Daily Archives: May 4, 2010

Newark archbishop not happy with college course on same-sex marriage

Newark Archbishop John J. Myers said a course on same-sex marriage to be offered in the fall at Seton Hall University “troubles me greatly.”

“This proposed course seeks to promote as legitimate a train of thought that is contrary to what the church teaches. As a result, the course is not in sync with Catholic teaching,” the archbishop said in an April 30 statement.

He said the university’s board of trustees has asked the school’s board of regents to “investigate the matter of this proposed course, and to take whatever action is required under the law to protect the Catholicity of this university.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Education, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality

Group defects from Anglican diocese in Kenya

More than 23 churches have delinked themselves from the Anglican Church of Kenya’s Bungoma diocese.

They have joined the New Anglo Church of Kenya (New ACK). The diocese has more than 200 churches.

The churches which joined the new outfit cited poor leadership and corruption as reasons for their departure.

The Rev Peter Wangwe said he was happy to be part of the new church.

This happened even as 10 churches locked out ACK pastors who had been ministering at the affected churches.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces

Christian Today–Wallace Benn on the marginalisation of Christians in the UK

CT: You said you believe this is a “tricky moment” for Christians in the UK. Is there anything we can be hopeful about?

WB: I think sadly the politicians have adopted and promulgated a kind of multi-faith inclusivism as a sort of political correctness. If you talk to leaders of other faiths they don’t want Christians to lose their rights because they know that if Christians lose their rights in this country, they will lose their rights as well.

What we should have done is while maintaining our commitment as a Christian nation should have offered Christian hospitality to people of other faiths and secured their religious freedom here without actually abandoning the faith that has shaped our nation and made us who we are. Instead we’ve ended up with a politeness to everybody else but a nothingness of our own. So we really need to get back to our moorings as a nation.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Nicholas Kristof: Who Can Mock This Church?

Maybe the Catholic Church should be turned upside down.

Jesus wasn’t known for pontificating from palaces, covering up scandals, or issuing Paleolithic edicts on social issues. Does anyone think he would have protected clergymen who raped children?

Yet if the top of the church has strayed from its roots, much of its base is still deeply inspiring. I came here to impoverished southern Sudan to write about Sudanese problems, not the Catholic Church’s. Yet once again, I am awed that so many of the selfless people serving the world’s neediest are lowly nuns and priests ”” notable not for the grandeur of their vestments but for the grandness of their compassion.

As I’ve noted before, there seem to be two Catholic Churches, the old boys’ club of the Vatican and the grass-roots network of humble priests, nuns and laity in places like Sudan. The Vatican certainly supports many charitable efforts, and some bishops and cardinals are exemplary, but overwhelmingly it’s at the grass roots that I find the great soul of the Catholic Church.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Other Churches, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sudan

Rasmussen: 64% Say Judges More Anti-Religious Than Founding Fathers Intended

Only 21% of Americans think that rulings by judges in recent years regarding religion in public life have correctly interpreted the U.S. Constitution, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Sixty-four percent (64%) of adults believe the judges’ rulings have been more anti-religious than the Founding Fathers intended. Fifteen percent (15%) aren’t sure.

But only 46% say the U.S. Supreme Court has been too hostile towards religion, a view unchanged from a survey nearly five years ago. Thirteen percent (13%) say the high court has been too friendly towards religion, down 10 points from the earlier survey. Thirty-three percent (33%) feel neither characterization of the court is accurate.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Notable and Quotable

….he testified that he’d been so busy traveling across the state and nation preaching the Gospel that he’d neglected his personal finances and those of his church.

From a WCNC article on Greater Salem City of God minister Anthony Jinwright, who, along with his wife, was in court on tax evasion and fraud charges

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Taxes, Theology

Catholic Church in France recruits priests via Facebook

As he sat in Church last Sunday afternoon, Guillaume Humblot found himself troubled by the declining number of Catholic priests in France, and asked himself if he was ready to join the cloth.

“There are almost none left,” the 31-year-old Humblot said.

On Facebook, Humblot discovered a forum dedicated to people who, like him, are considering the priesthood. The page was part of a campaign, launched by the Catholic Church this month, to attract young people to the priesthood following decades of dwindling ordainments ”” and amid waves of sexual abuse allegations that have darkened the reputation of the Catholic priest.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Europe, France, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

David B. Hart on the New Atheism: Believe It or Not

I think I am very close to concluding that this whole “New Atheism” movement is only a passing fad””not the cultural watershed its purveyors imagine it to be, but simply one of those occasional and inexplicable marketing vogues that inevitably go the way of pet rocks, disco, prime-time soaps, and The Bridges of Madison County. This is not because I necessarily think the current “marketplace of ideas” particularly good at sorting out wise arguments from foolish. But the latest trend in à la mode godlessness, it seems to me, has by now proved itself to be so intellectually and morally trivial that it has to be classified as just a form of light entertainment, and popular culture always tires of its diversions sooner or later and moves on to other, equally ephemeral toys.

Take, for instance, the recently published 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists. Simple probability, surely, would seem to dictate that a collection of essays by fifty fairly intelligent and zealous atheists would contain at least one logically compelling, deeply informed, morally profound, or conceptually arresting argument for not believing in God. Certainly that was my hope in picking it up. Instead, I came away from the whole drab assemblage of preachments and preenings feeling rather as if I had just left a large banquet at which I had been made to dine entirely on crushed ice and water vapor.

To be fair, the shallowness is not evenly distributed….

Read the whole article from First Things.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Atheism, Other Faiths, Theology

U.S. citizen from Pakistan arrested in Times Square bomb case

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced early Tuesday that an arrest had been made in the failed Times Square car bombing, saying that Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old American, was taken into custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he tried to fly to Dubai on Monday night.

Authorities said Shahzad, who is of Pakistani origin and lived in Connecticut, had paid cash for a Nissan Pathfinder that was found packed with explosives Saturday night on a tourist-crowded block in midtown Manhattan. The vehicle was set ablaze but failed to detonate.

Officials located Shahzad after a sweeping two-day investigation that yielded what senior Obama administration officials described as a flood of international and domestic clues suggesting a plot involving more than one person.

“It was clear that the intent behind this terrorist act was to kill Americans,” Holder said at a rare middle-of-the-night news conference at the Justice Department, nearly three hours after the suspect was pulled from an international flight that had already left the departure gate.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Terrorism

BBC–'Long-term harm' of too much TV for toddlers

The more TV a toddler watches, the higher the likelihood they will do badly at school and have poor health at the age of 10, researchers warn.

The study of 1,300 children by Michigan and Montreal universities found negative effects on older children rose with every hour of toddler TV.

Performance at school was worse, while consumption of junk foods was higher.

UK experts said parents could allow young children to watch “some” high quality TV.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Movies & Television

Russell Moore: The Gulf of Mexico and the Care of Creation

Does God care about baby shrimp? I would argue, yes; God cares for the sparrow that falls to the ground (Matt. 10:29). But, even if you disagree with me on that, consider how God loves those who are “of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:31).

Shrimpers here in Biloxi are mourning the potential loss of not just an industry but a way of life handed down, at least to some, from multiple generations before them. If shrimping collapses, so will tourism, apart from the in and out predation of the casinos dotting the shoreline.

Just as significant, though, is how the balance of ecology affects people in ways we never consider or notice, until it’s threatened. God gave his image-bearing humanity dominion over the natural creation (Gen. 1:28). But this isn’t a pharaoh-like dominion; it’s a Christ-like dominion. Humans aren’t made of ether; we’re made of Spirit-enlivened mud. We come from the earth, and we must receive from nature what we need to survive, in the form of light from the sun, oxygen from plants, and food from the ground.

God knows that we need the natural creation (what we so reductionistically call an “environment”). He exults in it throughout the Psalms and in his speech to Job about his mysterious ways. Jesus continually retreats to the silent places of the mountains and the hills and the deserts, sometimes in the fellowship of only the wild beasts (Mark 1:13). We are built to recognize God in the creation (Rom. 1:18-21), and we need more than just what we can pave over and build in order to flourish.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Theology

Christian Century–Seminaries see no 'hard times' uptick

The notion that enrollments at theological schools rise in tough economic times did not hold true for Protestant and Catholic seminaries in North America this academic year. In fact, over the past three years, the total student population slipped about 6 percent””down to 75,500 from a three-year plateau in mid-decade when more than 80,000 students were studying theology.

“The idea of going back to school seems to have worked for U.S. education in general,” said Daniel Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools, but not for seminaries, whose enrollment slid again in the past year about 2 percent, according to ATS data released in April.

Mainline Protestant schools have seen enrollments rise and fall over the past decade. Between the fall of 2000, when student bodies totaled 22,651, and last fall, when they had 22,068, mainline seminaries had peak years of 24,133 in 2002 and 24,024 in 2005.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Other Churches, Seminary / Theological Education, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

LA Times–Recession puts the squeeze on some churches

If a church is a family, then Seabreeze Church in Huntington Beach found itself confronting a question most families face: Should we remain renters, or stretch, take out a big mortgage and become owners?

For nearly two decades, the evangelical congregation held services in the theater of the city’s central library, and before that, met in a senior center. But in 2004, near the peak of the real estate market, a rare opportunity in the virtually built-out city presented itself: A failing tennis club was for sale. After much discussion, Seabreeze saw a chance and took the plunge, building a $12.5-million campus on nearly five acres.

“Literally, it was a gift from God,” administrative pastor John Stoffel said of the land becoming available. “We were biting off a huge chunk. … It was a risk. But we thought it was a risk that was worth taking.”

In retrospect, the timing couldn’t have been worse.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Phillip Jensen–Teaching The Bible: still unpopular, still essential

Yoga is to Hinduism what Billy Graham is to Christianity. The way we practice our religion will depend very much upon our theology. If God is ”˜the force’, then we will attune ourselves to that force; if God is personal, then we will enter into personal relationship with him; and if God speaks, we will live by listening to what he says.

At the very outset of the Bible, at creation, we begin to see the importance of the word of God. Throughout the Genesis account, we read the recurring phrase, “and God said”. Everything was made in accordance with the mind of God and at God’s expressed direction. The Psalmist tells us that the whole world was created by the Word of God (Ps 33:6). From the beginning of the Bible, we learn that God speaks and that his speech is creative and powerful and working in the universe.

There are more implications from this understanding of God’s nature than just his power and creativity. As God speaks to that part of his creation that is made in his image, it is clear that his words must be listened to, understood and obeyed.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Monnica

O Lord, who through spiritual discipline didst strengthen thy servant Monnica to persevere in offering her love and prayers and tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine their son: Deepen our devotion, we beseech thee, and use us in accordance with thy will to bring others, even our own kindred, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

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