26 July 2012

Catholic dynamic shifts in China

Catholic dynamic shifts in China, by Francesco Sisci (Asia Times, 26 July 2012)

Excerpts:
Ties between China and the Vatican are at a crossroads. The ordination on July 7 of Ma Daqin as the Vatican's bishop of Shanghai and his public announcement that he would renounce his membership in the official Catholic Patriotic Association have the potential to create a huge change in ties between Beijing and Rome.

The first reaction in Rome to this announcement was of surprise, meaning that the Holy See didn't command the bishop to give up his membership and didn't encourage him to do so. Evidence of this is the fact that many bishops in China are members of the Catholic Patriotic Association, and Rome has not demanded they give up their memberships.
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24 July 2012

Why Most Mass Murderers Are Privileged White Men

Why Most Mass Murderers Are Privileged White Men? By Hugo Schwyzer (Role/Reboot 23 July 2012)

Excerpt:
That “white boy mojo” can still open all sorts of doors: to boardrooms, to judge’s chambers, to country club memberships. It’s not that those institutions are still overtly racist (though a few come close). It’s not that white men are guaranteed preferential treatment in every setting. It’s that white men are raised to expect to be welcomed wherever they go. When they find that that automatic welcome isn’t forthcoming, they tend to be indignant. When angry middle-class whites gather together in political groups to “take back our country,” what they want to grab back are the privileges they sense they’ve lost.


We don’t yet know what drove James Holmes to do the terrible things he did. We only partly understand what drove the likes of Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Charles Whitman, and the many other white men who have committed similar massacres. While each killer had a unique pathology that helped drive him to do the unthinkable, the fact that these white male mass murderers felt so confident choosing public spaces to commit their crimes reflects a powerful truth about the culture in which they were raised. Put simply, they did what they did because of an individual sickness—but they did it where they did it in part because of white privilege.


It’s not that white men are more violent. Rates of domestic violence, including homicide, are roughly the same across all ethnic groups. Statistically, murderers are more likely to kill family members and intimate partners than strangers. But while men from all backgrounds kill their spouses, affluent white men are disproportionately represented in the ranks of our most infamous mass murderers. In other words, the less privileged you are, the less likely you are to take your violence outside of your family and your community.
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22 July 2012

Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths

Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths (Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 19 July 2012)

Excerpts:
As their numbers rise, Asian Americans are contributing to the diversity of the U.S. religious landscape. From less than 1% of the total U.S. population (including children) in 1965, Asian Americans have increased to 5.8% (or 18.2 million children and adults in 2011, according to the U.S. Census).3 In the process, they have been largely responsible for the growth of non-Abrahamic faiths in the United States, particularly Buddhism and Hinduism. Counted together, Buddhists and Hindus today account for about the same share of the U.S. public as Jews (roughly 2%). At the same time, most Asian Americans belong to the country’s two largest religious groups: Christians and people who say they have no particular religious affiliation.
Links:
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19 July 2012

First female Anglican bishop for Africa elected in a 'spirit-filled' atmosphere


Excerpt:
The Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) yesterday made history by appointing the first female Anglican bishop on the continent.The Revd Ellinah Ntombi Wamukoya, 61, became the bishop-elect of Swaziland and the first woman bishop in any of the 12 Anglican Provinces in Africa. It is thought she is only the second bishop elected in a mainline church on the continent. Her election comes as The Anglican Church of Southern Africa -- which also includes Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Lesotho -- commemorates 20 years since the ordination of women to the priesthood as presbyters and bishops. The 1992 synod was, coincidentally, held in Swaziland.
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Resources on the New Zealand Prayer Book

Useful resources on the New Zealand Prayer Book (NZPB):
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Ramadan etiquette guide: How to be a non-Muslim during the holy month

Ramadan etiquette guide: How to be a non-Muslim during the holy month, by Asma Uddin and Shazia Kamal (Washington Post, 18 July 2012)

Excerpt:
Around the world, Muslim observe Ramadan beginning Thursday or Friday, depending on the sighting of the new crescent moon. The customs of the Islamic holy month are familiar to its faithful, but what do non-Muslims need to know about the month of fasting?
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18 July 2012

Latinos fueling growth within an Episcopal Church they feel embraces women, gays and immigrants


Excerpt:
In 2008, a meeting was convened in San Antonio, Texas with the expressed purpose of evaluating the Episcopal Church and how it could reach out to the burgeoning Hispanic community. It included a group of priests, but in a twist, also two Hispanic marketing professionals. That’s why the resulting report featured marketing terms like a SWOT analysis (assessing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and was able to analyze the U.S. Hispanic demographic the church was so keen on drawing in. The report was also something else for the Latino/Hispanic ministries within the Episcopal Church: A blueprint which helped make Latinos its fastest growing demographic in the last three years.

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A Rare Buddhist Ceremony in Queens, Paid for With a Life’s Savings

A Rare Buddhist Ceremony in Queens, Paid for With a Life’s Savings, by Sarah Maslin Nir (New York Times, 16 July 2012)

Excerpt:
one-bedroom apartment in Woodside, Queens, where they sleep in the same bed to save money. But on Sunday, they stood on a dais before an altar of glittering gold Buddhas while some of the highest-ranked Buddhist monks from around the region bowed their heads to the women and showered them with benedictions. It was the culmination of a rare ceremony where every single text of their Buddhist canon is read from morning until night by monks, who are fed, housed and paid by a sponsor until all 108 books are read.

It took more than a month. And it cost more than $50,000 — the elder Ms. Sherpa’s life savings.Completing the Kangyur, the Tibetan-language version of the sacred Buddhist texts, is done as a form of prayer for peace for all sentient beings, several monks explained. For nearly 40 days, ending last week, about a dozen monks called from around the region read eight hours a day, aloud and simultaneously, seated cross-legged in a converted brick church in Elmhurst.


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16 July 2012

A Refuge Silent Enough to Hear God’s Whisper

A Refuge Silent Enough to Hear God’s Whisper, by Samuel G. Freedman (New York Times, 13 July 2012)

Excerpts:
Saint John the Evangelist is not on a mountaintop, not in a desert sanctuary, not in a medieval stone village, but in that bastion of secular modernity known as Cambridge, Mass., home to both Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The monastery’s austere complex of guesthouse, church and chapel sits down the street from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the storied redoubt of policy wonks, past, present and future.

Precisely, perhaps, because of its geography, the Saint John monastery has fallen into a kind of specialty, that of tending to the souls of people like Mr. Fleming — ambitious and intellectual, enmeshed in the material world, yet craving some way of detaching long enough from the cosmopolitan cacophony to hear the whisper of God.

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Ramayana on Google Experiments


Abstract:
The Story of Ramayana is an interative narrative using mini-games, draggable windows and Google Talk chatrooms to convey the classic Sanskrit epic of the Ramayana in seven parts. As one of the newest Google's Chrome Experiments projects, the Story of Ramayana is a collaboration between Google, Fantasy Interactive and OgilvyOne demonstrates the versatility of contemporary programming tools to present traditional epic narratives in a manner accessible to a contemporary audience. 

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04 July 2012

A health care 'Judas' recounts his conversion

A health care 'Judas' recounts his conversion, by John Blake (CNN, 27 June 2012)

Excerpt:
When Wendell Potter first saw them, he froze. “It felt like touching an electrical fence,” he says. “I remember tearing up and thinking, how could this be real.” Thousands of them had lined up under a cloudy sky in an open field. Many had camped out the night before. When their turns came, doctors treated them in animal stalls and on gurneys placed on rain-soaked sidewalks. They were Americans who needed basic medical care. Potter had driven to the Wise County Fairgrounds in Virginia in July 2007 after reading that a group called Remote Area Medical, which flew American doctors to remote Third World villages, was hosting a free outdoor clinic.
Potter, a Cigna health care executive who ate from gold-rimmed silverware in corporate jets, says that morning was his “Road to Damascus” experience. “It looked like a refugee camp,” Potter says. “It just hit me like a bolt of lightning. What I was doing for a living was making it necessary for people to resort to getting care in animal stalls.” The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is a colossal legal and political issue. For Potter, though, the issue became a crisis of faith.

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