Daily Archives: October 2, 2015

(Daily Beast) Forget Oregon’s Gunman. Remember the Hero Who Charged Straight at Him

Forget the 26-year-old zero who murdered 10 innocents at Umpqua Community College on Thursday morning.

The one to remember is 30-year-old Chris Mintz, the student and Army vet who was shot at least five times while charging straight at the gunman in an effort to save others.

Mintz did so on the sixth birthday of his son, Tyrik.

“It’s my son’s birthday, it’s my son’s birthday,” he was heard saying as he lay wounded.

When word of Mintz’s heroism reached his kin in his native North Carolina, his cousin Derek Bourgeois was hardly surprised.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Theology, Violence, Young Adults

Church of England schools increasingly failing to appoint heads of the same faith, says study

Growing numbers of Church of England schools are failing to appoint heads of the same faith, according to a study.

A new Church of England report into the training needs of its schools reveals “a significant shortage of leaders [nationally] which is felt even more acutely” by church schools.

“There was clear consensus across school leaders and diocesan officials that recruitment of school leaders with the necessary understanding and commitment is proving increasingly difficult and sometimes impossible,” says the report.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Children, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(USA Today) Kirsten Powers– It's time for evangelicals to speak up for animals

The proclamation, which provides extensive scriptural citation, asserts, “God has given all animals the breath of life, that He sustains them”¦ they belong ultimately to Him, and”¦ He has declared them ”˜good,’ indicating they have value to Him independent of human use.”

Many conservative evangelicals bristle at the mention of the animal rights movement because they believe it puts humans and animals on equal footing. But the evangelical statement is unequivocal that humans hold a unique status in creation. In fact, it’s this special status that demands humans practice extra care with all of God’s creation. The signatories affirmed the belief that, “all animals ultimately belong to God, are sustained by Him, and exist to bring Him praise and reveal His character.”

Also being announced today is the launch of the “Every Living Thing” initiative, which will begin a year-long effort to engage Christians in dialogue around the biblical mandate to care for animals.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Animals, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CC) Matt Gaventa–at Sweetbriar College, a student body in crisis, and I’m the chaplain

I did know that the whole student body had been summoned to the auditorium””and I was one of a few people who knew why. All morning long I’d known what was coming, much as I would have liked to stay in the dark. I got a tip the day before that Sweet Briar’s board had determined the college’s financial challenges to be insurmountable. I knew the board had voted to close the school, effective at the end of the semester. I knew that the students and staff whose names I was just learning were on the brink of having their world torn apart. And I knew that I was the chaplain, and that I was going to have to watch it happen.

During lunchtime, while the president delivered the fatal news to the faculty and staff, I attended the regular meeting of students working for the Office of Spiritual Life. My secret charge was to gather as many as possible into the auditorium for the chance to hear the news directly from the president, before it hit Twitter with explosive force. But as we walked up the hill to the auditorium, my phone was already lighting up. A friend at a nearby college forwarded her own faculty announcement: “Is this for real? What’s going on out there?” I responded with brevity bordering on hostility, typing as I walked: “Students don’t know yet. We need ten minutes. Stay off Facebook.”
The assembly was brutal. I sat with a few friendly students but could hardly engage, knowing what I knew and they didn’t. I stared at my phone, waiting for social media to beat the president to his own job. The sound system wasn’t working, and we waited for an eternity of troubleshooting. And then there was no more time, and the president came out and spoke without a mic, projecting his voice. He said he wanted to get right to the point. He said it broke his heart to be there. Then he said Sweet Briar would close its doors. The class of 2015 would be the last graduating class.

And then the whole auditorium burst into tears.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Young Adults

(N Observer) Archbishop Imaekhai urges patience with Nigerian president Buhari

“We call on Nigerians to support the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and be patient with him as we urge him to fulfill his campaign promises to Nigerians. “President Buhari should see himself as president of the whole nation and not a sectional or religious president”, he admonished.

He cautioned that despite the myriad of challenges confronting the nation, dismemberment of the country remains a ridiculous thinking, adding that it is an unthinkable idea after shedding innocent blood through the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War to keep Nigeria one.

The religious leader commiserated with the families of those that have lost their lives in the North through the activities of Boko Haram insurgency, and called on the governments at all levels, religious organizations and philanthropists to come to the aid of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) who have been dehumanized by the activities of insurgents.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(CSM) A top Nigerian export: fervent Pentecostal Christianity

The roads that wind north from Lagos, Nigeria, toward the headquarters of the Winners’ Chapel mega-church are lined with unusual testaments to Nigerians’ religious fervor.

There’s the Amazing Grace Hair Salon and the No King But God Driving School, My God Is Able Furniture Makers and God’s Grace Multipurpose Hall. And wedged between these omnipotently styled businesses are the churches themselves, hundreds of them, carrying on tenaciously in a sweltering tin shack or a room balanced atop a gas station, in the parking lot of a half-finished shopping mall or perched on stilts above Lagos’s thick, viscous lagoon.

But even in a country so devout, Canaanland stands out. The headquarters of one of the most powerful churches in Africa rambles out across 10,500 acres and includes not only a massive church ”“ the 50,000 seat Faith Tabernacle ”“ but a fully stocked company town complete with schools and a university, a bottled water processing plant, restaurants, shops, and residential neighborhoods. Every weekend, hundreds of bus loads of Nigerians, regally coiffed in vividly patterned, tailor-made suits and dresses, pour through its gates for Sunday service.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Globalization, History, Nigeria, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

Archbishop Justin Welby addresses the Muslim Council of Wales

The next point I want to make I think is one that is of increasing importance in a time when there is a certain set tendency to say that religion should be privatised. To use an old expression, many think religion should be only between consenting adults in private.

Far from it, the faith communities are those who provide the glue in society in so many ways, from their social action through to the eternal values which they reflect and support, and which eternal values are themselves the foundation for British values of which we’ve heard a lot over the last few months. Because of what the Scriptures teach us, especially from the prophet Jeremiah, we are committed to seeking the welfare of the place where we live, the common good.

Christians and Muslims are not called to a ghetto-like existence, although both our faiths have from time to time acted in that way, through fear or defensiveness. We are called by contrast to be actively involved in our society not for our own good but for the common good. We are called to seek the flourishing of the society, as Jeremiah said to the Jewish exiles: “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” [

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Church of Wales, England / UK, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Wales

President Obama’s Call at U.N. to Fight ISIS With Ideas Is Largely Seen as Futile

Islamic State combatants have shown themselves to be resilient, and the group is adept at attracting adherents through social media.

At least eight Islamic State branches in the Middle East and Afghanistan have cropped up in recent years or have redefined themselves as allies, such as the Boko Haram insurgency group in Nigeria.

At the same time, international efforts to combat the Islamic State’s online propaganda messaging has been an abysmal failure, according to a recent State Department assessment.

So far, the Islamic State’s violent narrative ”” promulgated through thousands of messages each day ”” has effectively “trumped” the efforts of some of the world’s richest and most technologically advanced nations, the State Department assessment said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Islam, Media, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Terrorism, Theology

(CNN) Father of Umpqua college shooting victim: Gunman singled out Christians

The gunman who opened fire at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College singled out Christians, according to the father of a wounded student.

Before going into spinal surgery, Anastasia Boylan told her father the gunman entered her classroom firing.

“I’ve been waiting to do this for years,” the gunman told the professor teaching the class. He shot him point blank, Boylan recounted.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence, Young Adults

(Church Times) Lebanon a time bomb, say aid workers

The crisis in Lebanon, where 1.2 million Syrian refugees are competing for limited resources with host communities, is a “ticking time bomb”, two aid workers gave warning this week.

The country, which is the size of Yorkshire, has the highest number of refugees per capita: a quarter of the population. Of these, 70 per cent live below the poverty line. Since the UN’s Syria regional-response plan is less than half-funded, and the influx costs the country a third of its GDP, communities are in crisis.

“It’s more than just tension: I think it is a ticking bomb,” the communications manager for World Vision in Lebanon, Patricia Mouamar, said on Tuesday. “It’s like the whole country of Greece moving into UK. . . If no funding is made available to us, it will explode at a certain time.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Lebanon, Middle East, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Theology

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 Scripture Readings

Of old thou didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They will perish, but thou dost endure; they will all wear out like a garment. Thou changest them like raiment, and they pass away; but thou art the same, and thy years have no end.

–Psalm 102:25-27

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gunman in Oregon college shooting killed; multiple fatalities reported

A shooter described as a 20-year-old man opened fire on a rural community college campus in Oregon on Thursday morning, killing multiple people and injuring even more.

Ellen F. Rosenblum, the Oregon attorney general, said her office believed that 13 people were killed in the shooting and another 20 people were injured.

“We are just heartbroken here in Oregon that an act of this magnitude has occurred in our state,” Rosenblum said in an interview on MSNBC. She said the figures were from the Oregon Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice division. She cautioned that the situation was still developing, and other officials confirmed few details.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Theology, Violence, Young Adults

(Time) Ian Bremmer–These 5 Facts Explain Putin’s War in Syria

You have to give Vladimir Putin credit””he has a special talent for changing facts on the ground and daring others to do something about it. Russian bombs are now falling on Syria, though Putin’s intentions remain a subject of debate. But here’s the bottom line: Russia’s strongman has restored his country’s status as a major international player. These 5 facts explain Putin’s calculations for joining the fight for Syria.

1. Putin’s Popularity

Putin has used tough foreign policy words and deeds to boost his popularity at home from the very start.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Psychology, Russia, Theology, Ukraine

(Telegraph) Crematorium cross removed to avoid offending non-religious visitors

A parish is in uproar after a crematorium’s cross was taken down and stuffed in a cupboard to avoid offending non-religious visitors.
Around 40 per cent of funeral services held the crematorium are non-Christian so it was decided that the cross should be kept in a storage cupboard rather than behind the alter.
It will be brought out of the cupboard and put up on the wall for services at Accrington Crematorium in Burnley, Lancashire, only when requested.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology