Daily Archives: December 4, 2009

Laura Vanderkam: Seen and Not Heard in Church

One Sunday in February 2008, I faced a dilemma. After being cooped up all week with a sick 9-month-old baby, I was desperate to get out of my apartment. I wanted to go to church. But I didn’t want to expose other children in the church nursery to my son’s germs. So I decided to bring him into the pew with me and my husband””only to learn that my church had chosen that Lenten Sunday for a very solemn service, full of soft chants and contemplative silences. You can guess where this is going. My baby made joyful noises at inopportune moments. An usher asked us if we would take him out. My husband brought him home. I spent the rest of the service in tears.

We all recovered soon enough, but the experience got me thinking: Should children be in church? This turns out to be a major topic of discussion in a growing number of churches.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

Sebastian Mallaby: A bad omen in Dubai

The threat of sovereign defaults, disowned state-company debts and continuing commercial real estate troubles comes amid a recovery that is extraordinarily precarious. It is based on fiscal stimulus from governments, but government debt ensures that this game has to stop at some point. It is based on the printing of money by central banks, but a combination of political backlash and inflation fears will eventually close down this game also. To rescue the global economy, governments have exacerbated the flaws responsible for making the system weak. China has too much export capacity; it is building more. China has an undervalued currency; it is weakening further. Meanwhile, the United States has a low national savings rate and is home to financial behemoths that are “too big to fail.” But the U.S. government has been forced to add to the public debt and broker consolidation in the banking business.

Given these troubles, Dubai should have been a wake-up call. Instead, global stock markets have risen since last weekend. We are witnessing the sort of rally that chart-watching traders know well: the kind where investors shrug off most bad news, so you might as well jump on the bandwagon. When this mentality sets in, prices inevitably rise too far. At the end of the trend there is usually a bubble.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Middle East

Church Times Leader–Copenhagen: a tipping point

The problem with climate change is that the urgency of the task requires action. Worse than this, it requires change and, most probably, sacrifice. The Church, perhaps humanity in general, prefers to deliberate, talk, reflect, pray, debate, plan ”” anything other than do something or, in this instance, stop doing some things. The attraction of the climate-change sceptics is that they provide the excuse to hesitate further. It is convenient to repre­sent reluctance as scientific fastidiousness. Of course, the science must be reviewed, as it is by the Inter­governmental Panel on Climate Change. There are many things about the effects of global warming that we do not know, such as whether tipping points exist where some of the forces of nature ”” salination, or various types of flora or fauna, or sea currents, or storm be­haviour ”” accelerate the harmful effects of greenhouse gases. Nor, to give the sceptics their due, do we know the earth’s capacity to absorb or repair the damage done to it.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Theology

Rural Australia: Vatican vetoes use of Catholic church for Anglican ordinations

An Anglican ordination scheduled to take place in a Roman Catholic church in rural Australia was moved at short notice to a Protestant church because the Vatican refused to have women ordained in a Catholic building.

Originally, Catholic Bishop Joseph Grech of the diocese of Sandhurst had given permission for the Anglican bishop of Bendigo, Andrew Curnow, to ordain seven candidates in St Killian’s Catholic Church on 29 November due to the closure of the local Anglican cathedral on safety grounds.

But when it was discovered that four of those to be ordained were women, Rome vetoed the local leadership saying the ordinations could not take place within the Catholic building, even though it was an Anglican service.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

World Magazine on Anglican Reasserters and the Response to the Papal Invitation

Keith Allen is the teaching pastor at Church of the Holy Spirit in Roanoke, Va., a church that has already undergone affiliation upheaval when it separated from the Episcopal Church in 2000. The Church of the Holy Spirit objected to one of its bishops sitting on the board of Planned Parenthood, so it chose not to send money to the diocese until it assured them the money would not fund abortions. “They invited us to no longer be Episcopalians,” Allen said. The church then joined the Anglican Mission in America with oversight in Rwanda.

Like Swain, Allen thinks the pope’s offer is “a gracious gesture”: “However, I couldn’t seriously consider it because it failed to recognize the theological realities that have separated Anglicans and Catholics since the Reformation.” The offer “denies the necessity of the Reformation,” he said.

A central issue””one of the issues that keeps an Anglican from becoming a Catholic in the first place””has to do with where the authority of the church comes from. There is a reason that Anglican churches are, as Swain said, out of communion with the pope: An Anglican believes that the church’s authority comes from Scripture; a Catholic believes that the church’s authority comes from Scripture and the Magisterium. The doctrine of justification””whether a sinner is justified by faith alone or by faith and works””also separates many Anglicans from Roman Catholicism.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

”˜Don’t Blame Us’ says Vatican

It is not the Vatican’s fault that ecumenical relations with the Anglican Communion have soured, Cardinal Walter Kasper has declared. The Anglican Communion’s civil wars over women and gay bishops are the primary obstacles to Catholic-Anglican ecumenical dialogue Cardinal Kasper said in an interview published in L’Osservatore Romano.

Cardinal Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said in an article published on Nov 15 in the Vatican’s official daily newspapers that ecumenical relations between the Vatican and the Anglican Communion would not be harmed by Anglicanorum Coetibus, the apostolic constitution for Anglicans seeking to join the Catholic Church.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams’ Nov. 19-22 visit to Rome “demonstrates that there has been no rupture and reaffirms our common desire to talk to one another at a historically important moment,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

The French Fight over Photos Which are Falsely Doctored to Exaggerate Beauty

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

As someone with two daughters this is a concern; I also think it would make for interesting viewing and discussion in the context of youth ministry–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, France, Media, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth, Women, Young Adults

The Termite

Some primal termite knocked on wood
And tasted it, and found it good!
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.

–Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

I heard this on audio during the morning run–it helps to laugh! I thought of my Mom who was an english teacher and taught me to love words–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Poetry & Literature

State of the Country: Right Direction / Wrong Track

To me, the mood of the country seems to be souring more as we head into Advent. Perhaps there is some confirmation of that here–KSH:

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Politics in General, Psychology

Brunt of Britain's pain to be felt in 2011, economists say

Capital Economics has predicted that the worst year of the looming fiscal squeeze will be 2011, when most consumers will feel financially worse off as a result of changes to the tax and spending regimes.

Economists there have calculated that 2.5pc could be knocked off household income growth during 2011, compared with a 0.5pc fall in 2010 and a further 1.5pc reduction in 2012.

“The worst year of the fiscal squeeze looks likely to be 2011. [It] will primarily consist of spending cuts, involving public sector job losses and pay freezes. But taxes will need to rise too, by perhaps £20bn per annum,” said Vicky Redwood of Capital Economics.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, England / UK, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Taxes

All men watch Pornography, Scientists at the University of Montreal find

Researchers were conducting a study comparing the views of men in their 20s who had never been exposed to pornography with regular users.

But their project stumbled at the first hurdle when they failed to find a single man who had not been seen it.

“We started our research seeking men in their 20s who had never consumed pornography,” said Professor Simon Louis Lajeunesse. “We couldn’t find any.”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Men, Pornography

Mary Dejevsky: Why the state should invest in Marriage

I married relatively young and remain married, but when someone chooses another way, I am not messianic about my own. Yet I’m amazed, whenever the marriage question is posed in the political arena, at the virulence, the stridency, the absolutism of those taking essentially the anti-marriage view. And it is not primarily men ”“ who might be accused of flunking commitment ”“ advocating this view; it is women. What is more, they are not for the most part young women facing the marriage decision for the first time, but women of a certain age ”“ my age.

So what is it they feel so strongly about? Did they perhaps decide, for themselves, not to marry, and want to justify that? Are they women for whom marriage went wrong? Or women resentful of the fact that the prospect never came their way? There may be some of this. In general, though, I suspect they are women who regarded their mothers, aunts or sisters as unfulfilled, or even “enslaved” by their place in a 1950s-style marriage. They see a tax bonus, however small, as a bribe to push women back to the three Ks: Kinder, Kirche, Küche. And, by the way, no one, least of all the Government, is going to make them “conform”.

Which might all show an admirable spirit of independence, if it had not become in many circles the new norm from which marriage is seen as an inexplicable deviation. And while the choice of marriage must be personal, the state ”“ in effect, the government of the day ”“ is surely entitled to a view where the family and the state intersect.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General

'Road Rage' Case Highlights Cyclist Vs. Driver Tension

I caught this one yesterday on the morning run and am still thinking about it. What an incredible illustration of the damage unresolved volcanic anger can cause. Take the time to listen to it all (about 5 1/2 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sports, Theology, Travel

Notable and Quotable

We believe also in the resurrection of the dead. For there will be in truth, there will be, a resurrection of the dead, and by resurrection we mean resurrection of bodies. For resurrection is the second state of that which has fallen. For the souls are immortal, and hence how can they rise again? For if they define death as the separation of soul and body, resurrection surely is the re-union of soul and body, and the second state of the living creature that has suffered dissolution and downfall. It is, then, this very body, which is corruptible and liable to dissolution, that will rise again incorruptible. For He, who made it in the beginning of the sand of the earth, does not lack the power to raise it up again after it has been dissolved again and returned to the earth from which it was taken, in accordance with the reversal of the Creator’s judgment.

For if there is no resurrection, let us eat and drink: let us pursue a life of pleasure and enjoyment. If there is no resurrection, wherein do we differ from the irrational brutes? If there is no resurrection, let us hold the wild beasts of the field happy who have a life free from sorrow. If there is no resurrection, neither is there any God nor Providence, but all things are driven and borne along of themselves. For observe how we see most righteous men suffering hunger and injustice and receiving no help in the present life, while sinners and unrighteous men abound in riches and every delight. And who in his senses would take this for the work of a righteous judgment or a wise providence? There must be, therefore, there must be, a resurrection. For God is just and is the rewarder of those who submit patiently to Him. Wherefore if it is the soul alone that engages in the contests of virtue, it is also the soul alone that will receive the crown. And if it were the soul alone that revels in pleasures, it would also be the soul alone that would be justly punished. But since the soul does not pursue either virtue or vice separate from the body, both together will obtain that which is their just due.

Nay, the divine Scripture bears witness that there will be a resurrection of the body.

–John of Damascus, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, IV.27

Posted in Eschatology, Theology

A Prayer for John of Damascus

Confirm our minds, O Lord, in the mysteries of the true faith, set forth with power by thy servant John of Damascus; that we, with him, confessing Jesus to be true God and true Man, and singing the praises of the risen Lord, may, by the power of the resurrection, attain to eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for evermore.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer