Daily Archives: April 15, 2015

(Time) The Rise of the Go Fetch Economy

Shamar Theus, a 25-year-old working for Postmates, sits in his Ford Focus in San Francisco for about a minute before the first order comes in on his iPhone. Someone not far away wants 18 lb. of crushed ice, and Postmates is offering Theus $4.80 to pick it up and then deliver it. When he accepts the job, his phone guides him to the grocery store and then to the drop-off. “Everyone’s superbusy, overtaxed. So you bring stuff to people’s offices at 8 o’clock at night,” says Theus, who is wearing a smart watch and long black dreadlocks. “People have just reached a point where they’re so busy that they need to outsource these tasks.”

Same-day delivery, an iconic failure of the dotcom boom, is back”“and not just for giants Amazon and Google.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues

Classic History Lesson–What the US federal Tax form looked like in 1913

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, History, Personal Finance, Taxes, The U.S. Government

(Scotsman) Barbara O’Donell-Low-cost alcohol comes at a price

One of the key challenges confronting society today is how we can maintain a high-quality, responsive and publicly-funded health service. With an ageing population and more complex and costly medical treatments, it seems inescapable that the NHS will become increasingly stretched. However, not all pressures on the NHS are inevitable.

One of the biggest avoidable drains on NHS resources is alcohol.

From vomiting, unconsciousness, violence and injuries, to long-term, disabling illnesses including liver disease and cancer, alcohol puts a huge strain on all our frontline services. Last year there were more than 36,000 alcohol-related stays in Scottish hospitals and the vast majority of these resulted from an emergency admission.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, Alcoholism, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Scotland

(Reuters) After attack and backlash, Kenya faces battle to win over Muslims

Days after Islamists killed 148 people at Garissa university, Kenya’s president held out an olive branch to Muslims and urged them to join Nairobi in the struggle against militant Islam by informing on sympathisers.

But as Uhuru Kenyatta launches a battle for Muslim hearts and minds, his security forces must first reckon with the deep mistrust among ethnic-Somali Muslims in the country’s northeast regions bordering Somalia.
Kenyatta also faces an uphill task in reforming the violent ways of troops on the ground. A day before he spoke, a soldier in Garissa was seen by a Reuters reporter lashing at a crowd of Muslim women with a long stick.

“We live in fear,” said Barey Bare, one of a dozen veiled Somali-Kenyan women targeted by the soldier.

“The military are a threat and al Shabaab are a threat. We are in between.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Kenya, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(BBC) Could Christianity be driven from Middle East?

A handful of families have taken refuge in the monastery, as Christians have done for centuries since Islamic armies first swept across the plain in the 7th Century with the Arab conquest.

Thirteen-year-old Nardine is all too aware of what IS fighters do to girls they regard as infidels. “They are very cruel, they are very harsh,” Nardine whispered fearfully. “Everyone knows, they took the Yazidi girls and sold them in the market.”

“Isis have no mercy for anyone. They select women to rape them,” said Nardine’s mother. “We were afraid for our daughters so we ran away.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

The Bishop of Stockport's Easter 2015 Sermon

Love is a very powerful motivator. Their love had made them brave, but now it seemed there was nothing left to love. Even Jesus’ body was gone and the manifestation of love they’d intended was redundant. Love had brought these remarkable women back to the tomb that first Easter morning, but now, in the midst of their confusion, they ran and said nothing.

Except, of course, at some point they must have stopped running and told their story because it is their story we’ve heard this morning, their story that is recorded and honoured in Scripture, their story that gives account of the greatest demonstration of love ever known. ”˜This is what love really is’, we heard in the letter of John, ”˜not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his son ”¦ to atone for our sin’. And the story of that first Easter morning from Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, shows us the dumbfounding extent of God’s love.

”˜He has been raised’ the women are told. And eventually it is that good news that filters through to them, and renews their courage. Jesus was not where they expected because he is alive, victor over death and sin, and he’s gone ahead to where he promised, to be with us always. God’s love, made flesh in Jesus of Nazareth, experienced the fear we all know and overcame it.

These women, the first to witness the empty tomb are not listed among the disciples nor named as apostles, but, in their faithful following of Jesus to the bitter end and in the fulfilment of their commission to go and tell, they are both.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, CoE Bishops, Easter, England / UK, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Globe and Mail) Tabatha Southey–Rolling Stone’s story was never about rape on campus

Exploitative, crap journalism is nothing new, and yet distinct lessons can be learned from this example of it. I do hope we can find a place between never questioning a woman when she says she was raped and questioning her way more than everyone else.

There are parallels between this disgraceful episode and the satanic-ritual-daycare-child-sex-abuse panic of the 1980s ”“ often seen as a reaction to a societal shift wherein more women entered the work force, and thus more children attended daycare. The impetus for that alarm (much like the heightened discussion of the number of women pursuing higher education) seemed to be that the trend was somehow unnatural and a close-to-supernaturally-extracted price must be paid.

This is not to suggest that sexual abuse of children ”“ the kind mostly committed by relations of the children and people we know, who rely on the shame of their victims to hide their crimes ”“ is not very real, any more than it is to suggest that rape on campus is not committed and protected in the same manner; only that the problem needs to be addressed calmly and intelligently.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Men, Psychology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence, Women, Young Adults

(FT) India’s growth to outstrip China, says the Intl Monetary Fund

The global economy was more likely to enjoy a reasonable recovery over the next two years benefiting from recent falls in energy prices and exchange rate movements, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

The twice-yearly forecasts show India is expected to outperform China in growth for the first time in 16 years.

Although the fund has recently told countries they “could do better” to improve medium-term prospects, the World Economic Outlook is the first since 2011 to suggest economies are putting the 2009 financial crisis behind them.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, India, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Theology

(Christian Today) Cardinal Vincent Nichols: To have a stable future, Iraq needs Christians

“It is impossible to go there, and to meet especially the children, without being determined that they must have a future,” the Cardinal said.

But the task ahead is vast: regaining land from Islamic State, rebuilding ruined town and cities, establishing law and order and rebuilding society.

Nichols said that in the project to rebuild Iraq, “the presence of the Christian community is essential”.

“I say that not out of a nostalgic sense that this is a Christian community that’s 2,000 years old. This not a cultural, historical, or an archaeological issue. This is an issue of how do you build a stable, balanced society, in that region, and I think… the Christian presence is essential to that mosaic.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Middle East Christians Trapped by Islamist Extremists Forge Alliances With Former Foes

Three decades ago, plainclothes Syrian agents went door to door in this border village seeking out young Christian men, who were abducted and killed in a notorious chapter of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war.

The village’s nearly 2,000 Christians now find themselves siding with the same Syrian regime they blame for what many call the 1978 massacre.

That is because a few miles away, hundreds of Islamist extremists tied to al Qaeda and Islamic State stalk the porous border region separating Lebanon and Syria. Standing between the militants and the village are Lebanese troops aided by the Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah, whose men are also fighting for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“Yes, I prefer the Syrian regime over these terrorist groups,” a 45-year-old Al-Qaa resident said, but it is a choice “between the bitter and more bitter.”

Read it all from the WSJ.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Judaism, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

Kathleen and Kevin-Neil Ward–5 reasons why young people are seeking old ways of doing church

When I was young, there was nothing worse for a church than to be “traditional”. We stripped back the liturgy, swapped the organ for a drum-kit, and replaced the hymnals with Hillsong. We unceremoniously dumped the icons, architecture and rituals that had fed the church for hundreds of years. We were desperate to present a cool, socially acceptable, “relevant” package for modern culture.

Today, something unexpected is happening. There is a small but distinct movement of young people abandoning the smoke machines, multi-purpose buildings and celebrity pastors of recent church models, and heading back towards traditional worship services, where sacraments are central, buildings are beautiful, and the liturgy has a historic rootedness about it. Gracey Olmstead, Rachel Held Evans, Aaron Niequist, Ben Irwin and Erik Parker have written illuminating articles about why young people are embracing “un-cool” church and becoming “liturgy nerds”.

What is going on?

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

(Economist) Can we use satellites, drones and balloons to bring the internet to the unconnected?

Ever since the early 1990s, when it moved out of universities and was embraced by the general public, the internet has grown relentlessly. Only 2% of the world’s population was online in 1997. By 2014 the proportion had risen to 39%, or about 3 billion people (see chart below). But that still leaves another 4 billion who live an internet-free existence.

Most of the bereft are in the developing world, where only 32% of people are online, compared with 78% in rich countries. And those numbers disguise plenty of local variation. Just 19% of people in Africa were internet users in 2014. Like most infrastructure, the internet is easiest to provide in cities. People scattered in the countryside””even those in rich countries””must often do without.

Yet that may be about to change. Four technology companies are pursuing ambitious plans that could, eventually, provide reasonably fast, high-quality connections to almost everyone on Earth. Google dreams of doing so with a globe-circling flock of helium balloons. Facebook’s plan requires a fleet of solar-powered robotic aircraft, known as drones. And two firms””SpaceX, a rocket company, and OneWeb, a startup based in Florida””aim to use swarms of cheap, low-flying satellites. By providing an easy route to the internet at large, local telecoms firms should be able to provide high-speed, third- or fourth-generation mobile-phone coverage to areas far away from the big cities.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Gregorian Sacramentary

O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of the enemy: Grant us to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me. I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

–John 17:20-26

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Saint Michaels Charleston rector Al Zadig's 2015 Easter Sermon

Resurrection is the 2nd chance event that separates Christianity from all other religions. No one in Islam believes Jesus died on a cross. Such a fate would be unthinkable for a deity. Hindu’s and Buddhists think the death and resurrection of Jesus is unbecoming to an enlightened sage. But Jesus dies to give us a second chance in this life and the next life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

(Diocese of London) A day in the life of St Paul’s West Hackney

Who said churches were dying and not helping their communities? Here is a glimpse of what happens on a spring day at a busy church in West Hackney. Shown in high-speed, this great film exposes the work of St Paul’s Church and Hall with its vibrant mix of activities for the local people.

Read it all and enjoy the video.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

Pontifical Academies launch anti-trafficking website which includes Anglican resources

The Pontifical Science Academies have launched a new website aimed at combatting the worldwide scourge of human trafficking. The website builds on the success achieved over the past year by the ecumenical Global Freedom Network, including a joint declaration against modern slavery signed by Pope Francis and leaders of different faith communities in countries around the world.

Read it all and there is more there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(Toast) 4 Ways to Use Social Media for Spiritual Formation

We who guide others on the journey of faith know that half the battle is establishing holy habits and rituals. Social media provide a space for gentle but timely nudges in that direction. Here are some ideas for making regular online faith engagement part of your community’s corporate rule of life:

1. Visio divina with Pinterest and Instagram
The Web has gone visual in a big way, which is great news for folks who like to pray with images. Use Pinterest and Instagram to collect and create pictures to inspire the soul. Need some inspiration yourself? Check out Old and New Project, Seeing the Word, The Met, or @ssjeword on Instagram.

2. Asynchronous small-group learning on Facebook….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Inspirational and moving–Man dreamed of final beach trip, MUSC made it happen

It’s a day Medical University of South Carolina nurse Sarah Bucko will never forget. On March 4, she and about 50 other MUSC employees helped patient John Fitzpatrick see the ocean one last time with the new love in his life, Kathy Yanklowski. It was one of his final wishes.

“We waited until the last minute to tell him,” Bucko said. She didn’t want to disappoint him if the trip didn’t work out.

The day got off to a chilly start, but that didn’t deter anyone. They had worked too hard to get there, overcoming a series of obstacles. They had to figure out how to get Fitzpatrick from the Medical Intensive Care Unit on the sixth floor of the hospital to a borrowed beach house on the Isle of Palms. They also had to find a way to get enough portable oxygen tanks to the house to keep Fitzpatrick alive. He’d been on life support for months and couldn’t live without a ventilator. Finally, they had to convince senior administrators at MUSC that the trip was a good idea.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Travel