Daily Archives: May 16, 2015

Episcopal Diocese of Dallas Elects George Sumner as their Next Bishop

The Rev. Canon George Sumner was chosen bishop-elect of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas after 77 votes from clergy and 107 votes from laity on the fourth ballot during a Special Convention on May 16, 2015 held at the Episcopal School of Dallas.

Sumner, age 60, is currently the Principal of Wycliffe College in Toronto, Canada, and was one of four nominees on the ballot for the diocese’ 7th bishop.

“I am humbled and grateful to God for my election,” Sumner said. “It will be a great privilege to share in the ministry Christ has given us all together in the Diocese of Dallas. I would like to express my appreciation for my fellow candidates and the remarkable transition team. I ask for your prayers and help in the days to come.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Theology

(CNBC) A Former homeless woman crowdfunds her way to the Ivy League

Once upon a time, Tonika Morgan was told she wouldn’t amount to anything. At age 17, she found herself homeless and a high school dropout.

But in a stark reversal of fortune””with equal parts hard work and Internet fundraising””Morgan is headed to Harvard University this fall to earn a master’s degree in education. Thanks to crowdfunding, her expenses will be fully funded.

“I still can’t believe it happened,” the Toronto woman said in an interview with CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

“I just kept hearing these voices in my head and thinking about all of the times that ”¦ my vice principal or I’ve had teachers or [administrators] just say ‘you really aren’t going to amount to anything so you might as well just kind of give up on the school thing.’,” Morgan said, speaking of her early troubled years. However, “I just kind of had to take a breath and do it.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Teens / Youth, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(BBC) Church of Scotland votes to allow ministers in same-sex partnerships

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has voted to allow congregations to ordain gay ministers who are in same sex civil partnerships.

Delegates voted 309 in favour and 183 against.

The vote followed a church-wide debate and consultations with all 45 presbyteries, which voted 31 to 14 in favour of change.

A further vote will be held this week on whether or not to extend ordination to ministers in same sex marriages.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Scotland, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

([London Times) Roderick Strange–If the Resurrection is untrue faith is futile–discuss

Believing that Jesus was raised from the dead is fundamental to Christian faith. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul stated his conviction starkly: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile.” There are plenty of people today who would agree with him, but give his logic a reverse twist. They dismiss the idea of resurrection as wishful thinking. Jesus has not been raised. Those who believe it are deluded and their faith is indeed futile. Yet many believe it still. These seven weeks between Easter and Pentecost are given over to celebrating it. What is being celebrated?

First of all, it may help to realise that Jesus’s resurrection is not simply the next thing that happened to him. It is not as though he died on the Friday, lay in the tomb on the Saturday, and rose on the Sunday. James Alison has expressed the point effectively by supposing that Holy Saturday was Jesus’s birthday. And so he imagines that Jesus was 33 when he was killed on Good Friday. But, he goes on, “he was not 34 when he rose on Easter Sunday. He was not any age at all. He was his whole human life and death given back to God.” In his resurrection, the whole of who Jesus is taken up and brought to its fulfilment. His resurrection takes hold even of his death and transforms it. The one who was raised has not been cured of being slaughtered. When, according to the Fourth Gospel, Thomas placed his hand into the wound in Jesus’s side in the upper room eight days after Jesus had been raised, he did not find a scab forming. The risen Lord is the crucified Jesus.

A second outstanding feature in all the Gospel accounts is the lack of any immediate appearance of the risen Jesus….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) They Built It. No One Came.

Their ideals were lofty but simple: They would live off the land, farming with Colonial-era tools, along with a band of like-minded men dressed in homespun robes wielding scythes and pickaxes. They would sleep in atmospheric log cabins and other 18th-century structures that they had rescued from the area and that they began to reconstruct, painstakingly, brick by crumbling brick and log by log.

But what if you built a commune, and no one came?

It turns out it’s not so easy to cook up a utopia from scratch. There are 1,775 so-called intentional communities listed in the Fellowship for Intentional Community’s United States directory: eco-villages, pagan co-ops, faith-based retreats and everything in between. But how do you advertise, organize and thrive? “Don’t ask us,” Johannes said. “We failed that class.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Other Faiths, Psychology, Religion & Culture

Saint Michael's, Charleston–A Maundy Thursday Moment That Will Never Be Forgotten

In an effort not just to “play” church, but to “be” church, we began Maundy Thursday by having dinner with the homeless on upper Meeting Street. That dinner made the whole night “real: and set the tone for worship…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Parish Ministry, Theology

(W Post) Senior ISIS leader killed in U.S. raid in Syria

U.S. Special Operations killed a senior Islamic State leader in a ground raid inside Syria on Friday night, the White House said in a statement Saturday.

The statement said that Abu Sayyaf, described as having a senior role in overseeing gas and oil operations that have been a key source of revenue for the militant group, had been killed when he “engaged U.S. forces” and resisted capture.

His wife, who was said to be an Islamic State member, was captured during the operation, and a young woman who appeared to be held as a slave of the couple was freed. The young woman was a member of the Yazidi sect in Iraq, the White House statement said.

“We intend to reunite her with her family as soon as feasible,” said National Security Council spokesman Bernadette Meehan.

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

(CT) Richard Mouw reviews Randy Boyagoda's new biography of Richard John Neuhaus

….Neuhaus had an extraordinary talent for bringing people together””to discuss, debate, and strategize. He regularly convened intellectually and theologically diverse groups to spend a couple of days discussing topics of interest. (In my own case the topics included, civil religion, multinational corporations, ecumenism, faith and politics, and “culture wars,” among others.)

But the most important of these projects was the 1990 founding of First Things. While Neuhaus had previously edited two similar journals, Worldview and This World, they had each been sponsored by larger foundations, the Carnegie and Rockford Institutes respectively. This time around the journal was Neuhaus’s own, to shape as he wished. And shaped it he did, with great talent and flair, bringing together like-minded writers representing Catholicism, evangelicalism, Orthodoxy and Lutheranism, along with fellow travelers from Judaism and Islam.

First Things was the flagship publication of Neuhaus’s Institute on Religion and Public Life, and the concept of “public life” was foundational to his efforts. Neuhaus always insisted that politics is only one aspect of a larger “public square”””one that makes room, as best it can, for a variety of religious, moral, and communal traditions. Boyagoda reminds us that Neuhaus and Berger actually coined the term “mediating structures,” now commonly used in social science, in their 1977 book To Empower People. That short book (just over 50 pages) showed how a wide range of smaller institutions””families, churches, professional associations, teams, guilds, neighborhood organizations, book clubs, schools””can offer a protective, nurturing space between individual and the power-hungry state.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Christology, Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Lutheran, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(The Week) Damon Linker–Is Christianity in America doomed?

Pew has released another major poll focused in much greater depth on the United States, and it’s being widely interpreted as providing evidence that religion (or at least Christianity) is indeed on the decline in the United States.

So was Dennett right, at least about America? Is the future of Christianity in the United States bleak after all?

Short answer: Not necessarily.

A nearly 8-percentage point drop in those calling themselves Christian (from 78.4 percent to 70.6 percent) in just seven years is a big deal. If those numbers are accurate, Christianity is certainly shrinking in America at a rate that, if it continues over the coming years and decades, will produce profound cultural changes.

But we’re not there yet.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Martyrs of Sudan

O God, steadfast in the midst of persecution, by whose providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: As the martyrs of the Sudan refused to abandon Christ even in the face of torture and death, and so by their sacrifice brought forth a plenteous harvest, may we, too, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, Sudan

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor's Prayerbook

Look with thy mercy, O Father, upon all thy children in every land, on every sea, and in the thoroughfares of the sky. Hold in thy gracious keeping every burdened heart, encourage every noble hope, strengthen every righteous purpose. Unite in the deathless bond of charity all followers of thy valiant Son, whose Name, and whose Name alone, can still the cries of greed and bring to our stricken world the hush of peace. Shatter our fears and our misgivings, and let the light of truth so govern our thoughts and guide our hands that, with all the brotherhood of the sons of God, we may receive as our home that kingdom which belongs to thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.

–Psalm 87:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(USA Today) Boston Marathon bomber sentenced to death

A jury of seven women and five men sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death by execution, closing one of the most painful chapters in this city’s history.

Tsarnaev looked straight ahead, showing no emotion, as the sentence was read. Jurors wiped away tears as the judge thanked them for their service.

“Your service as jurors in this case has been the very antithesis of mob law,” U.S District Judge George O’Toole Jr. told the jury. “You can and you should be justly proud of your service in this case.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Capital Punishment, Law & Legal Issues, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Bloomberg) The Canadian Economy Might Not Be Able To Ride America's Coat Tails This Time

Emanuella Enenajor, Canada and U.S. economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, has some bad news for the Canadian economy.

In light of the collapse in oil prices, she says, Canada is relying on a resurgent U.S. economy in order to provide a boost to exports and spur investment in activities that aren’t related to commodities.

Lofty oil prices have helped foster investment and employment growth in Canada as well as domestic consumption by making imports less expensive. For that reason, the Canadian dollar is often referred to as the petro-loonie since the key role oil plays in the nation’s terms of trade is typically reflected in currency fluctuations. With the price of oil falling recently, the pressure is on for Canada and it doesn’t look like the country will be getting much help from its Southern neighbor.

Notwithstanding the fact that economic activity in the U.S. has routinely disappointed so far this year, Enenajor concludes that a pick-up in U.S. growth wouldn’t be a panacea for Canada.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Canada, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Theology

Don't call 11-year-old Joey Alexander a jazz prodigy: 'I just like to be as myself'

The 11-year-old musical prodigy has been making waves recently with his beyond-his-years skills on the keyboard, and on TODAY Thursday the Jakarta, Indonesia native showed off those talents first in an interview and jam session with Lester Holt, then later in the studio.

Read it all and enjoy the video.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Children, Indonesia, Music