Daily Archives: May 16, 2012

Kendall Harmon's Easter VI Sermon–Being a Friend of Jesus and Heeding Afresh His Call to Love

Listen to it all; it is based on John 15 verses 9 and following.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sermons & Teachings, Theology

(RNS) Black churches conflicted on Obama’s Same Sex Marriage decision

Bishop Timothy Clarke, head of the First Church of God, a large African-American church with a television ministry in Columbus, Ohio, was perhaps most typical. He felt compelled to address the president’s comments at a Wednesday evening service and again Sunday morning. He was responding to an outpouring of calls, emails and text messages from members of his congregation after the president’s remarks.

What did he hear from churchgoers? “No church or group is monolithic. Some were powerfully agitated and disappointed. Others were curious ”” why now? to what end? Others were hurt. And others, to be honest, told me it’s not an issue and they don’t have a problem with it.”

What did the bishop tell his congregation? He opposes gay marriage. It is not just a social issue, he said, but a religious one for those who follow the Bible. “The spiritual issue is ground in the word of God.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Office of the President, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(Telegraph) Anthony Seldon–We need to fix Britain’s character flaws

Character, and specifically its neglect, is the number one issue of our age. A society that is not grounded in deep values, that doesn’t know who its heroes are and that lacks a commitment to the common good, is one that is failing. Such we have become.

Today sees the launch at the House of Lords of the Jubilee Centre of Character and Values, to be based at the University of Birmingham. The multi-million-pound investment over 10 years comes from the John Templeton Foundation, set up by the American-born philanthropist. The aim of the centre is to promote and strengthen “character” within schools, families, communities and companies. It argues that character strengths can be taught, are critical to a life well led, and will benefit all aspects of the country if they are more widely in evidence.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Belfast Tl.) Henry McDonald on how Football (Soccer) helped him heal over his loss of his parents

At Wembley [for the recent FA cup semi-final] , I knew that the time was right to return to Goodison [home stadium for Everton of whom he is a life-long supporter]. I thought of the last time I brought my father over, when we had seats in the Bullens Road side of the ground.

He was captivated by a lady in her eighties wearing an Everton shirt and bellowing at the top of her lungs at the players on the park to “get stuck into them” as well as exchanging a few choice chants at the Middlesbrough fans in the away-section near the corner flag.

My father told absolutely everyone we met afterwards, from the pub to the airport, about this “brilliant wee woman” who has had a season ticket for more than half a century. He adored her spirit and her energy, in spite of her years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ireland, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Sports

(BP) Doug Carlson–Huge Push for Congress to Allow for more Online Gambling Needs to be Resisted

The pro-gambling lobby…remains undeterred. As one example, the Poker Players Alliance spent $1.4 million last year lobbying Washington power brokers in support of Internet gambling initiatives such as Rep. [Joe] Barton’s bill, the Roll Call newspaper reported. This alliance, along with multiplied other gambling special interest groups, shows no intention of stepping away from the table this year, either.

No doubt there is money to be made in legalized online poker gambling. The gambling purveyors would rake in additional billions each year. According to the Barton bill, the government would collect “substantial revenue.” And a relative few players among millions would survive in the black, at least for a time.

But is there a greater price to be paid? The losers would far outnumber the winners.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Gambling, House of Representatives, Politics in General, Senate

(Time) Spain's White Elephants Feel the Pinch of the Economic Crisis

In 2011, regional president Francisco Camps announced that the [Valencia’s The City of Arts and Sciences] complex had brought in some 40 million tourists since it opened, and the complex has indeed become the most readily identifiable sign of the city. But visibility alone does not mean success, especially in times of economic crisis. The Valencia project came in four times over its original budget, and its final unit was not completed until 2005.

And it’s hardly alone. The Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Center, a massive exhibition and performance space designed by the Brasilian architect for the northern Spanish port city of Avilés, ceased programming less than a year after it was inaugurated in March 2011. After decades of planning, Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain finally inaugurated its City of Culture, a Peter Eisenman campus, containing a museum, a library and a performance space, in January 2011. Yet the eventual $500 million spent wasn’t even enough to finish the complex: the city ran out of money before completing two of the six planned buildings. “The crisis hit, and they didn’t have any choice,” says Anxo Lugilde, Galicia correspondent for La Vanguardia newspaper. “They had to stop construction.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Europe, Housing/Real Estate Market, Spain, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(ENI) Greek churches "face disaster" as crisis deepens

A senior Greek Protestant has warned that minority denominations “face disaster” due to the country’s worsening economic crisis.

“Heavy taxation, high unemployment and all our other difficulties are fast-forwarding us to collapse,” said Dimitrios Boukis, general secretary of the Greek Evangelical church, which has 29 congregations in two regional synods in Greece and other communities abroad.

“We receive no state support and are fully dependent on our members, and we’re already short of pastors because we can’t afford them. The pastors we have are having to handle everything because we can’t employ staff, so some congregations will end up without any spiritual care.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–Large cost of Greek Exit for Germany and France

There would be massive global pressure on Europe to handle the exit in a grown-up fashion, with backstops in place to stabilize Greece. The IMF would step in.

The German finance ministry is already drawing up such plans, and quite correctly so (unfortunately roping in the British too to spread the losses, which is a thorny subject).

Needless to say, the real danger is contagion to Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, France, and the deadly linkages between €15 trillion in public and private debt in these countries and the €27 trillion European banking nexus.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Richard Mouw, evangelical leader, says engaging Mormonism is a Christian Mandate

Too often, ….[says Mouw in his new book], Evangelicals pick up little-taught LDS beliefs ”” such as humans becoming gods or having their own planets ”” and put them at the center of Mormon theology, rather than at the periphery.

“If in our attempts to defeat them we play fast and loose with the truth by attributing to them things they don’t in fact teach,” Mouw writes, “then we have become false teachers: teachers of untruths.”

Mouw spells out the doctrinal differences between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and historical Christian faiths: the nature of God and Jesus, the nature of the Trinity, nonbiblical Mormon scriptures and the rejection of the creeds. He rejects these positions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, Inter-Faith Relations, Mormons, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Christianity Today) How Evangelicals Have Shifted in Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage

Polls show a significant difference in results depending on how they ask about same-sex marriage, especially when it’s framed as a “right” compared to when it’s framed as supporting marriage between a man and a woman. The difference in wording can create about a 12 percentage point difference.

The federally-funded General Social Survey has asked about the public’s views toward homosexual relationships for decades, revealing how attitudes have shifted over time. In 1988, the two-thirds of white Americans believed that “sexual relations between two adults of the same sex” was “always wrong,” including 85 percent of born-again Christians. By 2010, both groups began to accept same-sex relationships. Born-again Christians still opposed homosexuality, but they answered the questions the same way non-believers answered in the 1980s. In 2010, two-thirds of evangelicals believed that homosexuality is “always wrong,” compared to just 30 percent of others.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Address of Pope Benedict XVI on Contemplating the Cross

“Almighty, omnipotent, good Lord, Thine be the praise, the glory and the honor, and every benediction” (Canticle of Brother Sun: FF, 263). It is only by allowing himself to be illumined by the light of God’s love that man and the entire creation may be redeemed, that beauty may finally reflect the splendor of the face of Christ, as the moon reflects the sun. The Blood of the Crucified flowing from the glorious Cross vivifies the dried bones of Adam who is in us, so that each of us might rediscover the joy of setting off on the path of sanctity, of climbing upwards, towards God. From this blessed place, I unite myself to the prayer of all Franciscans on earth: “We adore you O Christ and we bless You, because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.”

Enraptured by the love of Christ! We cannot ascend La Verna without allowing ourselves to be guided by the prayer of St. Francis, by the absorbeat, which reads: “May the ardent and sweet strength of Your love, I beg you O Lord, so absorb my heart as to withdraw it from all that is under heaven, so that I may die for love of Your love, as you have deigned to die for love of my love” (The Prayer “absorbeat”, 1: FF, 277). The contemplation of the Crucified is the work of the mind, but it is unable to soar the heights without the support, without the force of love.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

(CNS) Faith in the footlights: Religion gets a curtain call on Broadway

“I think there is a “God moment” breaking out in the entertainment culture that’s partly driven by a quest for profits in difficult economic times, but also by people’s never-ending quest for transcendent meaning,” said Tom Allen of Allied Faith and Family, a marketing agency that is trying to promote shows like “Sister Act” to Christians.

The Tony-nominated musical is emblematic of this religious revival: flashy and brash, yet earnestly spiritual.

The same can be said for the recently closed “Leap of Faith,” which is contemplating a possible national tour.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Theatre/Drama/Plays

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.

–Gelasian Sacramentary

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are also faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us. For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

–Ephesians 1:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Washington Post) Taxmageddon sparks rising anxiety

Defense contractors have slowed hiring. Tax advisers are warning firms not to count on favorite breaks. And hospitals are scouring their books for ways to cut costs.

Across the U.S. economy, anxiety is rising about the potential for widespread disruptions after the November election, when a lame-duck Congress will have barely two months to resolve a grinding standoff over taxes and spending.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Senate, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government