Daily Archives: August 10, 2013
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah announced a $100 million gift for a U.N. counterterrorism center, declaring that religious extremism in the wake of the Arab Spring posed a greater danger to the Arab community at large “than the weapons of our visible enemies.”
The urgent tone of the king’s warning, in a statement Wednesday night marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, emphasized the continuing concerns by the world’s leading oil producer over security in the aftermath of revolutions that started in late 2010 elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.
Saudi Arabia has arguably emerged from the popular uprisings as the region’s most influential political power, and as the most active opponent of Islamically oriented political movements and Islamically driven armed groups. Critics charge that the kingdom also often cracks down on rights activists at home, efforts the government has said are in the name of fighting terror.
Bishop Paul V. Marshall of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem began a sabbatical Aug. 1 that will lead to his retirement on Jan. 1, 2014, from a position he has held for 17 years.
Marshall, 66, said he is retiring for reasons of advanced age.
At the beginning of the month, he turned over ecclesiastical authority to the diocese’s standing committee, which consists of five lay and five ordained members. The Rev. Canon Andrew T. Gerns of Trinity Episcopal Church in Easton is president of the committee.
Malaysia is clamping down on Shi’ism, the second branch of Islamic orthodoxy, in a move that appears to have both religious and political overtones.
The nationwide crackdown began last month with the ban of local Shi’ite group Pertubuhan Syiah Malaysia. The same month, state governments gazetted a 1996 fatwa issued by the National Fatwa Council that declared Shi’ism deviant and therefore haram or impermissible.
There is also a witch hunt that has been going on for Shi’ite believers in four universities in Selangor and the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur, as well as in the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).
In truth, the connection between SouthLake and Roosevelt very much fit into a plan. It was a plan devised by an especially odd couple ”” Sam Adams, the first openly gay mayor of Portland, and Kevin Palau, the scion of an evangelical association created by his father, Luis. And their plan has delivered thousands of evangelical volunteers not only to Roosevelt, but also to scores of other public schools in the area and to public agencies dealing with homelessness and foster care.
The Portland model, as it might be called, has brought its two founders inquiries from about 50 other cities and hundreds of churches across the country. While avoiding the tripwire of church-state separation, the program here has addressed two needs: that of urban mayors coping with static or falling budgets for public services, and that of a young generation of evangelical Christians drawn to the cause of social justice.
“Young evangelicals absolutely want their faith to be relevant,” said Mr. Palau, who is 50. “The world they grew up in and got tired of was the media portrait of evangelicals are against you, or evangelicals even hate you. Young evangelicals are saying, ”˜Surely we want to be known by what we’re for.’ ”
An aging population and the associated end-of-life challenges have combined to keep assisted suicide at the center of the nation’s moral concerns. But few other debates so sharply divide the public as the question of whether or when to end the life of someone who is dying or suffering.
In May 2013, Vermont became the fourth state to allow assisted suicide, and right-to-die laws have been under consideration recently in several other states.
St. Pierre’s Episcopal Church, near Bayou Pierre in Gautier, has a colorful history. Built in 1921, the church was the brain child of the Rev. Theodore DuBose Bratton, who served as the third bishop of Mississippi.
Bratton had a summer home near Oldfields in Gautier.
In 1921, Gautier was a simple railroad community with no church. St. Pierre’s became a community project as more and more people jumped on the bandwagon to help get the fledgling church built. Rev. John Chipman, vicar of St. John’s in Pascagoula, drew up the plans, and his son carved the date on the cornerstone, Nov. 12, 1921.
Bishop Bruce Caldwell, who leads St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis, said the church set up a booth in Loring Park during the Pride Festival in June advertising that it would perform gay weddings. So far, about eight same-sex weddings are scheduled at the church, he said.
“These folks really do want to get married and commit their lives to one another in a faithful union before God,” Caldwell said.
John Green, a professor at the University of Akron in Ohio who has written extensively about politics and religion, said churches that recognize same-sex unions will adapt as time goes on.
Amid persistent criticism that the U.S. marginalizes religion and religious people in its foreign policy, Secretary of State John Kerry Aug. 7 tapped ethicist and campaign adviser Shaun Casey to lead the State Department’s new Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives.
Casey is a professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington and advised President Obama’s campaign and other Democrats on outreach to religious voters.
Kerry praised Casey as someone who understands how the U.S. can engage religious communities around the world to foster peace and development.
With falling birthrates and rising life expectancies, the U.S. population is rapidly aging. By 2050, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections, one-in-five Americans will be 65 or older, and at least 400,000 will be 100 or older.1 Some futurists think even more radical changes are coming, including medical treatments that could slow, stop or reverse the aging process and allow humans to remain healthy and productive to the age of 120 or more. The possibility that extraordinary life spans could become ordinary life spans no longer seems far-fetched. A recent issue of National Geographic magazine, for example, carried a picture of a baby on its cover with the headline: “This Baby Will Live To Be 120.”
Almighty God, who didst call thy deacon Laurence to serve thee with deeds of love, and didst give him the crown of martyrdom: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, following his example, may fulfil thy commandments by defending and supporting the poor, and by loving thee with all our hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
We give thee hearty thanks, O heavenly Father, for the rest of the past night, and for the gift of a new day, with its opportunities of pleasing thee. Grant that we may so pass its hours in the perfect freedom of thy service, that at eventide we may again give thanks unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
–Daybreak Office of the Eastern Church
On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.
…why does this corrected dating matter? First of all, it validates McGrath’s conclusions in C. S. Lewis: A Life about the actual dating of Lewis’s conversion to Theism. Secondly, it shows us how easily mistakes can arise, especially regarding dates. Sometimes, Lewis was wrong.
And if nothing else, this bit of chronological detective work issues a fairly clear call for increased precision and depth in the scholarship on Lewis, all the more so at a time when his star continues to rise.