Monthly Archives: April 2016

NYT–Leicester City+English Football's Most Remarkable Season

For casual soccer fans, it may be difficult to fully understand the absurdity of Leicester City’s having a chance to clinch England’s Premier League title this weekend. To say it is an upset or a shock or a stunner seems wholly inadequate, particularly when one considers that those words are so often used to describe one-time results (the United States over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympic hockey tournament, for example) as opposed to the feat of endurance that is required for a relative minnow like Leicester to dominate the sharks of English soccer for a nine-month season.

One way to view Leicester City’s unlikely title is through gambling odds. Before this season began, British bookmakers listed Leicester ”” pronounced Less-ter ”” as a 5,000-to-1 shot to emerge as the Premier League champion. By comparison, the so-called Miracle Mets of 1969 were a 100-to-1 choice, and Buster Douglas was just a 42-to-1 underdog when he upset Mike Tyson in 1990 to win the heavyweight championship.

Being 5,000 to 1 really put Leicester City more in line with the odds one might see in the novelty category often offered by British bookies ”” bets on things that are so outlandish and unlikely as to be unimaginable ”” but even there, Leicester City was a long shot. The odds that Simon Cowell, the acid-tongued producer of “American Idol,” would become the next British prime minister were only 500 to 1, for example….

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

Archbishop of York’s Pilgrimage Tours Easingwold Area next week

The Archbishop is to celebrate Ascension Day at St John the Baptist & All Saints Easingwold on Thursday 5 May at 7.30pm ”“ all welcome. He is visiting Strensall Barracks to meet with soldiers and their families at Hurst Hall on Saturday 7 May at 10.15am and following this, is to join in the fundraising paper-chain event with Kidz Club ”“ linking St Mary’s Church to the Methodist Church. An ”˜Ask the Archbishop’ question and answer is taking place at The Ship Inn, Strensall at 11.45am on Saturday”“ all welcome. Join the Archbishop at St Helen and the Holy Cross Church, Sheriff Hutton for a 10.30am Eucharist on Sunday 8th May”“ all welcome.

In a busy week which includes a community soup lunch at Oulston on Tuesday and meeting with USA/UK Youth interns on Wednesday, the Archbishop will also be leading Pilgrimage Prayers at 11 local churches and calling in at eight schools at Husthwaite, Crayke, Shipton, Brafferton, Alne, Easingwold, Sutton on the Forest and Huby. The Archbishop will also be meeting the community at Easingwold Market Place on Friday morning.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE)

Archbishop Justin Welby Reflects on the ACC meeting in Lusaka

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop of Canterbury

A Prayer to Begin the Day from John R. W. Stott

O God, our heavenly Father, who so loved the world that thou didst give thine only Son to die upon the cross: Pour thy love into our hearts, we humbly beseech thee; that we loving thee above all things, may give up ourselves, our time, our money, our talents, to thy service; for the sake of him who loved us and gave himself for us, Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things which we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Natl Geographic) The World's Newest Major Religion: No Religion

But nones aren’t inheriting the Earth just yet. In many parts of the world””sub-Saharan Africa in particular””religion is growing so fast that nones’ share of the global population will actually shrink in 25 years as the world turns into what one researcher has described as “the secularizing West and the rapidly growing rest.” (The other highly secular part of the world is China, where the Cultural Revolution tamped down religion for decades, while in some former Communist countries, religion is on the increase.)

And even in the secularizing West, the rash of “religious freedom bills”””which essentially decriminalize discrimination””are the latest front in a faith-tinged culture war in the United States that shows no signs of abetting anytime soon.

Within the ranks of the unaffiliated, divisions run deep. Some are avowed atheists. Others are agnostic. And many more simply don’t care to state a preference. Organized around skepticism toward organizations and united by a common belief that they do not believe, nones as a group are just as internally complex as many religions. And as with religions, these internal contradictions could keep new followers away.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Theology

What is GAFCON?

GAFCON April 2016 from GAFCON Official on Vimeo.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates

[Sudbury News] Anglican bishop and former Thorneloe prez takes on new posting

Bishop Stephen Andrews will lead Canada’s largest Anglican theological college
Stephen Andrews has announced that as of Aug. 1, he’ll be the new principal of Wycliffe College, the largest Anglican theological college in the country, located on the campus of the University of Toronto.

“I’m thrilled by it and I’m a little bit nervous about it,” said Andrews, who was the president of Thorneloe, a federated university on Laurentian University’s campus, for eight years before becoming bishop.

“It’s an important responsibility in the life of the church.”

Andrews is an American who was born in Colorado and grew up in Minnesota. He moved to Vancouver, B.C. in 1979 to study theology, and stayed in Canada after marrying his Canadian wife, Fawna.

He actually did some of his studies at Wycliffe after deciding to become an Anglican priest.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

[DW] At Brussels airport, a chaplain helps passengers and staff to heal

He normally advises people on spiritual matters. But after last month’s terror attacks in Brussels, airport chaplain Michel Gaillard is busy helping staff cope with the trauma as they return to their jobs.

Father Michel Gaillard runs his fingers over a wooden bench covered in a thin layer of dust – a remnant of the bomb blasts that hit Zaventem airport the morning of March 22, killing 16 people. The airport chapel is still closed to the public. It’s normally where passengers or staff would come to pray. But now, it functions as more of a counselling center, where Gaillard helps people deal with the trauma of recent events. The chaplain says he’ll never forget the day of the attacks.
…….
For many people though, March 22 will remain the day their lives changed forever. Gaillard says he has listened to so many stories and painful testimonies of people who were injured by the blasts, in some cases losing their feet or hands. He has also been dealing with the grief of people who lost loved ones. “The question I am asked most is: Was God present at that moment? And my answer is: There is one hand launching the bombs. And there is another hand helping to save the lives, to heal the hearts. Actually, there were many people who came to try and save others. And that’s where you find God,” said Gaillard.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care

(WSJ) David Kirby–Praying by Doing, Classroom Edition

In the summer of 1825, young Ralph Waldo Emerson took a break from his theological studies to work on his Uncle Ladd’s farm near Newton, Mass. There he met a laborer known to history only as “a Methodist named Tarbox,” who told Emerson “that men were always praying, and that all prayers were granted.” The idea of constant prayer was not new to Emerson, writes his biographer, Robert D. Richardson Jr., but Emerson “first felt its force for real life” there in his uncle’s fields.

What is prayer? In its simplest form, prayer is an address to a deity. But in “Self-Reliance,” Emerson says that “prayer is in all action”: in the farmer kneeling to weed his field, for example. And clearly Emerson means mindful action: No farmer wakes at mid-morning and says, “Gee, I wonder what I should do today?”

Emerson’s sense of prayer as mindful action appeals to my students at Florida State University, especially as graduation nears and the world of work beckons. I teach English, and in this job market you can say of humanities classrooms what is said often of trenches: There are no atheists there. My students are prayerful, though in the Emersonian way, which is to say they pray by doing, because they know that before they find their place in the world, they have a journey ahead of them.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Education, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Young Adults

[PRI] Thanks to librarians, Timbuktu's cultural heritage was saved from extemists

Perched on the Niger River, Timbuktu was once a major stop on trade routes across North Africa and a coveted destination for scholars nearly 600 years ago.

“Mali, in that era ”” the golden era of the 15th and 16th centuries ”” was the center of a great North African empire, and Timbuktu was the cultural, economic and intellectual capital of that empire,” says author Joshua Hammer.

Writing mostly in Arabic, the scholars that visited Timbuktu studied astronomy, medicine, poetry, and music and debated the details of Islamic law.

“Books were produced there ”” manuscripts ”” at a huge rate, and then over the centuries were scattered,” Hammer says. “The French colonial army invaded and conquered the north of Mali in the 19th century, and began seizing manuscripts where they could find them, taking them to museums in Paris and libraries in Paris.”

The people of Mali didn’t want to part with these precious treasures, so they hid away these prized manuscripts, and many were forgotten for decades.

But about 15 years ago, thanks to international funding from UNESCO and the efforts of Abdel Kader Haidara, a young man from the city, hundreds of thousands of these manuscripts were brought back to Timbuktu and preserved by teams of librarians in newly built facilities.

As a young man, Haidara scoured the country, traveling on camel and by boat to convince the owners of these manuscripts to entrust them to him in exchange for livestock and cash. The librarian wanted to ensure these invaluable volumes, some of which were buried in the desert, would last for hundreds more years.

But trouble was coming to Timbuktu…

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books

(Church Times) Big Society needs rebrand, says charity

Churches should take advantage of the opportunities presented by the shrinkage of the State by delivering “substantial public services”, says a report launched in the House of Lords on Monday.

Amid cuts in public spending, the Church needs to “re-imagine its role and to re-orientate itself more radically towards social action and the delivery of public services”, say the authors of Faith in Public Service, Ian Sansbury, Ben Cowdrey, and Lea Kauffmann-de Vries. The report is published by the Oasis Foundation, a non-denominational social-justice charity. The Revd Steve Chalke, a Baptist minister and the founder of Oasis, has written its introduction.

The report suggests that individual churches could “go further than the delivery of foodbanks and debt advice”, and move more into the provision of health-care and education. They might, however, need more “effective leadership, governance, finance and HR function” to do so.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Fulcrum) Andrew Goddard–The EU Referendum: How Should We Decide?

In deciding how to vote it is important that we recognise that we are answering a different sort of question from that at general elections but, as there, we also need to keep front and centre the test of what it means to love our neighbours and how our vote can serve the common good. That means not deciding on the basis of what is best for me personally (usually understood in simple financial terms) or even for the UK alone but to look at our personal and national good in the context of international society and the importance of good relationships. It also means trying to step back and take in the bigger picture both historically but also in terms of the present nature and likely future development of the EU. At least three broad areas require serious Christian reflection and evaluation in discerning how to vote.

First, as regards its form, the EU is an international legal and political entity based on treaties between national governments. This means considering a Christian attitude to the role and limits of nations and national identity and the dangers of empire as well as consideration of the principle of the free movement of peoples and how it relates to our sense of belonging and place of national borders. Second, the EU also has motives and aims which shape its ethos. Here Christians must evaluate how it has assisted in moving Europe from war to peace, whether and how it has enabled solidarity both within Europe and between Europe and the poorer parts of the world, and whether, particularly in relation to economic life, it is driven by our contemporary idols in the Western world and, through the Euro and austerity, serving or undermining human flourishing. Finally, as the EU is best viewed as a political community it needs, from a Christian perspective, to be assessed in terms of how well it serves the pursuit of justice and whether its political structures are ”“ or can be – representative of its 500 million people and whether they uphold the principle of subsidiarity which seeks to respect local and national governing structures and non-governmental forms of social life.

In the light of all these issues a number of arguments on both sides need to be rejected by Christians but, after exploring each of these areas, I believe it is possible to sketch out potential Christian arguments for each side of the debate focussing on these issues, often neglected in the wider political debate.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Catherine of Siena

Everlasting God, who didst so kindle the flame of holy love in the heart of blessed Catherine of Siena, as she meditated on the passion of thy Son our Savior, that she devoted her life to the poor and the sick, and to the peace and unity of the Church: Grant that we also may share in the mystery of Christ’s death, and rejoice in the revelation of His Glory, 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 Begin the Day from Frederick Macnutt

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst say that in thee we may have peace, and hast bidden us to be of good cheer, since thou hast overcome the world: Give ears to hear and faith to receive thy word; that in all the confusions and tensions of this present time, with mind serene and steadfast purpose, we may continue to abide in thee, who livest and wast dead and art alive for evermore.

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