Monthly Archives: November 2013

(CC) Arthur Remillard–Warrior culture and muscle men in the NFL

Just as the lines between games and war are fluid, the opposite is also sometimes the case. In his 1938 book Homo Ludens, Johan Huizinga draws attention to 2 Samuel 2:14, when Abner challenges Joab to combat by announcing, “Let the young men now arise and play before us.” The ensuing battle confirms for Huizinga that “Play is battle and battle is play.”

Huizinga insists, however, that both the player and the warrior live by a code of honor, one shaped by “courage,” “tenacity” and access to “spiritual powers.” In other words, these are not lawless misanthropes. Advocates of the “muscular Christian” movement of the mid-19th century made similar distinctions as they acclaimed the high virtues of athletics. British author Thomas Hughes depicted the mindless “muscle man” as someone who exploits his body and succumbs to his “fierce and brutal passions.” The “muscular Christian,” on the other hand,

has hold of the old chivalrous and Christian belief, that a man’s body is given him to be trained and brought into subjection, and then used for the protection of the weak, the advancement of all righteous causes, and the subduing of the earth.

With this in mind, we might conclude that the Incognito affair unveils not the problems of a “warrior culture” but rather an absence of it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Men, Sports, Theology, Violence

(Bloomberg) Stephen Carter–Are Three Parents One Too Many?

I hadn’t heard about the controversy over the three-parent embryo until my wife brought it to my attention: The U.K. may soon approve a regulatory proposal that would allow scientists to create a human embryo using the DNA of three individuals. The idea is to remove damaged maternal DNA and replace it with genetic material from another woman, in order to reduce the risk of transmitting a mitochondrial disorder.

This all sounds on the surface very clean and high-tech and altruistic. Yet it turns out that lots of people oppose it, including members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and members of the European Parliament involved in its Bioethics Intergroup. What’s striking is how the opponents span the political spectrum. The open letter from the Bioethics Intergroup, for example, was signed by representatives of both the Conservative and Green parties….

The fear, in other words, is that the DNA modifications will take root not only in the child born of the adjusted embryo, but in all of that child’s descendants….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(BBC) Irish Anglicans install the Rev. Pat Storey as bishop

The UK and Ireland’s first woman bishop has been consecrated by the Anglican Church at a service in Dublin on Saturday.

The Reverend Pat Storey, a rector in Londonderry, was appointed in September.

She was elected by the Church of Ireland as Bishop of Meath and Kildare, in the Republic of Ireland.

Read it all.

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

(Matt Anderson) Why Young Evangelicals should Support Hobby Lobby

Of course, this is a case where the religious practices of the business are conflicting with the government’s directives about the sort of health care its employees are obligated to expect. We’ve been through the arguments surrounding it before, so I’m not keen on repeating all of that. I’ll simply point to this excellent paper that lays out the legal case for Hobby Lobby’s defense and open the floor, er, comments for anyone who reads it and disagrees to make the case.

But this case will be a real conflict for young evangelicals, for whom the distribution of birth control sometimes seems like a shibboleth that borders on a right. For many of them, I suspect the wariness toward Hobby Lobby and the conservative case on this question has more to do with commitments to contraception personally and as a social good than any understanding of religious liberty or corporate religious beliefs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Young Adults

A NY Times Article on Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan's Appearance on tomorrow's "Meet The Press"

In the interview, Cardinal Dolan said the church had been “out-marketed” on the issue of same-sex marriage by Hollywood and by some politicians who have tried to paint the church in a negative light.

“We’re pro-marriage, we’re pro-traditional marriage, we’re not anti-anybody,” he said.

The cardinal’s comments on same-sex marriage come amid a recalibration of tone in the church on the issue of homosexuality, a move led by Pope Francis, even as the substance of its position remains largely unchanged.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

(NPR) 'The Coolest Thing Ever': How A Robotic Arm Changed 4 Lives

Three engineering undergrads at Rice University gave a teenager with a rare genetic disease something he’d always wished for: the ability to turn off the light in his room.

It may not seem like much, but for 17-year-old Dee Faught, it represents a new kind of independence.

Dee can’t operate a light switch because he can’t reach far enough from his wheelchair. He has a disorder called , also known as brittle bone disease. In addition to breaking easily, Dee’s bones are tiny. His legs and arms are all twisted up.

The three Rice students heard about Dee in an unusual freshman engineering class. Instead of learning engineering principles from a book, students form teams to come up with engineering solutions for real-world problems.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Andrew

Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thine apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of thy Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by thy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, who dost enkindle the flame of thy love in the hearts of the Saints; Grant to us, thy humble servants, the same faith and power of love; that, as we rejoice in their triumphs, we may profit by their examples; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–The Pastor’s Prayerbook

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

–1 Peter 4:12-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Time Magazine) Rick Warren shares what he is grateful grateful for this Thanksgiving 2013

I’m thankful that even though I don’t have all the answers, God does. In tragedy we seek explanations, but explanations never comfort. It is God’s presence that eases our pain.

I’m thankful that this life is not all there is. It’s not the end of the story. One day God will right all wrongs, even the odds and settle all accounts. Justice will be served. Evil will not win.

I’m thankful for the hope of heaven. I won’t have to live with pain forever. In heaven, there are no broken relationships, broken minds, broken bodies, broken dreams or broken promises. The Bible tells us, “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Eschatology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

([London] Times) Church of England faces fresh splits after report backs same-sex ”˜blessings’

Clergy would be free to bless same-sex relationships under proposals published by the Church of England, which were immediately condemned as “divisive” by Anglican conservatives.

The Church faces years of debate and new splits exceeding even those caused by women bishops as it attempts to adapt to modern mores on sex without losing its fast-growing conservative evangelical wing.

The report, by a working group set up by bishops, was chaired by the retired civil servant Sir Joseph Pilling. Although it does not describe such acts of worship as “blessings”, the report says there could be circumstances where a parish priest “should be free to mark the formation of a permanent same-sex relationship in a public service”.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A New statement on Civil Partnerships from the Scottish College of Bishops

In a previous statement the College indicated that it was the practice of the individual Bishops at that time neither to give official sanction to blessings of civil partnerships, nor to attend them personally. The Church does not give official sanction to informal blessings but each Bishop would nevertheless expect to be consulted by clergy prior to the carrying out of any informal blessing of a civil partnership in his diocese. The College is of the view that a decision as to whether or not to attend such an informal blessing should be a personal decision of the individual Bishop in question.

Read it all from Kelvin Holdsworth.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Inclusive Church responds to the Pilling Report

“Inclusive Church welcomes the publication of the report from the commission led by Sir Joseph Pilling. It is a reflection of careful listening to many voices in church and state, though listening and learning remains an ongoing task. We also look forward to the House of Bishops response and the guidance which will be issued to churches. We hope that this will enable all Christians to find ways of celebrating the covenantal love between people which reflects the love of God for all people.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A Statement from Anglican Mainstream on the release of the Pilling Report

From here:

We note that the Pilling Report has been released and we recognize the substantial amount of work that has gone into the consultation and writing of the report.

We can state at this stage that we stand with the historic, orthodox faith in its Anglican expression, under the authority of Scripture, to which the Book of Common Prayer, the Thirty Nine Articles and the Ordinal bear witness. We affirm the teaching of the Church of England that the appropriate context for a sexual relationship is only in a lifelong, faithful marriage between a man and a woman. This teaching will continue to be true, and is endorsed by the large majority of Christian churches historically and globally, as confirmed by the Nairobi Commitment of GAFCON 2013.

The summary of the Report that has been released suggests that a number of conclusions on the way forward have already been drawn, and that a programme of “facilitated conversations” will enable people with different views on sexuality to remain in the church together. The impression is given that a matter on which Scripture and tradition give clear theological and ethical direction is open to compromise by negotiation. However we would like to take time to study the document in detail before giving a full response.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CEN) Same sex ”˜blessings’ recommended in the Pilling Report

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture