Daily Archives: March 29, 2010

Stephen Prothero: Millennials do faith and politics their way

The core finding of Pew’s “Religion Among the Millennials” report is that young Americans are “less religiously affiliated” than their elders. In fact, one in four of Americans ages 18 to 29 do not affiliate with any particular religious group. This is not entirely unexpected, since it is a sociological truism that young people cultivate some distance from the religious institutions of their parents, only to return to those institutions as they marry, raise children and slouch toward retirement. According to Pew, however, “Millennials are significantly more unaffiliated than members of Generation X were at a comparable point in their life cycle … and twice as unaffiliated as Baby Boomers were as young adults.”

This is an important finding because it provides strong evidence for the loosening of religion’s grip on American life. Or does it?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Young Adults

Sue Elwyn (Anglican Nun)–A Creed for the Twenty-First Century

I believe in God, I guess

well no. I am pretty sure.

I do believe in God.

I don’t know

who God is


what God is


how God is


I believe in God.

I guess.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Theology

New Passover narrative stresses humanism

This year, some liberal Jews will hear a new question during the ritual meals that define this weeklong season, which begins at sundown Monday:

“Why is there an orange on the Seder plate?”

The answer, in a new rite written by Rabbi Peter Schweitzer of New York, will please many unorthodox Jews.

“To remind us that all people have a legitimate place in Jewish life, no less than an orange on the Seder plate, regardless of gender or sexual identity,” states “The Liberated Haggadah,” a rite for “cultural, secular and humanistic” Jews. “And to teach us, too, how absurd it is to exclude anyone who wants to sit at our table, partake of our meal and celebrate with us the gift of life and the gift of freedom.”

The goal is to provide an enjoyable and educational Passover for Jews who are united by culture, art, music, literature, foods and folkways ”” but not faith. Nearly half of American Jews, Schweitzer says, consider themselves “secular” or “cultural” Jews, as opposed to religious Jews.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Other Faiths

Final Four Set in College basketball: Congrats to Butler, Duke, Michigan State and West Virginia

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

The Economist on Detroit–Thinking about shrinking

The city has had a dismal stretch, even by its standards. But harsh realities have produced radical thinking. For the first time, dramatic steps are being discussed seriously, including plans to close dozens of schools, cut services and transform the landscape. The speech was a chance for Mr Bing to chart the way forward.

Mr Bing did describe his vision, but for now it remains hazy. The most urgent tasks are to create jobs, cut crime and clean up a fiscal mess. His long-term plan is less clear. The city, he said, would demolish 3,000 homes this year and 7,000 more by the end of his term. This would be only the first step toward re-imagining Detroit. Already, however, local groups are working on plans for broad change. Their premise was once politically unthinkable: before Detroit can thrive, it must shrink. Mr Bing supports this. But executing it will be difficult.

For years, reviving Detroit meant recreating a bustling metropolis. This has changed, thanks to a string of devastating events. Detroit was ailing before the downturn, but foreclosures have weakened the city’s few healthy pockets: Rosedale Park, a lovely neighbourhood in the north-west, now has boarded-up houses beside its pretty brick ones. The collapse of America’s carmakers, meanwhile, has helped push unemployment close to 30%. Economic disaster has coincided with political chaos. In 2008 the then-mayor was indicted. Mr Bing, a 66-year-old former basketball star turned businessman, took over last May before winning a full term last November. The budget deficit is now $325m.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, City Government, Economy, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Catholic Sexual Abuse Scandals

[BOB] ABERNETHY: But when he sent the letter last weekend to the Irish bishops, yes, he apologized and apologized, but he also did not go nearly as far in terms of discipline as a lot of people wanted to see.

{THOMAS] REESE: I think that’s true, and the difficulty is that I think that the pope needs to be on message. In that letter he said a lot of things. He said good things. He said he was sorry, he said that this was a terrible crime and sin, he acknowledged the fact that bishops didn’t respond adequately. Those were good things that he said.

ABERNETHY: So what should he do? What should the church do, learning from what the US experience was?

REESE: Well, I think that the European bishops really need to learn from the US experience. They need to put into place a zero-tolerance policy, which means that any priest that is involved in abuse is never going to be acting as a priest again. They need to cooperate with the police in reporting these accusations. They need to have a child protection program in parishes and churches, where people are trained. They need to apologize over and over and over again.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

James Martin: How Could It Happen? Tracing the Causes of Sexual Abuse by the Clergy

The terrible revelations of sexual abuse in Ireland and Germany have confirmed the reality that the abuse of children by clergy is not a phenomenon confined to the United States. Nor, as Kieran Conroy, the bishop of Arundel and Brighton in the U.K., stated recently, is the crisis a media creation. “It is real,” he said. “It is a reality.” Outrage among the Irish and German public is the predominant, natural and justified response. But buried beneath the shock and anger, especially for Catholics, however, is a searing question: How could this happen?

There is an important resource that may begin to answer this question: the detailed analysis of the roots of clerical abuse in this country, which was conducted by The National Review Board, the group of lay people who researched and reported to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2003. Some questioned the independence of the board, but I think that their situational analysis, carried out by committed and highly qualified lay Catholics, is accurate.

Looking at what the National Review Board viewed as the root causes of the crisis in this country may shed light on what happened in Ireland and Germany and elsewhere. On the whole, the board’s analysis is about the most accurate and insightful that we have about the American situation. Of course, these are presented by the board as reasons, not excuses. There are no excuses for these crimes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

Charleston, S.C., Symphony Orchestra suspends its operations

A significant drop in fundraising dollars, exacerbated by the recession’s “strong headwind” has forced the Charleston Symphony Orchestra to suspend its operations, effective immediately, board president Ted Legasey said Sunday.

It is the first time in the orchestra’s 75-year history that a performance season has been disrupted because of acute financial difficulties, and next season’s fate is far from certain.

The remaining Masterworks concert, scheduled for April 17, has been canceled. Ticket holders will be asked to donate the cost of tickets to the organization or be reimbursed, Legasey said.

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Music, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Augusta Chronicle: Retired Episcopal Minister has seen the world evolve

Born in Augusta in 1927, Lewis Bohler Jr. has seen a lot of changes to the Garden City.

When Bohler was growing up in what is now the Laney-Walker community, clay roads were still common, segregation was pervasive and tall buildings were the exception to the rule.

“I’ve seen us go from the horse and buggy to the moon,” Bohler said.

Bohler, a retired Episcopal priest, has spent two stints living in Augusta. He left in 1944 to study accounting at Hampton Institute in Virginia before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force and serving in Guam and Japan.

He returned permanently in 1996 to take care of a sick brother and serve at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Des Moines Register: For churches, gay-marriage divide sharpens

Immanuel Lutheran Church in Waukee is five miles down the road from Walnut Hills United Methodist Church in Urbandale.

But they have moved further apart, philosophically, since the Iowa Supreme Court ruled on April 3, 2009, to legalize same-sex marriage.

The dilemma for churches didn’t start with the court’s decision. Congregations have been praying and struggling for years. But in this last year, the debate sharpened, not only between denominations and congregations but often within individual churches.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Other Churches, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Hit by economy, Presbyterian council plans further cuts

Facing continued drops in membership and a shrinking budget, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is offering severance packages to about 30 employees at its Louisville headquarters ”” part of an effort to cut its budget by nearly one-fifth by 2012.

This impending round of cuts is just the latest in a series over the past decade as the denomination attempts to cope with losses in membership, congregations and, more recently, investment returns.

“We are seeking to reduce our expenses in order to come into line with our revenue projections, as a matter of good stewardship,” said a statement from Linda Valentine, executive director of the General Assembly Mission Council, which oversees most of the denomination’s programming and Louisville workforce.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

The American Film Institute's 100 most Famous Movie Quotes

You need to see how many you can come up with by movie and (if you can) movie date–then check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

Christ Lutheran Church in Dallastown, Pennsylvania Votes to Leave ELCA Due to Changed Sexual Stance

From here (the vote was 112-5):

Resolution on the agenda for consideration:

Whereas, this congregation believes that – the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith and life (C2.03) and as such must be our final authority in matters of faith and life, and

Whereas, the ELCA adopted at the August 2009 Churchwide Assembly the Social Statement of Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust, sections of which are contrary to the orthodox understanding of Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, and

Whereas, the ELCA adopted at the August 2009 Churchwide Assembly to allow congregations to make decisions about ordination of individuals who are in publically accountable lifelong monogamous same gender relationships based upon bound consciousness rather than Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, and

Whereas, those changes in doctrine will alter the understanding and interpretation of Holy Scripture and The Lutheran Confessions from orthodox and Lutheran teaching as held by the former ELCA; therefore be it
Resolved, that the congregation of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church of 126 West Main Street, Dallastown, Pennsylvania, hereby terminate membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Lower Susquehanna Synod, thereof, effective at the time of the second congregational vote and be it further

Resolved, that the congregation of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church of 126 West Main Street, Dallastown, Pennsylvania, hereby requests to be received into membership in Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

–2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for Holy Week

O God, fill us with the divine humility of Christ: that, having the same mind that was also in him, we may look not every one on his own things, but every one also on the things of others, emptying our wills of pride, and our hearts of complaining, and laying down our glories before the cross; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer