Daily Archives: August 5, 2011

(WSJ Houses of Worship) John Murray–C.S. Lewis and the Devil

In his original preface written from Magdalen College at Oxford on July 5, 1941, Lewis warned of what he called “the two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils.” One error “is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” Lewis concluded that the devils “are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”

Lewis noted the failures born from mankind’s fallen nature. But he believed in the power of Jesus Christ to overcome sin, death and Satan, and the optimism of faith and hope.

“The Screwtape Letters” concludes by echoing the words of the First Epistle of John, as the patient dies in a bombing raid and goes to heaven””seeing not only angels but Christ himself. For as St. John declared, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. . . . The one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Church History, Religion & Culture, Theology

Interesting Upcoming NZ Conference–“Christian Ministry in a Scientific World”

Philosophers, scientists and theologians have sought to define the relationship between faith and science (somewhat unsuccessfully) since the earliest of times. Emerging biotechnologies of the 21st century serve to further demonstrate the complex, and unavoidable, interplay between science, faith and ethics. The issues emerging from the advent of reproductive technologies, stem cell therapies and genetic engineering technologies, for example, are not trivial, and are issues faced
increasingly by members of our congregations and society in general. The challenge of pastoral leadership lies in both discerning the times in which we live and providing guidance rooted in sound scholarship and faith. Our conference this year thus seeks to explore the challenges of ministering in a scientific world, and the theological, social and ethical issues relevant to such an enterprise.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Anglican summit for Masterton, New Zealand

Guest speaker Alan Roxbugh said he would be educating the clergy about what they could do to go forward.

He said that, as ordained ministers educated at a seminary, most clergy “have been trained in a certain way”.

Dr Roxbugh said it was like his peers had been taught how to repair bicycles and, now the car had been invented, people were unsure what to do.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Rachael Marie Collins–In Defense of the Stay-at-Home-Mom

My twenties, in particular, were all about achievement: I clerked at the High Court of Australia, received scholarships to study at two Ivy League schools, completed four degrees, cofounded a think tank and, by the age of 26, had secured a tenure-track position at a law school in my country….

The year I married, I started my doctorate at Oxford University….[then] earlier this year, I gave [it] up…to be a stay-at-home mom to our adopted newborn daughter.

It’s the best decision I’ve ever made….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Women

(CEN) Philippine ”˜no’ to the Anglican Covenant

Speaking to the 8th Philippine General Synod on 2 May, the Church’s Prime Bishop, the Most Rev Edward Malecdan, argued the best way forward through the crisis of faith and order dividing Anglicans was to keep talking while taking no action that would cause irreparable harm to the fabric of the Communion.

“I think most of us know that there are problems besetting the Communion,” he observed, noting that “one of this is the practice of The Episcopal Church USA, or TEC, in consecrating practicing homosexuals and lesbians to the episcopate. The other is the acceptance of same-sex marriages in both TEC and in the Anglican Church of Canada or ACoC.”

The responses to these breaches of Communion by the US and Canada had led some provinces to call for the isolation of “these two North American Churches. They express in no uncertain terms that the Church in Canada and TEC should be out of the Communion.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), Episcopal Church of the Philippines, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(Church Times) President of CU to quit over its exclusion of Ordinariate

THE President of the Church Union (CU), Fr Edwin Barnes, is to stand down because the majority of its Council opposes “assisting those who join the Ordinariate”. Last month, the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament (CBS) provoked anger among some of its members when it donated £1 million to the Roman Catholic Ordin­ariate…

Fr Barnes, who joined the Ordin­ariate earlier this year, wrote in a statement posted on the website of the CU, which says that it seeks “to promote and renew Catholic Faith and life within the Church of England”, that the group received a legal opinion from a QC suggesting that, although the organisation’s Constitution had been altered to include those outside the Church of England, “the foundation docu­ments had not, and they trumped whatever the Constitution might intend.” The legal opinion “seemed to say this was a Society for Church of England members only”.

Fr Barnes said that he sought another legal opinion, which “arrived at a different conclusion”, and suggested that the CU “might indeed function ecumenically”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

(USA Today) Study: Education liberalizes religious views

Each year of education ups the odds by 15% that people will say there’s “truth in more than one religion,” says University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Philip Schwadel in an article for the Review of Religious Research. Schwadel, an associate professor of sociology, looked at 1,800 U.S. adults’ reported religious beliefs and practices and their education.

People change their perspective because, as people move through high school and college, they acquire an ever-wider range of friendships, including people with different beliefs than their own, Schwadel says. “People don’t want to say their friends are going to hell,” he says.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, Religion & Culture

Terry Mattingly–Fundamental truths about the suspect in the Norwegian attacks

At the age of 15, Breivik apparently chose to be baptized and confirmed into the state church. However, the writings left behind by the 32-year-old radical also stress that he does not hold traditional Christian beliefs or practice the faith. Instead, he carefully identifies himself as a “Christian agnostic” or a “Christian atheist (cultural Christian).” In his manifesto, Breivik emphasizes his identity as a Free Mason, his interest in Odinist Norse traditions and his role as a “Justiciar Knight” in a new crusade against Islam.

“If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian,” he wrote, in a passage that found its way into a few media reports. “Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Media, Norway, Religion & Culture, Violence

(NPR) Double Dip: Is U.S. Headed For Another Recession?

The U.S. economy is already skirting the razor’s edge that separates recession from recovery.

“There is no emerging source of demand that’s going to lead us to a surge of growth,” says Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute.

He says no one is spending money enough to help the economy expand ”” not consumers, not businesses and not government.

Read or listen to it all.

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

Rachel Hackenberg–The myth about pastors

The myth about pastors, simply stated, is that we are helpers; that ours is a helping profession, counted alongside doctors and nurses and emergency responders and teachers and social workers.

Over and over again in my ministry, however, I am reminded that pastors are not helpers. We are not fixers or healers or solvers. We do not, cannot, provide help. Which may sound shocking, because people often turn to pastors for help … and pastors, in turn, like to think that they provide concrete help to others. But no, it is all a myth.

A story might add some explanation to my myth-busting….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology, United Church of Christ

Libya Allying With Islamists, Qaddafi Son Says

After six months battling a rebellion that his family portrayed as an Islamist conspiracy, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s son and one-time heir apparent said Wednesday that he was reversing course to forge a behind-the-scenes alliance with radical Islamist elements among the Libyan rebels to drive out their more liberal-minded confederates.

“The liberals will escape or be killed,” the son, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, vowed in an hourlong interview that stretched past midnight. “We will do it together,” he added, wearing a newly grown beard and fingering Islamic prayer beads as he reclined on a love seat in a spare office tucked in a nearly deserted downtown hotel. “Libya will look like Saudi Arabia, like Iran. So what?”

The leading Islamist whom Mr. Qaddafi identified as his main counterpart in the talks, Ali Sallabi, acknowledged their conversations but dismissed any suggestion of an alliance. He said the Libyan Islamists supported the rebel leaders’ calls for a pluralistic democracy without the Qaddafis.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Islam, Libya, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who knowest that we are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but that all our sufficiency is of thee: Assist us with thy grace in all the work which we are to undertake this day. Direct us in it by thy wisdom, support us by thy power; that doing our duty diligently, we may bring it to a good end, so that it may tend to the greater glory of thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Dost thou work wonders for the dead? Do the shades rise up to praise thee? Is thy steadfast love declared in the grave, or thy faithfulness in Abaddon? Are thy wonders known in the darkness, or thy saving help in the land of forgetfulness? But I, O LORD, cry to thee; in the morning my prayer comes before thee.

–Psalm 88:10-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–The ECB throws Italy and Spain to the wolves

Professor Willem Buiter, Citigroup’s chief economist, said the apparent ECB action was pointless. “The warped logic of intervening in two countries that don’t need it is as strange as it gets.”

Mr Buiter said Europe risks a disastrous chain of events and the worst financial collapse since the onset of the Great Depression unless Europe’s central bank steps in with sufficient muscle to back-stop the system.

“The ECB has yet so show it understands that it is the only institution that can save Italy and Spain from fundamentally unwarranted defaults. Everybody is afraid and real money investors are dumping their holdings. The ECB must step in to cap the yields at 6pc or 6.5pc and put a floor under the market,” he said.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Italy, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Bloomberg) Alabama Suits Seeking to Block Illegal Immigrant Restrictions Consolidated

Lawsuits by churches, the U.S. government and civil-rights groups seeking to stop Alabama from enforcing new restrictions on illegal immigrants will be heard as one.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn in Birmingham, Alabama, ordered the cases’ consolidation yesterday. Episcopal, Roman Catholic and Methodist bishops; the U.S. Justice Department, and the American Civil Liberties Union sued Alabama Governor Robert Bentley starting July 8.

Church leaders claim the law stops them from carrying out their religious mission by denying food, shelter and worship to people who are in the U.S. illegally. The U.S. says the law conflicts with federal authority over aliens, such as regulation of migrant employment. The ACLU, joined by the Southern Poverty Law Center, objected that transporting children who are illegal immigrants will be a crime.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Episcopal Church (TEC), Immigration, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops