Daily Archives: April 29, 2012

In Pakistan, the Auxiliary of Lahore Speaks of Being a Tiny Minority in a Muslim Land

Q: Your Excellency, the Christians in Pakistan are a minority, less than 3% of the total population. How would you see your relationship with your Muslim compatriots?

Bishop Shah: In day-to-day life, Christians and a Muslims work together. It is not a problem. We certainly feel that we are a minority but at the same time, we feel that we too are Pakistanis. We are all Pakistanis. The problem occurs when a religious group creates some problems; for instance, in certain remote areas where an Imam preaches a biased teaching. But otherwise, even when I was in school where the majority of the students were Muslims, we were good friends. We would exchange information about Jesus, the Bible, The Prophet and the Koran. There was never a problem. It is only very recently that we feel a problem surfacing in our inter-relationships with the Muslims and we have to be very careful. People working in offices never discuss religion, which is a very new development and that is perhaps a good thing.

Q: ”¦that religion should not take part of the day to day?

Bishop Shah: ”¦ they [Muslim] and we [Christians] know that we are still friends. The problem is those groups that create problems and in certain villages, this is more apparent.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan

(Reuters) Suicides have Greeks on edge before election

On Monday, a 38-year-old geology lecturer hanged himself from a lamp post in Athens and on the same day a 35-year-old priest jumped to his death off his balcony in northern Greece. On Wednesday, a 23-year-old student shot himself in the head.

In a country that has had one of the lowest suicide rates in the world, a surge in the number of suicides in the wake of an economic crisis has shocked and gripped the Mediterranean nation – and its media – before a May 6 election.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Europe, Greece, Poverty, Psychology, Suicide

(Anglican Ink) Tom Sutcliffe on Rowan Williams time as ABC–Lost in the wilderness

At the end of 2012 when he retires to Magdalene College, Cambridge Rowan Williams will have been Primate of All England for a decade. He did not need to retire until June 14, 2020. Various commentators after the announcement of his return to academe in a prestigious but largely honorary role described the post of Archbishop of Canterbury, primus inter pares of the Anglican Communion, as an “impossible job”. But, sadly, it is Rowan whose tenure of the job has made it seem so.

His term of office has been in many ways disastrous, and it is important to consider why that should be so. In different ways both he and his predecessor George Carey have destabilized rather than stimulated the Church of England. Carey’s poorly conceived and insensitive managerial reform of the central church institutions added to the bureaucratic governance and undermined the existing representative structures, while Williams’s search for a new control mechanism to over-ride the existing auto-cephalous provincial authority would have created more problems than it solved. Neither archbishop seemed to possess a well-grounded vision of where the established Church of England was or should be going. But Carey and Williams were outsiders with little or no experience as diocesan bishops in the CofE or of the political aspects of “establishment”.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

New Anglican Bishop of Wellington named

The Anglican Church needs to be ”dusted off” and it believes a dreadlocked, barefooted priest is the man to do it.

Justin Duckworth has been announced as the next Anglican Bishop of Wellington, replacing Bishop Tom Brown who recently retired.

The 44 year-old has been involved in christian work in Wellington since leaving school, although somewhat removed from the mainstream churches.

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

Lloyd Steffen–Faith and Values: Religious experience and ordinary believers

The issue for faith is not whether we have had an experience like Moses with the burning bush or St. Paul on the Damascus road. The issue is whether we can be open to interpreting the experiences we have in ordinary life as so deeply meaningful that we are willing to claim them as religious.

Is it possible to find such an experience in the cup of coffee with a friend? Is it possible to find in the worship service you attend on a regular basis? Can something in the beauty of nature catch you up, or music, or the arresting vision that takes form in the stone Michelangelo chiseled?

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary is the ego-dissolving experience upon which spiritual growth and development rests.

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

(Guardian Comment is Free) Mark Vernon–Goethe and the search for the spirit of science

Is it just me or has the dialogue between science and religion become a bit stale? I thought as much recently while taking part in a conference on the debate. We were all so well defended in our respective corners ”“ atheists, believers, agnostics. It seemed highly unlikely that what anyone said would seriously unsettle anyone else.

The smart and articulate apologists for theism were easily able to accommodate the challenges materialist science throws at faith. The smart and articulate atheists seemed content to accept the limits of the scientific worldview and not really be challenged by the insights of theology….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Joint Communiqué from Archbishop Rwaje of P.E.A.R. and Archbishop Duncan of the Anglican Church

While in London, we had the opportunity to talk at length together about the continuing turbulence from the separation of the Anglican Mission in America from its founding church, the Anglican Church of Rwanda. The House of Bishops of Rwanda has recently declared the establishment of a Missionary District in North America (PEARUSA) as its only continuing work on this continent and has offered a deadline of August 31 for clergy and churches to determine their future jurisdiction. There are three options available: remain with Rwanda through PEARUSA, transfer to another Anglican jurisdiction through letters dimissory, or follow the Anglican Mission into its new venture. Provision and procedure for each of these options is available or is being developed as rapidly as possible. (These materials will be available through the www.pearusa.org website as they are developed.)

At the same time, there has been a great deal of confusion recently around the issue of the resigned bishops of the AMiA, their relationship with Rwanda, and their possible relationship with ACNA. We write this communiqué together primarily to address that confusion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Congo/Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Continuum, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Other Churches

Bishop Nazir-Ali joins row over right to wear the cross

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, has written to the European Court of Human Rights in support of Christians who claim they suffered discrimination at work when they were banned from displaying the symbol.

He has been granted the status of an “intervener”, meaning the Strasbourg court will take account of his 11-page submission when it hears the case in September.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Scott Jones–General Conference as Doctrinal Authority for United Methodists

Thus, when we ask candidates for ordination, “Have you studied our doctrines? Will you preach and maintain them?” These are the beliefs we are referring to. It is General Conference that has the authority to establish our doctrine. In fact, for most of our history our book was called not the BOD, but “The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Church”. It is a chargeable offense for clergy to disseminate teachings that are contrary to our doctrinal standards.

I hope that we will talk about doctrinal matters more and get a better understanding of what we believe. Many of the conversations about our church have doctrinal implications and the General Conference is engaged in those conversations in many different legislative committees.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Methodist, Other Churches, Theology

(BBC) Deadly attack on Nigeria's Bayero university in Kano

At least six people have been killed in a gun and bomb attack at a university in Nigeria’s northern city of Kano, witnesses and police said.

A bomb squad and military units are searching for the gunmen who mounted the attack at Bayero University.

Reports suggest the violence may have targeted Christian students who were holding a religious service in one of the lecture theatres.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O thou who hast taught us that we are most truly free when we lose our wills in thine: Help us to attain to this liberty by continual surrender unto thee; that walking in the way which thou hast prepared for us, we may find our life in doing thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

O God, thou art my God, I seek thee, my soul thirsts for thee; my flesh faints for thee, as in a dry and weary land where no water is. So I have looked upon thee in the sanctuary, beholding thy power and glory. Because thy steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise thee.

–Psalm 63:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Checking in on this Year's United Methodist General Conference–Repentance is life work

Delegates and visitors gathered under the brilliant Tampa sun for a noon rally against the privatization of prisons, led by the United Methodist Task Force on Immigration.

Participants in the April 28 rally sang “We Shall Overcome” while carrying signs saying, “Profit from Pain is Inhumane.”

The rally celebrated the establishment of a new investment screen adopted by the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits. That screen, adopted in January, forbids board investments in companies that derive more than 10 percent of their revenue from the operation of prison facilities.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

Molly Worthen reviews T. M. Luhrmann's Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God

Luhrmann did extensive fieldwork in Chicago and Northern California at Vineyard Christian Fellowship, a young “charismatic” denomination that offers a tame, middle-class version of Pentecostal practices that once scandalized most Christians. Members speak in tongues, pray for healing and seek “concrete experiences of God’s realness.” They want “the hot presence of the Holy Spirit to brush their cheeks and knock them sideways.” Some evangelicals frown on the Vineyard’s exuberance, but the denomination has gained outsize influence in evangelical culture, particularly by producing popular worship music. The Vineyard showcases, in amplified form, a style of prayer that has become widespread over the past four dec­ades.

After more than four years of observing and interviewing Vineyard members, and participating in prayer groups, Bible study and weekly worship, Luhrmann arrived at a simple but arresting hypothesis: Evangelicals believe in an intimate God who talks to them personally because their churches coach them in a new theory of mind. In these communities, religious belief is “more like learning to do something than to think something. . . . People train the mind in such a way that they experience part of their mind as the presence of God.” Luhrmann is hardly the first to interpret religious feeling through the lens of psychology. This line of analysis goes back to William James and the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, and today the scientific study of prayer is a growing field. Yet “When God Talks Back” is remarkable for combining creative psychological analysis with a commitment to understanding evangelicals not merely as a scholar’s specimens, but on their own terms. The result is the most insightful study of evangelical religion in many years.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

In Milwaukee, Thousands awaiting Cardinal Timothy Dolan celebrating Mass of Thanksgiving

Bilda’s Friess Lake Pub is a hot spot on a Friday night, and the hot topic around the tables — Cardinal Dolan’s visit to nearby Holy Hill this weekend. “It seems to be, you look around here, there certainly is,” said John Freese.

Craig Schmidt told TODAY’S TMJ4, “I’m not even Catholic, I’m a WELS Lutheran but Timothy Dolan rocks.”

Dolan will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving inside the chapel Saturday. It’s his first visit back to the area since becoming a Cardinal.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Urban/City Life and Issues