Daily Archives: December 11, 2010

Spiritual Formation at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (Columbia, South Carolina)

As faculty in a seminary of the church, we are especially conscious of the importance of intentional spiritual formation for pastoral ministry, the diaconate, and other forms of church leadership. Seminary students must receive the encouragement, urging, and instruction they need in order to find a stable and enlivening pattern of spiritual practice capable of sustaining them over the long haul in life and ministry.

-The LTSS Faculty, “Spirituality and Spiritual Formation”

Here are four questions:

How will you be spiritually sustained during your years in seminary and over the long haul in public ministry?

What is the spiritual life?

Why does Southern Seminary emphasize intentional spiritual formation?

Where do you begin?

Check the link for the answers.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Lutheran, Other Churches, Seminary / Theological Education, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

Agency’s Shtick Is Jewish Humor for a Good Cause

In these darkening days between Hanukkah and Christmas, here is a story to keep your spirits high ”” a story of cooperation between Jews and Christians, between people named Seinfeld and Samberg and people named Morgan and Lohan. A story of celebrities putting ethnic differences aside to raise money for charity.

By making fun of ”” or is that gently teasing? ”” Jews….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Humor / Trivia, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A Profile of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Yarmouth, Maine

Founded in 1973, St. Bartholomew’s began as a group of worshippers under the guidance of the Rev. Harold Hopkins. For the first two years, St. Bart’s borrowed space in other local churches and schools. 1976, it had its first permanent home in a converted building on Route 1 in Yarmouth. From the beginning, St. Bart’s cultivated a hands-on, everyone-involved parish family. After the Rev. Hopkins left to become bishop of North Dakota, the congregation was ready for a full-time vicar and called the Rev. Gil Birney in 1983.

Under the Rev. Birney’s leadership, St. Bart’s flourished, eventually gaining parish status. In 1988, members built the timber-framed building — complete with a vaulted sanctuary ceiling — in a wooded setting along Gilman Road that remains their home.

In 2007, St. Bart’s welcomed its current rector, the Rev. Nina Pooley, previously associate chaplain of St. Paul’s School in Brooklandville, Md.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

Sean D. Kelly–Navigating Past Nihilism

Consider the options in reverse order. To begin with, perhaps the writers and poets whom Brooks questions have actually noticed something that the rest of us are ignoring or covering up. This is what Nietzsche himself thought. “I have come too early,” he wrote. “God is dead; but given the way of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown.” On this account there really is no agreement in the culture about what constitutes a well-lived life; God is dead in this particular sense. But many people carry on in God’s shadow nevertheless; they take the life at which they are aiming to be one that is justifiable universally. In this case the happiness that Brooks identifies in the suburbs is not genuine happiness but self-deceit.
What would such a self-deceiving life look like? It would be a matter not only of finding meaning in one’s everyday engagements, but of clinging to the meanings those engagements offer as if they were universal and absolute. Take the case of religion, for example. One can imagine a happy suburban member of a religious congregation who, in addition to finding fulfillment for herself in her lofty and ennobling religious pursuits, experiences the aspiration to this kind of fulfillment as one demanded of all other human beings as well. Indeed, one can imagine that the kind of fulfillment she experiences through her own religious commitments depends upon her experiencing those commitments as universal, and therefore depends upon her experiencing those people not living in the fold of her church as somehow living depleted or unfulfilled lives. I suppose this is not an impossible case. But if this is the kind of fulfillment one achieves through one’s happy suburban religious pursuit, then in our culture today it is self-deception at best and fanaticism at worst. For it stands in constant tension with the demand in the culture to recognize that those who don’t share your religious commitments might nevertheless be living admirable lives. There is therefore a kind of happiness in a suburban life like this. But its continuation depends upon deceiving oneself about the role that any kind of religious commitment can now play in grounding the meanings for a life.

But there is another option available. Perhaps Nietzsche was wrong about how long it would take for the news of God’s death to reach the ears of men. Perhaps he was wrong, in other words, about how long it would take before the happiness to which we can imagine aspiring would no longer need to aim at universal validity in order for us to feel satisfied by it. In this case the happiness of the suburbs would be consistent with the death of God, but it would be a radically different kind of happiness from that which the Judeo-Christian epoch of Western history sustained.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Philosophy, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture

A Long Road From ”˜Come by here’ to ”˜Kumbaya’

Nearing 40 and nearly broke, ousted from his last job as an English professor, a folklore buff named Robert Winslow Gordon set out in the spring of 1926 from his temporary home on the Georgia seacoast, lugging a hand-cranked cylinder recorder and searching for songs in the nearby black hamlets.

One particular day, Mr. Gordon captured the sound of someone identified only as H. Wylie, singing a lilting, swaying spiritual in the key of A. The lyrics told of people in despair and in trouble, calling on heaven for help, and beseeching God in the refrain, “Come by here.”

With that wax cylinder, the oldest known recording of a spiritual titled for its recurring plea, Mr. Gordon set into motion a strange and revealing process of cultural appropriation, popularization and desecration. “Come By Here,” a song deeply rooted in black Christianity’s vision of a God who intercedes to deliver both solace and justice, by the 1960s became the pallid pop-folk sing-along “Kumbaya.” And “Kumbaya,” in turn, has lately been transformed into snarky shorthand for ridiculing a certain kind of idealism, a quest for common ground.

Read it all (another from the long line of should-have-already-been-posted–KSH).

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

Local Paper Front Page: A High School Boy who Set Himself on Fire Dies

The father of the Academic Magnet High School student who set himself on fire near the school’s front entrance this week said his son “was struck with a despair so dark that he could not see beyond it, in spite of the love, support and counseling he received.”

Trace Williams appeared briefly before news media Friday to explain his son Aaron’s death. Reading from a prepared statement, and citing a letter written by the 16-year-old before his death, Williams said the self- immolation was an attempt “to reach out to as many hearts as possible and to emphasize the importance of living lives of love and compassion.”

He said his son’s lifelong ambition was to be a doctor and help others….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Education, Psychology, Suicide, Teens / Youth

(DPA) Ignorance, economy fuel bias against Islam, conference hears

The current economic crisis and the ignorance of some Western scholars are fueling prejudices against Islam, participants said at a conference in Poland Friday.

The daylong conference in the western Polish city of Wroclaw considered the media portrayal of Islam, attitudes toward Muslim immigrants in France and the perception of Muslims in the former Soviet Union.

Imam Ali Abi Issa, of Wroclaw’s mosque, said some Western scholars are fueling Islamophobia by studying Islamic texts without looking at historical or cultural contexts.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Islam, Other Faiths, Poland, Religion & Culture

(BBC) UN climate change talks in Cancun agree a deal

UN talks in Cancun have reached a deal to curb climate change, including a fund to help developing countries.

Nations endorsed compromise texts drawn up by the Mexican hosts, despite objections from Bolivia.

The draft documents say deeper cuts in carbon emissions are needed, but do not establish a mechanism for achieving the pledges countries have made.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(WSJ's RTE) Number of the Week: 1.6 Million Put Off Retirement

The financial crisis has been hard on just about everyone. But for older folks, the pain is proving particularly deep and lasting ”” a problem that could put a drag on the economy for many years to come.

People approaching retirement age are suffering on all fronts. Even with the Dow above 11,000, their stock holdings are worth less than they were back in 2006. Fixed-income investments hardly provide any income. Home prices remain depressed.

As a result, more older people are trying to make up lost ground by staying at work longer or rejoining the labor force ”“ precisely at a time when finding a job is exceedingly difficult.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

127 Hours

Elizabeth and I went to see this movie last night. Intriguing to watch how they do a motion picture without the access to normal “motion” in terms of the story line. James Franco was fantastic–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

Notable and Quotable

Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

–C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory” sermon preached on June 8, 1942

Posted in Eschatology, Pastoral Theology, Theology

A Prayer for the Provisional Feast Day of Thomas Merton

Gracious God, who didst call thy monk Thomas Merton to proclaim thy justice out of silence, and moved him in his contemplative writings to perceive and value Christ at work in the faiths of others: Keep us, like him, steadfast in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Make us, we beseech thee, O Lord our God, watchful and heedful in awaiting the coming of thy Son Christ our Lord; that when he shall come and knock, he shall find us not sleeping in sin, but awake and rejoicing in his praises; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Gelasian Sacramentary

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”

–Luke 22:31-32

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

WikiLeaks: Pope's offer to Anglicans risked 'violence against Catholics'

The British ambassador to the Vatican warned that Pope Benedict XVI’s invitation to Anglican opponents of female priests to convert en masse to Catholicism was so inflammatory that it might lead to discrimination and even violence against Catholics in Britain, according to a secret US diplomatic cable.

Talking to an American diplomat after the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, met the pope in November 2009, Francis Campbell said the surprise Vatican move had placed Williams “in an impossible situation” and “Anglican-Vatican relations were facing their worst crisis in 150 years as a result of the pope’s decision”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Defense, National Security, Military, Other Churches, Politics in General, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology