Daily Archives: September 17, 2012

Atomic bond types discernible in single-molecule images

A pioneering team from IBM in Zurich has published single-molecule images so detailed that the type of atomic bonds between their atoms can be discerned.

The same team took the first-ever single-molecule image in 2009 and more recently published images of a molecule shaped like the Olympic rings.

The new work opens up the prospect of studying imperfections in the “wonder material” graphene or plotting where electrons go during chemical reactions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

(Boston Globe) Massachusetts religious communities divided over doctor-assisted suicide Measure

Opposition is not uniform. A few denominations, like the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, with about 22,000 members in Massachusetts, officially support the concept. The Unitarians and other mainline Protestant denominations typically do not take positions on specific state proposals.

And, in an age when many ecclesiastical hierarchies are weakening, in a country where many people are used to filtering religious beliefs through personal and secular lenses, ­individual clergy and congregants do not necessarily follow the lead of church officials.

The national Episcopal Church, for example, officially opposes physician-assisted suicide. But the Rev. Daphne B. Noyes, a deacon at the Church of the Advent in Boston and a hospital chaplain, said her work with dying people and their families has led her to ­believe the option should be available under rigorously limited circumstances that ensure that participation by all parties is voluntary and deliberate.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology

Blog Open Thread–What is your Parish Up to in Adult Education this Fall?

The more specific you can be (i.e. what book you are using, video you are watching, etc.) the more the rest of us can glean from your comment(s). To give you an idea or whet your appetite, here is the parish newsletter announcement from the parish where I serve of what we are up to:

“The Spirit, the Church and the World” ”“ “The Church Afire” ”“ “The Spread of the Gospel” ”“ “The Acts of the Holy Spirit” These are some of the ways the book of Acts is described. The second of the two New Testament books written by St. Luke, the book of Acts is the record of the early church. From the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost Luke records the spread of the Gospel in response to Jesus’s words in Acts 1:8.

This fall the book of ACTS will be the focus of our preaching and home group study. Each week Fr. Craige or Fr. Kendall will preach on some aspect of that week’s Acts reading. Again this year, we will have our own Home Group DVD teaching by Fr. Kendall. Groups will be meeting throughout the parish every other week. These groups are the center of our discipleship program and we encourage every member of the parish to be a part of a group. You can join a group, or gather together others and make your own group. Meet when and wherever it works best for you. I hope you will give it a try this fall!

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Adult Education, Parish Ministry

Nigerian Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi interviewed by Release International

Christians in Nigeria are coming under siege as terrorist group Boko Haram attacks churches to try to drive out Christians and destabilise the country. The Archbishop of Jos, the Most Rev Dr Benjamin Kwashi, describes the situation in Jos, Plateau State, to Release’s Andrew Boyd.

Listen to it all (from earlier this month, but still relevant and useful for our awareness and prayers–KSH)..

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Boko Haram: ”˜Survival of Nigeria, respect for life restrain Christians’

The Archbishop Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, on Thursday. said that the survival of the Nigerian nation and respect for human life were the two main factors restraining Christians from fighting Boko Haram which had thrown the country into an insecure state.

Primate Okoh also described the proposed bill for Fulani Commission in which government seeks to create permanent routes and reserves in all states for Fulani pastoralists as a recipe for endless crisis.

The cleric, who stated this in his primatial address during the official opening of the standing committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion at the Cathedral Church of Emmanuel, Ado-Ekiti with the theme “…Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” called on President Goodluck Jonathan to act fast in tackling the prevailing insecurity in the nation before it gets out of hand.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

150 years later, What the Antietam bloodbath can teaches us about war today

As a boy, Derek Crist roamed Antietam National Battlefield on the outskirts of town, its rolling hills and gentle streams a child’s dream playground.

In 2010, Army Sgt. Crist returned home from two tours in Afghanistan, where nearly 2,000 American servicemembers have died. His platoon lost two soldiers. He says he had not thought deeply about the history of his hometown until he saw fellow soldiers killed and wounded. The ground where, 150 years ago Monday, more than 23,000 were killed, wounded or went missing in the bloodiest day of combat in American history is indescribably more personal.

“The loss of one friend is pretty rough,” says Crist, 25, who is out of the Army and pursuing a business degree. “And then you realize you had all that going on right here.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, History

(Christianity Today) Philip Harrold–Catechesis at its best is a very personal 'school of faith'

The decline in biblical literacy and the loss of a “faith culture” is no longer news, but it is somewhat shocking. Twelve years ago, New Testament professor Gary Burge reported the results of a survey given to students at Wheaton College, the premier evangelical higher education institution. He found that one-third of the students tested could not put the following in sequential order: Abraham, the Old Testament prophets, the death of Christ, and Pentecost. One-third could not identify the Book of Acts as the location of Paul’s missionary travels; half did not know that the Christmas story was in Matthew.

Many studies since have only confirmed these findings. Combine this with increasing anxiety over the church’s loss of the younger generation, and we can understand the church’s growing need for fresh resources to disciple not just youth but Christians of all ages. To put it in terms that feel a little old-fashioned, at the core we have a growing sense that we need to learn again how to catechize.

Read it all (also quoted by yours truly in yesterday morning’s sermon).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Adult Education, Children, Church History, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

In the Zambian Anglican Cathedral, President Sata urges church to preach love and peace

The Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross today celebrated the Eucharistic Golden Jubilee to mark its 50th anniversary, under the theme “Jesus the Way the Truth and the Life.”

And President Michael Sata led high level government figures and other dignitaries such as First Republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda and Cabinet Ministers, U.S Queen Elizabeth’s representative amongst others to grace the occasion.

And Anglican Lusaka Diocese Bishop David Njovu says the cathedral Church which is the mother church holds a special place in many people’s hearts.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Religion & Culture, Zambia

PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Religious Reactions to Anti-US Protests in the Muslim World

BOB ABERNETHY, host: Joining me now to talk about some of the major news of the week are Kim Lawton, managing editor of this program, and Kevin Eckstrom, editor-in-chief of Religion News Service. So, Kevin, a fourteen-minute video is posted on YouTube and triggers violence all over the Muslim world, demonstrations resulting in the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya. What are the messages from all that, especially the religious messages?

KEVIN ECKSTROM (Editor-in-Chief, Religion News Service): Well, I think, you know, we live in this increasingly smaller world, interconnected world, and things that happen in one place instantaneously affect things in another place, and religion obviously is playing a larger and larger role in global affairs, and what you’ve seen, I think, this week is that one of the greatest barriers to interfaith understanding is actually technology and the ability to get these messages out. You know, five years ago, ten years ago, somebody could have made a video like this and nobody ever would have seen it, but now you can post it on YouTube or you can put it on Twitter or Facebook, and it’s around the world instantaneously, and it automatically pits one religion against another, and that’s a huge challenge that nobody, I think, has quite figured out how to deal with just yet.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Foreign Relations, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Economist) The euro zone’s leaders have turned a corner. Where to, is not yet clear

When history books trace the evolution of the euro crisis, September 2012 will mark the beginning of a new chapter. Recent days have seen decisive moves from Europe’s notoriously incremental policymaking machinery. On September 12th Germany’s constitutional court backed the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the euro zone’s permanent rescue fund, removing the last big hurdle to its launch. The same day, the European Commission laid out a blueprint for joint European banking supervision, the first step to a banking union. Days earlier the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that, under certain conditions, it would buy unlimited amounts of the bonds of troubled euro-zone countries.

Taken together, these actions mark a big change. At best, they constitute the foundations of a more sustainable monetary union. The euro zone now has a plan for bank supervision. It will be haggled over and watered-down, but the record of European diplomacy suggests that once proposals exist, something, eventually, tends to be agreed on…. Most important, the euro zone now has a central bank committed to being a lender of last resort. Yes, the commitment is conditional on countries securing help from, and adhering to, a rescue plan. But the ECB has made clear, for the first time, that it is willing to intervene without limit if need be.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * 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, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

([London] Times) Young people (in the UK) put family before faith

A poll commissioned by BBC Religion and Ethics as part of the BBC’s RE:THINK 2012 Festival, which …[went on recently] at MediaCityUK in Salford, suggests that young people think caring for family and putting others before themselves is more important than having religious faith or belief.

Of 585 16-24 year olds asked to rank the most important moral issue for them, from a list of eight options, pollsters TNS BMRB found that 59 per cent said looking after family was the most important moral issue for them.

Just 4 per cent said that having religious faith or beliefs was the most important moral issue. The same percentage listed paying taxes and playing a part in your community. Twelve per cent said that putting others first, 8 per cent said being faithful to a partner, 5 per cent said caring for the environment and 1 per cent listed buying ethical products as the most important moral issue

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

J.I. Packer on the Holy Spirit as Floodlight

The Holy Spirit’s distinctive new covenant role, then, is to fulfill what we may call a floodlight ministry in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. So far as this role was concerned, the Spirit “was not yet” (John 7:29, literal Greek) while Jesus was on earth; only when the Father had glorified him (John 17:1, 5) could the Spirit’s work of making men aware of Jesus’ glory begin.

I remember walking to church one winter evening to preach on the words, “He will glorify me” (John 16:14), seeing the building floodlit as I turned a corner, and realizing that this was exactly the illustration my message needed. When floodlighting is well done, the floodlights are placed so thatyou do not see them; in fact, you are not supposed to see where the light is coming from; what you are meant to see is just the building on which the floodlights are trained. The intended effect is to make it visible when otherwise it would not be seen for the darkness, and tomaximize its dignity by throwing all its details into relief so that you can see it properly. This perfectly illustrated the Spirit’s new covenant role. He is, so to speak, the hidden floodlight shining on the Savior.

Or think of it this way. It is as if the Spirit stands behind us, throwing light over our shoulder on to Jesus who stands facing us. The Spirit’s message to us is never, ”˜Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me’, but always, ”˜Look at him, and see his glory; listen to him and hear his word; go to him and have life; get to know him and taste his gift of joy and peace.’ The Spirit, we might say, is the matchmaker, the celestial marriage broker, whose role it is to bring us and Christ together and ensure that we stay together.”

–J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2nd rev. ed. 2005), pp. 57-58, quoted by yours truly in yesterday’s sermon

Posted in Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Hildegard of Bingen

O God, by whose grace thy servant Hildegard, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Germany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who knowest our necessities before we ask, and our ignorance in asking: Set free thy servants from all anxious thoughts for the morrow; give us contentment with thy good gifts; and confirm our faith that according as we seek thy kingdom, thou wilt not suffer us to lack any good thing; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Augustine (354-430)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Laz’arus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Laz’arus was one of those at table with him. Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

–John 12:1-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture