Daily Archives: January 6, 2013

"The humanist verities" are "not sufficient"

“In terms of dramatic structure, I don’t really buy the humanist verities anymore…I mean, I buy them, they’re a subset of what’s true. But they’re not sufficient. They wouldn’t do much for me on my deathbed. Look at it another way. We’re here. We’re nice guys. We’re doing O.K. But we know that in X number of years, we won’t be here, and between now and then something unpleasant is gonna happen, or at least potentially unpleasant and scary. And when we turn to try and understand that, I don’t really think the humanist verities are quite enough. Because that would be crazy if they were. It would be so weird if we knew just as much as we needed to know to answer all the questions of the universe. Wouldn’t that be freaky? Whereas the probability is high that there is a vast reality that we have no way to perceive, that’s actually bearing down on us now and influencing everything. The idea of saying, ”˜Well, we can’t see it, therefore we don’t need to see it,’ seems really weird to me.”

–George Saunders in the New York Times magazine article posted yesterday

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Theology

(BBC) Archdeacon Norman Russell and Bishop Peter Selby on the C of E Bishops Decision

The Church of England is to end a moratorium on gay clergy becoming bishops.
The Church’s House of Bishops will allow clergy in civil partnerships to be appointed as bishops if they promise to be celibate.
On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, questions were raised about whether people may think the church is obsessed with sex….

Read or, better, listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Saving Roman Catholic Schools

BOB FAW, correspondent: This enrichment music class at St. Stephen Catholic School in New York City is part of a new experiment to help save Catholic schools.

In a Philadelphia suburb at Conwell-Egan Catholic High School, this too is part of the effort to keep Catholic schools open. Here students devise real solutions for real-world problems.

The new approaches are needed. For the last decade, 26 percent of Catholic schools have closed. Because of the recession, funding is down, the cost of running the schools is up, and enrollments have plummeted.

DR. JOHN CONVEY (Professor of Education, Catholic University): There has been a drop in enrollment, and over the last 30 or 40 years it’s over two million fewer students. From my point of view, it’s a crisis.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Myrtle Beach, Conway parishes join lawsuit against The Episcopal Church

A number of S.C. Episcopal parishes, including Trinity Myrtle Beach and St. Paul’s Episcopal in Conway, joined the Diocese of South Carolina and the Trustees of the Diocese in a lawsuit filed Friday seeking to stop The Episcopal Church from trying to take the Diocese’s real and personal property as well as that of the parishes.

The suit also asks the court to stop The Episcopal Church from infringing on the protected marks of the Diocese, including its seal and historical names, and to prevent The Episcopal Church from assuming the Diocese’s identity.

“At its heart,” said Jim Lewis, the Diocese’s canon to the ordinary, “this is about freedom of religion.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

Same Sex Blessings Backed for the Dio of British Columbia (Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands)

Anglican parishes on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands can now seek permission to formally bless married homosexual couples.

Bishop James Cowan of the Diocese of British Columbia, in a letter dated Thursday, announced the creation of guidelines and a rite to be used in the blessing of same-sex unions. The guidelines and rites took effect Jan. 1.

“It is my hope that those who now have this opportunity open to them may use it as an aid in their growth in Christ and His love for the world in which we live,” wrote Cowan.

The letter affects the 45 parishes with about 10,000 members in what, for historical reasons, is called the Diocese of British Columbia, although it only includes Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

T. S. Eliot – Journey Of The Magi – Alec McCowen

Listen to and ponder it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Poetry & Literature

A Prayer for the Feast of the Epiphany (II)

Lord Jesus, our Master, go with us while we travel to the heavenly country; that, following thy star, we may not wander in the darkness of this world’s night, while thou, who art our Way, and Truth, and Life dost shine within us to our journey’s end; for thy mercy’s sake.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast of the Epiphany (I)

O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know thee now by faith, to thy presence, where we may behold thy glory face to face; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

–Psalm 46:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Bloomberg) Google’s Schmidt urged by U.S. against trip to North Korea

Google Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt may travel to North Korea over opposition from the U.S. State Department, becoming the highest-profile businessman to visit the isolated nation since Kim Jong Un succeeded his father as leader just over a year ago.

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said today that he and Schmidt are planning a “private humanitarian visit” and that Schmidt is going as a citizen interested in foreign affairs. “This is not a Google trip,” Richardson said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, North Korea, Politics in General, Theology

Rob Kirby–Why is the Episcopal Church near collapse?

When the conservative Anglican diocese that serves the Fresno, California, area voted to leave the U.S. Episcopal denomination, the national denomination did as it has done in Connecticut, Virginia, Florida and Texas, it fought the diocese in court ”“ seeking to seize all property, which includes millions of dollars worth of sanctuaries, parsonages, parish halls and college campuses.

Observer Giles Fraser says that the liberal national leadership doesn’t have a clue. Citing a vote by the diocese of Pittsburgh, led by Bishop Bob Duncan, Fraser explained: “They are sick to death of liberals telling them that ”˜gay’ is OK.”

“Anglicanism is in deep trouble,” writes Fraser, “and so, too, is the Church of England. The fact that 46 members of the church’s general synod, its parliament, have written expressing their support for secessionism, bodes very ill.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues

(CEN) 2012 ”“ The Anglican Year in Review

After a decade of being overshadowed by the unfolding events in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America, the Church of England returned to the center of the Anglican news world. While the communion’s 38 provinces dealt with issues of local importance, the issues underlying Archbishop Rowan Williams’ resignation, the coalition government’s push for same-sex marriage, the General Synod vote on women bishops, the collapse of the Anglican Covenant, and the Chichester abuse report were played out across the Anglican Communion in 2012.

As important as these issues appeared as they were debated and discussed, the underlying questions about the nature of the Church and the nature of mankind, sounded by Dr. Rowan Williams, Pope Benedict XVI and leaders of the church in the developing word and within the Church of England, drove debate within the church in 2012.

However a few hardy Anglican perennials surfaced last year also. Episcopal corruption remained a significant concern for the Church of South India (CSI) and the Church of North India (CNI). Lay activists tell The Church of England Newspaper that only “8 or 9” of the CSI’s 21 current bishops were untainted by corruption charges.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, History, Religion & Culture

(BBC) C of E drops opposition to bishops in civil same-sex partnerships

The Church of England has dropped its prohibition on gay clergy in civil partnerships becoming bishops.

The announcement, from the Church’s House of Bishops, would allow gay clergy to become bishops if they promise to be celibate.

Conservative evangelical Anglicans say they will fight the move in the Church’s ruling general synod.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Department–Clif Bar Triathlon Start Commercial

Watch it all–LOL (hat tip–Abigail Harmon).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Sports

(NY Times Magazine) Joel Lovell–George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year

Aside from all the formal invention and satirical energy of Saunders’s fiction, the main thing about it, which tends not to get its due, is how much it makes you feel. I’ve loved Saunders’s work for years and spent a lot of hours with him over the past few months trying to understand how he’s able to do what he does, but it has been a real struggle to find an accurate way to express my emotional response to his stories. One thing is that you read them and you feel known, if that makes any sense. Or, possibly even woollier, you feel as if he understands humanity in a way that no one else quite does, and you’re comforted by it. Even if that comfort often comes in very strange packages, like say, a story in which a once-chaste aunt comes back from the dead to encourage her nephew, who works at a male-stripper restaurant (sort of like Hooters, except with guys, and sleazier), to start unzipping and showing his wares to the patrons, so he can make extra tips and help his family avert a tragic future that she has foretold.

Junot Díaz described the Saunders’s effect to me this way: “There’s no one who has a better eye for the absurd and dehumanizing parameters of our current culture of capital. But then the other side is how the cool rigor of his fiction is counterbalanced by this enormous compassion. Just how capacious his moral vision is sometimes gets lost, because few people cut as hard or deep as Saunders does.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Buddhism, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology