Daily Archives: July 22, 2014

(RNS) IRS agrees to monitor churches for electioneering

The Internal Revenue Service said it will monitor churches and other houses of worship for electioneering in a settlement reached with an atheist group.

The settlement was reached Friday (July 18) in federal court in Madison, Wis., where the initial lawsuit was filed in 2012 by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist advocacy group that claims 20,000 members nationwide.

The suit alleged the IRS routinely ignored complaints by the FFRF and others about churches promoting political candidates, issues or proposed legislation. As part of their tax-exempt status, churches and other religious groups are prohibited from engaging in partisan political activity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Church/State Matters, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Taxes, The U.S. Government

[Lent & Beyond] Prayer for South Carolina Tuesday July 22nd

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, 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.

Our Heavenly Father,
We thank You that there is nothing in that courtroom”“seen or unseen”“that can separate Your children from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Please pray it all if you wish and there are more prayers from Lent and Beyond for South Carolina here. We are grateful to Lent and Beyond for these daily prayers.

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

A S Haley's Comments on SC Trial Day 10–Witness again Barred from Rendering Undisclosed Opinions

In effect, this passage asks the court to extend the witness carte blanche to render any opinions he sees fit to give””without the necessity of alerting the other side in advance, so as to allow them to prepare for his cross-examination.

Needless to say, those are not the rules. The purpose of expert discovery in the first place is to (a) pin down the other side’s expert to specific, articulated opinions””which may then be subjected as necessary to the cross-examination required to test their merit; and (b) to avoid any element of surprise at trial when the expert does testify.

Apparently ECUSA did not bother to disclose Prof. [Walter] Edgar as an expert, and represented that he would simply catalog an entire litany of historical facts, taken from the various diocesan and other records, for the Court to consider. Well, he was allowed to do that””but he was stopped when it came to expressing his opinions about those facts, because he had not previously disclosed just what those “opinions” would be.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

What is Happening to the Anglican Communion and Where is it Headed?

Presentation narrated by Robert Lundy of the AAC

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary

(Northern Echo) Two churches, one priest, two bishops – one faith?

A priest tasked with leading one church which accepts women bishops and another which refuses them had to be blessed by two bishops, all in one service.

The Reverend Carl Peters’ new job will see him take charge of St John’s Church in Brandon, County Durham, which supports female priests and bishops, and St Luke’s in nearby Ushaw Moor, which rejects both.

Hence, he had to be formally licensed both by the Right Revered Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow, and the Rt Rev Glyn Webster, Bishop of Beverley, whose job includes providing pastoral care for opponents of women bishops within the Durham diocese.

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

(G+P UK) Partial Transcript of J.John's interview with Archbp Justin Welby from March

Back in march we posted this interview but many people may have missed it or may not have good video access and so here is a partial transcript this week there. It includes the following:

What does it mean to be an Anglican?

It first of all means to be a Christian ”“ to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. The most important decision any person can ever make is to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. It’s the best thing anyone can do. Secondly, they follow in a particular tradition, which varies around the world.

What about the Church of England? If you go to Starbucks in London and then to a Starbucks in Liverpool they are similar, you know what you are going to get. But in the Church of England, you can go to services in London and Liverpool and they are completely different.

That’s because people and cultures are completely different. And the Church is a family, it’s not an organisation. It’s the people of God called by God ”“ to serve him and follow Jesus Christ. And as in any family, bits of it work better than others. So you go to one church and it might not be working brilliantly well at a given moment, to another and it’s really fizzing along and is absolutely amazing. But the wonderful thing is that churches can change very dramatically and when the Spirit of God moves among us ”“ and when people turn afresh to Jesus Christ ”“ even the equivalent of a Starbucks that is all over the shop suddenly becomes the living presence of God in its community. So yes, it is different all over the place, it’s better and worse, it’s up and down ”“ the only thing that is common to every church is that it is full of Christian disciples and it’s full of sinners.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE)

(Pew R.) Young Adults Drive Continuing Rise in Multi-Generational Living

A record 57 million Americans, or 18.1% of the population of the United States, lived in multi-generational family households in 2012, double the number who lived in such households in 1980.1

After three decades of steady but measured growth, the arrangement of having multiple generations together under one roof spiked during the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and has kept on growing in the post-recession period, albeit at a slower pace, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Young Adults

(LA Times) Supreme Court ruling on prayer at board meetings still reverberates

The letter arrived in Sue Galloway’s mailbox with no return address and a brief message warning Galloway, who is Jewish, to “be careful.” It was signed “666.”

Across town, Linda Stephens, an atheist, received a similarly worded letter, along with a verbal suggestion from a neighbor that she leave town, because “nobody here likes you.”

The women’s perceived sin? Challenging the Town Board’s long-standing practice of opening monthly meetings with a prayer, a policy the Supreme Court upheld in May in a 5-4 ruling that has done little to calm the debate over what place prayer should have in local politics.

Political leaders in Greece, a quiet, middle-class suburb of Rochester, say the ruling affirmed that there is nothing wrong with what they have been doing since 1999, and with what goes on in scores of state legislatures, Congress and the Supreme Court itself. “It’s like you do the Pledge of Allegiance, and you do a prayer,” said William Reilich, the town supervisor, a position that serves as head of the board. “This is supposed to be a very light greeting. It’s not a service.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., City Government, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(Guideposts) Buzz Aldrin Tells the little-known story of Communion on the Moon

For several weeks prior to the scheduled lift-off of Apollo 11 back in July, 1969, the pastor of our church, Dean Woodruff, and I had been struggling to find the right symbol for the first lunar landing. We wanted to express our feeling that what man was doing in this mission transcended electronics and computers and rockets.

Dean often speaks at our church, Webster Presbyterian, just outside of Houston, about the many meanings of the communion service.

“One of the principal symbols,” Dean says, “is that God reveals Himself in the common elements of everyday life.” Traditionally, these elements are bread and wine””common foods in Bible days and typical products of man’s labor.

One day while I was at Cape Kennedy working with the sophisticated tools of the space effort, it occurred to me that these tools were the typical elements of life today. I wondered if it might be possible to take communion on the moon, symbolizing the thought that God was revealing Himself there too, as man reached out into the universe. For there are many of us in the NASA program who do trust that what we are doing is part of God’s eternal plan for man.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Eucharist, History, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Science & Technology, Theology

(MNN) Mosul Christians forced out, robbed

Dr. David Curry, President and CEO of Open Doors USA, has condemned the latest action of Islamic State militants who ordered all Christians in the Iraqi city of Mosul to leave the city over the weekend or face execution.

“The persecution and treatment of Christians in Mosul is unprecedented in modern times,” he says. “This latest forced exodus of Christians further shows why Western governments and the people in the West need to cry out in support for religious freedom in the Middle East and elsewhere. If this does not move us concerning the near extinction of Christianity in the Middle East, it’s likely nothing else can.”

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Director of Interfaith Affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, adds: “Too many of us thought that forced conversions and expulsions of entire religious communities were part of a distant, medieval past. There was little that we could do to stop this horrible episode.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

Diocese of SC Trial Day 10: TEC Attorney Admits Constitution Does Not Prevent Diocesan Withdrawal

An attorney for The Episcopal Church on Monday acknowledged that ”“ despite TEC’s repeated claim that dioceses may not leave the denomination ”“ there is nothing in the group’s constitution that specifically prohibits such a disassociation.

“It’s true it doesn’t say whether a diocese in the U.S. can or cannot [leave],” said Mary Kostel, attorney for TEC. “It’s arguably ambiguous.”

The comment came during the 10th day of trial in suit to prevent TEC from seizing the property of the Diocese of South Carolina and its parishes. Much of the morning was spent in a discussion between attorneys and Judge Diane S. Goodstein about the admissibility of testimony by historian Walter Edgar, a professor at the University of South Carolina.

Though Edgar was not identified as an expert witness, TEC wanted him to testify about his expertise and provide opinions on the hierarchical nature of TEC and to demonstrate that it has authority over its dioceses and parishes. But Judge Goodstein denied that he would be allowed to.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(The Guardian) Nigerian Anglican Primate Okoh Tasks Anglican Youth On Unity

[The] MOST Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the Archbishop of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), on Saturday in Abuja urged Anglican youths to build bridges of unity and shun tribalism and ethnic sentiments.

Okoh, who spoke during the investiture of 95 national patrons and patronesses by the Anglican Youth Fellowship (AYF), said that tribalism and ethnicity posed danger to spiritual growth.

“There are many ills afflicting our church today and principal amongst them is the emergence of tribalism amongst the leadership and members of the congregation.

“We must consciously build bridges to keep the church together, and we should imbibe the spirit of give and take because division is not the way to progress,” Okoh advised.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Mary Magdalene

Almighty God, whose blessed Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of body and mind, and called her to be a witness of his resurrection: Mercifully grant that by thy grace we may be healed of all our infirmities and know thee in the power of his endless life; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to begin the Day

O Christ, to whom all authority is given both in heaven and earth: Transform our wills, cleanse our hearts, and enlighten our minds; that all our thoughts and desires being made obedient to thy pure and holy law, we may grow up in all things unto thee, and present ourselves a living sacrifice, to the praise and glory of thy name; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions. One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand.
One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike. Let every one be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”

So each of us shall give account of himself to God.

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture