Daily Archives: February 13, 2016

A NYT article on the historic Meeting between the Pope and Russian Orthodox Leader

Pope Francis on Friday became the first pontiff to ever meet a patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, as the two Christian leaders set aside centuries of division in a historic encounter that was held in an unlikely setting: a room at the Havana airport.

Having announced the meeting only a week ago, Francis landed in Havana about 2 p.m. for a stopover that lasted a few hours, before he continued to Mexico City for his six-day visit to Mexico. Awaiting him in Havana was Patriarch Kirill, who was making an official visit to Cuba at the invitation of President Raúl Castro.

As he approached the Russian patriarch amid the clicking of news cameras, Francis was overheard to say, “Brother.” A moment later, he added, “Finally.”

The two men embraced, kissing each other twice on the cheeks and clasping hands before taking seats. “Now things are easier,” Kirill said. Francis responded, “It is clear now that this is the will of God.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Washington Post Magazine) The secret to a long-lasting marriage

…what are the specific behaviors that get couples through the decades? For starters, long-lasting couples adopt a commitment to “marital permanency,” says W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project and associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. “They don’t see divorce as an option.” That’s vital given that even the happiest marriages aren’t always happy.

They also work hard to master effective communication ”” not just talking, but listening. And such couples make generosity and kindness habitual, committing small acts of service, like cleaning up without being asked. They’re willing to forgive their spouse’s faults and failings. They treat each other with respect.

There’s one other thing long-married couples devote effort to: keeping their marriage interesting. Even after decades together they carve out time as a couple, take an interest in each other’s passions and take steps to foster intimacy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Marriage & Family

(FT) Dmitry Medvedev warns of new cold war

The world has entered a “new cold war,” Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday, as he held out an olive branch to western powers, urging conciliation.

“Sometimes I think, are we in 2016 or 1962?” Mr Medvedev asked, in a speech that reeled off the long list of familiar Russian grievances ”” from Nato expansion to western regime change projects ”” but also included some of the firmest calls for rapprochement with Europe and the US since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea two years ago.

Read it all.

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

Open Thread: Lent Resources

Lent is upon us early this year, and The Elves have been caught without oil in their lamps. What are you doing this Lent? Have you come across any resources you would recommend to others or do you have any thoughts to encourage us during this season of Lent?

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent

(Wired) LIGO’s First-Ever Detection of Gravitational Waves Opens a New Window on the Universe

In deep space, two black holes spiraled toward each other, their tremendous mass warping spacetime and propagating gravitational waves across the fabric of the universe at light-speed. The two black holes eventually crashed into one another and merged into one even bigger black hole, emitting a crescendo of waves.

That quiet tremolo on the catgut of reality made it to Earth, where the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory was listening. For 13 years LIGO heard, it seemed, every vibration but the one it was supposed to. But on September 14, 2015 it detected those black-hole-crashing swells as they washed over the planet. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have detected gravitational waves,” David Reitze, LIGO’s Executive Director, said today at a press conference. “We did it.”

This is big-deal physics, a long-awaited bit of evidence that vindicates the work of Albert Einstein, opens a new scientific field, and gives astronomers a peek at a side of the universe they’ve never seen. “We are not only going to be seeing the universe,” says Gabriela Gonzalez, an astrophysicist at Louisiana State University and spokesperson for the LIGO team. “We are going to be listening to it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Science & Technology

The TEC Bp of Hawaii writes in response to the 2016 Primates Gathering

What does it mean? Frankly, I was not surprised by the outcome. It is in many ways better that I had feared. In practical terms of our mission and ministry, the Primates’ statement will have very little impact.

In the early 1930s the Archbishop of York, later Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, proposed that we Christians apply four basic Christian principles when addressing any issues of the Christian life and morality, and social and economic justice. They are: (1) the sacredness of personality, (2) the fact of fellowship, (3) the duty of service, and (4) the power of self-sacrifice.

The sacredness of personality is the principle that affirms the value of each of us as individuals before God. The basis for this principle in our Christian life is the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. The Incarnational Principle affirms the sacredness of individual human persons as products of creation and the foci of redemption. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1, 14) These words from John’s gospel graphically express the reality of a God who lived, laughed, suffered and died within our human lives. All humanity-each of us individually-is sanctified by the mere fact of the Incarnation. We each are a sacred personality.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Manchester United Play Poorly and Lose to Sunderland 2-1

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney felt his team “frankly didn’t deserve anything” from Saturday’s disappointing trip to the Stadium of Light.

The Reds missed a chance to close the gap on the top four as Lamine Kone’s 82nd-minute header rebounded off David de Gea to condemn United to a 2-1 defeat and Rooney was clearly unhappy with United’s display.

“We didn’t create enough chances, we weren’t aggressive enough and it has cost us not defending set pieces so it’s a disappointing result,” said Rooney after the game.

“We didn’t play well today, we know that, we didn’t win enough second balls and all that coming together has cost us and it is not good enough.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Men, Sports

(NBC) This Calif. Lawyer is Vowing to Put 26 Kindergartners Through College

Please take special note in this story about Marty Burbank’s gift the reason He did it was because of his pastors sermon.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology

(Touchstone) Andrew Peach–The Vanishing Point of Marriage

Marriage is rooted in and arises from the natural complementarity of men and women, and this complementarity is ordered to, even if it does not always issue in, the procreation and rearing of children. Though couples make an intentional choice to marry, marriage is more than an intentional arrangement. Marrying couples enter into an institution that is naturally ordered to certain ends and that naturally provides certain goods. In the words of the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes,

[B]y that human act whereby spouses mutually bestow and accept each other, a relationship arises which by divine will, and in the eyes of society too, is a lasting one. For the good of the spouses and their offspring as well as of society, the existence of the sacred bond no longer depends on human decisions alone. For God Himself is the author of matrimony, endowed as it is with various benefits and purposes.

Herein lies the principal danger to marriage in this court-imposed legislation. Post-Obergefell, marriage is no longer understood as ordered to the completion and fulfillment of our nature. Rather, it is merely the fulfillment of our desires””for now. And if all marital arrangements are merely intentional acts of will, there is no longer any principled reason to object to anyone’s act of will, desire, or intention if he claims it is sincere: “It’s natural to have desires,” the argument goes, “so whatever you sincerely desire is ‘natural.'” But a marriage entirely of our making is not a marriage at all. In short, Obergefell spells the end of a coherent understanding of marriage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Absalom Jones

Set us free, O heavenly Father, from every bond of prejudice and fear: that, honoring the steadfast courage of thy servants Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Coptic Liturgy of Saint Cyril

O God of love, who hast given us a new commandment through thine only begotten Son, that we should love one another even as thou didst love us, the unworthy and the wandering, and gavest him for our life and salvation: We pray thee to give to us thy servants, in all time of our life on earth, a mind forgetful of past ill-will, a pure conscience, and a heart to love our brethren; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

–Psalm 30:11-12 (KJV)

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

[Glen Scrivener] 40 Days and 40 Nights

…40 days seems to be a time of testing and transition. For those who pass the test there is a new world to enjoy:

A world washed clean.
Face to face with the LORD.
A land of milk and honey.
Victory over the enemy.
The defeat of the devil.
The new creation.

But the flood story tells us this ”“ we can’t endure the test by ourselves. The salvation beyond judgement is for one person only. It is the ultimate Noah, the ultimate Moses, the ultimate David ”“ Christ ”“ who endures on our behalf. Those who trust Him are hidden with Him, the way the Ark’s passengers were hidden with Noah. But, on the other side, we benefit from His victory.

None of us can pass the ultimate test. We cannot transition to the ultimate destination. But Jesus Christ has. He has crushed the devil and defeated sin and death. He has made it to the throne of heaven and offers us new life if we simply hide ourselves in Him. For now there is testing: “Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering” (1 Peter 4;12). But beyond these “40 days” our Saviour will bring us to rest.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent

Howard Skempton: Ostende Nobis Domine

Alleluia. Show us thy mercy, O Lord and grant us thy salvation
Alleluia. Ostende nobis Domine misericordiam tuam et salutare tuum da nobis

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship