Daily Archives: November 4, 2011

(WSJ Houses of Worship) Bishop Harry Jackson–The Churches of Cain and Obama

Perhaps it’s easy to see how the two men’s theological differences inform their views of family, but they also yield different understandings of the path to economic advancement.

Mr. Cain’s church subscribes to traditional Christian theology, which sees the black experience in light of scripture. Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, on the other hand, is known for teaching black liberation theology, which sees scripture in light of the black experience. It seeks to create a direct correlation between the black condition and the light of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ. The freedom they gained from whites is a part of the freedom Jesus promised.

According to Antioch’s website, its early leaders “stressed the dignity of work and honest labor.” By contrast, Trinity’s website emphasizes God’s displeasure with “America’s economic mal-distribution.” It’s not surprising, then, that President Obama would see a government-run jobs program as the key to ending the current economic recession whereas Mr. Cain would look to private industry…

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture

(RNS) Evangelical (Lutheran) Church in Germany issues new Investment Guidelines

Many of the proposals, which were compiled by a special church commission, seem in keeping with Christian mores: no investing in companies that manufacture guns or pornography; avoid investing in countries that are considered dictatorships or that present a risk to the environment.

The guidelines say investing in the alcohol industry is appropriate, so long as the beverages contain no more than 15 percent alcohol by volume.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Germany, Lutheran, Other Churches, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

(RNS) Steve Jobs' private spirituality now an open book

He considered moving to a Zen monastery before shifting his sights to Silicon Valley, where he became a brash businessman.

He preached about the dangers of desire but urged consumers to covet every new iPhone incarnation.

“He was an enlightened being who was cruel,” says a former girlfriend. “That’s a strange combination.”

Now, we can add another irony to the legacy of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs: Since his death on Oct. 5, the famously private man’s spiritual side has become an open book.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Buddhism, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Notable and Quotable

Martin Luther has many claims to fame. In recent years I have found him useful in an unexpected way: as a guide to understanding emerging Afri­can Christianity. Here is my unscientific rule: if Martin Luther treated a biblical book with disdain or outright hostility, then that book is really popular in modern Africa.

As a Bible scholar, Luther was a perceptive and quite daring critic. He tested the authority of books by their claims to apostolic authority and judged their faithfulness against what he considered the core teachings of the earliest church. By this standard, he argued that four New Testament books in particular””Revelation, Hebrews, James and Jude””fell short of true canonical status and should be printed separately in future versions of the Bible.

In different ways, each of these books enjoys enormous popularity in Africa. Each speaks to the harsh conditions in which believers must live: conditions of poverty, social fragility and political oppression; a world in which vestiges of older religions still flourish; a world of complex religious coexistence.

–Philip Jenkins, “Within the African canon,” Christian Century (November 1, 2011 edition), page 45

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(LA Times) In India, love tests world's longest hunger strike

Irom Sharmila’s mother has a simple dream: sitting down to a meal with her daughter.

Irom hasn’t willingly ingested food or water for 11 years, in protest of a law granting legal immunity to the armed forces for human rights abuses. As the anniversary of her hunger strike nears, her mother imagines what might be.

“I’m still waiting for her to come home,” said Shakhi Devi, 78, holding an album of her daughter’s photos. She rarely visits the 39-year-old, the world’s longest-serving hunger striker, because it’s too painful.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, India, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family

(CEN) Growing pains for ACNA as tensions with CANA/Nigeria Appear to Increase

A chill has descended over relations between the Church of Nigeria and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in the wake of the creation of a diocese for Nigerians in America by the Church of Nigeria.

While official statements from Archbishop Robert Duncan of the ACNA and Bishop Martyn Minns of CANA ”“ the Church of Nigeria’s American outreach ”” have been upbeat, sources at the top of the ACNA tell The Church of England Newspaper the situation surrounding the formation of the Diocese of the Trinity has been a “mess”….

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

(Church Times) Dean goes, Chartres steps in, as St Paul’s turns 180 degrees

Writing in the Church Times today, Canon Fraser says that the “very difficult” situation at St Paul’s is “a historic opportunity for the Church to reset its relationship with the marketplace. . . For too long the Church has been obsessed with its own internal workings and with silly arguments about sex. Now is the time for a new debate and a new emphasis.”

The director of the Christian Socialist Movement, Andy Flan­nagan, said on Tuesday: “We don’t have to sign up to the protesters’ complete agenda to engage with what they are talking about. Church and politicians need to get back into this debate about morality in markets.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Urban/City Life and Issues

(AnglicanTaonga) Maori quash Anglican Covenant

The Anglican Covenant is all but dead in the water as far as this church is concerned. This follows a crucial vote by Tikanga Maori at its biennial runanganui in Ohinemutu today.

The Covenant will still come before General Synod in July, but a decision to accept it requires a majority vote in all three houses ”“ lay, clergy and bishops ”“ and by all three tikanga.

Today’s runanganui decision effectively binds all Maori representatives on General Synod to say no.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces

WSJ on a Financial Transaction Tax–"Bad Ideas Never Die"

What happens when you get George Soros, Tom Harkin, Bill Gates, Ralph Nader and the Archbishop of Canterbury together in a French hotel room with a stick of incense and a magnum of champagne””and turn off the lights?

Answer: the…[Financial Transaction] Tax.

OK, so we need to work on our punchlines. But a tax on financial transactions is exactly what these characters have all endorsed in one form or another as the miracle cure to the world’s economic ills. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have also picked up the cause, and they are leaning on President Obama to endorse it at this week’s G-20 summit in Cannes, France.

So here we go again.

Readers of the blog will know I do not like to call this the Tobin Tax since strictly speaking Tobin originally was focused explicitly on something else less broad than the current proposal. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Archbishop of Canterbury, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(LA Times) David Lazarus–Banks keep pulling from bag of tricks

Consumers might feel like they’re playing Whac-A-Mole when it comes to shenanigans involving the banking industry. Just as one issue gets resolved, something else pops up.

Bank of America retreated this week from its planned introduction of a $5 monthly fee for many customers to use their debit cards. The bank said it “listened to our customers very closely” and decided that charging people money to access their money maybe wasn’t the best idea after all.

At the same time, Chase credit card customers are receiving a letter about their privacy preferences. The letter says that even though the bank’s records “indicate that you are not being mailed any offers from Chase,” the bank wants “to be sure that you know about available offers and that you have the opportunity to consider them.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

(National Post) Graeme Hamilton–Quebec’s new secular norm: $144 fines for religious worship

On a Sunday morning two years ago, Paula Celani and about 80 members of her Catholic lay group gathered in a hall they had rented from the city. They watched an inspirational video, they prayed, they celebrated mass and they capped it off with a potluck lunch. “We had a beautiful day,” Ms. Celani recalls.

But now that beautiful day has generated a nasty court battle after she was hit with a $144 ticket from the city, which alleged her event was illegal because it involved religious worship.

This week her lawyer advised Montreal municipal court that he will challenge the fine on constitutional grounds.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

Bishop Thomas Atkinson–The Episcopate a Stewardship

Assembled as we are today, dear brethren, to assist in, or to witness one of the most solemn events, that can take place on earth, the commission of this trust of ministerial power, in its highest forms, with its heaviest responsibility, to a brother young in years for such a charge, but already known and honored by the Church, and deeply beloved by those who best know him; remembering that that trust is to be exercised by him in regions remote from the friends, by whose sympathies he has been accustomed to be soothed, and by whose counsels he has been accustomed to be assisted, in the midst of a frontier population, many of them rude, and wild, and lawless, and, to some extent, over a people of a strange tongue, a foreign race, and a corrupt and intolerant religion, nay, over the very savages themselves; with such high and arduous duties before him, entering upon them while still so young, with a frail body, gently nurtured, tenderly cared for to this hour; is there one of us who will not, in heart and spirit, come before God, and earnestly and importunately cry out to Him “to bless this, our brother, and to send His grace upon him, that he may duly execute the office whereunto he is called, to the edifying of the Church, and the honor, praise and glory of God’s great name?” And that we may pray thus the more fervently, and that he may more deeply feel the magnitude of the obligations he is about to take on himself, let us consider some of the particulars of the trust which our Lord and master is about to commit to him, by the hands of the Bishops of the Church, the successors in office of His Apostles.

He is, in the first place, to “teach and exhort with wholesome doctrine, to withstand and convince gainsayers, and to drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s word.” It belongs to the office of a Bishop, then, to preserve, transmit and diffuse evangelical Catholic truth, the truth as it is in Jesus. This is a function which our Blessed Lord himself did not disdain to declare to be one main object of His incarnation. “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I might bear witness unto the truth.” When He left the world, he bequeathed this office to His Church. The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth, its monument and its foundation, proclaiming it, upholding it. This truth is of inestimable value; it is the life-blood of the souls of men. It enfranchises them from sin and death. If we believe it not says St. Paul, we shall be damned, and conversely, he tells us, we are chosen to salvation through belief of it. Being then of such high origin and such untold value, St. Paul considered himself set as its champion, planted as a warrior, with watchful eye and armed hand to guard it. For where God’s truth is, there is liberty, there is light and peace, there is purity of morals, there is solid prosperity in the blessings of this life, there is a good hope of eternal life.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Bishops

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Enable us, O heavenly Father, to walk with thee this day and every day in sure and simple trust; ever remembering that our little things are all big to thy love, and our big things are all small to thy power; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and wonderful, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended. And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and wonderful are thy deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are thy ways, O King of the ages! Who shall not fear and glorify thy name, O Lord? For thou alone art holy. All nations shall come and worship thee, for thy judgments have been revealed.” After this I looked, and the temple of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, and out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues, robed in pure bright linen, and their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives for ever and ever; 8 and the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended.

–Revelation 15:1-8

Posted in Uncategorized

'Personhood' proposal splits Mississippi religious leaders

The state’s largest religious group, the Mississippi Baptist Convention, supports the proposal, as does the Tupelo-based American Family Association.

The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, the Rt. Rev. Duncan Gray III, says he is “gravely concerned about the unintended consequences” of the initiative.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, TEC Bishops