Daily Archives: April 25, 2013

U.S. Says It Suspects Assad Used Chemical Weapons

The White House said on Thursday that American intelligence agencies now believed, with “varying degrees of confidence,” that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons, but it said it needed conclusive proof before President Obama would take action.

The disclosure, in letters to Congressional leaders, takes the administration a step closer to acknowledging that President Bashar al-Assad has crossed a red line established by Mr. Obama last summer, when he said the United States would take unspecified action against Syria if there was evidence that chemical weapons had been used in the civil war.

The White House emphasized that, “given the stakes involved,” the United States still needed “credible and corroborated facts” before deciding on a course of action. The letter, signed by the president’s director of legislative affairs, Miguel E. Rodriguez, said the United States was pressing for a “comprehensive United Nations investigation that can credibly evaluate the evidence and establish what happened.”

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

David Murrow–Why traditional churches should stick with traditional worship

It’s an article of faith these days that contemporary worship is the way to go if you want your church to grow. Thousands of churches will be planted this year ”“ and every one will offer contemporary worship. Hymns are out ”“ love songs to Jesus are in.

Traditional churches have seen young believers flocking to megachurches, so naturally they want to get in on the growth. But this is foolish. Traditional churches lack the musical depth, computer controlled lighting and sound equipment that are needed to generate the “praise-gasm” that young believers associate with God. Rock music seems out of place in a brightly lit chapel with a communion table and stained glass.

People come to church to encounter God. A good worship service is transcendent; it helps people detach from this present world to connect with the divine. But when traditional churches try to be contemporary it usually comes across as forced, stilted or artificial. This dissonance jerks people back into the mundane world. Worshippers focus on the distraction instead of the Lord.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

At 105, Minneapolis AME Pastor Has No Plans To Retire

Sunday mornings at Wayman AME Church in Minneapolis brings a faithful crowd. But it’s quite likely no one there has said as many prayers as Noah Smith. It’s not just because he’s a preacher, it’s because he’s had more time to worship ”“ over a century in fact.

At 105, Smith is still hard at work, preaching at Wayman.

“My life is so busy with church and things now. I don’t even get to read the paper sometimes,” said Smith.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

NYC's Trinity Church Split on How to Manage the $2 Billion Legacy of a Queen

There has never been any doubt that Trinity Church is wealthy. But the extent of its wealth has long been a mystery; guessed at by many, known by few.

Now, however, after a lawsuit filed by a disenchanted parishioner, the church has offered an estimate of the value of its assets: more than $2 billion.

The Episcopal parish, known as Trinity Wall Street, traces its holdings to a gift of 215 acres of prime Manhattan farmland donated in 1705 by Queen Anne of England. Since then, the church has parlayed that gift into a rich portfolio of office buildings, stock investments and, soon, mixed-use residential development.

Read it all from today’s New York Times.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Stock Market, TEC Parishes, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

CIA pushed to add Boston bomber to terror watch list

The CIA pushed to have one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers placed on a U.S. counterterrorism watch list more than a year before the attacks, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Russian authorities contacted the CIA in the fall of 2011 and raised concerns that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed last week in a confrontation with police, was seen as an increasingly radical Islamist who could be planning to travel overseas.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Politics in General, Terrorism, The U.S. Government, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults

(STV) Scotland's first purpose-built Sikh temple prepares for opening

Scotland’s first purpose-built Sikh temple is preparing to open in Glasgow this weekend.

The £4m Gurdwara includes a prayer hall, language school and kitchen, which aims to provide free vegetarian meals to thousands of people every week.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Scotland

South Carolina honoring firefighting recruit who has moved forward after family killed in 2006

When Christan Rainey joined other firefighter recruits on an orientation tour of North Charleston, he grew silent as they passed by the mobile home where his family once lived.

Rainey, 28, had not laid eyes on the old homestead in Ferndale in seven years. Not since his mother and four siblings, ages 6 to 16, were slaughtered there in a burst of inexplicable violence attributed to his stepfather.

“Looking at it made me feel like it was Day One all over again,” he said softly. “It gave me one of the most eerie spiritual feelings ever.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire

(RNS) Boston amputees face a long spiritual struggle ahead

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings that left three dead and more than 260 injured, perhaps none face more significant adjustments or a longer road ahead than the 14 amputees who lost a limb.

For these victims, the path forward involves relearning almost everything, from getting out of bed to getting in a car. Whether they go on to lead satisfying lives depends largely on how they handle the spiritual challenges at hand, according to amputees and researchers.

Losing a limb is like losing a family member: It involves grief and mourning, according to Jack Richmond, a Chattanooga, Tenn., amputee who leads education efforts for the Manassas, Va.-based Amputee Coalition. When one’s body and abilities are radically changed, questions of meaning are suddenly urgent: Why did this happen? Why am I here?

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Spirituality/Prayer, Sports, Terrorism, Theodicy, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults

Hard to believe, but yes, is it the Harmon's 26th Wedding Anniversary Today

I deny any knowledge whatsoever of the people in this photograph.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, Harmon Family, History

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Mark

Almighty God, who by the hand of Mark the evangelist hast given to thy Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank thee for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light riseth up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldest have us to do; that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see light, and in thy straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–William Bright

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ. For this I toil, striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me.
For I want you to know how greatly I strive for you, and for those at Laodice”²a, and for all who have not seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in love, to have all the riches of assured understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with beguiling speech. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

–Colossians 1:24-2:7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Reuters) Planning for Boston Marathon security included bombing scenario

The security planning for last week’s Boston Marathon, where two bombs went off killing three people and wounding 264, included preparation for such an emergency, a top Massachusetts public safety official said on Wednesday.

“We spend months planning for the marathon. We did a tabletop exercise the week before that included a bombing scenario in it,” Kurt Schwartz, the state’s undersecretary for homeland security, told a panel at Harvard University.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Sports, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults

Pastor Saeed Abedini Praying for Boston Bombing Victims From Iranian Prison

U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is currently suffering from internal bleeding in Iranian prison, said that he is praying for America in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and left over 200 injured last week.

“Pastor Saeed told family members he had heard about the terrorist bombings in Boston on the prison radio, expressed his concern, and told them he is praying for the victims and their families during this very challenging time for our nation,” the American Center for Law and Justice revealed on Monday.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East, Spirituality/Prayer, Sports, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults

Diocese of Melbourne building on links with Myanmar Church

Archbishop Philip Freier, who led a team to Myanmar in February, is now promoting efforts ”“ incorporating organisations and individuals beyond the diocese – to follow up the two week visit to the country which is only now emerging from 60 years of isolation under a military dictatorship.

In April, he hosted at Bishopscourt a diverse group of 35 people, including several Burmese clergy and other leaders, to discuss priorities in building on the links now established ”“ which has already triggered further networking to plan action.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Asia, Myanmar/Burma