Daily Archives: December 23, 2013

(Christian Today) In Britain, No religion 'is the new establishment'

More people than ever are identifying themselves as having ‘no religion’ according to new research.

Two surveys conducted by YouGov reveal that out of 8,455 British adults polled, 38 per cent – 3,199 in total – said they have ‘no religion’.

This is most notable in younger generations, with almost half (48 per cent) of those under 30 identifying themselves as having no religion, while only 27 per cent of over 60s said the same.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

(Religion Clause) Indiana Appeals Court: Sex Change of Spouse Does Not Invalidate Marriage

Read it all and take the time to read the court document also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

Miami chiropractic office must quit making its staff practice Scientology

A handful of employees–now ex-employees–of a Miami chiropractic office say they got more than a paycheck for their labors.

The workers say they were force-fed an indoctrination in the rituals of Scientology, the controversial religion that counts such celebrities as Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its members. Those rituals, the workers complained, included occasionally having to sit perfectly still in a spare room at the office, facing one another for an eight-hour stare-down–as well as yelling at ash trays and talking to the walls.

They also had to devour the books of the late L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology’s founder, including his seminal work, “Dianetics,” the complaint alleged.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

At Trinity Anglican Church, in Washington, Penna., City Mission holds ”˜longest night’ vigil

As the sky darkened outside Saturday, commencing the longest night of the year, the City Mission’s chapel in Washington also dimmed its lights. Faces bowed in prayer were dimly illuminated by flameless candles dotting the pews and Christmas decorations strung along the wall.

In addition to City Mission’s regular church services, the nonprofit organization held a “longest night vigil” Saturday for the winter solstice in remembrance of those who have died, and to recognize others still battling homelessness, addiction or illness.

Names were read aloud: Richard, Jack, Maggie, Papa, Pap Pap, Kenny and the list went on. Some people became emotional during the candlelit vigil as the names they had written down ”“ of loved ones lost, or still struggling ”“ were read from slips of paper placed in a basket.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Pastoral Theology, Poverty, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(Reuters) Fears grow of civil war in South Sudan as rebels seize town

South Sudan’s government said on Sunday rebels had seized the capital of a key oil-producing region and fears grew of all-out ethnic civil war in the world’s newest country.

The U.N. announced it was trying to rush more peacekeeping forces to landlocked, impoverished South Sudan as foreign powers urged both sides to stop fighting, fearing for the stability of an already fragile region of Africa.

The South Sudan government said on its Twitter account it was no longer in control of Bentiu, the capital of Unity State.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Sudan, Theology, Violence

(FT) Anti-corruption party to govern Delhi

India’s one-year-old Aam Aadmi party, formed by a former tax official turned crusading anti-corruption activist, announced on Monday that it will form the local government in New Delhi, after a stunning electoral debut that tapped into public anger against India’s incumbent political elites.

Like Italy’s Five Star Movement led by comedian come politician Beppe Grillo, the AAP is an electoral insurgency, which has tapped into deep Indian disgruntlement ”“ especially among its urban educated voters ”“ at the lack of accountability of established politicians, many of whom seem to treat electoral victories as blank cheques.

The strong wave of support for the party, which has managed to capture 30 per cent of the city’s vote, has shocked and dismayed the political establishment, and triggered near euphoria among disillusioned urban voters hoping for radical change.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Foreign Relations, India, Politics in General

(Washington Post) Islamic charity officials gave millions to al-Qaeda, U.S. says

When Qatar’s royal family was looking for advice on charitable giving, it turned to a well-regarded professor named Abd al-Rahman al-Nu’aymi. The 59-year-old educator had a stellar résumé that included extensive fundraising experience and years of work with international human rights groups.

But one apparent accomplishment was omitted from the list: According to U.S. officials, Nu’aymi also was working secretly as a financier for al-Qaeda, funneling millions of dollars to the terrorist group’s affiliates in Syria and Iraq even as he led campaigns in Europe for greater freedoms for Muslims.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology

(Local Paper) Charleston, S.C.'s own megachurch matures to serve community and the world

Once dubbed the city’s “rock and roll church,” Seacoast remains a place where jeans are expected, pastors use iPads on stage and worshipping with a Starbucks in hand is the norm.

But after 25 years, Seacoast pastors wrestle with a new dilemma: How do they welcome the unchurched while helping longtime members dig more deeply into their faith? For starters, they focus outward.

“It’s not about you and me. It’s about Jesus and seeking and saving those who are lost,” founding pastor Greg Surratt says.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Burial Space for U.S. Veterans Increasing at Rapid Pace

As interments of veterans and their dependents climb to a record level, the Department of Veterans Affairs is rushing to add burial space at the fastest rate since the Civil War.

The project is adding thousands of burial sites and vault spaces across the country. But a Nevada congresswoman is pressing the VA to add more national cemeteries, especially in Western states that now have few cemeteries but whose senior populations are growing.

“The prestige of being buried in a national cemetery is something every veteran is entitled to,” said Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat, who has been prodding the VA to open more such cemeteries in places like Nevada. It is among about a dozen U.S. states that lack a federally funded and operated national cemetery, and rely mostly on veterans’ cemeteries run by states or Native American tribal governments.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, The U.S. Government, Theology

Archbishop Justin Welby joins peace plea to South Sudan leaders

On behalf of our churches we appeal to the leaders in South Sudan to lay down their weapons and co-operate in seeking peace through dialogue and negotiation.

As we approach the celebration of the birth of our Saviour, the Prince of Peace, this is a time for the vulnerable, the weak and the poor to be spared the trauma of civil conflict.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, --South Sudan, Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Sudan, Theology, Violence

(Sun. Indepndt) Surplice to requirement? Church of England may cast off vicars’ robes

Anglican vicars could soon be allowed to cast off their traditional robes and wear casual clothes at “café-style” communion services.

In February the General Synod will debate a motion that calls for a change to the rule requiring clergy to wear formal vestments at services.

About a quarter of the Anglican church’s governing body backed the proposal, under which vicars would be able to wear ordinary clothes if their bishop and church council agreed. The author of the motion, the Reverend Christopher Hobbs, admitted this could mean clergy could wear shell suits, but insisted he was “not a trendy vicar” and that robes would continue to be worn.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Kendall Harmon's Sermon in the parish series on the Church–One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic

Listen to it all if you so desire.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Ecclesiology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty Father, whose blessed Son at his coming amongst us brought redemption unto his people, and peace to men of goodwill: Grant that, when he shall come again in glory to judge the world and to make all things new, we may be found ready to receive him, and enter into his joy; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ.

–Frederick B. Macnutt

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in thy tent for ever! Oh to be safe under the shelter of thy wings!

–Psalm 61:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Rebels in South Sudan Solidify Control

After a week of intense gunbattles, rebel factions allied with South Sudan’s former vice president were solidifying control of seized territory while humanitarian organizations warned of being overwhelmed with refugees from the fighting.

By Sunday, there were fewer reports of all-out clashes, but tens of thousands of South Sudanese continued to flee either to the relative safety of United Nations’ camps or across the border to Kenya and Uganda. About 42,000 people have taken shelter in the U.N. camps, the organization said, and some 60,000 overall have been displaced.

At least 500 people have been killed in the week of fighting in South Sudan. Though a political power struggle appears to have sparked the violence, it quickly turned into bloody ethnic clashes and has threatened to split the country along ethnic lines.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General, Sudan, Theology, Violence