Daily Archives: September 21, 2013

(Foreign Affairs) Nadieszda Kizenko–Russia's Orthodox Awakening

When the Russian Orthodox Church is in the news, which has been quite often of late, the image that comes to mind is of an army of archbishops and abbots, commanded by Patriarch Kirill I, operating in conspiracy with the country’s authoritarian rulers in the Kremlin. This is not without reason. The church’s conservative clerics have, in fact, given their support to the government’s most polarizing recent laws, including the jailing of three members of Pussy Riot for offending believers’ religious sensibilities, legislation proscribing “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” and the institution of a limit of three legal marriages per Russian, to discourage divorce.

But to conclude that the Russian Orthodox Church is nothing more than a bastion of extreme conservatives is to miss the many ways that change is being forced upon it. In some sense, the church’s ultraconservatism is on the wane — for confirmation, one need only look to what’s happening among the laity, rather than to the very top of the church’s hierarchy. Devout Orthodox Christian journalists, academics, and political scientists — as well as free-thinking priests — are becoming increasingly assertive as alternative spokespeople for their faith. This burgeoning Orthodox intelligentsia is already posing a challenge to the conservative church hierarchy and, by extension, to Vladimir Putin’s regime.

This is not the first time that the church has produced prominent dissident intellectuals….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Russia

A Belfast Telegraph Article on the appointment of the first woman bishop in the UK and Ireland

The married mother of two, who grew up in Belfast, said she was both “excited and daunted” by the historic appointment.

“I have had an extraordinarily happy experience in St Augustine’s and in this wonderful city, which I will be sad to leave,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Women

(Irish Independent) Church of Ireland appoints first female bishop

The Church of Ireland has appointed its first ever woman bishop as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare.

Fifty-three-year-old Revd Pat (Patricia) Storey is married with two adult children and is currently Rector of St Augustine’s Parish in Derry.

She succeeds the Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Richard Clarke of Armagh, in the role.

Responding to the news, Archbishop Clarke said he was “certain that her ministry in the Dioceses of Meath and Kildare and the wider Church will be a blessing to many.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Women

Great Video Report on Joey Prusak, the 19 Year old Dairy Queen Manager who acted Heroically

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology

(Living Church) Daniel Muth reviews two recent books on Church Renewal

It is sobering to think that a movement such as Focolare ”” obedient to traditionalist leadership, uninterested in chic politics, and utterly devoid of narcissism or any desire to set Christ against his Church ”” has not emerged organically in the Episcopal Church for quite some time. Cursillo and the charismatic movement, both mentioned by Leahy, have taken hold ”” but they seem the exceptions that prove the rule. Both movements are heavily experiential, subjective, and, particularly when removed from the context of Roman Catholicism, wide open to any sort of leading or teaching, however flawed. Neither is organized sufficiently that it may be held accountable for how its adherents expound the faith once given (or fail to) and hence, not surprisingly, have been limited in what they have to offer the wider Church.

Renewal movements have been a constant in the life of the Christian Church. The vast majority of them have been monastic in one form or another. On the whole, the movements discussed by Leahy, and Focolare as presented by Masters and Uelmen, share much in common with these traditional forms of the Holy Spirit’s revivifying of his Church. They accept obedience to godly authority; share a common life in joy and self-sacrifice, open to creation while shunning the counterfeits of the world, the flesh and the devil; and, to one extent or another, maintain chastity as an essential ingredient. Anglicans who wish to recapture the spirit of Christian renewal should look to all three of these characteristics, helpfully presented in these encouraging books.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Ecclesiology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Archbishop Justin Welby sends greetings for Peace Day

Marking the International Day of Peace, the Archbishop of Canterbury has sent greetings to Peace One Day founder Jeremy Gilley…

Dear Jeremy,

Having made reconciliation one of the priorities of my ministry as Archbishop of Canterbury I am delighted to send my greetings and support for Peace One Day.

Over the last ten years you have given a fresh focus and energy to the United Nations International day for Peace, enabling the vision to be shared by a new generation in a world where conflict destroys the lives of many of our global citizens.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Washington Post) U.S. disability rolls swell in a rough economy

Between 2000 and 2012, the number of people in Penobscot County [Maine] receiving Social Security disability benefits skyrocketed, rising from 4,475 to 7,955 ”” or nearly one in 12 of the county’s adults between the ages of 18 and 64, according to Social Security statistics.

The fast expansion of disability here is part of a national trend that has seen the number of former workers receiving benefits soar from just over 5 million to 8.8 million between 2000 and 2012. An additional 2.1 million dependent children and spouses also receive benefits.

The crush of new recipients is putting unsustainable financial pressure on the program. Federal officials project that the program will exhaust its trust fund by 2016 ”” 20 years before the trust fund that supports Social Security’s old-age benefits is projected to run dry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Medicare, Middle Age, Psychology, Social Security, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(Globe and Mail) Anglican Church faces falling membership, deep divisions

More than 15,000 packed Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. Crowds thronged the lobby of the Royal York Hotel. Two hundred reporters scrambled for news and The Globe and Mail splashed the story on its front page.

Not for the Beatles or Muhammad Ali, but a congress of the Anglican Church.

It was late summer, 1963…Today, the church lives in reduced circumstances. The latest figures from the National Household Survey showed just more than 5 per cent of Canadians identify as Anglican, and only a third of those are actually on parish rolls.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Religion & Culture

(RNS) Anglican Communion faces troubled waters

Primates and bishops from the Global South attending a gathering here said current proposals for a new Anglican Communion covenant don’t go far enough to heal the conflict in the communion over homosexuality.

The Wednesday (Sept. 18) gathering to mark the 50th anniversary of the Toronto Anglican Congress, suggested the worldwide Anglican Communion faces troubled waters. Anglicans from the Global South prepare to meet for their second Global Anglican Future Conference next month and the Toronto meeting showed no signs of reconciliation.

Archbishop Ian Ernest, primate of the province of the Indian Ocean, said decisions by the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada on issues involving homosexuality have torn the fabric of communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop Dan Martins Provides Further Detail on the House of Bishops' Theology Committe Report

The second half of the afternoon was owned by the House of Bishops Ecclesiology Committee. Most of the bishops were not aware there was even such a thing as an HOB Ecclesiology Committee, and my impression was that most had not read the “primer” on ecclesiology that the committee had prepared and which was shared with bishops barely a week ago. This document sets forth an understanding of Episcopal Church polity that runs counter to that articulated by the Bishops’ Statement on Polity, a 2009 document to which I and my Communion Partner colleagues are committed. After some opening remarks by committee chair Pierre Whalon, TEC in Europe, we were turned loose for table discussions. When we reconvened and feedback was solicited, there was a consistent theme of discomfort with the notion–whether set forth historically or theologically–that General Convention has metropolitical authority, that we have eschewed having an archbishop, but that General Convention is, in fact, our archbishop. There were several other technical and historical errors that were pointed out as well. So my sense is that this document has effectively been re-referred to the committee that produced it, and that we will probably hear from them again down the road sometime.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Matthew

We thank thee, heavenly Father, for the witness of thine apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of thy Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, whose love is our life, open our hearts, we beseech thee, to receive thy gifts; take away from us coldness and calculation, the blindness of pride and the luxury of hurt feelings; pour out upon us thy quickening Spirit, that our dry places may be green again, and our whole being rejoice in thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now when the Lord was about to take Eli”²jah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Eli”²jah and Eli”²sha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 And Eli”²jah said to Eli”²sha, “Tarry here, I pray you; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Eli”²sha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Eli”²sha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he said, “Yes, I know it; hold your peace.”

Eli”²jah said to him, “Eli”²sha, tarry here, I pray you; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Eli”²sha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know it; hold your peace.”
Then Eli”²jah said to him, “Tarry here, I pray you; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Eli”²jah took his mantle, and rolled it up, and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Eli”²jah said to Eli”²sha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Eli”²sha said, “I pray you, let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Eli”²jah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Eli”²sha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.

Then he took hold of his own clothes and rent them in two pieces. And he took up the mantle of Eli”²jah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the mantle of Eli”²jah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Eli”²jah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other; and Eli”²sha went over.

Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho saw him over against them, they said, “The spirit of Eli”²jah rests on Eli”²sha.” And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him. And they said to him, “Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men; pray, let them go, and seek your master; it may be that the Spirit of the Lord has caught him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley.” And he said, “You shall not send.” But when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, “Send.” They sent therefore fifty men; and for three days they sought him but did not find him. And they came back to him, while he tarried at Jericho, and he said to them, “Did I not say to you, Do not go?”

–2 Kings 2:1-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Eric Metaxas on the recent New Mexico Supreme Court Ruling–So pretend you’re a photographer….

You may remember a little over a week ago on BreakPoint, John Stonestreet gave you his reaction to an outrageous ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court; a ruling that John said, “eviscerates” religious freedom.

Now “eviscerates” is a strong word. Unfortunately, John was 100 percent right to use it….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Makes the Heart Glad Dept.–Praise Pours In For Dairy Queen Manager Who Helped A Blind Man

Today’s good-guy award goes to Joey Prusak of Hopkins, Minn.

Prusak, a Dairy Queen manager, back on Sept. 10 saw a woman pick up a $20 bill that a blind customer dropped. When Prusak told her to give it back, she refused. So, the 19-year-old manager refused to serve her. He then took $20 of his own money and gave it to the visually impaired customer.

Prusak’s good deed might have gone unnoticed. But, as KARE-TV reports “Other customers saw what happened….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Theology