Daily Archives: August 4, 2015

(CNBC) Made in America: The South Carolina solution

The sun rises over the Port of Charleston and with it, the start of another day where a new symbol of Made in America buzzes with activity.

Workers are preparing to load another cargo ship of BMW vehicles, built at the German automaker’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

While Michigan is still the heartbeat of America’s auto industry, South Carolina is one of several southern states that have become a greater focal point for automakers scouting out locations for new plants.

“We really focus on foreign investment, on adding new jobs to our country [and] not just our state,” South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley told CNBC.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, State Government, Travel

(CT Gleanings) $70,000 Minimum Yearly Wage Brings Bible Parable to Life (Unfortunately)

Earlier this year, Dan Price, a graduate of Seattle Pacific University and CEO of Seattle-based Gravity Payments, made headlines nationwide after announcing plans to raise his employees’ base salary to $70,000 a year.

But not everyone at Gravity Payments agrees with his plans to share the wealth. ­­­­­­

Two of his top employees quit in protest. His brother, a co-owner of Gravity Payments, filed suit. Other local companies complained that Price made them look stingy, according to The New York Times (NYT).

It’s as if Jesus’s parable about the workers in the vineyard””where latecomers got the same pay as those who worked all day””has come to life, the NYT points out.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(TLC) Great Episcopal Turmoil in Newport Beach

The people of St. James the Great Church in Newport Beach, California, thought they had their bishop’s long-term support when they moved into the building in October 2013, after the diocese’s long-term property battle with former members who joined the Anglican Church in North America. He was at the ceremony and offered his blessing.

But now they have no building because the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno signed a deal in May to sell it for $15 million to a luxury housing developer. They feel betrayed, and they are fighting back.

In July church members filed a lengthy complaint, or presentment, against the bishop. It charges Bishop Bruno with 147 violations of church law, ranging from conduct unbecoming a bishop to reckless or intentional misrepresentation, under Title IV of church canons.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Parishes, Theology

(Economist) America is battling a massive epidemic of heroin and its pharmacological substitutes

America is battling a massive epidemic of heroin and its pharmacological substitutes. By 2008 drug overdoses, mostly from opioids, overtook car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death. In a related development, the number of annual users of heroin jumped from 370,000 in 2007 to 680,000 in 2013.

The epidemic, as Sam Quinones, an American journalist, outlines in “Dreamland”, a meticulously researched new book, has two root causes. One is a failure of regulation in the pharmaceutical industry; the other is retail innovation in the black market.

In 1995 Purdue Pharma, a drug company in Stamford, Connecticut, was given permission by the Food and Drug Administration to market a powerful new opioid called OxyContin for moderate pain. Doctors, wary about prescribing opioids because of their markedly addictive nature, had previously used it for severe pain only. Many patients duly became addicts and “pill mills”, pain clinics that handled millions of prescriptions, began to appear. But OxyContin and other strong opioid tablets were expensive and addicts began to turn to heroin, which was cheaper.

Where did the heroin come from? Much of the business belonged to the Xalisco Boys, a group of Mexicans from a small rural county in Nayarit state, who professionalised the business while semi-refining black-tar heroin in the early 1990s. They gave addicts phone numbers so that they could have heroin home-delivered, as if it were pizza.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine

The Bishop of Fulham reflects on preaching the Resurrection

St Thomas Aquinas considers the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in his treatise on Christology in Part III of the Summa Theoiogica, Q53. In the First Article of Q53, he asks Whether it was necessary for Christ to rise again? Thomas quotes St Luke 24.46 (`Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead’), and offers five reasons why this is so. I summarize them below: they make a sound basis for a series of Easter sermons from Low Sunday to the Sunday before Ascension Day, inclusive. Note how closely St Thomas roots all his reasoning in Scripture.

First, the Resurrection of Christ attests to the Justice of God. God exalts those who humble themselves for his sake (see Luke 1.52). Christ has humbled himself on the Cross, out of love for God, and obedience to him; therefore, God has lifted him up to a glorious Resurrection.

Second, the Resurrection of Christ instructs us and confirms us in our faith. The Resurrection proves Christ’s divinity (2 Corinthians 13.4) and it establishes the sure ground for our belief in him (1 Corinthians 15.14; Psalm 29.10).

Third, the Resurrection of Christ is the grounds for our hope, for where Christ our Head has gone, we too hope to follow (1 Corinthians 15.12; Job 19.25, 27.)

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, CoE Bishops, Easter, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Daniel Newman on The Prayer of Humble Access

Early in the prayer, we are reminded that what we are coming to is a meal. We are invited as guests to a table where God is the generous host, not an altar where we make an offering to appease God’s wrath. The rubric refers to the piece of furniture as ”˜the Lord’s Table’ or, in earlier versions, ”˜Gods borde’. We shall explore below what it is that we receive at this meal.

This prayer creates in us an attitude of humility, helplessness, and dependency on God. We do not deserve to be here. We have no suitable garment of our own to wear to the feast. The contrast is repeatedly drawn between what we do not have and what God does, between what we are not and what God is: ”˜not”¦ trusting in our”¦ but in thy”¦ We are not”¦ But thou art”¦’ Cranmer alludes to our Lord’s encounter with the Syro-Phoenician woman, who says, “Even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs” (Mark 7.28). This allusion is double-edged, for it expresses both great humility and great faith, as seen by our Lord’s commendation of the woman in the gospel accounts.

The Prayer of Humble Access has the same dynamic. It does not leave us in a state of hopelessness and despair. Although ”˜we do not presume to come”¦ trusting in our own righteousness’, God’s many, varied (”˜manifold’) and great mercies combined with his unchanging essence (”˜the same Lord’) mean that we do presume to come. Praying this prayer is an enactment of the gospel of God’s grace.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Book of Common Prayer, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Christology, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Eucharist, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Sacramental Theology, Soteriology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(Anglican.Ca) Video hymnal a boon for small congregations

A new ecumenical resource is offering an alternative way for small groups and congregations to lead worshippers in the singing of hymns and spiritual songs.

Sing Hallelujah! is a video hymnal comprised of a five-volume DVD set. In each video, musicians perform well-known traditional and contemporary hymns while lyrics scroll in large letters along the bottom of the screen, allowing viewers to join in and sing along.

Ralph Milton, a retired former missionary and longtime member of First United Church in Kelowna, B.C., played the lead role in creating the video hymnal. Reflecting his ecumenical outlook, Sing Hallelujah! was designed for use by all denominations, though many selections are drawn from United Church hymn books.

“Having been a writer and penned more books than anybody would want to read, I did a lot of travelling around at one point to small, various congregations,” Milton said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(CNBC) This 103-year-old World War II veteran works five days a week

After more than a century of being alive, Loren Wade is still punching a clock.

Earlier this week, the long-time Walmart employee celebrated his 103rd birthday with friends, family and coworkers at a party.

The Air Force and World War II veteran gave retirement a try during his 60’s, but it didn’t take long before he grew bored and opted to continue working, the centenarian told NBC’s “Weekend TODAY” in a recent interview. After landing a job with Walmart back in 1983, he still works five day a week at a the location in his hometown of Winfield, Kansas.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Military / Armed Forces, Pastoral Theology, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the American Book of Common Prayer

Almighty God, whose loving hand hath given us all that we possess: Grant us grace that we may honour thee with our substance, and, remembering the account which we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of thy bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders which he has wrought.
He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments….

–Psalm 78:2-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Beethoven: Pastoral Symphony

The whole symphony may be listened to here 15 minutes in

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

(WWM) Boko Haram attacks intensify in Nigeria & Cameroon

The radical Islamist group Boko Haram has intensified its suicide bombing attacks in northern Nigeria and Cameroon in recent weeks.

On Friday (31 July) a massive bomb exploded in the market in Maiduguri, north-eastern Nigeria ”“ the traditional heartland of Boko Haram violence. At least six died, and 11 were injured.

The previous Saturday (25 July), 20 people were killed when a 12-year-old girl blew herself up in a crowded bar in Maroua, northern Cameroon. Seventy-nine others were injured.

However, on 2 August the Nigerian military said it had rescued 178 people ”“ including 101 children and 67 women ”“ taken captive by Boko Haram in the northern Nigerian state of Borno.

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

(CC) Phillip Sinitiere–The rise of smiling preacher Joel Osteen

On June 28 a handful of fundamentalist hecklers from the Church of Wells, located in the piney woods of East Texas about three hours northeast of Houston, disrupted services at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church. As reported in national and local media outlets, and astutely analyzed by historian Charity Carney, security removed the activists after they shouted at the popular preacher and they were arrested. While that June Sunday was not the first time the Wells hecklers visited Lakewood, it represented a bold and memorable confrontation with America’s smiling pastor, not unlike the one evangelist Adam Key had with Osteen in 2007.

It is easy to dismiss the Wells hecklers and Key as fundamentalist partisans whose messages appeal to a small number of like-minded followers. However, as my book Salvation with a Smile argues, their actions are part of a longer history of public castigation of popular preachers. And Molly Worthen’s insightful description of evangelicalism’s crisis of authority speaks powerfully to the rhetorical combat between Osteen and his critics, as does Todd Brenneman’s post for this blog.

Lakewood’s heckler episode this summer, while documenting one way to understand Osteen’s popularity, also prompts historical reflection about the summer of 2005 when Joel and his congregation moved into Houston’s Compaq Center, a sports-arena-turned-megachurch. The last decade encompassed Joel Osteen’s ascendancy to the peak of American evangelicalism.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Church History, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Dean William McKeachie–"The crooked timber of human nature" (Ephesians 4:17-25; John 6: 24-35)

Listen to it all (just under 20 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture