Daily Archives: October 25, 2021

([London] Times) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in fight to save job at Manchester United after players lose faith

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fears that he will be sacked as Manchester United manager after his side’s humiliating 5-0 defeat by Liverpool on Sunday.

The Times understands that a number of senior players have lost confidence in their manager, whose future was the subject of discussions between the club’s board of directors

Solskjaer, 48, told friends in the immediate aftermath of the 5-0 loss that he expected to be in charge for United’s next match, away to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

But the Norwegian is now concerned that he will be sacked in the coming days, partly as a result of the backlash that followed the humiliating defeat at Old Trafford.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in England / UK, Sports

(Pzephizo) Ian Paul–In which direction is Leicester leading the Church of England?

Behind all this are some bigger questions of strategic thinking. Is the Church of England actually thinking coherently about this challenge, across its different silos of the Archbishops’ Council, the Church Commissioners, the House of Bishops, individual dioceses, and those doing research on questions of ministry, mission and growth? If so, how come different dioceses are adopting such profoundly different approaches to the shared challenges that we all face?

For example, it has been clear for some time that reducing stipendiary posts will not lead to growth—yet now we have Chelmsford, Sheffield and Leicester radically cutting stipendiary numbers with Lincoln coming next, whilst others (at the moment Southwell and Nottingham, and St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, and possibly others) committing to retain them as part of a strategy for growth—based on the research evidence. On a smaller scale, Bob Jackson’s research demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that vacancies led to a decline in attendance and a loss of income, so that the best way to make the transition was to prepare ahead of time and appointment immediately, ensuring continuity of ministry within the parish. I have yet to come across even one diocese that does this.

I wonder what conversations the House of Bishops has about these things? Is there really no shared approach to these challenges? Is every bishop king or queen in his or her own diocesan castle? Does that make any sense?

And how does it connect to the notion that stipendiary clergy and a national resource, trained in a nationally coordinated way? As Mark Ireland comments again:

We have been praying and working for a 50% increase in vocations. Just when God seems to be answering our prayers and the number of vocations is increasing, we should be prayerfully trusting God to provide the finance to enable us to deploy these priests. What other organisation would go to the trouble and expense of recruiting and training new staff, only to tell them at the end of their trainee post that there was no job for them?

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(GR) Terry Mattingly–It’s an important political question: Are you a believer or a self-identified believer?

“All religious communities have lots of highly committed people, and all religious communities have their share of marginal members whose faith isn’t all that active,” said Green. For pollsters, the challenge is asking questions that help draw lines between “self-identified believers and those who are truly active” in their faith groups, he added.

The American Bible Society, in its “State of the Bible” surveys, has tried to document ways in which beliefs about the Bible, and personal interactions with scripture, separate “practicing Christians” from “self-identified Christians.” This matters, in part, because religious groups containing a high percentage of committed believers usually maintain their members, or even make converts, while other groups struggle to survive.

The most recent ABS survey (.pdf here) was completed last January, with data collected from 3,354 online interviews with adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The American Bible Society began studying these kinds of issues as early as 1812.

In this survey, a “practicing Christians” was defined as someone who “identifies as a Christian, attends a religious service at least once a month” and states that “faith is very important” in his or her life. Thus, said the report, practicing the faith affected their lives “in a transformative way.” Meanwhile, “self-identified Christians” were those who “simply say they believe.” According to this study, in America:

* Evangelical churches include 58% “practicing Christians” and 42% who are “self-identified.”

* Historically Black churches – evangelical, Pentecostal and “mainline” combined – are 31% “practicing” and 69% “self-identified” Christians.

* America’s more liberal “mainline” churches – many of which still contain significant numbers of evangelicals – include 28% “practicing” Christians and 72% “self-identified….”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(WSJ) Endemic Covid-19 Has Arrived in Portugal. This Is What It Looks Like

“Nobody will ever forget this past January, but now Covid is endemic and we need to learn to live with the virus,” said Dr. Mota. “Almost the whole population is vaccinated here and the virus still circulates, showing it won’t go away.”

As in other countries with a large proportion of the population vaccinated, a stubborn persistence of infections in Portugal hasn’t led to a significant increase in the rate of hospitalizations or deaths.

“Things are getting better, but it’s slow,” said Miguel Campos, who drives tourists around Lisbon in a tuk-tuk. “We are taking baby steps. We have a mix of optimism and hope that this return to normal will continue.”

Before the pandemic there were 800 rickshaw taxi drivers in Lisbon, but now only about 200 work during the week and 500 on weekends, said Valentim Gaspar, another rickshaw taxi driver. For now, the balance between drivers and tourists makes it possible to earn a decent living, he said.

The Portuguese almost universally attribute their vaccination success to Henrique Gouveia e Melo, an ex-submarine commander brought on to run the inoculation drive after a shaky start. He projected confidence and tapped into the population’s generally favorable attitudes to vaccinations, according to public-health experts. The vaccine rollout began in January just as the worst of the pandemic peaked in Portugal, providing a clear incentive for anybody who might have been unsure about getting vaccinated.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Portugal

(PRC) A Rising Share of U.S. Adults Are Living Without a Spouse or Partner

As relationships, living arrangements and family life continue to evolve for American adults, a rising share are not living with a romantic partner. A new Pew Research Center analysis of census data finds that in 2019, roughly four-in-ten adults ages 25 to 54 (38%) were unpartnered – that is, neither married nor living with a partner.1 This share is up sharply from 29% in 1990.2 Men are now more likely than women to be unpartnered, which wasn’t the case 30 years ago.

The growth in the single population is driven mainly by the decline in marriage among adults who are at prime working age. At the same time, there has been a rise in the share who are cohabiting, but it hasn’t been enough to offset the drop in marriage – hence the overall decline in partnership. While the unpartnered population includes some adults who were previously married (those who are separated, divorced or widowed), all of the growth in the unpartnered population since 1990 has come from a rise in the number who have never been married.

This trend has broad societal implications, as does the growing gap in well-being between partnered and unpartnered adults. Looking across a range of measures of economic and social status, unpartnered adults generally have different – often worse – outcomes than those who are married or cohabiting. This pattern is apparent among both men and women. Unpartnered adults have lower earnings, on average, than partnered adults and are less likely to be employed or economically independent. They also have lower educational attainment and are more likely to live with their parents. Other research suggests that married and cohabiting adults fare better than those who are unpartnered when it comes to some health outcomes.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Sociology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Tabitha (Dorcas) of Joppa

Most Holy God, whose servant Tabitha thou didst raise from the dead to display thy power and confirm thy message that thy Son is Lord; grant unto us thy grace, that aided by her prayers and example, we may be given a new life in thy Spirit to do works pleasing in thy sight; Through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord; who livest and reignest with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the ACNA Prayer Book

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

I John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Per′gamum and to Thyati′ra and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to La-odice′a.”

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round his breast; his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters; in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Now write what you see, what is and what is to take place hereafter. As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

–Revelation 1:9-20

Posted in Theology: Scripture