Daily Archives: March 27, 2014

(Wired) How Vintage Tech Helped Us Track the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

The saga of MH370, the Malaysian Airlines flight missing for more than two weeks, seems to be entering its final chapter. Earlier this week, engineers developed a method to estimate the plane’s trajectory, and debris appear to have been spotted in satellite images.

While the technique used to track the flight path has been called “groundbreaking,” it actually rests on some fairly old-fashioned physics. In fact, the basic method has been used to conduct satellite search and rescue operations for more than 30 years, predating our always-connected, GPS-enabled world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Malaysia, Science & Technology, Travel

(Forecaster) Bowdoin College student (a Biochem major) helps bring light to end-of-life care

Before he graduates from Bowdoin College this year, Alex Doering wants to leave the greater Brunswick area better educated about a topic that is sometimes considered taboo for American families: end-of-life care.

That’s why Doering, with the help of others, is organizing a two-day symposium on the topic at Bowdoin this Friday and Saturday. The free, public event will include sessions with professors, doctors and local health workers that will explore death and dying through different lenses.

The symposium will also include a performance by actress Megan Cole, best known for her work in the popular TV series “ER,” in a piece called the “Wisdom of Wit,” a “dramatized lecture” of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play called “Wit,” that explores life “through the eyes of a 50-year-old professor of English Literature who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer,” according to Cole’s website.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Theology, Young Adults

(Sightings) Martin Marty–on the End of Elite Denominational Headquarters

Once upon a time, from the UUA on down, “Headquarters” buildings were statements of power: “Look! We are important! ”˜Notice us!’” But just as cathedrals don’t tower in an age of skyscrapers, so impressive-looking headquarters no longer draw notice. And “secularization” is only part of the reason for this change.

When we look at secular analogues, we see that newspaper and other publishing empires are down-sizing for many reasons, including digitalization and the demands and opportunities that come with the internet. Today denominational and agency business is largely transacted in ways that permit employees to work from home, committees to meet by Skype, Conference Call, and other digital means. Many in the “secular” public make up their minds about the power and value of religious works and workings not based on images of huge Interchurch Centers or denominational Power Houses, but based on what they do….

Planners in religious agencies may regret turning the key to close the Big House doors for the last time, but wise planners are using their skills and energies to advance their work through non-elite, less-strategically-located bases of operation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Theology, United Church of Christ

(BBC) MP urges Church of England clarity on same-sex marriage priests

A Labour MP is to challenge the Church of England to say whether it would defrock a priest for marrying a same-sex partner.

Ben Bradshaw has accused the Church of “trying to have its cake and eat it” by accepting same-sex marriage for its members, but not for its clergy.

The ex-cabinet minister said priests needed to know where they stood.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AP) ”˜Noah’s’ Emma Watson: ”˜more spiritual’ than religious

Did stepping into the world of “Noah” make you consider your own take on religion?

I already had the sense that I was someone who was more spiritual than specifically religious. … I’m really interested in those things that are more far-reaching than culture, nationality, race, religion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Movies & Television, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

What’s the Place of the Bible in American Christianity? Surprising Results from a New Survey

The complete 44-page report is worth reading in full, but they’ve nicely summarized some of the most interesting findings. What jumps out at you from this list of findings (quoted from the survey report)?

–There is a 50/50 split among Americans who read any form of scripture in the past year and those who did not. Among those who did, women outnumber men, older people outnumber younger people, and Southerners exceed those from other regions of the country.
–Among those who read any form of scripture in the past year, 95% named the Bible as the scripture they read. All told, this means that 48% of Americans read the Bible at some point in the past year. Most of those people read at least monthly, and a substantial number””9% of all Americans””read the Bible daily.
–Despite the proliferation of Bible translations, the King James Version is the top choice””and by a wide margin””of Bible readers.

Read it all.

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

(CNN Belief Blog) 5 things you didn't know about popes and presidents

President Barack Obama will meet with Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican, opening a new chapter in the centuries-long relationships between the United States and the Holy See.

While Obama has praised Francis’ focus on the poor, popes and American presidents haven’t always seen eye to eye.

With that in mind, here are five surprising encounters between the Commander in Chief and the Successor to St. Peter.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Office of the President, Other Churches, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

TEC House of Bishops concludes ”˜bridge-building’ spring retreat

Bishops are ”˜growing together as a house more deeply’

Read it all and you can find more information there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops

Christianity Today's World Vision Article is Updated, and the Comments Section says a lot Also

“What we are affirming today is there are certain beliefs that are so core to our Trinitarian faith that we must take a strong stand on those beliefs,” said Stearns. “We cannot defer to a small minority of churches and denominations that have taken a different position.”

“Yes, we will certainly defer on many issues that are not so central to our understanding of the Christian faith,” he said. “But on the authority of Scripture in our organization’s work [and employee conduct] … and on marriage as an institution ordained by God between a man and a woman””those are age-old and fundamental Christian beliefs. We cannot defer on things that are that central to the faith.”

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Bishop of Ramsbury (who is doing Lent 2014 Without a Car)–Episcopal Walks

We’re walking from Amesbury to Stratford sub Castle along the Woodford Valley. Amesbury was the site of a magnificent (Augustinian?) Abbey. Stratford is sub the Castle because once it stood at the foot of the hill on which Sarum’s Castle sat. The first Salisbury Cathedral was on the hill too. So we will be visiting our forebears.

Along the way we will be going to Wilsford and Great Durnford, which has the oldest pews in the country. Evensong at Stratford around 15.45. 10 miles.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, CoE Bishops, Lent, Travel

Charles Henry Brent for his Feast Day–Bp Mark Lawrence's address on him in 2008

In 1899 a relatively obscure priest working in a City Mission in the slums of South Boston was compiling a book on prayer from articles he had written for the Saint Andrew’s Cross, a magazine of the recently established lay order of the Protestant Episcopal Church known as the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. Seven years before, this celibate priest had left the Order of the Cowley Father’s whose House was just across the Charles River in Cambridge. Although he left the order over a dispute between his superior, Fr. A. C. A. Hall and the Order’s Father Superior in England, the young priest never left the inward embrace of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience””even less did he leave behind the spiritual disciplines of the religious life he had learned so well under Fr. Hall’s steady hand. Somewhere between his pastoral and social work among the sordidness and squalor of the South End””replete with red light district, street waifs, immigrants and vagrants”” and his late night vigils of intercessory prayer or early mornings spent in meditation, not to mention the full round of parish duties, he found the time to write. In the final chapter of his little book, With God in the World, he wrote words that now appear as strangely prescient for his own life: “Men””we are not thinking of butterflies””cannot exist without difficulty. To be shorn of it means death, because inspiration is bound up with it, and inspiration is the breath of God, without the constant influx of which man ceases to be a living soul. Responsibility is the sacrament of inspiration. . . . The fault of most modern prophets is not that they present too high an ideal, but an ideal that is sketched with a faltering hand; the appeal to self-sacrifice is too timid and imprecise, the challenge to courage is too low-voiced, with the result that the tide of inspiration ebbs and flows.” He was to parse this belief taking root in his soul, with the phrase “the inspiration of responsibility”. Within two short years he would have the opportunity to test these words with his life.

His name was Charles Henry Brent, born the son of an Anglican clergyman from New Castle, Ontario in 1862. How Charles Brent, a Canadian by birth, came to be a priest in of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and under the episcopacy of the renowned Phillips Brooks, and later, the almost equally celebrated Bishop William Lawrence, is itself an interesting story we haven’t time to explore. Suffice to say that God seemed to be grooming through the seemingly quixotic twists and turns of providence a bishop not merely for the church or for one nation, but for the world””a man, of whom it could be said, he was Everybody’s Bishop.

You may find Part One there and Part Two here. Take the time to read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Charles Henry Brent

Heavenly Father, whose Son did pray that we all might be one: deliver us, we beseech thee, from arrogance and prejudice, and give us wisdom and forbearance, that, following thy servant Charles Henry Brent, we may be united in one family with all who confess the Name of thy Son Jesus Christ: 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, who, calling Abraham to go forth to a country which thou wouldest show him, didst promise that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed: Fulfill thy promise in us, we pray thee, giving us such faith in thee as thou shalt count unto us for righteousness; that in us and through us thy purpose may be fulfilled; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Church of South India

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.3This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to our food and drink? 5 Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law say the same? For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of a share in the crop. If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits? If others share this rightful claim upon you, do not we still more?

Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing this to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have any one deprive me of my ground for boasting.

–1 Corinthians 9:1-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT) World Vision Reverses Decision To Hire Christians in Same-Sex Marriages

In our board’s effort to unite around the church’s shared mission to serve the poor in the name of Christ, we failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.’s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, “We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.” And we also failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners. As a result, we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage.

We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority. We ask that you understand that this was never the board’s intent. We are asking for your continued support. We commit to you that we will continue to listen to the wise counsel of Christian brothers and sisters, and we will reach out to key partners in the weeks ahead.

While World Vision U.S. stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture