Daily Archives: November 4, 2014

Pope Francis to open Vatican conference on traditional marriage

The Vatican-sponsored gathering, on the “Complementarity of Man and Woman,” will take place 17-19 November and feature more than 30 speakers representing 23 countries and various Christian churches, as well as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Taoism and Sikhism.

The conference will aim to “examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society,” according to organisers.

Speakers will include Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of Great Britain, and Anglican Bishops N.T. Wright and Michael Nazir-Ali.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology, Women

Constitution Check: Should the Supreme Court get involved in church property disputes?

The biggest event in this schism occurred in 2008, when the leadership of the entire Fort Worth, Texas, diocese led a break with the parent church, and took with them out of that denomination the property of 47 parish churches in 24 counties ”“ property worth more than $100 million overall. The parent church fought back, but ultimately lost in the Texas Supreme Court. From now on, and in this case, that state court ruled, church property disputes were to be decided by the “neutral principles” approach, no longer deferring to church structure arrangements. Examining the trust document under which the parent church had claimed ownership of the local property, the state court said that did not square with state civil law.

With support from a wide array of mainstream religious organizations and advocacy group, the Episcopal Church took the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that the time had come for the court to abandon the “neutral principles” approach and return to the deference approach. The parent church, it contended, had done everything it could to establish the parent’s dominion over property, and yet that was not enough.

The breakaway congregations in Fort Worth and their bishop urged the Supreme Court to stay out of the case, noting that the Justices had passed up other appeals on the issue, and commenting that the dispute in Texas has not yet become final.

Read it all from Lyle Denniston.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

(WSJ) Malls fill vacant department stores with data centers

The Internet is moving to a shopping center near you.

In Fort Wayne, Ind., a vacated Target store is about to be home to rows of computer servers, network routers and Ethernet cables courtesy of a local data-center operator. In Jackson, Miss., a former McRae’s department store will get the same treatment next year. And one quadrant of the Marley Station Mall south of Baltimore is already occupied by a data-center company that last year offered to buy out the rest of the building.

As America’s retailers struggle to keep up with online shopping, the Internet is starting to settle into some of the very spaces where brick-and-mortar customers used to shop. The shift brings welcome tenants to some abandoned stretches of the suburban landscape, though it doesn’t replace all the jobs and sales-tax revenue that local communities lost when stores left the building.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Science & Technology, Theology

(CT) Hope Reborn: An Interview with Adrian Warnock

Your new book is entitled Hope Reborn. Give us some insight into the title and what you’re trying to accomplish overall with the book.

As I argued in a recent article, hope is a uniquely Christian attribute. Paul makes this very clear throughout 1 Corinthians 15 where he underlines that we have a hope that goes beyond the grave, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Our first goal with this book is to introduce people to this hope. And for those who are already Christians, we pray that their own hope will be renewed, so they are inspired and equipped to share their faith with others.

Peter tells us “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Eschatology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Theology

A Nice UMNS Piece about why Voting Should Matter to Christians

Sporting an “I voted” sticker yet? On Tuesday, Nov. 4, many citizens across the United States will head to the polls. Others will stay at home, arguing, “My vote won’t make a difference.”

However, two young United Methodist pastors beg to differ.

The Rev. Elizabeth Murray, a provisional deacon in the South Carolina Conference, is director of Hispanic ministries at Mount Hebron United Methodist Church, West Columbia, South Carolina, and a Hispanic/Latino ministry consultant to the conference Office of Congregational Development.

“I vote,” she says, “because I know voting can make a difference in my community, nation and the lives of others. I vote, not only because it is my civic duty as a United States citizen, but also because I have vowed, as a Christian, to do no harm and to do good. I vote to protect the rights of ”” and promote equality for ”” women. I vote to make sure everyone has equal access to the right to vote. I vote for my voice to be heard on comprehensive immigration reform.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Theology

Questions about legalizing recreational marijuana on the Ballot in Florida, Alaska, Oregon and D.C

In Oregon, one recent poll by SurveyUSA showed supporters for marijuana legalization leading by 52 percent to 41 percent; another by Elway Research, for The Oregonian, found them behind by 46 to 44. The only recent public polls in Alaska were conducted by interested parties; unsurprisingly, pro-legalization forces found the question ahead, and opponents found it behind.

The proposal in the District of Columbia is highly likely to pass: An NBC4/Washington Post/Marist poll found support at 65-33 in September. However, Congress can overrule Washington voters’ choice to legalize, and Representative Andy Harris, a Republican from Maryland, has signaled his intention to push Congress to do so.

Florida will vote on medical marijuana. Because the state’s proposal is a constitutional amendment, it must get 60 percent of the vote to pass.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government, Theology

(W Post) U.S. officials consider striking another militant group in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra

U.S. officials are weighing whether to broaden the air campaign in Syria to strike a militant group that is a rival to the Islamic State and that is poised to take over a strategically vital corridor from Turkey.

Extremists from the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra group were said Monday to be within a few miles of the Bab ­al-Hawa crossing in northwestern Syria on the Turkish border, one of only two openings through which the moderate Free Syrian Army receives military and humanitarian supplies provided by the United States and other backers.

Over the weekend, rebels said Jabhat al-Nusra forces swept through towns and villages controlled by the Free Syrian Army in Idlib province, west of Aleppo. Rebel groups associated with the Free Syrian Army were routed from their main strongholds, with scores of fighters fleeing toward Turkey or defecting to join the militants, according to opposition activists.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Terrorism, Theology

(BBC) Cornwall Man Arrested on suspicion of preparing for an act of terrorism.

The 26-year-old was arrested in Hayle on Monday night under section five of the Terrorism Act, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

Officers from the South East Counter Terrorism Unit (Sectu) – which is led by Thames Valley Police – were also involved in the pre-planned arrest.

Sectu confirmed the arrest was related to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Theology

(Star-Telegram) U.S. high court declines to hear Fort Worth Episcopal dispute

The split of the Fort Worth Episcopalians became official in 2008 when Bishop Jack Iker and a majority of the 56 congregations in the 28-county diocese voted to leave the national church, saying its leadership had moved away from biblical and church tradition in many ways….

Episcopalians loyal to the national church went to court, arguing that under the Episcopal Church’s “Dennis Canon,” diocese property should belong to those still loyal to the national church.

In 2011, state District Judge John Chupp agreed, ruling that because the Episcopal Church is a hierarchical body, property should be retained by the group still loyal to the national church.

Iker’s group appealed, and the Texas Supreme Court ordered Chupp to rehear the case and to base his judgment on neutral principles of Texas law governing nonreligious groups.

The group loyal to the national church appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

The TEC affiliated Diocese of Fort Worth PR on the Supreme Court Decision

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, Theology

The Diocese of Fort Worth Statement on the Supreme Court Decision

(Via email):

We give thanks this morning that the Supreme Court of the United States has denied the petition of the TEC plaintiffs for a reversal of the Texas Supreme Court ruling of August 2013. We are grateful to attorneys Aaron Streett and Michelle Stratton for presenting our response to the Court.

This development allows us to turn full attention to the Summary Judgment filing that will soon be made in the 141st District Court. In addition, we are assured that the Texas Supreme Court ruling will govern the outcome of our case.

“We are pleased,” said Bishop Iker, “that the Supreme Court has agreed with our position that the TEC petition for a review was without merit. We now move forward to a resolution of this case under neutral principles of law as applied in the State of Texas.”

Analysis of the decision may be found on attorney Allan Haley’s blog.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Benjamin Jenks

O Lord, renew our spirits and draw our hearts to thyself, that our work may not be to us a burden but a delight; and give us such a mighty love to thee, who thyself didst work as a craftsman in wood, as may sweeten all our obedience. O let us not serve thee in a spirit of bondage, as slaves, but with cheerfulness and willingness, cooperating with thee in thy work of creation; for the glory of thy holy name.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in thy tent for ever! Oh to be safe under the shelter of thy wings!

–Psalm 61:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NPR) Tom Magliozzi, Popular Co-Host Of NPR's 'Car Talk,' RIP

Tom Magliozzi, one of public radio’s most popular personalities, died on Monday of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 77 years old.

Tom and his brother, Ray, became famous as “Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers” on the weekly NPR show Car Talk. They bantered, told jokes, laughed and sometimes even gave pretty good advice to listeners who called in with their car troubles.

If there was one thing that defined Tom Magliozzi, it was his laugh. It was loud, it was constant, it was infectious.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Media, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology, Travel

Can someone tell John Shore [What Christianity without hell looks like] that it isnt CS Lewis' faith

You can read Mr. Shore’s unsound theological reflections here. As Lewis puts it in The Problem of Pain: “Some will not be redeemed. There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this…[but Hell] has the full support of Scripture and, specifically, of Our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom.”

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Eschatology, Religion & Culture, Theology