Daily Archives: October 22, 2014

(CBC) In Ottawa, 1 gunman dead after soldier shot at National War Memorial, city in lockdown

Parliament Hill came under attack today after a man with a rifle shot a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, before seizing a car and driving to the doors of Parliament Hill’s Centre Block nearby.

MPs and other witnesses reported several shots fired inside Parliament, and a gunman has been confirmed dead inside the building, shot by the House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms, according to MPs’ eyewitness accounts.

The soldier’s condition has not been confirmed.

MP John Williamson tweeted that the Conservative has been told “one CAF soldier was killed,” adding “a moment of silence followed.” CBC News has confirmed the soldier is a reservist from Hamilton

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(NYT) Voyeur Case Spurs Rabbis to Add Post for Women

A week after a Washington rabbi was charged with videotaping women disrobing for ritual baths as they converted to Judaism, the national association of modern Orthodox rabbis said Monday that it would require the appointment of ombudswomen to handle any concerns from women about the conversion process.

The association, the Rabbinical Council of America, is eager to contain the damage from the arrest of Rabbi Barry Freundel, a prominent modern Orthodox rabbi who served on the council’s executive committee and, from 2006 to 2013, presided over its committee on conversions. Rabbi Freundel had been considered an advocate for women’s rights in Orthodox Judaism. The local United States attorney’s office has charged him with using a camera concealed in a clock radio to film women as they showered or changed for immersion in the ritual bath, called a mikvah.

The council said Monday that it would not only require the appointment of an ombudswoman for each regional tribunal of rabbis overseeing conversions, but would also name a commission, which would include women as members, to recommend ways to prevent conversion abuses.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Judaism, Men, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Women

(PI) Patrick Henry Reardon on the approach of All Saints Day–The Army Hidden in the World

If the true identity of Christ our Lord, his inner Person begotten of the Father, remains a mystery concealed from the world (John 14:22), something similar is also said rightly of those who put their hope in Christ, because they too are defined by their communion with the Father in Christ. They are known by God (John 10:14 ; 1 Corinthians 8:3 ; 13:12 ).

To be sure, the world is able to look at Christians and label them for social and demographic purposes (Acts 11:26), but it does not really know them.

“You died,” wrote Paul to the Colossians, “and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (3:3).

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(TGC) 70 Years Ago Today: The Conversion of Regent College's J. I. Packer

Packer came from a lower middle-class background and a nominal Anglican family that went to St Catharine’s Church in Gloucester but never talked about the things of God or even prayed at meals. As a teenager Packer had read a couple of the new books coming out by C. S. Lewis (fellow and tutor in English literature at Oxford’s Magdalen College), including The Screwtape Letters (1942) and the three BBC talks turned pamphlets that would later become Mere Christianity (1942-44). During chess matches with a high school classmate””the son of a Unitarian minister””he had defended Christianity.

Packer thought of himself as a Christian. But the events of that evening would convince him otherwise.

On this cool autumn evening, he made his way west across Oxford, past Pembroke College, and into St Aldate’s Church, where the Christian Union occasionally held services. The lights in the building were dimmed so that the light emanating from the building would be no brighter than moonlight””a recent relaxation of England’s “blackout” regulations to avoid air-raid attacks in World War II.

He entered the doors of the church a dead man walking and was to leave later that night as a resurrected man, knowing himself to belong to Christ.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Provinces, Canada, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Evangelicals, Globalization, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Theology, Young Adults

(KC Star) Methodists lament closings of Missouri summer camps

United Methodist Church leaders recently announced they are closing the Wilderness Retreat and Development Center, as well as three other camps the denomination operated in Missouri. Together, the camps served about 2,000 children this summer.

“I’ve wanted to get married at Wilderness since I was 11,” Dyer said. “I have a boyfriend I want to marry, and now they’re taking away my camp.”

The announcement by the church’s Camping and Retreat Board sparked an instant social media campaign ”” complete with hashtags, blogs, online petitions and more than 2,000 Facebook likes ”” in an effort to roll back the decision.

The discussion in the Kansas City area has been particularly lively because of its proximity to Wilderness, which hosted more than 600 children at summer camp this year, said D. Garrett Drake, a clergyman and conference staff member who advises the camping board.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Youth Ministry

(Reuters) Pope to visit Turkey as region's Christians flee Islamic State persecution

Pope Francis will travel to Turkey next month, the Vatican said on Tuesday, his first visit to the predominantly Muslim country which has become a refuge for Christians fleeing persecution by Islamic State militants in neighboring Syria and in Iraq.

During his three-day visit, the pope will meet with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. He will also meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of the Orthodox churches that make up the second-largest Christian church family after Roman Catholicism.

“The Holy Father will visit Ankara and Istanbul from Nov. 28 to 30,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Turkey, Violence

(NBC) Katie Meyler an American heroine fighting ebola in Liberia–a heartening story

Talk to Katie Meyler for 30 seconds and you understand why children love her. The 32-year-old from Bernardsville, New Jersey, is as effervescent as a shaken bottle of soda, with an infectious laugh and boundless energy.

Then consider where she works: Monrovia, the capital of Liberia and the capital of the Ebola epidemic devastating West Africa. For nine years, Katie has used her skills and passion to try to improve the lives of kids in this impoverished nation of 4 million people. Last year, she opened the More Than Me girls academy, the first tuition-free school in West Point, one of Monrovia’s poorest neighborhoods.

Ebola has forced the government to close the academy and all other schools to try to stop the epidemic. Undaunted, Meyler is now using her building and resources to help those children victimized twice by the disease, the children who are now orphans and outcasts within their own community.

Read it all and watch the whole video report.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Children, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Poverty, Women, Young Adults

Wrestling with the Problem of Prejudice–Kendall Harmon's recent sermon on James 2

You may find the audio link here if you wish to listen to it (starts after the reading of the gospel, maybe 3 minutes in).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Robert Cottrill on a Hymn about Heaven–No Night There

God understands the problems cities face”“that “the dying groan in the city, and the souls of the wounded cry out” (Job 24:12). And “by the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked” (Prov. 11:11). “Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, who establishes a city by iniquity!” (Hab. 2:12). And the Lord sees and knows when promiscuous women standing “by the highest [most conspicuous] places of the city,” seek to lure foolish men to their destruction (Prov. 9:13-18).

Mentioned over seven hundred times in Scripture, the earthly city of Jerusalem, was given by God to His people Israel, as the seat of her kings and the centre of her worship. As such, its welfare is of special concern to Him. Jesus wept over the city, knowing the unbelief of the people, and of the judgment to come upon them (Matt. 23:37-39). It is still a troubled place, and we ought to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6).

But, like Abraham of old, the saints today should be looking forward to dwelling in the city “whose builder and maker is God,” where the Lord is preparing a wonderful place for us to live with Him forever (Jn. 14:2-3). It is called, “[the heavenly] Mount Zion”¦the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 13:22), and “the holy city, New Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2).

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Eschatology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

(BBC) Ebola serum for Africa patients within weeks, says WHO

Serum made from the blood of recovered Ebola patients could be available within weeks in Liberia, one of the countries worst hit by the virus, says the World Health Organization.

Speaking in Geneva, Dr Marie Paule Kieny said work was also advancing quickly to get drugs and a vaccine ready for January 2015.

The Ebola outbreak has already killed more than 4,500 people.

Most of the deaths have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Corporations/Corporate Life, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Guinea, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Science & Technology, Sierra Leone

A Prayer to Begin the Day from E. B. Pusey

O God, fountain of love, pour thy love into our souls, that we may love those whom thou lovest with the love thou givest us, and think and speak of them tenderly, meekly, lovingly; and so loving our brethren and sisters for thy sake, may grow in thy love, and dwelling in love may dwell in thee; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

–Luke 10:17-24

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Zenit) Human Rights Group in Pakistan Still Hopes for Justice for Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five from the Punjab province, was accused and convicted of “defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed” in 2009 and sentenced to death. Bibi asserted after her death sentence in 2010 that the allegations against her were fabricated by a group of women who did not like her.

Two prominent politicians who called for her release were both murdered and another forced into hiding. Haroon Barkat Masih, director of the Masihi Foundation, stated that many interests are at stake behind Bibi’s case. Too many vested interests and too much pressure that, in the end, cover up the truth of the facts, he said in an interview with Fides News Agency.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Religion & Culture

(AL.com) In Alabama, the religiously 'unaffiliated' now surpasses this major religious group

The percentage of Alabamians not affiliated with a specific religion surpasses the percentage of white mainline Protestants, ranking it third among “religious” groups, according to new research.

The American Values Atlas was compiled by the Public Religion Research Institute and Social Science Research Solutions, and was released in late September. It found that 14 percent of Alabamians describe themselves as “unaffiliated” when asked about their religious tradition. The “unaffiliated” category ranks third behind white evangelical Protestants (36 percent) and black Protestants (18 percent).

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

(Guardian) Ebola in Sierra Leone increasing to rate of more than 20 deaths per day

The number of people infected with Ebola in western Sierra Leone is increasing to more than 20 deaths daily, according to government estimates.

Forty-nine new cases of were confirmed on Monday in two Ebola zones in and around the capital Freetown, the National Ebola Response Center reported on Tuesday. There are 851 total confirmed cases in the two zones, called Western Area Urban and Western Area Rural, the centre said. The Ebola outbreak previously primarily affected eastern Sierra Leone.

Claude Kamanda, a lawmaker who represents a western area, told local newspaper Politico that more than 20 deaths are being reported daily, and authorities are struggling to keep up with the collection of corpses from homes in the area.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Sierra Leone