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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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Since 1955, April 15 has signified Tax Day in the United States — a pretty tragic date in our minds. But prior to that, April 15 always marked an even larger tragedy: the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The famous shipwreck claimed almost 1,500 lives.
Of note to United Methodists is the fact that two of the members of the famed Titanic band were Methodists themselves.
A book by music journalist Steve Turner detailing the lives of the bandmembers cites the Methodist heritage of bandleader and violinist Wallace Hartley and cellist John Wesley Woodward, and speculates how their faith influenced their decision to play till the last.
Read it all.
Despite differences over contraception, evangelical leaders have fallen in step with Catholic bishops over what they see as federal compulsion to provide services against their conscience.
In 2011, the Obama administration ruled that religious institutions would be required to provide employees with free contraceptive coverage. President Obama said in February that insurers would be responsible for paying for the contraception, but those who opposed the new rule suggested insurers could simply raise premiums to cover the cost.
Searching for strategies, some evangelicals filed lawsuits. Others followed Catholic bishops' lead, releasing letters to be read in churches.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals Roman Catholic
The Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments Monday morning in a local case with statewide implications for historic preservation.
Topeka attorney Pedro Irigonegaray, arguing for the neighborhood group Friends of Bethany Place, told the court that the Topeka City Council made an “arbitrary and capricious” decision when it voted 9-0 to allow an Episcopal church to clear the trees from the historic grounds nearby and build a 43-spot parking lot.
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I also want to remember the statement of the Primate of Korea, who with two other primates addressed our House of Bishops on the subject of the proposed covenant. He strikingly said that the province he served would reject the proposed covenant, because, in their considered opinion, to accept would be to internalize the colonialism the has inhered in the historical relationship between the Anglican provinces of the West and their province.
My own memory is of having participated in the Lambeth Conference, 2008, a conference where it was made widely clear that we would have a non-legislative meeting – no voting. There were a series of meetings held on the proposed covenant, all of which I attended. The points of view expressed about the fourth part of the proposed covenant, which contains a mechanism whereby errant (in the judgment of some larger part of the Communion) provinces could have their status as full and equal members of the Communion reduced, were strongly negative. In our daily Indaba groups (discussion groups of about 40 bishops each), the proposed covenant was a discussion topic on one day. Though there was no voting, as advertised, amazingly the report that came out from Lambeth regarding the content of the conference said that a majority of participants favored an Anglican covenant. No mention was made of the opinions expressed in the meetings focused on the proposed covenant.
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The recommendations come in the report from the UK Parliament’s International Development Select Committee who held an inquiry into prospects for peace and development in the world’s newest country. The Anglican Alliance brought together the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Diocese of Salisbury and Lambeth Palace to provide evidence to the inquiry.
Rebecca Coleman, representing the Episcopal Church of Sudan, and Canon Ian Woodward of the Diocese of Salisbury, gave oral evidence to the Select Committee, focusing especially on the church’s education services in South Sudan, and the role played by the Church, in particular by Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak, in peace-building.
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Pope Benedict marks two milestones this week and while his health appears stable, signs of frailty have again prompted speculation over whether he will be the first pontiff in seven centuries to resign.
Benedict, one of the oldest popes in history, turns 85 on Monday, and on Thursday he marks the seventh anniversary of his election as successor to the immensely popular John Paul II.
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...imagine how cool it would be if, by some twist of time, the National Archives were to make available detailed census information from nearly 70 years in the future — the 2080 census.
We asked James Dator, director of the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, what kind of information census takers will be soliciting seven decades in the future. Dator says that possible questions might include:
—Do you have a home, or "biophysical domicile"? If so, is it on Earth, the moon, Mars or elsewhere?Read or listen to it all.
—What is your current sex?
—What is your permission number for drinking water?...
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Philosophy Psychology Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy The U.S. Government Census/Census Data * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Is the euro crisis back with a vengeance, or do investors have a needless case of anxiety?
Until very recently, the gloom over the Continent had seemed to be lifting, with the conclusion of Greece’s second bailout and the calming effect on the financial sector of cheap loans from the European Central Bank. But last week’s jump in borrowing costs for Spain and Italy provided a clear signal that the euro’s problems are far from solved....
Read it all.
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-- * International News & Commentary Europe --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010 Italy Spain
We are now in the middle of a long period of shuffling away. In his 2000 book Bowling Alone, Robert D. Putnam attributed the dramatic post-war decline of social capital—the strength and value of interpersonal networks—to numerous interconnected trends in American life: suburban sprawl, television’s dominance over culture, the self-absorption of the Baby Boomers, the disintegration of the traditional family. The trends he observed continued through the prosperity of the aughts, and have only become more pronounced with time: the rate of union membership declined in 2011, again; screen time rose; the Masons and the Elks continued their slide into irrelevance. We are lonely because we want to be lonely. We have made ourselves lonely.
The question of the future is this: Is Facebook part of the separating or part of the congregating; is it a huddling-together for warmth or a shuffling-away in pain?
Well before Facebook, digital technology was enabling our tendency for isolation, to an unprecedented degree. Back in the 1990s, scholars started calling the contradiction between an increased opportunity to connect and a lack of human contact the “Internet paradox....”
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Children History Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
An inquiry into the 2010 leak was carried out by Lady Fritchie, a crossbench peer, but its findings were never published. A Church of England spokesman said on Sunday the report was never intended to be made public and was "a private document for the archbishop and CNC members".
The spokesman added that there were no plans to start a fresh investigation into the 2010 leak. "In these sorts of situations anyone on a committee could theoretically have spoken to a third party who then passed it on. That means we are talking about potentially hundreds of people," he said.
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There is a matter which ought to be cleared up before the Crown Nominations Commission meets to nominate the next archbishop of Canterbury (Panel choosing archbishop includes advocate of therapy for gay clergy, 10 April). In July 2010 someone on the CNC leaked to the press the fact that I was a shortlisted candidate for the See of Southwark. The archbishop of Canterbury set up an inquiry into the leak under Baroness Fritchie. This inquiry was never published, and was said to have been unable to reach a conclusion.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
Recently, the human-rights activist, former Dutch politician, and Somali exile Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote about a global war on Christians in Muslim countries. She discussed at length the appalling phenomenon of violent intolerance towards Christian communities, and cast blame on the international community and prominent NGOs for failing to address this problem....
As bad as anti-Christian violence and intimidation is, indifference to the plight of Christian groups under threat is widespread among governments, the media, and even ordinary citizens. A smattering of Christian NGOs works to publicize the issue, but mainstream human-rights organizations have largely neglected to highlight cases of explicit anti-Christian attacks and persecution.
There is an obvious reticence by international bodies even to acknowledge the problem. But according to the Pew Forum, at least 10 percent of the world’s Christians ― 200 million people in 133 countries ― live in societies as a minority group.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Globalization Law & Legal Issues Media Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations
You may go here to find the audio link (MP3).
The cold war between Africa’s newest neighbours is heating up. South Sudanese troops advanced deep into Sudan on April 10th, capturing its most valuable oilfield, Heglig, in the biggest clash since the south seceded from the north last July. Southern troops claimed to be responding to air and ground attacks from their former master, but the scale of the offensive is unprecedented. A fragile peace process that has survived several bumps in the past few months may now falter. Sudan has suspended its participation in the divorce negotiations in neighbouring Ethiopia. Parliaments in both countries are calling for military mobilisation. The drums of war beat ever louder.
The last straw could be South Sudan claiming Heglig as its own. A ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2009 appears to put the field in the Sudanese state of Southern Kordofan. But the south now disputes this. “Heglig is deep inside our borders,” says Colonel Philip Aguer, a spokesman for South Sudan’s army, adding that its troops have moved farther north. Sudan will not accept this, and for once it seems to be getting some international support. The African Union is calling on the south to withdraw its soldiers immediately and unconditionally. Sudan has complained to the UN Security Council.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Sudan --North Sudan --South Sudan
See what you make of it (Vimeo video).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Easter Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * South Carolina
Pastors and members of several Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations will gather Tuesday to show support for the Catholic Church's opposition to federal Health and Human Services department rules requiring many religious institutions to provide employees with health insurance that includes contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.
“We see this HHS contraceptive mandate as an attack on freedom of religion,” said Christopher Barnekov, a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church on Barr Street who is helping to organize the event.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics * Economics, Politics Economy The U.S. Government Politics in General * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
Despite enormous stress on military families from repeated wartime deployments and long periods living apart, service marriages are showing a level of resilience that social scientists can’t yet explain.
Military divorce rates have climbed only gradually in recent years and, according to a report in the Journal of Family Issues this month, have not exceeded the rate of broken marriages reported among civilian peers.
Competitive wartime pay, extra allowances for being married in service and family support programs could be factors. Another might be the respect service people hold toward institutions in general, including marriage.
Read it all.
O Lord God, who hast revealed in holy Scripture what conquests faith has made both in doing, and in suffering: Grant us no smaller faith than that which overcometh the whole world, that Jesus thy Son is God, very God from the beginning, the First and the Last, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, world without end.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
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