Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bell-bottoms came and went and came back again.

But Dick Clark? He never left. With his toothpaste-ad smile and a microphone always ready, Dick Clark was a fixture in our pop culture for decades.

Maybe you hear his name and think New Year's Eve stalwart, or American Bandstand host, or "World's Oldest Teenager," a nickname he picked up from TV Guide years ago, but Dick Clark was much more than any of those single images.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionMusic

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Wales has lent his support to gay marriage today, saying: “All life-long committed relationships deserved the welcome, pastoral care and support of the Church."

In his presidential address to members of the Church in Wales’ Governing Body in Llandudno, Dr Barry Morgan said Christians "need to show how the Gospel of Jesus is good news for gay people".

He said the church had to ask itself whether it would "protect and support pastorally, faithful, stable, lifelong relationships of whatever kind in order to encourage human values such as love and fidelity and recognise the need in Christian people for some public religious support for these".

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of WalesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Wales

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lambeth 1998, as I said, accepted homosexual orientation – what some have regarded as "a natural attribute for some people," that is, a natural predisposition toward people of the same sex –which has only been fully understood fairly recently. Even so, the Lambeth answer was to separate orientation from practice and commend celibacy.

But can celibacy be imposed? Shouldn't it be freely undertaken as a personal vocation by heterosexuals and homosexuals alike? As Rowan Williams once put it, "anyone who knows the complexities of the true celibate vocation, would be the last to have any sympathy with the extraordinary idea that sexual orientation is an automatic pointer to a celibate life: almost as if celibacy before God is less costly, even less risky to the homosexual than the heterosexual." And is not separating mind and body or feelings or orientation from practice a kind of dualism which the church has condemned in the past since human beings are a unified whole and cannot be compartmentalised in such a way. If that is true of humanity in general, why should we expect people of a homosexual disposition to be singled out in this way?

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of WalesInstruments of UnitySexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Recently, Nidhi Raichand, 33, and the other editors at health care Web site mDhil decided to find out how young India really feels about liberal sexual behavior.

To the Web site’s English-speaking, upper-class, Internet-savvy audience, they posed the question, “Would you marry a non-virgin?”

The answers were sharply divided, but not the way that you may think....

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetChildrenMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologySexualityWomenYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndia* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Which political issues will have the greatest influence on voters' decision of which presidential candidate to support? The answer to that question depends in part on the person's spiritual leanings. A new nationwide survey by the Barna Group, conducted among people likely to vote in November's election, indicates that the worldview of different religious segments of the population significantly impacts the issues they care about the most.

Among all likely voters, regardless of their faith inclinations, the most influential issues are health care (said to influence their candidate selection "a lot" by 74% of likely voters), tax policy (62%), employment policies and strategies (54%), and plans regarding the nation's dependence upon foreign oil (52%).

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 10:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Europe threw its weight behind Spain yesterday after a diplomatic war broke out between Madrid and Buenos Aires over Argentina’s decision to take over a multibillion-pound energy company.

In the wake of tensions between Britain and Argentina on the anniversary earlier this month of the Falklands invasion, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner risked further alienation around the world by pushing ahead with the nationalisation of Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF), in which Repsol, a Spanish energy group, has a majority shareholding.

In response, Spain launched a trade and diplomatic offensive against Argentina, rallying allies in Brussels and the G20 against the move to take over 51 per cent of YPF.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural ResourcesForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeSpainSouth AmericaArgentina

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 9:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For all who favour high standards, and who also believe that moderate religious affiliation benefits children and those involved in their education, the Secretary of State’s support for the expansion of publicly funded Anglican schools can only seem a cause of celebration.

But I’m not so sure. There’s a risk that educational standards, and even Anglicanism itself, might be endangered by the expansion of church schools. My fear is that Anglican schools may be forced, for the sake of becoming more inclusive, to dilute their distinctively religious character, and even to turn away applicants from genuine Anglican backgrounds, to accommodate those who are not.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In his address, the Archbishop referred to depending inequality, the invisibility of poverty and the cyclical nature of poverty.

Dr Sentamu said: "We are far richer today yet misery is growing. The current recession has led to significant cuts in public spending and services with more likely in the immediate years ahead. As well as the reality of poverty and growing inequality in our country today, we also face the problem of poverty of vision. Put simply, we have lost a vision of how we might transform our society to bring about changes that we wish to see."

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & Culture

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup on a preliminary basis without seasonal adjustment, declined to 8.2% in mid-April from 8.4% in March. However, the government's likely seasonal adjustment of 0.3 percentage points leads to a Gallup seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate of 8.5% in mid-April, up from 8.1% last month.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pockets of breakaway Anglican groups in Canada, including their married priests, are joining the Roman Catholic Church in ceremonies across the country.

Conservative Anglicans say their beliefs are more in line with Rome than with increasingly liberal teachings of some of their own bishops regarding hot-button issues, such as female priests and same-sex marriage.

Deborah Gyapong, an Ottawa-based freelance journalist who reports for Catholic and evangelical newspapers, was one of about 40 Anglicans recently welcomed at a rite of reception in Ottawa on Sunday, part of several Anglican parishes across the country that will be entering into "full communion" with the Catholic Church.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical Relations

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The British authorities on Tuesday rearrested Abu Qatada, a radical Muslim cleric who was released from prison in February after a European court overruled British judges and blocked his deportation to Jordan on terrorism charges. They said they would resume efforts to remove him from Britain.

The cleric, 51, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, was convicted in absentia by Jordan of involvement in a series of terrorist bombing plots more than a decade ago. Jordanian officials have said he will face retrial for the bombings if he is repatriated from Britain.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 6:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Easter, a running debate about the hereafter is raising new questions about the definition of heaven--and what it says about the meaning of life. This conversation takes a subject that has occupied humanity for millennia and places it squarely amid topics of faith that are deeply relevant today. Even in the wake of the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution, many of us believe in heaven--85% of all Americans, according to Gallup. Most of us are apparently confident--or at least say we are--that life does not end at the grave.

Yet we don't necessarily agree on what heaven is. There is, of course, the familiar image recounted by Colton Burpo. But there is also the competing view of scholars such as N.T. Wright, the former Anglican bishop of Durham, England, and a leading authority on the New Testament. What if Christianity is not about enduring this sinful, fallen world in search of a reward of eternal rest? What if the authors of the New Testament were actually talking about a bodily resurrection in which God brings together the heavens and the earth in a wholly new, wholly redeemed creation? As more voices preach a view that's at odds with the pearly gates (but supported, they note, by Scripture), faithful followers must decide which approach they believe in.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 5:54 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In response to Blessed John Paul II's call to evangelize formerly Christian societies, the Church must build a “culture of witness,” said representatives of the U.S. bishops in a new document.

It is “primarily by her conduct and by her life that the Church will evangelize the world,” explained the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.

The committee, headed by Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisc., released a new online resource on April 16 to assist dioceses, eparchies and parishes in reaching out to engage the faithful and encourage them to witness to their faith through their lives.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 5:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was signed 30 years ago Tuesday. Since then, not only has it become a national bedrock, but the Charter has replaced the American Bill of Rights as the constitutional document most emulated by other nations.

“Could it be that Canada has surpassed or even supplanted the United States as a leading global exporter of constitutional law? The data suggest that the answer may be yes.” So conclude two U.S. law professors whose analysis of the declining influence of the American constitution on other nations will be published in New York University Law Review in June.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanada

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I fully intended to ignore Spain this week. Really, truly I did. I had my letter all planned, but then a few notes drew my attention, and the more I reflected on them, the more I realized that the inflection point that I thought the European Central Bank had pushed down the road for at least a year with their recent €1 trillion LTRO is now rushing toward us much faster than ECB President Mario Draghi had in mind when he launched his massive funding operation.

So, we simply must pay attention to what Spain has done this week – which, to my surprise, seems to have escaped the attention of the major media. What we will find may be considered a tipping point when the crisis is analyzed by some future historian. And then we'll get back to some additional details on the US employment situation, starting with a few rather shocking data points. What we'll see is that for most people in the US the employment level has not risen, even as overall employment is up by 2 million jobs since the end of the recession in 2009. And there are a few other interesting items. Are we really going to see 2 billion jobs disappear in the next 30 years?

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Spain

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The last major overhaul of the tax code took place when a Democratic Congress, working with Reagan, passed the Tax Reform Act of 1986. It simplified the code, decreased individual tax rates, increased corporate taxes and significantly reduced the number of exemptions, deductions, credits and loopholes. The reform also set the tax rate for capital gains at about 23 percent, which was reduced dramatically to around 15 percent as part of the Bush tax cuts.

Ever since the 1986 reform was passed, Congress has been systematically chipping away at the tax code, adding literally thousands of changes and additional tax benefits, exemptions and loopholes, junking up the tax code and making it more complicated and less fair.

"It's out of control, says Eugene Steuerle, an Urban Institute economist. "They keep throwing junk in the tax code which adds to the deficit."

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTaxesPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 4:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord God Almighty, whose blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ did on the third day rise triumphant over death: Raise us, we beseech thee, from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness, that we may seek those things which are above, where he sitteth on thy right hand in glory; and this we beg for the sake of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

-Scottish Prayer Book

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 4:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

--John 15:1-11

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Posted April 18, 2012 at 4:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Investigators now suspect that as many as 21 prostitutes were brought by U.S. Secret Service and military personnel to the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena, Colombia, last week during a night of carousing, a dramatic increase in the number of women previously disclosed by government officials.

Officials said that 11 Secret Service and nine military personnel are suspected of the misconduct that took place in advance of President Obama’s trip to the country for an international economic summit. Initially reports suggested that the military personnel, some of whom were confined to their rooms after the scandal broke, had merely violated curfew, while the Secret Service members had engaged with prostitutes.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentForeign RelationsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 17, 2012 at 11:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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