Daily Archives: January 21, 2015

C of E's Faith and Order Commission Publishes Reflection on Leadership and the Church

n his Preface, the Bishop of Coventry notes that that the report is offered as a resource for theological reflection that can “inform the improvisations the church will continue to require in its practice of leadership and anchor them in faithfulness to the gospel”¦. How do the dynamics of Church life and leadership in the New Testament apply to the Church today? How might we draw faithfully and creatively on the rich traditions of the church over two millennia around authority, responsibility and service? How can we talk constructively about ambition in church life and deal with the realities of disappointment and the experience of failure? These are not just issues for those who exercise senior leadership in the Church of England. We hope this report can contribute to fostering serious thought and prayer about them.”

Professor Loveday Alexander, one of the members of the Faith and Order Commission, comments: “What we are offering, as a gift to the Church and as the result of many years of collective reflection, is a theological contribution to practical thinking about leadership development in the Church. We have tried to set out some of the deep spiritual roots of the Church’s understanding of what it means to exercise leadership within the body of Christ.”

Read it all and note the whole report is there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Daily Mail) Scotland's oldest woman reveals her secrets–Avoid men and eat plenty of porridge

She was then a farm kitchen helper before working at a hotel which was visited by the Queen and Queen Mother while she was there.

Miss Gallan, who now lives in a care home in Aberdeen, said: ‘My secret to a long life has been staying away from men. They’re just more trouble than they’re worth.

‘I also made sure that I got plenty of exercise, eat a nice warm bowl of porridge every morning and have never gotten married.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Health & Medicine

(USA Today) Supreme Court upholds religious rights of prisoners

A Supreme Court that has extended the reach of religion into public life in recent years ruled Tuesday (Jan. 20) that spirituality can overcome even prison security concerns.

The court came down decisively on the side of a Muslim prisoner whose beard had been deemed potentially dangerous by Arkansas prison officials. Growing a beard, the justices said, was a Muslim man’s religious right.

The unanimous opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, had been widely anticipated despite two lower court decisions upholding the state’s no-beard policy. The ruling extended the high court’s reverence for religious beliefs and observances. In its last term, the justices allowed family-owned businesses with religious objections to deny health insurance coverage for contraceptives, and the court also upheld prayers at municipal government meetings.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Scotsman) Boy, 5, sent invoice after birthday party no-show

It should have been a fun ­occasion ”“ a boy’s birthday party at a tobogganing centre, ­complete with tea and balloons.

But the event has now turned into the focus of a public row between two families after the mother of the boy holding the party sent a formal invoice to the parents of his friend Alex for a “party no-show fee”.

The document, which included an invoice number, charged Tanya Walsh and Derek Nash £15.95 for the cost of their five-year-old son’s non-attendance at the event, held during the Christmas holidays.

And the Nashes are now being threatened with action at the small claims court if they refuse to pay up, while the mother of the birthday boy has banned her son from ever playing with Alex again.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Children, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Scotland, Theology

(FT) Church of England, Environment Agency pension fund, other group tells oil groups to go green

The Environment Agency’s pension fund has urged BP and Royal Dutch Shell to invest in renewable energy and do more to tackle climate change.

The government-backed agency’s £2.5bn fund has teamed up with more than 150 other investors, including the Church of England and several large local authority pension funds. They have filed shareholder resolutions urging both oil companies to take more action on global warming.

“It was an easy decision,” said John Varley, chairman of the Environment Agency pensions committee. “We believe that it is vital to manage climate risk within investments and that all shareholders have access to clear information to assess how these companies are managing risk and protecting shareholder value.”

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

Guardian (book excerpt) Archbp Justin Welby Britain's urban crisis

Much of England is experiencing economic crisis. Our economy appears to be, in one sense, a tale of two cities ”“ one being a growing and constantly improving London (and the south-east generally), and the other being most, but not all, other cities, alike in that they are each trapped in apparently inevitable decline.

Of course, London has many economic problems of its own. While on a national level entire cities are being cast aside and left to their own devices, one cannot walk the streets of London for long before realising that this national trend is happening at an individual level in this massive city. There is poverty around the corner from every multimillion and multibillion pound industry ”“ individuals and families similarly trapped in apparently inescapable circles of despair.

This sketch of our current plight will not come as news to many. It is the reality we experience and see on a daily basis. And I believe that many of the prescribed remedies that so often accompany this diagnosis are deeply flawed.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Gavin Dunbar–The Only Saviour?

The story of the wise men and their star-led quest represents the religious and spiritual quest of the entire human race. Reason’s star led them to Jerusalem, in quest of a new born King of the Jews; the Scriptures’ revelation sent them to Bethlehem, where the star confirmed the scripture and stood over the place where the young child lay: the only begotten son of the Father, the full and final revelation of God’s glory, incarnate of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, now manifested to the Gentiles as the only mediator of God and men, the Saviour of the world.

Let us be clear: at the heart of the Magi’s journey is a claim offensive to many: not just Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus; but even, or especially, to many Christians and post-Christians, atheists, and skeptics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus expect to disagree with Christians, as they do with one another. It is the Christians and post-Christians who are embarrassed and offended by the claim that Jesus is the only Mediator of God and men (1 Timothy 2:5), the Saviour of the world.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Boko Haram 'leader Abubakar Shekau' claims Baga raid

A man purporting to be the leader of the Boko Haram Islamist group has said in a video that his fighters carried out a deadly attacks on the Nigerian town of Baga earlier this month.

The man said to be Abubakar Shekau said people were killed “as our Lord instructed us”, threatening more raids.

He taunted nearby countries’ leaders.

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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, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Time) Meet the Americans on the Front Lines in the Fight Against ISIS

The U.S. has said it won’t be sending soldiers to fight ISIS but some Americans have found their own way there

When the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) surrounded the Yezidi tribes on Sinjar Mountain in August last year, Dean Parker was at his job as a commercial painter in the U.S.. That evening, he saw news reports of Kurdish fighters trying to liberate the mountain.

“I made the decision right there,” says Parker, now sitting in his hotel room in the northern Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah. “I was online booking a ticket.

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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, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

The full text of the Republican Response To the 2015 State Of The Union Address

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate

The full transcript of President Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

(Haaretz) Salman Masalha–To end Islamic terror, Islam needs a revolution

“It’s neither beheading unbelievers nor terror that besmirch Islam,” he argued, but rather “all those who want Islam to be in the image of Mandela or Gandhi, without bloodshed and beheadings.” The provocative writer then added, “That isn’t the religion of Mohammed, who was sent out with his sword until Judgment Day; Mohammed, of whom the only chapter in the Koran that bears his name is called the war chapter. … All those who try to paint Islam as a religion of peace, doves and love … are doing so under the influence of the West’s false views and its evil ideas, which are being exported to the Islamic nation in order to weaken it.”

The author wasn’t making anything up. He cites Islamic sources. These are the same sources from which all Muslim religious scholars derive their worldviews.

So who is the abductor and who is the abductee in this story?

It seems that Islam needs a serious ideological shake-up. Or to be more precise, it needs a revolution that will bring it into alignment with the modern era. The “sacred” job of being the standard-bearer of this revolution must fall on the shoulders of Muslim intellectuals everywhere. For only a root canal of Islam’s ideas can move the Arab and Muslim world toward modernity.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(CT) The Controversy at Duke–Which Christian Spaces Are Off-Limits to Muslim Worship?

However, the dean of Duke Divinity School, Richard Hays, raised concerns about the use of the chapel for the Muslim call to prayer if it’s seen as a Christian church (given its history and iconography), rather than a neutral space on campus.

“There are serious questions…about the wisdom and propriety of allowing Duke chapel to be used for this purpose,” he said in a statement. “Despite some common beliefs and traditions, Christianity and Islam stand in significant theological tension with one another.”

Durham resident and author Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove wrote that while he was “glad Duke Chapel hosts a vibrant Christian congregation,” he did not see the space as holy ground.

“The Dukes are buried in the crypt, not saints. Robert E. Lee’s statue is in the entryway. Muslim prayers would not desecrate ground marked by the blood of Christian martyrs,” he wrote. “It would, instead, be an act of hospitality to hallow a messy place.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Education, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Young Adults

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Agnes

Almighty and everlasting God, who dost choose those whom the world deemeth powerless to put the powerful to shame: Grant us so to cherish the memory of thy youthful martyr Agnes, that we may share her pure and steadfast faith in thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

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

Lift up our souls, O Lord, to the pure, serene light of thy presence; that there we may breathe freely, there repose in thy love, there may be at rest from ourselves, and from thence return, arrayed in thy peace, to do and bear what shall please thee; for thy holy name’s sake.

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