Daily Archives: September 13, 2010

Thomas S. Kidd–Whether Park 51 or burning Qurans, liberty is not propriety

Soothing misunderstandings between American Christians and American Muslims begins with a renewed national commitment to the free exercise of religion. In no way should the government try to prevent the building of the Islamic center at Ground Zero. With this safeguard in place, it should be easier to move the discussion to questions of propriety. With the anniversary of 9/11 upon us, America needs no more gratuitous statements or actions from either Christians or Muslims. Enough damage has been done already, by both Christians and Muslims.

Thankfully, there are very few things that, as Americans, we don’t have the right to do. But just because we can do (or build, or burn) something doesn’t make it a good idea.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, City Government, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

”˜Everything Is on the Table,’ Imam Says of Plans

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf promised on Monday to resolve the fierce dispute around plans to build a Muslim community center and mosque two blocks from ground zero, and he gave personal reflections about Islam and terrorism and about his identity as an American and a Muslim.

Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, he promised to find a way out of the current impasse around the planned center, which opponents say is insensitive to the memory of 9/11 and which supporters say sends the opposite message, that Muslims, like other Americans, object to and were victims of the attacks.

“Everything is on the table,” he said. “We really are focused on solving it” in a way that will be best for everyone concerned, he added. “I give you my pledge.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, City Government, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

AP–Fellow Americans' suspicions frustrate U.S. Muslims

There is no simple way for American Muslims to move forward.

Images of violence overseas in the name of Islam have come to define the faith for many non-Muslims at home. The U.S. remains at war in Afghanistan, and although America has formally declared an end to its combat operations in Iraq, U.S. troops there continue to fight alongside Iraqi forces.

Within the U.S., domestic terror has become a greater threat, while ignorance about what Islam teaches is widespread. More than half of respondents in a recent poll by the Pew Forum for Religion & Public Life said they knew little or nothing about the Muslim faith.

Some U.S. Muslims say their national organizations share the blame, for answering intricate questions about Islam with platitudes, and failing to fully examine the potential for extremism within their communities. Muslim leaders often respond when terrorists strike by saying Islam is a “religion of peace” that has no role in the violence instead of confronting the legitimate concerns of other Americans, these Muslim critics say.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Telegraph Leader–Papal visit: A chance to show tolerance

In 1940, the British people fought not only to resist conquest but also to preserve their tolerant values. Today, this country permits and even celebrates many things of which the Catholic Church disapproves. But it should be stressed that this Pope, perhaps more than any other, is an admirer of British democracy. As a devotee of Cardinal Newman who speaks our language fluently, he appreciates our tradition of civilised discourse with people whose views we do not share.

In recent months, that tradition has been threatened by the anti-religious rhetoric of “defenders of the Enlightenment”, who display an intellectual intolerance almost worthy of the Inquisition. That is a shame. By all means, let critics challenge the Pope’s teachings while he is here. But this four-day visit is not an invitation to drown out the voice of the leader of a billion Christians with sneering and mockery. Visitors to these shores as well as British citizens have the right of free speech. Our distinguished guest must be allowed to exercise it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

BBC–Pilgrims prepare for Papal visit

The Pope will be visiting the UK this week.

The state visit is the first since 1982.

For many Catholics it will be their one and only chance to see 83-year-old Pope Benedict XVI on British soil.

One of the key events of the tour will be a special mass in Birmingham where the pontiff will beatify Cardinal Newman.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Address by Metropolitan Hilarion to the Annual Nicean Club Dinner at Lambeth Palace

All current versions of Christianity can be very conditionally divided into two major groups ”“ traditional and liberal. The abyss that exists today divides not so much the Orthodox from the Catholics or the Catholics from the Protestants as it does the ”˜traditionalists’ from the ”˜liberals’. Some Christian leaders, for example, tell us that marriage between a man and a woman is no longer the only way of building a Christian family: there are other models and the Church should become appropriately ”˜inclusive’ to recognize alternative behavioural standards and give them official blessing. Some try to persuade us that human life is no longer an absolute value; that it can be terminated in a mother’s womb or that one can terminate one’s life at will. Christian ”˜traditionalists’ are being asked to reconsider their views under the slogan of keeping abreast with modernity.

Regrettably, it has to be admitted that the Orthodox Church and many in the Anglican Church have today found themselves on the opposite sides of the abyss that divides traditional Christians from Christians of liberal trend. Certainly, inside the Anglican Community there remain many “traditionalists”, especially in the South and the East, but the liberal trend is also quite noticeable, especially in the West and in the North. Protests against liberalism continue to be heard among Anglicans, as at the 2nd All African Bishops’ Conference held in late August. The Conference’s final document stated in particular, ”˜We affirm the Biblical standard of the family as having marriage between a man and a woman as its foundation. One of the purposes of marriage is procreation of children some of whom grow to become the leaders of tomorrow’.

Among the vivid indications of disagreement within the Anglican Community (I am reluctant to say ”˜schism’) is the fact that almost 200 Anglican bishops refused to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference. I was there as an observer from the Russian Orthodox Church and could see various manifestations of deep and painful differences among the Anglicans.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

Notable and Quotable

St. Paul wrote this epistle because, after his departure from the Galatian churches, Jewish-Christian fanatics moved in, who perverted Paul’s Gospel of man’s free justification by faith in Christ Jesus.

