Daily Archives: November 6, 2009

Lauren Winner on Book Burning and Churches

There is an old, snooty church joke that goes something like this: Miss Smith approaches her pastor, incensed that he has replaced the King James Bible with the New International Version. “Pastor, bring back the King James,” she says. “If it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.”

Last week the joke was ignited””literally, at the Halloween book burning sponsored by Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, N.C. The church’s Web site declared the burning to be “a great success.” Works thrown into the flames included those by supposed heretics Billy Graham, Mother Teresa and emergent church guru Brian McLaren. “It was a success because God’s Word was glorified and uplifted,” according to the Web site. Claiming scriptural warrant for the burning, the site quoted Acts: “And many that believed, came and confessed and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”

Most disturbing, Scripture itself was burned””onto the pyre flew modern translations of the Bible like those that the woman in the joke deplored. Amazing Grace is a self-proclaimed King James Only church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Religion & Culture

Canon Rod Garner reports Back from a trip to the Episcopal Diocese of New York

[The] Rev [Rod] Garner was a guest of honour at historic St Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery ”“ where the priest-in-charge is a female of Indian descent.

He told Church News how Episcopalian worship ”“ effectively protestant ministry ”“ in New York had long finished the debate on whether women or homosexuals should be allowed to serve God ”“ and encouraged the Anglican church to take note.

Rev Garner said: “Instead of closing down the door of the church to people based on their sexuality or gender, places like St Mark’s have harnessed it and set the church forward as a model for the human community.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

In Pennsylvania Episcopal Priest to face charges in court

Episcopal priest Gregory Malia did not injure anyone when he allegedly waved a handgun at his two daughters and their boyfriends outside a Jenkins Township tavern in July, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Attorney Nanda Palissery said there was no evidence the gun was loaded.

Jenkins Township police allege in arrest records that Malia, 44, of Laflin, waved a gun as his daughter, Marilyn Malia, 23, was being assaulted by Angela Sweet, 24, in the parking lot of the River Street Ale House on July 7.

After nearly two hours of testimony, District Judge Diana Malast agreed with Palissery, dismissing four felony counts of aggravated assault, the most serious charges, against Malia.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Church Times–C of E plan unveiled at Windsor climate meeting

The secretary-general of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, urged religious leaders gathered with their action plans at Windsor Castle on Tuesday to use their unique position in society to help the world deal with the “mo­mentous global challenge” of climate change.

They had come from around the world to the conference “Many Heavens, One Earth: Faith Commit­ments for a Living Planet”, organised by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) in conjunction with the United Nations’ Develop­ment Programme.

More than 200 leaders of faith groups and secular environmental organ­isations discussed how they could take a lead.

Protecting the planet was an “ethical and scientific imperative”, said Mr Ban. He emphasised the influence that faith groups could exert: “You are the leaders who can have the largest, widest, and deepest reach.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Religion & Culture

Muslims decry Fort Hood shootings

North Texas Muslims called for calm and civility after shootings Thursday by an Army psychiatrist at Fort Hood.

Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was identified as Muslim ”“ a detail that sent some in the Muslim community into a defense mode.

“I am so sad,” said Nia McKay, the Indonesian-born president of Peacemakers, a Dallas-based nonprofit dedicated to events centered on peace. “Islam means Salaam. Its root word means peace. There are nonviolent resolutions.” Others in the 150,000-strong Muslim community of North Texas called the Fort Hood situation evolving and full of nuance.

“A major is a big-deal officer, and there is something complicated in this situation and we need to let investigators do their work,” said Mohamed Elibiary, president and CEO of the Carrollton-based Freedom and Justice Foundation. The nonprofit group works on public policy issues related to the Muslim community from state legislation to national security.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Military / Armed Forces, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

Army Doctor Held in Fort Hood Rampage

Major Hasan was not speaking to investigators, and much about his background ”” and his motives ”” were unknown.

General Cone said that terrorism was not being ruled out, but that preliminary evidence did not suggest that the rampage had been an act of terrorism. Fox News quoted a retired Army colonel, Terry Lee, as saying that Major Hasan, with whom he worked, had voiced hope that President Obama would pull American troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, had argued with military colleagues who supported the wars and had tried to prevent his own deployment.

As a parade of ambulances wailed to the scene of the shootings, officials said the extent of injuries to the wounded varied significantly, with some in critical condition and others lightly wounded. General Cone praised the first-responders and the medics who acted quickly to administer first aid at the scene.

“Horrible as this was, I think it could have been much worse,” the general said.

Utterly horrifying. Please join me in praying for the families of those killed and injured and also those who will minister to them.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Violence

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: The church that helped bring down the Berlin Wall

St. Nikolai Evangelical Lutheran Church hasn’t changed much since the 16th century. Bach once played the organ here and the music remains alluring, but it is the church’s more recent history in the last days of the Cold War and its role in the fall of the Berlin Wall that draw tourists today.

The Rev. Christian Fuhrer became the pastor at St. Nikolai in 1980, when the world was divided by the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. Germany itself was split in two, most visibly by the wall the East German government ”” the German Democratic Republic”” built in Berlin in 1961 in an attempt to keep its people from fleeing to the West.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Lutheran, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

A BBC Radio 4 Today Programme Segment on Police Corruption in Afghanistan

The killing of five British soldiers in Afghanistan by a police officer has raised questions over security progress in the country. The British army has been training Afghan security and police forces to enforce the rule of law for the long-term future of the country. Mark Grant-Jones, padre with 2 Rifles Battle Group, and Mark Christian a padre serving with British soldiers in Helmand, comment on the implications of the killings on the British cause in Afghanistan, and Afghan journalist Nadene Ghouri discusses the Afghan reaction to the incident.

Go here and scroll down to the 8:10 segment and listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, City Government, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan

Battered Company Says 'No' To Job Cuts

The Hypertherm factory sits hidden in the woods not far from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H….

…late last year, production of ships and cars pretty much ground to a halt. And sales of cutting systems at Hypertherm dropped 50 percent.

How many workers did the company lay off? None.

It put them to work doing other things. While layoffs remain a reality in this economy, a few firms ”” as a matter of policy ”” refuse to lay off a single employee.

Caught this one on the morning run via podcast. Inspiring outside the box thinking. Read or listen to it all–KSH.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

WSJ: Swiss referendum stirs a debate about Islam

An emotional debate over the role of Islam in Switzerland is heating up as a referendum approaches that would ban the construction of minarets on mosques.

On Nov. 29, the Swiss will vote on a referendum to ban the construction of minarets, an initiative promoted by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, who argue that a minaret is a symbol of Islamic intolerance. Minarets are tower-like structures capped with crowns; while the structure has no special religious significance, it is often used for the call to prayer for Muslims.

The debate comes in a country that has prided itself on integrating its large immigrant population and that largely avoided the clashes over the rights of Muslim minorities seen elsewhere in Europe. Business and political interests are especially worried about a possible backlash from the Muslim world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Switzerland

BBC News: Feeling grumpy 'is good for you'

In a bad mood? Don’t worry – according to research, it’s good for you.

An Australian psychology expert who has been studying emotions has found being grumpy makes us think more clearly.

In contrast to those annoying happy types, miserable people are better at decision-making and less gullible, his experiments showed.

While cheerfulness fosters creativity, gloominess breeds attentiveness and careful thinking, Professor Joe Forgas told Australian Science Magazine.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For thou, O Lord, art my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. Upon thee I have leaned from my birth; thou art he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of thee.

–Psalm 71:5,6

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Friday Morning Encouragement Break: Anonymous 4 – Miracles of Compostela

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

A City of Mixed Emotions Observes Calvin’s 500th

On a recent afternoon, stagehands prepared the Protestant meeting hall on the Place de la Fusterie for a musical, “The Calvin Generation,” to be performed there that evening. Springtime for Calvin?

Not quite. The religious reformer, best known for his doctrines about a depraved humanity and a harsh God predestining people to hell or heaven, would not dance or sing that night. But the show was one of a vast program of commemorations ”” theater, a film festival, conferences, exhibits, even specially concocted Calvinist wines and chocolates ”” described by some who have tasted them as somewhat bitter ”” of the birth of John Calvin 500 years ago.

“Our idea was to show Calvin so that people could see his personality in the richness of his thought and activities,” said Roland Benz, 66, the Calvin Jubilee chairman, as he watched workers preparing the stage, lights and costumes.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Other Churches, Reformed, Religion & Culture, Switzerland

Christopher Howse: Not an inkling of Anglicanism

Last week I was in a thunderstorm in Medina del Campo when I read about Pope Benedict’s offer to accommodate some Anglican practices of those who wanted to join the Roman Catholic Church. I don’t want now to go on about the substance of the affair. What still intrigues me is the cultural incomprehension I found.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Europe, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Spain