an educator, pastor, and former staff member with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Church History, Evangelicals, Globalization, History, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

(F Th) Nathaniel Peters–Suffer the Children: R.C. Bishops can’t forget the children of divorce

The discussion preceding the synod of bishops on the family has ignored the most vulnerable party in divorces and remarriages: children. In so doing, it mirrors the discussion of sex and marriage in western culture more broadly, which focuses on the gratification of the desires of adults””however legitimate””while paying no attention to the needs of children.

For some children, no doubt, their parents’ divorce brings relief. For many, however, it leaves a wound that never fully heals. Children find themselves caught between two parties who each have a claim on them. They can frequently feel like pawns in a game, or like a piece of land fought over by conflicting nations. They have to grow up fast to take care of adults who, in their hurt, have begun to act like children.

Divorce ends the world that the child knows. It says that the foundation of her life, the structure that produced her and formed her is no more. This is captured well in the title of a book by a professor of youth ministry, Andrew Root: The Children of Divorce: The Loss of Family as the Loss of Being. The title is not an exaggeration.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Al Mohler–A Sad Milestone for Marriage and Morality

A giant milestone in the moral revolution passed today when the U.S. Supreme Court turned down every single appeal from several states on the issue of same-sex marriage. This decision not to take at least one case under consideration stunned both sides in the same-sex marriage battle. Last weekend’s edition of USA Today featured a front-page story that declared the virtual certainty that the Court would take at least one of the cases and declared same-sex marriage to be “a cause whose time has come.”

Well, same-sex marriage may well be an issue whose time has come in the culture, due to the massive moral shift that has taken place over the last few decades, but the nation’s highest court has decided that now is not the time for it to take up such a case. Faced with the opportunity either to stop same-sex marriage in its tracks or to hand down a sweeping decision tantamount to a new Roe v. Wade, the Court took a pass.

Some will argue that the Court’s decision was a strategic choice intended to preserve its dignity and stature. Already, many defenders of natural marriage are doing their best to argue that the Court’s refusal to take a case is better for the cause of marriage than a sweeping decision in favor of same-sex marriage. The proponents of same-sex marriage had hoped for just such a decision, and attorneys were jockeying for position, wanting to be the lead counsel for the “gay marriage Roe decision.” But make no mistake, the proponents of same-sex marriage won this round, and they won big. They did not get the sweeping coast to coast ruling they wanted, but what they got was an even faster track to the same result.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(Wash. Post) Supreme Court declines to review same-sex marriage cases

The Supreme Court on Monday decided to let stand rulings that allow same-sex marriage in Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana and Wisconsin, a surprising move that may clear the way for the expansion of such unions throughout the nation.

The court’s decision came without explanation and puts off a ruling about the constitutionality of gay marriage that would apply to all 50 states. But it sent a clear signal that a majority of the court did not feel the need to overturn lower court decisions that found state prohibitions were unconstitutional.

The decision will likely expand same-sex marriages to other states covered by the federal appeals courts that already have ruled that the bans are unconstitutional, including Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. That would bring to 30 the number of states where gays can marry.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

(ACNS) Abp Welby: "Next Lambeth Conference a decision for the primates"

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has responded to inaccurate media reports that the Lambeth Conference had been cancelled by saying, “As it hasn’t been called, it can’t have been cancelled”.

Speaking to the BBC’s William Crawley, the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion said the historic meeting of bishops from around the world would take place sometime after the primates* had met together.

“When I was installed in Canterbury as archbishop I met all the primates, they all came to that, and I said to them that I would visit all of them in their own country which, God willing, I will have done by the end of this November, and that at the end of that we would consult together about when to have a Lambeth Conference.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury