19 November 2009

November snippets

  • Although some observers believe the President of the United States occupies the most powerful office in the world, economic realities appear to be downgrading his country's status to one notch below that of the world's most populous country: China’s Role as Lender Alters Obama’s Visit. The following passage is especially striking:
    “They wanted to know, in painstaking detail, how the health care plan would affect the deficit,” one participant in the conversation recalled. Chinese officials expect that they will help finance whatever Congress and the White House settle on, mostly through buying Treasury debt, and like any banker, they wanted evidence that the United States had a plan to pay them back.

    It is a long way from the days when President George W. Bush hectored China about currency manipulation, or when President Bill Clinton exhorted the Chinese to improve human rights.

    China may not be the military superpower the US is, but if it decides to call in its loans any time soon, it could exercise effective veto power over American foreign and defence policy.

  • First it was the Anglicans; now it's the Lutherans: Lutheran Dissidents Say New Church Body in the Works. We are obviously witnessing a major realignment in the traditional protestant denominations in North America. How large the break-away bodies will end up being cannot be determined in advance, of course, but they can only grow as the parent denominations continue their decades-long decline.

  • In radically secular Québec a beleaguered minority is holding onto the culture of life: Le ciel est bleu: Pour la Culture de la Vie. Let us pray that their influence will expand in that province pas comme les autres.

  • No, I have no plans at the moment — or any time soon — to read Sarah Palin's Going Rogue.

  • Today we received the new issue of National Geographic and were delighted to see an article devoted to that ancient monastic republic in northern Greece: Called to the Holy Mountain: The Monks of Mount Athos. And this so soon after an article on the Russian Orthodox Church appeared in the April issue: Soul of Russia. I will not try to speculate on what has sparked this sudden interest in Orthodox Christianity in this 121-year-old publication.

  • Jake Belder, our Canadian seminarian basking in the Florida sun, gives us The Semi-Pelagian Narrower Catechism.

  • An interesting discussion on baptism is occurring over at First Things' Evangel blog: The Cheapening of Baptism, by Jared C. Wilson. To be honest, I had not heard of the phenomenon of people undergoing repeated baptisms. Now that I know about it, I am quite prepared to state that ah'm agin it.
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