December 17

How a lending machine combats the coronavirus

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr “The best defense is a good offense” is a quote variously attributed to a legendary football coach, military theorist, or boxer, but it’s also now Kevin Ryan’s strategy for member service in the time of COVID-19 at Financial Center First Credit Union($609.9M, Indianapolis, IN).The president and CEO of the Hoosier State cooperative said his team first went on the defensive as the coronavirus pandemic clamped down on his membership and everyone else participating in the U.S. economy.“We were asking ourselves a lot of defensive questions,” Ryan says. “How do we handle this? How can we keep branches open? Then, we got to the point where we had to play offense.”To do that, Financial Center asked one simple question: What do members really need from us?last_img read more

September 26

Easter with the eyes of faith

first_img Sharing is caring! Another name for ritual is repetition. Rituals save us from starting from scratch every time something important to us needs commemoration. All we have to do is perform the ritual. It is said that we live in an age alien to this practice; and yet,to cite one relatively recent instance, as the news spread of Princess Diana’s death, crowds of people showed up at the gates of Buckingham Palace to lay masses of flowers.In their grief,they didn’t turn to speech-making;they turned spontaneouslyto ritual.Holy Week is all ritual, culminating in the ceremony of darkness and light of Holy Saturday, and the great Exultet proclamation.Not every day is a day for significant ritual, when great deliberation goes into preparation and execution. Some days require it, and are incomplete without it. Easter would not be Easter if all we did was include thurible and incense.At another level, every year, the details of the resurrection in Scriptureare pored over. New explanations are often offered for some details, but the ground has essentially been covered before, and nothing really new emerges. The miracle remains the same: he is not here, he is risen!Easter ritual allows us to experience afreshthe foundations of faith every time we commemorate the occasion. St. Paul put it simply and fundamentally in First Corinthians: “If Christ is not risen,” he wrote,“your faith is in vain.”Your hope too, of course, but he didn’t have to say it.Some difference exists in the way the resurrection was experienced at the beginning and how later generations have done so. The single constant in all the early testimonies is an appeal to sight: “I have seen the Lord.” St. Paul felt excluded from this special band of witnesses, until his Damascus experience allowed him to say: “I too have seen.”It was a privileged, unrepeatable time, when the risen Lord was seen and, as John said in his First Letter, touched and verified.This does not mean that faith was not required. Early witnesses had to trust that their eyes were not deceiving them, that sight was not illusory. Nothing in their tradition or experience had led them to expect anything like it. The dialogue between the disciples on the road to Emmaus makes it clear that the crucifixion represented complete devastation. Then, a man whose brutal death was witnessed by crowds, who was buried in a sealed tomb, had reportedly returned to visit his companions. This is the man they now claimed to “see.”Faith then as now did not depend on proof. What proof could there have been? The moment of resurrection was not a visible event. No one could come forward as an eyewitness. The empty tomb did not constitute proof either. Other explanations were possible, as the gospels themselves indicate.The body could have been “taken away” by someone, as Mary lamented when she arrived at the tomb that morning.What faith attested to then was not an absence, but a special form of presence. This is the distinctive Easter fact in the gospels. It is what empowered the disciples, and it’s where continuity in resurrection faith, past and present, crucially begins.Faith today responds to the resurrection as a continuing presence. The privilege of “seeing” is no longer ours. We cannot say “I too have seen the Lord.” What we can say is “I too have met him.”Presencenow means that the Lord is accessible; he can be met; people keep meeting him, and meeting him continues to change their lives.The experience is something one must desire. St. Augustine set great store by desire in trying to explainthe manner and the extent to which God pervades our lives. As Jesus once turned to ask the strangers following him: “What is it that you seek?”Such desiring takes many forms. Doing so actively and deliberately in prayer is one way. More discursively, it’s a matter of what loyalties one perseveres in surrendering to, how one keeps one’sheart inclined and oriented. The experience also transforms. The early witnesses were considered drunk because of change the resurrection had effected in them. Conversion, which is really resurrection encounter by another name, clearly also testifies to this. When it occurs, the experience is always felt as amazing; it transforms blindness into sight, and it brings the convert into a life of new, enlightened awareness.It is witnesses who have met the Lord and are continually transformed by him, who are “sent.” Who else will make the world over; who else can possibly transform it? Such witnessing is a way of saying to the world: ‘I am the message I preach.’ I am reminded hereof St. Francis’ instruction to his followers as he once sent them out: preachthe gospel by all means possible, he said, and if it’s really necessary, you could even use words.Evangelization isessentially not a matter of giving doctrine.It works in a far more holistic way through the witness displayed in a life. It is life, not doctrine, that attracts andpersuades. Method and approach are always important in evangelization, but lives transformed by resurrection faith will always be the surest and best of its techniques. By: Henry Charles PhD 23 Views   no discussions Share Tweetcenter_img LocalNews Easter with the eyes of faith by: – April 7, 2012 Share Sharelast_img read more

January 10

Chinese companies commit to oilsands despite setbacks and poor operating results

first_imgCALGARY — While some European and U.S. companies cut their exposure to the Canadian oilsands, China’s Big Three oil giants — CNOOC, PetroChina and Sinopec — seem content to let their bets ride even if the results haven’t been spectacular.In 2018, PetroChina produced an average of just 7,300 barrels per day of bitumen from its MacKay River thermal oilsands project, although it was designed to produce 35,000 bpd. In June, its output was about 8,700 bpd.The Beijing-based company paid $1.9 billion in 2009 for 60 per cent interests in the proposed MacKay River and Dover oilsands projects being developed by Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. (now just Athabasca Oil Corp.), then bought out the rest of MacKay for $680 million in 2012 and Dover for $1.2 billion in 2014.- Advertisement -“MacKay River is located in an area with complex geology, which creates challenges to heat up the reservoir to get the bitumen flowing,” said spokesman Davis Sheremata in an emailed statement.The company is drilling new wells and experimenting with various technologies to boost output, he said, adding a go-ahead for Dover has been put on hold until MacKay proves itself.Still, “PetroChina Canada is committed to Canada for the long-term, having maintained its investments through economically challenging times.”Advertisement CNOOC produced about 71,000 bpd from the oilsands in 2018, little changed from 66,800 bpd in 2014, shortly after it spent $15.1 billion to buy Calgary’s Nexen Energy and its diverse portfolio of domestic and international assets.“Our oilsands assets are an important part of our North American portfolio and we remain committed to our Canadian operations,” CNOOC spokesman Kyle Glennie wrote in a brief email.Meanwhile, Sinopec paid $4.65 billion to buy a nine per cent stake in the Syncrude oilsands mining consortium from ConocoPhillips in 2010 and its resulting production has been steady since, registering just over 27,000 bpd in 2018.The Chinese energy majors employ “patient capital” and it seems unlikely they will leave the oilsands anytime soon, said Jia Wang, deputy director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta.Advertisement “The assets they bought may not be the most profitable or may require more capital intensive development. … (but) these are large Chinese companies, they’re not likely to become bankrupt,” she said.“They have been through thick and thin, and different cycles of boom and bust. These (oilsands) operations in the grand scheme of these massive companies are not the largest chunk of their business so they can afford to have a presence here without incurring too much loss.”center_img Companies in this story: (TSX:ATH)Dan Healing, The Canadian Presslast_img read more