The world bears the Gospel a grudge because the Gospel condemns the religious wisdom of the world. Jealous for its own religious views, the world in turn charges the Gospel with being a subversive and licentious doctrine, offensive to God and man, a doctrine to be persecuted as the worst plague on earth.
As a result we have this paradoxical situation: The Gospel supplies the world with the salvation of Jesus Christ, peace of conscience, and every blessing. Just for that the world abhors the Gospel.

These Jewish-Christian fanatics who pushed themselves into the Galatian churches after Paul’s departure, boasted that they were the descendants of Abraham, true ministers of Christ, having been trained by the apostles themselves, that they were able to perform miracles.

In every way they sought to undermine the authority of St. Paul. They said to the Galatians: “You have no right to think highly of Paul. He was the last to turn to Christ. But we have seen Christ. We heard Him preach. Paul came later and is beneath us. It is possible for us to be in error–we who have received the Holy Ghost? Paul stands alone. He has not seen Christ, nor has he had much contact with the other apostles. Indeed, he persecuted the Church of Christ for a long time.”

When men claiming such credentials come along, they deceive not only the naive, but also those who seemingly are well-established in the faith.

–Martin Luther, in his commentary on Galatians of 1535

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Barna Group–Diverse Set of National Concerns Topped by Widespread Economic Worries

The diversity of the United States’ population has been well-documented: a multi-ethnic mixture of more than 310 million people, comprised of individuals from a wide range of educational and economic backgrounds. Providing effective leadership for such a country is exceedingly challenging. The range of worldviews, faith perspectives, and personal dreams and expectations held by Americans makes it difficult for a national leader to possess a comprehensive and coherent point-of-view that a majority of the public will support. The latest national survey by The Barna Group underscores the breadth of opinions and concerns that Americans possess.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Alan Runyan and Mark McCall–Title IV Revisions: Unmasked

* “The revisions certainly will change the character of the disciplinary process making the disciplinary landscape appear less formal, speedier and more pastoral. However, these goals mask other very unsettling realities of the new disciplinary process, more suggestive of another pastoral analogy: a wolf in sheep’s clothing. (“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15 (ESV).”

* “The increased scope of Clergy offenses is breathtaking.”

* “There is no better encapsulation of the sweeping nature of the changes than the wholesale introduction of new terminology. Indeed, many of the most profound changes are introduced by re-defining terms, a practice rightly criticized for its lack of transparency in the corporate legal world.”

* “No longer must the accuser have some knowledge with a reasonable basis ”“ anyone can and must report anything that “may” constitute an offense.”

* “The Bishop has gone from virtual exclusion to virtual control of the initial Clergy charging process.”

* “However, what new Title IV gives the Bishop Diocesan with one hand, it effectively (and stealthily) takes away from him with the other.”

* “Given the breadth and substantive nature of these changes, one is forced to wonder how this could happen. Why was there no outcry from liberal, moderate or conservative Clergy about what can only be termed “excesses?”

* “The deafening silence about these revisions forces us to believe that the sheep’s clothing strategy has been successful.”

* “One cannot help but be both simultaneously saddened and angered by the extensive revisions masked with soothing rhetoric like “pastoral reconciliation.”

Read it all very carefully.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

CBS–Muslim Scholar: Don't Build Islamic Center

On “The Early Show on Saturday Morning,” Jasser regarded the rallies being planned at Ground Zero, for and against the center, and said he thinks, “Today is especially a day, as we remember and reflect upon 9/11 and looking over that pit of devastation there and feeling that, today, we look through that lens as Americans, not as a Muslim, not as of any faith. I don’t look through this lens of trying to repair my – trying to promote Islam. It’s about fighting the forces that caused this, and I think, if we’re able to unite under that, that’s why 71 percent of Americans are against (the Islamic center).

“It’s not because they don’t want mosques there, there [are] even other mosques closer. Many of us have built over 2,000 mosques in the United States with very little problem. But, I think what unites us is the freedoms and liberties our Constitution gives us, and it’s time for Muslims to look less about promoting ourselves, (have) less of a victimology and (be) more about feeling the pain of the families of 9/11 and understanding what we have to do to repair the house of Islam.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

Zuhdi Jasser (WSJ)–Questions for Imam Rauf From an American Muslim

After a long absence while controversy over the mosque near Ground Zero smoldered, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf finally held forth this week both in the New York Times and on CNN.

Imam Rauf and his supporters are clearly more interested in making a political statement in relation to Islam than in the mosque’s potential for causing community division and pain to those who lost loved ones on 9/11. That division is already bitterly obvious.

As someone who has been involved in building mosques around the country, and who has dealt with his fair share of unjustified opposition, I ask of Imam Rauf and all his supporters, “Where is your sense of fairness and common decency?” In relation to Ground Zero, I am an American first, a Muslim second, just as I would be at Concord, Gettysburg, Normandy Beach, Pearl Harbor or any other battlefield where my fellow countrymen lost their lives….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, City Government, History, Islam, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Chrysostom

O God, who didst give to thy servant John Chrysostom grace eloquently to proclaim thy righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of thy Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering thy Word, that thy people shall be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, who hast set before us the great hope that thy kingdom shall come on earth, and hast taught us to pray for its coming: Give us grace to discern the signs of its dawning, and to work for the perfect day when thy will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Percy Dearmer (1867-1936)

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

–Acts 16:5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Soothing Music for a Sunday Evening–Arlan Sunnarborg's Shalom, Salaam, Peace be with you

Listen and enjoy it–from one of the Episcopal Church’s really gifted musicians–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Music, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology