Daily Archives: February 6, 2013

(RNS) Chicago is ground zero in U.S. Muslim renaissance

Religious affiliation may be on the wane in America, a recent Pew study asserts, but you wouldn’t know it walking into the storefront near the corner of West 63rd Street and South Fairfield Avenue.

Inside a former bank in a neighborhood afflicted with gang violence, failed businesses and empty lots, a team of volunteers drawn by their religious faith is working to make life better for Chicago’s poorest residents.

The free medical clinic has expanded its hours; 20-something college graduates are clamoring to get into its internship program; rap stars swing by its alcohol-free poetry slams; and the budget has increased tenfold in the past decade.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

[Cranmer] Is the EU behind Cameron's gay-marriage conviction?

His Grace received an email during the debate from UKIP Intelligence (no ‘oxymoron’ cracks, please). It appears that if Parliament does not ‘regularise’ its civil-partnership/marriage provisions to accord with an imminent EU diktat, it will be imposed on the UK regardless.

Read it all and see earlier post

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

South Carolina Rectors Speak Out Against TEC's Attempt to Seize Local Property; "Hijack" Identity

“We feel that we must take this action as TEC is already using our name, Diocesan seal and other marks of our identity to impersonate us publicly, and is organizing in South Carolina, all with the stated goal of taking over this Diocese and her parishes, including Prince George. Not to take action is simply bad stewardship of the Gospel and of churches like ours which were established and maintained over the centuries by our ancestors as centers of traditional, biblical Christian faith, and without any financial support from The Episcopal Church. This and many other parishes joining the suit are among the oldest operating churches in the nation. They and the Diocese of South Carolina pre-date the establishment of The Episcopal Church. Yet, TEC has declared its intent to take our property.”
””The Rev. Paul Fuener , Rector, Prince George Winyah, Georgetown

Read it all.
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Several Rectors of congregations participating in the lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment from the courts have spoken out against The Episcopal Church’s attempt to seize their properties. The lawsuit seeks to protect the Diocese’s real and personal property and that of its parishes. It also asks the court to prevent The Episcopal Church from infringing on the protected marks of the Diocese, including its seal and its historical names, and to prevent the church from assuming the Diocese’s identity, which was established long before The Episcopal Church’s creation.

“We are guarding our church and parish house, which our ancestors built and maintained quite apart from any financial support from The Episcopal Church. For nearly 200 years, this church has been gathering in this building to worship the Lord, and going from this building to love and serve, in the name of the Lord, our neighbors in the heart of Charleston. And now The Episcopal Church would take our building from us and hinder this ongoing mission? We have received the Faith once delivered to the Apostles. It is not ours to alter, but rather to steward, and more importantly, to pass on to generations to come. It seems reasonable to expect that we should be able to do this without the threat of having our property taken from us by The Episcopal Church because we refuse to accept innovations which we find repugnant to the Faith once delivered.”
””The Very Rev. Peet Dickinson, Dean, The Cathedral of Saint Luke and Saint Paul, Charleston

“Though our hope that the theological differences between the Diocese of South Carolina and The Episcopal Church would be resolved without recourse to the courts seems to have been in vain, we are mindful yet that it is never too late for a miracle. Absent divine intervention, we will stand with the Diocese and upon the legacy of Anglican faith in this area which traces its heritage to 1767. The Church of the Cross will not be deterred from its mission and ministry in the name of Jesus Christ by this or any other matter. We are a great and growing diverse congregation of almost 1700 folks of all ages who know the power of the Holy Spirit, joyfully worship, humbly repent and gratefully thank the Lord for our many blessings. Those interested in partnering for the spread of the Gospel are invited to join us.”
””The Rev. Charles Owens, Rector, The Church of the Cross, Bluffton

“The issue for us is one of protection””the buildings and the land are assets for Gospel ministry. They were paid for by members of this parish””past and present. No outside group should determine their usage. Our Diocese and many of the parishes joining this suit pre-date the establishment of The Episcopal Church. Now, that same church has made plain its intent to claim our property. For me, Religious Freedom is at the heart of what we are willing to defend. My forebears””French Huguenots””left France in 1687 under immense religious persecution to come to the Carolina colony to freely practice their faith. Most of those original Huguenots are a part of the Anglican churches today that want that same freedom guaranteed.”
””The Rev. Shay Gaillard, Rector, The Church of the Good Shepherd, Charleston

“We have decided to take this drastic action in order to protect our name and property. The Church of Our Saviour was started over 30 years ago to serve Kiawah, Seabrook and Johns Island. The land, building and reputation were built by Islanders for themselves and those who would come here in the future. The Episcopal Church provided no financial support, no encouragement and no resource in this effort. In contrast, we are grateful to our Diocese for their help at every step of our growth. It is beyond imagining that The Episcopal Church has announced its intent to take our property and our very identity.”
””The Rev. Michael Clarkson, Rector, The Church of Our Saviour, Kiawah, Seabrook and Johns Islands

“We feel that we must take this action as TEC is already using our name, Diocesan seal and other marks of our identity to impersonate us publicly, and is organizing in South Carolina, all with the stated goal of taking over this Diocese and her parishes, including Prince George. Not to take action is simply bad stewardship of the Gospel and of churches like ours which were established and maintained over the centuries by our ancestors as centers of traditional, biblical Christian faith, and without any financial support from The Episcopal Church. This and many other parishes joining the suit are among the oldest operating churches in the nation. They and the Diocese of South Carolina pre-date the establishment of The Episcopal Church. Yet, TEC has declared its intent to take our property.”
””The Rev. Paul Fuener , Rector, Prince George Winyah, Georgetown

“In 1857, the parishioners of the Church of the Redeemer built our first building on Boulevard across from the railroad tracks. In 1891 they put the church on logs and rolled it to its present site on Russell St. Over the years they bricked it in and added other buildings and improvements. In all of these efforts, the Episcopal Church never gave them a dime. And they claim that they own our property now? No way! We in the Diocese of South Carolina, as well as here at the Redeemer, have always practiced a conservative, Bible-believing, traditional, orthodox faith. It is the Episcopal Church which has left the faith in the dust; they have changed, while we have remained faithful. Jesus Christ is Our Lord and Savior, and we follow Him in the power of His Holy Spirit as we strive to do ministry in His Name. All are welcome to join us in worshipping and serving Him.”
””The Rev. Dr. Frank E. Larisey, Rector, Church of the Redeemer, Orangeburg

“We are not bringing suit in an attempt to take anything away from the National Episcopal Church. We are seeking a declaratory judgment from the Courts as to who is the rightful owner of these historic buildings. We are trying to protect our church and other parish buildings, which were built and paid for by the sacrifice and labor of our founders and all who have worked and worshipped in this place for nearly 150 years. At no point in our history has the National Church contributed financially to the building or maintenance of any of our church buildings, facilities, or ministries. We simply desire the Court to decide and declare the rightful owners of this property. Many of our parishes and the Diocese of South Carolina pre-date the establishment of The Episcopal Church. Yet, the National Church has announced its intent to take our property. We are only trying to be good stewards of that which has been entrusted to us by those who have gone before and ensure that the mission and ministry of St. John’s Parish begun here in 1866 might continue for generations to come.”
””The Rev. Ken Weldon, Rector, St. John’s Church, Florence

“We at St Luke’s Church are seeking to protect our Sanctuary and buildings as well as our land. The land was granted to us by Sea Pines Development Company and all of our buildings were paid for by our church family with no help from any outside source, said Greg Kronz, Rector of St. Luke’s Church of Hilton Head. We are choosing to go along with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina and are joining many other parishes to protect our Diocese and other parishes from potential take-over of property or litigation from the National Episcopal Church. Our church and a number of the parishes in our Diocese as well as our Diocese itself pre-dates the establishment of The Episcopal Church. Our Bishop, Mark Lawrence, called as Bishop of our Diocese, has endeavored to guard and protect the churches in the Diocese so that they have the freedom to practice our Christian Faith as Anglicans grounded in the word of God. We will not be threatened or held hostage by the possibility of changing our beliefs or losing our property.” ”¨
””The Rev. Greg Kronz, Rector, St. Luke’s Church, Hilton Head

“Ever since the Cornerstone of St. Michael’s Church was put into the earth in the 1700s, we have been ambassadors of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as a mission station on the corner of Meeting Street and Broad. A plaque on Meeting Street describes St. Michael’s as a ”˜Monument to the past and a movement to the future.’ To be faithful to our ancestors and, at the same time, be a mission station today to our city and beyond, it means we can no longer participate in nor support The Episcopal Church whose teachings are contrary to the Bible and Book of Common Prayer. We also cannot allow The Episcopal Church to force us to adopt doctrines and policies that go against everything for which our Cornerstone stands.”
””The Rev. Alfred T.K. Zadig, Jr., Rector, St. Michael’s Church, Charleston

“We have historic and new buildings on our campus worth millions of dollars sacrificially paid for by members of St. Paul’s Summerville””none of these present buildings built between 1857 and 2003 received any financial contribution from The Episcopal Church headquartered in New York City. Like many of our fellow Low Country parishes, we are one of the oldest churches in the nation dating to our establishment in 1707 as a Church of England parish on the banks of the Stono River. We have re-located three times during our three centuries of existence following the inland 18th and 19th century population migration until settling at our present location on West Carolina Avenue in Summerville. Like the Diocese of South Carolina and other parishes we pre-date the establishment of The Episcopal Church by several decades. We will protect our property from any forced take-over by others. We are Anglicans of Scripture, Tradition and Reason and find the present trajectory of The Episcopal Church contrary to our Biblical beliefs as well as the Tradition established through the ages of how much latitude one is allowed to interpret Scripture’s plain sense.”
””The Rev. Michael Lumpkin, Rector, St. Paul’s Church, Summerville

“It is our responsibility to preserve and protect our historic buildings and holdings for the benefit of our congregation. The majority of what we have we inherited from the faithful that have gone before us, who paid for these treasures with their blood, sweat, tears, personal sacrifices and finances. The Episcopal Church has never given us financial support and we deny that they may have gained any right to our assets through some clever and deceptive declaration of their own device. The Protestant Episcopal Church of the Parish of St. Philip was created as a corporate entity in 1785 by the then-newly formed Legislature of the State of South Carolina, before there was a Diocese of South Carolina and before there was a national Episcopal organization. Our roots run deep in the cause for religious and political freedom and we are unwilling to abandon our precious heritage by capitulating to TEC even though they wield massive financial power and are determined to defeat us in the courts. We pray that God will protect us as He protected young David when he confronted the giant Goliath.”
””The Rev. Haden McCormick, Rector, St. Philip’s Church, Charleston

“Trinity was founded by faithful congregants in Myrtle Beach. It has been built by their own sacrifice of time and money without any aid from The Episcopal Church. While Trinity is one of the newer churches in the Diocese, many of the churches joining in the petition predate the formation of The Episcopal Church. Trinity is joining in this suit to preserve our freedom of conscience. We are not seeking to take anything from The Episcopal Church. We simply want the freedom to be faithful to Christ as we see fit without outside interference and we’re asking the courts to aid us in that. In Acts 25, the Apostle Paul was under persecution from the religious authorities of his day. He appealed to Caesar in the hopes that he would have a fair hearing from an impartial party. That is what we are doing here.”
””The Rev. Iain Boyd, Rector, Trinity Church, Myrtle Beach

“All Saints was founded in 1957 as a plant from St. John’s Episcopal Church and was financed, nurtured, and cared for by St. John’s, the community of Florence, and the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. In her 57 years, All Saints affiliation with the Diocese has never changed and our support of Bishop Mark Lawrence is unwavering. Joining the suit against The Episcopal Church is not just a show of solidarity, but a proclamation of our belief in the sacredness of scripture, the uniqueness of Christ, and the apostolic teaching we have received for almost 2000 years. Our actions today are also made in response to how The Episcopal Church has aggressively pursued in court those who have spoken out against their heretical views and the idea that they own our property and buildings. It is our belief and the belief of our Diocese that our property belongs to the parishioners of All Saints who have freely and sacrificially given of their resources so that All Saints can be a catalyst for the spread the Gospel in Florence and beyond.”
”” The Rev. Karl Burns, All Saints Church, Florence

“We, the people of Saint James Church, James Island, believe that we are called by God to clearly, unequivocally, and completely disassociate ourselves from The Episcopal Church whose recent actions have called into question long-standing Christian beliefs. By joining this suit, we are not only demonstrating our support for the Diocese, but our continued commitment to the fundamental beliefs shared by our Bishop Mark Lawrence and other Anglicans around the world. Unfortunately, The Episcopal Church has been very aggressive in suing those who disagree with its unorthodox theology, however, there can be no question that our Parish property belongs to our members and not to some voluntary association that has abandoned the fundamental beliefs of Anglicanism. This suit will prove that point.”
”” The Rev. Arthur Jenkins, Rector, Saint James Church, James Island

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

A Complete Guidebook to the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia's Convention starting Tomorrow

Read it all (an almost 40 page pdf).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

(CSM) Recession averted, but rising debt still a threat, CBO warns

The CBO forecast finds a persistent mismatch between tax revenue and spending over the coming decade. As the economy improves, tax revenue should rise to 19 percent of GDP for the period from 2015 through 2023, up from 15.8 percent in 2012, the report said. But federal spending, after an early-decade dip, will start rising persistently faster than revenues.

“After 2017, if current laws remain in place, outlays will start growing again as a percentage of GDP,” the CBO said. “The aging of the population, increasing health care costs, and a significant expansion of eligibility for federal subsidies for health insurance will substantially boost spending for Social Security and for major health care programs relative to the size of the economy.”

The CBO’s current-law “baseline” calls for spending to reach about 23 percent of GDP in 2023 and, more worrisome, to be “on an upward trajectory.”

Read it all.

Update: An IBD article is also available on this, entitled “CBO Report Shows We’re Still Headed Toward A Fiscal Cliff” and it may be found there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(Toronto Star) Iraq’s Christians still searching for a home

Sitting in the living room of his home in Erbil, capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, 63-year-old Rostom Sefarian stops talking, struggling to hold back the tears. It was July 2006 and Sefarian, an Armenian Christian living in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, had been kidnapped by a group of Islamic fundamentalists ”” the latest victim in a series of abductions and killings of Iraqi Christians that continues to this day.

Sefarian was released five days later, when his family agreed to pay a $72,000 (U.S.) ransom. It was the second time Sefarian had been kidnapped; his family paid $12,000 to free him after one day in captivity the previous January. His wife’s cousin, also a Christian, was not as lucky: three days after being kidnapped, he was found dead by his family.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

(VOA) Egypt's Top Cleric Rebuffs Iranian President on Gulf

Egypt’s top Muslim cleric told visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday that his Shi’ite-led government must refrain from interfering in the affairs of Gulf Arab states and must give full rights to Sunnis living in Iran.

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of the al-Azhar mosque, also urged Mr. Ahmadinejad to “respect Bahrain as a sisterly Arab state” and rejected “the spread of Shi’ism” in Sunni countries.

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

Eric Metaxas–Bonhoeffer's Birthday: The Relevance of Costly Grace

[Monday was]…Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s birthday. Since my book on him was published three years ago, fascination with the young German pastor continues to grow. The interest is so great I’ve recently been asked to do a ten-city Bonhoeffer tour.

I have to ask myself: Why are so many people intrigued by Bonhoeffer? The answer, I believe, is that the message of Bonhoeffer’s life is hugely relevant today””especially when it comes to the growing threats against religious freedom.

were he alive today and living in America, costly grace for him would likely mean preaching what the Word of God teaches about human sexuality–even when activists and their allies in government try to suppress his work and attack his church. Costly grace would mean standing against churches that mix radical new doctrines about marriage with Christian truth. Costly grace would mean standing up to a government attempting to force him to buy health insurance that violates his beliefs””even if it led to his arrest.
And costly grace would, I believe, lead him to sign the Manhattan Declaration in defense of human life, marriage, and religious liberty, just as he signed the Barmen Declaration, which I quote at length in my book.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Germany, Religion & Culture, Theology

(ABC Aus.) Tariq Ramadan–Irrational atheists unwilling to recognise the beneficial role of religion

…even more dismaying is the quasi-religious intellectual posturing of those who seek the demise of religion. If religious people deny paradise to their opponents or to “non-believers,” atheists would likewise seek to eliminate “dangerous” believers with their “childish” ways and their heads in the clouds. One would have thought that the only truly humanistic attitude – midway between two theses that cannot prove themselves definitively – would be to make a commitment to ongoing debate, and then actively to pursue it out of concern for mutual intellectual integrity. It is only through such a clash of ideas that we learn to be self-critical and approach intellectual humility.

It is for this reason that the twenty-first century – along with the sort of hubristic atheists it has produced – needs the continuing presence of religion, in just the same way that religion must confront the real challenges posed by the fiercest critics of its day in order to sharpen the conscience of those who study the timeless sacred texts. This much was acknowledged by the vast majority of the more than one thousand students present at the Cambridge debate, for when it came time to vote the audience found Dawkins and his supporters in the wrong.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(CEN) Peter Mullen– Michael Gove and Same Sex Marriage

Homosexuals enjoy the same civil and conjugal rights as everyone else, but they are not at liberty to describe their relationships as marriages. The reason for this does not originate in some mean-spirited and nasty prohibition: it is a matter of plain logic. Analogously: everyone may run about on a field and be awarded goals, penalty shoot-outs, corner kicks and line-outs; but no one is at liberty to describe what they are doing there as cricket.

When this Act comes into force ”“ and it is a matter of when not if ”“ the damage done will be first to the rational use of the English language. But it will not end there. Create a language and you create a world. So when marriage is redefined as an institution open to homosexual couples, then the nature of marriage will be revolutionised. This will not come about by some sort of fluke or procession of unintended consequences. The change will follow necessarily from the altered definition.

[We must fave the fact that]…homosexual marriage will have profound consequences for Christian spirituality and psychology. There is a spiritual and psychological hiatus when a woman stands at the altar and says, “This is my body.” In so saying, she is representing Christ. What then happens to the ancient spiritual imagery of the church as the Bride of Christ? When homosexual marriage becomes law, the Bride of Christ might well sport a moustache and a beard and certain other physical characteristics, unmentionable here.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Wednesday Morning Mental Health Break–Mickey Mantle's 500th HR–in Color

Wow.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Sports

(C of E) Common Worship Lectionary app launched

The essential digital accompaniment to the Church of England’s Lectionary of daily readings and services is now available as an app for iPad.

The new Lectionary app provides the Common Worship lectionary readings in full with live links to Bible passages in the New Revised Standard Version.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Science & Technology, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Martyrs of Japan

O God our Father, who art the source of strength to all thy saints, and who didst bring the holy martyrs of Japan through the suffering of the cross to the joys of life eternal: Grant that we, being encouraged by their example, may hold fast the faith that we profess, even unto death; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O thou who sendest forth the light, createst the morning, and makest the sun to rise on the good and the evil: Enlighten the blindness of our minds with the knowledge of the truth; lift up the light of thy countenance upon us, that in thy light we may see light, and, at the last, in the light of grace the light of glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name for ever; may his glory fill the whole earth! Amen and Amen!

–Psalm 72: 18,19

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture