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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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South Korea's foreign minister says a North Korean long-range rocket launch has been confirmed a "failure."
Kim Sung-hwan provided no further details about what he said was the North's failure to launch a rocket the West has condemned as a cover for a missile test.
He told reporters Friday in a nationally televised address that Seoul is "strongly condemning North Korea's new leadership" for ignoring international warnings to cancel the launch.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Asia Korea
I wonder if you can say anything about the Catholic faith without people taking offense. No matter how benign, no comment on the web about Catholicism goes unchallenged. That goes for blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and pretty much everything else. Moreover, the idea of trying to understand a person by reading carefully what they're actually saying, or giving them the benefit of the doubt, is fading quickly from Catholic discourse. No matter what you write, there are Catholics ready to take immediate offense, to explode in righteous anger, to threaten to report you to the proper authorities or, most of all, to correct. The most common responses are these five: 1.) Your soul is in mortal danger. 2.) You’re uneducated and need to be schooled. 3.) I hate the church and so I hate you. 4.) You’re an unthinking tool of the Vatican. 5.) You’re disobedient and must be reported.
Here is a not-so-farfetched exchange, based on some very, very real experiences. Believe me, it would be hard to make this stuff up....
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Our deliberations confirmed the relevance of our mission, yielded possible solutions and strategies to be further explored and also revealed some urgent needs which must be addressed, in order to properly execute The church’s Mission. Three major objectives were identified that need to be immediately pursued:-
1. Greater interaction of the church with the immediate and wider communities, leading to an expansion of the membership of the congregation.
2. Attracting more youth and young adults into the membership of the church and reversing the tendency of our young adults leaving Ascension for membership in other churches.
3. Expansion & enhancement of the physical facilities of the church to adequately meet the needs of the present and future congregation.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Ecclesiology Pastoral Theology
The mother of a 6-month-old girl has been wrongly jailed for more than a month, as Pakistani authorities have failed to file a charge sheet within the mandatory 14-day period against the young Christian woman falsely accused of “blaspheming” the prophet of Islam, her attorney said.
Shamim Bibi, 26, of village Chak No. 170/7R Colony, in the Fort Abbas area of Bahawalpur district, was charged under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s “blasphemy” statutes after neighbors accused her of uttering remarks against Muhammad. She was arrested on Feb. 28.
Speaking ill of Muhammad in Pakistan is punishable by life imprisonment or death under Pakistan’s internationally condemned blasphemy laws.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Asia Pakistan * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations
The leader of a radical Islamist sect in Nigeria has challenged the nation's president, saying he could never destroy the group blamed for hundreds of killings this year alone, according to an online video posted Thursday.
The video featuring Imam Abubakar Shekau came as authorities blamed gunmen from the sect known as Boko Haram for killing two civilians in northeast Nigeria.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam
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Recently, my husband was pulled over for not wearing his seat belt. But Irv was convinced he was being railroaded.
“Officer,” he said in his most condescending voice. “how do you know I’m not wearing a seat belt if my windows are tinted?”
“Because, sir,” replied the officer, “it’s hanging out the door.”
-- Reader’s Digest, May 2012 edition, page 97
[STEVE] INSKEEP: You're touching on the part that is maybe even more poignant, that this is a guy, as his story unfolds, who, early in life, had an opportunity for adventure - go off to Alaska, something - and seems to have turned that aside in order to get security. He thought that selling was something that you could do all your life, you could do as an old man and support yourself. And in the end, he doesn't even get the security.
[PHILIP SEYMOUR] HOFFMAN: No. But it's his son. It's his son. You know, he had sons. He really did give his life for his sons. He didn't do it in a way that, obviously, was effective or got what he wanted or actually nurtured his sons in a way that was going to help them, but he did.
INSKEEP: Has your job of portraying this disappointed father affected your thoughts at all when you go home and you go home to your three kids?
HOFFMAN: Well, it's - you know, it affects your life. It's - I really do think it's one of those plays that just seeps into - as we talk about all these aspects, I mean, it's never that simple. I mean, this play really seeps into why we're here, you know, what are we doing - family, work, friends, you know, hopes, dreams, careers....
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...if there’s one element of Judaism I’d love to share with everyone it’s this: If you want to survive and thrive as a people, a culture, a civilization, celebrate the family. Hold it sacred. Eat together. Tell the story of what most matters to you across the generations. Make children the most important people. Put them centre stage. Encourage them to ask questions, the more the better. That’s what Moses said thirty three centuries ago and Judaism is still here to tell the tale having survived some of the most brutal persecutions in human history, yet as a religious faith were still young and full of energy.
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Almost nine out of 10 charity bosses fear big donations from wealthy backers will be hit by Chancellor George Osborne's cap on tax relief for charitable donations, according to a survey.
The findings of the survey of 120 charity chief executives and senior executives conducted by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) will intensify the pressure on the Government to rethink its plans unveiled in last month's Budget.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Charities/Non-Profit Organizations Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance Taxes Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about your topic?
A common misconception among non-evangelicals is that evangelical Christians are all ruthless proselytizers and right-wing culture warriors. I’m not an apologist for evangelical beliefs and traditions, which I generally don’t share and, to a large extent, disagree with. But it is a mistake, empirically speaking, for non-evangelicals to latch on to negative images formed by media stereotypes and subjective experiences (for example, having an imposing neighbor or relative insist on “witnessing” to you) and then decide that they can be used to characterize an entire population.Read it all.
Some people think that evangelicals only do charity out of a selfish desire to convert non-believers. Others insist that evangelical faith-based organizations are secretly installing a Christian theocracy. Both assumptions are misguided in my view because they are too narrow. My book seeks to broaden (and refine) our sense of what everyday evangelicals believe they are doing, or would like to be doing, when they engage the public sphere.
Check it out (very bottom on the right).
A second day of fighting between Sudan and South Sudan in their disputed border regions has prompted international concern that the conflict might develop into outright war.
The African Union says it is deeply alarmed by the clashes over oilfields, and called on both sides to exercise the utmost restraint.
Sudan has pulled out of negotiations with South Sudan.
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The evolution of the rags to riches started five years ago with a vision held by a Jesuit seminarian who was assigned to a parish at the Payatas dumpsite, northeast of Manila; about 60,000 people live around the dump's fringe. Father Xavier Alpasa said he saw exploitation flourishing as he ministered in this deeply impoverished community.
Women were buying dumpsite scraps that scavengers picked and sewing them into rugs to be sold commercially.
"Middlemen were coming in and buying the rugs at 9 pesos and selling them to department stores for 35 pesos," Father Alpasa said. "Then I was asking, 'Where did all the profit go? Why is it all going to the middlemen? How come the women would only get 1 peso as a profit?'"
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Father Alfons Marzou shuffles across a complex that is home to sisters for the Catholic Missionaries of Charity, whose nuns provide medical care and food to impoverished children living amid heaps of garbage.
"Look around," Marzou says, motioning to the filthy streets outside the walls where families live among refuse for resale in what is known as Garbage City.
Little has improved for these people in the year since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, Marzou says, "The situation is bad in so many ways."
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Middle East Egypt * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Coptic Church Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations
Abroad, Christians are facing persecution and even death in many countries; the Arab Spring is threatening to turn into winter for Christian communities and the conflict in Syria is fraught with menace for a minority that is being driven out of parts of the Middle East it has inhabited for two millennia. The Coptic Christians in Egypt are suffering murderous attacks and the Lebanese patriarch is warning of dire consequences as a result of revolution across the Middle East, with militant Islamists now looking like the main beneficiaries rather than secular democrats. The courage of the embattled Christian communities in those areas is the most eloquent embracing of the Easter message that could be imagined. For the Easter drama illustrates the worst and the best of human behaviour: Judas’s betrayal, Peter’s craven denial, Pilate’s abdication of responsibility, contrasted with the humility, sacrifice and forgiveness of Christ. Christianity is no soft option.
In Britain, the tide may be turning. There is a sense that the Dawkins years are coming to an end. Richard Dawkins and the militant secularists are confronting the inevitable limitations of their atheist creed: how do you energise a crusade around a vacuum? Even when competing religions historically clashed, they had rival narratives to proclaim. “There is nothing” is not a message to which people in our stressful, increasingly fragmented society will warm. It is cold comfort to bring to a recession-hit household, a hospital ward or a deathbed. Yet to all those forums of human misery the Christian faith has a more consoling message to take: that of the empty tomb, the risen Christ, the joy that is to come. We wish all our readers a very happy Easter.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Easter * Culture-Watch Media Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Atheism
President Obama's signature health reform law will add as much as $527 billion to federal deficits over the next decade, not cut them as advertised, according to a report released Tuesday.
The Affordable Care Act will add as much as $1.2 trillion to federal spending between 2012 and 2021, the report also finds. Charles Blahous, who serves as one of Medicare's trustees, wrote the report, published by George Mason University's Mercatus Center.
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate * Economics, Politics Economy The U.S. Government Budget Medicare The National Deficit Politics in General House of Representatives Office of the President Senate
The Spanish reading public now has a very good grasp of the fundamental realities of EMU. This will have consequences. Spain is not on the fringes of the Balkans, terrified of being cast into Ottoman banishment. It is not a small country that can be pushed around for year after year.
How and when all this will end is anybody’s guess but I have suspected for a long time that Spain is the lynchpin of the system. The intellectual atmosphere has changed entirely. Politics must surely follow.
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Filed under: * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Credit Markets Currency Markets Euro European Central Bank The Banking System/Sector The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Europe --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010 Germany Spain
Almighty God, whose blessed Son did, as in this season, burst the bonds of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it: Grant that we may be risen with him and walk henceforth in newness of life; and bring us at last to the joy of thy eternal kingdom. Hear us, O Father, for the sake of him who is the firstborn from the dead, and is now alive for evermore, even the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
--1 Corinthians 15:41-50
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