Daily Archives: December 20, 2014

Lent and Beyond: Prayer for South Carolina on Saturday December 20th

Awaiting the results of litigation. Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein, the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the growth of God’s Kingdom in South Carolina

Psalm 138:7-8 (ESV)

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Our Father in heaven,

We thank You for the preservation of the Diocese of South Carolina. Fulfill Your purpose for them by Your steadfast love. Do not forsake them, for they are the work of Your hands. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

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

(C of E) Church Commissioners second most charitable UK donor in City AM list

The Church Commissioners have welcomed the news that they are the UK’s second most charitable giver in the publication of City AM’s list of the World’s top 20 donors.

The list, published this week, named the Church Commissioners as the eighth highest donor in the world – and second in the UK – giving £207.84m in charitable donations to support the Church of England. The total giving, which supports the Church’s ministry around the country, is highlighted in the Commissioners annual report for 2013, which announced that the performance of the investment fund exceeded it’s target of RPI +5% per annum, returning 15.9% for during the year.

Read it all.

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

(CBC) The dilemma Newfoundland and Labrador downtown churches face with dwindling congregations

Are you planning a visit to an old church during the Christmas season? Maybe you’re a regular church goer or you might only set foot inside a religious sanctuary once a year.

However often you attend, administrators of downtown churches in St. John’s say everyone should be concerned about the future of these historic buildings. Congregations are struggling with structural problems, exorbitant heating costs and fewer and fewer people in pews.

Between Patrick Street in the west end and King’s Bridge Road in the east, there are nine churches. One church is Presbyterian, two are Anglican, two are Catholic and four are United Churches. St. Thomas’s Anglican church is the oldest, built in 1836. The newest is Cochrane Street United, opened in 1915 during the First World War.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

It's not Censorship, Just Cowardice: On Sony's Decision to Shut Down "The Interview"

What a strange week it’s been in Hollywood. Tuesday night we actually had a thunderstorm. For those who don’t know Southern California, that’s like saying House Republicans think our country might have a race problem. Or Woody Allen is considering property in Malibu. Or the new Missal really seems to be catching on. (“Under our roof,” translators? “Under our roof”?)

There was even lightning, for God’s sake.

Then yesterday, hack-beleaguered Sony Pictures actually stopped distribution of major motion picture “The Interview,” maybe forever, after the United States’ five major theater chains refused to show it for fear of a 9/11-style attack on any theater that did.

To say the Internet was not happy with this series of events would be an understatement. Hollywood writer/director/producer Judd Apatow called the chains’ decision “disgraceful” and wondered, along with many others, what’s next: “Will they pull any movie that gets an anonymous threat now?” Many called it a sad day for creative expression, and feared that this forebodes a dangerous new self-censorship. Rob Lowe compared Hollywood to Neville Chamberlain (to which the nation of Czechoslovakia replied, “Mmm, Rob, I think not”). Newt Gingrich went so far as to call the hackers’ threat an “act of war,” forgoing the need for an act of war to involve an actual act. Forget the pesky details, there’s really never a bad time for a little preemption.

Read it all from America.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Movies & Television, North Korea, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology

(NPR) When Nonprofit Hospitals Sue Their Poorest Patients

Some nonprofit hospitals around the country don’t ever seize their patients’ wages. Some do so only in very rare cases. But others sue hundreds of patients every year. Heartland, which is in the process of changing its name to Mosaic Life Care, seizes more money from patients than any other hospital in Missouri. From 2009 through 2013, the hospital’s debt collection arm garnished the wages of about 6,000 people, according to a ProPublica analysis of state court data.

After the hospital wins a judgment against a former patient in court, it’s entitled to take a hefty portion of the patient’s paychecks going forward: 25 percent of after-tax pay. For patients who are the head of household, if they tell the hospital or court that information, the hospital can seize only 10 percent of each paycheck.

But Heartland, through the debt collection company Northwest Financial Services, often sues both adults in a household ”” garnishing one at the 10 percent rate and the other at the full 25 percent of their pay. The hospital also charges patients 9 percent interest, the maximum allowed under state law.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Poverty, Theology

(Washington Post) A Battle with ISIS for the minds of young Muslims

fter the latest of his sermons denouncing the Islamic State, Mohamed Taha Sabri stepped down from an ornate platform at the House of Peace mosque. The 48-year-old chief preacher then moved to greet his congregation, steeling himself for the fallout.

Soon, two young men ”” they are almost always young, but not always men ”” were calling him out. Only moments before, Sabri had derided the militants’ tactics, saying “it is not our task to turn women into slaves, to bomb churches, to slaughter people in front of cameras while shouting ”˜God is great!’”‰”

One young man in a black leather jacket angrily chided him for challenging “Muslim freedom fighters.” His companion in a yellow shirt then chimed in: “What is your problem with the Islamic State? You are on the wrong path!”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence, Young Adults

A WSJ Article on Redeemer Presbyterian Church NYC–God Isn’t Dead in Gotham

”˜Cheer up, you’re worse than you think,” Rev. Timothy Keller says with a smile. He’s explaining that humans are more weak, more fallen, more warped than they “ever dare admit or even believe.” Then comes the good news: At the same time people are “more loved in Christ and more accepted than they could ever imagine or hope.”

Do you know many New Yorkers who believe that? Perhaps not, but on Sundays some 5,500 city folk file into the church Mr. Keller founded 25 years ago, Redeemer Presbyterian, at eight packed services across three Manhattan locations, the Greenwich Village campus of which I attend on Sundays. The service is traditional, the congregation less so: Most who show up, if you can believe it, are single and under 35, whether bankers, lawyers, actors or artists.

Mr. Keller has a growing national following and is often described as a Christian intellectual who takes on the likes of Nietzsche, Marx and Freud in a sermon rooted in a specific Biblical text. He’ll sprinkle in references from popular culture””something about contentment he read in the Atlantic, a poignant passage from “Lord of the Rings.” His fruitful work has multiplied. Redeemer efforts have helped plant more than 300 churches in 45 cities, from Santiago to Dubai.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

George McHendry–Religion writers choose top stories of 2014

Over the years I have enjoyed being a member of the Religion Newswriters Association. One of benefits I really enjoy this time of year is the announcement of the top stories in religion. I participate in the voting each year, and I usually am pretty good at picking choices that mirror the 300 or so journalists who take part in the voting. This year, not so much.

We are given a list of the top 25 stories in the field of religion, and are asked to vote for our top 10 selections. We also are asked to vote for the top religion newsmaker of the year, and this year I didn’t come even close.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media, Religion & Culture

Religion Newswriters’ 2014 Religion Stories of the Year

Columbia, Mo.””The extremist Islamic State’s violent reign of terror in Iraq and Syria was voted the No. 1 Religion Story of 2014 by the world’s leading religion journalists. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision giving closely held companies the ability to claim religious objections to health care mandates was a close second.

For the second year in a row, Pope Francis was named the top Religion Newsmaker of the Year. He was selected overwhelmingly, receiving more than half of all the votes among a slate of 10 newsmakers.

The online ballot was conducted Friday, Dec. 5 through Wednesday, Dec. 10. Only RNA members, who comprise religion journalists in the U.S. and abroad, were eligible to vote. The Top 10 ballot items are listed here. Because of two ties, the list actually includes 12 stories

Read it all and see what you make of the list.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God of hope, fill us, we beseech thee, with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope by the power of thy Holy Spirit, and show forth our thankfulness to thee in trustful and courageous lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tibe”²ri-us Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturae”²a and Trachoni”²tis, and Lysa”²ni-as tetrarch of Abile”²ne, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Ca”²iaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechari”²ah in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be brought low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

He said therefore to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits that befit repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ”˜We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

–Luke 3:1-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Anglican Comm body: please Ang Ch of Can change not yr marriage canon to allow same-sex marriag

Read it all (HT: Anglican Journal).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Get Religion) Terry Mattingly–New York Times finds the usual suspects behind C of E division

There we are: Evangelicals are hidebound and change-allergic, straining attempts at compromise. Never mind that Archbishop Welby ”“ who, as the Times itself says, “backed the push for female bishops” ”“ is himself widely known as an evangelical.

There’s also a glitch in the Times saying that Libby Lane’s appointment will test the compromise. If Thomas’ concern is male oversight for conservative churches, why wouldn’t he be satisfied with a female suffragan who draws her authority from a male bishop? He should have been asked, don’t you think?

Nor does the article’s grasp of history sound much better. Not when the story says, “The tradition of all-male bishops dates to the Church of England’s break with Rome five centuries ago, in the days of King Henry VIII.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Evangelicals, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Women

Friday Mental Health Break–Derby the dog: Running on 3D Printed Prosthetics

Watch it all–so lovely (just over 3 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology