Daily Archives: July 22, 2012

Officials Turn Blind Eye as Religious Tensions Rise in Indonesia

The problems began shortly after Tajul Muluk, a Shiite cleric, opened a boarding school in 2004. The school, in a predominantly Sunni Muslim part of East Java, raised local tensions, and in 2006 it was attacked by thousands of villagers. When a mob set fire to the school and several homes last December, many Shiites saw it as just the latest episode in a simmering sectarian conflict ”” one that they say has been ignored by the police and exploited by Islamists purporting to preserve the purity of the Muslim faith.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, has long been considered a place where different religious and ethnic groups can live in harmony and where Islam can work with democracy.

But that perception has been repeatedly brought into question lately. In East Java, Sunni leaders are pushing the provincial government to adopt a regulation limiting the spread of Shiite Islam. It would prevent the country’s two major Shiite organizations from organizing prayer gatherings and sermons.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, City Government, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Kendall Harmon's Sermon: Perception – Seeing what is there

Listen here if you wish [Mark 6:1-6]

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Huffington Post) Jonathan Fitzgerald–My Liberal Christian Church Is Not Dying

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture

(AP) Police say Colorado Movie Theater shooting suspect planned attack for months

The shooting suspect accused in a deadly rampage inside a theater planned the attack with “calculation and deliberation,” police said Saturday, receiving deliveries by mail that authorities believe armed him for battle and were used to rig his apartment with dozens of bombs.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Violence

Bishop Greg Brewer's Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Central Florida

As you are aware, both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops passed by wide margins a resolution that gives Episcopal clergy the opportunity to offer an authorized liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions (A049). The liturgy is entitled, “The Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant.” One can only preside using this liturgy with the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authority- in our case, the diocesan bishop. This liturgy also has the status of being only in “provisional” usage- meaning that it has no constitutional or canonical status. It is presently temporary.

While the title of the liturgy might indicate that something is happening other than a marriage service, the rite itself contains the same structure and components of the marriage rite found in the Book of Common Prayer: Scripture readings, vows, rings, a pronouncement, prayers and a blessing. Consequently, it is clear that such a service is a step towards redefining Christian marriage as clearly expressed both in the Scriptures and in the Book of Common Prayer. As such, I cannot endorse or extend permission for the use of this rite by the clergy under my care in the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida. As I wrote to the Diocese during the election process for bishop: I see nothing in the Scriptures or in our Anglican tradition that give me permission to expand or redefine the institution of marriage. The Scriptures and the Book of Common Prayer are clear that God established the bond and covenant of marriage; and it is my responsibility as a bishop to uphold and maintain what God has created.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Bishop Ed Little's Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Northern Indiana

In my address to the 113th Convention of the Diocese of Northern Indiana last October, I recognized both the diversity of conviction and the necessity that I now face of articulating a policy in the diocese regarding the provisional liturgy. I said:

General Convention in 2009 passed a resolution (C056) that asked the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to assemble and develop theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same-sex unions. As I mentioned in earlier addresses, I voted against this resolution, though with some sadness. I am very grateful for the gay and lesbian Christians who are members of our diocesan family. Their presence is a gift to their parishes and a gift to me. And I realize that they may understand my “No” vote to be a negative word about them. That, however, is far from my intention. Rather, I believe that such a development violates an important Anglican principle: Lex orandi, lex credendi ”“ “the law of praying is the law of believing” ”“ or, more colloquially, you can tell what people believe by listening to the content of their prayers. Anglicans enshrine their doctrine in prayer. We simply do not have the consensus of the Anglican Communion, or of our ecumenical partners, in making such a change in doctrine. A liturgy for blessing same-sex unions will put the Episcopal Church out of the Anglican mainstream and indeed out of the Christian mainstream more generally


In light of the actions of General Convention, and of the convictions and pastoral concerns articulated last fall at our diocesan convention, I make the following response.

First, the provisional liturgy entitled “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” is not authorized for use in the Diocese of Northern Indiana. There will be no exceptions to this policy.

Second, priests of the Diocese of Northern Indiana who, for pastoral reasons, wish to use “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” may travel to a neighboring diocese to do so. I have spoken with the bishops of Chicago, Western Michigan, Michigan, Ohio, and Indianapolis (dioceses that border our own), and they have agreed that Northern Indiana priests may request permission to use a church in their dioceses for such a liturgy. Those priests should also apply for a “license to officiate” from the bishop of the neighboring diocese, since the liturgy would be under that bishop’s sacramental covering rather than mine.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

An Interview With Sister Mary Joseph, an Anglican Nun who via the Ordinariate moved to Rome

My background is Anglican. Both my grandfathers were deeply religious men, one was an Anglican priest, he died when I was 9 yrs, and the other wanted to be an Anglican priest but was unable because he was profoundly deaf, he died before I was 2 yrs. I do believe their prayers have helped me in my own Christian pilgrimage. My father lost his faith during the war and was for many years very opposed to my vocation as a nun. It was only during his last years he became at first reconciled and then supportive of my vocation. Through my mother we went to church every week (and Sunday School for my siblings and me) as a family but that was the extent of our Christian education, no prayers of any kind at home. And yet, my earliest memory is when I was 2 1/2 years praying on my own. And when I was nine talking to my father and realising he didn’t believe in God and feeling very upset that I would not see him in Heaven.

When I was 11 yrs we moved to New Zealand and family church going stopped. I found the nearest Anglican church and started attending on my own.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

BBC Sunday Service from the Keswick Convention

Listen here and more information here h/t Standfirm

Also available: Kendall Harmon’s Sermon on Perception Mark 6:1-6 here

Posted in * By Kendall

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, O Lord, that we may love to read thy holy Word, wherein is wisdom, wherein is the royal law, wherein are the living oracles of God; and may so read therein that we may know and love and serve thee better; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

A Psalm of David, when he was in the Wilderness of Judah. 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. So I will bless thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on thy name.

–Psalm 63:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

BBC Choral Evensong from Eton College Chapel

Listen here

More about this BBC broadcast here

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

(ACNS) In Wales a Review team offers a radical vision for the Church

A radical new vision for the future of the Church in Wales is set out in a report launched today.

Supersize parishes run by teams of vicars and lay people, creative ideas for ensuring churches stay at the heart of their communities and investing further in ministry to young people are among the report’s recommendations following an independent root and branch review.

The Church in Wales commissioned the review a year ago to address some of its challenges and to ensure it was fit for purpose as it faced its centenary in 2020. Three experienced people in ministry and church management examined its structures and ministry and heard evidence from public meetings across Wales attended by more than 1,000 people.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Wales

South Sudan cancels direct talks with Sudan after ”˜air raid’

South Sudan said Saturday it was cancelling planned face-to-face peace talks with Sudan after accusing Khartoum of launching a new air raid on its territory.

“We were left with no choice but to suspend our direct bilateral talks with Sudan,” the spokesman for Juba’s delegation at the talks in Addis Ababa, Atif Kiir, said. “You cannot sit with them to negotiate when they are bombing our territory,” he added. “The only negotiations that will happen now will happen through the panel,” he said, referring to an African Union mediation panel conducting the talks in the Ethiopian capital.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --North Sudan, --South Sudan, Africa, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Sudan, Violence

Does the renewed debate on Doctor Assisted Suicide say anything about the sanctity of life today?

The Rev. Kevin Flynn, an Anglican priest and director of the Anglican studies program at Saint Paul University:…

Requests for doctor-assisted suicide appear to be signs of the failure of human community. It is difficult, if not impossible, to regard life as sacred if we have no assurance that we will be supported in all circumstances. We need to be certain that we will not be forced to endure dehumanizing medical procedures. We need confidence that we will not be abandoned in our suffering. With all the financial strains that our health-care system is facing, terminally ill people need to know that assisted suicide is not being promoted because it is actually cheaper than good palliative care.

Anglicans have been consistent in resisting doctor-assisted suicide for many reasons. At root, that opposition comes from the belief that there is no stage of life, no aspect of experience, which is intrinsically incapable of being lived through with some kind of trust and hope in God.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics