Daily Archives: November 27, 2016

(Local Paper) Do no harm? The pros and cons of short-term missions

As a Peace Corps volunteer, Ginny Fonner worked in a rural village in Zambia, a southern African country with a severe shortage of doctors. While there, a short-term mission group visited. Their goal: distribute medicines to fight intestinal worms.

“It’s a great goal. Worms are a big problem,” she said during a recent global health symposium at the Medical University of South Carolina. “So they spent day after day going to schools, distributing treatments, feeling really good about it.”

Except for one thing.

“They had no idea that the previous week the local government had done the exact same thing with the exact same children.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Missions, Religion & Culture, Travel

(WSJ) Rabbi Peter Rubinstein–Thinking About Charity on Black Friday

Following a bruising presidential election, some Americans are afraid of the future. Others feel that the tumult of the campaign was necessary to disrupt business as usual. Multitudes feel that the country has lost its way, while just as many believe that the nation has finally found its footing. No doubt millions of people have witnessed these divisions at their own Thanksgiving feasts.

Many of us in the religious world wonder: How can we bridge this chasm and unify our body politic? How does the country close the fault line that divides the U.S. in half? Is it possible to stand for what we believe is right while still being civil toward the friends, family and neighbors who supported the “wrong” candidate? The way forward lies not in politics, but in something that binds us together as human beings: the simple act of giving to others.

Giving has long been invoked as a healing counterpoint to the darker sides of human nature. Tzedakah””the Jewish concept of donating at least 10% of one’s income to charity””comes from the Hebrew word for justice, or righteousness. Generosity is also at the heart of Christianity, and it is one of the five pillars of Islam.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ACNS) Britain’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral consecrated

The Patriarch of Antioch was in London… [this past Thursday] for the consecration of Britain’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral. The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, was the guest of honour at the service, which was attended by a number of senior Anglicans from the Church of England, including the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres; the Bishop at Lambeth, Nigel Stock; and the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Jonathan Goodall, the former ecumenical secretary at Lambeth Palace.

The new cathedral of St Thomas is the former Saint Saviour’s Church in Acton, west London ”“ formerly a chapel for deaf Christians operated by the Royal Association for the Deaf.

The joyous service was marked with sadness as the congregation and a succession of speakers reflected on life for Christians in the homelands of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Syria and Iraq.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Middle East, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Syria

(AJ) Churches should do more to end racism, says Lutheran partner

Anti-racist activism could be an excellent opportunity for Lutheran and Anglican congregations to engage in grass-roots ecumenical action, says Pat Lovell, representative to Council of General Synod (CoGS) from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

“We have this close relationship, we have power together, and I’d like to see us do more work together at the grassroots,” Lovell told CoGs in a November 19 partner’s reflection, noting that while both churches are involved in initiatives around responsible resource development, homelessness and poverty, there has been less co-operation on anti-racism.

Lovell said the recent defacement of a synagogue, a church and a mosque in Ottawa, is a reminder that racism and anti-Semitism remain problems in Canada.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Ecumenical Relations, Lutheran, Other Churches, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Primate Okoh urges the Government to protect Nigerians against renewed killings nationwide

Okoh, who is also the Bishop of the Abuja Diocese, said recent killings in parts of Kaduna and other states were worrisome and government must take action to protect all Nigerians.
Okoh said: “The Agatu incident has not been forgotten, in fact they have not recovered and now another group; the Enugu incident is there; we cannot continue to have a repeat of such incidences.
“The government is responsible for the protection of the people; that is the essence of good governance.
“We call on the government of this country to bear in mind that they were voted into office by the people and they owe them the responsibility of protecting them.”

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from prayers for the Christian Year

Almighty and everlasting God, who orderest all things in heaven and on earth: We give thee thanks and praise that thou didst make all ages a preparation for the coming of thy Son, our blessed Redeemer. Prepare us for the coming of him whom thou dost send, and grant that of his fullness we may all receive; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Prayers for the Christian Year (SCM, 1964)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzzi”²ah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezeki”²ah, kings of Judah.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
“Sons have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
and the ass its master’s crib;
but Israel does not know,
my people does not understand.”

Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
sons who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.
Why will you still be smitten,
that you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and bleeding wounds;
they are not pressed out, or bound up,
or softened with oil.

Your country lies desolate,
your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
aliens devour your land;
it is desolate, as overthrown by aliens.
And the daughter of Zion is left
like a booth in a vineyard,
like a lodge in a cucumber field,
like a besieged city.

If the Lord of hosts
had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
and become like Gomor”²rah.

–Isaiah 1:1-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Local Paper Profile of the new Bishop for the new TEC Diocese in South Carolina

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

(Wa Po) ISIS has been a catastrophe for Sunnis in Iraq and Syria

The Islamic State is being crushed, its fighters are in retreat and the caliphate it sought to build in the image of a bygone glory is crumbling.

The biggest losers, however, are not the militants, who will fulfill their dreams of death or slink into the desert to regroup, but the millions of ordinary Sunnis whose lives have been ravaged by their murderous rampage.

No religious or ethnic group was left unscathed by the Islamic State’s sweep through Iraq and Syria. Shiites, Kurds, Christians and the tiny Yazidi minority have all been victims of a campaign of atrocities, and they now are fighting and dying in the battles to defeat the militants.

But the vast majority of the territory overrun by the Islamic State was historically populated by Sunni Arabs, adherents of the branch of Islam that the group claims to champion and whose interests the militants profess to represent. The vast majority of the 4.2 million Iraqis who have been displaced from their homes by the Islamic State’s war are Sunnis. And as the offensives get underway to capture Mosul, Iraq’s biggest Sunni city, and Raqqa, the group’s self-proclaimed capital in Syria, more Sunni towns and villages are being demolished, and more Sunni livelihoods are being destroyed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Syria, Terrorism, Theology, Violence