Daily Archives: April 10, 2014

(RNS) After World Vision, evangelicals debate boundaries over sexuality

As many congregations have already split within mainline Protestantism, Northern Seminary professor Scot McKnight said that in 25 years, he suspects evangelical churches will be split on the issue.

“What has happened is that the same-sex marriage/same-sex legitimacy has become the focal point or scapegoat of the culture wars,” McKnight said. “It is Bible, theology and politics all rolled into one big monster.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

In Tallahassee, St. Peter's Anglican Church nears completion of its new $12-million Worship Building

Bradley Touchstone, the architect for the building, called the project “amazingly complex.”

“We did a tremendous amount of work with the congregation to understand very clearly what their goals were, what kind of worship space they wanted to create and what sort of tradition they wanted to build into this church,” he said.

Touchstone said the building will be able to seat between 700 and 1,000 people.

“We’ve taken less than two years to complete this building, which is an enormously aggressive schedule,” he said. “Childers Construction has done a fantastic job. They hit the ground running and were able to mobilize tremendous manpower to get this done in less than two years.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Cross Rhythms–Voting And Values In Britain: Does religion count? An Intervw w/ Theos' Nick Spencer

Tina: Your research examined the relationship between religion and the political commitments in Britain and I was really intrigued about what led you to conduct the research.

Nick: We conducted a research project about 18 months ago, which was written by Andy Walton. It asked whether there was a religious right emerging in Britain and, to cut a long story short, that project concluded that the answer was no. But it begged another question, which was if we don’t have a religious right, if we’re not going down the US path, what do we have? Is there such a thing as a religious vote or a religious block vote and, if so, what impact will it have? So we decided we would investigate that particular question in this research.

Tina: In terms of the relationship between members of the Christian denominations and the voting preference, what did the research reveal?

Nick: We went back through about 50 years’ worth of British election studies and charted how people of different religious groups or different Christian denominations voted – or, more precisely, said they had voted – in each of those elections. Broadly speaking, there were some alignments – not strong blocks but alignments: alignments between Anglicans and the Conservative Party, between Roman Catholics and the Labour Party, and much weaker, certainly much weaker today, between other Christians and the third party.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Seattle Times) Ministering to mudslide survivors takes many forms

Enio Aguero had never been to Oso before late last month. But he recognized the faces.

“Faces of hopelessness, trying to find out why or how this could happen,” said the 53-year-old chaplain from Northern Virginia, a veteran of disaster relief in Moore, Okla., where a tornado last May obliterated entire subdivisions and killed 24 people.

“When a disaster like this happens, it touches the deepest part of our being. At one minute, there was everything; a minute later, there was nothing,” said Aguero, a chaplain coordinator for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. “There’s no way we can make sense of this, except that God is in control.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life, Theodicy, Theology

(NYT) Ross Douthat–How to Study the Numinous

I appreciate the spirit (if you will) of… [Barbara Ehrenreich’s] argument, but I am very doubtful as to its application. The trouble is that in its current state, cognitive science has a great deal of difficulty explaining “what happens” when “those wires connect” for non-numinous experience, which is why mysterian views of consciousness remain so potent even among thinkers whose fundamental commitments are atheistic and materialistic. (I’m going to link to the internet’s sharpest far-left scold for a good recent polemic on this front.) That is to say, even in contexts where it’s very easy to identify the physical correlative to a given mental state, and to get the kind of basic repeatability that the scientific method requires ”” show someone an apple, ask them to describe it; tell them to bite into it, ask them to describe the taste; etc. ”” there is no kind of scientific or philosophical agreement on what is actually happening to produce the conscious experience of the color “red,” the conscious experience of the crisp McIntosh taste, etc. So if we can’t say how this ”normal” conscious experience works, even when we can easily identify the physical stimulii that produce it, it seems exponentially harder to scientifically investigate the invisible, maybe-they-exist and maybe-they-don’t stimulii ”” be they divine, alien, or panpsychic ”” that Ehrenreich hypothesizes might produce more exotic forms of conscious experience.

Especially since, by definition, the truly exotic is not likely to repeat itself for the convenience of a laboratory technician. There are kinds of numinous experience that can be technically investigated, in the limited sense that Ehrenreich (rightly) suggests is insufficient to understanding them ”” you can put a praying or meditating person in a brain scanner and see which areas of their brain seem to be involved in the journey into the mystic, you can look for ways to attempt to recreate those brain states, you can link similar experiences to medical conditions and hallucinogens, etc.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Time's 10 Questions With Barbara Ehrenreich

Would you ever explore the idea that this other that you’ve experienced could be God?

I would not explore monotheistic religions. The religions that impress me are those which involve ecstatic communion with a deity or spirit”“like voodoo. I like that much better than belief. I have respect for that. But as I said, I’m not looking for anything, and I’m not going to church.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Books, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Time) NATO Could Send U.S. Troops to Eastern Europe

U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, has been given until Tuesday to propose measures in response to the ongoing presence of Russian troops along the border with eastern Ukraine

NATO troops, including Americans, could be deployed to Eastern Europe in an effort to shore up defenses in allied countries that share a border with Russia, a top U.S. military official said Wednesday.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Eastern Europe, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Russia, Theology, Ukraine, Violence

(Bloomberg) A Plan to Build the tallest Skyscraper in the City of London regains Momentum

A plan to build a skyscraper near Liverpool Street railway station, slated to be the tallest in the City of London, may be revived this year as rising occupancy rates in the financial district draws investors, according to Peter Rees, the City’s former planning officer.

Work on the Pinnacle, an office tower designed to have a height of about 288 meters (945 feet), was halted in 2012 after the economic crisis roiled financial markets.

“There is a will to go forward, there is a demand for the space and there’s no difficulty at all in finding funding to build the project,” Rees said in a March 21 interview ahead of his retirement last week.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Professor of N. Testament at Northern Seminary Scot McKnight becomes an Anglican

Where did this all begin? September, 1981, at St Peter’s Toton outside Nottingham Kris and I and kids wandered into the neighborhood Anglican church, loved both Curate John and Elisabeth Corrie, and we began our lifetime appreciation and formative influence of The Book of Common Prayer, and you may have detected my own interest in prayer books through my small book Praying with the Church. So there’s nothing at all close to any kind of major shift in our life to become Anglicans ”” we have sustained an Anglican connection for three decades.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

New Film Series, “30 for 30: Soccer Stories”, Surrounding 2014 FIFA World Cup on ESPN

ESPN Films, creators of the critically-acclaimed 30 for 30 film series, will premiere a new series in April surrounding the 2014 FIFA World Cup on ESPN. 30 for 30: Soccer Stories will include a mix of standalone feature-length and 30-minute-long documentary films from an award winning group of filmmakers telling compelling narratives from around the international soccer landscape.

“With ESPN being the home of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we know that sports fans will be looking forward to high quality content focused on what is perhaps the world’s most revered sport,” said Connor Schell, VP of ESPN Films and Original Content. “We feel this is the perfect time to expand upon the success of our 30 for 30 series by focusing this collection on some of the incredible stories of soccer’s legendary past.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Globalization, History, Media, Movies & Television, South America, Sports

(NPR) Banning Traditional Animal Slaughter, Denmark Stokes Religous Ire

In a conflict that pits animal welfare against religious rights, Denmark has ordered that all food animals must be stunned before being killed. The move effectively bans the ritual slaughter methods prescribed in both Muslim and Jewish tradition.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Animals, Denmark, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

We offer to thee, O Lord our God, the work which thou hast appointed for us. Help us to do it heartily and faithfully, as in thy sight and for thy glory, that so we may be drawn nearer to thee and confirmed in thy service, which alone is true freedom; in the name of our Master and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

A Song of Ascents. Of David. O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 131

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Ang Journal) Archbp Welby explains his recent LBC remarks about Ang. decisions+ violence in Africa

Q: Some people have reacted strongly to your statements about the issue of gay marriage in your interview with LBC radio.

A: Lots of people have.

Q: Were you in fact blaming the death of Christians in parts of Africa on the acceptance of gay marriage in America?

A: I was careful not to be too specific because that would pin down where that happened and that would put the community back at risk. I wouldn’t use the word “blame””” that’s a misuse of words in the context. One of the things that’s most depressing about the response to that interview is that almost nobody listened to what I said; they mostly imagined what they thought I said…It was not only imagination, it was a million miles away from what I said.

Q: So what exactly were you saying?

A: What I was saying is that when we take actions in one part of the church, particularly actions that are controversial, that they are heard and felt not only in that part of the church but around the world.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture, Violence

Founder of Jacksonville, Fla., Ministry working to Alleviate Poverty Meets Archbp Welby

The founder and CEO of FreshMinistries, a Jacksonville-based nonprofit that works to eradicate poverty, recently met with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Rev. Dr. Robert V. Lee III and FreshMinistries Chief of Staff Shelly Marino met the Most Rev. Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, at Lambeth Palace in England, according to a news release.

During the meeting, the three had “substantive discussions about replicating in other areas of the globe the successful efforts by FreshMinistries to eradicate poverty in marginalized areas,” according to the release.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues