Daily Archives: October 27, 2014

(UMNS) Methodists Top court affirms Frank Schaefer’s reinstatement among the ordained

In a ruling made public Oct. 27, the denomination’s top court upheld a June decision by a regional appeals committee to reinstate Schaefer’s ministerial credentials, modifying the penalty imposed upon the Pennsylvania pastor after he was found guilty last November of violating church law by performing a same-sex wedding for his son in 2007.

“The Judicial Council upon careful review of the decision of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals in the matter of the Rev. Frank Schaefer and the questions of law presented by the counsel for the church finds there are no errors in the application of the church law and judicial decisions,” said Decision 1270. “The penalty as modified by the Committee on Appeals stands.”

In its decision, Judicial Council also recognized the fact that “some within the church do not support this outcome today.”

The ruling came during the Judicial Council’s Oct. 22-25 fall meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, and followed an oral hearing on the case. The Rev. Christopher Fisher, who served as counsel for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference during Schaefer’s trial, appealed the decision of the committee on appeals to Judicial Council.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Military funeral for ”˜elder statesman’ of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney

With the coffin borne on a gun carriage, a packed St Andrew’s Cathedral has farewelled Bishop Ken Short.

Bishop Short, described by Archbishop Davies as an ‘elder statesman’ of the Sydney Diocese, died on October 19th after suffering a stroke.

Family as well as friends and colleagues from his varied ministry as CMS missionary in Africa, through parish ministry at Vaucluse and as Dean of Sydney, as well as his roles as Bishop of Wollongong and Parramatta, gathered in St Andrew’s Cathedral.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(RCR) Mark Judge–The Faith of Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was a devout Catholic.

That’s a weird sounding sentence, isn’t it? It doesn’t say that Warhol — the hipster icon, godfather of Pop Art, and gay trailblazer — was a lapsed Catholic. Or an indifferent Catholic. Or ironic Catholic.

It says that Warhol was a devout Catholic. He prayed and went to Mass. He volunteered in a soup kitchen. Andy Warhol was a believer.

I was reminded of Warhol’s Catholicism recently when I was witness to two supposedly incongruous exhibits.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Royal Commission finds Diocese of Grafton was 'hostile' and 'insensitive' to child abuse victims

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has found the Anglican Diocese of Grafton treated victims insensitively and conducted settlement negotiations in a hostile manner.

The commission’s public hearing was told about frequent sexual, psychological and physical abuse of nine former residents of the North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore between 1940 and 1985.

Handing down its findings, the commission found the diocese denied responsibility for the sexual abuse, denied some victims financial compensation and conducted some settlement negotiations in a hostile manner.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

Canadian Anglican Primate says 2018 Lambeth unlikely

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he hasn’t heard directly from the Archbishop of Canterbury whether the next Lambeth Conference will be postponed, but “it’s pretty obvious that in all likelihood it would not be in 2018 because it takes three, four, years to plan.”

Hiltz responded in an interview with the Anglican Journal to media reports that the next Lambeth Conference, for which bishops from across the Anglican Communion usually gather every 10 years and which was expected to be in 2013, would may be delayed, perhaps until 2019 or 2020.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury

(Columbia Connections) Israel Galindo–Helping Church Members Grow Spiritually

A student in one of my online classes asked a great question:

How do I encourage members to reflect and think theologically?”¦. I’m having a hard time coming up with an example of what that would even look like in a church setting. I know it’s important, and I use the practice myself at times, but I can’t figure out how to transfer it to a congregation or group setting. Could anyone offer me some insight?

Her question hints at a phenomenon I’ve observed. Clergy do many things for their own spiritual growth. Some they learned at seminary and retained (amazingly, given how much students forget!) as spiritual formation practices. Other ways they learn at seminars, retreats, continuing education events, during the course of their ministry if they’ve become lifelong learners.

They take these things they have learned, apply it to their own lives to good benefit, then, fail to teach these very things to their church members! There seems to be a failure of “transference of learning” at work, and perhaps some odd hidden assumption that laypersons grow in faith different than clergy! Church members grow in faith the same as clergy: through practices of discipleship. engaging faithfully in those practices that actually help faith grow, and being open to the Spirit to change them.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Adult Education, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Salvation (Soteriology)

Flannery O'Connor–"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it emotionally"

I can never agree with you that the Incarnation, or any truth, has to satisfy emotionally to be right (and I would not agree that for the natural man the Incarnation does not satisfy emotionally). It does not satisfy emotionally for the person brought up under many forms of false intellectual discipline such as 19th-century mechanism, for instance. Leaving the Incarnation aside, the very notion of God’s existence is not emotionally satisfactory anymore for great numbers of people, which does not mean that God ceases to exist. M. Sartre finds God emotionally unsatisfactory in the extreme, as do most of my friends of less stature than he. The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it emotionally. A higher paradox confounds emotion as well as reason and there are long periods in the lives of all of us, and of the saints, when the truth as revealed by faith is hideous, emotionally disturbing, downright repulsive. Witness the dark night of the soul in individual saints. Right now the whole world seems to be going through a dark night of the soul.

There is a question whether faith can or is supposed to be emotionally satisfying. I must say that the thought of everyone lolling about in an emotionally satisfying faith is repugnant to me. I believe that we are ultimately directed Godward but that this journey is often impeded by emotion. I don’t think you are a jellyfish. But I suspect you of being a Romantic. Which is not such an opprobrious thing as being a fascist. I do hope you will reconsider and relieve me of the burden of being a fascist. The only force I believe in is prayer, and it is a force I apply with more doggedness than attention.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, History, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(NYT) Christians of Mosul Find Haven in Jordan

They were among the final holdouts. Even as many of their neighbors fled the violence that engulfed Iraq after the American invasion, the three men stayed put, refusing to give up on their country or their centuries-old Christian community.

Maythim Najib, 37, stayed despite being kidnapped and stabbed 12 times in what he believed was a random attack. Radwan Shamra, 35, continued to hope he could survive the sectarian war between his Sunni and Shiite countrymen even after losing two friends shot by an unknown gunman who left their bodies sprawled in a Mosul street. And a 74-year-old too frightened to give his name said he remained despite the trauma of spending three anguished days in 2007 waiting to learn if his kidnapped 17-year-old son was dead or alive.

Now all three men from Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and its environs have fled with their families to Jordan, forced out by Islamic State fighters who left them little choice. After capturing the city in June, the Sunni militant group gave Christians a day to make up their minds: convert, pay a tax, or be killed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Iraq, Islam, Jordan, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(VOA) US Envoy Samantha powers: 'Staggering' Need in Ebola Response

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations called attention to the need for a greater response to the Ebola outbreak that has killed nearly 5,000 people in West Africa.

Samantha Power posted on Twitter early Monday, after spending a day in Guinea, that the “scale of need is staggering” and that the “most basic resources will help save lives.”

She is on a multistop tour this week of the worst-hit countries, including Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Power also highlighted the efforts of those already working in Guinea to treat patients, build treatment facilities and educate people, including Doctors Without Borders and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Guinea, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Politics in General, Sierra Leone, Theology

(FT) Scott Minerd–Europe must act now to avoid ”˜lost decade

The much heralded asset-backed securities purchase programme will only yield about €250bn-€450bn in assets over the next two years. More LTRO (or the newer targeted LTRO) will prove a challenge as sovereign bond yields in Europe are so low that a large balance sheet expansion through this means seems impractical. Perhaps there is another €500bn-€750bn to do over the next year or two. Outright purchases of sovereign debt would prove politically difficult, as many would interpret such purchases as violating the ECB’s mandate and the matter would probably end up in the European courts.

The bottom line is that none of the tools currently on the table will get the job done. There are not enough assets to purchase or finance and the timetable to get anything done is too long. Policy makers do not have the luxury of a year or two to figure this out. The ECB balance sheet shrinks virtually daily and as it shrinks, the monetary base of Europe is contracting and putting downward pressure on prices. Europe is clearly in danger of falling into the liquidity trap, if it is not already there. The likelihood of a “lost decade” like that experienced in Japan is rapidly increasing. The ECB must act and act quickly.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(BBC) Escaping Boko Haram: How three Nigeria girls found safety

For six months the world has waited for news of the fate of more than 200 girls abducted by Nigerian militant group Boko Haram. As the Nigerian government insists a deal to release the “Chibok girls” is being negotiated, three girls who escaped their captors have told their story to BBC Hausa.

Lami, Maria and Hajara were at school in Chibok, north-eastern Nigeria, when they were kidnapped in April. Best friends Lami and Maria escaped by jumping from the back of a truck. Hajara was taken to a camp but later fled with another girl.

To protect the girls’ identity we have portrayed their story as an animation, and provided an edited transcript of their account below.

The girls’ names have been changed for their protection.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

Your Prayers Requested for the Diocese of South Carolina Clergy Conference today thru Wednesday

The Rt. Rev. Ken Clarke, retired bishop of the Diocese of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh and now President of SAMS””Ireland will be the speaker at this fall’s annual Clergy Conference at St. Christopher. He is the author of Going for Growth: Learning from Peter (IVP). A contagious teacher, he led the Daily Bible Studies at last year’s New Wineskins Conference.

You may read the agenda there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Christina Rossetti

O Lord, because we often sin and have to ask for pardon, help us to forgive as we would be forgiven; neither mentioning old offences committed against us, nor dwelling upon them in thought; but loving our brother freely as thou freely lovest us; for thy name’s sake.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Blessed is he who considers the poor!
The Lord delivers him in the day of trouble;
the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
thou dost not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness thou healest all his infirmities.

–Psalm 41:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WBUR) Reality Check: How People Catch Ebola, And How They Don’t

I turned to Dr. Elke Muhlberger, an Ebola expert long intimate with the virus ”” through more than 20 years of Ebola research that included two pregnancies. (I must say I find this the ultimate antidote for the fear generated by the nurses’ infections: A researcher so confident in the power of taking the right precautions that she had no fear ”” and rightly so, it turned out ”” for her babies-to-be.)

Dr. Muhlberger is an associate professor of micriobiology at Boston University and director of the Biomolecule Production Core at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (widely referred to as the NEIDL, pronounced “needle”) at Boston University. Our conversation, lightly edited:

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Globalization, Health & Medicine