Daily Archives: December 4, 2012

(RNS) Pope Benedict XVI joins Twitter, plans mobile app

The Vatican unveiled Pope Benedict XVI’s Twitter account on Monday (Dec. 3) as it announced a series of new initiatives aimed at raising the church’s online profile.

The pope’s account, @Pontifex, drew nearly 200,000 followers in the hours after the announcement even though Benedict will not officially start tweeting until Dec. 12. That’s when the pope plans to answer questions about faith submitted to him via Twitter through a special hashtag, #askpontifex, set up by the Vatican.

At least initially, the pope’s tweets will be related to his official speeches and activities but their scope might be extended in the future, for example in response to natural disasters.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Globalization, Media, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry

Susan Engel on Parenthood and Middle Age–When They’re Grown, the Real Pain Begins

When I was 24 years old, I brought my firstborn son, 3-week-old Jacob, to my childhood home on the Eastern End of Long Island to meet his grandparents. When I arrived, an old family friend and neighbor, Cora Stevens, happened to be sitting in my parents’ kitchen. Cora, a mother to five grown children and grandmother to seven, grabbed tiny Jake, put her face right up to his and started speaking loud baby talk to him. Then, as she bounced him on her knee, she turned to me and said, “When they’re little they sit on your lap; when they’re big they sit on your heart.”

Oh, how right she was. Now that Jake is 28, and his brothers are 25 and 19, I can say without a doubt that this is way harder than having little kids. When my children were growing up, I groped my way through stormy nights, chaotic dinner hours, endless mess, nail-biting basketball games, tortured term papers, bad dates and the agony of college admissions. During all those wild ups and downs in the back of my head was the calming thought: once my children get into college, my work will be done. In retrospect, having little kids was a breeze. As long as you hugged them a lot and made good food, things seemed to be, for the most part, O.K. You could fix many problems, and distract them from others. Your home could be a haven from all that might be painful and difficult in the world beyond.

All of that changes when they are grown….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Middle Age, Young Adults

Knud Jørgensen–On Being Gospel and Media People

[I know that]…Christian participation in the media circus is a dilemma. But it is not a new dilemma, it is basically the dilemma of the Incarnation: God himself becoming vulnerable in the world of fall and sin. A dilemma which challenges us to be realistic and not fool ourselves: I know that the IT world does not create a better life; I know that the aggressive stream of pictures and words and music is like an epidemic that can attack my soul. But I also know that without the salt and light of the Gospel the world will perish, without the involvement of Christian professionals at all levels the world will be a wasteland and the media will become reflected images and caricatures of ghosts and goblins. Only Christ-followers have what it takes to fight the ghosts. It is our mandate to find room for the God-dimension and, by the same token, the human dimension in the orbit of satellites and the chat room of social media. Without our presence as authentic and credible role models, the world shall definitely amuse itself to death (as John Naisbitt said).

I am not blind to the problems facing us as Christians in the media ”“ the struggle to reinvent ”˜relevance’ in the midst of a church that often has drowned in irrelevance, the challenge to overcome our own secular nature because so many of us have ceased to think ”˜Christianly’, and the urgent need to avoid a process by which the media transform the Gospel into entertainment (a la the electronic church and some ”˜Christian’ talk shows)…The Lord of the dance requires the best ”“ and gives his gifts to his people accordingly.

Read it all..

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Bishop of Upper South Carolina's Pastoral Letter for Advent 2012

Our scriptures call us to righteousness, fullness of faith, to love for one another and just behavior toward the poor, the needy and the oppressed. They call us to watch for signs of the kingdom of God, keeping our hearts free from the weight of “dissipation, and drunkenness and the worries of this life” so that we will be alert and ready to stand before the Son of Man.

So we yearn for our lives to reflect the image of God implanted within us. And we strive to put on this “armor of light.”

This Advent finds South Carolina Episcopalians with an open wound, our armor pierced by our inability across diocesan boundaries to navigate the challenge of living and staying together in disagreement. The disassociation of the Diocese of South Carolina from The Episcopal Church has formalized a long-developing schism over matters of both theology and governance.

The questions about whether they can legally do what they have done are not ours to answer. The questions of who is the more to blame are not ours to answer. As I said earlier, temptations to choose those things which may do us or others harm are ever with us and these temptations have been freely engaged across the church from both sides in this tragic fracture. If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that not a single one of us is ever free from these temptations and guilt for succumbing to them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

(America's In All Things Blog) Michael O'Loughlin–Considering Mary's Humanity

[Irish author Colm Toibin]’s novella [The Testament of Mary] offers a deeply, if at times painfully, human portrait of Mary, tearing asunder the robes of red and blue that envelop her in paintings and sculptures, pointing to her unique role as Theotokos, mother of God. Instead she is cast as a character more akin to Becca, the protagonist from the film Rabbit Hole, a good but broken woman whose son dies tragically, and as a result, is unable to cope with life in ways that would seem normal to those who haven’t suffered through such a liminal experience….

For some, Toibin’s work might be scandalous. Those like my preaching instructor might think Catholic reverence for Mary would compel us to dismiss this story outright. But for many Catholics, while The Testament of Mary might be challenging, it shouldn’t be upsetting. Our saints are indeed holy, but they must always remain fully human. That is how they have value for us, serving as models for our own journeys. That we might be compelled by Toibin to recall and reflect on Mary’s humanity rather than her seemingly quasi-divinity is a welcomed challenge.

I finished reading this short book just as news of Dorothy Day’s possible canonization hit the papers. Day’s path to sainthood, should she attain it, is not typical. Her story is a reminder of the beautifully messy tableau created by life’s many experiences. There is saintliness in all of it, and Mary’s life, a fully human experience encompassing joys and pains, extremes many of us will not be asked to endure, is worth considering in full.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Advent, Anthropology, Books, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CNA) Theologian says China to have largest Christian population in the next 20 years

During a recent book launch in Rome, a noted theologian said that China will be home to the majority of the world’s Christians within the next two decades.

“Interfaith dialogue is something that China, which will have the world’s largest Christian population in 20 years, lives with every day,” said Harvey Cox during the presentation at the city’s Jesuit Gregorian University.

Cox presented the book “Catholic Engagement with World Religions: A Comprehensive Study, in dialogue with its two editors” on Nov. 30 with Cardinal Karl Josef Becker, a German theologian of the Vatican’s the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, China, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

(UMNS) One United Methodist Church in Georgia's Job Seeker Program

Jay Litton: “One of the most interesting things about a job networking ministry is, you don’t need more than one person to volunteer. And by the way, you just need one person out of work. That’s it. I have a concern that when people stop by and see what we’re doing, it looks like this big huge production, big huge event. And it’s like, ”˜Well, if we can’t do that then we shouldn’t do anything.’ And that’s just so wrong. So we go out of our way to let every church know that there should be somebody there at that church that should be willing to have conversations with people that are in transition.”

Tyrone Griffin tried the program at Roswell, found a job, and kept the faith.

Read it all or check out the video.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(LA Times) U.S. warns Syria regime against using chemical weapons

The United States bluntly warned Syrian President Bashar Assad against using chemical weapons as his forces lose ground to rebel fighters, and the United Nations said it was pulling nonessential foreign staff from Syria because of deteriorating security.

Warnings from President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other officials Monday reflected U.S. concerns over new intelligence indicating that Syria might be preparing to unleash some of its chemical agent stockpiles.

“The world is watching,” Obama said, addressing Assad in remarks at the National War College in Washington. “The use of chemical weapons is, and would be, totally unacceptable. And if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences, and you will be held accountable.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Violence

(CSM) From 'no' to 'yes,' how Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana

How did we get here? From “say no” to “yes” votes in not one but two states?

The answer goes beyond society’s evolving views, and growing acceptance, of marijuana as a drug of choice.

In Washington ”” and, advocates hope, coming soon to a state near you ”” there was a well-funded and cleverly orchestrated campaign that took advantage of deep-pocketed backers, a tweaked pro-pot message and improbable big-name supporters.

Good timing and a growing national weariness over failed drug laws didn’t hurt, either.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government

(NPR) A Compelling, Chutzpadik History Of 'Jews And Words'

This book is a teaser. It’s an appetizer. It’s meant to propose to Jews in Israel, in America and everywhere, and it means to propose to non-Jews, to relate to a wonderful line of texts full of wisdom, full of humor. And we are trying to seduce people – Jews and non-Jews alike – to seduce people to this wonderful heritage.

Read it all (audio version highly recommended if you prefer listening).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, History, Judaism, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Women

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John of Damscus

Confirm our minds, O Lord, in the mysteries of the true faith, set forth with power by thy servant John of Damscus; that we, with him, confessing Jesus to be true God and true Man, and singing the praises of the risen Lord, may, by the power of the resurrection, attain to eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for evermore.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O thou, who hast foretold that thou wilt return to judgment in an hour that we are not aware of, grant us grace to watch and pray always, that whether thou shalt come at even, or at midnight, or in the morning, we may be found among the number of those servants who shall be blessed in watching for their Lord, to whom be all glory now and for evermore.

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For you yourselves know, brethren, that our visit to you was not in vain; but though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philip’pi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the face of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from error or uncleanness, nor is it made with guile; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never used either words of flattery, as you know, or a cloak for greed, as God is witness; nor did we seek glory from men, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse taking care of her children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. For you remember our labor and toil, brethren; we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you, while we preached to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our behavior to you believers; for you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

–1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Advent Carol Service from St John's College Cambridge


Listen to the BBC broadcast here or in a pop out player here

A service for Advent with Carols recorded in the Chapel of St John’s College, Cambridge.

The Advent Prose
Processional Hymn: O come, O come, Emmanuel (Veni Emmanuel) (descant: David Hill)
Bidding Prayer
Carol: Adam lay ybounden (Ord)
I THE MESSAGE OF ADVENT
Sentence and Collect
Antiphons: O Sapientia and O Adonai
First lesson: Isaiah 11 vv.1-5
Carol: There is a flower (John Rutter)
Second lesson: 1 Thessalonians 5 vv.1-11
Anthem: Vigilate (New commission) (James Long)
II THE WORD OF GOD
Sentence and Collect
Antiphons: O Radix Jesse and O Clavis David
Carol: Tomorrow shall be my dancing day (David Willcocks)
Third lesson: Micah 4 vv.1-4
Motet: O Heiland, reiss die Himmel auf (Brahms)
Fourth lesson: Luke 4 vv.14-21
Hymn: Come, thou long-expected Jesus (Cross of Jesus) (descant: Christopher Robinson)
III THE PROPHETIC CALL
Sentence and Collect
Antiphons: O Oriens and O Rex Gentium
Carol: Alleluya, a new work is come on hand (Wishart)
Fifth lesson: Malachi 3 vv.1-7
Motet: Fuit homo missus a Deo (Palestrina)
Sixth lesson: Matthew 3 vv.1-11
Hymn: On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry (Winchester New) (descant: Christopher Robinson)
IV THE CHRIST-BEARER
Sentence and Collect
Antiphon: O Emmanuel
Carol: A Spotless Rose (Philip Ledger)
Seventh lesson: Luke 1 vv.39-49
Anthem: Bŏgŏroditse Dyevo (Rachmaninoff)
Magnificat: St John’s Service (Matthew Martin)
Eighth lesson: John 3 vv.1-8
Sentence and Christmas Collect
Carol: The seven joys of Mary (William Whitehead)
Hymn: Lo! He comes with clouds descending (Helmsley) (descant: Christopher Robinson)
College Prayer and Blessing
Organ Voluntary: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme BWV 645 (J.S. Bach)

Director of Music: Andrew Nethsingha
Senior Organ Scholar: Freddie James

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship