Daily Archives: April 17, 2013

CNN–Officials in Boston may have identified a possible suspect in the Marathon bombings

Here is the picture circulating hither and yon.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Terrorism

(RNS) U.S. Muslims mobilize to prevent Boston Backlash

No sooner had the reality of the Boston Marathon bombing sunk in on Monday (April 15) afternoon than Muslim activists in the U.S. began sending out a slew of news releases, tweets and Facebook messages urging prayers and aid for the victims ”“ and condemning whoever was behind the horrific attack.

“American Muslims, like Americans of all backgrounds, condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s cowardly bomb attack on participants and spectators of the Boston Marathon,” Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement on Monday.

It’s a familiar race against time for Muslim groups. Almost as soon as the smoke cleared around Copley Square, they knew from long experience that some would immediately point the finger of blame in their direction.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

The Bishop of London's sermon for Lady Margaret Thatcher's Funeral Today (full text)

In the gospel passage read by the Prime Minister, Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. “I am” is the voice of the divine being. Jesus does not bring information or advice but embodies the reality of divine love. God so loved the world that he was generous: he did not intervene from the outside but gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ, and became one of us.

What, in the end, makes our lives seem valuable after the storm and stress has passed and there is a great calm? The questions most frequently asked at such a time concern us all. How loving have I been? how faithful in personal relationships? Have I found joy within myself, or am I still looking for it in externals outside myself?

Margaret Thatcher had a sense of this, which she expressed in her address to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland: “I leave you with the earnest hope that may we all come nearer to that other country whose ”˜ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace’.”

I love the child’s letter and her response–read it all (video or audio is worth the time). [/i]

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

([London] Sunday Times) Bishop David Chillingworth–Have faith in (the) future of our churches

“Last week’s article on falling patterns of membership and church attendance in Scotland’s churches gave the other side of other story. Secularisation is merciless in its effect on churches. It will erode to vanishing point churches which operate in traditional ways and cannot adapt. It challenges the mindset of ”˜as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be.’ But I believe that secularisation also presents a positive challenge for churches. It encourages us to develop church communities of new quality – disciples who are deeply engaged with their faith and not just of members who belong. It will be good for churches and good for faith.

“Let me surprise you first by saying that I am a supporter of secular society. My family roots are in the beginnings of what has become the Irish Republic. In the early years of the last century, Ireland was what some have called a confessional or theocratic state. The Catholic Church exercised an undue influence on the way in which government approached matters of social and moral legislation. The modern secular state is a safer place – it allows space for a proper separation of legislature, judiciary and church. In my view, there is then room for a proper relationship between church and state. The state should be the guardian and protector of religious freedom but it should not defer to religion.

“Last week’s article treated secularisation as if it was a single phenomenon. But it’s much more subtle and complex than that. It is actually a sort of ”˜double whammy’ – let me explain what I mean.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, England / UK, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Secularism

Wednesday Mental Health Break–Allegro from Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's Cello Concerto in A, Wq.172

Listen to it all–wonderful and heart lifting.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

Margaret Thatcher’s Coffin Is Brought to St. Paul’s Cathedral

On a gray and drizzly day, a horse-drawn gun carriage bore the coffin of Margaret Thatcher, draped in the Union flag, to St. Paul’s Cathedral for a ceremonial funeral that has divided British opinion, much as the former prime minister stirred passions during her lifetime.

A hearse had taken the coffin from Parliament as far as the church of St. Clement Danes near the head of Fleet Street where a military guard placed it on the gun carriage for the solemn cortege to St. Paul’s. Crowds of mostly silent people lined the streets near Parliament Square and along Whitehall ”” one of several major thoroughfares closed to traffic ”” as the hearse passed by with a display of white flowers.

Some 700 military personnel from three services ”” the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force ”” lined Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill leading to St. Paul’s. The honor guard included guardsmen in scarlet tunics and distinctive black bearskin hats on the 24 cathedral steps. Military bands played Bells tolled. Crowds lined the street as the gun carriage passed slowly by, some applauding. The procession moved at 70 paces per minute. Well-wishers threw flowers into the road.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Politics in General

(Inside High Ed) Libby Nelson–The Struggling Seminaries

At first, Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., could see itself as exempt from the economic forces shaking seminaries and theological schools nationwide. Luther is the biggest seminary for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States. Among its peers, it had a reputation for being innovative. Individual donors continued to give, and its local area — in one of the country’s most Lutheran states — was supportive.

Last fall, though, it all came crashing down. Enrollments were dropping. The seminary found it was running multimillion-dollar deficits, spending down its endowment and relying on loans. In December, its president, the Rev. Dr. Richard Bliese, resigned, as the seminary’s board began to look at options to trim at least $4 million from the seminary’s $27 million annual budget.

The results were announced…[not long ago]: layoffs for 18 of its 125 staff members, many effective within a few weeks; the voluntary departure of 8 of 44 faculty members at the end of the academic year, who will not be replaced; the termination of a master’s program in sacred music; and the decision to no longer admit Ph.D students for at least three years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Stewardship, Theology, United Church of Christ

Dennis Lehane–The Boston Marathon Bomber(s) Was/Were Messing With the Wrong City

…I do love this city. I love its atrocious accent, its inferiority complex in terms of New York, its nut-job drivers, the insane logic of its street system. I get a perverse pleasure every time I take the T in the winter and the air-conditioning is on in the subway car, or when I take it in the summer and the heat is blasting. Bostonians don’t love easy things, they love hard things ”” blizzards, the bleachers in Fenway Park, a good brawl over a contested parking space. Two different friends texted me the identical message yesterday: They messed with the wrong city. This wasn’t a macho sentiment. It wasn’t “Bring it on” or a similarly insipid bit of posturing. The point wasn’t how we were going to mass in the coffee shops of the South End to figure out how to retaliate. Law enforcement will take care of that, thank you. No, what a Bostonian means when he or she says “They messed with the wrong city” is “You don’t think this changes anything, do you?”

Trust me, we won’t be giving up any civil liberties to keep ourselves safe because of this. We won’t cancel next year’s marathon. We won’t drive to New Hampshire and stockpile weapons. When the authorities find the weak and terminally maladjusted culprit or culprits, we’ll roll our eyes at whatever backward ideology they embrace and move on with our lives.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Psychology, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Walter Russell Read–The Wreck of the Euro

We have no way of knowing how this all ends. One problem is that the smartest solution””having Germany and perhaps a handful of other northern countries leave the euro for a new currency (the Deutche Mark 2.0, or a “neuro” for northern Europe)””would make life easier in the south. The south based euro would fall in value, but since debts and contracts are denominated in that currency, the adjustment would be the same as in a normal devaluation. This course would likely lead quickly to a new burst of growth in the south, though inflation and other problems would take a toll over time.

But the euro’s break up day would cause a lot of problems for Germany and its northern friends….

So we’re in an interesting situation. The crisis is crippling the south, but the south has no power to resolve the crisis. The crisis isn’t comfortable for the north but still looks less painful than the solution. So the north, which has the ability to resolve the crisis, doesn’t have the will to do it and the south, which has the will, lacks the ability.

Read it all (and please note that the Financial Times article by Wolfgang Münchau which is mentioned, entitled “The riddle of Europe’s single currency with many values,” is indeed a must read as Mr. Read says).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

George Conger Unpacks the South Car. Legal Fracas and the recent WSJ article's poor Coverage Thereof

While a number of lawsuits between dioceses and parishes have gone to state supreme courts, with the diocese prevailing in many of them, in South Carolina the state supreme court ruled the other way and held the church’s national property rules, called the Dennis Canon, were of no legal effect in South Carolina. In other words, if a parish has clear title to its property in South Carolina, it can take it with it if it leaves its diocese or denomination. Omitting this crucial legal precedent in the story was most unfortunate.

It should also be added that the appellate courts have not adjudicated the issue of whether a diocese may withdraw from the national church. Attorneys for the national church have argued the legal precedents from outside South Carolina governing the relationship of the parish to the diocese should govern the relationship of the diocese to the national church. The diocese’s lawyers in South Carolina have argued this relationship is not comparable.

One might also add, contrary to the assertion in the article about declining membership, that until these lawsuits erupted the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina was one of the few Episcopal diocese to see a growth in membership over the past decade.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Media, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons

Four groups predict a very active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season

The start of hurricane season is 6 weeks away, and four independent forecast outlets unanimously agree it will be a busy one.

Colorado State’s Bill Gray and protege Philip Klotzbach, the pioneers of seasonal hurricane forecasting, predict a blockbuster hurricane season, with 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. (The 1981-2010 30-year averages are 12.1 named storms, 6.4 hurricanes, and 2.7 major hurricanes.)

“We anticipate an above-average Atlantic basin hurricane season due to the combination of an anomalously warm tropical Atlantic and a relatively low likelihood of El Niño,” Klotzbach and Gray write in their outlook, released last week.

Ugh–read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, * South Carolina, Weather

David Bentley Hart–Responding to Edward Feser and thinking Properly about Natural Law

Somewhere behind Feser’s argument slouches the specter of what is often called “two-tier Thomism”: a philosophical sect notable in part for the particularly impermeable partitions it erects between nature and grace, or nature and supernature, or natural reason and revelation, or philosophy and theology (and so on). To its adherents, it is the solution to the contradictions of modernity. To those of a more “integralist” bent (like me), it is a neo-scholastic deformation of Christian metaphysics that, far from offering an alternative to secular reason, is one of its chief theological accomplices. It also produces an approach to moral philosophy that must ultimately fail.

Before completing that thought, however, it might help to rehearse just a few of the conceptual obstacles our age erects in the path of natural law theory. So:

First. Finality’s fortuity. Most traditional accounts of natural law require a picture of nature as governed by final causality: For every substance, there are logically prior ends””proximate, remote, or transcendent””that guide its existence and unite it to the greater totality of a single cosmic, physical, moral, social continuum embraced within the providential finality of the divine. They assume, then, that from the “is” of a thing legitimate conclusions regarding its “ought” can be discerned, because nature herself””through her evident forms””instructs us in the elements of moral fulfillment. In our age, however, final causality is a concept confined within an ever more beleaguered and porous intellectual redoubt. One can easily enough demonstrate the reality of finality within nature, but modern scientific culture refuses to view it as in any sense a cause rather than the accidental consequence of an immanent material process….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

May God the Father Almighty bless me with his Holy Spirit this day; guard me in my going out and coming in; keep me ever steadfast in his faith, free from sin and safe from danger; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

–Psalm 38:21-22

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Former Player and) broadcaster Pat Summerall, a familiar voice for 4 decades, dead at 82

Pat Summerall was the calm alongside John Madden’s storm.

Over four decades, Summerall described some of the biggest games in America in his deep, resonant voice. Simple, spare, he delivered the details on 16 Super Bowls, the Masters and the U.S. Open tennis tournament with a simple, understated style that was the perfect complement for the “booms!” and “bangs!” of Madden, his football partner for the last half of the NFL player-turned-broadcaster’s career.

Summerall died Tuesday at age 82 of cardiac arrest, said University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center spokesman Jeff Carlton, speaking on behalf of Summerall’s wife, Cheri.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, Media, Parish Ministry, Sports