Daily Archives: June 15, 2010

A Nightline Piece on some Contemporary Self-Proclaimed Messiahs

Watch it all (just over 8 minutes).

Posted in Christology, Eschatology, Theology

ACNA Provincial Council Recognizes Two New Dioceses

The Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) unanimously recognized the Anglican Diocese of the South and the Diocese of the Great Lakes on June 9 at its meeting in Amesbury, Massachusetts. More than 1,500 Anglicans from 20 churches in four states (AL, GA, NC, TN) have joined together to form the new regional Diocese of the South. More than 1,500 communicants from 14 congregations in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana are uniting to form the regional Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes.

Following the Provincial Council’s meeting, the ACNA’s College of Bishops elected the Rev. Dr. Foley Beach as the first bishop of the Diocese of the South. Bishop-elect Beach, who had been nominated by the diocese’s inaugural Synod, is the Rector of Holy Cross Anglican Church in Loganville, GA. He is expected to be consecrated this Fall. The College of Bishops also approved the election of Bishop Roger Ames as the first bishop of the Diocese of the Great Lakes. Bishop Ames, who previously served as a suffragan bishop for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, is tentatively scheduled to be formally installed as the diocesan bishop this coming October.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

Nancy Folbre: The Sagging of the Middle Class

The chart above captures the takeaway point of David Autor’s new report, “The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the U.S. Labor Market,” published by the Center for American Progress and the Hamilton Project.

Professor Autor ranks occupations by mean wages (using these as a proxy for skill). Between 1999 and 2007, growth took place primarily at the low end. Between 1979 and 1989, the share of high-wage jobs grew fastest. Between 1989 and 1999, the share of low-wage jobs began to grow, but high-wage jobs continued to expand. Between 1999 and 2007, growth took place primarily at the low end.

The cumulative effect is polarization and increased inequality, intensified by job losses during the recent recession that also hit the middle-wage group particularly hard.

Read the whole blog entry (and take a careful look at the chart).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance

Father John Flynn–Anonymous Parenthood: The Consequences of Sperm Donation

Another difficulty sperm donor offspring suffer is the secrecy about their origins. In most cases, parents let the child believe that he or she is biologically related to both of them in the beginning. Then, when the child finally discovers the truth, the child feels lied to and the parent-child relationship is strained. This leaves a legacy of distrust, with 47% of them declaring that their mother might have lied about important matters when they were growing up. This compares with 27% for those who were adopted and 18% for those who were raised by their biological parents. Similar results were given for worrying that their father might have lied.

Not surprisingly, a substantial majority of adults conceived through sperm donation expressed support for their right to know everything. This included the identity of the donor and the right to have some kind of relationship with him. They also said they wanted to know about the existence and number of their half-siblings. As it now stands, the law in the United States does not give them any of these rights. In fact, it protects the donors and fertility clinics at the cost of the children conceived.
But the problems do not end with secrecy. The survey results showed that 44% of the donor-conceived adults were comfortable with donor conception so long as parents tell their children the truth, preferably from an early age. Nevertheless, 36% had concerns about it even if parents told the truth, and 11% said it is hard for kids even if parents handle the issue well.

In fact, the report commented that: “openness alone does not appear to resolve the potential losses, confusion and risks that can come with deliberately conceiving children so that they will be raised lacking at least one of their biological parents.”

The report concluded with a series of recommendations. Among them was the observation that no other medical procedure has such enormous implications for a person who did not seek the treatment — the offspring. And they asked: “Does a good society intentionally create children in this way?” A question well worth reflecting on.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

CNS: Emerging voices influence evolution of 21st-century Catholic theology

“We’re trying here to create a Catholic theology that is no longer a European or Eurocentric Catholic theology,” Father Massingale explained. “The way I put it we’re trying to create a Catholic theology that is truly Catholic, truly universal. And if we’re going to be Catholic, genuinely universal, then inclusion is not something of political correctness. Inclusion is a requirement of our faith.”

The effort to include formerly missing voices in the development of theology in the United States stems from necessity because Catholics of European descent no longer make up the majority of the U.S. Catholic Church, said Dominican Sister Jamie Phelps, director of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana.

“Once you get into the minority position and you have the power and the authority, but you don’t have the manpower to be in charge … then we’re forced to do what the Second Vatican Council told us to do a long time ago: that everyone is called to communion,” Sister Jamie told Catholic News Service during a convention break. “We’re supposed to call leadership from each cultural family.”

That leadership extends not only to positions within the church and its various ministries, but the development of theology as well, she said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Globalization, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology

Kenyan churches blame government for blasts at rally

The National Council of Churches accused Kenya’s government on Monday of involvement in a grenade attack on a rally against a draft constitution that would allow abortions in life-threatening pregnancies and recognize Islamic courts.

The accusation over Sunday evening’s attack, which killed six people, could set a contentious tone between the groups supporting and opposing the draft constitution, which the country votes on Aug. 4. Political analysts said leaders of the groups needed to tamp down emotions or violence could flare.

The August referendum will be the first nationwide vote since Kenya’s 2007 presidential election, which saw more than 1,000 people killed following days of rampaging violence after the contentious vote.

Political leaders on Monday tried to separate the blasts, which the police said were caused by grenades, from the political issues around the referendum. Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the attack was an “isolated case.” But the National Council of Churches blamed the attack on the government and supporters of the draft constitution.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Kenya, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

In China ”˜Six new Protestant churches are opening every day’

Among the five religions officially recognised in China are both Catholicism and “Christianity”, ie, Protestantism. They are differentiated historically in Chinese minds by the use of different terms for God, different transliterations of the names of the Apostles and so on, rather than by matters of theology. Protestantism is nowadays said to be “post-denominational”. Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran and so on are defunct labels in modern China.

From the end of the 19th century there were Chinese Christians for whom the Western labels imported by missionaries were a distraction from Jesus-focused discipleship and an obstacle to evangelisation. They pressed the case for a unified church which could claim to be authentically Chinese and not a foreign religion.

Their case was understood by missionary leaders, but more in theory than in practice….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Books, China, Church History, Religion & Culture

A labor of love: Parents develop Sunday school class for autistic son

For the moment, there is only one Sunday school pupil in Room 120 at State Street Baptist Church, in Columbia, S.C., a 19-year-old young man who loves puzzles and songs and has painstakingly memorized the books of the Bible.

John Stack’s autism and halted mental development set him apart. But his parents, Tim and Ann Stack, don’t believe that should limit their son’s access to Sunday school and the spiritual lessons that have been so important to him through his life.

The Stacks have developed a class for teenagers and young adults like John, people with special needs who require routine and repetition but who have “aged out” of traditional Sunday school classes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Philip Ashey offers some thoughts on the ACNA's Second Provincial Council

At this Provincial Council, we were inspired by a new generation of thirty-something preachers and teachers, including the Rev’s Stewart Ruch, Theresa Russell and Rusty Elisor, who reminded us that God is sovereign and in control (Eccl. 8:16-17), that at Pentecost the Holy Spirit birthed a missional church whose first step was to leave the buildings, get out into the streets, cross cultural boundaries, hang out with people, share the good news in their own language, and establish communities of incarnational discipleship marked by radical generosity and joy (Acts 2:42-47), and that we must always hide ourselves in no other foundation than Jesus Christ (I Cor. 3:11-15). The election of the Rev. Dr. Foley Beach as bishop of the new Anglican Diocese of the South – one of the youngest bishops to serve in the College of Bishops – heralds a new and rising generation of leaders within the ACNA. I can assure you that we will be well served by this new generation of shepherds, preachers and teachers who will both guard and proclaim the faith once delivered!

All of this would not be possible without the resurrection power of Jesus Christ at work in our midst. May it ever be so!

“…And the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings…” We all want to share in the power of Jesus’ resurrection. But how many of us want to share in the sufferings of Jesus Christ, including persecutions? Paul wants us to know that there is no knowing Jesus Christ, or the power of his resurrection, without sharing in the fellowship of his sufferings.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

Penelope Fleming-Fido (Church Times): Christians and Pagans should reconsider the similarities

In a world where differences between religious groups are often stressed, too few of us realise how many similarities there are between Christian beliefs and Paganism. Though many of us are aware of the pagan roots of some Christian tradi­tions, such as the Yule log and holly, there are deeper rooted similarities than these Christmas trimmings. History has too many examples of conflicts over real or imagined reli­gious differences; so a greater under­standing of each other’s religion might bring a heightened sympathy between us.

The Neo-Pagan religions have many names, including Paganism, Asatru, Wicca, Witchcraft, and Druid­ism. While Paganism stresses a bond with nature and an acknow­ledgement of the natural cycle of life in the world, there is no one tenet of faith that all followers acknowledge as central to their religion.

The word “pagan” has a long and confused history. In the first centuries Anno Domini (also known as the Common Era), a Pagan was someone who did not believe in the Abrahamic religions. The Latin word “paganus” means countryman, and it is easy to see the link between this and the Pagan religion, which is often de-scribed as being that of country-folk.

Paganism celebrates the cycle of the year, and there is no central reli­gious text; so it would have been accessible to peasants who could not read. Its emphasis on the changes that ordinary people could see around them in the trees and earth would have made sense to them.

Read the whole reflection.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, Wicca / paganism

Children Carry Guns for a U.S. Ally, Somalia

Awil Salah Osman prowls the streets of this shattered city, looking like so many other boys, with ripped-up clothes, thin limbs and eyes eager for attention and affection.

But Awil is different in two notable ways: he is shouldering a fully automatic, fully loaded Kalashnikov assault rifle; and he is working for a military that is substantially armed and financed by the United States.

“You!” he shouts at a driver trying to sneak past his checkpoint, his cherubic face turning violently angry.

“You know what I’m doing here!” He shakes his gun menacingly. “Stop your car!”

The driver halts immediately. In Somalia, lives are lost quickly, and few want to take their chances with a moody 12-year-old.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Children, Somalia, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Evelyn Underhill

O God, Origin, Sustainer, and End of all creatures: Grant that thy Church, taught by thy servant Evelyn Underhill, guarded evermore by thy power, and guided by thy Spirit into the light of truth, may continually offer to thee all glory and thanksgiving, and attain with thy saints to the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast promised us by our Savior Jesus Christ; who with thee and the same Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.”

–Romans 1:16,17

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer before Bible Study

O Lord, who hast given us thy Word for a light to shine upon our path: Grant us so to meditate upon that Word and to follow its teaching, that we may find in it the light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Based on the Thought of Saint Jerome

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

CEN–Malawi bishop’s election overturned

The Court of Confirmation of the Church of the Province of Central Africa has rejected the election of the Rev Leslie Mtekateka as Bishop of Northern Malawi. A new election to succeed the Rt Rev Christopher Boyle, who has returned to England to serve as Assistant Bishop of Leicester, has been scheduled for June 26.

Rector of St Timothy’s, Chitipa, Fr Mtekateka was the sole candidate on the ballot in Northern Malawi, and is the son of the Rt Rev Josiah Mtekateka, the first African bishop of Malawi, who was consecrated in 1965 as Suffragan Bishop of Nyasaland, and in 1971 as the first Bishop of Lake Malawi.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Central Africa, Church of England (CoE)