Daily Archives: July 8, 2014

(NYT Mag.) David Brat’s Hand of God Economics

On the campaign trail, Brat declared that bankers should have gone to jail and that “crony capitalists,” like Cantor, had undermined the system. “I’m not against business,” he said. “I’m against big business in bed with big government.”

Instead of arguing for any specific regulation, however, Brat said that the system simply needed more virtue. “We should love our neighbor so much that we actually believe in right and wrong and do something about it,” he wrote in a 2011 essay for Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology. “If we all did the right thing and had the guts to spread the word, we would not need the government to backstop every action we take.”

The idea that religion plays a role in economic growth was most famously advocated by the German sociologist Max Weber. In his 1905 book, “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,” he argued that Protestant countries developed more quickly because they embraced hard work as a virtue. Over the decades, others have continued to see merit in the theory, including J. Bradford DeLong, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who presented statistical evidence for it in a 1988 paper. Even Friedrich Hayek, a professed agnostic, grudgingly acknowledged the role of religion. “Like it or not,” he once wrote, “we owe the persistence of certain practices, and the civilization that resulted from them, in part to support from beliefs which are not true.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Peter Moore) "Religious freedom hangs by a thin thread both here and abroad"

It may surprise Christians in the West, like ourselves, that we have in one or two generations achieved minority status. But we have. The winds of social change around the world are blowing against strongly held religious views, in part as the legacy of the attack on 9/11. That terrorist act showed the world what fanatical religious beliefs could do. The surprising result of this is that religious freedom has become one of the great issues of this century.

In the correct concern to protect “rights,” growing out of the Civil Rights Movement, we have often forgotten that those whose rights stem from their view of God’s will especially need protection.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Ross Douthat–The Hobby Lobby Case asks us to Pause and Gain Perspective in the Culture Wars

One such company was hailed last year by the left-wing policy website Demos “for thumbing its nose at the conventional wisdom that success in the retail industry” requires paying “bargain-basement wages.” A retail chain with nearly 600 stores and 13,000 workers, this business sets its lowest full-time wage at $15 an hour, and raised wages steadily through the stagnant postrecession years. (Its do-gooder policies also include donating 10 percent of its profits to charity and giving all employees Sunday off.) And the chain is thriving commercially ”” offering, as Demos put it, a clear example of how “doing good for workers can also mean doing good for business.”

Of course I’m talking about Hobby Lobby, the Christian-owned craft store that’s currently playing the role of liberalism’s public enemy No. 1, for its successful suit against the Obama administration’s mandate requiring coverage for contraceptives, sterilization and potential abortifacients.

But this isn’t just a point about the company’s particular virtues. The entire conflict between religious liberty and cultural liberalism has created an interesting situation in our politics: The political left is expending a remarkable amount of energy trying to fine, vilify and bring to heel organizations ”” charities, hospitals, schools and mission-infused businesses ”” whose commitments they might under other circumstances extol.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(CEN) A long overdue decision by General Synod on Women Bishops

The fact is that the last package of legislation was not just imperfect, it was a complete and utter mess. It left no meaningful provision for conservatives and traditionalists and the fact that a code of practice was unwritten at the time of the vote made the acceptance of the legislation a complete non-starter. The House of Laity was roundly condemned for the fact that it voted down the legislation. Yet they were absolutely right to do so. There may be other reasons why a wholesale reform of General Synod and its electoral system is necessary but on that fateful day in November 2012 those six members in the House of Laity acted wisely and justly. We now have legislation that is widely supported and which will make women feel valued in their new ministry and traditionalists secure in their conscience.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

(NYT Upshot) How England, Italy and Germany Are Dominating the World Cup

…as the table shows, the European leagues are still dominating the tournament.

The world’s best players come from around the world. Yet the money is in Europe, which means that most of them spend their professional peaks in England, Germany, Italy or Spain.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, England / UK, Europe, Germany, Globalization, Italy, South America, Sports

(CT) What Sermon Illustrations Should Be Banned From Pulpits?

I want to ban the story that is vague. That vagueness is often seen in lack of detail: “There’s a story of a man who made lots and lots of money. He found a family in need and helped them. By his giving, he showed the love of God.”

We would serve our listeners much better if we did some writing and said, “Jon earned $650,000 last year, counting his bonuses and stock options. He was excited, because he and Betty needed only $80,000 a year to cover all expenses. He began to think about families he could help and bless. By their generous planned giving, Jon and Betty showed the love of God.”

I want to ban the mono-genre illustration. I have a pastor colleague whose every illustration is from the world of sports. Another friend draws every illustration from politics and current events. To demonstrate a balanced and well-rounded life, I want to draw from the fields of literature, the arts, sports, military history, entertainment, and business.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

(HP) Alex Letts on Archbp Welby and Payday Loans–on track but with "a marketing motherhood error"

The Most Rev is on track-ish. But like many commentators and politicians, he has not done his segmentation analysis to A-grade standard. His focus is too much on the “what” and not enough on the “for whom”, which is a marketing motherhood error.

The Archbishop’s concern is mainly with the grip of poverty that forces the zero-income, deprived and desperate sections of society deeper into the darkness of debt. He is bringing his formidable intelligence and experience to bear in highlighting their plight and is contributing significantly to bringing them alternative and better support. To have an Anglican Primate showing the wit and will to do more than posture and politicise, is a refreshing novelty for the Church of England. His ideas around the Credit Champions Network and for using the churches as financial advisory centres for those in poverty are genuinely original. After all, when Jesus threw over the tables of money-changers in the temple of Jerusalem, he didn’t specifically object to advisory-only services.

But, knowingly or not, The Archbishop is nonetheless grossly over simplifying the situation by claiming that the Credit Unions’ “responsible credit and saving are real alternatives to the services currently provided by payday lenders”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Personal Finance, Poverty, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector

(Do not Take Yourself Too Seriously Dept) “10 Tricks to Appear Smart During Meetings”

3. Encourage everyone to “take a step back”

There comes a point in most meetings where everyone is chiming in, except you. Opinions and data and milestones are being thrown around and you don’t know your CTA from your OTA. This is a great point to go, “Guys, guys, guys, can we take a step back here?” Everyone will turn their heads toward you, amazed at your ability to silence the fray. Follow it up with a quick, “What problem are we really trying to solve?” and, boom! You’ve bought yourself another hour of looking smart.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Humor / Trivia, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Theology

(Tablet Magazine) Rabbis across Israel condemn murder of Arab teen: "…not the way of the Torah"

In the wake of the brutal murder of Arab teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem, allegedly committed by Jewish extremists, Israeli politicians, pundits and even former terror victims have expressed their shock and outrage at the killing. And so have some of the Jewish state’s most prominent rabbis. At a meeting of the Chief Rabbinate Council yesterday, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau condemned the crime, saying bluntly, “This is not the way of the Torah.” Lau’s counterpart, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, planned a personal visit to the Khdeir family, where he said he wished “to fiercely denounce the outrageous murder that was perpetrated against the innocent young man.” The visit was cancelled due to security concerns over his safety, and so Yosef released a public statement calling his fellow clergy to account: “We as religious leaders need to lead forward with a conciliatory message in order to prevent continued pain and bereavement, so that no one else is harmed.”

Other rabbis have answered this call. Rabbi Amnon Bazak of Yeshivat Har Etzion”“a school located where three Jewish teenagers were kidnapped and murdered earlier this month”“wrote on Facebook that “It is incumbent upon the religious Zionist world to draw a clear red line, especially for the youth, and say: no more! The Torah of Israel and any understanding of the cruel murder of an innocent boy are an utter contradiction that cannot be countenanced in any way.” Noting that some had attempted to justify the killing, Bazak said that “the religious community must remove these individuals once and for all from the legitimate discourse.”

Rabbi Dr. Benny Lau of Beit Morasha and the Israel Democracy Institute also spoke out forcefully against the murder and called on Israelis to grapple with the hate that led to it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Violence

Bp of Oxford says the Compulsory Christian school assembly should be scrapped

Bishop Pritchard, who as chair of the Church of England’s Board of Education is responsible for the teaching of around a million children in Anglican schools, as well as speaking for the Church on education in the Lords, said a change in the law could be “liberating” for schools and churches alike.

“I think in the 1940s when all of this was put together it was possible to say that collective worship represented the mood of the nation but I don’t think that is where we are now,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“There is a sense in which a compulsion about religion does a disservice to that which I think is most important which is keeping the good news of the Christian faith alive in our culture.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

A Morning Thought from CH Spurgeon–Faith thinketh, "Who gave this promise?"

From here:

“Tell me I pray thee wherein thy great strength lieth.”””Judges 16:6.

Where lies the secret strength of faith? It lies in the food it feeds on; for faith studies what the promise is””an emanation of divine grace, an overflowing of the great heart of God; and faith says, “My God could not have given this promise, except from love and grace; therefore it is quite certain His Word will be fulfilled.” Then faith thinketh, “Who gave this promise?” It considereth not so much its greatness, as, “Who is the author of it?” She remembers that it is God who cannot lie””God omnipotent, God immutable; and therefore concludeth that the promise must be fulfilled; and forward she advances in this firm conviction. She remembereth, why the promise was given,””namely, for God’s glory, and she feels perfectly sure that God’s glory is safe, that He will never stain His own escutcheon, nor mar the lustre of His own crown; and therefore the promise must and will stand. Then faith also considereth the amazing work of Christ as being a clear proof of the Father’s intention to fulfil His word. “He that spared not His own Son, but freely delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Moreover faith looks back upon the past, for her battles have strengthened her, and her victories have given her courage. She remembers that God never has failed her; nay, that He never did once fail any of His children. She recollecteth times of great peril, when deliverance came; hours of awful need, when as her day her strength was found, and she cries, “No, I never will be led to think that He can change and leave His servant now. Hitherto the Lord hath helped me, and He will help me still.” Thus faith views each promise in its connection with the promise-giver, and, because she does so, can with assurance say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life!”

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Other Recent Featured Entries

In addition to the roundup of entries related to the ongoing litigation in the Diocese of South Carolina, here are some other recently featured or notable entries.

Bishop of Sheffield orders Welby Facilitated Conversations on Sexual Immorality in Communion/CofE [July 7, 2014]
Transcript of Q&A with Archbishop Foley Beach (July 5, 2014)
Up Close and personal With Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi & his wife Gloria (July 3, 2014)
Yesterdays Sermons from Archbps Kwashi and Jensen in South Carolina (Audio) (June 30, 2014)
Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi’s Sermon from this Morning””Jesus Calls us to Discipleship (June 29, 2014)
The Bishop of Chester brings Archbishop Welby’s greetings to the ACNA Assembly [Transcript] (June 26, 2014)
Charles Raven: Lectures in Contemporary Anglicanism (June 25, 2014)
ACNA Provincial Assembly 2014 Coverage – June 25th to 28th (June 24, 2014)
Foley Beach new ACNA Archbishop-Elect (June 22, 2014)

All previous entries on T19 can be accessed through the Monthly Archives on the right

Posted in * Admin, Featured (Sticky)

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, who lovest not the strife of men, and yet wouldest have thy servants strive earnestly for the faith of the gospel; grant us so to seek thy truth that we may never forget to obey it, so to contend, for it that we may never cause our brethren to stumble, and so to hold the form of godliness that we lose not at last the life and substance of it; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Trinity College, Dublin

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,

“For thy sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

–Romans 8:31-39

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

[Lent and Beyond] Prayer for South Carolina Monday July 7th

On Tuesday July 8, the “Episcopal Church in South Carolina” rump group and the Diocese of South Carolina will go to trial before Circuit Judge the Honorable Diane S. Goodstein.

1 Kings 3:9 (ESV)

Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

Our Father in heaven,

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. We humbly ask You to grant Circuit Judge the Honorable Diane S. Goodstein an understanding mind to govern this trial. Anoint her with wisdom that her judgments and decisions will bring life to Your church and to the state of South Carolina. Amen.

Proverbs 13:14

Please pray it all if you wish and there are more prayers from Lent and Beyond for South Carolina here

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina