Daily Archives: May 29, 2013

Gallup–Most Americans Say Religion Is Losing Influence in U.S.

Over three-quarters of Americans (77%) say religion is losing its influence on American life, while 20% say religion’s influence is increasing. These represent Americans’ most negative evaluations of the impact of religion since 1970, although similar to the views measured in recent years.

Americans over the years have generally been more likely to say religion is losing rather than increasing its influence in American life. In addition to the previous peak in views that religion was losing its influence measured in 1969 and 1970, at least 60% of Americans thought religion was losing its influence in 1991-1994, in 1997 and 1999, in 2003, and from 2007 to the present.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

(ACNS) Archbishop of Cape Town encourages Anglican Communion to Think.Eat.Save

The Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, the chair of the Anglican Communion Environment Network (ACEN), is encouraging the 85 million Anglicans in 38 Provinces to use new ACEN prayers and resources from South Africa and England in church services on or around Environment Sunday (2nd June) and World Environment Day (5th June). They include a children’s prayer (written by 10-year-old Jackie from South Africa) and are available here.

This year’s World Environment Day theme – Think.Eat.Save – encourages people worldwide to reduce their ‘foodprint’. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. At the same time, one in every seven people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of five die daily from hunger-related causes.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology

Michael Bird reviews the new book on Anglican Bibliology: "The Once and Future Scriptures"

Peter Catt (“Scripture, Science, and the Big Story”) is the oddest piece, arguing that we should reject the biblical storyline since it created the oppressive “Christendom narrative” and opt instead for a meta-narrative based on quantum physics and evolution.

I would aver that the central contention of this book is that Scripture is safe for progressive Christians because it is not normative but is negotiable. I would even argue that the primary aim is to reject the notion that Scripture is the “norming norm” as tradition has often put it, thus freeing us to either cherry pick its contents, or to disregard it entirely. The book, for reasons well-motivated given the context, is about liberty from biblical authority and imagining an Anglican future where the Bible has no more authority than archived copies of the church bulletin.

Let me say that I understand the dilemma of grappling with difficult passages (difficult theologically, historically, and ethically) and trying to show the relevance of a book that includes pre-scientific creation accounts, ancient near eastern law codes, Jewish poetry, Graeco-Roman biographies, lengthy letters with heavily didactic content, and an Apocalypse, all written in times and places very foreign to our own time and place.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Commentary, Books, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Michael Nazir Ali–British Churches have 'capitulated to secularism' which whitewash Islam

British schools are helping to boost Islamism with politically correct lessons that tell black pupils that slavery was entirely the fault of English and Americans, and omit the long and vicious history of Arab slave trading, according to an influential Church of England bishop.

In an exclusive interview for our Telegram podcast, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali ”“ a Pakistani-born scholar who resigned as Bishop of Rochester in 2009 in order to train Christians facing persecution ”“ says “the Churches have generally capitulated to secular culture and therefore cannot bring a distinctive voice to public debate”.

They have neglected human relations, especially the family, in favour of “welfarism” that teaches that the state should provide all the goods that citizens need. All this adds up to the slow death of people’s sense of themselves as spiritual beings ”“ and this affects “even people who go to church”.

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Posted in Uncategorized

In Colorado Churches to bless cyclists, bikes they ride up on

Cyclists gearing up for summer bike rides can take a detour to the Blessing of the Bicycles on June 2, when four local churches will offer a few spiritual and inspirational words for bike enthusiasts.

The Blessing of the Bicycles kicks off Walk and Bike Month and also serves as a bicycle parts drive for Community Cycles, a bike advocacy nonprofit group.

“My road and mountain bikes are my beloved friends, and as an older cyclist riding on busy roads, I can use all the prayers and blessing I can get. I thought there must be other people out there who would feel likewise,” said the Rev. Susan Springer, rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church, who established the bicycle blessing.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sports, TEC Parishes

(Wash. Post Wonkblog) The Economy is holding up surprisingly well in a year of austerity

A U.S. economy that was supposed to be barely hanging on is starting to look surprisingly robust.

Housing prices rose faster over the past year than they have in the past seven, according to data out Tuesday. Consumer confidence hit its highest level in five years. The stock market rallied another 0.6 percent as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500, leaving it just short of an all-time high reached last week. And the national retail price of gasoline fell for six days straight through Monday and is down 16 cents a gallon since late February.

It adds up to this reality: In a year when tax increases and spending cuts by the federal government were expected to bleed life out of the economy, the strengthening housing and financial markets are proving to be more powerful than acts of Congress.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Senate, Stock Market, The U.S. Government

(CC blogs) Tyler Day–Ben Haggerty[Macklemore]'s theology

A theology professor of mine liked to remind our class that everyone’s a theologian. I don’t think he meant that everyone’s a particularly good theologian or has something significant or meaningful to say. The point was that we should always be on the lookout for how people theologize, how they conceive of God in real life.

You may not find a more popular theologian right now than Macklemore. I doubt he’d be too keen on that label. But when the hip-hop chart topper isn’t busy thrift shopping with his producer Ryan Lewis, he seems fairly interested in the feasibility of God in human experience.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music, Religion & Culture, Theology

(FT) US housing lift could crimp Federal Reserve buying

The largest rise in house prices for seven years and a surge in consumer confidence have added to a fast-improving US economic outlook, increasing the chances the Federal Reserve will slow its $85bn-a-month in asset purchases.

House prices jumped 10.9 per cent in March from last year’s levels, the biggest increase since the height of the housing boom in 2006, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index. The rise in prices for homes and other assets helped push the Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence to its strongest level for five years.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Federal Reserve, Housing/Real Estate Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Bobby McFerrin's Music and Faith

[KIM] LAWTON: McFerrin says his Christian faith permeates everything he does. But it’s particularly evident in his new album, “spirityouall,” which includes his interpretation of classic African-American spirituals and several devotional songs that he wrote. The project honors the legacy of his father, Robert McFerrin, Sr., the first African American to sing a title role at the Metropolitan Opera. The senior McFerrin also released an album of spirituals, Deep River, in 1957.

[BOBBY] MCFERRIN: I never heard my father pray. I know that he got on his knees many times before he went to bed at night and prayed, but I always heard him pray whenever he sang these spirituals.

LAWTON: McFerrin says songs like “Every Time I Feel the Spirit” still resonate today.

MCFERRIN: I certainly try to pray them as I’m singing them. That’s important. And the hope is that when people hear these pieces that they’ll carry them home with them and then they’ll inspire them to begin a spiritual journey or to continue on it.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Music, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord, who didst bid thy seraph purge the prophet’s lips with the fire from off thy altar, so that he might be free to preach thy Word unto the people: Give thy priests and people within the Catholic Church pure and wise hearts, that so they may desire to go whither thou dost send them, and do that which thou dost will, in the power of him through whom we can do all things, even thy blessed Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Wilfred Hornby

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

When you beget children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a graven image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you are going over the Jordan to possess; you will not live long upon it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you. And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of men’s hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice, for the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not fail you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers which he swore to them.

–Deuteronomy 4:25-31

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Church of Ireland Episcopal Electoral College fails to appoint new bishop of Meath and Kildare

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland

In Aiken, South Carolina, a Dog given only weeks to live saves his owner's life

Nobody was injured in the fire, and Viola suffered from just a little smoke inhalation. Viola said most of what happened that night was a blur, but he does remember that it was terrifying.

Though much of Viola’s belongings were destroyed in the fire, it doesn’t matter much to him because he still has his dogs.

“The dogs were the most important thing. They can’t be replaced, and that’s the only thing I was worried about,” Viola said. “I’m very grateful that he (Ace) got out. I would have went from room to room to find him.”

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Posted in Uncategorized

(NPR) Stephen King On Growing Up, Believing In God And Getting Scared

On his belief in God and whether it has changed over time

“I choose to believe it. … I mean, there’s no downside to that. If you say, ‘Well, OK, I don’t believe in God. There’s no evidence of God,’ then you’re missing the stars in the sky and you’re missing the sunrises and sunsets and you’re missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together. Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design. But, at the same time, there’s a lot of things in life where you say to yourself, ‘Well, if this is God’s plan, it’s very peculiar,’ and you have to wonder about that guy’s personality ”” the big guy’s personality. And the thing is ”” I may have told you last time that I believe in God ”” what I’m saying now is I choose to believe in God, but I have serious doubts and I refuse to be pinned down to something that I said 10 or 12 years ago. I’m totally inconsistent.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Religion & Culture

Living Church Essays on South Carolina (III): Colin Podmore–Beyond Provincialism

Jesse Zink is therefore quite right: the Diocese of South Carolina cannot properly remain independent indefinitely. To be faithful not just to Anglican but more importantly to catholic ecclesiology, its bishops should belong to a province.

Once litigation in the secular courts is concluded, this could be achieved in several ways. There could be reconciliation with the Episcopal Church’s national leadership ”” we should always pray for reconciliation leading to the visible unity of the Church, however remote human sinfulness may make that prospect seem. Or the diocese could join the Anglican Church in North America or (less ideally) a more distant Anglican province.

Alternatively, it could follow the Sudan model, to which Zink points, and become a province by dividing into four dioceses. Half of one U.S. state, with fewer than 80 congregations and 30,000 baptized members, might be thought rather small to form a separate province. However, in 1998 the geographically and numerically much smaller Diocese of Hong Kong and Macao was divided into three dioceses (with only 38 congregations between them) and a “missionary area.” This enabled it to become a freestanding province of the Anglican Communion instead of joining the Church of the Province of South East Asia, which was formed in 1996 by the more conservative extra-provincial dioceses with which it had previously been associated.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology