Daily Archives: December 9, 2015

(Gallup) After Terror Attacks, U.S. Satisfaction Falls to 13-Month Low

After the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. dropped seven percentage points to 20%. This is the lowest level of satisfaction recorded since November 2014, but still above the all-time low of 7% in October 2008.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Sociology, Terrorism, Theology

(Local Paper) 10 term Mayor Joe Riley used velvet gloves, iron fists to build his Charleston

More than four decades of territorial expansion ”” much of it hard-fought and controversial ”” transformed Charleston from an 8-square-mile urban enclave with a shrinking population into a 109-square-mile city with rural edges, bustling suburbs, and growing population that could soon overtake Columbia’s to become the state’s largest.

“I knew I had a responsibility to facilitate the city’s growth, in population and size,” said Riley, who was elected to the first of his 10 consecutive terms in City Hall in 1975. “A center city, to remain healthy, must be able to grow as the metropolitan area grows.”

His expansionist goals sometimes courted willing citizens happy to annex into the city, and at other times relied upon clever lawyers and secretive negotiations. Following a particularly large annexation ”” Daniel Island ”” opponents compared Riley to Saddam Hussein, the late Iraqi dictator whose attempt to annex oil-rich Kuwait sparked the first Gulf War.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Kendall Harmon's Sunday Sermon–That we may w/o Shame or Fear Rejoice to Behold his Appearing

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

In order to understand the joke at the beginning of the sermon, you need to know that last week the rector accidentally said “shopping on Good Friday” and brought down the house–KSH.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Eschatology, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Heartwarming NBC Video–'Pay what you can' restaurant doing good in Florida

It’s the season of kindness, so one Florida restaurant is doing its part to help others get into the spirit, by offering food that’s priced with a “suggested donation.” For TODAY NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Poverty, Theology

Ice Melt Sculpture at St James’s Church, Piccadilly

On the eve of the Paris summit on climate change, St James’s Church Piccadilly highlighted the perilous state of the polar ice caps by hosting a giant melting ice sculpture.

The artwork entitled ”˜Her floe-fall lament (COP21)’ was created by artist and placemaker Sara Mark.

The installation, which lasted less than a day, was created by a column of frozen water, on top of an oil steel drum melting into the cavity below. The steel drum was burnt and was made as hot as possible before installation, and then surrounded by wood ash, not only to separate the sculpture from people who might touch, but to suggest that destruction of trees are not helping the environment.

The work, placed in the centre of the nave, to disrupt normal church proceedings, was an accompaniment to discussions on the end of days and looking to Christ for hope, which is central to the Advent message. After the evening service, everyone processed around the sculpture, to a fire in the courtyard of the church, which cemented the idea of the delicate balance in the environment of heat and cold, which makes up the world.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Art, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, France, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology, Theology

([London] Times) Middle-class children put at greater alcohol risk

Middle-class parents risk turning their children into alcoholics by offering them drinks at home, according to government research which showed that affluent teenagers were twice as likely as the poorest to be regular drinkers.

Young people from middle-class backgrounds are also more likely to have tried alcohol and to continue with the habit once they have started, said the survey of 120,000 15-year-olds.

Charities warned that many parents still mistakenly believe that introducing their children to alcohol at home, even a glass of wine with a family dinner, might protect them from becoming problem drinkers. Despite being legal, it is likely to have the opposite effect, campaigners said.

The study, the first of its kind published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, a body funded by the Department of Health, found that 70 per cent of boys and girls aged 15 in the least deprived areas had tried alcohol, compared to 50 per cent in the most deprived.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, Alcoholism, Anthropology, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Theology

(Telegraph) Lambeth Palace treasures to be rehoused for the 1st time in 180 years

A priceless collection of historic treasures including the execution papers of Mary Queen of Scots and a prayer book recovered from the body of Richard III is to get a new home in the first new building at Lambeth Palace for 180 years.

The palace’s library ”“ the largest collection of religious books and manuscripts in Europe apart from the Vatican ”“ is to be moved into a new multi-million purpose-built building in the palace grounds amid concerns its current home could not preserve the reassures to modern standards.

Proposals are at an early stage but the Church of England’s financial arm, the Church Commissioners, has announced that it has chosen the London architects’ practice Wright & Wright ”“ run by a husband and wife team Sandy and Clare Wright – to develop the plans.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Religion & Culture

BBC's Caroline Wyatt–We should do God, says report into religion in public life

It is a report that accurately reflects the anxiety and uncertainty about national identity that many now feel over how rapidly the UK has changed over the past 30 years, although it may well perhaps irritate both secularists and Christians who feel their voice has been marginalised.

What is indisputable is that we are now part of a globalised, interconnected and increasingly unsettled world in which the disputes within and between religions in other nations – from the Middle East to Africa and Asia – are reflected back into the UK, sometimes creating or exacerbating tensions between different communities here.

The commission’s conclusion is that how the UK responds to those changes will have a profound impact on public life, with education at all levels and dialogue between faiths and those of no faith both crucial components of that response.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Christian Century Editorial–Fear will not Lead to Good Public Policy in the Refugee Crisis

Faced with one of the greatest refugee crises in modern history, in which some 11 million Syrians have been displaced, 4 million have fled their country, and 700,000””mostly women and children””have risked their lives to reach Europe, some Americans shrink from even the modest humanitarian response outlined by President Obama of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year.

Fear is an understandable reaction to danger, but it’s an unreliable guide to policy and, often, to our own well-being. As cooler heads have noted, the refugee application process already includes background checks, in-depth inter­views, and vetting by the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, and the departments of state, defense, and homeland security. Refugees from Syria are already given additional scrutiny. The investigation takes from 18 to 24 months.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Coptic Liturgy of Saint Cyril

O God of love, who hast given us a new commandment through thine only begotten Son, that we should love one another even as thou didst love us, the unworthy and the wandering, and gavest him for our life and salvation: We pray thee to give to us thy servants, in all time of our life on earth, a mind forgetful of past ill-will, a pure conscience, and a heart to love our brethren; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

–Psalm 38:21-22

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Paris attacks 'ringleader' Abdelhamid Abaaoud evaded Athens police in January

Greek police tried to capture the suspected ringleader of the Paris terror attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, in January but the operation failed.

A Belgian anti-terrorism source told the BBC the Athens operation planned to target Abaaoud before anti-terror raids in Belgium, but that did not happen.

Abaaoud had been directing the Belgian cell by phone from Athens.

Abaaoud died in a battle with French police five days after the 13 November Paris attacks that killed 130 people.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, France, Greece, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Guelph Mercury) Bruce Taylor writes an open letter to the Bishop of Niagra

This column is presented as an open letter to Michael Bird, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Niagara.

On behalf of the Citizens for Community and all the residents of Guelph, I would appeal to you not to renew the Anglican Church’s conditional purchase agreement with HIP Developments for 171 Kortright Rd. W. Yes, you have the legal right to sell the St. Matthias church property – and to the highest bidder. That’s all you have though. You don’t have the moral right. The land is community space ”“ for the people of Guelph.

You represent the Anglican Church. People expect higher moral standards of churches, not lower. If you sell the property, zoned “institutional” for a much higher “residential” or “high density residential” amount, in the middle of a single home family neighbourhood, the Anglican Church will be held responsible. You will have failed morally.

You can do better. The Anglican Diocese bought the land in 1981 for $110,000. It was zoned “institutional” and for a reason. Communities need lands zoned “institutional” for different faiths, hospices, nursery schools, service clubs, seniors’ centres, not-for-profit housing, and a host of other organizations. To buy land zoned for “institutional,” and then turn around and sell it for “residential” or “high density residential,” at a much higher profit, and to not accept fair market offers from other churches, is immoral. The word on the streets of Guelph is greed. People also aren’t interested in money reinvested in Guelph that is more than the value of the property as “institutional.” That would be tainted money. It would be totally unjust for Anglican ministries to be financed at the expense of the McElderry neighbourhood and their families.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology

Canadian Anglican+Lutheran leaders encourage support for refugees in Christmas message

In their annual joint Christmas greeting posted on YouTube December 4, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Bishop Susan Johnson, national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, urge church members to “give an extra gift” in support of refugees.

The message begins with Hiltz’s reflection on the story of the birth of Jesus, focusing on the rather negative light in which we often see the innkeeper.

“As I read the Christmas story I’m always taken by the way in which we portray the innkeeper as the one who said to Mary and Joseph, ”˜No room here,’ when in fact he did provide them a warm and safe place for the birth of the holy child,” Hiltz says. “Yes, it was a manger, but for them it was a warm place, and a safe place.”

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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, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ethics / Moral Theology, Lutheran, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

(RNS) Dial back Christianity in British official life, make room for secularism, says new report

Almost 1,500 years after St. Augustine of Canterbury founded England’s first Christian church in 597 A.D., the British people have been told in no uncertain terms that they’re no longer living in a Christian country.

A sensational report released this week by the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life challenges this country’s time-tested moral and public values system. In language that raises eyebrows ”” and tempers ”” the report says the United Kingdom should cut back the Christian tone of major state occasions and shift toward a “pluralist character.”

Events such as coronations should be changed to be more inclusive, it says, while the number of bishops in the House of Lords should be cut to make way for leaders of other religions.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Religion & Culture