Daily Archives: January 31, 2015

(Huff Po) Terry Gaspard–Will Living Together Without Marriage Damage Kids?

A recent study from Duke University analyzed over 5,200 U.S. children who were born out of wedlock and recommended that unmarried parents marry before a child turns three so they’ll create the strongest possible bond. Study author Christina Gibson-Davis writes: “If you think that stable marriage is beneficial for kids, very few kids born out of wedlock are experiencing that.” Gibson also found that marriages are more likely to succeed if mothers marry biological fathers rather than a stepfather.

Many experts conclude that cohabitation puts children at risk for instability. As the rate of couples who live together without being married rises radically, children in America are more likely to experience cohabitation than divorce, according to W. Brad Wilcox, Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. Wilcox posits that they’re also at risk for potential psychological and academic problems, poverty, instability, and child abuse. He writes, “Compared to marriage, cohabitation furnishes less commitment, stability, sexual fidelity, and safety for romantic partners and their children.”

Consequently, cohabiting couples are more than twice as likely to breakup and four times as likely to be unfaithful to one another, compared with married couples. A recent study from Drs. Sheela Kennedy and Larry Bumpass found that 65 percent of children born to cohabitating parents saw their parents’ breakup by age 12, compared to 24 percent born to married families.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Young Adults

(CT) Morgan Lee–Why Black Churches Are Keeping Millennials

Black Protestants have retained the greatest number of millennials compared with Catholics, white mainliners, and white evangelicals, according to 2012 data from the Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. These traditions have seen their market share of millennials drop by 8.4, 7.3, and 2.2 percentage points, respectively. In contrast, black Protestant millennials have decreased by 1.5 percentage points.

The black church’s unique history and culture help to explain why it is keeping millennials while other traditions are losing them. In the Antebellum Era, the black church was a place of “communal and spiritual encouragement” for slaves, says University of Albany professor Roxanne Jones Booth. And during Jim Crow, the church was one of the few institutions that let blacks lead.

Consequently, the church “served more than a religion function,” said apologetics pastor and researcher Carl Ellis. “There are institutional, social, and cultural reasons why people attend church. They’re not all theological.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Young Adults

Pittsburgh area Principal strengthens school's 'Catholic identity' while proving nuns can be fun

Until last July, St. Bernard School in Mt. Lebanon hadn’t had a religious sister as a principal since 1991, leading some students to worry when they found out that Sister Daniela Bronka would be filling the position.

“We thought she’d be really strict and not fun at all,” said eighth-grader Chloe Morycz.

“I thought she’d be really old and have a big veil covering her whole face, but then she turned out to be really young. Like 20,” said fourth-grader Damien Szuch.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Education, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Lent and Beyond: Prayer for South Carolina on Saturday January 31st

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.
The diocese has been in a season of transition and awaits the results of litigation.

Exodus 31:18 (NIV)
When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.
Father, inscribe upon the hearts of the people of the Diocese of South Carolina Your covenant law.

Mark 7:33-35 (NIV)
After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
Open their ears and loosen their tongues to advance the kingdom of God.

Luke 11:20 (NIV)
But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Drive out the demons blocking the advancement of Your kingdom in this diocese. Your kingdom come and Your will be done in the Diocese of South Carolina as it is in heaven. 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

Os Guinness' sermon from last Sunday–“Serving God’s Purpose in Our Generation”

But you’re a baby boomer and I’m a millennial. You wouldn’t understand.” Have you noticed how “generationalism” has become a new form of identity today, as well as a new form of mistrusting authority? But what is a biblical and Christian view of generation, and how can we live it out in our time?

Os Guinness is an author and social critic. Born in China, educated in England, he has lived in the US since 1984 and is a member of the Falls Church Anglican in Virginia. His latest book is ”˜Renaissance ”” The power of the gospel however dark the times

You can find the download there and you may listen directly here from Saint Michael’s, Charleston, SC.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

S.C. health care committee decision on the ACA 3 years ago could have massive implications

A decision made more than three years ago by a committee that no longer exists might deal a major blow to Obamacare in South Carolina this summer.

That’s when the U.S. Supreme Court will decide if customers who shop on HealthCare.gov can use federal financial aid to lower the amount they pay for insurance. Those customers include 37-year-old Erin Johnson and more than 140,000 other low- to middle-income South Carolinians who already receive those health insurance subsidies.

“If it’s full price, I honestly don’t think I could do it. I really don’t make much,” said Johnson, a medical courier from Goose Creek. She receives a federal discount worth more than $100 and pays only $56 a month for her policy. Before she purchased the plan in October, she was uninsured. “I needed it. It was pretty awesome.”

Read it all from the local paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Economy, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance, Politics in General, State Government

Sam Shoemaker on his Feast Day (II)–a Graduation Address at St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing

How can religion help a trained nurse? You have to face life at its times of physical suffering. Sometimes those are the glorious hours of life, and you see it in all its nobility. Sometimes those are the meanest hours of life, and you see it in all its quaking cowardice. According to what you bring to the things which you must see, and try to remedy, you develop a greater faith or a greater fatalism. I am not going to blame you if you are turned to a greater fatalism by some of the things you see, like crass selfishness, and the fear of death. But I am going to say that, if you can find faith yourself, and keep it, and live by it, you will do a far more creative job with your patients, and you will get a lot more out of life.

I face every day something very like what you face. I see and talk with people who are sick in their souls, sick with fear, sick with resentment, sick with futility, sick with dishonesty about themselves. They come to me with problems I cannot solve, as they come to you with sickness you cannot heal. The first thing I have to do is to get their confidence, so that they can tell me the things that are really on their hearts. And often…then I have to reach into my own experience for something like their problem, so that they know I have faced a similar thing. And then I begin telling them what I, and others, have found as a way out. That brings us right back to Christ. Because, while I cannot answer their problems, He can. There is no joy in the world like watching Him begin to come into somebody’s life through the contagion of one’s own faith, and then watch them begin spiritually to get well. That is the thrill of my job, as watching them get well in health is the thrill of yours.

But my job isn’t just confined to the soul, it has to take in the mind and the body. The other day I sent a friend of mine to one of this city’s great-hearted psychiatrists, because I knew he could help in a way I could not. And I am constantly working with medical doctors, so that we can heal people all round. In the same way you cannot confine your healing to the body only. You know how much the mental attitude has to do with getting well, how fear, or not wanting to live, pull people down, and how wanting to live and be well, and faith, pull them up. Sometimes it seems that these attitudes are determinative in what happens to sick people. What do you feel about them? Can you do anything to help? Are they just chemical reactions? Or does the power of suggestion lie very close to faith, and is that power in the hands of everyone who sees a sick person, especially in the hands of the persons who see them most, namely, yourselves?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Remembering Sam Shoemaker on his Feast Day (I)–a man concerned with USA's internal enemies

It was America’s enemies within that interested Shoemaker most. After the country entered World War II, the cleric addressed the nation’s cause in several sermons, eventually published in Christ and this Cause. In one of those sermons, “God and the War,” he lashed out at the nation’s immorality.

This nation has had the greatest privileges ever given to any nation in all time. America has been God’s privileged child. But America has become a spoiled child. We have been ungrateful to the God under whom our liberties were given to us. I believe it is high time for someone to say that this war today is God’s judgment upon a godless and selfish people.”

Shoemaker did support the war effort; in his sermon, “What Are We Fighting For?” he admitted that the war was a “grim necessity,” the means by which nations would once again have the opportunity to choose democracy. But he abhorred any self-righteous cause:

“No war can ever be a clear-cut way for a Christian to express his hatred of evil. For war involves a basic confusion. All the good in the world is not ranged against all the evil. In the present war, some nations that have a great deal of evil in them are yet seeking to stand for freedom ”¦ against other nations which have a great deal of good in them but yet are presently dedicated to turning the world backwards into the darkness of enslavement.”

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Samuel Shoemaker

Holy God, we offer thanks for the vision of Samuel Shoemaker, priest and co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous; and we pray that we may follow his example to help others find salvation through knowledge and love of Jesus Christ our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Teach us, O God, to walk trustfully today in thy presence, that thy voice may encourage us, thine arm defend us, and thy love surround us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–New Every Morning (The Prayer Book Of The Daily Broadcast Service) [BBC, 1900]

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But I call upon God; and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he will hear my voice. He will deliver my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.

–Psalm 55:16-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

John Campbell–Musings about Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Maiduguri

There is not much information on life in territories Boko Haram controls. Unlike ISIS, Boko Haram does not overtly intend to establish governance structures or provide public services. The administration of a heavily populated metropole like Maiduguri might be beyond Boko Haram’s capacity. Rather than occupying Maiduguri, Boko Haram might conduct a series of bloody raids targeting the federal facilities, military, and police. It would not be surprising if Boko Haram tries to take control of the airport and airbase.

Borno and the northeast generally support the political opposition instead of the governing power. A credible presumption is that most Nigerians in the northeast would support Mohammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) against incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). However given Boko Haram’s presence, it is unclear whether many in Borno will actually be able to cast ballots. Indeed, a large scale Boko Haram attack on Maiduguri, with the loss or destruction of the airport and the airbase, would be a major blow to the Nigerian government and could have consequences for the February 14 elections. It would also reinforce the widespread view among Nigerians outside the northeast that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan is failing to provide for the security of its citizens, a view that increases support for Buhari in parts of Nigeria that have previously not supported him.

In this pre-election period, Boko Haram has been a political football between the PDP and the APC. Boko Haram’s perspective appears to be ”˜a plague on both your houses.’ It may have tried to assassinate Buhari and the Shehu of Borno, and it has also threatened death to Jonathan many times.

Read it all.

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

(NYT Op-ed) Susan Pinker-Can Students Have Too Much Technology?

President Obama’s domestic agenda, which he announced in his State of the Union address this month, has a lot to like: health care, maternity leave, affordable college. But there was one thing he got wrong. As part of his promise to educate American children for an increasingly competitive world, he vowed to “protect a free and open Internet” and “extend its reach to every classroom and every community.”

More technology in the classroom has long been a policy-making panacea. But mounting evidence shows that showering students, especially those from struggling families, with networked devices will not shrink the class divide in education. If anything, it will widen it.

In the early 2000s, the Duke University economists Jacob Vigdor and Helen Ladd tracked the academic progress of nearly one million disadvantaged middle-school students against the dates they were given networked computers. The researchers assessed the students’ math and reading skills annually for five years, and recorded how they spent their time. The news was not good….

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Telegraph Letters: Taking steps to stop the scandal of the selective abortion of girls

SIR ”“ Professor Sally Sheldon and a group of academics object to an attempt by parliamentarians to stop the selective abortion of girls (Letters, January 28).
This issue is one that the Telegraph exposed. It is about the abortion of girls purely on the ground of their sex ”“ the first form of violence against women and girls.
The academics’ letter shows beautifully the need to clarify the law. For too long, confused interpretations of the 1967 Abortion Act have passed unchallenged. Professor Sheldon herself has written elsewhere that the idea that sex-selective abortion is illegal is “far from clear”. We cannot sit idly by as a preference for sons results in selective abortion of daughters.
The letter claims that action will require ethnic profiling. This was not true for female genital mutilation ”“ a predominantly cultural practice ”“ and need not be true for sex-selective abortion….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Theology, Women

(Baltimore Sun) Vince Clews–Story of Orthodox Anglican churches concerns more than sexual morality

I read the Sun’s front page article by Doug Donovan regarding Church of the Ascension (“Small church fights Episcopal diocese over land,” Jan. 24) with special interest because just about five years ago a group of some 30 of us left the Episcopal Church and founded our own then small Orthodox Anglican congregation, Church of the Resurrection, in Timonium. Ironically, the writer who wrote an article for The Sun about our experience nearly made the same mistake your Mr. Donovan made here some five years later.

At that time, the writer assumed that we left because of the consecration of a… bishop [in a same-sex partnership]. We were pretty clear with that writer that we left for reasons much greater than one bishop. We left because the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church had left us with its swing to modify, even deny, much of the story of salvation through Jesus Christ. The writer, to her credit, presented our rationale relatively fairly.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Soteriology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture