Daily Archives: December 14, 2014

The Price of Oil Being used As A Weapon by the Saudis in the Sunni/Shia battle

By October, it was becoming clear to us and others that Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Emirate allies could not afford to continue petro-pricing business as usual with sectarian wars exploding out of control, threatening the entire region.

In particular, they were infuriated that the Shia regime in Syria was being propped up by Iran and Russia. Moreover, Iran seemed to be getting closer to becoming a nuclear power with each month. Amid the chaos, the Islamic State terrorists had suddenly become a formidable challenge to the entire region, and they were getting increasing revenues from oil properties they had seized.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Iran, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Terrorism, Theology

Soaring: Lights over Norway

SOARING from Ole C. Salomonsen on Vimeo.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons

Orangeburg, South Carolina, minister gets closer to God in a year of suffering

Within the past year, a series of experiences brought the Rev. Jerome Anderson to his knees.

Not in a posture of defeat, but humble submission to God’s plan.

As a leader in the Christian community, Anderson is accustomed to counseling people during life’s darkest moments, helping them to not just find light at the end of the tunnel, but teaching them how to apply scripture to their situation.

A timeline of the past 18 months of the minister’s life is parallel to the Biblical account of the sufferings of Job in the Old Testament that depicts love, long-suffering and restoration.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theodicy, Theology

(FT) South Sudan braces for more conflict as leaders fail to agree on a peace plan

Chinese construction workers are welding the final floor of the Juba’s tallest building ”” a $22m project with a rooftop cigar club for the dusty city’s elite. Around the South Sudanese capital billboards advertise whisky, banks and mobile phones.

This does not look like a city at war.

But Juba defies first impressions. Come nightfall, more than 30,000 mostly ethnic Nuer shelter in makeshift tents at UN bases across the city. Many of their original homes have been destroyed or taken over by ethnic rivals since civil war broke out on December 15 last year; some neighbourhoods have become ghost towns.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Sudan, Theology, Violence

(AFP) Nobel winner tells U.S. to throw books not bombs at Islamic State

The U.S.-led coalition of countries involved in airstrikes against Islamic State will never bomb the jihadist group out of existence, a Nobel peace prize winner warned Friday.

Shirin Ebadi was one of Iran’s first female judges. She was demoted after the 1979 Islamic revolution and went on to become the country’s most prominent rights campaigner. She won the Nobel price in 2003 and was forced into exile in 2009.

After spending most of her adult life coping with and combating the impact a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam has had on herself, her family and her homeland, she is convinced that there is no military remedy to a problem that appears to intensify with every passing year.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

(AP) Clemson University team works on an environmentally friendly home

Students and professors at Clemson University have designed a home where they say a family of four can live comfortably in the South using local materials and having almost no impact on the environment.

The home is called Indigo Pine, taking its name from two things South Carolina has in abundance: pine trees and the blue dye from the indigo plant.

More than 100 students and professors are helping design and build the home that the university will enter as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2015. Sixteen other schools also are participating.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Education, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Science & Technology, Theology, Young Adults

George Will Offering some Hisotrical Perspective on the Current US Economy

The euphoria occasioned by the economy adding 321,000 jobs in November indicates that we have defined success down. In the 1960s, there were nine months in which more than 300,000 jobs were added, the last being June 1969, when there were about 117 million fewer Americans than there are now . In the 1980s, job growth exceeded 300,000 in 23 months, the last being November 1988, when there were about 75 million fewer Americans than today.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, History, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Taxes

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Scottish Prayer Book

O Lord Jesus Christ, before whose judgment-seat we must all appear and give account of the things done in the body: Grant, we beseech thee, that when the books are opened in that day, the faces of thy servants may not be ashamed; through thy merits, O blessed Saviour, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Because thy steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise thee. So I will bless thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on thy name. My soul is feasted as with marrow and fat, and my mouth praises thee with joyful lips, when I think of thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the watches of the night; for thou hast been my help, and in the shadow of thy wings I sing for joy.

–Psalm 63:3-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Life Changing New Jersey Program that Puts Young Aviators in the Pilot Seat

The Eagle Flight Squadron, a nonprofit that has been turning out private pilots since 1975, teaches teens about aviation, discipline and leadership.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Theology, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues, Young Adults

(SMH) Australian divorce rate lowest since 1976 when `no fault' splits introduced

There is a lot of talk about the decline of the traditional family. Indeed, after remaining steady for more than a decade, the rate of marriage fell last year to a record low. Nevertheless, a new book argues that there remains something powerful about the institution and the role it plays in our lives.

“For decades, we have heard that marriage is on the wane, in Australia and across the secular West,” sociologist Dr Genevieve Heard argues in the introduction to Family Formation in 21st Century Australia.

“It may be more accurate to claim that Australians are spending less time within the institution of marriage. This is because Australians are marrying later and are not necessarily remaining married for life … It is difficult to argue that marriage is on the wane when the institution remains the dominant partnership model for adult Australians.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sociology, Theology

(Dirkster on Daily Kos) Looking into the work of Carter Heyward, Relational Theologian

“God is our power in mutual relation.” Everything in [Carter] Heyward’s thought flows toward and from this simple, but radical, definition. Note that nothing in this definition requires acceptance of the supernatural. In this view, God is not “a supreme being,” but a quality of existence. And although one need not be Christian to accept her definition of God, Heyward can reasonably claim its continuity with the biblical tradition on the basis of Jeremiah 22:15-16, which equates the knowledge of God and the doing of justice, and 1 John 4:7-8, which defines God as love.

Heyward’s autobiographical account of her ordination, A Priest Forever offers some insight as to why Heyward is concerned that God is our power in mutual relation, as opposed to simply being interested in mutual relation per se. Largely this is a matter of re-thinking the language of her Episcopal heritage, a heritage which provided her with the framework for an unconditional spiritual calling to the priesthood. She experienced this calling in early childhood, when she projected it onto an imaginary friend who voiced the desire. During the turmoil of pursuing ordination before it was clear that the Episcopal Church would grant it, she had a series of vivid dreams that left her with a sense that her calling was a non-negotiable demand of her life. And at her ordination, she had a deep spiritual experience that put a seal of confirmation on her calling:

Emily was ordained; then Marie. As Marie stepped back, I stepped forward, catching the bishop’s eye momentarily, and as if strangely transcendent of the time at hand, my whole life seemed contained within the moment: past, present, future. All that had ever mattered to me flooded within me, as a geyser of lifeblood or holy water.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(RNS) Sorry, Fido. Pope Francis did NOT say our pets are going to heaven

There’s only one problem: apparently none of it ever happened.

Yes, a version of that quotation was uttered by a pope, but it was said decades ago by Paul VI, who died in 1978. There is no evidence that Francis repeated the words during his public audience on Nov. 26, as has been widely reported, nor was there was a boy mourning his dead dog.

So how could such a fable so quickly become taken as fact?

Part of the answer may be the topic of the pope’s talk to the crowd that day, which centered on the End Times and the transformation of all creation into a “new heaven” and a “new earth.” Citing St. Paul in the New Testament, Francis said that is not “the annihilation of the cosmos and of everything around us, but the bringing of all things into the fullness of being.”

The trail of digital bread crumbs then appears to lead to an Italian news report that extended Francis’ discussion of a renewed creation to the question of whether animals too will go to heaven.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Animals, Eschatology, Media, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology