Daily Archives: August 4, 2016

Peter Peterson Foundation–Have the Debt and Deficits Gotten Better?

But much more important is the steep upward trajectory of our long-term debt ”“ which remains as dangerous as ever. In its latest long-term outlook, released in June, CBO projected that the federal debt will climb to 141 percent of GDP by 2046 ”“ by far the highest level on record.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Medicare, Politics in General, Psychology, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Premier) Archbishop of York urges Robert Mugabe to quit

The Archbishop of York has told Premier that Robert Mugabe must leave power.

Dr John Sentamu has said the country has “become rubble” during his leadership.

The 92-year-old president has been in power since 1980.

John Sentamu was speaking as around five million people in Zimbabwe are in need of assistance as a result of the ongoing drought in southern Africa.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Theology, Zimbabwe

(New Statesman) Xan Rice–The super-recognisers of Scotland Yard

In early August 2015 one of Porritt’s junior colleagues (who asked for his name to be withheld) was looking at CCTV images from the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where he had worked as a beat cop. The officer noticed the same, smartly dressed thief ”“ the man the team later nicknamed McNulty ”“ in two stills taken in upmarket shops. Snap. Then another, and another ”“ snap, snap. As he broadened his search to other affluent boroughs of London, the officer kept seeing the same face. He printed out the images of the serial shoplifter and tacked them to a wall in the office. He told me: “When I had 13 or 14 crimes, I said to Eliot, ”˜There’s £35,000 worth of goods stolen by this guy. We need to do something.’”

They downloaded the CCTV clips from where the stills had been taken. McNulty’s hands were so fast that in some cases the officers had to slow the footage down to ascertain exactly when the theft had occurred.

“I hate using the words ”˜talented’ or ”˜good’ for a criminal, when they could be so many better things, like a street magician or a dextrous watchmaker,” said Porritt. “But when we watched him [McNulty], it was like: ”˜That’s good.’”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYT) Washington DC Area Transit Officer Is Charged With Helping ISIS

A police officer with the Washington transit system has become the first American law enforcement officer to be charged with supporting the Islamic State, accused of trying to send financial help to the group after advising a friend on how to travel to Syria to join it.

In court papers filed on Tuesday and made public on Wednesday, federal law enforcement officials charged the officer, Nicholas Young, with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

The charge is based on the allegation that Mr. Young bought gift cards worth $245 and sent their code numbers to someone he believed had joined ISIS in Syria, to help the group pay for mobile phone messaging with its supporters in the West.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Syria, Terrorism, Theology

(C of E Comm Blog) Eight apps that can help your church

If you’ve got a smartphone, you’ve probably downloaded a few apps, either games to waste some time or something a little more productive! There are apps for everything now, including a few that might be of use to your church. To save yourself sifting through the hundreds of thousands of apps on the market, I’ve selected a few for you which will help your church be creative, work together and save you time. All of them are work on both Apple and Android phones and are all free to use….

Slack is a fantastic tool for coordinating and collaborating as part of a team. The app (and the corresponding website) lets you have conversations on multiple topics with a particular group of people. For instance, as a church team you could have a conversation about planning for Christmas or ongoing building works. By having it all in one place, all those that need to know, can be in the know, ideas can be suggested to the group, links to resources can be shared and plans can be agreed (saving your inbox from email overload!) You can also send files to each other and more.

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

(CEN) Concerns over Lambeth meeting with an allegedly prominent Pakistani “hate preacher”

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace told The Church of England Newspaper: “The Archbishop of Canterbury was pleased to meet Shaykh Naqib ur Rehman, a leading Sufi Muslim leader from Pakistan, at Lambeth Palace yesterday. The Archbishop received a first-hand account of the situation in Pakistan, which is a highly significant country for faith relationships in the UK.”

However, the son of Salmaan Taseer told the International Business Times he was perturbed by the news. Taseer, who had been kidnapped by the Taliban and held prisoner for four years said: “These people teach murder and hate. For me personally I find it sad that a country like England would allow cowards like these men in.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(LA Times) David Lazarus–Obamacare covers free annual physicals, right? Wrong

Banning resident Jim Bailey and his wife went in recently for their annual physicals. They came away with hundreds of dollars in charges for co-pays and tests.

Bailey, 78, told me that he feels duped.

“The Affordable Care Act dictates that all annual physicals be provided at no cost to the policyholders ”” no deductibles or co-pays,” he said. “But that wasn’t the case with us.”

Nor will it be the case with anyone else ”” even though many Americans believe otherwise.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance, Psychology, Theology

(Her.meneutics) What I Needed From the Church During My Depression

Unfortunately, many of us who have spoken up in church communities have been told to “pray harder” or “have more faith.” These suggestions might be well intentioned, but they often discourage and isolate those of us in desperate need of support. “It’s a knee-jerk reaction to judge people when they’re vulnerable,” wrote actress Kristen Bell of her own story. “But there’s nothing weak about struggling with mental illness. You’re just having a harder time living in your brain than other people.”
She’s right: Struggling with an illness of any kind makes a person vulnerable, and a sick brain puts a person in a particularly vulnerable state because it’s often impossible to discern the problem from the inside. The sick brain can’t see the sick brain. More often than not, someone in the midst of a depressive episode or panic attack can barely put forth a cry for help.
As people living in Christian community, we should be ready to offer practical knowledge and gracious support to people experiencing mental health crises. With that in mind, here are three ways I believe every church is best positioned to help:

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Christina Rossetti

O God of patience and consolation, grant we beseech thee that with free hearts we may love and serve thee and our brethren; and, having thus the mind of Christ, may begin heaven on earth, and exercise ourselves therein till that day when heaven, where love abideth, shall seem no strange habitation to us; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Beth-sa”²ida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathan”²a-el, and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathan”²a-el said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathan”²a-el coming to him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Nathan”²a-el said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathan”²a-el answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) ISIS names new leader of Boko Haram

Islamic State said it appointed a new leader for Boko Haram, in a sign that the Nigerian Islamist insurgency is retooling under the command of the terrorist group.

Sheik Abu Mossab al Bornawi was recently assigned to take command of the Nigerian insurgency, Islamic State’s weekly newsletter Al Naba said Tuesday.

The article didn’t say what happened to Abubakar Shekau, the former face of Boko Haram, who hasn’t been seen in videos since early 2015. It also isn’t clear if Mr. Shekau’s followers support the change in management.

Boko Haram, whose war with Nigeria’s government has left more than 30,000 people dead, declared loyalty to Islamic State in 2015. Mr. Bornawi told al Naba that the two groups have decided “to fight and unite under one umbrella.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Globalization, Islam, Middle East, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(TGC) Joe Carter–Why We Should Be Grateful for Flourishing Evangelical Seminaries

Why It Matters: Kenneth Kantzer, the late academic dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, once said that in 1890 all of the Protestant theological seminaries in the United States””with the notable exception of Harvard””were evangelical. Forty years later, though, almost all of them had become liberal (i.e., denied basic tenets of orthodoxy). By the 1950s, only four of the top ten largest seminaries were sponsored by evangelical denominations. Of those four, three were part of the SBC, which was struggling at the time to take back control of its schools from liberal professors.

By the 1990s, the trend had shifted once again back toward conservative evangelicalism. After the “conservative resurgence” in the SBC, all six of the denomination’s seminaries were solidly orthodox. And by 1995, only two liberal-leaning seminaries remained on the list of top ten schools by enrollment (Princeton at #9 and Candler School of Theology at #10).

While we should be careful not to make too much of this shift (enrollment size doesn’t necessarily determine national influence) this sustained trend deserves our notice and gratitude.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(JE) Chelsen Vicari–What are America’s Largest Seminaries?

Since the 1995-96 academic school year, Princeton Theological Seminary has seen 30 percent fewer full-time enrolled students. Reformed Theological Seminary saw a 33 percent decrease to 547 full-time students while Candler School of Theology experienced a 39 percent drop to 414 full-time students.

There were a few positive changes. Since 1995-96, the evangelical Wesleyan-rooted Asbury Theological Seminary experienced a 50 percent increase in full-time student enrollment. “They are drawn to Asbury’s distinctives of a high regard for biblical authority and commitment to preparing women and men for evangelistic ministry,” wrote Dr. Tom Tumblin, Dean of the Asbury seminary Beeson International Center for Biblical Preaching and Leadership, in an article for the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “Our faculty includes world-class scholars who have rich field experience and embrace God’s call to go, disciple, baptize and teach.”

Midwestern Theological Seminary sprung into the top ten largest seminaries with an inspiring 136 percent increase in full-time student enrollment since 1995. Similarly, evangelical Gordon-Conwell also moved up among the largest seminaries with a 57 percent increase in full-time students over the past two decades.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology