Daily Archives: March 20, 2014

Anglican TV interviews Bishop Mark Lawrence

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Theology

Terry Mattingly–Time for another rant about Lent

With Ash Wednesday behind them, online friends of Hollywood screenwriter Barbara Nicolosi braced themselves for what has become a Lenten tradition ”” fasting-day manifestos from the witty former nun.

“It’s a Friday of Lent dear Catholic brethren. And you know what that means,” she wrote on Facebook. “Corporate Sacrifice Power Activate! No meat. No braised oxtail. No venison medallions. No veal short ribs. No rabbit sausage. NO MEAT. No Muscovy Duck. No Turkey jerky. No Kangaroo Loin Fillets. nO mEAt. No elk flank steaks. No Wagyu beef. No Chicken Kiev. No MeAt. No meat. No meat. NO MEAT.”

In case anyone missed the point, Nicolosi has strong convictions about the tendency these days among Sunday Mass Catholics to assume that centuries of traditions about fasting and the spiritual disciplines of Lent have been erased from the church’s teachings and canon law.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(The Hill) Affordable Care Act premiums to skyrocket

Health industry officials say ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country, countering claims recently made by the administration.

The expected rate hikes will be announced in the coming months amid an intense election year, when control of the Senate is up for grabs. The sticker shock would likely bolster the GOP’s prospects in November and hamper ObamaCare insurance enrollment efforts in 2015.

The industry complaints come less than a week after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to downplay concerns about rising premiums in the healthcare sector. She told lawmakers rates would increase in 2015 but grow more slowly than in the past.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Theology

The recent Pew Forum Research on Changes in Religious Affiliation

Americans change religious affiliation early and often. In total, about half of American adults have changed religious affiliation at least once during their lives. Most people who change their religion leave their childhood faith before age 24, and many of those who change religion do so more than once. These are among the key findings of a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. The survey documents the fluidity of religious affiliation in the U.S. and describes in detail the patterns and reasons for change….

Read it all (72 page pdf).

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

(IM) Michael Bell Examines one Aspect of The Pew Forum Data on religious Switching

Today I wanted to focus on the “when” and the “why” this hemorrhaging was occurring, but as I have been pondering the data, the “when” seemed to really stand out as being important. I was reminded of my preaching classes back in seminary, when our professor, Dr. Peter Ralph, would constantly remind us to find the “big idea” that needed to be communicated from the biblical text. I think the same holds true when looking at survey data. Here is the “big idea” that jumped out at me when going through the Flux survey data and reports:

Most religious life decisions, even among those who have been open to change, has been set by age 23.

Of those who were raised Protestant (Evangelical, Mainline, and Historical Black), and are now “unaffiliated with any religious group”, 85% left their childhood faith before the age of 24. Of those who were raised Catholic and were now unaffiliated, 79% left before the age of 24. The same holds true for those coming back the other way. Of those raised unaffiliated, but who are now affiliated with a religious group, 72% left the ranks of the unaffiliated before the age of 24.

I can’t emphasize enough how huge this is. I will state this again: Most religious life decisions, even among those who have been open to change, has been set by age 23.

Read it all.

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

Two Camden vicars to defy Church of England ban on blessing same-sex marriages

Banning marriage blessings for gay couples could be “illegal” and we will fight for equality.

This is the message from two Camden vicars who have vowed to defy a Church of England ban on blessing gay marriages and open their churches to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples, ahead of the first same-sex weddings in the UK next week.

In what could become a test case, the Rev Anne Stevens, of St Pancras New Church, in Euston, and Father Andrew Cain, of St James’s in West Hampstead and St Mary’s in Kilburn, will campaign for the law to be changed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Connecticut Ponders Doctor-Aided Suicide

A proposed law to allow Connecticut physicians to assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives has opened a debate about the nature of sin, what constitutes an invasion of privacy, even the definition of suicide.

The bill has struck a chord with people such as Sara Myers, 59 years old, of Kent, Conn., who said she supported the concept even before she was diagnosed three years ago with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. She said she was unsure whether she would ever opt to end her life but would like the right to seek a doctor’s help if she decided to do so.

“The emotional comfort of knowing that if I got to the point where I didn’t want to go on””that I could do it in a loving and peaceful way and not put anybody in legal jeopardy””would just let me rest a whole lot easier,” Ms. Myers told lawmakers on Monday at a legislative hearing on the bill.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, State Government

(FT) The Church and Civil Marriage

No-fault divorce changed the American culture of marriage. So did the sexual revolution. Now proponents of gay rights are redefining marriage at an even more fundamental level. What’s to be done? As a post-biblical vision of sex, gender, and marriage gains the upper hand in our society, should our religious institutions get out of marriage? Should priests, pastors, and rabbis renounce their roles as deputies of state authority in marriage? Or should we sustain the close links between religious and civil marriage?

To help us think more clearly about these issues, we asked eight writers to respond to the following question: With the legal affirmation of same-sex marriage in some states, should churches, synagogues, and mosques stop performing civil marriages?

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology

(C of E) £20m for urgent cathedral repairs "welcome"

The Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England warmly welcomes the announcement of a new two-year £20 million fund for repairs to cathedrals, announced in the Chancellor’s Budget today.

Cathedrals are a key part of forming the cultural identity of many of England’s cities, and are powerful symbols of our shared history. But this does not mean they are just icons of the past. They are active community hubs and are at the centre of several urban regeneration plans, including Peterborough, Leicester and Blackburn, which are all creating cathedral quarters.

The Church of England’s 42 cathedrals alone welcome over 11m visitors a year with only 6,000 staff but over 15,000 dedicated volunteers; demonstrating how much cathedrals contribute to, but also depend upon, the communities around them. Church of England Cathedrals generate annually at least £350 million for the economy.

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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, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

A Doxology from Thomas Ken for his Feast Day

To God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts: to the one true God be all love and all glory for time and for eternity.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Thomas Ken

Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Thomas Ken grace and courage to bear witness to the truth before rulers and kings: Give us also thy strength that, following his example, we may constantly defend what is right, boldly reprove what is evil, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God, from whom every good prayer cometh, and who pourest out on all who desire it the spirit of grace and supplication: Deliver us, when we draw near to thee, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind; that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affection we may worship thee in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–William Bright

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For thou, O Lord, art my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. Upon thee I have leaned from my birth; thou art he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of thee.

–Psalm 71:5-6

Posted in Uncategorized

North Carolina Pastor Launches 'WikiWorship' to Help Shape Interactive Sunday Sermons

A North Carolina pastor has established a website with the purpose of seeking questions from the public that he can address in his sermons each Sunday and helps attenders interact during the services.

Known as “WikiWorship,” the online project is overseen by United Methodist Reverend Philip Chryst, who is a student at the Duke Divinity School. Individuals submit their questions to Chryst via the website or via email and he addresses them during a worship service he oversees in Wilmington known as The Anchor.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Chryst explained that the origin of WikiWorship comes from a sermon at Duke Divinity School’s Goodson Chapel.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Manchester United Survive to go on in the Champions League

David de Gea Double save toward the end of the first half saved the game; it was so great to see Rooney and Van Persie combining well for a change.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Greece, Men, Sports