Daily Archives: September 23, 2014

(Law and Religion UK) CofE to axe seal of confessional?

Although a quasi-legislative fix (i.e. guidelines for the clergy) could be introduced relatively quickly by means of a House of Bishops Statement, as we have seen with the Statement on Same Sex Marriage, this would cause difficulties in its implementation and problems for its enforcement were a challenge to be made. (It is estimated that about a quarter of CofE clergy administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation, i.e. Confession.) However, a change to the Proviso to Canon 113 would require full synodical consideration and could take considerably longer.

Thus in answer to the question “Is the CofE to axe seal of confessional?”, it seems inevitable that some changes will need to be introduced but: these may take some time; and will certainly put pressure on the Roman Catholic church, as in Australia, the US and elsewhere.

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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, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(National Affairs) Peter Augustine Lawler+Richard Reinsch–Freedom and the Human Person

Everyone knows that success in the marketplace requires skills and habits that are usually acquired through good schools, strong families, active citizenship, and even solicitous and judgmental churches. Those relational institutions, however, are threatened, in different ways, by the unmediated effects of both the market and big, impersonal government. We also know that most people find that worthy lives are shaped by both love and work, and that the flourishing of love and work are interdependent. We even know that love and work are both limits on government, even as we know that middle-class Americans who have good jobs, strong families, and “church homes” are also our best citizens.

What we really know should point our political life in rather definite directions. Does our familiar political vocabulary provide us what we need to articulate those directions? Or does it confuse us more in this already confusing time? We have every reason to wonder whether even conservative Americans have access to a plausible account of the reality of our personhood, an account that could serve as the foundation of a public philosophy that would properly limit and direct a sustainable political life for free persons. What we lack most is an authentically empirical theory adequate to the complexities of American life in our time.

The natural inclination of any conservative is to seek out such a theory in our deep and diverse tradition of liberty, rather than invent one out of whole cloth. And if our search is guided by a sense of how our changing circumstances require us to reflect on the relational character of the human person, our tradition will not disappoint. But we have no choice but to look beyond the most familiar fixtures of that tradition toward some neglected American theorists of liberty who have highlighted the shortcomings of an overly individualistic understanding of American life. Complacently excessive individualism is the opiate of the American “public intellectuals” of our time.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Philosophy, Politics in General, Psychology, Theology

TEC Presiding Bishop announces she will not stand for reelection

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

(Frst Things) Wesley Smith–Standing Against the Human “Dignity Deniers”

God may not be dead, but considering the imago Dei in philosophical discourse and public policy certainly is. Not only that, but the rational reasons for acknowledging the exceptional dignity of humans are wrongly denigrated as merely reflecting our religious past in which rigid moralism supposedly trumped reason.

Today’s dominant cultural voices argue that an individual’s moral worth should be predicated upon his or her individual capacities of the moment. This view is most acutely expressed in bioethics, the field that wields tremendous influence over health-care public policies and in the ethical protocols of medicine.

The potential that denying human dignity has to oppress, exploit, harvest, and kill the weakest and most vulnerable among us hangs in the air like malodorous evidence of a ruptured sewer line.Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Philosophy, Psychology, Theology

Bishop of Oxford's 10 day walk, a pilgrimage along the Thames, marks the end of a 'journey'

Bishop John said he will walk “at three miles an hour, it is the speed of the love of God, it is not rushing”.

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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, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Humanists urge commuters to ponder the meaning of life

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has adopted tactics favoured by evangelical Christians and other religious groups to get its message across to millions of people making their way to work.

For the next two weeks the organisation, which promotes atheist and non-religious beliefs, is running a poster campaign at Tube stations in the capital offering a daily “Thought For The Commute”.

The posters feature short quotations from writers, celebrities and humanist thinkers in answer to the question: “What’s it all for?”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(LA Times) Ebola could extend its life in humans, mutating+making fighting it harder

In a grim assessment of the Ebola epidemic, researchers say the deadly virus threatens to become endemic to West Africa instead of eventually disappearing from humans.

“The current epidemiologic outlook is bleak,” wrote a panel of more than 60 World Health Organization experts in a study published Tuesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.

“We must therefore face the possibility that Ebola virus disease will become endemic among the human population of West Africa, a prospect that has never previously been contemplated.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Theology

Church of England backs new project on climate change and investment

The Church of England is one of 12 global institutional investors backing a new project to study how climate change will impact the investment landscape.

The Church’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group and the three national investing bodies are supporting the project as part of a group concerned about climate change and its investment implications.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stock Market, Theology

(NYT Op-ed) Ibrahim Sharqieh–The Price of Abandoning Yemen

Many Yemenis believe that the Houthis are acting as agents of Iran, which backs them. To legitimize their rebellion, the Houthis had to come up with popular proposals to address rising energy prices and incompetence in the government. It was the poor performance of Yemen’s transitional government that allowed them to succeed.

President Hadi, and his government ”” including Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa, who just stepped down ”” failed miserably to deliver basic services, spur economic development and, most important, create jobs. Unemployment was one of the main drivers of the revolt against Mr. Saleh.

The international community should have supported Yemen to ensure its successful transition to stability and development. Instead, the international community largely turned its back on Yemen as it sank further into poverty, chaos and extremism. The United States concentrated almost solely on counterterrorism, continuing its drone strikes on Qaeda militants. Saudi Arabia turned its attention to other parts of the region, ignoring the potential chaos on its southern border.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Iran, Middle East, Politics in General, Theology, Violence, Yemen

(Bloomberg) South Sudan’s Boy Soldiers Swap Schoolbooks for Kalashnikovs

Nine months ago Bol Olor Ding and his friend Kamis Ngor Ajack were in school studying math and science. Now, at the ages of 14 and 15, they’re veterans of the civil war in South Sudan that’s created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

After fighting forced their schools to close, the two boys exchanged their classrooms for the battlefield and received a government army uniform and a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

“If you don’t have a gun you will be killed,” Ajack said through an interpreter in the town of Wau Shilluk, whose population of 5,000 has swollen to 40,000 as violence spreads in the oil-rich state of Upper Nile. “I was afraid of fighting in the beginning, but when I got a gun and uniform I became brave.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Sudan, Theology, Violence

(Wash. Post) U.S. expands war against Islamic State with risk-laden airstrikes in Syria

The United States and several Middle East partners pounded Islamic State targets in Syria Tuesday with waves of warplanes and Tomahawk cruise missiles in an aggressive and risky operation marking a new phase in the conflict.

A statement issued by the U.S. Central Command early Tuesday said that a “mix of fighter, bomber, remotely-piloted aircraft and Tomahawk” cruise missiles destroyed or damaged multiple Islamic State targets in several parts of Syria, where a civil war has been raging for more than three years.

The U.S. statement said “partner nations,” including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, “participated in or supported” the operation. The involvement of these regional allies are key for the legitimacy and logistics of the operation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Iran, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Syria, Terrorism, Theology

(RNS) Redeemer Church and Reformed Theological Seminary to launch NYC campus

The partnership between the church and the seminary pairs two theologically aligned institutions that are interested in influencing the broader evangelical movement. Although Redeemer is a PCA church, many of its church plants are not affiliated with the denomination, and RTS is a nondenominational seminary. About two-thirds of RTS students affiliate with the Presbyterian or Dutch Reformed traditions, while the remaining third align with Baptist, Anglican and Methodist traditions.

More megachurches are partnering with seminaries to provide local, affordable theological training, according to “Beyond Megachurch Myths” by Scott Thumma and Dave Travis. Churches offering theological degrees now include Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church in Bellevue, Wash., and John Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.

Historically, seminaries have grown out of a particular theological vision.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Enrich our lives, O Lord, with the fruit of the Spirit; that being filled with love and joy and peace, we may live together in patience and kindness, in goodness, faithfulness and gentleness, ever exercising the grace of self-control; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, John answered them all, “I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

So, with many other exhortations, he preached good news to the people. But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Hero”²di-as, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he shut up John in prison.

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.”

–Luke 3:15-22

Posted in Uncategorized

AU Episode 121: Saving the Soul of the Anglican Communion


With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and George Conger at Anglican TV

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary